Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Forgive the tardiness of this post, but pictures are finally available. More importantly, there’s finally a few minutes in the day (here and there) to write it. This Christmas was extra special in that almost everyone was here from both sides of the family. What a treat for Olivia’s first Christmas! Paula and Steve hosted a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner with delicious food and great company. Thank you for convincing us to have dinner at your house rather than the original plan of hosting with a new baby! What were we thinking? 🙂 The Yankee Swap was a huge success across the board, and the Jacob family was a good sport participating in the Danish tradition of rice pudding before the main meal.

Jacob Clan:

Cronin Clan:

Though we never made it to Fort Worth or Dallas to see the Christmas lights in the fancy neighborhoods, we did manage a few excursions with the family to help show Dane and Claire the sites during their first visit to Texas. The week included many firsts for Olivia as she ventured beyond the hospital, the doctor’s office and Grandma’s house. What a difference it is to try and do anything outside the house when you have a newborn in tow!

Christmas decorations in downtown Grapevine

Dec 21 exploration

Dec 21 exploration




Fort Worth Zoo

Awake for the gorillas but that's about it

Fort Worth Zoo December 22

Awake only for the gorillas. Oh well – it was a beautiful day to walk around the zoo and it wasn’t even crowded! The highlight was the baby rhino.

Downtown Dallas & Sonny Bryan’s

Texas BBQ for Olivia's first restaurant

Texas BBQ for Olivia’s first restaurant
Despite appearances this is a restaurant not a bar!

Despite appearances this is a restaurant not a bar!

The biggest adventure for all was a white Christmas. Though beautiful, it wreaked havoc on travel plans for the Cronin crew. While we spent Christmas afternoon with the Jacobs, our guests were dealing with DFW fiascoes. All ended up eventually back at our house on Christmas night after various travel nightmares of delayed and cancelled flights. Luckily for them they were able to escape our crazy household to return to their previous plans early the next morning. For some this meant heading in to work (Dad), for others it meant racing to catch a flight for the next vacation plan (Dane and Claire). After various reroutes, paying for extra flights on a different airline, and a good friend meeting them at the airport with passports in hand, Dane and Claire successfully made their flight to Vienna. It was a Christmas miracle.

In addition to having all our family together for the first time since our wedding, and having Mom here to help out the week prior to Christmas, the best present of all this year was little Miss Olivia. Christmas 2012 will certainly be hard to beat.

Click here to see more pictures from Christmas Eve, Christmas and the rest of the week.


Welcome Olivia!

Many have been asking how things are going after we welcomed Miss Olivia Harper Jacob into the world on Thursday, November 8th. The short version is that we have survived the so-called “2-week hazing period” more or less in tact. (Hazing is an apt term considering the hazy fog we’ve been living in as a result of sleep deprivation.)

The longer version of the story includes multiple doctor’s visits and a trip to the ER on Thanksgiving. Olivia dropped 12.5% of her birth weight in 4 days, raising red flags to the pediatrician. As a result we’ve been on a roller coaster ride of various feeding rituals and frequent weight checks at the doctor. Though still not back to her birth weight of 7 lbs 1 oz, she’s finally headed in the right direction with a combination of breast milk and formula supplementation. We continue to hold out hope to eliminate the formula supplementation but only time will tell if that’s possible.  In addition to feeding issues, we have also been dealing with early cord removal concerns.  At 11 days old as she was performing her crawling ritual up her daddy’s chest, she snagged her cord. Olivia may be too active for her own good! The pediatrician applied silver nitrate to dry out and disinfect the remaining cord, however, too much was applied and it spread beyond her belly button. As a result, Olivia spent her first Thanksgiving in the ER with a chemical burn. Luckily it is now looking better, but still not 100% healed.

It’s amazing how not until you are struggling with something do you learn how many people have been in the same situation (dealing with early losses, breastfeeding and sleeping difficulties, early cord removal etc). Thank you to all who have shared their stories and experiences to let us know that we aren’t alone. While these roadblocks are frustrating, we know that things could certainly be worse and are grateful that they are not.

Olivia already has a very strong personality and has us both wrapped around her little fingers, worrying about every tiny thing. Those of you who are parents are probably laughing since I’m sure you saw that coming from a mile away. We’ll keep chugging along doing the best we can and hope that is good enough. Maybe we’ll even get to the point where we won’t cater to her every cry, but for now she’s our baby and we can’t spoil her enough.

