Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Letter 2007

Our 2007 Christmas letter is posted in PDF format here: http://www.hudsonic.com/files/Christ_is_Born-Glorify_Him_v2.pdf
We mailed out a bunch the day after Christmas. If you haven't received yours in about a week, drop us a line and we'll send one out. Our address book may need updating.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

In the Hudson home the annual Christmas letter is a mostly unrealized ideal. The last one we wrote was 4 years ago when we bought our house. Whenever we think about writing one it usually isn't near the computer... Now is the time to act!

Many things are the same... we enjoy being homeowners and are still in the home we bought 4 years ago, we attend St. Michael Church in Whittier where we were married 6 years ago, we visit with family nearby and out of state as often as we can... Yet much has changed.

Our biggest news since our last letter is the birth of our daughter Claire Rebbecca on May 27, 2006. She arrived 9 weeks before her due date and spent her first 8 weeks in the hospital. During this time we began a blog at http://markhu.blogspot.com along with pictures on http://www.flickr.com/photos/hudsonthego. Since two weeks before Claire's arrival I stopped working and have the privilege of staying home with Claire.

The joy of celebrating Claire's first birthday in May was preceded by the sorrow of attending the funeral for our pastor, Fr. Michael just two weeks prior. Reflecting on his full life while holding Claire in my arms during the graveside service reminded me of Spring's theme of new life springing up in the place of old.

Claire is now 18 months old and just started walking on Christmas Eve. She took three steps walking between a very proud mom and dad. She is very verbal and social and loves books, especially about animals. When she wakes up from a nap or in the morning the first thing she says is either "read read," or "bow-wow-wow!" Her current favorite book is The Napping House by Audry Wood which features a dog, cat and mouse. Claire loves to pet our two cats (can't say the cats feel the same about the experience) and she is learning to be gentle. Sometimes she "barks" at them through the screen door as they sit outside on the porch. We are especially thankful with each new benchmark Claire reaches because she had a brain injury at birth and we didn't know what the outcome would be.

Mark has switched jobs a couple of times since our last letter. After working at Critical Path for five years, he returned to Symantec, a former employer, for two years. He is now working for Ticketmaster.com in Hollywood which looks to be his best job yet. After the lease on his truck ran out in 2005, Mark gained an affinity for public transit and continues to ride the bus a few times a week, both for the exercise and opportunity to read.

We flew to Oklahoma in November and visited three sets of people: Beth (Claire's godmother) at her pre-wedding reception, Jen's relatives in Weatherford, and Mark's relatives in Oklahoma City. This was Claire's first plane flight and she did great. Our only traumatic moment was when Claire got a paper cut in the rental car office and screamed and bled all over Jen until we found out the matter.

Jen's new hobby is organic gardening, supplemented by trips to the farmer's market. She also enjoys baking now and then and is working on perfecting a no-knead bread recipe. Mark's new hobby is European-style boardgames. But both of these willingly take a back seat to raising Claire. Despite her rough start, she is growing and learning steadily and we are proud and joyful parents.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Read Alouds--Jen's current favorites

read alouds
Originally uploaded by hudsonthego
Claire has been participating more and more identifying objects and animals in the illustrations of books as we read. She has also demonstrated that she can handle non board books carefully with assistance. Thankfully this means I can start reading books that were in my collection as a kindergarten and first grade teacher. (And I don't have to get bored with our limited supply of board books.)
Claire is fascinated with The Napping House because it has both a dog and a cat in it. The illustrations are gorgeous. Don Wood is a master at showing animals and people in motion and evoking emotion. Old Hat New Hat continues to hold her attention after steady usage for months, Mouse Mess is a new favorite because I just love the illustrations and it has some of Claire's favorite words in it, "hush, mess, and house" Quiero un beso is a favorite with Claire because it ends with hugs and kisses. Sandra Boynton has a knack for creating clever scenarios with her critters and Claire gets to practice saying her animal sounds.

PS new Spanish word today mono (monkey)
and first experience with finger painting see Flickr for photos.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Primeras Palabras

I was thrilled when upon handing Claire a small rubber duck I heard her soft sweet voice saying "pato." She also will repeat "bebe" and "agua." So, my not-so-concerted efforts of teaching her some Spanish are finally bearing fruit. It is hard to remember to talk to her in Spanish.

Speaking of language learning. I want to record a list of all the words she says by category. It may take a while, in the bits and snatches of time I have for such things.

Body parts

Animals and sounds
bird tweet
chick cheep
monkey [mono] eee eee
cow moo
sheep baa
horse neigh
duck [pato] quack
cat kitty meow
doggie bow-wow
pup puppy ruff, woof
tiger grr

Sounds only
"cah-doo-doo" for rooster
and uuu, uuu for Owl
gobble gobble for turkey

hungry (hun-yee)



Saturday, December 15, 2007

a top-10 board-book list

10 current fave children's booksHere are some of Claire's current favorite books. Many of them are thrift store finds.

The touch-and-feel books are the lightest on the literary scale, but she really likes the extra tactile elements.

Some enduring classics are: Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann-- I'd like to see this in a larger format since the pictures are very detailed --it doesn't have much text on the pages, so leaves the parents free to ad-lib. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle -- she likes several of his, but this one has tactile features. The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown has a very catchy rhythm to its rhyme (1948), and the pictures by Felicia Bond are warm yet sharp (1989). Linda Bleck's illustrations for A Children's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes are retro-cool reminiscent of the 1960's.

Honorable mention goes to Fuzzy Bee and Friends which is a floppy cloth book, one of her first, and still a favorite. I couldn't find it for this photo--probably in the car with Mom who is away at a Lady's Advent Tea.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Now that Claire has a sizable vocabulary the trick it to figure out what she means.

Claire Dictionary

cah-doo = Cock-a-doodle-doo (if she says this she probably wants to read the Big Red Barn

ba-ba = bottle, can be confused with ball or baa baa sheep sound.

on or "hon" (this may mean she wants you to light a candle or that she wants to turn the light switch or that she noticed the fan or light is on.) Not to be confused with "hun" which means hungry.

push (she wants to push a door or drawer closed.)

bunny (she want a bunny graham.)

kees = kiss or keys

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Read, READ!

pushing truck Claire now request books by saying, "Read, READ!"
I checked out some board books in Spanish with her early last week. I can't seem to remember to use Spanish with her much, so having Spanish books around helps.
She learned the numbers 1 and 3 today. Yesterday she learned neck. and today I heard her say lace (referring to her shoelace.) She is fascinated with undoing her shoelaces.

She can walk pushing a folding chair or her "car" (thanks to her Aunt Jill.)
It won't be long now till she is officially a toddler.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Claire requests that a book be read to her by saying, "book." As soon as I put the book down the says, "book." This continues for a dozen or more books or until I finally distract her with some other activity. At bedtime when it is time to stop reading and go to sleep she cries and says, "book." She wakes up in the night and says, "book." Awaking from her nap the first thing she says is, "book." We are happy for her love of reading but are trying to encourage her to broaden her horizons.

