January 29, 2009

The Stimulus Plan

I hear the saying, "Better go do something....even if it's wrong" commonly on jobsites. Well, yesterday, the House passed an 825,000,000,000.00 bill that followed the same principle.

Yeah right. That will work. (Just curious, has anyone reaped any benefit of the last bailout? If so, please comment below, I would be interested to hear the circumstances.)

I wanted to know what this "stimulus" involved, so I did some checking, hoping to ease my mind. Not so much. I went to a lot of sites to try and gather information. To find a summary, just google "2009 stimulus package summary." To read one in it's entirety, click here.

Some highlights.....
-$6 billion for broadband and wireless services in underserved areas
-$1.9 billion for physics research
-NASA: $600 million, including $400 million for climate change research
-$900 million to prepare for a pandemic influenza and other health threats
-$600 million for satellite development and acquisitions
-$430 million for new direct lending and loan guarantee authorities to make loans more attractive to lenders and free up capital
-DTV Conversion Coupons: $650 million (MORE) to continue the coupon program and advertisements through summer - (since one year to prepare apparently wasn't enough.)
-$400 million so fed and state governments can buy new vehicles that are more fuel efficient.
-$6.2 billion to help low-income families weatherize their homes
-$6 billion to weatherize modest-income homes.
-$87 billion for a temporary increase in the Medicaid matching rate.
-$43 billion for increased unemployment benefits
-$20 billion to increase the food stamp benefit

A few of them sound fine. To me, I know most of that allocated money will never, ever actually help out the people that really need it.

How about keeping more of your tax return? Put more money in the hands of those who can spend it to actually stimulate the economy instead of pet projects and pork.

Just do something, even if it's wrong..........but at least has a chance of helping.

January 28, 2009

Whatchu Talkin Bout Willis Wednesday

Ok, so this is Allison and I am doing my first "Whatchu Talkin Bout Willis". Not only is it my first attempt but I have chosen a topic that is somewhat controversial. Here it goes....

While I was pregnant, many people recommended that I read a book titled "Baby Wise." I read it. I liked it. I thought wow this seems like a pretty good method to try.

Well I tried it. It worked for awhile. But once Makenna hit the 2 month mark my success began fly out the window. Makenna started to have problems napping. She would wake up after 20 minutes or 40 minutes if I was lucky. And when I mean wake up, I mean happy and very alert wake. Come to find out she was not transitioning from active sleep to deep sleep very well. Although napping was a problem, she continued to sleep well at night.

We are still having problems with napping but I have gotten used to her waking up and putting her back to sleep. But this was after many weeks of feeling like I was failing at what had worked for so many other moms.

So long story short, here are a few things I think about Baby Wise and what I found worked or didn't:
  • Baby Wise has a lot of helpful tips about feeding, scheduling, and other basic information about newborns.
  • A feed/wake/sleep cycle really does help promote night time sleep
  • Baby Wise is not helpful AT ALL when it comes to your baby having problems napping.
  • Just because something worked for 95% of the moms you know, it doesn't mean it will work for you. And even more importantly, you shouldn't feel like you are doing something wrong when it doesn't work for you.
  • People/Moms tend to only share the positive experiences of parenting a newborn.
  • A baby can be happy even when they sleep less than normal.
  • Contrary to the statistics throughout the book, we still think that Makenna is gonna turn out great.
  • If something is not working and you have given it a fair chance to work, try something new. Don't continue doing it because it woked for someone else.
Please don't get me wrong, I still think that Baby Wise is a good resource. And we will continue to use the eat/wake/sleep cycle with any future babies. I just thought that I would share what worked for me and what didn't. I guess that is how all stages for parenting goes. You find what works for you and you go with it.

Makenna 101

Makenna is changing everyday. Her personality is becoming more and more defined and that is incredible to watch happen.

Here are some highlights and pictures......
  • She is talking/cooing quite often. Even in an interactive way now too.
  • She smiles almost constantly when someone plays with her.
  • She squeals and laughs.
  • "Tummy time" is a favorite. She can now lift her head to about a 90 degree angle.
  • She loves to hold her hands together.
  • She will grab onto a rattle when put in her hand.
  • She can scoot backwards when on her back.
  • Watching people is fun for her.
  • Being read to and listening to music is delightful.
  • Bath time is not her favorite time. Even with a rubber ducky.
  • She sticks almost everything in her mouth.... her hands, toys, my shoulder.
  • If you use your imagination, it looks like the hair on top of her is growing some.

January 25, 2009

Another year older.....

I remember when I was really young, there was a T.V. show called "Thirtysomething." I have no idea what is was about, but remember thinking how incredibly old people in their 30's must be. They probably don't have any fun, probably hurt their hips if they attempt any crazy activity and probably all drink prune juice.

Tomorrow (the 26th) I will wake up no longer in my 20's. I feel quite confident I will still act, look and talk the same, but still can't shake the feeling I'm getting old.

Along those lines, I always imagined people who are 30 are "grown up." Yeah.... Other than my hair turning a little more gray, I still feel young. I still kinda look young. And I definitely don't think of myself as all that mature. I purposely say dumb things, make jokes normally made famous by junior high kids, and pretend I could still fit in with the college kids if I only shaved my beard.

I guess "young" is simply an opinion that operates on a sliding scale. It will continue to be at least several years ahead of me until my kids convince me otherwise.

January 22, 2009

Is there a difference?

You can say you "never gave up." Or.......... did you really actually never start?

Read an impressive story here.

