The first baby girl of the decade born at CHI St. Joseph’s Health didn’t make an appearance until 4:41 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6, almost a week after the New Year began.

Aleah Marie Culbertson is the daughter of Heather and Alan Culbertson of Park Rapids, who live in Blueberry Township, between Menahga and Park Rapids.

Alan Culbertson was home on military leave when his daughter, Aleah Marie, arrived at 4:41 p.m. Jan. 6. He and his wife , Heather, and their four children will be moving to Fort Campbell, Ky. once his paternity leave is up.
Alan Culbertson was home on military leave when his daughter, Aleah Marie, arrived at 4:41 p.m. Jan. 6. He and his wife , Heather, and their four children will be moving to Fort Campbell, Ky. once his paternity leave is up. Submitted photo.

Alan came home on paternity leave from Fort Campbell, Ky., where he is stationed with the First Airborne Division, on Christmas Day so he could be home for his daughter’s birth.

Aleah is their fourth child. Savannah is 9. Logan is 6. Arya is 2.

“Aleah was due Jan. 10, but she came a little early,” he said.

During the 19 weeks he was at boot camp in Fort Campbell, he and his wife wrote letters back and forth to come up with a name for their new daughter.

Alan said he missed the delivery because he was taking care of sick kids, but his first impression of Aleah was that “she definitely has her mama’s good looks, but she’s got my stern look, too, my military glare.”

The family will be moving to Fort Campbell once Alan’s paternity leave is up. “I’ll be stationed there for about the next three years,” he said.

“I’m so thankful to all those who supported us while Alan was gone,” Heather, who is a graduate of Nevis High School, said. Labor was induced around noon Monday. So far she said Aleah has been a pretty easy baby. “We got lucky with her, she sleeps a lot,” she said. “Just as long as the kids are all healthy and happy we’re happy.”

As for the upcoming move, “I can’t wait, because there will be less snow for sure,” she said. “I’ve never lived outside of Minnesota.”

Haataja first boy of 2020

The first baby of 2020 is Wylan Joseph Haataja from Menahga, born on Monday, Jan. 6 at 2:20 a.m. at Tri-County Health in Wadena. He is the son of Codi and Brent Haataja of Menahga.

Wylan weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 19 inches long. His proud siblings are Addilynn, Raeliegh and Emmylou.

“It took an early arrival to achieve the New Year’s baby designation, with baby Wylan being delivered a week earlier than expected,” a press release from Tri-County Hospital said. “Codi and Brent are excited about adding a son to the family after having three daughters.”

“That’s the most exciting thing, and we’ve been waiting for it,” Codi said.

Brent is looking forward to Wylan helping to level the playing field in the household. “It feels good to not be so outnumbered,” he said, with a laugh.

In addition to the gift items the hospital provides to every family, the Haataja family received a gift basket with baby blankets, sleepers and books from Caring Heart Boutique as part of a New Year’s gift package.