Archive for October, 2008

Pix, finally!

New pix are up here!

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Video!

I’m currently working on getting pictures uploaded (something that I’ve been working on since yesterday, so I can’t promise on a time), but I didn’t want to deny anyone the pleasure of the video I caught this afternoon.  :-)

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Three days old!

We’re home!!!  A bit of a rough morning for our girl (they discharged us right at the time for her morning feeding and they kind of needed our space, so she didn’t eat until an hour past when she would have and as a result, wore herself out crying, making her too tired to eat much or sleep much.  Finally got a partially decent meal into her and she’s been sacked out on my chest for an hour and a half.  I’m not even going to try to move her—we’re going to indulge her for a week or until we’re sure she’s adjusted to non-hospital life.  I’m typing this one-handed because babies don’t make a great laptop rests, not even ones that are perfect in every other way.  ;-)

Everything went mostly smoothly with the discharge.  She flunked her carseat test—something they do for preemies and babies that have spent time in the NICU—meaning that when they got her all strapped in, her blood oxygen levels dropped too much to make it safe or that she was having apneic episodes.  This is common enough in babies that have had birth trauma of some sort that they make a carseat called a car bed, which just means she lies flat in it, rather that folded like in a normal carseat.  Luckily the hospital rents these so that we’re not making yet another purchase.  She’ll retest with the pediatrician in a couple of weeks and see if she passes her test then and can ride in her normal infant seat.

Anyway, that’s all the news from here.  Pictures…  later?  Maybe?  My brain’s pretty fuzzy with tired, so I think I’m going to put off anything that mentally taxing for a bit.  Those of you that have called, I promise to try to get back to you tomorrow.  We’re just going to hang around tonight and try to get settled in, and my phone is still packed in a bag somewhere anyway.

Big hugs from us all!

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Sunday afternoon

Hi all,

Our little girl is one day old as of right now!

We’re still at the hospital and will be until tomorrow.  They’re being nice enough to let us stay overnight—“nice” and “staying in the hospital overnight” being two phrases I never thought would come together in my writing!

Anyway, she had a difficult last bit of her delivery and swallowed and inhaled quite a bit of blood from a partial placental tear, which also meant that she didn’t get as much blood as she needed before they cut the cord.  In addition, the cord was wrapped so tightly around her neck when she was born that they almost couldn’t get her out, so they had to cut it immediately and she didn’t get a chance to get a last shot of blood.  As a result, she went into shock right after her birth and they had to take her to the NICU.  Luckily, Daddy got to carry her over there and stay with her while they did their work.  Her blood volume is low and can’t carry all the oxygen she needs to the rest of her body, resulting in low oxygen saturation of her blood.  She’s been on oxygen since about 6:00 last night when her sat really started to drop, and then on IV fluids to keep her hydrated and help build her blood volumes so that her oxygen sat will improve.  She can go home when she can prove that she can do various activities (eating, being stimulated, sleeping) without the extra oxygen, and when she can prove that she can keep her blood glucose levels up without the extra IV fluids.  We’re hoping this will be late tomorrow or early Tuesday, but it’s all up to her, really.  As much as we hate that she has to stay here, we want to take home the healthiest Annie we can get.

She’s nursed a couple times, and the last time they didn’t give her any extra (IV) supplementation afterwards.  They’re going to test her blood glucose levels to determine if she’ll need the extra supplementation for the next feeding, and if not, she’ll be in the home stretch on that front.  She had a bit of a busy afternoon with an attempted feeding and some visitors, and it caused her to backslide a bit on her oxygen sat, so now we’re working on that.  It’s a matter of keeping her stimulation down and letting her sleep between feedings.

Colin and I are fine, if not tired.  I’m either pumping or feeding every three hours, so as with all new parents, we’re a little short on sleep.  We’re very lucky, though, that we get to stay here—if I had to leave my little Annie here, I probably wouldn’t get any sleep.

Anyway, we’ll get more pictures up eventually, since I know that’s what you all want.  :-)  Hugs to you all from the three of us, and thanks for reading!

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More Annie pix!

Annie and Kristie having a good snuggle

Annie and Kristie having a good snuggle

Annie wearing her custom-knit sock monkey hat.

Annie wearing her custom-knit sock monkey hat.

