Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Begging Looks Like

Notice how Cocoa, the younger stronger one, has managed to completely foil any chances Smokey may have had in the begging for scraps competition by laying on top of his crippled legs. Some would call this unsportsmanlike. Others would say it's just survival of the fittest. For the record, I did cave and give them each a bite of chicken out of my cobb pasta salad. I know, I know. Bad mama! But look how cute they are. ;-)


Famous Firsts

For now, I think I will just skip past the First Night of Horror (let's just say it may not take a village, but it definitely takes a family of three or four to raise a baby...and if someone had told me that I would soon have a baby sleeping in a bouncy seat on my coffee table 24/7, I would have laughed at them, not with them).

Today (day 3) is much better! He was a real trooper all day today as he encountered a number of Firsts. We spent the entire day at Children's Mercy clinics and running errands. He slept and ate right on schedule through all the poking, prodding and inspections. He got several vaccinations today so we're probably in for another cranky night, but we're writing up the shift schedule as soon as I finish posting these pictures...

His first pediatric visit.

His first eye appointment (he did not like this at ALL, but got over it quickly)

His first day at Wal-mart (the wail says it all)

All in all, it was a good day, full of good reports and scheduled follow-up visits to make sure he continues to stay on track. Such a relief.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Going Home!

Today was the day. 43 days after being born, 6 weeks and a day, 36 weeks gestational age, 5 pounds 9 ounces, and Julian is finally ready to leave the hospital. It was a joyous occasion, but also a lot of difficult goodbyes to the nurses in the NICU. It brought tears to my eyes. All of their hard work, love and dedication carried Julian through some tough and scary times. For them, we will be forever grateful. And now he's home, along with his mama, and we are very excited (and yes, I'll admit to a little trepidation as well but won't bore you with all of my fears). The next few weeks/months/years (:-) are bound to be full of every emotion imaginable. We're so happy to have them both home. He is loved more than he can possibly know.

Bear with me for a minute while I post a slew of baby pictures, for benefit of Julian's grandparents (Me!) and great-grandparents:

Last Day in the NICU

My Favorite Nurse, Allison (goodbyes are so difficult)


Goodbye, Mary

Goodbye, Ally and Ida

On The Wagon

On The Road

Ready To Go

Are We There Yet? (he slept "like a baby" in the car)


Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Blogroll Additions

I've added a couple of new blogs to my blogroll...

There's something for everyone on Cake Wrecks, a documentary of "when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong." Cakes for all occasions...check it out! This site is amazing in so many ways. If nothing else, check out the Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys, or this one.

And then there's Cake Wrecks' polar opposite, Beau Speaks. "Beau Speaks" is an old friend of mine, going all the way back to high school days. He is married to Jen Speaks (Speaks is not their real name but when "Beau" met Jen, he preferred to remain anonymous on her blog and so his pseudonym was adopted). "Beau" is one of the smartest people I know. He is a political philosophy professor by trade, a new mostly-stay-at-home-father and a self-proclaimed "radical right-wing, gun-toting, conservative Christian." He's also one of the nicest people I know. It's about time he started a blog.


Cooking Up A Storm

Well, what would you do if you woke up to find the neopolitan ice cream all over the floor? And a flood of water trailing back to the freezer? Agh!! When I discovered the source of the problem (a frozen Stouffer's Chicken Lasagna stashed in sideways, preventing the door from closing completely), I was able to trace it back to Thursday night when I insisted that the other household residents put away the groceries. But since there are two other residents, I was not able to place the blame squarely on just one (both denied putting away the lasagna, although this is difficult to believe...but then, if I had been in their shoes, I would not have wanted to confess either). Anyway, this meant the freezer had been open all night on Thursday, all day Friday and all night Friday. By Saturday morning, most of the meat was completely thawed. The ice was melted and all over the kitchen floor. And other various items were coated in a creamy film of neopolitan ice cream which found its way out of the freezer and onto the floor.

