Jumping for joy: Two years home.

This is going to be a lot of old news sprinkled with a few new nuggets. I imagine most of you are tired of hearing/reading stuff like this. But even after two years we are still amazed every time we look at her. Amazed she’s alive, let alone running and jumping and throat punching her brother. So we have arrived at the two year anniversary of Anne Marie coming home after five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Words don’t do much justice so here’s a few (read a lot) of pictures commemorating the event. This time we’ll go in reverse, most recent or where we are now to where we’ve come from. Enjoy.


Anne Marie Linardo Born 22 March 2012: 3 1/2 months early. 1lb 12oz and 12 inches long. Released July 2012.

The here and now, working the bars at Little Gym.

The here and now, working the bars at Little Gym.

The Flush!

The Flush with a rim hang!











Wolf in sheep's clothing.

Wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Oh lord. Her school backpack has arrived! Mommy is crying!

Oh lord. Her school backpack has arrived! Mommy is crying!













Bathing suit for a hat. MENSA application cancelled.

Bathing suit for a hat. MENSA application cancelled.

Doing work on her balance board. Thanks' Kraslawsky's!

Doing work on her balance board. Thanks’ Kraslawsky’s!












Explaining her father's day card for daddy.

Explaining her father’s day card for daddy.

Caught on camera. Sleeping the night away on daddy.

Caught on camera. Sleeping the night away on daddy.













Bring it Clause boy!

Bring it Clause boy!

Giving back at the NICU Sock Hop fundraiser.

Giving back at the NICU Sock Hop fundraiser.











Birthday time!

Birthday time!

Back to where it all began. Hi Nurse Paula!

Back to where it all began. Hi Nurse Paula!











After too many X-Rays in the NICU.   :)

After too many X-Rays in the NICU. 🙂

Free at last! July 2012

Free at last! July 2012











We've come a long way baby!

We’ve come a long way baby!
























She sees you when you’re sleeping…

So the kid is growing up. We’re closing in on the potty training, dressing herself, losing the baby gate portion of development. Aside from the potty training the rest of that stuff was pretty easy with Frank. Tell him to stay off the stairs and he stayed off the stairs. Tell him not to open the kitchen cabinets or laundry room door, that’s it, he wouldn’t go near them. That’s not necessarily been the case with this one.

Tell her to stay off the stairs and she climbs the outside of the stairs by holding on to nothing but the balusters. Technically she was not on the stairs if you define stairs as the part you step on. Tell her to stop pulling down the baby gate and she makes a ladder to jump over it. Again, she’s living on a prayer and a technicality. Even with the cabinets, she won’t open them but she’ll wait for you to, then jam her pain impervious arm in there so you can’t close it.

So it was with much dismay that I went into her room one morning to the sound of my 2 year old daughter saying, “I’m climbing!” Yeah she was climbing all right, climbing right out of her crib. She even went one better and got within a leg throw over the top of climbing back in the crib starting from the ground. Well hell. Y’all know what that means.

Dont feed the animals.

Don’t feed the animals.

Big girl bed for Anne Marie. Sleep reduction for mom and dad. Probably forgot to mention she can already open doors. Do you think I have any hope of containing a kid that does this to a box of chicken and BBQ sauce from Chik-fil-a and then sleeps it off like it was no big deal? Yeah me neither.

But we couldn’t let her keep the crib out of the fear she would fall during a night escape and crack her melon. So the front of the crib came off. Four bolts later and we went from 12-14 hours of confined sleep to complete free range chicken. Took me all of 10 minutes to convert the crib to a bed. Surprisingly it took her two nights to realize there was no invisible force field keeping her in and she could come and go as she pleased.

The first night she figured out she could get out of bed and leave the room was the night we realized we needed to start locking the upstairs baby gate again. Around 4 in the am I could hear what sounded like running downstairs. Sure enough, there she was, my 2yr old running laps around the downstairs. I just stood on the landing and watched a few laps. She would fly past the bottom of the stairs and disappear into my office only to reappear in the hallway behind me, going about 100mph with a big grin on her face.

She got around twice before she noticed me. “I’m running daddy!” “Mommy sleeping!”

“Yes yes Anne Marie that’s very nice, now Anne Marie need sleeping.” Yeah tell me you don’t start talking like your kid when you’re trying to reason with them.

The next night I found her in Franks room around 2am. She was playing trains. Frank? He was out cold, face down on his pillow, not a care in the world and no recollection of his little sister desecrating his Thomas trains merely by touching them. That little fact will remain a secret from Mr. Drama at least until he gets so bored he starts reading this.

The next night I found her around 4am trying to open the baby gate at the top of the stairs. She was being very quiet about it. This is a departure from her banshee like screaming when she inadvertently lets the gate shut during the day and she gets stuck upstairs for more then .22 nano seconds. No, she knew she was doing wrong and was attempting to mask her misdeeds.

No cell can hold me!

No cell can hold me!

Anyway the morning after her quiet escape attempt Tracy found Anne Marie’s hat at the foot of our bed. She was wearing it when she went to bed. She never naps or sleeps without her hat. So at some point in the middle of the night or early morning, she came in our room and left without us knowing it. That required opening and closing our bedroom door. Not sure if she left the hat by mistake or was sending us a message like, “Any time I want. You’ll never hear me coming.” That’ll make you sleep with one eye open. Look man, she already knows how to handle a blade. Read this: Running with scissors.

