Update on the C25K App!

    A while back I stated that I wanted to get into shape.  The Dr. gave me a high cholesterol diagnosis at my yearly and basically said I needed to get it down or go on meds.  I hate meds.  So I decided to start running every other day, and started using the “Couch to 5k” app, which puts you on a program for 9 weeks to safely prepare you to run 3.1 miles.  I am proud to say that I finished the program and consistently run 3.1 miles every day, in fact I am in the process of increasing that distance.  This is one of the few things that I have completed exercise-wise.  I’ve tried so many things to get into shape, workout videos, Nintendo Wi, exercise bike-all of which I found to be insanely boring which was followed by me quitting.  Running unexpectedly became an addiction.  I had heard people say that it was addicting in the past, always wondering to myself how anyone could ever find it enjoying.  It’s actually amazing, and very addicting.  Why?  Because you start seeing results in a very short time.  It’s not 100% about weight loss, in-fact, most people start running thinking that they will lose weight.  You do, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re like the type of person that reads about the newest extreme diet guaranteed to shed off 10 pounds in 2 days, or whatever, it’s not for you.  Weight-loss, real weight loss, is a slow process with big rewards.  You don’t have to go to extreme measures to lose weight, you just need to change a few things and get into portion control.  When you run, you burn a lot of calories, but most people quit when they run for a week or two and then barely see the needle move.  Truth is, after your finished running, your muscles repair themselves and you retain water.  You can’t get into this worrying about moving the needle a pound or two hear and there.  You have to not pay attention to the needle, and pay attention to your workout.  Focus on the program, and focus on your running.  I’ve followed this since I started and have now lost almost 20 pounds.
    2 years ago I did weight watchers and lost almost 30 pounds.  The program is amazing and it teaches you how to eat good foods, how to maximize the amount you eat, all while learning correct portions.  It’s an amazing program that I am still on.  The difference between when I lost 30 pounds back then, and the 20 I have lost now, is that my body is different.  Running completely transforms the way you look and it gets more and more addicting.  Pretty soon I will look like this:

    
Ok, maybe not like this…but probably a little better….
I’ll keep this topic updated as I continue my routine!  If your thinking of getting into running, give this app a chance!

BombFell to the Rescue.

    It’s been so busy lately.  There was a time when days dragged, but now they go by so fast, that it’s impossible to get everything done!   I rarely write about other clothing companies, but its fair to say that this one isn’t exactly a direct competitor of mine.  I’m just like everyone else that buys stuff from the Super Sweet Shirt Company.  A t-shirt and jeans kinda guy.  I haven’t really changed that aspect of me, but occasionally I need wear something a little more on the dressy side.  I cant wear a Steven Seagal shirt to dinner, or family gathering.  I can’t take my wife to dinner wearing a Death Wish shirt.  If you do want some of those things, I suggest you head over to supersweetshirts.com, but if you are in desperate need of some fancier clothes, head over to Bombfell.com.
    These days, I’m so busy with work, making shirts, raising a kid with my beautiful wife, and working on the house, it’s impossible to find the time to find some nicer things to add to my wardrobe.  Bombfell takes all the effort out of it.  You basically sign up, tell them a bit about yourself, what kind of clothes you wear, and what you hate, etc.  They then assign you a stylist.  That’s right. I have a stylist.  After you do all of this, in a few days they will tell you what’s coming your way.  You can select the types of things that you are looking for them to send you (pants, jeans, shirt, dress shirt, etc.) Once you see what they have chosen, you can decide weather or not you want them to mail the stuff to you or if you want something else.  Once you get the clothes, you can try them on, if you hate them, they pay for the return shipping, and the return supplies are all included.  It’s pretty awesome.  They sent me 4 things, the first, a pair of grey chinos.

This isn’t me.

