Friday, February 27, 2009

The Author.

We're a bit late in announcing this, but about a month ago David wrote an article about writing resumes and getting a job. Since he's a Human Resources director, David sees many resumes each week - including a lot of ones that, to be nice, need some help. He sent it to Relevant Magazine and they decided to use it as their main article on their website. A week later, David received Relevant's email newsletter, entitled 850 Words of RELEVANT: Help! No One Will Hire Me! His article was the main feature! It was amazing!

Getting published at Relevant Magazine was one of David's top things to accomplish in life. He's checked it off of the list!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

car seat in moderation, please.

Tova had a bad night Thursday night. We've recovered since, thankfully.

Saturday was great. We drove around Lakeland and looked at some houses that are for sale. We might have more news on that this coming Sunday evening. We'll keep you posted.

That afternoon, both Browning families - Keith and Sav and Keith's parents - came over to hang out, play on the Wii Fit, and for Kurt and Kathy to meet the Tove. We had a lovely time.

That evening, we headed to our friend, Amber's, baby shower. It was super cute and we can't wait to meet little Mitchell! He's due today, so many prayers that he comes soon, happy and healthy!

We laughed at how life has changed. Kids were running around everywhere, covered in dirt. And the baby shower lasted two hours before it was time to take all of the kids home to chill out. We were a little bummed while we were on our way to the party, thinking we would have to skip out early to feed Tova. It ended up that the families started leaving right as Tova got cranky...perfect timing.

After church on Sunday, we headed out to Brandon to David's dad's house. David's Grandma B was in town, so we took Tova to meet her great-grandmother. It was a nice trip and the three of us ate out before heading home. It was a long day in the car seat for Tova and she was over it when we got to the restaurant. Thankfully she fell asleep for the drive home.

We enjoy our busy weekends, but they're hard. Poor Tova gets stuck in her car seat and is therefore forced to sleep with minimal play time. There's a big difference in her demeanor on those days versus a normal day at home. Eat, play, sleep is what she's used to - on a 2.5-3 hour cycle for the most part. Also to note, Tova doesn't like to go to sleep during the day. She cries and wails before she finally gives into her tired eyes and yawns. And then she doesn't sleep very long. But at night, she eats and goes right to sleep. So at least there are no tears when we're the most tired. All is well.

Working on baby announcements. Not sure when they'll be done, though.

Much love, dk&t

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Things are leveling.



She's 6 weeks old, as of the 18th. Lots of smiles. And look at those pretty eyes!

Valentine's Day we went to Panera for lunch and got hit by a truck in the parking lot on our way out. Just bumper issues - not a big deal. Kallie's parents came to town and watched the Tove while we went to Mt. Fuji, a Japanese steakhouse here in Lakeland. It was lovely. We had a great time watching the chef cook our food. Then we ate yummy chocolate cake at Black and Brew. Great.

Excited about what's going on with our church. We met with our Pastor, Jason, today for lunch and really enjoyed it. Good talking and good ideas!

Not much else. Much love!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Birth of Tova Lise

This is Kallie's write-up of Tova's birth. We don't expect everyone to read all of it. It's long and detailed. But it's nice to have written down and we expect family will be excited to read it. Love, d&k.

Tova was due on January 6th, 2009, on my two year wedding anniversary with my darling David. Everyone kept telling us how they hoped she would come early so we could get a nice tax deduction. But December 31st came and went and we wondered how late she would arrive.

I went into my OB appointment on Tova’s due date. I weighed 147 and a half pounds and was 2 centimeters dilated. I made an appointment for three days later, in case Tova hadn’t arrived yet. While checking Tova’s heart beat, the nurse told me I was having a contraction. I’d had them before, but didn’t realize they were contractions. I just thought Tova was stretching and her booty was pushing outward on my stomach. This was exciting news, but I wasn’t expecting to give birth for a few more days.

