Friday, November 30, 2007

I Got My Daughter Back. And Random Stuff


Thank GOODNESS.

What FUN it is to have a cranky baby!

Wow.

Nora had her 2-month shots last week and if I'd thought about it, I would have waited until she was 2 months old according to her gestational age, instead of her actual birthday. It seemed to hit her particularly hard with lots of screaming (nothing makes you more frustrated and helpless than watching your baby scream in your arms, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO) for LONG periods of time.

Now we're just down to some green gook in her left eye, but that seems to be subsiding. I wonder if she may have had a bit of a cold.

Then I got one. Jeff got it first, then Judy, then me. "The Sickies" as they're known among many with children, have started the rounds. So far Nora hasn't gotten the chest cold that starts with a sore throat and ends with a nice round of coughing fits that remind me of days when I used to get bronchitis at the drop of a hat. You know, those days Moms don't want to read that I ever did (but I did smoke cigarettes at one time, but I won't bother fessing up to how long).

So, after Nora came back to us, I had to take it easy and Mom and Aunt Kathy took the baby a couple of days so I could try and recuperate. Ugh. The first day I felt so bad I didn't want to get out of bed. I had that heavy, bone hurting feeling that I thought you only get with the flu. Now I'm just worried Nora will get it, but you know it's one of those things you can't really lose too much sleep over it.

In other news...I sent out Christmas cards. Picture cards with Nora on them, and if you get one, you're on of the lucky 60 in our lives. Or 80. I can't remember now.

I had to make a choice about ordering more at some point and decided not to. My hand hurt from all the writing, and I was out of stamps. We did send a bunch to the Calgary cousins, aunts and uncles, and to a long list of friends from all over. The best was writing notes and sending pictures of Nora to our Perinatologist, OB/GYN and Nurse Practitioner in Denver who were there for us during my pregnancy with Jacob, as well as the beginnings of Nora.

It feels so amazing to be able to finally send out a Christmas picture card with OUR daughter on it.

What's funny too was I started writing a newsletter covering the year, including my 40th birthday (which actually was a yawner in terms of me getting arrested or anything, since I was 7 weeks pregnant at the time so unable to rabble-rouse).

The best things about my birthday were my trip to Seattle and those who were there know all about it (and they drank for me, I assure you, Mom, Jill, Judy, Stephanie, Teri, Deb, Jess Pie, Kim Pie and Shan Pie), and Brian's and my "last road trip in the Subaru" to the Grand Canyon. Turns out we should have gone ahead and Thelma and Louise'd it over the edge, because the engine light came on in Flagstaff, and not too long after that we found out the 200,000 miles on it had been hard enough on our old girl that she needed to be retired.

Anyhow, I figured both those things were stories left to my memory and photo album, and probably didn't really need to be shared with the Calgary Cousins, who probably are the only people who don't stalk my blog.

Then, of course, our daughter's birth was the most long drawn-out drama, which of course in my newsletter went on for paragraphs, but as I went through my mailing list, I realized that no one except the Calgary Cousins Who Don't Stalk My Blog needed to read this news, because everyone on the planet, from New Zealand to Finland, had access to her story right here at Planet Jules.

In short, my newsletter got trashed because it was indeed, NO LONGER NEWS.

So, suffice to say, you won't be getting a chirpy newsletter out of us this year. Or probably ever. You'll just have to keep reading here.

Next in this newsy news bulletin: The cats have started fighting.

Jack and the Kitten Hopper, who have known each other for life, now officially are strangers. They started fighting when the Kitten Hopper (who weighs 22 lbs -- no joke) took on scrawny Jack (who weighs about 12 pounds so is at an ever so slight weight disadvantage) for the last time.

Jack decided The Man was "keeping him down" and he had had enough, and the two went about 12 rounds several times, with no clear winner, although the Kitten Hopper decidedly lost more fur. But we're not sure if it's just because he HAS more fur on his Marlon Brando (the later years) sized bod.

So, at the top of the stairs we installed a child gate that opens easily for the rest of us. Some people come over and think we've REALLY jumped the gun on childproofing the house for Nora, and we have to explain about how the cats now hate each other for no good reason, but we all have to sleep at night, so separating them during those hours has become a necessity.

