September 26, 2008

We have hands!

Here is a batch of random photos taken over the past couple weeks around the house. You will notice that Penelope has discovered her hands! She has the basics moves or grabbing and inserting into her mouth, but cant often get them in the right order. She'd definitely fail the drunk driving test of touching her finger to her nose... but she's making progress!

(Here is a link to the set of photos...Pictobrowser seems to be down an awful lot, I may need to find another solution.)

September 22, 2008

Nightmare in the Emergency Room

Last night was the scariest in our short time as parents. Penelope had been much fussier than normal, and as I always do when she’s that way, I took her temperature. It was 100.4, or right on the border of worrysome. We gave her some baby Tylenol and basically figured she'd be okay. Dave had come down with a cold while we were away on the hurricane evacuation (this stupid hurricane again, messed everything up) and I have been fighting the same cold for about a week but have managed to keep in under control. Thinking it can’t hurt, I decide to call the doctor's office anyway. The nurse called back and said to take her to the emergency room, just in case. We really thought that would be overkill, but of course cant say no. So we pack everything up, I change back out of my pajamas, and head to Texas Children's Hospital around 9pm. Once there they took a urine sample using a catheter and a blood sample. The nurse told us she needed to insert an IV in case they admit her so they wouldn’t need to do it again. An IV? Seriously... that cannot be necessary. That process ripped my heart in two. Her poor little hand was beet red, she was screaming bloody murder, and it just took forever. After that, we calmed her down and the doctor shows up. She examines Penelope and keeps saying everything looks good. Finally she says, "Well, I think we need to give her a spinal tap and a course of antibiotics and admit her for a mandatory 48 hours" Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh???? Hold the frigging phone here. She barely has a temperature; she is fussy but not hysterical. Is that really necessary? Im frantic at this point, and the doctor is ready to go with this spinal tap. She was worried about a certain meningitis that effects infants under 3 months, but I was not about to let this woman touch my daughter’s spine. We convince her to hold off a minute while we call her regular pediatrician and check his opinion. As we are waiting for him to call back she gets a second doctor to come in. He shows up with the results from her blood work and says everything looks absolutely fine, she doesnt need a spinal tap, and we can go home. Waaahhhh?…. Just ten minutes ago this woman was saying all these horrible things to us and now you are saying we can go home? Then he brings in his boss, the head Emergency Pediatrician and she explains it all again and basically assures us that everything is most likely just fine. We’ll need to follow up with the regular pediatrician in the morning, and they’ll run cultures for 48 hours to be sure. Given the blood work is fine, most likely she got a virus or whatever Dave had. Apparently she is in the transition period, where if she were under two months they would definitely do a spinal tap, and if she were over three months they would definitely not do one. She is 11 weeks and three days. In four days she’ll be three months old. The whole process broke my heart. Penelope wanted nothing more than to just go to sleep, she was so exhausted. Every time she would drift off someone would come in and poke and prod her. The look on her tiny sweet face was just ripping me apart. We finally got her home at 2am and gave her four ounces of milk. We wrapped her up, put her to bed, and she slept until 8:30am. She woke up, had another four ounces, and went back to bed for another two hours. She woke up at 10:30am all smiles and happy as usual. I took her temperature and it read 100.1, but at the doctor’s office a little later it was normal, and she was all smiles for the doctor. The doctor (who we also spoke to on the phone while at the hospital last night) said if she didn’t know the case she’d say she wasn’t even sick. Who knows. We had four doctors from one of the best children’s hospital in the country consult on this little crisis. Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn't have been better off with just a little small town doctor...

September 20, 2008

This house needs some sleep

Shortly before the hurricane Penelope entered another growth spurt. Usually these require an extra feeding around 2am, and feedings every two hours during the day, rather than every three hours. This only lasts a couple of days and things go back to normal. But with all the hurricane mayhem, she decided she likes to see us at night, so she continued to wake up at 2am. And 5am. And 8am. Every.Single.Night. For two weeks. I think the sleep deprivation kept me from recognizing that she cant still be hungry, and that came right about the time my body started to physically shut down from exhaustion. We're not really sure what to do about this, so we are starting Project We Sleep at 2am and giving her a two-ounce bottle last night, a one-ounce bottle tonight, and no bottle tomorrow night. She of course wants more, but instead she gets the pacifier. If this works, we will try to phase out the 5am feeding over the course of a couple of weeks. At nearly three months old Im confident she gets enough to eat during the day and doesn't need to eat at night. We succeeded in training her to fall asleep on her own, so now we just need her to stay asleep all night long.