I drove home, ran some errands, and noticed some more contractions. They weren’t too bad and just made me excited that Tova was coming - sometime. That evening, they started to come pretty frequently and it was happening pretty fast. I told David I thought it might happen within twenty-four hours, but neither of us really knew. We went to bed around midnight on January 6th, 2009, and hoped to get some sleep. At 3 am on January 7th, I got out of bed, unable to sleep any longer. The contractions were becoming more intense and frequent. I let David sleep in case it was a false alarm and I got a stop watch. My contractions were lasting anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute and about three to five minutes apart. I woke up David and at 3:45am, he started keeping track: start and end time, duration, and frequency. The contractions ended up lasting about a minute and a half at times, with only two to three minutes in between. At 4:45am, we called the doctor and he told us to head to Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC).

Around 5am, we checked into triage. They hooked me up to two monitors - one for Tova’s heart rate and one to read my contractions. We ended up sitting there for several hours. My contractions were becoming more painful and I had been walking and lifting up my legs (I mainly felt the contractions in my hips and moving my hip joints helped) to relieve some pain. Now I was strapped to a bed and couldn’t move, so breathing and grabbing onto the sides of the mattress were the best I could do. I have to say, I was pretty tame and wasn’t screaming, crying, or vomiting like some of the other ladies in triage I was hearing (yuck). My doctor, Dr. Mammel, was on duty that night. He had been awake for over twenty-four hours and had a few deliveries, so the nurses were letting him sleep until he was really needed. Eventually, the nurse thought she saw some meconium (baby’s first poo) in the amniotic fluid that was slowly leaking from me (my water never really “broke” like you think. I probably had a hole higher up, so it slowly leaked throughout labor.) That meant I could leave triage and head to labor and delivery.

Once in laboru and delivery, the nurse set up my IV, which was nearly the most painful part. My arm spurted blood everywhere and she jabbed the needle around for a few minutes, getting blood samples and setting up all of the stuff. David had left to get our bags out of the car, which was a blessing. It was a lot of blood. He wouldn’t have liked it. I went a few hours laying there and grabbing the sides of the bed while David rubbed my back whenever a contraction came. Eventually, I had some medication put in my IV that made me a little loopy. I was completely coherent, but it made me chatty and a little sleepy. I didn’t really like it because I just felt weird, with no change in the pain I was feeling. A few hours later, my dad arrived and came into the room. Then David’s mom came. I got another dose of the meds and the parents left. My mom arrived and I saw her for a little bit. Then I had everyone (except David) leave. They ended up giving me pitocin to speed up my contractions. I went through three more contractions and then had an epidural. The pain went from tolerable to incredibly sharp - something like needles or a knife twisting around in my hips and pelvis. Lovely.

Well, the epidural worked great on my right side, but was barely noticeable on my left. The anesthesiologist came back and pulled out the epidural catheter a little bit to reposition it. He then gave me another dose. My left side soon felt much better. After a few more hours, however, the left side had completely worn off and my contractions were getting very intense and frequent. The anesthesiologist came back and without repositioning the epidural, gave me another dose. That made my right leg go completely numb - scarily numb, and made no change to my left side. The rest of the labor, I felt everything on my left side and absolutely nothing on my right. At least I only felt half of the pain, but I think I was more upset that I couldn’t move my right leg and that it felt like a dead limb was in the bed with me.

Before the final dose of epidural medication, Dr. Mammel’s shift ended and Dr. Schwartz came into my room to introduce herself and the new nurses. Dr. Schwartz was amazing. She walked in, told me what needed to happen so that I wouldn’t have a c-section, and made sure I didn’t. Tova hadn’t dropped into my pelvis enough and I was already 8 centimeters dilated. So the doctor had me sit up in the bed to let gravity do its thing. David and I were left alone for a couple of hours and as my contractions started getting worse, I began to feel Tova’s head pressing very low. I didn’t feel the need to push, but it felt like Tova was going to come out, so I told David to call the nurse NOW!