Nice.

My only real concern is how they'll reintegrate when we move into a smaller house down the road. I think the Kitty Politics will get a little thick.

And finally, for those of you who wonder how my husband Brian is doing -- He got a nice review and raise a couple of weeks ago. Then his boss called and said the big boss "didn't like the number because it wasn't even enough" so they rounded it up to the next dollar.

He works very long hours these days as he scrambles to get end-of-year stuff done, but otherwise is doing fine. We get him new equipment here and there, so sometimes it's cute how he asks if he can have this or that -- as if I would possibly say no.

Hmm, let's see. We could just let you read a bad map, or we could get you a GPS! Or a headlamp that lets him see to DO HIS WORK after hours in a state where the sun goes down at 4 p.m. in the dead of winter.

A funny, funny man.

OK, gotta go. Nora calls.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cranky Babies Suck

Little did I know that this would be the last happy baby picture I'd take for a few days.

Little Miss Sunshine turned into a beast of a child the past few days...whining, moaning and complaining over every little thing.

I believe the shots she got on Tuesday are to blame but who knows...maybe she's sick. But she has no fever, and is generally just a malcontent at this point.

Pray she gets better soon. I want my cute little daughter back!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Finding Inner Peace this Holiday Season

Friends,

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could
all use a little more tranquility in our lives. By following this
simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace.
Dr. Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all
the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't
finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a
bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel. a bottle of Amaretto, a
bottle of Popov, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac
prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of
chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now.

Please pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner
peace.




Thanks for sharing this one, Gina!

Things I'm Thankful For

I'll have to add to the list but just five things off the top of my head tonight, as Thanksgiving gets underway in the next five minutes.

1) My daughter Nora, born just two months ago, and the light of our lives

2) My husband Brian. Ever patient, ever faithful. The best friend and man a girl could hope for.

3) My family. To be close to them, even THIS close, is a wonderful thing.

4) My friends. You're spread out all over the place, but you know who you are and I love you all.

5) Living in a place where 32 people are coming to dinner, from the pastor from church to the courtesy clerk/bagger from the grocery store, all are welcome. It is so wonderful to be surrounded by loving folks who have prayed for us and know our story, and are celebrating with us.

On a side note, Thanksgiving has been tough for me these past 5 years. The first one to be tough was in 2002, the first due date for the first baby I lost. It's never been the same since, and I don't think it ever will be. Having a baby doesn't just "make it all ok". It helps heal, but it does still smart when I think of all we've been through to get here.

Prayers and positive thoughts to those who are struggling with infertility and loss, whether they have earthly families or not.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Shots Sucked, But We Looked Cool

It was the 2-month appointment.

First Shots.

Ugh.

Nora did great growth wise. She's 11 lbs., 5 oz. and 22.5 inches long...in the 50th percentile for weight and 75th for height for REGULAR kids. She's completely off the preemie scale now. We're done with preemie formula too. Doctor said she was doing great!

The shots made her scream and cry of course, and I just hung in there as she cried. Oh, that look of betrayal...HOW COULD YOU LET THEM DO THIS TO ME!?!? they seemed to say.

She slept a long time after the big bottle (she drank almost 6 oz!) and now she's had another big bottle and is pretty fussy.

We did, however, look good going out the door.

I am going to have the coolest kid on the block (when we live in a city again) because she's going to be accessorized to the hilt. (Check out these cool new sunglasses).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Girl is 2 Months Old - Can You Believe It? I Can't!


I took this picture of her today in a 3 month size outfit and it's almost too small for her. G -- She LOVES the fuzzy green blanket you sent her! She spent "tummy time" on it and kept grabbing the blanket in her fists.

My girl spends more and more time awake, alert, and looking at people and things. She sleeps 4 hours in a row at night and then a few more after a feed and a change.

My Aunt Kathy and the in-laws were here this weekend for my niece's play and we went together last night. Nora amazed them both with her growth and alertness...