So let this serve not just as a funny story about how one little she devil is slowly killing me, but a public service announcement as well. If Anne Marie appears at the foot of your bed in the early morning hours, two things have happened: I forgot to close the baby gate again and you forgot to lock your front door.

You’ve been warned.




Free Stuff! Free Stuff!

So we have a lovely new addition to the Frank’s Place Offices in downtown west Knoxville. The good people from NewAir sent us a NewAir water cooler. Well I think the PC term is water dispenser. Not sure who has issues with the word cooler but hey, these days you never know, so water dispenser it is. And as far as water dispensers go it’s a nice looking one.

That's high quality H2O

That’s high quality H2O

For the small price of a review on Amazon and a one minute video of us using the thing, Samantha, the brand manager from NewAir sent us our very own water dispenser. We’re still not quite the big time here at Frank’s Place but we’re movin on up.

The model we received has a hot and cold water tap. My first thought was, how many ways can Anne Marie burn herself or her brother with that thing? Turns out this thing has several safety features. I’m not sure if they were intended as safety features but that’s how they work in our house.

The hot water tap has this trick trigger mechanism. I think it’s called a pinch valve in the water dispensing business. There’s no way she could just lean on it and get hot water. She would have to use her fingers to pinch two smaller levers together and then push down or up to get hot water. On a bad day I’m not sure I could get hot water out of it.

No matter though because the hot and cold water have separate on/off switches in the back. In other words the thing is cooling the water but we have the hot water turned off so even though water will come from the hot tap it won’t be hot. Pretty nifty if I do say.

To top it off there are hot and cold water indicator lights on the front. So if little miss walking disaster area figures out how to get behind the dispenser and flip the hot water switch on, which she will by tomorrow probably, I’ll know it because the red light will be lit on front. It’s almost as if Luma Comfort designed this thing with Anne Marie in mind.

Frank and I shot a 2 minute commercial with my phone. It’s not Gone With The Wind mind you but it fulfills Luma Comfort’s requirement. Take a peak.

Frank zoned out on me there mid shoot. In his defense it was a two minute video and his attention span is pre-set at 1 minute 22 seconds.

Anyway, thanks to Samantha and the good folk at NewAir. Go check their stuff at www.newair.com




Crayons: The new white meat!

This is probably not news to most of you. Kids eat crayons on occasion. I get it. Generally don’t most kids find them distasteful and give them up for Lent?

Easy Bro. It's just colored wax.

Easy Bro. It’s just colored wax.

But my kid, and I think we all know who I’m talking about, my kid shells them like shrimp. She eats them with a regularity that boarders on the bizarre. If I see crayon paper on the ground I know it’s time to inventory the box to see which poor color was condemned that day. I find myself feeling sorry for the little wax sticks. “Oh, magenta bought the farm today. Damn it! My favorite extra-spectral color is no more.”

Are there conspicuous crop circles drawn into the carpet in the majestic and recognizable Crayola color of Burnt Sienna? Need to inventory the box. Does she appear to have a mustache or Van Dyke in the unmistakeable color of Periwinkle? Box inventory time.

So of course the one time I noticed a few bits of paper on the floor from the Green, yeah just Green, and I paid it no mind, it unravels into a giant adventure. When I see chunks of Green on the coffee table a little while later I realize Green was invited to the tea party but not as a guest, as the main hors d’oeuvre.

I’m looking at her trying not to get mad that she ate another Crayon, especially so close to lunch, and then she smiles at me. Sometimes things can’t be unseen. Lodged in Anne Marie’s chicklets (read teeth), was the remains of Green. Wish I could tell you it was a quick and painless demise for the basic but faithful color, but evidence suggested otherwise.

I’m not exactly sure why, but the dénouement of Green was my bridge too far. I could not let this go unchallenged. Maybe it was because I took Green for granted and failed to inventory the box when his papers were found in the living room. Maybe it was  because I was tired of the senseless carnage. Maybe it was because of the strange neon bright colored diapers I found myself changing recently. Who knows.

For whatever reason I drew my line in the sand. “Anne Marie! Why are you eating all the crayons? Why must you peel them and make a mess? Why are you putting them in your mouth!?”

“Crayon up my nose.”

Ah wut?

“Crayon up my nose.”

“Ok now that I’m looking, your left nostril does look like the first half of a Rhinoplasty gone wrong. Are you saying the Green crayon is up your nose?”


Alrighty then. My first thought was needle nose pliers. I backed off that for a minute. Flashlight first. Oh yeah, there he is, half way to nasal town. Maybe a Q-tip. If I can get along side of it and sort of wedge it down I might be able to get it close enough to the opening in her beak to grab it with tweezers.

Ok so after a few tries and some blunt force trauma to the inside of her nose, one screaming kid, one laughing kid, and 3 perfectly good Q-tips wasted, it’s off to the doc. They were more than happy to take me, giggling as they did so.

Sounds cool. It ain't.

Sounds cool. It ain’t.

All of a sudden it’s not so funny to her anymore. Anne Marie can’t be liking no doctors. She pitched a few fits, nothing earth shattering. Then a nurse not assigned to us came to say hello. She went to pick up Anne Marie and AM’s protest move caused her to snort the little green bastard right out onto the examining table. Doctor visit concluded. Let’s go home.

Not really, they checked her ears and mouth for any other foreign bodies. None detected but that reminded me to inventory the crayon box when we got home. We left them to deal with the remains. Aside from already documented casualties, all other crayons accounted for.

All in all a mild afternoon as far as Anne Marie adventures go.

She starts pre-school in August.

I feel sorry for the paste.