I was ten centimeters dilated and Tova was low enough to start pushing. She gave me an option to wait a little longer and have the doctor come in, or go ahead and do some trial pushes to see what happens and call Dr. Schwartz when Tova was about to come. I wanted to push. So she set everything up, had David hold my left leg, and we started. I pushed for about fifteen minutes and Tova’s head was crowning. Dr. Schwartz came in and I pushed through three contractions and Tova was here! She was born at 8:41pm on January 7th, 2009. It’s still a little unreal. Nothing was quite connecting in my brain, and I’m not sure that it has yet. The little girl is my daughter and she’s absolutely beautiful. Even from the first second.

Thankfully, the nurse and doctor asked David if we brought a camera! Neither of us were thinking very well and we completely forgot. So David grabbed his video camera and captured some great moments.

After they cleaned Tova and finished her Apgar tests, we were able to hold her for a little while. Then we called in the new grandparents. You’ve probably seen the grandparent “paparazzi” photo. They could only stay for a few minutes. My dad had to go back to work, so he got to hold Tova first. Then the rest of the grandparents left because it was getting late and the nurses needed to do a few things before we could move to the Mother Baby ward.

The nurses kept Tova in the nursery for quite a while. They told us she would be back quickly to nurse since she had shown no interest yet, but it was at least an hour before we saw Tova again. We wish we had known it would be a while so we could have slept. Instead, we kept eagerly awaiting her return. Things were going fairly well until we realized we weren’t going to be able to sleep at all. We hesitantly decided to roll Tova to the nursery and let the nurses watch her for an hour so we could sleep. Later, Tova was wailing so loud and hard and we had no idea what to do. We called a nurse and she instantly told us Tova was hungry. I had tried to feed her before we called the nurse, but she wouldn’t take. This time, I was persistent, and it worked. She just needed to calm down a little bit to realize she was okay.

Staying in that little room was near torture. My mom came in during the day to help. At one point, we sent David home to get four hours of sleep. He wasn’t holding up too well with the lack of rest and was a little incoherent. My mom said she wouldn’t let him drive us home if he didn’t get some sleep. We also watched the Gator National Championship in the hospital bed - all three of us. (For the previous football championship, David and I were sitting on the Pacific coast on our honeymoon.) After two long days of sitting and waiting, Tova passed all of her exams - though her right ear took a while to pass the hearing test - and we left the hospital around 9pm on Friday, January 9th, 2009. It was cool outside and we were so happy to breathe some fresh air and return to the comfort of our home.

Since then, we’ve learned a lot. At first, we couldn’t sleep. I slept maybe 5 hours the whole first week. We finally learned that it’s not necessary to stay alert to every little noise and after taking turns sleeping, realized we could both go to sleep and she would be perfectly fine. That took a while, though. We also realized that we don’t need to use a monitor in our little apartment. No need to wake up to cooing noises - only to sounds of hunger. And now, a month later, Tova has gone up to 7 hours between feedings at night. It took her a while to transition to nighttime. We kept lights on at all hours for a long while so she wouldn’t cry and slowly worked down to just leaving on the closet light with the door closed. Tova also sleeps with music playing. She seems to sleep best when it’s noisy, and we’re okay encouraging that skill!

Parenthood has been hard and rewarding. Tova is the most beautiful baby. She’s part David and part me and that’s amazing. It’s still a little unreal that she’s here and she’s ours and I can look over at her right now. I think that when I can get 8 hours of sleep a few days in a row, things will start connecting better in my head and reality will start to sink in. She has already grown so much and I’m glad I’m taking at least one picture a day of the little bundle, because she’ll grow too fast and I’ll wonder where the days went. I already do.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

BBQ for One Month

Friday afternoon, David met Kallie and Tova at Lake Hollingsworth. He biked several laps while Kallie strolled Tova. It was lovely. Then we all went to Chili's for dinner (thanks to the Browns!!)

Saturday was Tova's 1 month birthday! We celebrated with some BBQ at the National BBQ Festival in Winter Haven. It was very Polk County (sorry if I offend) and sunny, so we just got a sandwich and left.