   I was looking forward to getting these.  Once I put them on, I stood proudly in front of my wife, showing her how they fit.  She was just staring at my mid-section and then pointed out that the pants gave me male camel toe.  I looked down, and sure enough they did. Dammit.  I like the pants, but I wasn’t going to be able to make male camel toe look fashionable.  These had to go back.
   The next item was the “Ben Sherman CLASSIC GINGHAM MOD SHIRT.”  I liked the look of this shirt when they told me it was coming.  The fit was perfect, they nailed this one.
   The final two items where “Mavi Matt Mid Rise Straight Jeans” and my favorite, the “Original Penguin FULL-ZIP MOCK-NECK CARDIGAN”

Both of these items fit incredibly well.  The jeans especially.  Normally I wear a 34, which every time I buy myself a pair of 34’s, they are tight.  These fit awesome.
    My first experience doing something like this was great.  I know what you’re wondering, “Is it expensive?”  Its not bad.  When I first looked into something like this I tried Trunkclub which was a similar service.  I received a call from one of their stylists who told me the clothes ranged from $100-$300 per item.  That was way out of my range.  Bombfell is more like $60-$100.  Basically your paying the ticketed price on the clothing, (where as normally you could get it at a department store on sale.)  You basically pay the full retail price and that’s how the stylist gets paid.  It’s a price I’d gladly pay to not have to put any effort into getting some nicer threads.  Definitely something to think about if you have something coming up where you need a few fancy clothes.

It’s Big Girl Time

   My daughter Amelia is now 4 months old.  Its crazy how fast time goes by.  We’ve learned so much about being parents to a new baby.  Some of our knowledge came the easy way, some came the hard way. Here are a few things we have picked up along the way.  We’re not experts at all, but have taken the advice from many books written by numerous specialists about sleeping, feeding, breast feeding, everything!  There are so many books out there, its tough to know what works and what doesn’t.  The truth is, every baby is different. Ours came at us with everything she had to throw us off.  She would confuse us with new behaviors, develop knew quirks, and throw us a few change-ups now and then.  The one thing we dreaded was sleep training!  Commercial baby world is loaded with ridiculous products, each product telling you in their own way, how much they will change your life.  Everything will be so much easier if you use “this” or “that.”  What they fail to tell you, is that each expensive thing that you get, is another thing you need to ween your kid off of like a junkie on heroine.

    Let’s rewind.  When we first brought the baby home, she was swaddled and slept on a “Rock and Play.”  This is a little device that you can put next to your bed that the baby sleeps in.  It’s on a reclined angle, its cozy, and comfortable.  The baby loved it.  She slept in it soundly for hours at a time.  So here we have two vices that the baby now has.  This sleeping device and the swaddle.  At the time, we didn’t look at it this way.  We were just happy the baby was sleeping, and things were going our way.  As time went on, everything we were reading was telling us that you didn’t really want to use the swaddle for more than 3-4 months at the most.  I started to look at this as judgement day.  Each day that passed brought us one day closer to perhaps a disaster.  While this realization set in, it also occurred to us that the countdown was on to get her out of the rock and play.  She probably could have used it longer, but the way I looked at it was, “the longer she uses it, the harder it will be to get her into her crib.”  We decided to act fast.  We tried to put the kabash on the rock and play.  We were failing miserably.  She would fall asleep in our arms, then we would set her down in the crib, and in 10 minutes she would be wide awake!  We would try over and over, eventually caving in because we needed a break and this baby needed to sleep! We would bring the rock and play back out and she would sleep for hours.  This wasn’t helping.  A few weeks would go by, and it was eventually starting to get better.  She would sleep longer (occasionally with a 15 minute nap here and there).  Eventually we broke the rock and play crutch and she was in the crib.  Now for phase 2…the swaddle.
   We had tried a few test runs without it…..barely being able to get her into the crib without her waking up.  The arms would go crazy, like they had minds of their own.  It’s like her arms were separate beings that wanted to just hit her in the face at all costs.

