Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How Big Is My Little Monster???

Nine pounds, 5 ounces she is!! And getting taller at 21 inches!!

Nora's squarely on the regular kids scale -- in the 20th & 25th percentiles for height & weight!

She's in the 97th percentile for preemies and about to jump off that scale entirely!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let's Play, "Who's Holding Me Now?"

This weekend was Oma's birthday party. Oma is Brian's Mom, and grandma to Nora.

It was a big birthday for her, and a special day to come down, celebrate with family, and do lots of baby holding.

Oma got to hold her the most, but she did share! Nora, in her infinite need to be held, didn't mind a bit!

So, who's holding her now? Some pictures...

Grandma, AKA Oma:



Grandpa, AKA Opa (who had the sniffles so he was being extra careful by wearing a mask):


Aunt Sarah:



Cousin Odette (who's very good with babies!):


Aunt Julia, AKA Jules I to my Jules II:


Cousin Geoff (who's the oldest cousin and married to Kelly this past summer!):

And last but not least, Cousin Kelly!

One Silly Family

Oma, or Bev, is Brian's Mom -- and she had a pretty nice milestone birthday party here at Jeff & Judy's house this weekend.

Take a look at the pictures -- and see what differences you notice between them. There's one good one in there that I just love.

We're sort of a silly bunch, but that's one of my favorite things about us!






Halloween Sweetie

It's amazing what "newborn" size means to different companies.

I didn't know if Nora would be even close to big enough to wear these by the time Halloween rolled around. Both of these, particularly the poodle costume, are HUGE!

But Sunday when she was in a particularly good mood AND wide awake, I decided to try them on.

She tolerated both wardrobe changes well, but seemed to prefer the chile pepper outfit, since she seemed to know it was an "edible" costume and she tried to stuff it in her mouth more than once.

Nora, by the way, reached TWO milestones this weekend.
Sunday was her due date -- when she was actually supposed to be born, and she seems to be weighing around 8 1/2 lbs (we'll get an official measurement tomorrow at the doctor's). And Monday she hit the 6 week mark!

She's spending a lot more time awake, not by adult standards, but instead of sleeping 22 hours a day, she's sleeping closer to 18.

So which costume should we wear to the doctor's tomorrow?

Vote early, vote often!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nicknames for Nora


On the last ultrasound of Nora a couple weeks before she was born, she had these cheeks that just wouldn't quit. It was so neat when she was out to see those cheeks in person.

As you can imagine, they just beg to be kissed and pinched ever-so-gently.

The cheeks are just one feature that cause us to call her by several nicknames.

Only a few of which are:

My Mom calls her "Squeaky" because she squeaks so much just lying there sleeping, I've called her "Weed" for growing so fast, and of course "Cheeks & Chins", which you can see by the pictures she's earned the right to be called both.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pretty in Pink

Most of you who have known me will know I'm no fan of pink.

But today I put on this super "aw-shucks that's cute" outfit that my Mom's cousin Pam gave me onto Nora, and I couldn't help but think "wow, that looks great!"

Add to the the cool Robeez from Aunt Carla (one of my online friends from PALP) and Nora's truly looking pretty in pink.

I hope she doesn't get too attached to the color, because the tomboy in me wants to dress her in jeans and a baseball cap on backwards more than words can say.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Pop

It's been 15 years ago today since my Dad died.

I was 25, and in a different place -- heck on a different planet -- than I am today.

But I'll never forget the phone call from my Mom that started with "Julie, I need you to be strong..."

It may get easier with time, but as always, we miss you Dad.

Alert

Nora stared back at me when I talked to her, and even when I stopped, she kept looking and looking at me.

It kinda freaked me out.

What am I supposed to do with her?

The kid went from sleeping about 23 hours a day to suddenly having an awful lot of awake time.

But no matter. She likes to look at everything right now because positively everything other than my face is new to her in the truest sense of the word.
So today she sat looking at each of us, and once I swear I caught a smile.

Who knows but that face is looking more and more alert -- more interested -- more wake than ever.

It made me say "So, what are we doing, Nora?" and she stared back at me.

So I sang her the ABC song.

No time like the present to get started, I say.

And she looked like she liked it, even if she'd never heard it before. Hopefully she'll enjoy the rerun.

Bestema Time.

Nora spent a lot of time with Bestema today.

Bestema (Pronounced Best-Ma) is Grandma on my side of the family. Neither Grandmother of my daughter goes by "grandma". Both have nicknames of Grandma that come from other countries. My Mom's "Bestema" comes from Denmark, and "Oma" comes from Sweden as far as I know (I've never asked).

My Mom lives with my brother, who we are also staying with til the house sells in Denver. So we have a full house, and thankfully we all get along well and the house is big enough, that it is going remarkably well.