On the sleep issue, last night was better. She slept from 7-12:45 then from 2:00-5:30 and 5:40-6:45. That first stretch was especially golden since us parents went to bed at 8:30. The only down side was the coughing fit and wakefulness from 12:45-2, but we all awoke much refreshed in the morning, and optimistic for the future of sleep in the Hudson household. Claire also went to bed quite easily tonight. Maybe she is learning how to sleep better.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Claire has been coughing at night for the past 5-6 nights and she gets all riled up and ends up staying awake for an hour or two. I took her to the doctor and he gave us some drops to give her at 6 hour intervals. We can't seem to get the timing right to avoid the long wakeful period though! UGH! There have been no more 4.5 hour stints of sleep either. My only reason for staying sane is that Beth has been entertaining Claire from 6 am to 9 am every morning so I can sleep in. Beth leaves on Thurs for Greece so I hope Claire's cough has subsided by then.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Good news bad news

The good news is that Claire slept for 4.5 hours from 7:00 to 11:30 pm last night. She hasn't had a stint lasting that long in many months! The bad news is that I had insomnia and still wasn't asleep when she awoke and she was awake off and on for the next hour and a half coughing. It also took a good 30-40 mins to re-settle her after she awoke at 4:00. This made for a short night for me, but I am hopful that the waking every two hours trend may be drawing to a close.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

November Trips

It's been a busy month. We spent a week in Oklahoma visiting relatives after going to Beth's wedding reception in Kansas. Claire did really well on the plane. This is encouraging. I feel more confident about future trips now that we have this first plane flight under our belts.
Claire has been a bit under the weather this month. She had a cold then a 24 hour stomach flu then another cold. I hope this trend doesn't continue.

For Thanksgiving, we drove out to relatives in San Bernardino for a turducken feast. Claire enjoyed the plants and animals (koi) in the backyard. Mark enjoyed playing a Wii for the first time, though he did get soundly beat by the 8-year-old nephew.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

new pics

There are new photos on flikr

New words include: knee, wawa (water), off.
She says "de" for delicious. She's been eating a little something everyday now. Today it was puree with plum, spinach and pear. (It tastes better than it sounds.)
She loves to dance with me and says "dance, dance" a lot. She especially loves to spin fast.

Monday, November 05, 2007

cleaning up the mess

here is the video we promised earlier

Thursday, November 01, 2007

vocab increases as sleep decreases

If there is a correlation, I guess it's because her mind is too full of new words, so she can't sleep. Some recent words she added to her vocab include: car, hug, two, pants. She has started saying "Hi" to people in the books we read. She will sometimes offer a hug or kiss. She is on the verge of taking steps on her own. Her balance is getting good. She still refuses most food that is offered to her but is interested in trying out the houseplants, dry cat food and cardboard packaging. I worked on doing more baby-proofing today.
last night was one of the worst nights yet with lack of sleep. It started out ok...she slept from 8-11pm. She had a 1.5 hour stint then was awake off and on for the rest of the night.

Here are a couple of photos from back in May that we somehow missed uploading at the time.

happy standing 1 happy standing 2

Monday, October 29, 2007

practicing cleaning the mess

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire has had this new trick for awhile where she pretends to wash the floor. It is sometimes triggered by her finding a cloth or small blanket on the floor, or sometimes she spontaneously bends down and scrubs the deck empty-handed. But recently, she started saying "mess" as she does this. So now we can say, "mess" and she will get down. Jen also tells me that when she read a book to Claire with a picture of a baby reaching down, then Claire said, "mess!" Call me a proud parent, but doesn't that seem smart? We eventually took a video of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2zI2xFsxaM

bonus pic of Mark in 1997

Friday, October 05, 2007

proxy post

This, from Claire's grandma:

"As you know, J and M are sitting around eating bons bons, growing fat and sassy and totally ignoring their young charge, so I have decided to let you know what is happening at their residence.

Claire is adding new words at a clip of about 5 per week. Here is the list as we have it recorded:
Mama, Dad, Dada, Nana, Papa, Baby, doggie, hat, cat, up, out, bye bye, hi, bite, no, pat, teeth, toe, kiss, go, page, down, keys, pee, poop, feet, beep. The words she uses most often are teeth, up, doggie, no, pee, pat, bite. She says Mama, Mama, Mama when she is very upset with the way things are going.

Today the physical therapist and occupational therapist visited. They are both pleased with her progress. She is ahead of her age group with her speech. Today she was working on climbing from the floor to a stool to the rocking chair while I was holding her hands. She did this over and over again. Every time she completed the task she beamed, laughed and looked so proud of herself.

She has not been too happy this week due to discomfort from teething, but today she felt much better and her itchiness was also better. Jen took her on 2 walks today, a brief one this morning before the first therapist visit and a longer one this afternoon in the stroller. Claire enjoyed both outings and of course charmed many along the way.

She is eating solid food a little better the past several days. J bought a size 4 t-shirt to use as a bib and then let Claire help feed herself. This can be a messy proposition, but at least she is getting some extra nutrition and is showing a little more interest in food.

Nanu was cleaning the alphabet mats on the floor the other afternoon, down on her hands and knees, scrubbing and Claire decided to mimic her. She took both of Nanu's hands, then bent over, and held on with one hand and scrubbed the mat with the other. She has done this repeatedly since Sunday afternoon. We thought she was showing early signs of being interested in dentistry as she is fascinated with teeth, but it may be that the house cleaning arts are also near and dear to her heart. Only time will tell. In the mean time, she keeps us all delighted and entertained."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

take your daughter to work

Last week Jen brought Claire up to my work to take me out for a birthday lunch.
I couldn't resist showing Claire off to my co-workers. She was dressed up in some jeans with pink ruffles on the cuffs, and matching pink corduroy jacket. Of course everyone in the office smiled at her and duly acknowledged her cuteness. Then we went to lunch and Claire happily munched on her book, and a spoon.

For you fathers out there, I recommend taking your daughter to work. It gives warm fuzzies.

We do have pictures of Claire in the outfit. Soon to be posted.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New game

Claire invented a new game. She sits on my lap or stomach and then she puts my hands on her face or head and I pull her close for a kiss on the forehead and give her cheeks a little tickle and she laughs and we do it over an over again. So sweet!

Claire is now 16 lbs! She got one immunization shot at her 15 month check-up yesterday. The Dr. wants her to get the anti RSV series of shots again this year. But later we found out that insurance won't pay for it. Just as well since the shots upset the baby.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Smart baby

Today I asked Claire what sound a doggie makes and she said, "woof, woof" then I asked what sound a cat makes and she said, "meow, meow." Boy was I impressed.
I think I forgot to mention in the blog that Claire is cruising as of about two weeks ago. tha means she can walk holding on to furniture, walls, hands etc.
We had a good visit with grandpa Hudson who helped us in the backyard and babysitting Claire during my Chiropractor visit. (My back and neck have been bothering me a lot lately.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

more new words

Claire is learning some verbs now. She says, "bite" and "pat." She also says "night-night" and "bath." It is so much fun communicating with her and seeing her rapidly expanding vocabulary!
We enjoyed an impromptu visit to Lompoc to escape the heat. It's been 100 degrees in LA. It was 92 degrees in our dining room when we got home! We have the on today.

Friday, August 31, 2007


This morning when her dad was getting ready to go, Claire said "Out, dad." As if to say "Dad is going out." She also says bath and tries to say "dog". She says "hi" and "bye" with enthusiasm. She is a language sponge and very good at imitating words. I'm trying to remind myself to use Spanish with her so she can soak that up too.

She has a marathon 3 hour nap yesterday afternoon...maybe another growth spurt or just catching up on sleep since she's started getting up at 6:00 am instead of 6:45.

There are new photos on Flikr.