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Annie Joy Walker

Welcome Annie Joy Walker

Born October 25, 2008, 4:30pm
6 lb. 15 oz / 19″ tall

Our little Annie

Our little Annie

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Update

5-6cm dilated, 100% effaced, baby’s dropping… goal 10cm, 1cm/hour typical progress.  We’re getting there!

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Sprocket is on the way!

Watch this space for periodic updates on Sprocket.  I will be updating throughout labor.

Whenever I can… I wrote that before Kristie had a few contractions.  :-)  We are at the hospital, and will be meeting Sprocket soon (we hope).

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As vacations with just the two of us will be a forgotten thing for a long while now, we decided that we needed to take one last vacation before the Sprox shows up. So we headed up to Orcas (pronounced OR-kiss) Island, not too far north of us, in the Straight of Juan de Fuca.

The largest of the islands in the San Juan archipelago physically, it has the second-largest population—a whopping 5000-odd souls. However, it’s not your typical small-town mix—according to something I read, 40% of the residents have college degrees, and fewer than 5% didn’t graduate from high school. As of 2006, 18% of islanders had an income of over $100,000. Living there is pretty pricey, and not just because it’s on an island. Because I’m a big dork, I also looked up figures on the school system. Shaw Island, the smallest island served by the ferries and with a population of under 300 people, has a single K-8 school with only 12 full-time students as of 2007. Lopez Island, with a population of 2300 people, had a K-12 enrollment of 240 in 2007. San Juan, the largest island population-wise (8000ish), had a public school enrollment of 903, and Orcas had a K-12 enrollment of 414. Several of the smaller outlying islands not served by ferries had tiny K-8 public schools as well, and one island’s school was closed due to lack of enrollment. Given that the middle school I teach (taught) at had 1200 kids in three grades, I find this small school thing fascinating.

Anyway, enough about education and population. Let’s talk about the vacation part of things.

Day 1 [Map]:
We had several things to do before we could leave the house on Thursday. Colin took the car for an oil change (the last time I was there, the dealer was trying to sell me some 15,000 mile service, and since I never know what the car really needs, I told Colin he could deal with it) and I finished packing and wrote instructions for my brother to deal with the cats. Since the first couple of days we would be staying in a rental cabin, I decided to pack us some food—oatmeal fixin’s for breakfast and popcorn, pudding, tea, cocoa, and cider for the evenings. Colin got back and we loaded the car and hit the road.

First stop was actually the barbershop—Colin wanted a haircut and hadn’t had time to get one. While he did that, I ran up to the library to get a book I had on hold. Because I was feeling slightly nauseous, I stopped at Burger King to grab some protein, at which point I discovered that their value menu onion rings only have four tiny rings. Whee. Went back to pick up the freshly-shorn Colin, and then we really were off.

Headed up the freeway for points North; the Anacortes ferry dock, to be exact. For those of you that have never visited the Puget Sound, basically it’s a large inland waterway dotted with islands both large and small and connected by ferries, which are actually part of the Washington State highway system. Where you want to go determines where you need to leave from, and the ferries will take you all over the place and even have a couple of routes to Canada. I can now check another ferry terminal off of my mental ferry map—I’d never left from the Anacortes dock before. It was bigger than the Port Townsend and Whidbey docks; probably about the size of Edmonds. Because the route we were on had so many destinations, loading was a bit different than the usual “line ‘em up and move ‘em on”—they put us in queues based on our destination, and each section of the ferry got off at a different place. I would imagine this has taken some practice to plan, as it’d probably be bad if, say, one whole side of the boat got off at the first stop, leaving the other side of the boat listing. The ferry crew was flawless, but after a while, we decided that the driver must be new. We had a few interesting moments, like when he backed out of the slip at Lopez but cranked the wheel in the wrong direction (or something) and when he reversed engines so that we were going forward, we were pointing the wrong direction. A few cranks of the wheel and another reverse/forward engines maneuver and we were off again, but it was amusing. Then when we went to pull into the slip at Shaw, he cut his engines so that we could drift in… but again he was a little off on the pointing thing, and we were pointed at the side of the slip, rather than into it. Another reverse/forward move and that too was accomplished, but by this time we were running about 15 minutes late.