It seemed hopeless.  We tried some techniques.  One of them being, swaddling her with one arm free.  Occasionally this would work for maybe 10 minutes.  Our pediatrician suggested that we loosely swaddle her, so that she could move her arms around in the swaddle.  This was perhaps the dumbest of ideas.  She wouldn’t relax at all doing this.  Her goal became to get her hands up out of the swaddle thus getting stuck in their final destination-under her chin.  Then she would just start screaming and would be awake.  I asked around, speaking to people we knew for advice.  One set of friends that we know recommended the “Magic Merlin Sleep Suit”.  They had luck using this thing.  Their kid hated being swaddled, so she never developed the addiction.  It was funny because our kid hated it as well, but couldn’t sleep without it.  According to Amazon, this Magic Merlin Suit suit is described as a transitional piece to help get the baby out of, specifically, the rock and play and swaddle.  This sounded like a sure thing!  And for only $40.00!  I’m being sarcastic.  This was like placing a $40.00 dollar bet on black or red at the roulette wheel, and I had that gut feeling that I was pretty much going to lose.  I tried to be optimistic.  My wife laughed at me and laughed at the suit.  She pretty much knew I had just blown $40.00.  I wasn’t convinced.  I put her in the suit…..

Amelia was confused every time I placed her in this thing.  She would try to move her little arms and legs as this thing muffled all movements.  After numerous attempts with no luck I was about to throw this thing out a window. Then all of a sudden….

What a miracle product! I couldn’t believe it.  All of our problems were solved.  Then 5 minutes later, she was awake, and angry.  The attempts to use this for future naps were even worse as she would never fall asleep, and she hated how uncomfortable she was in it.  This thing was a bust.
    Fast forward to a week before the 4 month deadline.  She was still swaddled.  No signs of hope and she was occasionally bursting out of it.  I had to make a decision.  My wife leaves me with the baby 2 days a week for about 2 hours while she tends to appointments.  The next time she was to step out, I was going to experiment.  I wouldn’t try this when she was home, because I knew she wouldn’t be able to stomach the baby crying for more then a few minutes and then veto my plan.  I had to convince her that I could do it.  So one day Nicole had left, and it was time for the baby to nap.  I brought her upstairs, put her in her sleep sack (not the Merlin Suit, just a sleep sack, which is like a sleeping bag vest), gave her a kiss, and then let her go to work.  I fired up the camera and watched her as she occasionally cried…but nothing major.  She wouldn’t do it for that long.  She would then suck her hand and thumb, try to roll over, yell a little, and then repeat.  30 minutes had passed, and all of a sudden it got quiet.  She had fallen asleep.  I was super excited.  I felt like a champion.  A 30 minute nap, like a big girl.  I didn’t want to push my luck.  I left it as a one time thing for that day and she slept swaddled at night so that she could get rest.  With only a few days to go, I was going to try it a few more times in hopes of preparing her.  The next few days, I was able to sneak in another round of this, and my mom was able to as well.  I started to tell Nicole that I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be that terrible.  I think I even had her somewhat convinced that it may work.  She, like any mother, was horrified at the fact that this could possible be a horrible “cry it out” sort of thing, when the the truth was, she normally screamed and cried way worse when I would hold her to try and get her to fall asleep.  This wasn’t nearly as bad!
    The day finally arrived.  A Friday night.  We were mentally prepared to have a terrible night.  A night were she was going to cry a lot, fall asleep off and on, and I was prepared to have to calm Nicole down as I was sure she wasn’t going to be able to stomach the crying.  We were going to be following the sleep training schedule from the book:

The book promises to have your baby sleeping independently in roughly 5 days.  The first day being the worse, and than gradual improvement – until eventually, shes sleeping like a champion.  The rules were pretty straight forward.  Basically you set up a bed time, a routine (tell a story, dim the lights, etc), then lay her down, kiss her goodnight, shut the light, close the door.  If the baby starts to go nuts, you wait 5 minutes, then you walk in and let her know you are there.  You are not allowed to touch her, you simply say “I’m right here.”  You cannot stay more then 30 seconds.  You then don’t return, regardless of how bad it is, for 10 minutes.  So with that mindset, we began the routine.  Amelia was pretty angry and tired before bed.  I tried to read her a story while she just struggled and screamed at me.  The story portion was out of the question.  It was bed time.  I laid her down and left the room.  The crying began but it wasn’t too bad….it was on and off bursts of crying, almost to the point where I could tell it was more “whining”.  We toughed it out, and after about a half hour, she fell asleep.  She ended sleeping about 30 minutes and then woke herself up.  This was going to be the tricky part.  We were to rough this out and she was to put herself back to sleep.  She was able to do this in about 30 minutes and this time slept for a little over an hour, then woke back up.  Then she did it again!  This time she slept most of the night, only waking for a legit feeding!  Not only was she sleeping like a big girl, but it was easier than we ever imagined! 
   I guess if I learned anything from this, its to be careful how many vices you introduce to