January 17, 2009

You decide

Older gentleman or little baby.............

And you thought our economy was bad?

I just finished reading an article on the problems of Zimbabwe. Unbelievable.

Just one "highlight" of the article - "Inflation was last reported at 231 million percent in July, but the Washington think-tank Cato Institute has estimated it now at 89.7 sextillion percent -- a figure expressed with 21 zeroes."

For comparison, U.S. inflation generally is around 2-4%

To read the article, click here.

January 15, 2009

Just for comparison......

The temperature could rise 54 degrees and it would still be considered "freezing."

It is currently 22 degrees warmer inside our freezer than it is outside.

The difference in temperature between inside our house and the wind chill outside is well over 100 degrees.


January 14, 2009

How to bring down a grown man

1. Hit him.
2. Wrap him up.
3. Take out his legs.

If those don't work, grab his jock and hold on.

Whatchu talkin bout Willis Wednesday

It's cold, snowy, and windy. It's winter in Iowa.........so what else is new?

Yet for some reason, most people love to talk about it. All the time.

Extra! Extra! It's cold out!

Sure I like to know what the forecast is so I can plan a little bit, but no matter what, life goes on. The difference between 2 inches and 4 inches of snow isn't that much, nor is the difference between a high of 24 versus 30. When it's really cold like today, throw on an extra jacket, plan for the worst, and still go about your day.

I find it annoying how news stations make weather so dramatic. Artic Blast! Breaking News! Blizzard! Operation Winter Storm! It's like there is some sort of contest to see which station can "sell" the most weather drama to get people to watch.

Now to do my part to contribute to the madness......My driveway approach from the street used to be 30 feet wide. Every time it snows, the piles on each side get closer and closer from shoveling, and the distance has now shrunk to about 17 feet. And they are now as tall as I am. I'm jealous of those who use snowblowers as my back feels like I got a massage by an angry elephant.

I'm glad that January is almost half over and will be glad when warm weather is back. In the meantime, I'll try and enjoy winter and it's unpredictability while keeping only one eye on the weather.

January 13, 2009

A Few Words From Makenna

This is a conversation Makenna and I had this morning. Jared better watch out cuz soon she will be talking more than he does. Enjoy!

January 12, 2009

A visit from the Schulz family

On Sunday after church, Todd, Melissa and Ella came over for a little while to admire Makenna for the first time and show off their little (big) girl. What a size difference a year makes.

Spring's Wedding

Last Saturday night Allison and I enjoyed going to our good friend Spring's wedding. It was a fantastic ceremony a fun reception. Grandma and Grandpa Sigmund enjoyed watching our little girl while we were gone. Thanks!

A few pictures from the event.......

January 10, 2009

More smiling

Makenna is getting some really big smiles. She sure can be a lot of fun sometimes.

Big smiles. Little hair. We love our daughter!


We had a lot of snow again last night. That's ok, I like snow enough. I don't even mind shoveling the driveway, even with a 2 foot drift all the way across.

The annoying thing for me is the snow plow drivers. Out of all the places in Ames I have lived, this is the only one that has had this problem.....the driver can't ever seem to find the curbline. Everytime I have to shovel anywhere from 4-7 feet of the street to complete the shoveling.

Not this time. I just shoveled to the curb and left the rest in the street. At some point I know I'll have to make a small path to get the car out, but in the mean time, I feel like I'm proving a point. Or something.

January 4, 2009

Makenna and Atticus

New Year's Eve Party

Last year I decided that New Years may be the most lame Holiday ever. Everybody wants to do something fun, but most parties are thrown together at the second and no one knows where they are at.

So I sent out an Evite about 350 days in advance for ours. That's right, local friends were invited and soon that number got bigger and bigger. This party was talked about all year, and as the anticipation grew, so did the number of people coming - which was great.

We ended up with roughly 40-50 people being there at some point in the night. Everyone hung out in the basement, where we had a big (borrowed from work) TV, gamecube, poker table, game table, and snack bar all set up.

It was a fantastic time. I hope everyone had fun. Here are a couple pictures from the night. (Notice the high quality TV stand)

Who shoveled the walk?

Allison and I were eating lunch together the other day when we had an interesting conversation...

Allison: When did you shovel the sidewalk?
Me: (brief pause while i think) well, last time it snowed i guess.
Allison: No, I mean the sidewalk by the street.
Me:(pause again) I've never shoveled that one.
Allison: Well somebody did, I saw it was clear this morning from Makenna's room.

I go to the window, look out, and this is what i see....

(the walk under investigation is just past the real estate sign, under the snow pile)

Apparently she had seen the little patch of grass along the far walk and decided the walk had been shoveled. Very funny.

January 1, 2009

Makenna Smiling

One of the most fun things about being a parent I would say is seeing Makenna learn new things. Watching her smile is right up there too.

Makenna is smiling a lot now, until the camera shows up. Here is some rare footage of her in a good mood.

Sigmund Christmas

We got to spend some time with Allison's family a couple times over the Christmas season. It was good to see her sister Erin and brother-in-law Jason. Other than a Christmas Eve service meltdown by our daughter, things went well. Lots of good time together.

Christmas photos (by Ally)

My 5 year old niece played the role of photographer at the Willis Christmas this year. She did pretty good. I learned people smile a little "better" for a cute little kid.

Here is a sampling of her work.

We had a good time with the family. Jason, I and his kids got to go sledding as well. Found out that cheap inflatable sleds don't hold up well to being plopped down on.