Friday, March 30, 2007


yea, the tulips are blooming. This pot is especially sweet because it is on its second year so I didn't even have to do any work this past fall.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Silver Falls

Mac's mom and sister arrived today for a four day visit. Since the weather was so beautiful we took a day trip out to Silver Falls and took Liam on his first "hike." We only hiked the little loop at South Falls. Mac carried Megan in the backpack and I carried Liam in the Baby Bjorn - they certainly made the short jaunt more challenging, especially for Mac - Megan is quite a load!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


On the Sunday afternoon of the day that Liam was born, I was trying to get some of my vegetable seeds started in our grow lamp rigged out laundry room. I was in the process of soaking little individual peat pots when I started having a few contractions. At that point I still thought it was nothing, the so-called "false labor" at best. I jokingly said to Mac, "I'm going to be disappointed if I have this baby before I get my tomotoes planted." That pretty much sealed my fate; by the time the peat pots were fully hydrated and ready to plant, I was getting ready to go to the hospital. The tomatoes didn't get planted till almost a week after Liam got home. Ironically, the stuff I did get planted before Liam was born are the things I should have waited on, things that are ready to be planted now even though it is still a bit too cold for that just yet.

The gourds, cukes, annuals, and melons are all outgrowing their pots. And those puny little seedlings on the left are the peppers and eggplants, things I have always had trouble with and could use as much extra time as possible. Instead they got planted even later than the tomatoes. Well, there is always next year...

So yesterday, on the day Liam was supposed to be born, I got back to planting tomatoes. This time it was to transplant the seedlings to 1 gallon pots that will hang out in the greenhouse for several more weeks before arriving at their final destination in the pasture garden. Megan helps by adding inspirational chalk artwork to the greenhouse pavers and the pots.

I ended up with 6 'golden jubilee,' 6 'red lightning', 6 'siberian,' and 8 romas, which doesn't exactly make sense because I planted two twelve packs of peat discs so I don't know how I got 26 tomatoes (yes, I did recount) - free bonus pot in each pack maybe?? Who knows. Unfortunately, I never did get around to starting any cherry type tomatoes. I guess I'll have to pick up a couple of starts - an insignificant expense compared to Liam's $25,000 NICU bill!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Welcome, Liam!

Ok, just kidding. We welcomed Liam over five weeks ago, but today was his official due date. So as of now his adjusted age is no longer in negative numbers.

In just five weeks my scrawny meatless kid has become a chubby baby with a voracious appetite and a double chin (but still no butt!). Unfortunately, this means his perfect eating routine of every four hours has deteriorated over the past week into something more like every three hours, but I guess that still beats the every two hours of a typical newborn.

Liam seems to be a pretty mellow guy at this point. Of course, Megan was mellow as a baby, too, and now she is completely OCD.

On a sad note, my maternity leave is more than half over!

Friday, March 23, 2007

NOT Funny

Recently, Mac and I watched Borat. In it Sacha Baron Cohen, playing the dim-witted and uncivilized Borat, gets lessons from a humor coach (HC). In the scene, the humor coach is trying to teach Borat about the 'NOT' joke, and Borat continuously botches the delivery:

HC (pointing to Borat's grey suit): That suit is black...NOT!
Borat (pointing to the same suit): This suit is NOT black.

Like Borat, Megan has been trying to develop her sense of humor. While she will occasionally throw in a "silly" joke (put a bowl on her head, pull her hat over her eyes, clench her fork in her teeth and wiggle it up and down) most of Megan's humor plays out like a badly delivered 'NOT' joke.

Megan loves to ask questions that she knows are definitely wrong and she thinks this is funny. For example, Megan will pick up the giraffe puzzle piece, stick it in the elephant's spot, and ask with a big smile and a twinkle in her eye,"Does it go there?" Megan can do this eight piece zoo puzzle in under a minute, so she obviously knows where the pieces go. If you answer in the negative, Megan will move on to the next wrong hole and ask again (still beaming),"Does it go there?" If you take the bait and answer in that the giraffe does indeed go in the parrot spot, Megan will enthusiastically exclaim,"No, it goes here!" and show you the right spot with a laugh.

Megan also now turns our quizzes into these little distorted 'NOT' jokes, too. When I asked Megan (who was scribbling away with a GREEN marker) what color she was using, Megan turned the tables: "Is it... YELLOW?" she asked me. I egged her on,"Yep, I think it is YELLOW." Megan was delighted to deliver the punch line: "NO!! It's GREEN!!"

I tell you, she is hilarious...NOT!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


My parents took Megan up to visit my sister and Cousin Brooke for a couple of days. You wouldn't believe how quiet things are around here! We are using the free time to work on that awful wallpaper stripping project we were going to get done before Liam was born (ha,ha).