After church on Sunday, we ate at Crisper's outside, went to the new park on Edgewood (whoa, it's insane!), and took a family photoshoot later in the day. It was gorgeous outside and we tried to take advantage.

Today, Kallie and Tova sat in a hammock for half an hour. It was lovely.

Tova rolls onto her side sometimes.

She's getting very good at holding up her head.

we all got new glasses!


Tova loves her fake aquarium and hits at it and stares.


baths are fun. she loves the warm water.

silly booty.







All photos HERE.

love, dk&t

ps: David's awesome 1st video about our first month with Tova will be the next post. You have to be sure you see it!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cloth Diapers!

I’ve had a lot of ladies ask me about cloth diapers, so I thought I’d write out a little guide. If you’re not interested, please don’t read any more! It’ll be quite boring.

Tova started wearing newborn disposable diapers. We used the package given to us by the hospital until they were all gone. Then we had purchased some Seventh Generation newborn disposables to use until Tova’s umbilical cord fell off. Well, the Seventh Generation diapers fit terribly. They’re too small and don’t cover the area above the leg – just the tab goes over and cuts into the skin. So I don’t recommend those at all. When her cord fell off, we started using gDiapers. The size small is a good size for newborns. However, we found that gdiapers were too much trouble. If you want more info on why they’re too much trouble, just ask.

Then we started to use our cloth diapers. We had two FuzziBunz size small, two Happy Heinys one-size, and several bumGenius one-size diapers. The FuzziBunz and Happy Heinys both have too large of leg holes for a little one. Eventually, she’ll be able to use them, but I don’t recommend buying either because you’d have to buy something else to use until your kiddo’s legs get chunkier. We LOVE the bumGenius diapers and highly recommend them. They are one-size, which means you can use them from newborn until about 35 pounds. They have snaps on the front to decrease and increase the sizing. Here is an information page on them.

We chose to use cloth diapers for two reasons. 1: they’re cheaper than buying disposables. You’ll spend most of the money up front and then do laundry for the duration, but in the end, it’ll save you about a thousand dollars. 2: disposable diapers take an estimated 500 years to disintegrate. Here’s an interesting quote: "AGM [absorbent gelling materials – used in disposable diapers] is linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys. Environmentally, these diapers require as much water, energy and fuel to produce as any other single-use diaper." They’re also made of chlorine, which you probably don’t want on your baby’s body 24/7, and plastic, which isn’t biodegradable.

Ok, to get started, you’ll need about 2 dozen bumGenius 3.0 one-size cloth diapers. We have 17 right now and plan to buy some more. 17 gets you about a day and a half before you have to do laundry. That means you’re doing a load every day. The best plan is to get enough to do laundry every other day and have a few left clean to hold you over until you get around to finishing the laundry load. You can get them HERE and HERE. They’re also available individually at Target stores sometimes – they’ll be at the end of one of the aisles in the baby section. is a great site and store. Their bumGenius product page is HERE. Their cloth diaper 411 page HERE.

You also want to buy cloth bottom wipes HERE. We have three dozen but we’re going to buy more when we buy more diapers. So I suggest 4 dozen. They also have new bamboo ones, and I tend to recommend bamboo. Bamboo fabric is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, is to some extent antibacterial, is highly absorbent, and is a sustainable product.

You’ll want several bottles of the bumGenius bottom cleaner to use with your cloth wipes. Keep one in your diaper bag. Spray your baby’s bottom and use the wipes to get it nice and clean. I also find that this reduces diaper rash, because you don’t leave the bottom wet, like you do with disposable wipes. You can also just use water.

Your baby will still get diaper rash – and you can’t let diaper creams get directly onto the diapers. So you have to buy fleece stay-dry doublers. You don’t use it as an insert. You put it in between the bottom and the diaper. Not only does it allow you to use diaper rash creams, it keeps a lot of the wetness away from the skin. These are also good as your baby sleeps longer at night and needs extra absorbency.