Claire has enjoyed visitors from Lompoc and Prescott this week. She was able to show off her crawling and talking to thrilled grandmas.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Crawling at last

Claire started crawling on our anniversary. I think she wanted to give us a special gift so she was saving it till then. On Saturday she got to go swimming for the first time and loved it.
I haven't been posting much because of a busy social schedule with family visiting from out of state then we visited my friend Linda in Altadena one day and my friend Lisa (now of New York City) visited the other day. Whew!

Today we went to the NICU follow up clinic the neonatologist said Claire looks great. The Nutritionist showed us that she is at the 5th %tile for weight and the 50%tile for height. Claire has decided to eat solid foods again after refusing to for a while. Yay.
We haven't captured the crawling on video yet....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Scooting vid

Here she goes...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Standing at the couch

Aug 07 010
Originally uploaded by markhud
Claire went from standing at the music table to standing at the couch all by herself. She's getting ready to "cruise." We still hope that she'll fit crawling into her agenda. She scoots all around on her tummy and doesn't seem to realize crawling would be faster and better.

Musical Baby

Claire has been enjoying my xylophone.

Another new word today "up".

Friday, August 03, 2007

New word

Claire added the word "baby" to her vocabulary today. She used it ti refer to her baby doll. Her "bye-bye" is starting to be more intelligible too. Yesterday she slithered all over the kitchen floor trying to catch up with the kitty who kept moving out of her way. She has 8 teeth now. Even though this one broke through a few days ago, it seems to still be bothering her.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thinking about grass growing

12 months adjusted 5
Originally uploaded by markhud
We are so proud of you Claire. At one year adjusted you can walk holding someone's hands, pull to stand, transition from laying to sitting and sitting to laying, you are beginning to talk, you explore everything around you. You fight like crazy when doctors, nurses and other medical staff mess with you. You have a very expressive face and a magical smile. You are friendly and outgoing. Strangers ask us "is she always this friendly?" and we proudly say "yes". You have a lovely sweet disposition and enjoy playing with just about everything...especially paper and other things we don't like you to chew on. Today you showed me your tongue when I said "Stick out your tongue." You will also clap on demand...when you feel like it. You got into kneeling position at your leapfrog music table all by yourself. Last week you busted out of your bouncy seat and I found you standing at your crib rail. You love looking at books and turning the pages. You like nursery rhymes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Claire

Today is the anniversary of Claire's due date. Her adjusted age is now 1 year.

Weekend away

We enjoyed a weekend in Lompoc. Claire got her 8th tooth while we were there and made some progress towards crawling. She can scoot faster now on elbows and knees. I'l post more photos soon. Great to see family and friend in Lompoc and fun to see Claire charm everyone with her ready smile.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Claire's been talking up a storm. She learned how to say "hat" yesterday and said it about 100 times today. To celebrate, we read the Berenstain's Old Hat New Hat three times. She will sometimes say bye, "ba" for ball and "k" for cat. She learned to say hat because I wear one on our morning walks and tell her i'm putting on my hat. This morning when Mark put on his hat she looked at him and said "hat"

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend News

Claire has started scooting forward on her elbows and knees mixed in with lots of rolling around and pivoting. Her vocabulary is increasing too. She says Mama and Dada in reference to us and she says "ba" for ball and "k" for cat.

She seems to be getting more and more ticklish every week and laughs at other times when not being tickled too. We took a walk this evening and Mark had her in the carrier and she thought it was hilarious that I was walking next to her so I made faces and played peek-a-boo and played along while she squealed with delight and laughed her silver bells laugh.

Her stomach was unsettled again today. She seems to do worse on the weekends. Hmm.

Friday, July 20, 2007

MRI results already

The following is a quote from CLaire's neurologist that I just got in my email

"The MRI reveals destruction of the tissue where the old hemorrages were
with a resultant cyst involving the right temporal and occipital lobes.
The cyst appears to be draining into the venricle (normal fluid filled
cavity)on that side. There is no description of a cortical dysplasia
(malformation)as was prior suspected, which is good and there is no
development of hypdrocephalus and no further bleeding. There is some
asymmetry in size of a small area of the middle part of the brain on the
right (hippocampus), but again, no obvious malformation. Please let me
know if you have any questions."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The one-year MRI

Claire had her MRI yesterday. Hopefully this is the last one she'll need. It was a difficult experience. We arrived at the hospital at 9:30 am. They have to sedate and/or give general anesthesia so that a small child can be still for an hour or so during the scan. This meant Claire had to fast 6 hours, have an IV and breathing tube and be hooked up to a bunch of monitors...all of which she finds very unpleasant. Needless to say there was a lot of crying and attempts to wriggle away. She even objected to the putting on of the ID bracelet. I was a little relieved once she was asleep. But then they gave me the boot. I didn't know I wasn't going to be able to stay with her. I had lunch in the Cafe with Nina who thankfully accompanied us. Then I finally was paged a couple hours later and with difficulty found the recovery room (Which was labeled P.A.C.U and said nothing about "Recovery".) I walked in and heard a pathetic-sounding cry which didn't sound at all like Claire but I somehow knew it was her. I was right. She looked terrible with eyes puffy from crying. I cried when I saw her. I held her and sang to her and talked to her for about 40 minutes till she was feeling better. Then we went to the another area where we had waited at the beginning of the day. Eventually Claire was hungry and took a bottle and was able to hold it down. Around 3pm we finally headed home. We should get the diagnosis in a week or so.

Today I was still exhausted from the experience and had two naps by noon. Claire seems to be back to normal and had a good PT appointment this morning.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Busy Friday, week, life

Life with Claire continues to be busy. She finished her course of antibiotics on Sunday. She has been napping well, and slept well last night. There was a little mixup with leaving part of the Amby bed in Arizona. Thankfully, Grandma noticed right away and shipped out the part to us.

I am so happy to have my little girl and wife back with me. Claire has grown noticeably in weight, strength, and sophistication. Also, she is much more vocal, and sometimes seems to say some words and sounds with meaning.

Unfortunately, the gagging has resumed several times a day, and throwings-up about every other day. The nutritionist recommended adjusting the strength of the formula mix. Also, we are looking for a non-dairy probiotic, since Claire is allergic to milk protein.

Pictured is Claire's favorite short-suit, given to her by the Joneses from Church. This picture was taken during the 4th-of-July visit to Arizona.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Busy Friday

Claire had various ups and downs since my last post. I took her to the pediatrician on Friday morning. It turns out it was an ear infection. Her stomach has settled down and last night she had mostly 3 hour stints of sleep...while she was sick it was 1-2 hour stints. Yesterday was her first day with no feverish episodes so the meds the Dr. prescribed have definitely started to work.

We also went to the nutritionist who gave us a lot of useful information.

We left 8pm on Friday to visit my folks. Stopped at 1:30 am in Blythe. Stayed at a very nice Holiday Inn Express. Got here the next day at 1:15 pm. Mark had to return for work on Monday. Claire and I sill stay to celebrate my Grandma's B-day on the 4th and will return to CA with my Brother and nephew.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Claire is feeling much better. She has one more tooth on the bottom too for a total of 7. I figure the 4th bottom tooth is soon to follow then maybe we'll have a break from teething.
I forgot to mention there are more photos on Flikr.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Please pray for Claire...she developed flu symptoms during the night. Pray for me too as I'm running on less than 3 hrs sleep. The only way I could get Claire to sleep in the wee hours was to hold her and rock her.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Claire suddenly has 6 teeth. Starting on June 16th she began showing new ones on a regular basis. Now she has four on the top and two on the bottom.

