Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Both my brother and my husband have reminded me to update the blog. But I just don't feel like it. Too much of my time is spent tapping away at my computer at school, so the last thing I want to do at home is turn on the desktop (where our pictures are stored) so I can post on the blog. Everyone complains about pictureless posts...I'll have to find a picture to post at the end of this one, even if it isn't current.

We went to Georgia for Thanksgiving and our cousin Annette's wedding last week. The flight there was great, the visit was amazing (as usual) even though Dairy Dip was closed so we didn't get to eat fried pickles or a wet walnut sundae. The flight back was not so great since Eddie was/is working on multiple molars. He was pretty fussy the whole flight, except for the hour he slept/nursed (ouch). I had only 4 hours of sleep the night before so I was exhausted but couldn't sleep on the plane because "Mister Sad Face" (as Dave called him) wanted only Mama, not Daddy or Grandma (lucky me...). I tried to sleep while Eddie sucked on me but I was worried I'd drop him. Ouf. A flight attendant walked by toward the end of the flight and said, "My, what a good baby you have! I didn't hear him at all!" We responded by saying she must need her hearing checked. =) Lucky for us, he isn't a loud whiner or crier.

I went to school for a few hours yesterday after we got back. My prof couldn't be there to introduce the speaker or take attendance so I had to do it. Totally exhausted, I expected to fall asleep during the seminar but it was so interesting that I didn't even notice the guy spoke for an extra 20 minutes until I heard a bunch of people get up and leave!

My mom treated us to take out Thai food last was SO GOOD. We got a double order of the coconut soup (tom ka gai) and I was in heaven slurping up that hot, sour, salty broth. It totally made up for not getting any fried pickles last week. Well, almost.

Dave got Eddie down to bed by about 7pm, we folded some laundry and watched an episode of The Office before crawling into bed at 8:28pm. Dave left for Gualala at 4:20am but I got to sleep in until 6am.

Here are the oldest and the newest pictures I have on my laptop:

August 2010 at the American River:November 3, 2010 at the Long Beach aquarium:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Too Busy to Post!

Ack. Time has flown these last few weeks! I've been so busy that I haven't had much time to post anything.

Last week I helped our housemate, Arek ("Eric") move out into his own apartment. What started out as a temporary stay-at-our-house-while-doing-field-work-down-in-California a year ago turned into a full time rental. He stayed in our office...once we realized he was going to stick around for a while we moved our office (computer and stuff) into the living room. I will miss having another adult around in the evenings, even though he largely kept to himself, working/studying/going to the gym. But he was really good with Eddie and sometimes ate dinner with I felt better knowing there was always a big strong man in the house to protect me and the house. =)

On Saturday we got a new, temporary tenant named Tony. He's a medical student who knows my college friend, Joanne. He's doing a stint at the Med Center in Sacramento and rather than rent an unfurnished apartment for a few weeks, decided to stay with us. Today was his first day of work so Eddie and I drove him to the bus terminal on campus at 6:45am (!) so he could easily catch the Med Center shuttle. Tonight he'll navigate his own way back to the house, but I thought he'd be more comfortable for his first day with a little help. Yesterday he spent the whole day helping us around the house, playing with Eddie and the doggies, and tending to the chickens. It was awesome having extra help! He even offered to vacuum the whole house!! (Dave chalked this up to him being a married man...but I think he's just a nice guy.) His wife will be here in a few days so it'll be nice to meet her, too.

Tomorrow morning us Levie-Bowers are off to northern Georgia for Thanksgiving and my cousin Annette's wedding. I. Can't. Wait. to get there. Dave loves going there just as much as I do--I love that he loves my family--and we've been making lists of all the delicious foods we want to eat and all the things we want to do there.

  • Fried pickles
  • Turnip greens
  • Fried okra
  • Carrot/raisin salad
  • Pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw on the bun
  • Wet walnut sundae
  • Country ham
  • Anything our relatives cook
  • Tennessee Aquarium (we'll hold off on driving to Atlanta for that aquarium until Eddie's a little is a 2 hour drive each way...)
  • Visit our grandparents' and great aunt/uncle's graves
  • Play on the swing set my cousin Chip built for Eddie
  • Feed the catfish at Chip's pond
  • Eat at the City Cafe Diner Restaurant in Chattanooga (we love the repetitive name!)
  • Hang out with our Southern family!
As far as an Eddie update: he's still ADORABLE, more independent than ever, climbing up on EVERYTHING, running, and cutting more teeth.