As much as I want my house to sell, there's one beautiful thing that has come out of having our baby here -- and that's LOTS of "Bestema Time" for Nora.

My Mom is a baby person...she was a great mother through all our ages and stages, but she really has a soft spot for that age when babies have a soft spot. That small, defenseless, cuddle-me-all-day stage that comes early and doesn't last long.

It just makes me smile to see each family member hold Nora and enjoy her, but that time with a grandparent can't be beat, because that grandma time is so very fleeting and precious. And after watching our pain of waiting for a baby to make it on this earth -- this time for my Mom is probably treasured about as much as it is for us as parents.

Nora is helping to heal more than one heart.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rapt Attention

It's neat to see a baby start to engage. My Mom loves the newborn phase, and has held Nora a lot these past few weeks.

My sister-in-law Judy and I were just saying last night how neat it is when you start seeing their personality come through as they engage with you with smiles, coos and other ways of communication (besides screaming).

Nora has been awake for well over an hour now. It's 7 a.m., and she woke up just before 6 for her feeding and changing.

Then BOING! We're AWAKE!

We've had a sleeping/eating/pooping Nora for most of the 5 weeks she's been on this planet. Like most babies, it's all you come to expect out of them.

But lately, she's spent a little more time awake before and after feedings, where she doesn't just fall asleep on the bottle, but looks around a bit, interested in your face (well, my face anyway). Still, she had not really reacted a whole lot.
Up until this morning that is.

As anyone knows, newborns grow so fast, and it seems like every day there's something new to notice.

As Nora's gotten older, her cries have gotten louder (and boy does that girl know how to belt it out when a diaper is being changed), but other than that, we haven't gotten to see much else in the way of emotion.

Well, this morning she got ALL excited about breakfast when she must have FINALLY put together that the ritual of diaper changing, putting her on a pillow on my lap, and the bib on her chest -- all led to ONE THING. BREAKFAST!!! LUNCH!!! or DINNER!!!

"YAHOOOOO!" she must be thinking.

Then, she's stayed awake, and still is, listening to and watching the new mobile. Here we are over an hour later and as you can see by the picture, she's still paying rapt attention to it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thank You Auntie Helen!

Bright and bold. Nora loves her blankies from "Aunt" Helen.

My friend Helen went to high school with me. She's one of two people I keep in contact with from those dark years of social nothingness.

Helen and I didn't know each other particularly well in high school. I shared some classes with her and liked her, mostly because she had this L.A. vibe of coolness that you don't find in the rain-soaked valleys of Northwestern Washington. Most of our classmates were hicks who'd been in Mount Vernon since its settlement, and often couldn't see past the unmarked boundary of Skagit County to know there was a world outside their own.

It's not that Mount Vernon is a bad place, but you can imagine high school kids in a small town in Anywhere USA. So Helen and I were from the outside, me having moved there in the 6th grade, and Helen was was relatively new too. Naturally, most of us outsiders tended to gravitate towards each other since most cliques in school had started in kindergarten we weren't there for.

Helen and I lost touch after high school, but I saw her at our 10th reunion, and then again in Seattle in 1996, the day my divorce was final and hers was just beginning.

I ran into her at the DMV where I was fresh from my court appearance and eager to get my maiden name back and put my ex behind me. She was there to change her address after moving out from her first marriage.

So, there we were. We've stayed in touch over the past 10 years, and even though SHE didn't come see us in Denver, her new husband Daniel did.

And recently, Nora was the beneficiary of Helen's sewing skills. Helen's been making blankets for babies for a long time now.

The picture of Nora is on one of Helen's blankies she sent. It's so bright, and Nora LOVES laying on it and looking at the fishes.

Thank you Auntie Helen!

John, Paul, Ringo & George

I have several songs I've sung to Nora since she was born.

Among my favorites is The Beatles "I Will"

If you have it on your White Album, dig it up and play it today.

I just queued it up on my iPod and played it for Nora this morning while I sang it to her, and she just sat there looking at me absolutely rapt with attention.

Playing the entire Beatles collection I have, she just listened for a while, and now is asleep as "Yesterday" plays.

When she was in the NICU, Brian made a playlist of Chopin and other classical music that played over and over on her iHome player. Very low of course, since we were in an open NICU, but she got the first notes of classical music into her head when her head was just a blank slate of gray matter waiting to be written upon.

Near the end of our stay I'd had enough Chopin, Vivaldi and Beethoven that I had to choose something else.

But what would it be? You don't just throw on some Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam or The Rolling Stones the first time you go to introduce your child to rock music.

Of course, the classic rockers -- The Beatles -- would fill the bill.

She liked it ok, which is to say she didn't cry. But I hummed "I Will" to her every day and I knew she liked that.

