Blog Archive

Friday, September 25, 2009

Safety First

On our last trip up the coast to my in-laws' house, we had to stop in Santa Rose to buy a few things. I fed Eddie in the front seat of the car before we got back on the highway.

We have one of those baby viewing mirrors attached to the headrest so we can see what Eddie is doing while we're driving. Out of habit, Dave glanced in the rear view mirror and saw something in the baby seat:Since we had so much stuff in the car, there wasn't much room left in the back seat for the dogs to get comfortable. As it was, they were forced to sit on top of a 50 pound sack of sugar.

Being the weird dog that he is, Potatoes had decided to find a more comfortable place to nap.We try not to condone this type of behavior but this was just too funny! Dave snapped a few pictures and then made our furry boy get out of the baby seat. We're trying to get the dogs to learn that baby-scented stuff is off limits to them. But sometimes--like this--it is just too funny to get upset about.Ahhhhhhhh, how I love this pooch!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I realize I often complain about the things that are not going right in my life. But there are plenty of great things in my life.

There's the usual list, of course; having a supportive, loving family and in-laws, a wonderful husband who puts up with my quirks, and a healthy baby boy who basically completes my world. It is also nice that nearly all the members of my close-knit group of "high school friends" are some how all ending up in Davis--I love having them all around!

Yes, those are all really, really wonderful things.

But the single thing for which I'm most grateful at this very moment in my life is...having laundry facilities in my house.

I can't imagine having to do all of Eddie's laundry at a laundromat. And we'd definitely NOT be doing home-laundered cloth diapers without our beloved washer.

It is ironic that the smallest person can make the most laundry! And it isn't all his laundry...a lot of it is laundry of ours that he gets dirty from spit up or diaper leaks. And then there are all of my shirts, breast pads, and bras that get soaked in milk. I'm soooooooooo glad that I don't live during a time when doing laundry involved scrubbing by hand and life with out Oxyclean. Can you imagine?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Edward Pie

My nickname for Eddie is "Eddie Pie," which I realize it sort of weird. But it just follows our dogs' names (Rhubarb Pie and Sweet Potato Pie). I also realize it is sort of weird--for most people--to refer to their baby in the same manner that they refer to their dog. But that's probably just because most people don't love their dogs as much as we love ours. =)

Anyway, so I call him Eddie Pie. Since that's not a type of edible pie, I have been thinking about inventing a type of pie recipe and calling it Eddie Pie.

The other day I was perusing a blog for coupons and ran across a deal on Edward's Pie. Ha! How funny that there's a brand of pies called Edward's!

Since I don't really buy prepared foods, I have no idea if stores in our area even sell this brand. But really, how could a pie NOT be good if it has the word Edward in it? =) I'll have to check it out next time I'm at the store.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


For the last few days Eddie has been quite fussy in the afternoons and the only way to calm him is for me to booby him (a bottle won't do). He's treating me like an all-you-can-eat buffet! Luckily he's still sleeping well at night--sometimes upwards of 5 solid hours. Sometimes I don't think he's really that hungry but just wants the reassurance of the breast and his mama.

We keep track of his feedings and his diaper changes on a printed schedule. Lately I've been blocking out several hours in his feeding schedule and just writing something like "15 minutes every hour."

Today when he finally fell asleep I decided to take a nap, too. But he woke up crying as soon as I laid him down on the bed next to me. He hadn't eaten in--gasp!--an hour so I fed him in our new laying-down position. (We're still practicing that position but I like it so far because I can sort of rest while feeding him.) I never did get to nap because he sucked for SIXTY SOLID MINUTES!

He doesn't seem sick at all but I haven't actually taken his temperature. His temperament and dirty diapers are all the same so I never bothered. I assume he's in the middle of a growth spurt and that it will end soon. Otherwise my nipples are in trouble!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Catch Up

Okay, so I never got around to posting about Eddie's 4 week check up. He's now at 10 pounds, making him quite the porker indeed. He's grown about 2 inches in height. The only bad news is that he's still jaundiced. "Still" jaundiced because he was quite yellow right after birth. The doctor monitored his billirubin levels by doing a lot of blood tests during his first week of life. For the first 5 days the level kept rising and rising but it eventually tapered off after day 5. We're glad he didn't have to use the UV blanket or box. Instead we just made sure to get plenty of breast milk through his system (at that point it was accomplished by finger feeding with a pipette and actual breastfeeding since he wasn't so good at latching on yet).

Here you can see all his pricks:This jaundice is due to his immature liver not being up to snuff to metabolize a protein in my breastmilk. Our doctor said that we might consider stopping breastfeeding for 2 days and giving him formula instead. The break from my milk would give his liver a chance to "catch up" and mature to the point that it would be able to handle my malicious (but delicious) protein. Luckily for us his billirubin level wasn't high enough to need to do that. Instead we'll just let the level come down naturally (but slowly).