Other items you’ll need:
-diaper pail liner
-13 gallon trash can with lid (and foot pedal)
-All Free and Clear laundry detergent (**your detergent can’t have any dyes, softeners, perfumes, etc.)
-Nellie’s Dryer Balls (**use these in the dryer – remember to not put any dryer sheets in the dryer!)
-Wet bags for your diaper bag (to put dirty diapers in until you get home)

We bought 6 extra newborn inserts, but I don’t think they’re necessary.

Now that you have everything, here’s what you do: wash and dry the diapers separately from the inserts with one-fourth the recommended detergent on any temperature setting. After you wash the diapers separately, you can wash them with other fabrics (the inserts and bottom wipes), so you’ll never have to separate them again. Wash the inserts (I just threw them in with Tova’s regular laundry).

When those are all clean, snap the diapers to the “small” size if they aren’t already. (You don’t need to unsnap these to launder.) Then put in the inserts. Store them by your changing table. Use the cloth wipes with either water or the bottom cleaner and put the used ones into the diaper pail (your 13 gallon trash can with the pail liner inside of it). For the diaper, you can spray it with an odor remover or not. We bought it, but won’t buy more when we’re out. We don’t think it’s terribly necessary. You’ll be doing laundry every other day, so there won’t be a strong odor. Then remove the insert and drop the diaper and insert in separately. I keep some antibacterial hand sanitizer at my changing table for after I pull out the insert. You won’t get very dirty, I promise. And if you think you will, save the diaper for later, when you can go to a sink to wash your hands.

Don’t put anything other than diapers, inserts, cloth wipes, and maybe odor remover spray into your diaper pail. No water or anything like that!

When your diaper pail is full and you’re running out, take the full pail liner to your washing machine. Put the opening into the washer and shake everything out, then flip the liner inside-out (it’ll be dirty inside, so be careful or wash your hands afterward) and put it in. 1: Use a quarter of the recommended amount of detergent for the load size and do a cold rinse. 2: Use a quarter of the recommended amount of detergent for the load size and do a HOT full wash. 3: Use no detergent and do a warm rinse. They should be sparkling clean. Then put them in the dryer on a warm cycle with the dryer balls or nothing at all. But you’ll have static if you don’t use the balls. (Hint: turn the pail liner right side out before you put it in the dryer. The dryer balls tend to get caught up with it.) Then just stuff the diapers with the inserts and start again.

It’s a great system and I hope you do it and stick with it! Let me know if you have any questions!

love, k

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tips for our job seeking friends

(I know Kallie's career is much more exciting, so I promise to keep the HR posts to a minimum)

This is for my unemployed or soon to graduate from college friends. As you know already, landing any kind of job, even if it’s one you know you won’t like or feel is a huge step down, is ridiculously hard right now. The demographic trends point to a huge talent shortage in the future as our parents retire, but no one is hiring right now because the economy is so rough.

Part of my job is looking at a few thousand resumes a year and placing those applicants in jobs at our campuses around the state. These are some of my observations to help you get an interview with a potential employer. I would be glad to take a look at your resume, so email it to me if you need some tips. A lot of this should be common sense, but you would be surprised at how little these tips are followed.

When creating or submitting a resume:

1. Follow the exact format they want you to submit your application in. If they say to send a PDF, do it. If they say to put the whole thing in pig-latin, evaluate if you really want to work there and then get started translating. Trying to stand out by circumventing their process won’t do anything but annoy the hiring manager, and is the quickest path to being ignored. Your accomplishments should stand out, not your lack of following directions.

2. Objective statements are mostly useless. I rarely see a good one. If you decide to use one, make sure it says something other than “I want a job with your company”. Most of the objective statements I see are so vague or cliché that they may have well just have said that. Don’t waste space on your resume, especially at the beginning.

3. Give specific facts and accomplishments. Don’t list your job description. If you increased sales by 30%, don’t just put “Responsible for sales” on your resume. An employer wants to know exactly what they can expect out of you.