Click here for pictures of her first few weeks including hospital pictures, first time home, visiting with family, one week birthday pics, her first walk around the block, etc.

Time flies!

It dawned on us that on Tuesday I will be 24 weeks pregnant, which when phrased as “6 months” sounds that much farther along. Time certainly seems to move at warp speed when you are in denial, or simply ignoring certain life changing events in favor of trying to keep up with daily life events: work, travel, exercise, yard and other chores, friends & family… this weekend we’re continuing our denial a while longer since thinking about the “to-do” list causes significant stress. Instead our attention will be focused on the Ft Worth Major Zone tennis tournament, with some water aerobics and family pool time in between matches to hide from the 106 degree temps.

Speaking of time flying by, it’s been about 5 weeks since the first post with belly shots. I figured it’s time to provide the next round of activity and photo highlights. Enjoy!

June 22, 2012: Walking the beach on Nantucket after some brisk swimming in the Atlantic. At 19 weeks, 3 days our baby girl got to enjoy the taste of freshly picked strawberries to start out the morning, then feel a drastic temperature change as we floated about the ocean to cool off in the afternoon.

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June 24, 2012: Annual dock photo our last day on the Cape, sporting my new Cowgirl-like hat from Nantucket, 19 weeks, 5 days:


July 5, 2012: Today’s anatomy sonogram was recorded for us to enjoy over the years and share with our daughter as she gets older. Our little wiggler is already weighing in at exactly 1 pound today and measuring right on track at 21 weeks, 2 days with a strong, steady heartbeat of 155. The top photo has a nice image of her hands above her head in a relaxed pose, while the bottom picture shows her little foot that is already waging a war with my ribs.

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July 15, 2012: Baby was quite active after a pint of Phish food frozen yogurt, enough so for her daddy to feel her wiggling around that night for the first time. Perhaps she was saying thank you for finally beginning to make progress on her new bedroom, agreeing on the color after trying out our chosen paint samples and loving them … too bad that’s just the first step of many to actually finish the nursery.

July 16, 2012: Taking advantage of a black stretchy dress for work to hide the growing belly, 22 weeks, 6 days. Each day this week the “baby belly shelf” has become more and more prevalent, especially from my bird’s eye view, and apparently from my co-workers’ view as well as they constantly point to my belly before and after meetings and smirk. Not to mention the comment Thursday night from a new friend in the water aerobics class I have recently discovered: “wow, your belly is really starting to show now!” Gee, thanks?

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July 21, 2012: Purchased the majority of the paint for the nursery … each little step counts!



Almost, but not quite

After a long weekend of tennis in the Fall 2011 Southlake tennis tournament, mild disappointment lingers.  Taking a break from both singles and doubles for a change, I was able to watch all of Ben’s singles matches (first freezing Saturday morning, then roasting Sunday morning … I think Texas is confused and forgot it’s November).  I sure did miss the singles play, but my body is probably grateful.

What a difference a year makes. Though we still haven’t been playing much, it was more than last year and that was visible. Ben put up a great fight each of the matches, but was ultimately defeated in a grueling 3-set consolation finals match. Click here for complete results.

On top of all his singles matches, Ben helped pull the team along for our 3 mixed doubles matches (though he might not be able to walk tomorrow).  Sadly, we lost in the finals Sunday afternoon.  Considering it’s the first time playing 4.0 Mixed Doubles, I guess we shouldn’t be too disappointed with the results. We even got trophies (and sunburns).

Maybe next year. Until then, ice cream heals all wounds.

Spring has Sprung

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Winter is over, at least the worst of it is here in Texas. February closed out the season with several icy blasts and various snow “storms”, several of which caused concern for the tender plant life.


Now that all traces of snow and ice are gone, new life is beginning, at least in some areas.


Daffodils peeking through happen to coincide with the beginning of tennis season. The weather toyed with us starting off the weekend and Friday night league with a balmy 70 degree victory. Saturday morning dawned brisk and gray reminding us that winter is not quite over (40 degree tennis … brr … at least it was another victory).


Life will continue as new flowers bloom and older flowers move on. How many more buds will great us home from wintry Indiana?

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Note: To see additional spring yard photos, clicking on any of the above should take you to the parent album.