your new kid.  Also, don’t believe what you read when it comes to “Cry-it-out.” Everyone makes it sound way worse then it really is.  You kid may be only 4 months old, but give her a little credit, let her learn to sooth herself and grow a little.  In the long run, it will be a hell of a lot easier on both of you.

C25K Time!

   Last year I got my blood work done for my yearly check up.  I’m healthy, never sick, blood pressure is good, however my cholesterol was not.  It was high at 260 with my LDL at 194.  At that time, I was able to locate problem areas for food that I eat.  I love fries, pizza, the normal delicious foods in life.  So for a year, I watched what I ate, still having those things but not nearly as much as I would have normally consumed.  I went in for this years check-up and it stayed the same.  The Dr. said that I have 5 months to lower my cholesterol, or i’d have to start taking “Statins”.  I’ve never been on a medication in the 35 years I’ve been alive, I’m not about to start now.
   So I spoke with my Dr. and told her what I eat regularly and what I don’t do regularly…or even at all…..is exercise.  I’m not a fat guy, but I’m out of shape and maybe 10-15 pounds overweight.  So now I have a goal.  I have 5 Months to get into better shape, and to move that LDL down.  The first thing I am going to do is a program my wife had heard a lot about, “C25K” (Couch to 5 K) an app for your phone that trains you over weeks to be able to run 5k without killing you.  A slow progression.  There are a bunch of apps for this, all offering free versions with limitations.  I decided to get the pay version.  It’s 1.99, its not going to kill you to cough up $1.99 to use an app for your $600.00 phone.  The pay version integrates GPS tracking so that it tracks how far you have gone and your speeds.
   I have finished two days of C25K so far and its going along nicely.  It’s kind of like having a trainer in your ear.  Instead of going for a run and killing myself randomly deciding how far to run, the app tells you what to do, so I don’t even have to think!  The cool part is, I can listen to whatever I want and the C25K app will just chime in when its time to change it up.  Definitely a cool app, I’m looking forward to seeing the progress.

 

Sleep Routines and Babies: The Truth Revealed.

   My wife and I did our share of research when we found out we succeeded in having a kid.  Perhaps the most frustrating area to try and master is “sleep”.  The truth is, every baby is different.  You will soon come across things in books and online showing sleep routines with ridiculously laid out plans like:

7am: Nurse/Bottle
7:30am: Playtime
9:00am: Morning Nap (1.5 hours)
11:00am: Playtime

   This is the most ridiculous thing ever.  Of course, before you actually have the kid in real life, one would read a plan like this and be like, “Oh OK, that seems reasonable.”  You than have the kid in your possession and this schedule is perhaps the dumbest thing you could ever read.  I’m amazed that people even get hired to write books that have these mindless simplistic plans laid out.  We try to stick to a schedule, but sweet Amelia Rose does not have it.  She sleeps when she feels like it.
   Last night was another experience where we tried sticking to a schedule/routine that Nicole had read about.  Establishing a routine for your baby.  A specific time of the night that the baby goes into its room,the lights are dim, the changing occurs, the soothing, the baby massage, swaddled up and rocked to sleep.  This ritual happens, she falls asleep and we both go down stairs and enjoy some adult time.  A glass of wine and a movie under a blanket.  15 minutes later we glance over at the baby moniter:

