Welcome to the world, Ezra!

baby_cartoon_st8Just over three years ago, I introduced you to my firstborn.  Elijah has since grown into an active, inquisitive three year old.  I also wrote that we were expecting our second this past December.  I was busier this time, and so wasn’t able to blog about the run up quite as much as with Eli.

Two weeks ago, Ezra Matthew Zook was born at 1:34PM, weighing in at 6 lbs 13 oz, and 19 inches long.  Labor proceeded very quickly this time.  Melissa is doing great, and Ezra has quickly made a place for himself in our home.  Eli was initially a bit unsure of how to react.  Since then, he’s become very protective of his little brother, and loves him dearly.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll stop writing and let you see the what you’re actually here for!

Brand new!
Brand new!
Brothers, meeting for the first time!
Brothers, meeting for the first time!
These PJ's are just a bit big...
These PJ’s are just a bit big…
Ready to head home.
Ready to head home.
"I'm talking to the baby..."
“I’m talking to the baby…”
They say he looks like me.
They say he looks like me.

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We took him to the river for the first time yesterday; he showed us the true meaning of "relaxed."
We took him to the river for the first time yesterday; he showed us the true meaning of “relaxed.”
Just two brothers, hanging out.
Just two brothers, hanging out.

More to come soon!  We went to a new swimming spot yesterday, and I have some photos to share of that too!

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Daddy and Eli Test a Baby Pack! The Deuter Kid Comfort II

360x500_3163_KidComfortII_StormAnthraciteWay back when Melissa and I first found out that Eli was on the way, we started “Bean Updates” on the blog.  In the first one, we talked about the baby carrier we wanted for taking the baby hiking.  We raved about how much we liked the look of the Deuter Kid Comfort II pack.  If you need a reminder, you can read that post here.  And here is an image of said pack, just to remind you.

We finally got Eli’s pack (joined REI’s co-op while we were at it.  More on that later).  As soon as we finished paying, Melissa and I looked at each other, and pretty much simultaneously exclaimed “We need to test it!”  So that afternoon, we pulled on our hiking clothing, loaded our gear, strapped the Tiny Boy into his car seat, and headed for the closest hiking terrain–which happened to be Pocahontas State Park.

Let’s face it, Richmond does not have the hiking resources that Harrisonburg did.  In Harrisonburg, we could have driven 30 minutes in either direction, and had our pick of Shenandoah National Park or the George Washington National Forest.  Richmond pretty much has Pocahontas State Park, located about 20 minutes away.  Despite being comparatively small, there are plenty of hiking trails, it only costs $5 to get in, and turns out to have a very nice campground.  It was the perfect place to put the new pack through it’s paces.  We decided to hike the Beaver Lake Trail, a 2.5 mile loop around a scenic lake.

Just getting started.  So far, so good.  You can see the super-convinenent side opening seat, that allows loading wiggly passengers from the side, rather than trying to "thread the needle" from the top.
Just getting started. So far, so good. You can see the convenient side opening seat, that allows loading wiggley passengers from the side, rather than trying to “thread the needle” from the top.

Eli wasn’t too sure about the pack at first.  This is a kid who hates being strapped down, and would rather be out scooting around under his own power.  Sitting still is not his idea of a good time.  Once we got him in the pack and moving, he loved it.  He was able to be up and get a good view of the area around him (he loves being able to see).  He was also able to be close to mommy and daddy.  Mommy was right there, and could come up beside the pack to talk to him.  He loved it when I would bounce him around, and the steady rocking as we walked eventually (almost) put him to sleep.

On my end, I loved the suspension system.  The hip belt made it easy to care pack and baby.  Honestly, it felt just like carrying my standard climbing pack.  The pack has a clip on the side, which allows easier loading of the occupant.  Instead of having to “thread the needle” and place a wiggling child into the carrier straight down from the top, the side can unclip, and the pack can be loaded from the side.  Much easier.  The shoulder straps inside keep the tiny passenger securely seated in a very comfortable seat.  The trunk length is also adjustable, so 5’4″ Melissa can carry the pack, and 5’11” me can take over easily at any time.  The pack stands on it’s own as well with a retractable stand.  And the small looking pack underneath the child’s seat is actually quite roomy, and can swallow a daypack amount of gear pretty easily.  It’s also hydration system compatible, so I can clip my camelback water bladder into a hidden pocket.

The suspension system is very comfortable, and very easy to adjust.
The suspension system is very comfortable, and very easy to adjust.

I wish it had better carrying pockets for a Nalgene sized water bottle.  While there are mesh pockets, they are better for carrying bottles, baby toys, and sippy cups.  A standard sized water bottle would not fit.

Despite the shortcoming I mentioned above, we already love this pack!  We are anticipating a lot of good use out of it, both with Eli and with future little brothers and sisters.  This pack fulfills everything I’ve come to expect from Deuter!

The pack stands on it's own, but always be nearby when you have stand it up.  A determined, wiggle passenger could turn it over pretty easily.
The pack stands on its own, but always be nearby when you have stood it up. A determined, wiggley passenger could turn it over pretty easily.  That pack under the seat is bigger than it looks.
Eli gives this one his seal of approval!
Eli gives this one his seal of approval!