She has been a bit more adventurous with eating solid foods. For a while she was only willing to eat Cheerios. Lately she's tried rice pilaf, watermelon, plum and sweetpotato.

She also has has some two hour naps in the past couple days! Wow! You may remember she used to be queen of the 30 minute nap...not anymore. We got an Amby motion bed on ebay recently and it's made a big difference for napping and ease of settling in to sleep. She has also been sleeping a 4 hour stint from 8pm-12am. She had been sleeping 2-3 hour stints and sometimes waking for an hour or more during the nights when the teething was bothering her.

New Chicken salad recipe:
chopped hearts of romaine
diced leftover grilled chicken
diced leftover baked potato
grapes (halved)or avocado
toss with vinaigrette

Monday, June 18, 2007


Catch up on seeing Claire videos:

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Big Girl

Claire thinks that she is a big girl now. She has to hold a spoon while I'm feeding her mushy food, so usually we each have one. When she drops hers she wants mine. She tries to feed herself a little and enjoys chewing on the spoon. She loves feeding herself Cheerios. She isn't much interested in other "finger foods."

Claire now helps pull shirts down over her head. She likes to stand for as much of clothes changing time as she can.

She only likes to face out when I'm carrying her around the house. If I try to carry her on my hip she immediately turns around.

Claire will take a few steps when supported to reach a desired object. She has pushed herself forward while lying on her tummy and is good at pivoting to change the direction she's facing while on her tummy. She can sit unsupported for a long time now but still doesn't know how to get back onto her tummy when she get's tired of sitting. (She just flops over or leans back.)

The Ocupational Therapist came for the first time on Friday. I was happy to learn that she is a Christian and has a special needs daughter who is grown up now. I think OT will be more fun for Claire than Physical therapy is. Claire has become resistant to many of the things the PT wants her to practice.

She had an allergy test (a blood test in which they look for antibodies that are specific to common allergens.) It turns out Claire is allergic to Milk, various nuts, wheat, eggs, soy, dust and cats. She had two other blood tests which showed that she is not anemic (but rather quite healthy) and doesn't have high levels of lead.

Claire's MRI is scheduled for July 18. I am concerned about it because they will have to sedate Claire since she can't lay still for an hour for the proceedure.

Her sleep pattern has been terrible this past week. She's been waking every two or three hours. Last night was worse... she woke up at 1:00 and we would get her to sleep for only a few minutes at a time until 3:15 when she finally went to sleep and slept til 7:00. Maybe teething plus itchies plus warm weather is a bad combination.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tired and Cranky

Claire has beed sleeping terribly the past three nights with last night being the worst. She also has been getting progressively more itchy since we stopped using Dermasoothe skin oil. We ended up dabbing some hydrocortisone on the most troulesome patches but Claire gets itchy in places that don't look red or inflamed. She was naving such a bad day today that I used the Dermasoothe. Within an hour she was a new child. We had a lovely couple of hours until her naptime and she has been sleeping soundly for an hour and a quarter.

She got her one year shots the other day and a blood test to check for antibodies against typical food alergens. We should find out Monday if she is alergic to something. (Avoiding food alergens could help in managing her eczema.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Neurologist visit

We enjoyed Claire's birthday with family this past weekend. She thouroughly entertained everyone and vice-versa.

Since we stopped the Dermasooth steroid oil treatment.... Claire's skin has been inflamed and bumpy (tiny redish dots) on arms and legs and behind the ears. She has been scratching some. We are using some over the counter hydrocortisone to try to keep it under control. She had one bad night but last night she only woke up once while we were sleeping.

We had a good visit with the neurologist today. She said that Claire seems like a normal 10 month old (Her adjusted age.) Claire was very smiley and social during the visit and had fun playing with the crinkly bed cover paper. We will go for an MRI in the next few weeks just to check out the resolution of the brain bleed.

Tomorrow we go to the pediatrician for 12 month shots and check up.

I haven't pumped since Sat. I'm sad about not giving Claire any more milk.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The End of the Machine

parting is such sweet sorrow...
I'm pumping just once in 24 hours now. A couple months ago I thought I'd wrap it up around Pascha but I decided to continue till Claire's B-day. I sure have learned a lot from the experience, but it's not one I would care to repeat.

I missed Claire's dermatologist appt yesterday because I thought it was today. UGHHHH! Unfortunately the doctor is only in the office on Wednesdays and I couldn't get another appt. till July. I'm tapering off her meds. I didn't use any this evening... we'll see how she does.

I gotta go to bed. I don't know if I'll be able to sleep because I got the wrong coffee at the Ragazzi Room this afternoon...I feel the jitters so I know it was caffinated.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Claire has a one track mind when it comes to solid food these days. I offer chunks of banana, avocado, zucchini and pureed mixed veggies and the only thing she's interested in is Cheerios!

It has been nice having less interruptions to our sleep during the night. Now I just need to start going to bed earlier. Claire was eating around 10:30-11pm but now she doesn't get up to eat till 12:30 or 1. I got used to staying up till the 10:30 meal though. (Or else I would go to bed around 10 and still be awake when she got up anyway.)


Friday, May 18, 2007


Claire has had a good week. She still coughs occasionally but doesn't sound congested like she did. Tomorrow morning she will recieve her last dose of antibiotics. We have been giving her probiotics in between antibiotic doses to re-populate her insides with the beneficial bacteria.

She had a mini skin flare-up today so I bathed her a few hours early and did her steriod oil/moisturizing routine. Her skin was already looking better before she went to bed. Yesterday she had an itchy chin and rubbed it raw during a nap. i think she might be sensitive to peas and lentils... I have stopped giving her peas but I gave her lentils for the first time and it seemed to make her itchy around the mouth.

Her sleep has been better for the most part with longer naps and longer stints between night wakings. Some nights she only wakes up twice. I have been able to have a little time to myself during some of her naps since I no longer so desperate for sleep that I feel the need to lie down each time Claire naps. I've been working on clearing off the dining room table which had been covered for several months with paperwork and a random assortment of other items.

The next couple of weeks will be busy for us traveling to various Doctor's offices including: Dermatologist May 24, Neurologist May 29, pediatrician for shots May 30. Her next Cardiologist visit isn't till August.

Claire was evaluated by an Ocupational therapist this week and will recieve OT twice a week. This will mean 5 visits a week from various therapists. Whew!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Claire had a follow-up visit with the pediatrician yesterday and he thinks she is doing well. She just has a bit of residual congestion and he says it is good that she is coughing to eliminate it.

She had Physical Therapy today and was able to work with the therapist the entire time (60 mins). Lately she would have an itchy fit halfway into it, so this was great.

Claire wore a short-sleved bodysuit for a while this afternoon and did not scratch her arms and legs. She has been in long panst and long sleves for months because having her skin exposed was very uncomfortable for her and would lead to lots of scratching (Escecially during diaper/clothes changes. Diaper changing is back to normal and it looks like she will be able to wear clothes appropriate for the warmer weather.

See new photos on Flikr.

On a serious note...
We were saddened to learn Sunday morning that our beloved priest and father in Christ, Father Michael Trigg passed away on Saturday.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Home again

We are grateful for the help of the doctors and nurses at Children's Hospital. Claire is home again and feeling chipper. She still has a cough and little wheasiness but other than that she is back to her usual happy self as evidenced by her babbling and smiling.
I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. I think I'll go nap right now since Claire just went to sleep.