Last night (and once about a week ago) he woke up several times during the night crying. I always giving him about 10 minutes to see if he'll go back to sleep. Usually he does, but when it is that often I know something is wrong because he *never* wakes up at night. Once it was a very full diaper (before we switched to Huggies Overnights). Last night, though, I couldn't tell what was wrong. My best guess is that he was cold--like most kids his age he flips and flops all night long so keeping him under a warm blanket is next to impossible. He sleeps in footed jammies with socks and a body suit underneath...but our house got down to like 53 last night. We like it cold when we're sleeping (lots of blankets)...but maybe that won't work out for Wadamus. I think I'll look into getting a programmable heater for his bedroom and set it at like 58. I know lots of people keep their baby's room at an even 72 all the time--I don't think that's a good idea for a couple of reasons, primarily because their bodies never learn to deal with "real" temperature variation. Or maybe I'll see about dressing him in two pairs of footie jammies...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photo Sequence

I was looking through our picture folder on the computer just now and ran across this amusing sequence of pictures (some I took, some Dave took).

6:47 pm, busy "working" on Uncle's computer (he can get up into the chair all by himself now, where he will sit for a long time tapping on the keyboard and scooting the mouse around):7:22 pm, lost his clothes after dinner, but acquired a pair of headphones:7:23 pm, put the hat on Daddy and continued "working" while Daddy checked his email:7:24 pm, Daddy realized Mama had the camera and so decided to take off the silly hat:Oh how I love these two boys!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How a 15 Month Old Toddler Eats Dinner...

...with fierce independence!
Eddie now eats lunch with a sleeved bib to protect his clothing from all the spilled food. For dinner, however, I just let him get filthy. Clothes are washable, right? After I swab off his face and hands, I just strip him down, throw the clothes on the floor near the washer, let the dogs clean up the food off the floor, and let my child run around the house in his diaper until his bath is drawn.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Well Baby & New Doc

Friday morning we took Eddie to his 15 month well baby visit. Since our beloved original doctor, Mark Moeller, took a job with Kaiser in Vacaville this summer it was our first visit with Jennifer Clary. Moeller recommended that we use her after he left...and I'm so so so so glad we took his advice. She's wonderful, like a female version of him. They both have amazing bedside manner and seem genuinely invested in their patients' lives. Once I'm not in school and can choose my own doctor, I will switch to her for my own care, too. (She's in family medicine, not pediatrics...although if she were a pediatrician I'd try to find a way to see her anyway! I'd be like Ross in Friends...hahahaha.)

At the 12 month appointment we had to see a 3rd year resident, who we did not like. She wasn't rude or unprofessional but she didn't seem very connected to us at all. She asked only the following:
  • Do you have any concerns you want to talk about today?
Mind you, this was the first time we'd even met her! So she knew nothing about us other than Eddie's stats from his file. She asked no questions that I would expect a new doctor to do (is he breastfeeding? sleeping through the night? learning new words? walking? how are you holding up with the responsibilities as a parent?).

But the worst offense: she didn't even comment on how cute Eddie was. HELLO! How can I trust someone's judgment if they don't see the most obvious trait?!

*insert flabbergasted face here*

That might seem silly, but it is really important to us. Even if she had to lie about it, as a child's doctor she should know what the normal protocol is. The minimum requirement is to at least pretend to care about your patients....jeez. My good friend, Kristin, is a family practice doctor and she rolled her eyes at me when I told her this...but even she admitted needing to pretend to care.

Some people might argue that this is a downfall of having a family practice doctor for your child instead of a pediatrician. I disagree--it is all about finding the right person for your medical needs and your personality. We like the idea of having a doctor to treat our whole family (and to help us create our family...ideally we'll have her deliver our future babies, too).

