Archive for the ‘baby’ Category

Goo Goo Dolls and Elmo
November 6, 2008


I used to watch the news or Morning Joe or Sportscenter in the morning, but those days are gone.   Now I watch Sesame Street with my daughter, and I must say, it totally rocks…literally. 

Helena loves Elmo, and knows Snuffy, Oscar, Zoe and the gang.  For some reason she says Big Bird, with a Long Island accent “boid” even though her mother is from Detroit and I’m from Boston.   Sesame Street has helped Helena learn her letters and numbers, and every so often there is something for grownups….and the children.

Celebrities make appearances every so often on “sessy” as Helena calls it.   We just caught the Goo Goo Dolls singing with Elmo.  The episode  is actually 11 years old, but who is counting.  The group sang a song called “Pride” written just for Elmo.  Check it out on or youtube.   It’s kind of catchy!  

One of my favorite actors the perpetually goofy Ben Stiller also made a cameo and sang “who are the people in your neighborhood.”    Both John Rzeznik and Stiller looked like they really enjoyed themselves.

The Mighty Might Bosstones also appeared years back, featuring a native of my hometown of Norwood, Massachusetts, Dickie Barrett.

Cover Girl
June 21, 2007

So, our little daughter is now a cover girl! Shortly after Helena was born, we got a call from Hartford Magazine publishers Michael Guinan and Chris White, asking us if Helena and her daddy could be on the cover of the June issue for Father’s Day. Kara and I talked about it and thought it would be very cool and our daughter would get a kick out of it when she gets older: 4 months old and she is on a cover, sharing the newstand with another baby who is on the cover of Us Weekly: Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.

The shoot took took place in March, when Helena was about 4 weeks old. Publishing is far different from broadcasting; We sometimes have mere minutes to get a story on the air!

We headed to Glastonbury and the studios of photographer Brian Ambrose (Link). Brian and his staff have obviously dealt with babies before because they had just the right touch when it came to photographing an infant. They made Helena feel right at home — and having Mom nearby to provide a snack didn’t hurt either!

Brian does a many, many wedding shoots, and let me tell you, his work is out of this world. We actually had two shoots because the editors ended up wanting a different background for the cover, so we went back and did it all over again.

A few months later, the edition is out and you can pick it up at your nearby bookstore or on some store shelves, or call Hartford Magazine at 860-728-5700.

The picture inside of Helena and me is one of my favorites, and there are other dads and their children in there as well.

Back to work after Baby
March 19, 2007

I’m back to work after two weeks off for the birth of my daughter Helena. I’m fortunate our parent company, Meredith Corporation, allows fathers a week off for paternity and then I took a week’s vacation.

Kara won’t be back to work until late spring, and we’re really getting the hang of this parents thing. Kara, like any new mom, is sleep deprived, but I’m doing OK in the sleep department. It’s a dad thing!

We’re blessed that Helena is a great baby, who sleeps and eats, and doesn’t cry all that much. We’ve taken her to the park, road trips, even a few restaurants.

The grandparents are thrilled, and we’ve had several visits from them. Thanks to e-mail, I can send them a picture of Helena every day.

My first week back to work was somewhat hectic. Al was on vacation, so I covered his duties, we had a giant storm on Friday, I filled in for “Face the State,” and I had two weeks worth of mail, e-mail, and telephone messages to return.

I’d love to hear your stories of your first days of parenthood!

Helena House is in the House!
February 27, 2007

She’s here!

As you saw Denise, Al and Scot announce on Eyewitness News, our daughter — Helena Sundlun House — was born on Friday, Feb. 23 at 4:48 p.m.

I can tell you Mom and Helena are doing great at home, and Kara will update her blog when she gets some time. That means not any time soon!

Seriously, having a baby for us guys is easy. Those first days are all Momma, all the time. As everyone says, it is amazing what women go through during labor.

I want to say the folks at St. Francis Hospital were absolutely wonderful. These people work long hours and they all love their jobs and are so devoted to their work. The new maternity rooms at St. Francis are like hotel rooms. Special thanks to Dr. Ann Massucco and nurse Jeanne Ganis who delivered Kara.

We picked the name Helena just a few months ago, after hemming and hawing over a few other names. About a month ago, after deciding on Helena, I got a strange sense our baby was a girl because of three bizarre things that happened the same day:

  1. First, we went online looking at birth announcements. The first sample used the name “Helena.”
  2. Then, I was driving on I-84 at the Capitol Avenue/Asylum interchange when I noticed someone had spray-painted the initials “H H” in giant pink letters at the side of the highway. Pink isn’t usually in the palette of vandals, so this was very strange, and the roadside monogram was huge!
  3. Then, I went to work and had to voice a story for the 5 p.m. news and the woman in the story was named “Helena.”

I called Kara and said, “I think it is a girl!”

The boy’s name will remain a secret in the event we use it in the future.

Thanks to all of you for your well wishes and awesome comments. We’d like to hear from you, and stay tuned to this blog for more info.

Special Delivery!
February 26, 2007

Dennis & Kara are the proud parents of a baby girl.

Helena Sundlun House
Born on Friday, Feb. 23

  • Click here for pictures
  • More to come as they settle down, Moderators

    Waiting For Baby
    February 20, 2007

    Everybody has been asking me, “Has Kara had the baby yet?”

    No. But we are waiting.

    The Feb. 18 due date has come and gone, and the baby has shown no signs of wanting to come out.

    Who could blame him/her? It was 9 degrees out on Sunday morning! Better off staying inside.

    Speed It Up, Kid!

    Everybody has also been telling us about things you can do to speed things along, although some might be old wives tales.