Thanks for all your prayers.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


respiratory treatmentJen had the wisdom to call the cardiologist, Dr. Burke, who listened to Claire's breathing over speakerphone and said, "Sounds like she might have pneumonia--better check her into the emergency room at Children's Hospital." So we packed a bag and drove up. Somehow, a sense of calm enveloped us, in contrast to the previous 24 hours of worry. CHLA processed us very efficiently, and everyone was quite nice as well. The nurses were even equipped with soap-bubbles to blow for Claire's entertainment. I think it helped me too. Claire's frightened reaction the first time they put a stethascope on her almost made me cry as memories of the NICU came flooding back. I've heard that babies can develope "tube aversion" from early traumatic experiences. But we all calmed down soon enough. We are very thankful that Claire's first year has been so healthy, with doctor visits mainly being routine checkups up till now. The chest x-rays confirmed the pneumonia diagnosis, but I guess we caught it fairly early. Jen is spending the night with Claire in the hospital. We don't know how long she'll be in. Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, May 07, 2007

one step forward...

Please pray for Claire (and Jen). Claire's cough, which we presumed to be from the teething-drool, got worse on Monday, and her breathing became labored and she developed a fever. Jen took her into the doctor who said she had an infection and prescribed an antibiotic and cough syrup. Problem is, the antibiotic (azithromycin) tastes so bad, we are having a very difficult time getting Claire to take it. Eventually we got about half a dose into her, but it made her wretch and she lost her lunch. Now we are worried she may be getting dehydrated, especially since it was such hot weather today. Mom is exhausted and we are both worried.

Things to be thankful for: I am glad we happened to install the window air-conditioner last month when my Dad was here to help. I am also thankful that Claire's skin has calmed down and not as itchy as before. I am also thankful for my new job, though insurance benefits don't kick in until later this month.


Sunday, May 06, 2007


One change for the better since Claire got the new meds for her skin is improved sleep. In spite of her teething, Claire only woke up twice last night! Her second tooth broke through the gum this afternoon. She is a bit congested and and drooly and coughing but it doesn't seem to be bothering her much. (She exhibited the same symptoms with the first tooth.) She has been very cheerful and napped well in spite of being away from home most of the day.

Her naptime sleep is improving too. She used to take four 30 minute naps. Lately she has been taking two 75 minute naps and one 30 min nap.

Claire is obviously way more comfortable. She will hug me and cling a little when I pick her up instead of rubbing her face against my shirt to scratch. She will sit still (or fairly still) on my lap and "talk" to me or take a bottle instead of writhing aroud and scratching her ankles together and trying to scratch her wrists etc. She must be burning way less calories... she seems to be eating a bit less too. She still likes to grab and interact with my hair when I pick her up first thing in the morning before I've put my hair up and she loves to try and grab my glasses.

Last week, she could hardly stand being in the Ergo baby carrier unless we were able to get her to fall asleep in it. (This included scratching her arms against the straps and crying). Today she spent hours in it and was completely happy. I had it on my left hip and it way quite comfortable. My only regret is that I didn't change hips part way through the day. My body is fatigued because I'm not used to carying that much extra weight for that many hours. I think I will be less tired as I get used to using it. (As aside...when I went to Walgreens to pick up Claire's prescriptions, I forgot to bring any carrier and was holding Claire in my arms as I waited in line twice. I could barely hang on to her...she was so squirmy. I was exhausted by the time I got home.

Another wonderful change is that she is happy playing on her own and doesn't require constant vigilance to prevent her from damaging her skin.

Also regarding sleep, she was able to fall asleep in my arms and remain asleep when transfered to her bed without being swaddled first. We have beed doing supper-duper swaddling for over a month because if her hands were free she would scratch and not be able to fall asleep. She still rubs her eyes and scratches behind her ears a bit and rubs her face against me when she is tired, but this is vary minor compared with her previous struggles.

Thanks be to God. I am so grateful for all the positive changes. Our quality of life has drastically improved.

Still hoping for the following... that Claire will be able to be in the carseat without rubbing the back of her hands and wrists against the straps and clasps. We currently put a couple layers of socks on her hands and cloth diaper around the straps but it is still a challenge to keep her distracted. Sometimes I have to hold her hands (I sit in the back with her while Mark drives.) I also have a more frivolous hope...but also practical considering the coming summer weather (and present 90 degree weather)... I want her to be able to wear short sleves and short pants without scracthing.

Also...we continue to pray that she will not requre heart surgery to correct her heart defect... that the Great Physician will heal her.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


We had a quiet ride to the dermatologist and back. The doctor prescribed 3 things for Claire including an oil with a mild sterioid in it. Claire is feeling better already and slept much better last night. She was also able to tolerate a long walk in the Ergo baby carrier which was not possible the last week or so because she would get too itchy and agitated. Claire was also able to have a few little sessions of playing on her own today. Recently she has required constant attention and distraction in order to keep her from scratching. Today was so much better in every way! I am really grateful and hopeful.

More new photos on Flikr; look for May3-07 tag.

Monday, April 30, 2007

learning to use a spoon

Claire is practicing using a spoon. She actually got some cereal in her mouth
more photos on Flikr.

We had a bad night, a difficult morning but so far a good afternoon.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

a week of firsts

Check out the new photos on Flikr.sitting up

Claire learned to sit on her own this week. Her longest stint of sitting unsupported was 12 minutes.
She gnawed on her first celery stick.
She tried out a sippy cup for the first time.
She spend a few seconds in crawling position.

Other news:
Claire enjoyed spending time with both Nanu Book and Grandpa Hudson who were here helping us. (We are grateful for all their help!!)
Mark starts a new job tomorrow.
Claire goes to the pediatric dermatoligist Wed. regarding her itchy, dry skin.
On thurs Claire will be assessed by an Ocupational Therapist to determine if she could benefit from OT.
I am down to pumping 3X per day.

Congrats to Father Stephen Herney who is now officially our head pastor. God grant you many more joy filled years at St. Michael Church.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

a day with Mr. Mom

This week of time off between jobs has been a real joy for me to be able to spend more time with Claire. I still admire how Jen does it all so well and with such good cheer. Today was a great day in many respects. I took a walk with the baby in the new Ergo carrier during which she fell asleep. She is holding her bottle more and more by herself. Look, Ma! One hand!
happy girl took big feed
And she took a nice long nap, giving me time to assemble and install a kitchen cabinet and Mom time to go shopping. Then, when she woke up, she played happily, and took a big feed.
P.S. The emu oil arrived tonight and we tried it right after the bath. Here's hoping (and praying.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

health and travels

I had ups and downs all week with the mastitis and related issues but am finally back to normal. Thanks be to God.

We took a little road trip to Lompoc/Buelton/SantaBarbara and visited with Claire's grandparents and aunt, uncle and cousins. It was really nice to get away and to have some assistance in caring for Claire. We always enjoy spending time with family. Our trip didn't turn out exactly the way we'd planned it since I wasn't feeling well Friday and Saturday, thankfully everyone was flexible and graciously accomodated our needs. Claire is getting more and more interactive and has a good time studying faces and smiling at and batting at whoever is holding her.

Her skin has been severely itchy for weeks now and it has been affecting all of our sleep and stressing us all out... as of yesterday, Claire is taking oral meds again and it seems to already be helping with the itchiness.

I gotta run... I told myself I'd be in bed by 9pm.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Please pray for Jen

Jen had been struggling all week with some painful cracking and inflammation that pumping milk for the baby only made worse. Unfortunately it turned into a full-fledged infection Friday night, and she got very little sleep due to the discomfort which includes swollen lymph nodes. All day Saturday I have been on full-time baby duty as well as playing nurse. Thankfully we were able to contact the doctor and get a prescription called into the pharmacy for antibiotics.