And the childhood "fad" disorders really bug me (which I think are partly related to pediatrics). Just like diets there's always some phenomenon that makes national news. It used to be ADD/ADHD and Ritalin use--overnight everyone's child seemed to get diagnosed. Then it was that mercury was causing autism (not true...look it up). Now it is autism spectrum disorder. You hear crazy statistics like, "it is estimated that 50% of American children actually have autism but haven't been properly diagnosed" or even worse, "diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder have increased 90% since [insert year here]." Okay people, these are fads. The reason there's been an increase is because parents and doctors are looking for something to diagnose. Tommy Jr. is having trouble reading at school? Blame it on some loosely defined disorder so you don't have to feel guilty making your son work harder than his classmates to master reading. My point is: I'm hoping that we'll avoid some of this nonsense by having a generalist doctor and not a specialist who might feel like they aren't doing their job without diagnosing my children with latest problem. That being said, I think everyone needs to be an advocate for their health and if something seems wrong but your doctor brushes it off, you should take it upon yourself to get a second opinion (without being pyschosomatic or hypochondriac about it).

*Cue spotlight as I step off my soapbox*

Anyway, Eddie's perfect. (Duh!) He is 32" tall and 23.75 pounds (40% percentile for weight-for-length). Get me off this cold scale and STOP laughing at me!

Poor babe had to get shots this time, including MMR and flu. The nurse warned us that he'll likely have pain for up to a few days from the MMR...but our little trooper was just fine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Long Beach Conference

Last week was the annual Soil Science Society of America conference, held in Long Beach this time. The weather was AMAZING--low 90s the whole time! Isn't it November, though?

My mom and I flew down on Halloween and got settled in our swanky hotel, AVIA. We got two adjoining rooms and put Eddie's crib into the bathroom of the smaller room so he'd have a sound barrier between him and us noisy adults. My mom was nice enough to let us use her bathroom during Eddie's sleepy time. The only bad thing about this hotel was that there were no bathtubs, only HUGE showers. Eddie doesn't mind showers but I don't like showering with him because he's so slippery when he's wet!

The next morning I went to the conference while Eddie and my mom picked my brother up at the airport. Edward and my mom made a great babysitting team for has the baby know-how (mom) and one has the muscles to wrangle the overly-active 14 month old (Edward).That afternoon I presented my poster...unlike last year when everyone just came by to see Eddie sleeping in his stroller, this year I got several people interested in my work. Woo! I've already started conversing with a researcher from Ole Miss about my method and possibly running some of his samples.That night after dinner at California Pizza Kitchen we took Eddie swimming in the roof top hotel was heated to 72 and we all had a blast. Eddie wanted us to let him "swim" between us the whole time...and if you stopped to catch your breath before "swimming" him back to the other person he'd squirm like crazy. Once Eddie was tucked away in bed, Edward and I met up with my college friend, Milad, for chatting and drinks at a local pub. I hadn't seen "Muffin" in years and it was so fun to catch up!Tuesday's conference agenda was boring so we spend the morning at the aquarium. While we were outside at the shark touch tanks, someone brought out a prehensile-tailed South American porcupine. He was soooooooooooo cute! I had never seen a long tailed porcupine before and had no idea they liked snacking on sweet potato and bananas...a lot like Eddie actually. =)We had time to swim AND get some pre-dinner ice cream at Cold Stone before meeting up with Dyani's cousins for dinner. Eddie was a good boy and entertained himself by coloring his kid menu, eating some of my porcini-crusted mahi-mahi, and flinging water around playing with a cup and straw (he's so cute so no one got mad at him!). Edward stashed his car at one of their houses a few weeks ago when he drove it back to CA from NY to attend his own conference (higher education technology) it was also nice to get his car back.

Wednesday I got up and out of the hotel early so Edward and my mom were "in charge" of Eddie the WHOLE day. After going to a bunch of talks in the morning I took advantage of my baby sitters and ate lunch alone with my book and a glass of sangria. (It has heavenly.) Then I volunteered at the Association of Women Soil Scientists booth selling shirts. I bought two for Eddie and one for myself. That evening for the closing reception Jared Diamond spoke. My mom and Edward wanted to come along so I had to get badges for them. Edward used my labmate's badge (Eshan Toosi) and the nice people at the convention center printed one for my mom since they knew she was doing me a favor of babysitting for me. Diamond's speech was surprisingly boring (at least the first 20 minutes I listened to before taking Eddie downstairs to run amok).

