Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cool little web app

Look what I did using my post with Ru's 3 month stats and a cool little java app called Wordle.

Fun, huh? Kinda small and hard to read on here, but go play with it and see what yours looks like full screen or printed. :)

Update, I looked closer and I can post a link to mine nice and big--just click on the little image and it will take you there.

A day at the beach (or the camping trip that wasn't)

Our church has a camp out once a year, traditionally at South Beach in Newport, but this time we tried out Nehalem Bay (just north of Tillamook). We were fully intending to take Ru on her first camping trip, leaving friday night and getting home Sunday.

However, Brian got a call Thursday at work from Julie at church--could he run the sound that night for our VBS program? So we didn't get the van packed up and ready to go until after he got home from work Friday. It was after dark and we weren't familiar with the area, so we decided to wait until morning to leave.

We didn't leave until around 8:30, and we travelled down some seriously windy little roads good ol' google maps sent us down. (for future reference, take 26 to 101 and then head south. Hwy 53 is just a paved goat track...) We got there around 11 and Brian set up the tent and made us lunch while I fed Ruthie.

We were in charge of the sand sculpting contest (thank goodness I can say with a little help from our friends, the Hyltons ended up doing most of the work!) So we wandered around and said hi to folks, then headed to the beach for the start at 2. It was REALLY REALLY windy. You can't really take pictures of wind, but this sculpture was completed less than an hour before this pic was taken.

I guess you can kinda see Susan's white head wrap flapping in the breeze, too. With her italian skin tone and the way she covered herself to protect from the blowing sand, she could have passed for a Muslim woman in the middle eastern desert. ;)

Ru and I bundled up, too! It wasn't particularly warm even back at camp where there wasn't any wind, so we knew to make sure we kept her warm. She is wearing a double layered flannel sleeper, and a sweatshirt type hoodie with a sun hat to protect her face. I'm wearing a tank top. Then I put on my wrap and put her in it, adding three layers of t-shirt type fabric to her, and about one to me. I put my warm jacket on over that so I could zip it over her if needed, and my beat up old dragon hat that Brian bought for me back when we were dating to keep my ears warm. Here we are:

Brian had a t-shirt and jacket, too. But his ears weren't covered, and he didn't have a snuggly baby strapped to his chest. He got pretty cold out there. Ru and I only stayed out for an hour (long enough for me to sunburn my face ;) but Brian stayed the whole time.

Because of the wind Brian photographed all the sculptures at their best time, so the folks that finished early could still have a sculpture left to judge at 4:30. Then he went and put them on someone's laptop, and we all voted back in the camp. By the time he got that done it was time for me to pump, then time for the potluck. Brian was cold after the potluck, so I went back and got some more layers for him (and gave him the baby) and then we sat thru the church service. Brian headed back with Ru and I cleaned up our potluck stuff and got our chairs.

When I got back to camp Brian was in the van with Ru with the van on and the heater blowing. I climbed in the drivers side and joked that we shouldn't leave without our tent and the dogs. Brian said he was seriously considering going home, because he was still cold and worried about Ru getting cold in the night. I was happy either way. So we decided to head home. I got out and started packing up. Our friend Rose came over and took Sammy for another walk (she pretty much had him all day, she loved sammy!) and Mark came over from across the way and helped me pack everything up. He also took down the tent and packed that up for us, too. I love that man, he's good people.

So we rolled out of there around 9:30. We took the main hwys home rather than the goat track, and I was tired enough I stopped at the Sonic in hillsboro to refuel myself. We got home around 12:45 and collapsed into bed. Ru had been asleep almost all day, but fortunately slept too as I dunno how Brian or I would have managed to stay up with her.

So our first camping trip turned into a nice day at the beach. Too bad we spent all that time planning and packing for an overnight!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If you loved would do this

There is an awesome giveaway that I stumbled across that I would SOOO love to win! It's for 12 bumgenius cloth diapers. I have one and love it! But they are 20 bucks each so I haven't bought any more. They are one size fits all (and they really work, they fit Ru fine now and I can unsnap them when she gets bigger) so this would be a great gift for us all the way up to toilet training time.

It's at Babycheapskate's blog I get extra entries for blogging about it here, which is great. But I could also get extra entries if YOU went and signed up to win! Because then if you won and don't have a baby, you would give all the diapers to me!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ru's 3 month stats

From (link to the calculator below...)

At 3 months:

your child is 13 pounds, and that is
at the 52th percentile for weight.

your child is 24 inches, and that is
at the 58th percentile for height.

your child has a head circumference of 16 inches, and that is
at the 55th percentile for head circumference.

Try our Children's Growth Chart Percentiles Calculator again.

Love those Babylegs!