This is the only picture I have of the three cousins together: Liam 1 month, Brooke 5 months, Megan 2 years. We just plopped Liam down next to the other two who were already on the floor.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Weigh to Go

Liam is up to 7 pounds, 1.5 ounces! He's gained 1 pound, 3 ounces in the last two weeks - enough to be done with weekly weigh-ins! The next appointment isn't until the two-month well check-up, just like all the regular kids!

Liam is close to being "term;" his due date is next Tuesday. I find myself in mental confusion deciding where exactly to peg my kid.

When somebody asked me how old Liam was today, I answered,"he's four weeks old, but he was five weeks early." I felt kind of dumb for saying that, like the lady who asked might be thinking," OK, freak, too much information," and yet, it seemed to be a good explaination of Liam's situation.

I also find myself grappling with the question of whether age is developmental or whether age is experience. For example it takes most newborns about a month to develop a circadian rhythm. Is this because it takes the supraoptic nucleus ten months after conception to mature of does it take this brain sensor a month of days and nights to learn the difference between the two?

Similarly, I know that the eyes must see in order to develop properly. In one seemingly cruel experiment, kittens were raised in an environment with only vertical lines. They were put in special head cones to keep them from even seeing the horizontal lines of their own body. When they became adults they were put in normal environments and had extreme difficulty perceiving horizontal elements (like they would fall down stairs, and off the edges of tables). It seems that their brain never learned to see these things. So now that Liam's brain has had a month to"learn" to see, should he be seeing like a one month old? Or are his visual pathways still to immature to even allow his brain to learn these things yet?

I know not to be overly concerned when Liam spends most of his waking time staring at the walls, but I still feel like it would be nice to know what to expect. Should he be starting to look at more interesting things, or does he have another month of wall staring?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


My sister was down visiting with her family for the past few days. While she was here, she decide d to take it upon herself to organize our biohazard storage site (aka freezer) after Mac complained you couldn't open the door without getting nailed by a brick of breast milk. Here's the cache of "Boob cubes" after just a month! Meanwhile we've been eating a lot of frozen food - we need more room!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

One Month

While February is a runt of a month, as the calendar goes, Liam is one month old today (4 weeks).

Happy Birthday, Uncle Roger!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patty's Day

Today is the day I had selected as The Perfect Day to Give Birth Day. Ha ha ha.

Instead we drank green beer and played a little badminton, where I proved myself as the weakest link. Let's pretend that's because I am still recovering from surgery.

The spectators set up their lawn chairs in order to take in the match and some of the beautiful spring weather. Liam found our play quite dull and was soon fast asleep. Megan, on the other hand, found the whole thing quite exciting and threw fits until we gave her a racquet, too.

Happy Birthday Aunt Minnie!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Tough Competition

As of Tuesday, there's another Liam in the world, only this one's the heir to billions of dollars. Not exactly the person I'd choose for my son to share a name with, but it might help my family to accept that 'Liam' is actually a name.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sleepless in Salem

Nobody'd be surprised when the parents of a three week old complain about not getting enough sleep. The thing is, we aren't complaining about Liam. Megan has been the problem, waking up a couple of times each night- times that, of course, don't correspond to the same times that Liam wakes up.

Last night Liam was up at 2 and 6; Megan was up at 3:30 and 6:30 and then up for good at 7:15.

We are trying different things - reassurance, tough love, careful explaination - so far none seem to be doing much to help. We borrowed a book on how to get older children to sleep better, but we have been too tired to read it just yet. So far we are opting for segregation: Boys on the bottom floor; girls on the top. But things are getting out of hand: In the last week we've used six different rooms in our house for sleeping. So far we haven't found the "dream" arrangement.

Mac has threatened to get out the baby gate tonight to block Megan's door; I don't think it will help, because mostly Megan just yells from her bed anyway. And if she is screaming at the gate, it certainly won't be less annoying. In fact, she'll probably be more pissed and screaming more.

Until things get worked out, we'll be drinking extra coffee!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Today I completed a whole batch of birth announcements for Liam. In them I included a line that said,"No gifts please; Liam's good health is the best gift we could ask for!"

After revieweing one of the cards, Mac informed me, "That's tacky! If people want to send you a gift, they are going to anyway."

"Fine. But most people think you are supposed to send a gift whenever you get any kind of announcement. It seems like it is more tacky to send announcements to people if it looks like I am just trying to get them to send a gift. I mean, pretty much everybody already knows I had a baby!"

"Yeah, so why are you sending them?"

It's a good question. I am not sure exactly. But I guess it is because not all my friends and family read the blog, and I want them to be able to see Liam; Because the internet seems ephemeral to me and I want to mark my son's birth with something more tangible, something more permanent; Because I did it for Megan and I don't want to fall short with my second child; and Because deep down, I am still a traditional girl at heart.