September 15, 2008

Penelope's first Hurricane Evacuation!

Here's what Penelope thought about Hurricane Ike
Here is what Penelope thinks of Hurricane Ike. Also included are photos of the destruction on our drive from Lafayette, LA to Houston after the Hurricane, as well as photos of the destruction at our house (click the photo above to see the whole set. Pictobrowser was down, which is what I usually use). We spent Thu.-Sat. nights at Sara and John's, who were very generous to put up with all six of us (me, Dave, Penelope, Floyd, Sophie, and Izzy) and even made us some home cooked meals while we were there. Early Sunday morning we packed up and made the journey home, mainly to assess the damage since we didnt have power (we still dont). We filled up our tank and a five gallon can in Lafayette and stopped to refill in Lake Charles only to find major gas lines! Our line was about 50 cars, but the lines quickly rose to 100 cars or more from Lake Charles through Houston all the way to Giddings, TX. Once we checked out the house we quickly got back on the road and headed to Georgetown, to stay with our second set of generous hosts, Russ and Kathy. Poor Penelope has spent god knows how many hours in the car over the course of this evacuation. We get reports from home that the gas is still impossible to find, and there is little to no food anywhere. We looked to buy a few more gas cans here in Georgetown, but there are none to buy. Not a gas can in the whole town! Not sure when we will return at this point, likely once we have power and after we have packed a cooler full of food.

September 08, 2008


Here are a bunch of photos from our most recent photoshoots... you can buy prints from flickr where it says "Link", or you can use this link

Trip to Chicago

We had another trip for Penelope, this time to Chicago. We had a big fat Greek wedding to attend (for real, they aren't kidding in that movie) and Grammy and Grampy came out to spend some time with the Peanut (or as Grampy now calls her, the Gremlin). She did great in the daytime, but for some reason Penelope decided night time was for partying and basically refused to go to sleep until 1am all three of the nights. Once we got home she was right back to normal... go figure. As usual, you can view the flicker version of these photos (where you have the option to buy prints) from their home on flickr by clicking where it says "Link" right above the bottom row of photos. If you dont see that, you can get there this way.

September 02, 2008

Month Two

Dear Penelope,

In your second month you came alive. You absorb every last bit of the world around you, and the glorious smile you practiced last month is here to stay. This month you do it on queue, especially in the morning. My favorite thing to do together is our morning photoshoots when you are all smiles. I take you into the guest room with the light pouring in, and watch you flirt with me – giant smiles, shy smiles, flirty smiles, and I wouldn’t trade a single moment with you.

The highlight of the month was a plane ride and your first trip to Aspen. The flight went shockingly well. You were in a jet engine-induced trance, totally unable to hold your eyes open long enough to fuss about anything. For two weeks, we took long hikes and drives every day. It was the first time you spent any meaningful amount of time in a stroller or car set. In your car seat at home you scream, but out there, you didn’t mind. We figured it was just too hot in Houston, but found when we got home that your car seat was set too small for you….so yeah, we are all learning here. On our car trip up Independence Pass we hoped to show you snow, but no snow! It was cold. And that was your first time you felt that. Other activities included making Memory Plates, taking a trip up the gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain, and having your first picnic. It was a successful first trip, and we are gearing up for your second trip to Chicago in just a few days.

Its cripplingly hot here in Houston, with not much to do around the house, so continue to take you into the pool. We have a tiny swim diaper and quickly figured out why they don’t make swim diapers for two-month olds. Needless to say, we had to heavily chlorinate the pool after your swim.

Our challenge of the month is getting you to take naps for more than a half-hour at a time. You are a good night sleeper, which we obviously don’t want to disturb, but I can tell you need longer naps during the day. You get progressively more grumpy as the day progresses, and by bedtime its clear you are exhausted. I think your short naps are tied to your new connection to the world around you. You don’t want to miss a thing. We’ll put you down, you’ll recharge for a half-hour, and when you wake up we will find you smirking, as if you are thinking we almost tricked you into sleeping but you figured it out.

Another adventure for your second month was getting a passport! You did fantastic, and when the camera guy had problems with the flash, dragging the process on for over a half-hour, you didn’t mind at all, even smiled for the camera.

You seem to like people, being social, and just checking out the world. Already, you know when to turn on the charm, like smiling whenever you meet someone new. The cutest thing I have ever seen is you smiling and cooing at yourself in the mirror. This month has been so much more fun than the last, and I cant wait too see what the next month brings.

Love, Mama