So today when we played John Lennon's voice singing "I Will", I was thrilled to see her look so alert.

I'm thinking she gets it. The Beatles are just the best band in the world, ever.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dress Up Nora Day

I had a BLAST during my trip to BabiesRUs...Bad for the pocketbook, but good for Nora!

I bought a BOTTLE WARMER!! It's got a cooler in the back for the late night bottles, and a warmer in the front. No more stumbling downstairs in the middle of the night for water and a bottle. Don't tell me we're spoiled because you didn't have this when you had kids! I don't care if you had to boil water with fire you had to build yourself! I LOVE IT!

I also got a hat (see the Pooh hat couldn't resist something with "ears"). A mirror to put in the back seat so I can see her while I'm driving, and a mobile, and oh boy, yeah...it wasn't cheap, but very productive.

When I got home we HAD to try on a few outfits for pictures to send to the aunts and uncles who bought her these cutie outfits, and she's just going to outgrow them so soon!

Here's one with her in the crib with her NEW MOBILE from BabiesRUs...I couldn't believe how much time she sat there watching it go by. It's the first time she's spent any time at all in her crib awake without screaming, and she fell asleep to it!

The picture above with the "Take A Hike" Baby Gap outfit is from my brother and his wife who want to buy her a leather jacket, but settled for camo pants.

How cute is that?

I think if I got her a black stocking cap she would have looked so chill, compared to the Pooh hat I got her.

But like I said, I couldn't resist the hat with ears.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One Month Old!

I can't believe my girl is a month old. I know, I know, four weeks was Monday so the one-month mark was coming...but still, taking her to the doctor today and seeing how much she's grown on the scale made me realize how much bigger she really is!
We got a little silly with the camera today. We had lots of awake time, so we took lots of pictures while her eyes are open.
One of her things is that she'll sleep ANYWHERE except her crib. The crib, we get crying and screaming at random. Sometimes we get an hour, but that's it.
But, she'll sleep in the car seat. She'll sleep on the floor, in our bed, or in the laundry basket.

I'm not sure what to do about it just yet, since it's fine now that she's not mobile...but this is going to be trouble soon enough if I can't get her to sleep behind bars!

Look At Me Grow!

Hi, This is Nora.

Mommy's making my lunch, so I'm on her blog reporting how much bigger I got this week!

She took this picture of me before we left. I'm not sure if you can tell, but I'm a lot bigger than I was last week!

This pink Gap sleeper my Mommy bought for me is almost too small now. She bought it for me before I was born, and I remember she put this on me in the NICU and had to roll the sleeves and the pantlegs up so I wouldn't get lost in them!

And, my Aunt Tammy from Canada sent me these shoes. And Uncle Joel sent me the socks, and the hat came from Aunt Teri.

The doctor (who I don't like because she makes me strip -- even my Pampers have to come off!) said I grew from 6 lbs. 9 oz., to 7 lbs. 11 oz. this week!

I'm now in the 88th percentile for weight, 84th percentile for height, and 70th for my head measurement. I don't know what that means, but Mommy and the Doctor seemed very happy with that.

All I know is I hope Mommy stops making all those jokes about my second and third chin. I like them.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Four Weeks Ago Today...

Four weeks ago today, we got our miracle baby girl.

After three miscarriages and the loss of our baby boy Jacob last year, I cannot begin to describe the sheer terror I felt when I was wheeled into the operating room for my emergency c-section just four weeks ago.

Friday I took the breast pump back to Providence St. Vincent's where we had Nora. It was so strange to go back to the "scene of the crime", in that I felt like Rip Van Winkle -- in a time warp of some kind -- to go to the hospital where all the excitement, waiting, and ultimate birth of our daughter happened.

It was so intense -- to walk through the hospital, see the guest housing across the street where we stayed -- remembering all we went through to have our girl just weeks after moving here from Colorado.

As you can imagine, I was sure something would be wrong at the last minute. I was sure that she would have a birth defect that had passed under the ultrasound radar, or that something would go wrong with me in surgery and one of us would somehow not make it through ok.

My fears weren't unfounded. No one could possibly have reassured me that "everything would be fine" until I saw her. Until I could touch her and count her fingers and toes.

I held still for the anesthesiologist to put in the spinal block, and I shook the rest of the time.

I cried.

Hard.

The poor nurses had no idea, so they tried to reassure me. Yeah, I said. Good luck.

My favorite Dr. Abel invited himself into the surgery that Dr. MP was doing, and he came over the blue wall a couple of times to tell me everything was going fine.

Within a few minutes, my girl was out, screaming. Oh what a wonderful sound to hear her crying!

They showed her to me for just a second, and then she was gone to the NICU, where they got her on a ventilator thing, made sure she was ok, and within minutes, Brian was able to come back to me and tell me she was fine.