In the final batch I omitted the "no gifts" phrase. Maybe it was inappropriate. But I am still hoping nobody sends a gift just because they got an announcement.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Liam went back to the doctor today: 5 pounds 14.5 ounces! Look at our little munchkin grow. My favorite part of the visit was the part where they filled out the percentile form for me to take home. Of course, these percentiles mean nothing since Liam isn't even full term yet, but I still think they are funny:

Height: 20 inches (20th percentile)
Head Circ: 34.2 cm (8th percentile)
Weight: 5 lb, 14.5 oz (0th percentile; yes, they actually wrote that on my form!)

Meanwhile, I broke the 120 pound mark today (that's on the way down, NOT up!) AND I wore a pair of non-maternity pants! Sure they were my "fat" pants, but that's not the point! The point is that I am finally getting the weight off after a slow start (I only weighed 8 pounds less after my c-section! I know that was artificially low because I got at least 4 liters of fluids, but still, Liam was almost 6 pounds alone!).

And then the "Anti-progress:" That would be Megan. Megan was a super sleeper as a baby. She still woke up about once a night till she was one, but then she became a sleeper CHAMP! We'd read stories, put her in bed, and then not hear from her again for 12 hours, typically this was around 8 am. We sometimes had to wake Megan up in order to get to 9 am classes. But not any more. In the last few days Megan developed a fear of the dark; we put a nightlight in her room. Not good enough- Megan wanted somebody to sleep with her. We had a couple of tearful standoffs, before reaching an agreement: we'd lay in bed with her and sing 3 songs and then leave. She was Ok with this, as long as we left her with a cup of milk. Hopefully, this is a temporary adjustment period.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Having a new son who is home and healthy is, of course, a priceless blessing. That being said, here are the staggering estimates from Liam's and my hospital care:

According to Salem Hospital, an unscheduled C-section with a three day stay runs around $9,152 (that's $600 bucks more than a scheduled c-section!). I stayed for four days; the extra day cost $1,252.

The medical journal Pediatrics estimates that the average per diem cost for special care nursery (NICU) stay to be $1,250. But this is a national figure; care in the Pacific NW is more expensive than most of the country. And if Salem hospital is saying that my very routine extra day costs $1,252, I can guarantee that Intensive Care is going to be a lot more. Liam spent ten days in the NICU before coming home.

All of these price quotes could lead to a discussion about the amount of waste in medicine, but instead I'd like to give kudos to Salem Hospital, and especially the NICU. With the exception of one nurse, Mac and I were extremely satisfied with Liam's care and mine, too, for that matter. People were caring and knowledgeable. They took care of everything and went out of their way to keep us informed. Some of the NICU nurses stopped by to check on Liam even when they were assigned other patients for the day.

My surgery was performed by an OB doc I had never met and knew very little about. Though the surgery was rough (as most emergency C-sections are), the outcome was as good as it could be and my neat little row of sub-cutaneous stitches were absolutely beautiful. (sub-cutaneous stitches are well known to cause the least irritation and have the best cosmetic outcome, but they take a lot longer to put in, which is why staples, regular stitches and tape are more popular closing methods. I don't know if the sub-Q stitches are Dr. W's standard or if they were a professional courtesy).

Needless to say, we will be paying every cent of our deductible this year, but in the end, we'll be happy to do it.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Big Sister

Megan seems to be adjusting to the roll of big sister quite well. After working out all the academic problems ("who's in the tummy now?" and "La, la, la, Liam is for 'L'"), Megan has just incorporated all of Liam's actions into her already never-ending commentary on the day's events.

She is still finding plenty of time to goof off.

Plus Liam's arrival presented the opportunity for a new activity: Bottle washing! Megan played in the sink with Liam's bottles for over an hour this morning. Both Megan and the bottles were quite clean by the time she was done!

About half-way through this got really serious and Megan insisted on removing all of her clothes. I think the chills are the only thing that got her out!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Preemie Parenting

After three days of having Liam at home, we are realizing that the goal for parenting a preemie is the exact opposite of the goal for parenting a full-term. You see, we never worried about how much Megan was eating. In fact, when we first brought her home she was waking up every two hours or so to eat. Our main concern was how to get her to SLEEP. But for Liam, our main concern is getting him to EAT. We sometimes have to wake him up just to eat. And then we practically force feed him a huge amount of food (2-3% of his body weight every 4 hours!). But it seems to be working. Our little prize fighter weighed in at 5 lb 10.5 oz at today's weigh-in, for a three and a half ounce weight gain in three days. He is right on track to regain his birthweight by the two week goal, which is Sunday. We go for a re-weigh on Tuesday.