Paranormal Activity Amelia

   Not only is this the most frustrating thing ever to see after the lengthy sleep routine prior, but it’s also super creepy.  She doesn’t even move for a while when she starts this!  She just stares at you.  I know what your thinking, “Oh she will just go to sleep.”  Never has that happened.  It starts with this…..then it goes to crying….then screaming.  With the baby being too young for the cry it out method, we have no choice but to go back up and start again.  With Nicole bearing the brunt of similar rituals during the afternoon, I volunteered my services and went up stairs.  I slowly open the door, thinking of myself as the dad coming to the rescue!  I will pick up my baby and rock her in my arms, she will be so happy that I’m there comforting her, making her feel safe.  Of course that image is shattered when I pick her up and she screams bloody murder.  I stay calm, I rock her and sing her sweet songs while she screams louder and louder.  Now its starting to look like one of those movies where a crazy guy kidnaps someone and is completely crazy singing songs while the victim is screaming and crying, desperately trying to escape – a true horror scene.  OK so not exactly that intense of a scene, but I certainly didn’t feel like a hero.  After about a half hour of this, Nicole enters the room to see if I wanted to switch because my ears were on the verge of bleeding. The baby is transferred into the arms of my wife and immediately stops crying.   
  Unfortunately now that this behavioural pattern has been discovered, we can’t solve it that way.  Now if she does this, I have to rough it out until she stops and falls asleep which is usually about an hour…
  This has happened the past three times now for me. Fourth times a charm!?  Back to my original point, these books can piss off!  If your lucky enough to have a kid that sleeps, it will sleep. If your unlucky, then your kid won’t sleep.  There is no book for that.

Happy New Year!

    This has been one hell of a year for The Super Sweet Shirt Co.  Between having a baby, trying to move, and staying active with new designs, this was possibly the most exhausting year yet.  We crushed last years holiday sales and have been getting awesome feedback.  Thanks to some of the feedback we got, I am excited to announce that we will be slowly offering some designs on youth sizes.  I’m not sure yet in terms of specifics, but they will be all American Apparel as we hope to slowly shift most of products to this brand because it rules.
    For this blog, I am going to be trying to get more of a schedule on this.  This blog will still be just a place for cheap plugs but also a blog for guys like me to read.  Technology, movies, parenting, beer, music, and more.  Stay tuned!

Back To Normal! Also, WTF?

   Finally the Christmas rush has ended.  This year was pretty insane, the business was just awesome, and I love interacting with customers that send me messages about the product.  Its a great way to hear from everyone and get a little feedback.  The winner this year for our most popular design of the year definitely goes to:

The Life Aquatic Shirt

This shirt was a surprise this year and I ended up selling a bunch of these to the point where I had to pull it temporarily while I caught up.  Hope everyone enjoyed their shirts and has a happy holiday!

And now for my first non commercial blog post in a while:  “WTF”

So our baby has finally started to breast feed.  She didn’t take to the fleshy mounds at first and was a royal pain in the ass.  All of a sudden, she loves it.  This is great and all for my wife who no longer needs to pump out ever ounce of milk the baby consumes and makes her life a lot easier.  The baby frequently will just fall asleep while feeding which is an awesome option…..until its time for me to put her to sleep.  I have to do the traditional rocking and singing while she kicks and screams until passing out.  Its wonderful.  Its bonding.

So my wife and I were sitting around after the baby finally went to sleep.  I said to her, “I wish there was like a fake boob that a man could strap on that had some milk in it, and then the baby just nurses like normal.  That way I can just easily put her to sleep.” We then laughed about how retarded of an idea that was, and then out of curiosity, I looked it up…..and sure enough:

This by far is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen, and talk about confusing your kid.  I don’t think I’d be able to  use this without feeling bad.  It reminds me of this:

Its About that Time! NO L.E.D.s!

    Its getting to be that time of year.  Actually its my favorite time, and today is one of those days where its mid-November and we have a freak day here in Buffalo, where it will be in the 60’s and sunny out!  That can only mean one thing…….