That was okay, though, because we didn’t have anywhere to be. We made it to Orcas in one piece, got off the boat, and followed the line of traffic up the island to the main village, Eastsound.

Stopped at the market there (there are no chain stores on Orcas) to pick up something to heat up for dinner, milk, and french toast fixin’s for breakfast Saturday and then headed down the other side of the island to our rental cottage, making it there about 15 minutes after the scheduled check-in time. The owner showed us our cabin, which was lovely.

We didn’t even unload the car at that point, because we wanted to watch the VP debate. During this, Colin cooked (well, heated) dinner and lit a fire in the woodstove. After it was over we brought our stuff in, watched TV, and relaxed. It was lovely.

Day 2 [Map]:
Because I’m up at 7 every morning, yesterday was no exception. The nice thing was that after the obligatory bathroom stop and a banana for a snack (during which I watched a spectacular sunrise that I somehow failed to get a picture of), I went back to bed and slept until 8:30. Heaven! I spent a lot of time futzing around on the computer, knitted a bit, and made some oatmeal (Trader Joe’s has a mix of dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries, golden raisins, and regular raisins that is FANTASTIC in oatmeal!) while I waited for Colin to get up. We then proceeded to spend a nice lazy morning on our own pursuits (okay, we were both on the computer—C was reading the paper and I was plotting our first day’s track on Google Maps) during which time it started to drip a bit outside. I love this kind of weather when I’m up north like this, I really do. We’d decided yesterday that Friday would be low-key and we’d play it by ear. Saturday would be, by necessity, a little more structured, since we had to check out of our rental cabin by 10am and couldn’t check into the B&B we’d be staying at until 3pm. I therefore got to spend my Friday morning futzing on the internet while curled up on the window seat listening to the waves hit the beach outside the window and watching the dripping outside.

Kayakers going past our window

I think someone from the Set Design department left a sailboat outside our window… How else could it be so perfect?

The way the cabin sat above the water made me feel like we were on a boat.

Colin in the living room.

We finally decided to get going around noonish, knowing that we wanted to check out the main village in the town. On the way there (about a 25 minute drive), we stopped in the hamlet (there’s no other word to describe it, really) of Olga to get coffee for Colin at the cute little store, right across from the cute little (tiny!) post office. We were definitely the outsiders in the store—the rest of the clientele were several older people sitting around tables, drinking coffee, and (from what I could tell) discussing the previous night’s debate.

From there we took a bit of a drive, headed into Eastsound, parked, and spent a few hours wandering. Hit the bookstore, of course, but I managed to get away without buying anything (go me!) Hit a VERY nice chocolates place and picked up a handful of truffles in unusual flavors. I ended up with a cappuccino, a milk chocolate dipped caramel topped with sea salt (which I was assured was a delectable combination, and given that this is the third time this week I’ve read about chocolate and salt combined, I figured I’d try) and something that’s 65% Madagascar cacao. By the time we got to the yarn store, it was (alas) closed, so no luck there. Maybe it’s just because of the time of year, but it’s open 10-3 five days a week. Nice work if you can get it. :-p

Headed back to the cabin around 3:30 so that I could catch a nap. Had a lovely nap, woke up lazily, and we headed out for dinner at The Inn at Ship Bay, a place one of Colin’s coworkers had recommended. Food was fine, but there wasn’t a ton of it for the price and the service was slllooooooooowwww (45 minutes from the time we ordered our entrees until the time we got it). I think part of it was that we had a new waitress. How could we tell? She read the specials to us off a notepad, and when Colin asked what wines they had by the glass, she provided him with a scribbled sheet torn from the aforementioned pad. All in all, though, it was a nice dinner, just not necessarily for the price. C’est la vie. Live and learn.

Got home from dinner at 9ish to discover that although we had satellite TV, we didn’t get any network stations, which therefore meant that we (well, I really) was going to miss the season premiere of Numb3rs, the only show I really watch. Strangely, (maybe it’s the relaxed vacation thing), this didn’t bother me. We watched the Angels game until they decided to lose, and then turned on The Simpsons Movie, a Netflix we brought with us after having for an embarrassingly long time. Loved it. Got to bed around midnight, and life was good.