    • Exercising: Kara and I went to the gym over the weekend and then walked around Bushnell Park and downtown. On the advice of our birthing class instructor, Kara even bounced on the big blue ball at the Y.
    • Spicy food: Denise joined us at Mayor Mike’s on Friday, but that didn’t work either. On Saturday, we lunched at Sweet Jane’s with a crowd of UConn fans. And for dinner, we ordered Chinese. All in all, no labor. Yesterday, we resorted to comfort food at A.C. Petersen Farms, including a rich dessert, but the baby seems quite comfy on the inside.

    Mama Makes Her Nest

    Waiting for baby has kicked our nesting into high gear. Kara has the nursery completely decorated and the house organized, and I have managed to finish a crown moulding installation I began sometime last year!

    Speaking of the nursery, Kara and I read a nursery rhymes book yesterday and were both kind of surprised by some of the wording. Some of those childhood short stories are downright violent.

    I never really thought about “Rock a bye baby,” always presuming there was another verse. There isn’t and the story ends like this:

      “When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all.”

    How is that supposed to be comforting to a baby?

    Getting Ready For The Baby!
    February 7, 2007

    Kara and I getting down to wire in this baby thing, and so we are getting everything ready for parenthood.

    First, I want to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions about baby names and for sharing your stories about your own children. I can tell you that no one guessed the names we have chosen.

    We have completed setting up the nursery including a new paint job. We went with a neutral color and will add some pink or blue when the baby arrives. Most importantly, we checked the heating system and windows to make sure everything is in safe, working order.

    Our pool table — a relic from my bachelor days — is no longer. Quite honestly, Kara and I have used it sparingly over the years, except for when we entertained. So, we turned the pool room into a family room. The billiards table, which is now in a landfill, was beaten up — the slate was cracked and the felt had seen better days. Taking it apart to get it out of the house and rebuilding it elsewhere was just not worth it.

    Also on our “to-do” list: The car seat! You can’t take your baby home from the hospital without it. Kara and I found the instructions somewhat complicated, so I went to our local Fire Department for help. It’s a great service and I encourage any expectant parent to contact their local authorities to see if they can help.

    I went to Hartford Fire Department Headquarters, where Lt. Anthony B. Taylor and Yolanda Caseres helped me install the baby’s new ride. OK, they installed it while I watched and studied every move they made.

    They told me things the instruction booklet just can’t illustrate, including the proper tension of the belts and just how snug the baby should be in the car seat.

    Caseres also warned about loose items in the car that could become dangerous projectiles in the event of a crash. Her rule: Have your wife throw something at you, and if it hurts, that’s what the baby will feel in a crash (Don’t give Kara any ideas!) — we’re talking compact discs, books, pens, etc.

    Caseres and Taylor were great. They are extremely knowledgeable about this very important matter. Please, if you are having a child, or getting a new car and need to move your car seat base, go to an expert and make sure it is installed correctly.

    Baby names
    January 18, 2007

    Kara and I are now a month away from our due date for the birth of our first
    child, and we couldn’t be more excited.

    The biggest question — after “When are you due?” — is, “Do you know what you’re having?”

    The answer is: “No, we are going to be surprised.”

    That in and of itself is surprising coming from two reporters, whose business it is to know everything … yesterday!

    The nurse who taught our childbirth classes said about half the couples choose to find out the gender during an ultrasound. In our class, that number amounted to only about 20 percent — most wanted to be surprised.

    Decisions, Decisions

    Not knowing the gender means we have to pick out two names. We have two
    finalists, but we’re not telling anybody — not even family.

    We eliminated some names right off the bat, including Maxwell, White, Summer, Dog. Also, any names of people we dated before we got married got nixed.

    We also eliminated Kara and Dennis. My dad’s name is Dennis and I found it
    confusing growing up. My name was supposed to be Paul, after my mother’s grandfather Paolo, but as soon I was born, my dad wanted his first-born child named after him. So, Paul became my middle name.

    I’m not a junior, which made it even more frustrating. I was always called Little Den, Young Den, Dennis Junior, Dennis Paul, etc.

    To this day, some paperwork still gets mixed up.

    There’s nothing against naming your child after living people, but we’re not doing
    it. Our child will have his or her own name.

    Kara and I also explored our family trees for possible names. We’ve traced the House line back to 1475, so we have 16 generations of names to choose from, including Thomas, Philip, John, Samuel, Caleb, Job, Horatio, Melvin, and Arnold.

    Melvin and Horatio don’t really work as baby names, for us, anyway! My brother’s son, who will be our baby’s cousin, was born four weeks ago. Chris and my sister-in-law, Jodi, chose the name “Thomas” after the guy from 1475 back in England.

    My mother’s father name was “Cresenzo,” a great name reflecting my Italian heritage, but it doesn’t go with House. It sounds like a pizza joint.

    Kara’s Sundlun heritage has traced back to Lithuania in the 1800s when
    the name was Zundelevitch. Among the names on that side that we could choose from include Moses, Morris, Isaac, Walter, and Bruce.

    For girl names, we have three generations of Phoebe on my mother’s side, along with a Frances, Ida, Jeannette and Evelyn on Kara’s side.

    Some couples combine names and create a new one. If we combined our fathers’ names, we would have Brennis or Deuce. I don’t think so. So forth with our mothers’ names, we’d have Judalyn or Marilyth. Not.

    Kara and I have our fair share of baby-name books and we consulted the Social Security Administration’s Web site for the most popular names. The most popular boy name right now is Jacob. For the girls, it’s Emily.

    Here in Connecticut, the most popular name for boys is Ryan, and for girls, Olivia.

    We can tell you the names we have chosen do not appear in our family trees, they do not appear on the most popular lists and we didn’t make them up.

    That’s all I’ll say … for now.

    Feel free to let me know your favorite names and your baby name stories, just click on the “reply” link below.


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