4. Watch your formatting. Typos, basic grammar errors, lack of clarity, or just having an ugly looking resume will not sit well. Keep the fonts to one or two tasteful choices. Don’t use a template but pay attention to design, especially if you are applying for a creative position. A hiring director knows every template the major word processors have built into them. This is especially bad if you use a template from Word 2000 or something, as we’ll wonder where you’ve been for the last decade. If this is all you have, do yourself a favor and download Open Office for free.

5. If you mail your application, it will probably end up in the trash. Everything is online now. For large companies, your application will be electronically scanned for keywords that will hopefully match a series of keywords in their database. Save your money on that fancy paper; I assure you it does nothing

6. Nobody cares what you did in high school. Seriously. Maybe if you were valedictorian or something you could list that, but if you graduated college, a high school diploma is assumed. If high school is your highest level of education, then it is appropriate so long as you don’t list things like the state championship you won in soccer as a freshman but sat on the bench for because you were a 5 foot 3 freshman.

7. Do not put “references available upon request”. Your references won’t be contacted until the end of the hiring process, and at that point it is assumed you can provide refs. If you can’t, you won’t be hired.
This line just shows how comfortable you are with being generic, which is not a good thing.

8. Employers don’t want to see pictures of you with a beer bong on facebook, or that you run some crazy “9/11 was an inside job” blog somewhere. Google Alerts sees all, and you better believe hiring managers use it.

9. You can follow up after submitting, but don’t bug the hiring manager. Give it a few days, then one phone call or email is appropriate. But that’s it.

10. Stop with the resume pictures. At least 90% of the time, if you include a picture on your resume, you may as well just go ahead and type “FAIL” in giant impact font across the top before sending it in. Only do it unless your job requires some kind of headshot, which is very rare, no matter what the “jobs” on Craigslist say. If you are going to be an accountant, I don’t need to know what you look like. And if you are going to include a photo, have someone who knows what they’re doing take the picture.

11. Your email address should be professional. You will not hear back if someone has to email something to you at

12. Tailor your resume. Keep the whole thing to one (maybe two) pages unless they specifically ask for a CV instead of a resume. It all has to be relevant, because a hiring director will know if you are qualified within 30 seconds of scanning it. Don’t list things like the kinds of college classes you took, or fill it with a bunch of esoteric acronyms. If they are not likely to know what the NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT (this is real, google it), then you need to spell it out so they can know that you somehow managed to work there.

One last tip for you new college grads. I’m sure you’ve seen that there is a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to experience for entry level positions. Every listing you see says you need 2-3 years of experience, but you can’t get that experience because no one will hire you. Consider doing an unpaid internship, or take the same type of job for a company you don’t want to work for in the long run, but who get give you some basic experience you need. In other words, suck it up and don’t count on getting your dream job right away. You will probably have to work towards it, which will probably work out better for you in the long run anyway.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Google Analytics tells us that we are getting at least 100 views a day on our blog! We really can't believe that many people read this, but we are super excited that so many of you are sharing in our lives with us.

We've made it easier for you to keep up with the blog. If you aren't subscribed already, click one of the subscribe buttons to the right and put us in your reader. If you're like our parents and have no idea what we're talking about, here is a good video explaining how it's done.

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And as long as we have this many readers, here is a shameless plug for Kallie Brynn Photography, now booking weddings and family portraits starting again in April.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nearing a month!


Saturday was a super busy day, especially for a newborn!

First we went to LensCrafters and picked out and ordered new glasses. Yay!

Then we headed into Tampa: BabiesRUs, David's mom's house, dinner with Matt, Rachel, and Logan (Matt has finished recording his new album!), then to Target on Dale Mabry to see all of the Superbowl hubbub.

On Sunday, we went to Church for the first time - all three of us! It was so nice to be back and to see how big Access has grown in the past month. We've moved into a bigger room at the YMCA, which is great! Tova slept the whole time, but kept up her grunting throughout, so Kallie held her in the back of the room. No problemo.

That evening, David's dad and Louise came over and brought a cooler full of food for us to eat and freeze. Lovely.

Lots of cute photos of our little girl. Check out, as usual!


We hope you laugh out loud at these like we do.

love, dk&t
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