Claire has been on her best behavior. Still a handful. :) I'm so proud of Claire with her progress in being able to sit up, and she also likes to "stand" if you hold her steady. I tried to take a picture, but only succeeded in letting her bump her head on the crib railing. Guess I better wait until Mom is well enough to assist.

I'm looking forward to celebrating Pascha in the morning, and hopefully Jen will have recovered enough to join us.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I got a most welcome 3 hour stint of sleep early this morning. I also got three naps today so I'm feeling more like myself.

Claire's new tooth is sharp! She was having fun chewing the spoon as I fed her cereal this evening.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

200 percent

It is taking abour 200% of my time and energy caring for Claire lately...hence the lack of blogging. She is still extremely itchy, not sleeping well and teething. Her first tooth broke through the gum Sunday night. I haven't slept any stints longer than two hours in about two weeks. I try to nap frequently but seem to have insomnia. Claire continues to take short 30-40 minute naps.

I purchased the ergo carrier online today. Our slings are of limited use now that Claire is a bit heavier (13lbs 11 oz as of today). This carrier is supposed to be great for kids up to 40 lbs.

I continue to pump milk but only 4 times in 24 hours which is much more manageable than my former schedule of 8 times a day.

Claire is doing a great job with rolling... front, back, and side. She loves playing on the exercise ball and will roll from front to back as I hold her on the ball.

We went to the cardiologist today and he says things look the same and that she doesn't need to come back till August.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Claire babble vid

Watch Claire babble:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

babbling conversation

Jen mentioned that Claire began babbling earlier this week, and at first it seemed merely a curiosity to me. Jen would prompt her with a repetitive sounds like "ba-ba-ba" and Claire would make that sound for awhile herself. For some reason she wouldn't do it for me though, and anyway, it seemed actually less interesting than some of the other sounds she has made over the months. Claire has been sometimes more and sometimes less vocal on and off over the months, and I remember being impressed by her saying "ag-ba" a couple months ago, although that was a "random" sound. Her "interactive" or social sounds and expressions have been her smiles and laughs.

This week has so busy for me at work that I usually return home after baby bedtime. So most of my interactions with Claire have been in the morning, when she hasn't been too chatty. And groggy midnight feeds of course, where I've been sternly instructed to not play with her lest she become riled up and not go back to sleep easily. So weekends have become especially treasured as extended times I get to spend with my daughter. And this morning was especially great. She awoke about 6:30 and got progressively louder until and I staggered into her room about 6:45, then settled down immediately after I picked her up.

Claire looked up at me and moved her mouth silently, which she has been doing for several weeks. I said "ba-ba-ba" to her and she said it back to me, which was a first that she responded to my saying it. Hey, this seemed fun, so I said "ma-ma-ma" and "da-da-da", both of which received appropriate responses. It came to me in a rush that I was having my first two-way conversation with my daughter, and it melted me with joy and pride. We then continued in the mellow morning routine of diaper, bottle, and her morning nap. Jen was "sleeping in" but I felt like telling someone about our "conversation" so I called my Mom. After catching up on pleasantries, I started to relate the little story about Claire "talking to me" but found myself choked up and unable to speak from emotion. This has happen to me several times before when telling stories about Claire. The events themselves are fairly commonplace, but as I begin to tell someone else, their significance hits me in light of Claire's early struggles as a preemie, and how all our expectations and hopes as new parents were challenged. I'll never forget the insensitive "bedside manner" that one of the neonatologist displayed to us while describing possible outcomes of Claires early, complicated arrival; and my indignant resolve to love our new daughter no matter what. All this to say that each of Claire's accomplishments has impressed me differently than I expect. All parents are pleased to see their children grow, but I often feel especially blessed as each passing milestone gives testimony to God's providence. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Respite at last

Been using more cloth diapers lately and it's going well. I just ordered and recieved some waterproof fabric in the mail to make diaper covers with. I read something recently that said most babies use 6000 diapers before they are potty trained. Yikes! At 20 something cents each, that's a pile of cash! the biggest challenge is getting the laundry folded and put away so that I can find them whenI need them.
We had the respite care person come for the first time today. She stayed 4 hours while I worked on getting organized...I'm still dealing with the aftermath of getting some new kitchen cabinets. The woman who came is 50ish and from Belize she has 6 children and several grandchildren and also does respite for a family with twins. She sang a few bible choruses that I learned in my childhood to Claire.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Babbling has Begun

Hurray! Clair has started saying "ma ma ma ma ba ba" etc.
It all started about 6:30 this morning. She was in her crib and I was pumping and we had a great conversation babbling back and forth.
The last two days have been unusual in that Claire has spent more time napping than usual and been unusually cranky right before each nap. I have been able to catch up of a few Z's... I especailly needed this today because I was up for 2 hours in the middle of the night. UGH!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Claire can do...

Claire loves standing now and is able to stand up straight and tall. She loves all the accolades we give her while standing too :). She also enjoys tummy time and will stay on her tummy for 10 mins or so. She can get up onto her elbows or hands from being flat on her bellly and when she is propped up on her elbows she can easily turn onto her back. She sometimes forgets this and tries to roll with her arms down and is thwarted. Claire has been reaching out for everything in sight and will roll and/or stretch her arm out to grasp whatever interests her. She is still fascinated by books and will pat the pages as I read to her. (Oops she got a tiny paper cut on her nuckle yesterday when I was reading a non-board book to her.) Yesterday she ate a whole 4 oz jar of apples and plums in one sitting. This is her largest non milk meal ever.

Claire had her well-baby visit on Thurs. She is now at 13 lbs. The Doctor is pleased with her rate of growth and healthiness. (She's gained more than 10 lbs since birth.) He said she can get allergy tests once she's a year old to see if there are foods that cause skin flare ups.

Out humidifier bit the dust so Mark got another one on the way home from work. It is totally silent which is nice.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More Laughs

Yesterday Claire started laughing when I repeated "ha" over and over. I think this is the first time she's laughed without being tickled or jiggled. She did it again for me this morning. Very fun.

Haven't had any more of those nice 90 minute naps the past few days. Shucks. She has been napping in her crib which is a change...She used to nap in the swing. We also instituted a bedtime routine:
1.dim lights and turn on soft music
2. change diaper, moisturize and put on PJ's
3. offer cereal
4. read a bedtime story
5. read evening prayers
6. Swaddle and rock if necessary then put in crib
So far (As of last Thursday) it works like a charm. It is nice to have her falling asleep in her crib. We read that this was possible, but in the past I tried it without success. Swaddling seems to be a necessity because of her itchiness.

She sat up without any support for about 5 seconds yesterday. This was her longest stint of sitting without help. She has also been enjoying standing on my lap.

She has also been getting up on her knees while on her tummy.

She has been playing with Cheerios and new blocksthe past few days and seems to be enjoying manipulating them. She hasn't figured out how to get any Joe's O's into her mouth yet. I'm interested in a less salty alternative to Cheerios/Trader Joes O's. Any ideas?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

NICU follow up

We went to Claire's first NICU followup clinic appointment this week. The Doctor and Nurse were both pleased to see how much progress Claire has made since her discharge from the NICU. The Ocupational Therapist who assessed her suggested getting some OT on a regular basis to make sure Claire keeps up with development of fine motor skills.