After our photo shoot from the other day, Mom, Aunt Kathy and I took Nora to a fish place near the mall, and she was just turning heads all over the restaurant in her little Santa outfit. No one could believe she was a preemie, and of course my Mom the proud grandma was bragging all over the place about how tiny she was and how great she's doing!

We have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday for her 2-month checkup and shots. I can't wait to find out how much bigger and taller she is!

This one I took of her in her diaper the other day. Sorry it's not very focused but you can see how beefy, alert and happy she is!

Sometimes I am amazed at how big she's gotten. Then I pick her up and she still feels so small - she can't be much more than 12 pounds yet. But compared to the 4 lbs. 15 oz. she was on the day she was born, she's huge!

This one is of my Mom with Nora from our Sears Portrait shoot on Friday. It makes me get all misty to see this picture.

There is nothing quite like seeing your Mom be so thrilled to be a new Grandma all over again.

A Shout Out to Cousin Pam


Hi Pam!

Mom and Kathy are here and I took this picture just for you so you can see Aunt Kathy holding Nora for the first time!

Aunt Kathy got here on Thursday and I put Nora in her arms within a few minutes of her arrival, and she had a good cry.

Thank you so much for the cute outfits you sent. You actually made me like some pink because it's all SO cute. ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Look Out Christmas Elves, Here Comes Nora!

Today was such a blast! We took Nora to Sears Portrait Studios and had her picture taken.

We did some of my Mom and Nora, one of the three of us, one of just me and Nora, and then a few of these super-cute Christmas photos. I'll share them in the coming days, but I couldn't resist posting this one.

We arrived 15 minutes early and I had fed Nora before we left. I was amazed that she was awake at all, and had figured we'd do lots of sleeping baby pictures.

The first pictures of Mom, Nora and me were sleepy, but then she woke up during the wardrobe change to this Christmasy outfit, and we just got so lucky!

We ordered prints for family and friends, and got a picture CD so we can make Christmas cards.

It was SO much fun today!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Give Her Anything With Ears...

As you can imagine, 5 weeks of bedrest did nothing for my figure, so it was time to get out and get moving. So,Nora and I went for a walk yesterday before the weather got colder today...she got into her little pink suit with the little pink ears, and off we went.

I wasn't halfway down the driveway before she was already relaxed and sleepy. By the time I reached the mailbox a quarter mile or so down the road, she was OUT.

There is something so cute about hats and hoodies with ears on them. I can't resist them to save my life.

When I was out before Halloween, I bought her a Winnie The Pooh Hat with ears even when she already had a pumpkin hat.

When I was at Carter's with Alison last week and we looked at winter hats, sure enough there was one there that I couldn't resist at least wanting. Even if I didn't buy it, ahem, someone else couldn't resist it either so she bought it for Nora.

This time when you can dress them how you please and they don't just throw off what you dress them in is so very short.

So what do I do?

Dress her in stuff with ears on it...well, except poodle ears.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nora's First Field Trip To Powell's

I didn't realize what a big deal today would end up to be! Nora took her first trip to a Portland, Oregon institution: we went to Powell's Bookstore.

I've been to Powell's once before, just when I was pregnant this summer and had just arrived here in Oregon. Brian and I didn't stay long because I was fat and tired, and when you come in the door you need a map and a compass to get around the place.

It's then that you realize no one was screwing around when they said that Powell's is not just an institution in the figurative term, but a literal one as well. Well, it's the size of one anyway. It takes up an entire city block at Burnside and 10th Avenues in downtown Portland, and has more mezannines than Rome.

Today my sister Jill and her boys wanted to stop by Powell's on the way home to Seattle, and my Mom wanted to look for some of her favorite mystery novels, so I thought "hey, why not take Nora?"

Of course as the mother of a two-month-old infant, we spent the bulk of our time in the restroom changing diapers, and in the coffee shop heating up and eating a bottle, but it was a good trip nonetheless.

I MUST comment on the clothing Portlanders wear after a very fun 45 minutes in the coffee shop watching people read everything from Klimt to Kant, the Oregonian newspaper with nary a Wall Street Journal in sight. My God, if it isn't just a pile of REI fleece and down vests. It's like Seattle was 20 years ago -- lacking a shower and any smugness.