I did have to laugh—I’d changed my Facebook status to mention something about being on vacation, and one of my former students posted something like, “but you’re not teaching—haven’t you been on vacation?” I told him to ask his mom how being at home was different than being on vacation where someone else cooks and cleans, and get back to me with her answer. :-) (His mom is a para at my school, so I know her pretty well.)

Day 3 [Map]:
Colin’s cell phone alarm went off at 7:45, which means that neither of us woke up properly until 8:15ish. We’d decided that we wanted to be on the road by 9:45 so that we could catch the 10:45 ferry over to San Juan Island. We packed up, as we’d be staying at a B&B for the remainder of the trip, and hit the road after a quick walk on the private beach below our cabin. Got to the ferry in plenty of time to walk on (interisland travel for walk-ons is free, yay!) and had a pleasant journey over. The captain was more experienced than the one on Thursday, thank goodness, but he did get a little grief from the deck crew—apparently while the boat was loading, he ran over to the little store next to the ferry dock, and got back a couple of minutes late. Colin said he was carrying something that looked like lunch in a paper sack. Like we’ve said several times this weekend, though: time is relatively irrelevant—we’re on vacation.

It was a nice ferry ride, but quite windy, even for a ferry. I had to put my hat in my bag.

We got to Friday Harbor in a timely fashion and proceeded to stroll around the town.

Ferry dock

We had a nice wander around town. Hit a couple of galleries, hit a couple of junk shops, and got some Christmas shopping done. One of the things we usually end up doing on our various vacations is hitting the museums wherever we happen to be. Since we know this will happen much less frequently with a Sprocket in tow, we made sure to hit one on this trip too. We ended up at the Whale Museum. It was a nice little museum mostly about the local orca pods, and had some fascinating displays. Fun stuff.

On the way back to the ferry dock to catch our ferry back to Orcas, we needed to grab some lunch. I’d seen a fish and chips place earlier, and we figured we could just grab and go. It was your typical small-town little greasy joint, but the smell of the food… oh, that smell. We got it just in time and walked right onto the ferry to eat. Fries were perfect and my clams were perfect. Life was good.

When we got back to Orcas, we checked into the B&B. Cute place, wireless internet and satellite TV, pretty darned good chocolate chip cookies, and more hot water in the shower than the cabin we’d stayed at, which was a nice plus for me. ;-) We relaxed for a bit (I had a bit of a doze) and then we went to hunt up dinner. The B&B host had suggested a restaurant not too far from where we were staying, which was nice because going back into town required going on winding narrow roads through the state park. Also (I don’t think I’ve mentioned this), because the island has no natural predators larger than a raccoon, there is a pretty healthy deer population. Our sightings thus far had been limited to seeing them graze by the side of the road, but neither of us fancied hitting one while driving through unfamiliar roads in the dark. Coming back from dinner the previous night had been a double adventure—not only had it been dark, but foggy. So we ended up at the Doe Bay Cafe.

One thing we’d noticed the night before at dinner is that while the menu had some standard-sounding selections, those selections tended to be made with interesting ingredient combos. For instance, my scallops had come with leeks, not something I eat on a regular basis. The Doe Bay Cafe didn’t seem to be any different, and while the small menu had some “normal” (for lack of a better word) sounding dishes, they came with interesting combinations of ingredients. Upon reflection, I think that some of this was chef creativity (or over-creativity) and some of it was realistic—because of shipping costs, stuff on-island costs quite a bit more than on the mainland. We’d noticed this the first day while we were in the grocery store. The ingredients in both of our dinners (Friday night and Saturday night) were primarily locally-harvested—the leeks and other veggies that went with my local scallops on Friday, and the veggies in my risotto on Saturday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the plums in the plum sauce were local too. What it added up to were some interesting flavors, and if nothing else, it showed me how limited my palate is. Having said that, I must just be pathetic, because I think I got more enjoyment out of the clams and chips I’d had for lunch. However, the restaurant was delightful and mostly peaceful, and it was a relaxing evening.

I was feeling… off… by then, though. Since then I’ve realized that the pregnancy nausea has returned, but that was really the front end of it, so it took me by surprise. We got back to the B&B and I hopped in the shower for a good long soak that was as hot as I could have wished it. Crawled into bed and we watched Ocean’s Eleven from the B&B’s collection, and then I think I crashed.