Claire has been taking bigger meals (4-6 oz) and having some longer naps (up to 90 mins). She also only eats twice during the night now instead of 3 times. We've had to swaddle her snugly to get her to sleep recently because she is restless from itchiness.

Green Clean came today. I didn't reach the goals I had set for myself two weeks ago for organization of the house. We did make some progress. We still haven't finished with the kitchen cabinet project, so we have a few boxes of kitchen items in the dining room and living room.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Claire's new meds seem to be helping. Her skin looks and feels much smoother. She is still itchy though. (She is not as bad as she was the other day but she did give herself a new scratch on the side of the head whenI turned my back while she was gloveless.)

We are all over our colds of last weekend.

Claire likes grabbing her toes and has mastered rolling from tummy to back. I think the physical therapy is helping her to develop these skills faster than she would on her own. I've been having fun with her on the big hot pink exercize ball between therapy sessions. She really like it too.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I decided to be brave and take Claire out in the car today as per her dad's suggestion. We were going to visit her dad for a cuppa in the afternoon and buy some supplies at the Pump Station but halfway there Claire was scratching and screaming so I pulled off the freeway, got her out of her carseat and soothed her. Next I readjusted the carseat straps and covered them and the buckle with an extra long-sleeved onesie, covered the carseat with a receiving blanket, cranked up the A/C, opened a window and drove back home. She fell asleep soon after I started up again. Whew!

We did go to the doctor yesterday for her RSV shot, and he also prescribed two things for her itchy skin: one oral and one topical which are already starting to help. But she is still itchy part of the time. A few days ago she rubbed one of her arms raw. It is starting to heal now. I just feel so bad for her. I've been wearing myself out tyring to keep her hands and head covered, her skin well-moisturized etc. I take off her mitts for playtime while I'm watching her and can distract her from scratching by handing her a toy. The Doctor said she may be allergic to something and asked if we changed laundry detergent or soap or my diet. I can't figure out what it might be.

We finally heard from Lanterman Regional Center about respite care again. Our coordinator re-refered us to an agency. (Last time the agency didn't have anyone available to work in our area and we were left out in the cold, so to speak.) It will be nice to have a few hours a week to take care of myself. I hope the scheduling will be flexible.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Claire Likes...

Claire likes...
baths, toys that make noise, mirrors, sitting up, solid foods of every vairety, being face to face, riding in the sling or stroller, music especially if her parent are singing it, swinging, sucking and gumming her fingers, fist or thumb, looking at books, holding onto straps/saftey belts, looking at her hands, grabbing her feet, making all kinds of noises...gurgling is the latest.

Claire and I did go to the La Leche meeting on Thursday and got there late and the meeting ended early. I'm still glad I went. I almost didn't go because right when I started packing Claire up she pooped and I had to change her and she threw a huge fit...this due to her itchy skin which feels worse when exposed to the air. Then I put her back in her car seat and she threw another screaming fit. I soothed her and put her back in and managed to finally pack up and leave with only minor fussing on her part, then on the way she was screaming again and scratching her arms agains the car-seat straps. I almost turned around and came home. I pulled over and thought about it and cried. I've been tring for months to go and here I was finally on my way to a meeting. In the end she fell asleep on the way...whew. The Ladies at the meeting were very encouraging. And I tried Claire at the breast whe we got home and she nursed for a minute or so. I've tried since and she only chomps and pulls. Oh well.

Mark, Claire and I all got colds so we stayed home and chilled out this weekend.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Productive Day

Besides having Claire's usual Wednesday appointments, I started sewing another diaper cover, loaded and ran the dishwasher, did two loads of laundry, took a short nap, washed dishes, put together a drawer for a cabinet we got at Ikea and made dinner. Whew! Now I'm exhausted. As soon as I'm done pumping, I'm going to bed. I hope to be asleep by 9:45.

Claire figured out how to roll from her tummy to her back. She did it multiple times today. She sometimes gets stuck because she forgets to move her arm out of the way and she'll push and push so I try to help her move her arm up out of the way. The Physical therapist gave her a real workout today working on sitting and rolling. Claire seemed to enjoy the challenge.

Claire was still a little runny nosed today and took one extra nap, but she seems okay otherwise...Oh, and she gnawed on her tongue so much that she made the tip raw.

Tomorrow morning is the La Leche meeting that I keep missing. Hopefully I'll remember to go.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cardiologist Today

We went to the Cardiologist today. We got him to print out a couple ultra sound Photos and to give us an EKG print out too. (One for you, Nina.)
He still says surgury to correct the valve and hole between the upper chambers will probably be necessary around age 2 or 3. He said the lower right chamber is larger than normal because it is handling nearly twice as much blood as it would in a normal heart. He also said her lungs have to work extra hard to compensate. Claire is six and a half months adjusted age, 12 and a half pounds, 24.25 inches. The Doctor says she's on track with weight gain and maybe a little ahead of the game with interactiveness/social development. She tried to help him with the stethescope and the ultrasound wand...very cute. I really like Dr. Burke, he seems to really love what he does and has a great rapport with Claire and us.

Prayer requests:
1. We are praying for God to close up the gap in her heart and fix her valve so she doesn't have to undergo surgery.
2. Claire has been extremely itchy the past couple days and mad about it. Her arms and ankles bother her the most and sometimes her ears and scalp. Her skin seems like it is doing a little better than a few days ago when it seemed to flare up. It especially bothers her when changing clothes or diapers and when she is in her carseat.
3. Claire has a stuffy nose and may be coming down with a cold. She's never had one before.
4. Wisdom for me managing pumping and knowing how long to continue. I believe Claire has been so healthy due in part to the breastmilk.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Great Grandma

Claire enjoyed visiting with her great grandma from Oklahoma this weekend. We drove up to Lompoc and Buelton had a nice visit with various family members.
I slept 5 hours straight on Saturday night...boy did that feel good. I woke up and pumped at 2:00 but slept the rest of the night while Nanna Pennie and Martin had their adventures with Claire downstairs.

On Sunday we drove Grandma down to LA and took her to Union Station where whe caught the train to go back home. We were glad we got to stop by our house and have lunch before she had to leave.

Speaking of our house...It is in a state of chaos because of the various projects we have going on. Mark took out a section of cabinets to install our dishwasher and the contents of these cabinets and the old cabinets are sitting in the dining room. Yesterday evening we purchased some replacement cabinets. it will be nice to get the Kitchen organized and hopefully a bit more user friendly.

Every day I'm home I struggle with time management. I think to myself, I need to have lunch but then I start puttering, I discover chicken in the fridge that needs to be cooked today so I make a marinade for it then I am torn between throwing the clothes in the dryer or feeding the cats.(I decide to do neither: I get involved unloading the dishwasher and rinsing dirty dishes..by this time I'm realy hungry and finally throw a noodle salad together and gobble it down. Claire has fallen asleep and I decide to try and nap...can't fall asleep so I get up and start the dryer...still haven't fed the cats... that's next. I used a seam ripper to take some defunct velcro off a bib soIi can replace it with some new iron-on velcro later. Now I want to catch up on reading blogs. (Last night I didn't sleep more than an hour at a time. I think Claire napped too much during the day so she kept waking up every hour or so during the night.)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Thing

Another thing she started doing the other day is clapping against my open palm. She seems to like doing anything that makes noise.