But I've digressed:

My sister asked if it was a big pain to bring her out, and I said "Yeah, but it's worth it."

I think my daughter will be better off if she's just out in the world seeing it from the beginning. I'm sure I'd sing a different tune if she wasn't such a good baby, but she travels well and is pretty darn patient for an 8-week-old baby, so why not?

After lunch at Henry's around the corner, we headed back to the parking garage, and the 6 1/2 of us piled in an elevator before another woman came on board. She asked as many people do how old Nora is, and when I told her, I said "It was our first trip to Powell's today."

I didn't realize what a great "first" that was until the woman nodded with such approval that I thought SURELY this makes Nora an ideal Oregonian, who is doing all the right things to show she belongs here by heading to THE bookstore in the state.

Check them out at http://www.powells.com/, or better yet -- go there.

And we can make an Oregonian out of you too.

Head Shots and Smiles

Nora's 8 weeks today.

And just like that, she was flashing smiles to the whole family this weekend.

My girl with the red hair is growing so fast!

There's just nothing like saying "Are you going to give me a smile?" and actually getting one from YOUR baby!

Wowie.

Of course getting a smile and actually capturing it on a camera are two entirely different things...but I tried.

This was the closest thing I got:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Jill!

It was my sister Jill's birthday today. She's still older than me, and of course no matter old I get, I still have to remind her of it. And of course I also still stick my tongue out at her in church. Because, well, that's just the classy gal that I am.

With all due seriousness though...Jill has been a fantastic sister and friend to me (and Brian too) this past year or so. She was there for us during Jacob's birth and loss, and would have shared a birthday (or close to it) since Jacob's due date was today, the same day as Jill's birthday.

When I was in the hospital with Nora, Jill drove down every weekend to see us, and even drove down on Nora's birthday in the middle of the night to be there for her birth.

Thank you Jill. I love you!

Jill and her family came down this weekend to celebrate her birthday, and I suspect, to spend some time with Nora. How neat it is to be near family so my girl can know her aunts, uncles and cousins!

It's been a neat weekend, and it's not quite over because tomorrow we drive to Portland to hang out a bit with Jill.

Happy birthday big sister!
Nora has spent a good chunk of this weekend in her favorite chair -- Uncle John Chair. He's cuddly, comforting, and super-nice to her. She had no reason to do anything except sleep on him when she felt the need, or just sit there and look cute. I think you can make out a bit of a smile here. She's doing it all the time and for anyone who's nearly as fun as Uncle John.


Cousin Erik learned that Nora will eat and cuddle with him too. She's happy to spend all the time in the world nuzzling and otherwise being held.
Cousin John II was just amazed by Nora's baby blues. He wasn't sure how he'd do feeding or handling her, but within minutes he proved to himself and others that he has the touch. Nora loves hanging out with John!

Aunt Judy. We call her Bouncy Chair. Aunt Judy's habit of moving her legs all the time in that bouncy fashion has become invaluable, because Nora likes to move.

From the "I'll sleep anywhere" files. My kid has found ways to nestle, then sliiiiiiiiiiide down the laps of anyone sitting at any angle. Here she is on Bestema's lap. And as long as you don't need to get up to get yourself anything or go to the restroom -- it's not a problem.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Stack of Recent Pictures

Oooh, it's time to buy a Christmas hat! Shopping with friend Alison and Aria at Carter's Outlet and The Baby Gap was a potentially expensive proposition! But we got out ok, and with this stylin' hat.

Can you see me paying attention? It's what I do these days. Nora and Bestema spend time together every day while Mommy does some housework so that Bestema doesn't have to. Bestema gets to hold Nora, Nora loves being held, and Mommy gets a few minutes to herself for a shower and catchup with laundry and stuff. Everybody wins!


Nora has recently discovered the Binkie. The Chupeta. The Plug. No matter what you call it, it's a wonderful thing when Mommy's getting the bottle ready but it isn't warm enough yet!


I'm just showing off how big I am here. This is me all full from breakfast and fighting off sleep. Mommy keeps bugging me to open my eyes though. Oh, OK. I open my eyes, you take the picture, then you leave me alone? Done.