That night Edward and my mom went to Riverside to meet up with one of his college friends (and pick up some stuff he's stashed at her house) so Eddie and I ordered delivery pizza. After he was in bed I watched my annual quota of HGTV and Food Network. Those networks have seriously gone downhill...all about competition and suspense these days and almost no "how to" shows. Lame.

I decided to stay until Thursday since my heart procedure was rescheduled from Friday until December. The flight back home was uneventful, minus my forgetting my car/house keys in Edward's car. Edward and my mom drove back up to Davis in his car so I took advantage and let him bring all our luggage back so we didn't have to check anything on our flight. The only problem was that my keys were in my backpack and not the diaper bag....sigh. Luckily our roommate was home so he kindly picked us up (and brought Eddie's infant seat, which Eddie barely fit into).

Next year I'm going to the conference ALONE and Dave can be "in charge" of Eddie the whole week. It'll be glorious. =)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I haven't posted in a while because I've been pretty busy. For starters, and the topic of this post, is that Emmy attacked Ruby again. So Eddie and I had to spent a Thursday night unexpectedly in the vet's office until way past his dinner and bedtimes while his "sister" got stitches, drugs, and a lamp shade collar.

Jacob had the dogs at the park during one of his regular biweekly play dates with all three pooches, when out of nowhere Emmy and Ruby got into a bloody fight. He didn't think Ruby was too hurt, even though she was limping and bleeding. He washed off her leg and called both me and Dave to let us know. When I got home a couple hours later, she was still limping and was obviously in pain. I phoned the vet who said to come right in. Of course, Eddie and I had JUST walked in the door so all I had time to grab was string cheese, Halloween candy, and grapes.

Eddie was a champ during the whole thing--happily munching on the junk I'd brought with me. Once Ruby's leg was shaved for a closer look it was clear she needed sutures. Nothing major, but still expensive for me and painful for her. We left her there to get some dinner while she was being worked on. The only thing close by was Burger King. God, I haven't eaten that type of fast food in a while and had forgotten just how nasty it is. So salty and no real flavor. Bleh. Eddie only ate a few fries and one chicken tender before he started throwing the food on the floor. To be honest, I felt like doing the same thing.

I had to lift Ruby into the car because she was so doped up from the sedatives. Then when we got home I decided to keep the girl dogs Ruby stayed in the car for almost two hours while Eddie was fed and bedded down for the night. I tried locked Emmy in the bathroom and then the garage, but she just scratched the doors and barked non-stop. Thankfully my mom agreed to drive up to Davis (at 9pm!) so she could be Emmy's human companion at night. That meant last minute packing not only to be in Davis but also for our week-long trip to Long Beach a few days later since it wouldn't make sense to go back to Livermore before we flew out.

So I had to move Eddie from "his" room to the crib in the dining room so my mom could sleep on the bed in the nursery. I've never had to move him once he's down for the night...and I was delighted that he just drifted back to sleep without fuss.

Emmy did just fine sleeping with my mom in a separate room. Once Ruby's sedatives wore off the next day and she wasn't limping so badly I felt comfortable having the dogs near each other, as long as an adult was in the room.

Dave and I talked on the phone about all this, and decided that Emmy needed to have a new home. It has always been overly stressful for me to have her (she's very high-needs) and especially when our own dogs are there (she's super dominant AND three dogs + baby = too much work).

Edward was understanding, thankfully. He contacted the rescue in NY where she came from to see what his options were, I emailed my vet school friend to see if anyone here at the Davis Vet School would be interested in fostering or adopting her. It turns out that Allison will be able to keep her and is willing to do whatever it takes. That'll probably mean intensive dog and human training, no other dogs or children around, and some lifestyle adjustment. But Emmy will get what she needs: constant interaction with her own dedicated human companion, no stress of having other dogs around that she feels compelled to control (she's just hardwired to be top dog), constant training and rules to follow (border collies love to have rules and "work" to do), and hopefully lots of exercise.

And hopefully Ruby, Taters, Eddie, and I will have our peaceful little home back in order and all to ourselves. I'll sleep better at night knowing all the "creatures" in my life are settled and happy with their situations--and knowing that Ruby won't have to be harassed or injured by Emmy ever again.

Allison lives in the Bay Area so I'm sure we'll get to visit with Emmy as often as we like. I think we'll try to organize some hikes together soon so everyone can hang out.