She was fine!

Finally, we had a baby who would make it.

I cried some more, this time tears of joy instead of fear.

This picture is from when I held her for the first time. As you can see, the deliriousness of my joy can't be missed, and you might even see the tears on my face.

The last two are of me with her last night, wearing the Broncos onesie she's grown into.

It's been such a crazy four weeks!

She's healthy, she's fine, and she's growing so fast.

There's so many things about her personality that are already showing through.

She hates having her diaper changed and sleeping alone.
She likes eating every three hours, and will cuddle withy anyone with two arms and a gentle touch.

She snuggles, snorfs, harumphs and eh-eh's her way through the whole day, whether she's eating, sleeping, or just staring at you.

And she's working on her third chin, while I work on getting rid of mine.

What a joy she is!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Aunties

This outfit is so cute...I put it on her as soon as I got it from Nora's new "Auntie" Sarah, who lives in London.

Sarah and I met online years ago, and I've met her when Brian and I went to Europe last time. It was so kind of her to send some cute baby clothes from London, and this is the first time Nora's wearing something that isn't a sleeper. Actual pants that fit her!

I love this picture.

This is Nora's Aunt Stephanie. She's married to my little brother Jeremy, and is a gem of a person. You can't know Stephanie and not love her to pieces.

When Jeremy & Stephanie came to meet Nora this weekend, I put Nora into Stephanie's arms as much as possible. You see, I KNOW they want kids, but my kid needs a cousin closer in age than the nearest one who's seven.

Diabolical? You bet.

But at least I'm not at her house sabotaging her birth control.

Yet.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPP

Nora just woke up screaming at the top of her lungs as if someone was trying to murder her.

As I came running up the stairs (I honestly haven't heard her cry like that yet in her short 3 weeks on this planet), I wondered what on earth was wrong.

Now, my girl is not one to like poopy diapers. We don't worry about her getting a rash because the second she poops, she cries to let you know, and seconds later, she's clean.

And when she's hungry she starts slow and works herself into a pre-feeding frenzy, but nothing like what I heard today.

She's been fussy lately. Not burping as well after every meal, and she's been eating more (so you'd think she would burp more/louder/better).

So I picked her up, and just patted her gently on the back.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPP

For someone so incredibly strong, I was impressed, and almost scared for her!

The burp that came out of her could have come out of a frat boy after chug-a-lugging the better part of a pony keg.

It could have been measured on the Richter Scale if we'd had her hooked up.

But she's sleeping like a baby now, no fuss, no muss.

Poor little thing!

Growing Like A Weed

We had our big trip (our first-ever alone in the car) to the pediatrician this morning for a weight check-in, and Nora is doing just what she should.

In just 9 days, Nora has gone from a little teeny girl at 5 lb. 7 oz. to 6 lb. 9 oz.!

She's even creeping onto the regular kid's graph, but they adjust her weight and height for her gestational age yet.

Last week she was in the 4 percentile for weight, and this week she's at 24. For height, she was in the 34 percentile, and this week she's above average at 19.5 inches and the 54 percentile.

Her head measurement is also growing well, and next week we'll probably take her preemie formula down a notch so it doesn't have as many calories. All good signs that she's making good use of the food we give her and is eating well and growing great!

Everyone in the family who's seen her since day one has really noticed how much bigger she is now!

Growa Nora!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Which Superhero I Am

Your results:
You are Superman
























Superman
80%
Hulk
80%
Iron Man
75%
Green Lantern
70%
Supergirl
65%
Spider-Man
60%
Robin
60%
Wonder Woman
55%
Batman
50%
The Flash
40%
Catwoman
20%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.


Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Just a Mess O' Cute Pictures

This one is of Aunt Stephanie and Nora -- shortly after Aunt Stephanie said that most babies don't like her. Nora likes anyone who'll feed her when she gets hungry, so they made fast friends!


This is one of my favorite pictures of Nora to date. She was so alert, I took a picture of her in every hat she owns, and this blue one is one of my favorites. It's just one of those "look into my eyes and tell me I'm not cute" pictures.
Then of course, there has to be a shot of her sleeping. I often sit cross legged on the bed using my laptop to blog, etc...and she fits perfectly in my lap, crashed out and happy to be where she is. Come to think of it she's not spending very much time sleeping in her crib!

This picture originally was supposed to be taken to send to Uncles Joel & Dave in New York...but she just looks so dang punch-drunk in this picture...just too full to open her eyes. Suffice to say, this is Nora after a full meal, looking like a Keebler Elf who's taken in a little too much of that elvish goodness.
One more cute sleeping picture. I just love how peaceful she is. She's not a quiet sleeper though. She coos, eh-eh's her way with sleepy shudders and small pants between large breaths.

That's my girl.

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