Day 4 [Same map as Day 2, mostly]:
We (well, Colin—I was up by 6:30) slept in and had a bit of a lazy morning. Breakfast at the B&B was served from 8-10am, and I think we made it downstairs right about 9:30. Colin had a yummy-looking smoked salmon omelet and I had plain scrambled eggs with cheese and consumed my weight in fruit. Good stuff. Happily enough, we had no particular plans for the day other than to go to church at 12:30. I think I dozed a bit again after breakfast to make up for my lack of sleep the night before, and then we headed out.

Church was an interesting experience. We often try to go to church wherever we are on vacation—apart from the worship, it’s an interesting way to get to see the community. The Lutheran Church of the San Juans was definitely one of the most memorable. It’s one congregation, but because of the small population, it’s split into three parts, each meeting on a different island. Apparently, for Sunday services, the pastor is flown from island to island on a charter plane; however, in an attempt to cut costs, the Orcas branch decided they would only have him come 2-3 Sundays a month. My mom tells me this is common in small rural congregations in the Midwest and elsewhere. We happened to be there on a non-pastor Sunday. The service was held in a really neat Episcopal church building that’s over 120 years old. That was fascinating enough, but the service was even more so—there were only eight people there. Yes, eight. That was counting Colin and I and the pianist. It was a neat service and a really friendly group of people; although all of them were over 60 (well over, in a few cases), we ended up sitting at a table in the community room and chatting for a half-hour after the service, until the (Episcopal) funeral that was about to start in the sanctuary hastened our departure. Colin and I wandered a bit (I think) and then headed back to the B&B again so that Colin could do homework and I could nap.

We’d decided dinner would be at the only pizza joint in town. However, when we got there, we discovered that there was some sort of club meeting going on, and it took up every table (this is not saying much—the place was pretty small). Who’da thunk you’d need reservations at a pizza parlor. It was too bad, too—it smelled great in there. We ended up wandering across the street to a Mexican joint, and again experienced the standard-not-standard food that we’d had twice before on the island. I ordered a chalupa, and it came topped with olives and guacamole… and fresh shredded carrots and red cabbage (amusingly enough, I don’t really care for red cabbage, but dinner all three nights had come with it). The Spanish rice that came with it was made with brown rice and had a really interesting flavor. Colin’s chicken and mole came with white rice instead of Spanish, and the mole sauce had a broth-y texture to it, rather than a thick sauce-y one. Both meals were tasty, just… different.

Then again it was back to the B&B, where Colin did HW, I futzed around on the internet and read, and then we watched Friday’s Numb3rs episode. We managed to get to bed by 11ish, which was really nice after a few late nights.

Day 5 [Map]:
Time to think about returning to civilization. Alas. Breakfast was killer waffles, and I again consumed my weight in fruit. There were a few other couples at the B&B, and breakfast conversation was lively. We got back upstairs and vegged a bit before packing and heading out. The ferry wasn’t until almost 2, but we wanted to take a drive up to Mt. Constitution. One of the women at breakfast had told us to dress warm as it was quite chilly, and I’m glad I listened. Still could have used a hat, but the extra sweatshirt helped. The view was gorgeous, even with the cloudy and misty day. There’s an observation tower at the top that was built by the CCC during the depression (as were most of the trails/roads in the park) and supposedly it’s patterned after a medieval fortress (having never seen one in person, I couldn’t tell you how accurate it is). I loved it.

The door to one of the rooms in the turret.

There was a neat interpretive display about the park’s history.

I don’t remember what direction we were pointing, but it sure was pretty. Heck, everywhere we pointed was pretty.

The view from one of the windows. I suppose if it were a fortress and you were locked up in it, there could be worse views to have.

Colin managed to get a GREAT shot of the exterior, not easy considering its size and the fact that there’s a huge communications antenna right behind it.

A random picture of a cute guy and a fat chick.

The aforementioned communications tower. Way to ruin the medieval ambiance.

And then… we headed for the ferry and home. On the way we stopped (again) at a farm which sold hand-spun yarn, and Colin indulged me. Got some VERY yummy stuff, including what might be the most buttery-soft alpaca I’ve ever touched. Ahhhh.

But… all good things must come to an end. Even a great great great vacation. So we got onto the ferry (I slept in the car) and headed home.

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