It was a little cool yesterday morning when I got Ru dressed, but I knew it was going to be warm in the afternoon so I wanted to put something cooler on her. So I picked a onesie type outfit (one of my faves!) and then put some plain white socks on her. But her little legs were still exposed to the cool air. So I decided to try out her "babylegs" socks. I bought them before she was even born, because they were cute. :) They are basically a long sock, except they don't actually have the part that covers the feet. They are just tubes. That way baby can be barefoot if she is learning to walk and needs the traction, you can take them on or off without taking off a bigger kid's shoes, and the size is all one size fits all.
When I got them, I figured that one size fits all wasn't meant to include little babies. And certainly they didn't fit my preemie. But my preemie is a big chunk now so I put them on her. There is PLENTY of room for growth. But the tops did stay up on her little thighs! The bottoms stayed on as long as her socks were on. And they happened to match her outfit perfectly. :)
The best part was when we took a nap around noon. She woke up an hour later and let me know she was much too hot. (boy, did she let me know!) I was able to quick yank off the socks and the babylegs and pop a bottle in her mouth and she was happy almost immediatly. I'm loving the babylegs! Today it's overcast (who knows what the afternoon will bring) so I've got them on her again. We don't have a lot of sleepers in her current size (3-6 months, and they don't have much extra room!) so these may get us thru without me having to buy anymore. (Altho I'm finding I rather enjoy shopping for her. I've never liked shopping for me. But she's way cuter.... ;)
She also had a massive poopy diaper, pretty much every surface of her body that was inside the diaper was covered in the runny stuff. Fortunately none escaped. But it was really nice to be able to clean up the mess with her legs still nice and warm (try that in a sleeper outfit) and the babylegs stayed clean. I'm sold! They've got lots more colors and patterns, but I'll try and keep myself out of trouble with just the two pair that I have now. (these ones are called "jellybean" and I also have some red and pink striped ones called "cinnamon") The nice thing is she can wear them, well, all the way into her teens if she wants to switch and put them on her arms when her legs get too big. Hooray for clothes my kid won't outgrow!
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

a couple more three month pics

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3 months young!

I'm going to need to retake her three month pics, the camera batteries were dying...just dead enough the focus was a little off. I guess if you like the "soft focus" look they are great. ;) But I would like a couple of clean pics, too.

At three months she is a pro at holding her head up, and she's working on torso control now. She is aware of her hands and moves them around quite a bit, but not with much control yet. She also has enough tummy muscles she sometimes holds her legs out of the way when I change her diaper. (sometimes, and sometimes she tries to sneak her toes past me and get them yucky!) She also has just in the last few days really seemed to be aware of who I am. At least I'm not just another moving blob that feeds her. She'll quiet down when she sees me, and has started smiling sometimes in response to me and stuff I do. Unfortunately the flip side of that is she is also aware of when I'm NOT in her eyesight, and doesn't care for that much.

She isn't anywhere near sleeping thru the night. She'll sleep up to three hours on your chest, but only about 1.5 hours at a time in her crib. But at least she goes go right back to sleep after she eats and has a clean diaper on. She still doesn't like wet diapers, so the advice about not changing her diaper unless it's dirty at night isn't going to work for us. We may just have long nights ahead of us, maybe when we get to solid foods she'll sleep longer.

Hehe, on a side note, she had her first trip to the mall Wednesday. I didn't take any pictures, I don't really want her to be a mall rat anyway. ;) I did have a surprisingly good time shopping for her (I had a gift card at baby gap to spend) and I bought a crocheted white dress that is just beautiful, I never would have shelled out the money if it hadn't been on clearence. It's a size 2 tho, so it will be quite a while before she's twirling around in it. I've never been much of a shopper for myself before, but Ru is way cuter than me so it's more fun. ;) She'll also be going on her first camping trip this weekend. Should be interesting...
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Friday, July 11, 2008

Major Milestone Accomplishment today!

Ru and I are having a MUCH better day today. She's had her usual one super pooper moment and seems to be holding her food down a bit better. We've even played in her little jungle gym mat thing some. (altho tummy time was a bust, she was NOT in the mood for that at all!)

And we accomplished one of those milestone events that always warms a mothers heart!

Nope, not a smile, we did that long ago.

Not a laugh, we've done that in our sleep a few times.

Still working on sitting up...and we didn't roll over.

Been shopping lots of times.


I took a shower!!

I know what you're thinking, and yes, I have taken showers before. As recently as the day before yesterday. But I've always had someone to watch Ru before. I couldn't stand the thought that while the water was running I might not be able to hear a lonely Ru crying piteously from her crib. Ok, let's be realistic, I didn't want to deal with a seriously ticked off Ru baby wailing her angry wail because her needs were not met 5 seconds ago. I've met that Ru, she's not the sort you want to mess with.