Our poor babe has endured a lot of heel pricks and arm vein blood draws...and a urine collection fiasco that involved my taping a baggie around his--ahem--area. The baggie didn't come with directions so I just guessed. I swear I winced when I had to pull the baggie off of his skin.

This past week I had to wear that heart monitor for 24 hours--it turns out that it is hard to wear one of those when it is hot outside (sweaty and you can't take a shower) and when you have to nurse in one. I kept tugging on the wires and worrying that I was going to unplug myself. Keeping a written record of every activity was also a pain. Hopefully the doctor will be able to get whatever information from it that he needs to get my referrals posted to my insurance before too long.

Anyway, I went to Livermore this week, intending to only be there for one night. But then my Volvo's check engine light came on during my climb up the Altamont Pass and started blinking at me. I've never seen a check engine light do that before! To me it seemed like it was saying "Hey idiot! Pay attention to this! You'll regret it if you don't!" At stop lights it was idling really, really roughly and I barely made it to my parents' house.

My dad and I checked the spark plugs (one looked bad) and changed the plug cables (two were bad) but it didn't help. Then Dave and my dad replaced the injector cap and rotor...but still no better. They removed the injectors and we took them downtown to an injector-fixer place. We were hopeful that the injector the corresponds to the bad spark plug would turn out to be bad so we could just replace it...but they were all "perfect" according to the technician. Dang! So Dave and my dad did a compression test on each cylinder and the number one cylinder has no pressure whatsoever. Now my dad thinks that there is at least one bad valve in the number one cylinder. So we're stuck with finding a competent/honest mechanic in Livermore or figuring out how to remove the head (?) of the engine ourselves and taking it someplace to be serviced.

And the worst part (other than having no huge amount of money set aside for this type of car repair...irresponsible, I know) is that we're stuck driving Dave's crappy, made-of-plastic Saturn. Bah! I HATE HATE HATE the Saturn. The seats are tortuous and it is so low to the ground that it is hard to get into and out of. Plus the baby seat only fits in the back middle seat, which makes it hard to load or unload Eddie.

We also left our camera in Livermore so there will be no pictures for a while, which is a shame since we did some photoshoots in Livermore with my dad's fancy photography lights and got some good shots of Eddie with me and my dad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Survivor: Davis

Forget the new episode of Survivor in Samoa...those TV producers should pay me to star in my own reality show of single motherhood. (Just kidding, my life isn't so bad...or so interesting.)

Yesterday was my first full day of being a single mom of 3...of one newborn baby and two crazy border collies.

I survived, somehow--without internet, with a cell phone that only allows me to make/receive calls sometimes, a lactation consultant appointment (in-home, thank God), and with under-exersized/over-excitable dogs who demanded that I take them to the park at 11pm. Whew. The most amazing thing is that I even remembered to eat three whole meals! Woohoo!

I spent about two hours on the phone with AT&T last night trying to reset the modem. We'd had a storm the night before that knocked out the power for a few hours. Because Dave was the one who set up the account and he was not here it was a HUGE FREAKING HASSLE to do. I kept having to call him for the security question answer and passwords but he couldn't remember what they were. It was hard to understand what the tech was saying on the phone because of her accent and the dogs' occasional barking and the baby's squalls didn't help the situation. I ended up pissed at Dave for not being here to help me with any of this (baby, dogs, laundry, dishes, internet) and not remembering or writing down the necessary information. Grrrrrrrrr!

But today is better. I had to go to the campus health center at the last minute this morning to get a heart monitor holter put on (so the doctor there will issue me a referral to see another cardiologist so I can get a second opinion about my SVT episode and what to do about it). Other than having to write down EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY (sleeping, nursing, sitting, walking, urinating, etc.) that I do in 24 hours at the exact time they occur , not being able to shower, and having to walk a half mile to/from the health center since the entire road is closed to that part of campus this week, it isn't so bad.

In a few minutes we'll take off for Eddie's 1 month appointment. Poor little guy has to get some shots. =(

More later with some recent pics and Eddie's latest stats!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We're Jammin'

Look at this! It is a Berry Patch a Cabbage Patch Kid, only cuter!Although it is a little late in the season, Dave and I were able to pick about 3 gallons of wild black berries on Saturday near the Gualala River. Dave has access to some logging roads behind locked gates; normally there are tons of berries out there since so few people get there. But this year an excavator had gone down the road and ripped up most of the vines we normally have access to. Oh well. It took a while but we got enough to make lots of jam.

Picking berries was so much fun! It was just our little family of 5 (3 humans, 2 dogs) out in the middle of nowhere with only each other for company. It was nice. Eddie and I found a monitoring well to sit on for his feeding session and diaper change. Other than that he was in the stroller the whole time and didn't seem to mind at all.