What can I say? I still love sleeping in the basket. I suppose someone somewhere might say it's not quite the safest thing, but I can't roll in it, and Mommy puts it IN the crib so she can pretend that I'm sleeping where I'm supposed to.


It may be a tad blurry, but this is us this morning during our first feeding after the sun came up. We're working on bigger bottles further apart so Mommy can sleep a little longer at night. The miracle is, it seems to be working!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Dokey Dokey" -- The Picture of The Day


Last night Brian and I went out of town to visit our friends who live nearby.

Karl went to high school with Brian and me, and we had a lot of fun catching up with them. They have three marvelous kids, and this first picture is of their daughter Aria, who is just too cute for words, with or without the clown wig.

She told me all about being a funny clown for Halloween, and was more than willing to wear the wig for me again for this picture.

This second picture is of Noel and Simon with baby Nora. It was so neat to see the kids enjoy her.

One of the funny things Aria said today was this morning when she asked her Mom for something, and Alison answered with "Okey Dokey", and Aria went around the house repeating over and over again:

"Dokey, dokey, Mommy. Dokey dokey."

Monday, November 05, 2007

"You're Going to Be Mobbed"

Yesterday I took Nora to church for the first time.

The last time I went was August 12, when later that day I ended up in the hospital at 29 weeks of pregnancy, not knowing that I would be stuck there for 5 weeks before my daughter would be born. We wouldn't be home together for 2 more weeks after that.

It was kind of a last-minute idea to go to church. Nora's doctor said that should be the LAST public place we take her because of people wanting to touch her (and as a church family naturally would, think they have some "ownership" in her they'd be more likely to rush up to do that).

But she's grown so much and is doing so well, and I just felt like going, that I figured it would be as good a Sunday as any to go to church with her.

As we sat down behind Paster Mark, he turned, smiled and said "You're going to be mobbed."

And we were.

I didn't think about the fact that Sunday was "All Saints Sunday" -- that first Sunday in November when we remember those who have gone before us. I think of my Dad too, who's been gone for 15 years now. But our most recent loss of Jacob is the one that still stings.

I can't tell you how emotional it was to be holding our real live baby girl, and going up to light a candle for our babes lost. My Mom offered to hold Nora, but I just had to have her with me while I did it.

As you can imagine, having a baby after all we've been through is certainly healing -- more than I even anticipated. But while I knew it would feel so good to finally have a baby in my arms, it also has the inevitable feeling of realizing the depth of the losses we've suffered all over again. Throughout the service at various times, I'd fight the tears, and sometime I'd just let it roll.

What is amazing to me though is that while I have moments like yesterday, I don't dwell on it as much as I thought I would. I guess I don't want Nora's early days to be one of her sensing her Mom and Dad are sad instead of happy, if that makes sense.

During the "meet & greet" portion of our service (they call it sharing the peace, but it's mostly a chance for us Lutheran types to feel especially self-concious because we have to say hello to everyone around us, and if you're new like I am, that means always meeting new people I have no hope of remembering names for), I was rushed by a number of Grandma types who all wanted to see Nora.

During the "sharing of the peace" and after church, so many people came to tell us how happy they were to see our girl. How many of them prayed for her health, and how relieved they were to see us doing so well.

That, is what a church family is all about, I say.

She Smiles

Last night Nora SMILED at me. Not just once, but several times!

We keep the light on in the room with the dimmer switched way down low so we can see enough to change diapers, but what's really funny is that middle-of-the-night wakefulness she sometimes gets.

I've gone to sleep with her at my side, often facing me, and I'll close my eyes briefly, then open them again to see this tiny little face with the dark eyes staring back at me.

Last night, I smiled at her as I usually do, and said "I love you Nora", when she just smiled right back!

I did it again later, and there again was the smile.

Wow!

I still wasn't sure for sure that I saw what I did (middle of the night and all that, I could have been dreaming it), so later during her next diaper change/feeding, I turned the light up a bit, and sure enough, there she was, smiling back at me!

Of course I haven't been able to get her to do it in the light of day when I could take her picture, but I know what I saw!

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