I quickly went to work appraising the damage, tossing things that needed tossing, wiping up the freezer and floor and pulling out all the thawed meat that either needed to be cooked right away or thrown away. A couple of the items were easy to assemble...another batch of chili, another tater tot casserole (oooh, yee haw!). Then I grilled up a bag of chicken tenderloins to make a cobb pasta salad, and made a marinade and sauce for the pork tenderloin (which I'll grill tomorrow)...both from my favorite cookbook. I'm soaking beans for ham hock/navy bean soup in the crock pot. We've still got a salmon filet to grill and a whole chicken to roast as well. Oh, and we also made a big pot of chicken/vegetable/barley soup. Sheesh. I haven't cooked this much in one day for a long time! There was more mostly frozen stuff that hopefully won't kill us when we do get around to eating it because I left it in the freezer, including the Stouffer's lasagna.

I was about to brag about how good the Stouffer's chicken lasagna is, especially for only costing $10...until I read this. Heh. Homemade stuffed shells are way better. But it sounds like Sisiggy and I spent our Saturdays in similar endeavors.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cake Box Banana Bar Cookies

On Sunday, while I was supposed to be working on several less than enjoyable projects, I decided to indulge myself in "something sweet." The only problem was that there was nothing sweet in the house, except a cake mix (but no frosting to go with it) and one pudding mix (intended to be mixed with Cool Whip for the frosting that was intended to go on the cake if I ever made it, but since I had no Cool Whip in the freezer, baking the cake was out of the can only be eaten with sliced bananas and Cool Whip frosting on top). I was too lazy to get out a cookbook and make something much more complicated than that (and besides, I was supposed to be working). Recently, Jen has been posting recipes for Cake Box Cookies, so I googled banana cake box cookies and came up with this (it took literally 5-10 minutes to pull them together):

1 pkg mix cake mix, any kind (I used banana)
1/2 cup oil (I used canola, although I nearly had to use olive oil when I couldn't find the last 1/2 cup of canola I had stashed in the back of the pantry behind a 1000 vinegars...does anyone know what happens to cookies when you use olive they taste off somehow?)
1 mashed banana (I happened to have exactly one very ripe banana in the house, how lucky was that?!)
1 large egg (I only had medium eggs, so I used two, which was just a tad too much because the cookies turned out a little more on the cake-like side than if I'd only used one, I'm sure)
1 cup chopped walnuts (these, I had to pick out of a bag of trail mix in the cupboard, so they were slightly salted)
1 cup raisins (I substituted 3/4 cup white chocolate chips and would never, ever consider going back to raisins!)
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all but the nuts and raisins/chips, until smooth
Add the nuts and raisins/chips
Spread into two greased 9x13 pans (I used one 9x13 and one 8x8 for a thicker cookie)
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (I baked at 375 degrees in a convection oven)
Cool 10 minutes in the pans before cutting

These were delicious (if you like banana and white chocolate)! I liked them better than Toll House bars, but then, I love banana and white chocolate. :-)


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Romeo & Julian

We just got back from the NICU, where we got an earful from Julian's newest crib mate, Romeo. Romeo is suffering from colic and for that, I feel very bad for him and his mother (and the nurses). Romeo, who is also in an open crib like Julian's, has lungs on him that put him in a class with the Three Tenors. And according to the nurses, his command performances have a tendancy to rile up the "quiet" babies as well, so there was an entire symophony going in the NICU. By the time I decided to take a photo of Romeo, he had finally been put to sleep and was completely covered up by blankets. Poor Romeo. He's going to get a complex before he even gets out of the hospital.

Where Art Thou?

& Julian


Thursday, July 17, 2008

5 Pounds!

Another milestone today! One of the goals before Julian will be allowed to bust out of the NICU is that he needs to gain weight. While there's no fixed amount of poundage that will guarantee his release, we were told that 5 pounds is a "good goal weight."

What 5 Pounds Looks Like (how can you have a double chin and only weigh 5 pounds?!)

Other milestones met are that he has been moved from his incubator to a regular bassinet and is busily maintaining his own body temperature (I'll have him send you an email on how to do this, Sisiggy, to share with your peri-menopausal women friends ;-). And even more importantly, he is starting to show signs of being able to eat on his own without gagging or spitting out the foreign object being shoved into his mouth (after weeks of being fed with a tube in the nose, some babies get lazy about having to work for a living...Julian is one of those...we'll have to fix that bad habit right away).