I wore a pair of Dave's jeans (with the top rolled over so they'd stay up) and one of his grubby shirts over my tank top so I wouldn't have to worry about staining my clothes. After the berry picking we stopped at the grocery store for some dinner supplies. I took off the grubby shirt since it was about 10 sizes too big. It wasn't until we got home that I realized I had my tank top on backwards all day--the back (which was really the front) was so low that you could see the top of the back of my bra! I must have been quite a sight with that shirt and Dave's big pants on...
Dave's mom wanted to get rid of all the berries in her freezer first so we used defrosted berries instead of our fresh ones. She also gave us boysenberries. It turns out Dave ended up making all the jam because I was busy feeding Eddie (and getting all flustered when he kept spitting up what seemed like ALL of his milk). He did a good job, if not a messy one. =)We ended up with 18 pints so far--2/3 of which is normal, high-sugar type and the rest is 100% fruit. The pectin you use for the low- or no-sugar variety is super expensive for the amount of resulting jam. I keep meaning to order a sack of bulk pectin online but never get around to it. It is SO much cheaper that way.The remaining fresh blackberries and the defrosted boysenberries will either become more jam (if we can find some cheap pectin) or syrup for ice cream to turning into fruit leather.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Shade Structure!

Unfortunately for us, living in the hot-hot-hot Central Valley, our dining room faces south and the sun shines directly on it's outside wall in the afternoons. More unfortunate is that the dining room's two longest walls are outside walls (well, one butts up against the garage but that's basically the same thing) as is one of the short walls. And the walls of houses in Davis are not insulated at all. What all this means is that the temperature in the dining room is ALWAYS about 10 degrees hotter (or colder if it is winter) than the rest of the house. I'm not kidding. And 10 degrees is a lot.

So when planning our patio we decided to also erect a shade structure over it. That way we'd have a nice place to sit outside and it would keep some of the direct sun off the dining room's outside wall.

I asked my dad how he thought we should build it and he suggested that rather than the traditional redwood posts, we should use steel box tubing. The strength is greater so we can have a smaller size tubing than the wood would have to be. In such a small yard, that makes sense since you don't want to fill the whole yard space up with big posts.

We wanted to make sure that the sightline out the sliding glass doors in the dining room would be preserved. It'd be a shame to look out the glass doors and see a dark roof--it'd feel gloomy, closed-in, and like there was another room out there instead of an outdoor space. Plus I wanted it to be tall enough that I wouldn't have trouble cleaning out the gutters each fall. So it ended up being ten feet tall from the top of the patio (which is about a foot taller than the ground around it)! Ten feet is REALLY tall as it turns out.

Here's how the posts attached to the concrete bases (just like lamp posts along the street):

So my dad went to work on AutoCad and created very detailed plans for the structure. He made sure to follow all the guidelines for the City's "patio cover" so getting a permit wouldn't be a problem. But then the City informed me that our house is "completely non-conforming" so we couldn't get a permit for it anyway. I was advised to just put it up anyway and not worry about permitting until we go to sell the house (which will be a long, long time anyway).

All I really cared about getting done before the baby arrived was the actual patio--it was one of my goals towards not having to wipe off muddy dog paws this winter. But my dad figured it we're going to all that trouble, why not go ahead and put up the shade structure, too?

The weekend of our Livermore baby shower, Dave and my dad spent too much time in the sweltering garage welding up the box tubing posts that would become the vertical support posts for the structure. Remember that?

Then Dave primed and painted the posts. For a while the posts just sat in the garage while we let the paint cure. Eventually Edward helped me move them to the garden yard so I could reclaim the garage floor--in my prepartum nesting craze I decided I needed to move the giant living room carpet to the garage so I could steam clean it and the garage floor was the only space big enough to do it (you can't steam clean a carpet on top of Pergo laminate flooring because the moisture will ruin it...just an FYI).

Not a day after we returned from the hospital with our new baby, my dad and sleep-deprived Dave installed the shade structure. Detailed drawings or not, they decided to change the top wooden part a bit so we'd have more coverage over the existing concrete stoop. Otherwise it all went to plan--the concrete fasteners that my dad bought worked out great. They even had time to paint the wooden pieces on top so the structure wasn't so obvious from the prk next door:All we have to do now it finish the top (and that can wait a year or more if need be), plant some grape vines at the base so they'll start growing up the posts, and grout around the bottom of each post so moisture won't get in.

It looks really great out there, despite it's enormity. The top, horizontal, part of the shade structure will eventually be wood, but for now we only have shade cloth nailed up there since they ran out of time. Dave put it up last weekend:That shade cloth does a great job blocking the sun. See that dark line across the pavers? The darker part is due to the shade cloth. It's quite nice, sort of like it is overcast instead os being totally dark: The yard is too small for me to take a good picture of the whole structure, unfortunately. So you'll just have to come over for a BBQ to see it for yourself! It is really fantastic...thanks for all your hard work, Daddy and Davie!


...need I say more?

Eddie is three weeks and one hour old right now. He's grown so much that the outfit he wore home from the hospital doesn't fit him anymore. It is clear that our struggles with nursing haven't held him back at all. =) We're working on growing him a third chin, because two just aren't enough.