Desperation in a Snowstorm

Love makes you do crazy things, or so I’ve heard. This old saying was proven true last week as I was struggling to find a way home from Oklahoma City in a snowstorm. The typical work week now involves travel on first flight out Monday morning, travel on last flight home Thursday evening. Wednesday evening is not usually too bad, since I go to sleep knowing I’ll be home the next day. Last Wednesday a wrench was thrown in that happiness as I received the dreaded automated call from American Airlines. “I’m sorry, but your flight XXX has been canceled. We are working to reschedule your trip.” There is no true emotion in that recorded “I’m sorry”. Are they really? Like a seasoned traveler, I brushed it off and got on the phone to reschedule the flight more quickly. After an internal battle struggling with the question of whether to reschedule for Friday morning or an earlier flight on Thursday (which would mean leaving work earlier than planned), I decided to go with the earlier flight to try and beat the storm. Life went on, and Wednesday evening happiness prevailed as I packed up for traveling home the next day.

Thursday morning dawns with ominous forecasts for Dallas – Fort Worth, and a possible dusting in the Oklahoma City area. With and up on my screen all day checking for delays or travel problems, I’m optimistic that I’ll get home at some point that evening. I check in without a problem, through security, sit down at the gate and think “Maybe a delay here or there, but ultimately I’ll get home.” After all, I’m from New England. A few inches of white stuff? No problem. And then I get the dreaded automated call. I guess I was living in la-la land thinking that Texas could handle a little snowstorm.

In a flurry it begins again, call for rescheduling, decide what to do. Regardless, I needed a rental car again – either to drive home or to drive to a hotel that I no longer had a room at. Luckily the client approves a change in plans last minute and agrees that I can take a one-way rental home. While waiting in line at Hertz, the jokes begin that people should just pool together to get a car. After all, everyone’s trying to get to the same place: DFW. Of course, these jokes were just that, jokes. Who wants to ride with a stranger? My turn comes to reach the counter only for me to find out that Hertz is sold out, as is every other car rental agency. The desperation begins.

The kind gentleman in front of me in line that I had been talking to has left to retrieve his rental car. The last rental car. In a split second decision, I chase after him. He’s too far away to call to, not to mention I don’t know his name. I see him duck into the men’s room, and think “Now what? Do I just wait here and look like a fool?” Yes. Others may say I stalked him. Perhaps. With a sheepish grin, I ask if he was serious about sharing a rental car to DFW, explaining that he got the last rental car. After wiping the shocked expression from his face, he recovered and said “Of course, let’s go!” I should mention he was trying to catch the next segment of his flight to San Francisco, and we had no idea how bad the roads were or how long the normal 3+ hr ride would take. Juggling baggage and hustling to the car rental lot, we introduce ourselves and set off on our journey south. Before getting in the car, I learn that my mystery hero is from New England as well – Vermont – and I breathe a sigh of relief that he should know how to drive in snow. Granted, halfway down to Dallas I learn that he hasn’t lived in Vermont for 40 years. oops!

After an animated 3.5 hours, I’ve learned all about his family, work and travel. The time flew by and we were driving through the tolls at the DFW airport. By this time, the roads were terrible, with about 3″ or more of slush / snow / mess every which way with even more on the side of the road. I guess DFW has never thought to buy a snowplow. We arrive at the gas station where we were meeting Ben, and my heart soared. I made it. We fish tail around headed home, while my new friend Bill stays at the gas station on the phone with American, trying to reschedule his flight that was … you guessed it: Canceled. I hope he finally made it to San Francisco to watch his 16 yr old son’s hockey tournament.

Thank heaven for kind strangers.

Cross-Country skiing in Texas early Friday morning

Early Friday morning: freedom

Current Weather at Jacob Manor

I got a weather station for Christmas from the Cronin’s.  I have most of it setup except for the wind device.  It needs to move to higher ground and set to true south.  I have it feeding data to my server which then uploads a custom image of the current weather measurements every 15 minutes or so.  You can find the current weather at the house by clicking on the weather page on the menu to the right.

Unfortunately the link between the station and my pc breaks whenever it is shutdown or is restarted and must be manually put back in sync.  So, not sure how often all this will be working.  I am also thinking about parsing the history.dat file the station creates and somehow displaying the data on another weather page.  We will see.  I think I know the format of the binary file, but the info I got may be wrong.