I can't keep up with milk production for this little piggy of mine. She is taking 4-5 ounces every 2.5 hours. Yesterday she took 6 ounces in the afternoon... a record, I think. This is good news. It seems like her growth has been relatively slow the past month or two (According to the doctor's scales.) She is now 12 lbs 3 oz. and 24 inches long. She has gained an average of an inch per month. She has been gaining a litle less than an ounce per day. She is a very active little girl, so I guess its no surprise that she is gaining a little slower since she expends so much energy playing.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

more laughter

The visit to the neurologist went well. She is pleased with Claire's progress. Claire has met several expected benchmarks....she transfers objects from one hand to the other. She tracks visually all the across her field of vision, and can hold her head up and look around when on her tummy.

Claire ate a lot today! She also napped well. I was sorry to waken her when we arrived in Westwood for her Doctor appt.

When we are playing on the floor she will look around at the various toys nearby and grab one and play with it and when she lets go she chooses another one. This afternoon she laughed when her dad kissed her cheek when we were waiting fot the doctor. He kissed it again and again and she laughed and laughed. Her laugh is music to my ears.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Back home

We are home again. Many thanks to my parents for all their help taking care of Claire (and things around our house) the last two weeks. It was great to spend time with Mark this weekend.
Claire does some new things:
She rolls from back to side and side to back. She like to put some weight on her feet and practice standing. She loves to sit up with support. She sometimes sticks her finger in her mouth when she's drinking from the bottle. She loves looking at books and like to help hold them, bat them, feel the pages and turn the pages. She has agreat time making noise with her lips (rasberries) That's all I can think of at the moment.

We had a visit from a substitute Physical Therapist. Today and Claire had a good time using the exeercize ball with her.

She napped really well today and I got a few snoozes in too! I wonder if this signals another growth spurt.

We visit the neurologist tommorrow.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

sewing project

My goal for today was to sew a diaper cover for Claire. (We use cloth diapers part time.) I printed out a free pattern I found online. I had to modify it to fit Claire. Then I cut it out and put the velcro in the wrong place! I think I can still make it work... We'll see. I didn't get started till around 4:30 pm. My mom had to run some errands so my dad and I took turns with Claire. He watched her while mom and I took a much needed nap. Hopefully I will be able to finish one cover and try it out to see if I should make more.

Claire downed an entire jar of peas this afternoon. This is the first time she finished a jar in one sitting. She seemed to really enjoy herself. She blew peas everywhere towards the end of the feed and was very proud of herself. She also wanted to help hold the jar and kept reaching for my hand. She also like to help the hand with the spoon in it. Even so, almost all of it got in the mouth and down the hatch.

The constipation problem is cleared up. Whew! Last night she woke up every two hours. (I don't think I can survive too many more nights like this... She's only had one good night since we got here.) (A good night means waking up twice during the night to eat.)

Helpful links:


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Today was an eventful day. Claire was uncomfortable due to constipation and woke up 5 times by the time I handed her off to her grandmother at 4:45 am. In the morning and early afternoon she had several painful stools that got progressively softer. (We've been giving her stewed prunes and prune juice to help.) Finally this evening she had a very soft one and seems to be done with the constipation whew! Besides that we had lunch with my Grandma- she brought over yummy beef soup. I got to take a long walk and work on a craft project and go shopping at Joann's Fabrics where I purchased some decent safety pins to replace our non-sharp 99 cent store ones.

The craft project consisted of painting on Tyvek which I want to use in cardmaking and bookmaking eventually. I bought dome fabric for sewing diaper covers from Joann's.

I'm planning to post some more pictures to Flikr once I'm done blogging.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

a few new photos

There are a few new photos on Flikr.

Something I've noticed about Claire recently is that when there are several toys nearby and she is playing on the floor she will grab one and play with it for a while then drop it and pick up another and try it out for a while. A few weeks ago she would usually only grasp a toy if you held it up to her hand. She especially likes shaking the fishy rattle that came with her tummy time surfboard and her silver rattle from great grandma. she plays them lie a tambourine tapping them agains her leg or belly.

Mark is stuck in California with no camera. Major yardwork today--stuff we'd been wanting to do since literally 3 years ago when we moved in.


Traveling with my parents the other day went really smoothly. Claire didn't seem to mind the trip at all. She slept a good deal but I also managed to engage her is some play time.

Friday was a mellow day. It snowed off and on all day. Now the landscape is covered in a white blanket. We spent most of it at my parent's house doing the usual... feeding, napping, playing, pumping. Claire's naps were short and her meals were smaller and closer together which unfortunately translated into her waking every two hours during the night. UGH! I slept in till 9:30 and didn't even hear my dad come in early this morning to get Claire.

Yesterday we made a quick trip to the health food store because I was out of multivitamins and we needed some grocery items. Several adoring fans in the store cooed at Claire and asked her age. I was carrying her in the Snuggli carrier. Then we went to great grandmas so mom could get her computer working. While we were there I got Claire laughing really loudly by first swooping in over and over and kissing her cheek and then her belly.

Before we left on Wed. the physical therapist got Claire to sit without support for several seconds!
She is also demonstrating the ability to roll from side to front and back to side. It looks like she will soon be able to roll any way she wants. She also demonstrates other mobility... scooting to the top of the crib and turning herself around like a clock hand on the floor.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Mark updated to the latest version on blogger.com. One result of this was that I couldn't log in this week. Now I'm back.

Green Clean is coming this morning and our house is more chaotic than usual. We still don't have everything put away after the delivery of the new fridge and we have extra people in the house.

My parents are here to rescue us. My dad is going to help Mark with a hydronic heating project and mom will help me with Claire and my to do list.

Friday, January 12, 2007


The Book parents arrived on the coldest day of the year. Hope we have enough blankets.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Domestic Hero

We decided to replace our decades-old refrigerator with a more energy efficient one and Fry's threw on a vacuum cleaner for free. How hilarious. It is one of the new bagless cyclone ones and Mark was so inspired that he vacuumed most of the house this evening. Go Markos! (He is, like his Uncle Jerry and our friend Gary, enthralled by these new machines.) I haven't had a chance to try it yet. The fridge arrives tomorrow.

Claire was awake for Communion today and didn't spit it out. Hurray. (This is different than her usual.) She wore her cute blue velour overalls from the Allens. She also fell asleep in the sling during luncheon which was nice. The service was especially nice since today we celebrated Epiphany and two of our catechumens were Chrismated.

There are new photos of Claire on Flikr. :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

slow start

I had big plans for this morning, mostly to do with tidying up around the house and doing some grocery shopping and food prep. I had to abandon all of the above because I woke up with multiple plugged ducts and Claire wasn't interested in nursing to help unplug them. She was busy dealing with her own issues. (Being constipated from iron in the multivities which I have been giving her more regularly lately.) Her issue and mine were resolved by about 1:30, so by 3:00 we packed up the family to go shopping for a more comfortable chair for the nursery. We found one we like at Plummers but I had to get back home to pump and there was a line to speak to a salesperson...maybe later.

Claire is really enjoying interacting with the toys she got for Christmas. She likes shaking them and batting them and discovering what nioses they make and how they feel in her mouth.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


The transition back to life at home after vacationing with family is a challenge. We went to Lompoc to visit Mark's Mom for New Year's Eve, so we've just been back a couple of days. We look forward to visits from my Folks and Mark's mom this month.

Adding to the challenge... we had to have a plumber over to replace a busted pipe which was apparently leaking while we were gone for the weekend. Thankfully the pipe in question was in the front yard and not inside the house.
gotta go. Claire calls.