Yes indeed, the lighting of our house….well, not exactly turning them on, but the installation.  There is nothing like grabbing a ladder, a shit load of tangled lights, and a pint of beer to have AFTER the lights involving the ladder are put up.  
I noticed that when I was in my local Home Depot, that there seems to be a steady decrease year to year, in real lights…everything seems to be converting to LED’s which to me, is horrible.  Yeah, I get it….they last a long time, they use less electricity..whatever.  They are ugly…..straight  up ugly.  There is no warmth to their glow, no tradition in their appearance; just nothing.  I will hold out on buying these lights as long as I can. Call me old fashioned…
This morning while drinking some coffee and taking advantage of every second our baby sleeps, I decided to look at the internet for xmas decoration ideas, unique stuff, cool ideas, etc.  Some of what I saw was pretty awesome, some sort of odd….you decide.
Like this…..
Nothing like turning your toilet into a cute xmas character with what appears to be eyes, and antlers and a nose….and a toilet seat mouth…that you will eventually put your fanny on and relieve yourself into……weird.
I’m not a fan of this display per say, but I like the idea of putting something around the door.  My mom always has some sort of pine display around the frame of the door…this may be the newest addition to the house….not sure yet.  Every year I like to add one more thing.
I have already added this to my Amazon wish list so that I don’t forget.  These lights are solor powered!  This is perfect for the tree we have out by the road.  This is definitely something I’m doing this year!
I’ll have pictures of the final display posted here the day after thanksgiving (which is the day I’m allowed to turn on the lights).  Stay Tuned!

First Week Being a Parent!

    Its hard to believe that a week has gone by already since the birth of Amelia.  I’ll attribute that to the insane lack of sleep.  Its no joke!  You hear stories from parents telling stories about how you don’t get any sleep when you have a newborn, but I guess I didn’t take that in a literal sense.  You literally don’t get any sleep!  You can’t! The kid needs to eat every 2-3 hours.  Apparently this lasts about 3-4 weeks, and then your sleep window grows another 1-2 hours.  I’ll take it!

A few things I’ve learned being a new parent in week 1:

1) Babies love to eat.  Basically they say, if the kid is hungry then you feed it until its full.  Amelia is not shy when showing that shes hungry.  She does this mouth motion where she mimics eating.  That eventually evolves into chomping and sucking on her own hand…..which is then shortly followed by crying with an angry face.  Basically you want to recognize that shes hungry before you get to that point or else she starts to act like a little zombie.

2) Babies really love to shit, and perform surprise attacks with shits.  We have discovered that its not at all difficult to tell if a baby shits itself.  Besides the obvious horrendous smell, there is the ever amusing (at least with our kid) straightening of the legs, rigid stiff stretch of the limbs, face red, furrowed brows, and a loud wet fart.  Similar to the end of the ketchup bottle.  Once you hear and see this event unfold, its time to change the diaper.  This is where things get tricky.  We have learned to let the baby “shit it out”.  She needs a second to fully unload.  If you guess wrong, then you peel off the diaper and while preparing for a new one…..blam!  A hand full of propelled shits followed by a blank stare and a gassy grin.  You would think its super gross (and it is), but its surprisingly overshadowed by just how hilarious this cute little being is that is performing the act.

3) Our baby sticks to a routine. Throughout the day she eats nicely and then just passes out.  At night, she chooses to all of a sudden consume way more food, eat way slower, and create as many challenges as she can before she gives in and passes out.  Long nights.

So in week 1, these are the major things we have discovered being new parents.  Its frightening, but pretty amazing at the same time.

Heiress to the throne….of supersweetshirts!

    The time has come.  Yesterday was a day of intense labor for my wife.  Its a crazy feeling being couped up in a room for 14+ hours watching your wife endour waves of pain.  As a man, you kind of sit there and offer support, you comfort and offer words of encouragment, and basically you kind of realize how incredible mothers are.  To actually see a woman, my wife, do that entire grueling process, was just amazing.  Now I have an incredible little girl, the Heiress to the Throne of the Super Sweet Shirt Co, Amelia Rose!

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