First Bottle Feeding

Me, Trying To Burp a Sleeping Baby After the First Feeding (I am NOT choking the baby!)

On My Birthday (his first time in real clothes...swimming in a preemie onesie)

We expect he will be coming home sometime next week. It is still possible he may need a blood transfusion (the vast majority of preemies do...their tiny bodies can't always re-generate enough new blood cells to maintain good oxygen levels), but every day, they're more optimistic that he will not. We would rather skip that if we can, but given the good progress he is making, we are more comfortable with this prospect than we once were. He's a real trooper! And we are very blessed!

Oh yeah, he turned one month old on Tuesday, the 15th. That is hard to believe.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cult Chef?

You Are a Creative Cook

Your cooking is unusual, inspired, and definitely one of a kind. People love your unique style, but you've had your share of kitchen flops.

You have the makings of a cult chef. You may not cook at the Four Seasons, but you could have your own little funky cafe in San Francisco!

Are You A Good Cook?

Flops? FLOPS?! You mean, like when I put too much brandy in the bread pudding? That was intentional. Maybe the potato peeling/vegetable scrap soup wasn't so great, but seriously, we were strapped for cash. Hrmph.

And this afternoon's lunch? Tater Tot Casserole (a pound of ground turkey, a can of corn, a can of peas, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of cream of celery soup and a 32 oz bag of tater tots...mix it all, lay the tater tots on top and bake on 375 about 45 minutes). Heh. Laugh if you must, but church cookbooks always have the best recipes, if you don't count calories and sodium. This is actually pretty good although I probably wouldn't serve it at my funky little cafe. :-)

Via Jen, who is an Excellent Cook

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Extreme Makeover

What? I'm on my lunch hour, at Starbucks, catching up. Here, from Lynellen's blog, is my extreme makeover. Knowing that there's not much to be done for my current look, I decided to see what I would have looked like as a child beauty pagent contestant. Still, not seeing it. This is just proof that it's best not to put makeup on little girls. It's the stuff of nightmares. But still, it's a fun little tool. Go ahead, give it a try. When I have more time, I might actually give this a serious workover.

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Can't Blog

The "universe" is working against me lately. Again, the corporate IT rulers of the universe have determined that all websites containing the words blogspot or any variation thereof are off limit. I get some satisfaction out of clicking on multiple blog sites throughout the day though, hoping to trip a meter someplace in the bowels of our server, consuming bandwidth nevertheless, even if I can't actually read my favorite blogs. I'll bet the IT Gods are reading them though.

And at home, I am not even able to access the internet most times using my dial up service. It acts like it's going through the motions, at the speed of molasses, but ultimately comes back with "server not found." After multiple attempts, it might find the server, but then it is painfully slow accessing any actual content.

Very frustrating.

I need to find a hi-speed internet service that is available out in my neck of the woods without costing hundreds of dollars just for the set-up. We don't have cable access but I would think there is a satellite option that would work (without having to buy a special dish). Does anyone have any suggestions?

A happy belated 4th of July to everyone! Mine was spent visiting Sparky** in the hospital and staying home*, trying to pacify the one dog who can still hear the thunderous fireworks (Smokey is no longer bothered by noises of any kind). They went on all night around our rural neighborhood. Oy.

* While my husband was here (visiting our boat in Tacoma, while the Tall Ships were in port):

** gratuitous baby picture (the wires are all monitors of all sorts...he is doing great!):


Friday, July 04, 2008

4 Pounds!

It was hard to leave Seattle/Tacoma Monday afternoon, so easy to imagine calling in "sick" for the next few months while living on a boat and soaking in the great Northwest. The past week has been difficult, for no other reason than the fact that I had to work. I know. Very spoiled, I am.

The good news is that Sparky is doing well, finally hitting the 4 pound mark and filling out. He should be ready to come home, God willing, in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow marks his 3-week birthday. We continue to pray for his growth and development as he "learns" to do all of the things we take for granted, like maintaining his own body temperature and eating on his own (he is still being fed via a tube through his nose until he is able to suck and swallow on his own which should be very soon). He's a very good boy, never crying like some of the others in the NICU, always very content when Mommy comes to visit.

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