So how did I leave her and take my shower today? Simple...I didn't. I took her with me! We have a very large shower stall, with two separate shower controls/heads. I got everything ready for her bath. Then I turned on the side with the hand held shower head to let the water warm up and warm the shower stall a bit. Then I got ready for my shower. (hence the lack of pictures on this post, I do want you to come back and visit my blog again someday) Then I went and got Ru from her crib and got her ready for her bath. I put her bathtub (empty) in the shower on the far side, put her in it, and tucked her in with a full sized towel. She seemed ok with this, so I went ahead and cleaned myself up. It did splatter her in the face a tiny bit and the shower head is mounted low, so I pretty much stayed on my knees the whole time. Ru watched in quiet fascination the entire time. I told her how diet and exercise could help her avoid the same fate.

When I was done I moved over to her side of the shower and bathed her just like regular, except on the floor of the shower instead of the bathroom counter top.

Then I got out and threw a towel on my hair and a bathrobe on the rest of me. I already had a couple of towels ready to dry and swaddle Ru up. Then I took her to her crib and got a clean diaper on and let her chew on the towel while I got dressed. Then I got her dressed. Tada! Two clean and sparkley girls!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What a poopy day!

Today was a poopy day, in the most literal sense. Yesterday she didn't have a bowl movement pretty much all day, 24 hours with no poop. So it's not like I didn't know it was coming. I just didn't realize how MUCH it was coming. And coming. And coming...

The other thing I didn't think about was with all that straining to get stuff out that end...we would have a surplus of spit up as well. What a mess, I gave up on changing my shirt and her outfits for just spit up. When the bottle started to leak I was just about ready to throw in the towel. Except I needed it to clean up the messes. Thank goodness daddy is home now to take over and give me a break.

On a happier note, yesterday Ru, Lory (my walking buddy) and I went and picked cherries. I have LOTS of big, beautiful bing cherries. Brian doesn't like cherries. I dunno if Ru does yet, I guess we'll find out next year. She looks like she's ready to try them now...

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Product review--Breastflow bottles

The lactation consultant recommended we try switching Ru over to these breastflow bottles by learning curve. They are supposed to be more like the actual breast, so will help Ru learn to suck properly.

They must not be too far from the mark, because the first time we tried them Ru could not get ANYTHING out. I watched Brian try and feed her and he got the exact same frustrating results as when I tried to nurse her.

Fortunately with our mouth training she now handles these bottles like a pro, and is making some progress towards breastfeeding. (altho today when I tried she latched on for a good 10 min, then fell asleep. She woke up 10 minutes later and was hungry enough to take 3 oz from the bottle, so we aren't ready to give up the pump yet!) I certainly think the bottles are helping, and I hope as this new way of sucking becomes automatic she'll get it even when sleepy and I'm trying to nurse her.

One negative, these suckers are the first bottles we've dealt with that leak. One out of the three we bought is worse than the others. I'm not just talking about a drip here and there. Yesterday I set one down on the table when Ru was done, the bottle still had 2 oz, prolly close to an ounce trapped in the top. Instead of draining back into the bottle, it drained OUTSIDE the bottle and made a puddle on my computer desk. Ick. But that was a bit of an extreme case and the leaks are worth it for the success we've had. There's no problems at all unless you turn the bottle back upright, then down again.

They also are a hassle to refill if she's hungrier than we anticipated. You have to force the milk back out of the nipple part down to the bottle, and you still always make at least a small mess when you open the bottle. But that's predictable so we just do it over a burp rag or the sink, etc.

Overall we're pretty happy with these, I do think they are more like breastfeeding, and I do think they are helping Ru learn how to go from bottle feeding to breastfeeding. We just gotta keep practicing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A New Family Heirloom

Ru got this quilt in the mail the weekend of her baptism. It was handmade by a family friend in Kansas, she used a couple fabric scraps I sent from the nursery to pick the colors, and it turned out beautiful.

Edythe is an amazing woman. She has handmade quilts for Ru's cousins that came before her. (these would be the kids of the kids of my dad's cousins) Elyse, Elaina, Elia, Braxton, Simon, Alexa, Owen, Dane, CJ, Lily, and Kael. I don't know that I spelled them all correctly, but those are the Brodhagen cousins Ru has so far, and Edythe has made each of them a quilt. Hehe, by family friend, I meant the WHOLE family!

Edythe was best friends with my great aunt Ruth. (she obviously approves of Ruthie's name!) She used to come spend the night when aunt Ruth hosted slumber parties at her house with all my cousins. Since I'm into listing names today, that would be Michelle, Kristin, Craig, Bradley, Liz, Troy, Angie, Katrina, James, Siobhan, me, Chris, John, and occasionally James' friend (and Edythe's neighbor) Nathan. She was a great friend to Aunt Ruth and visited her in the home frequently after her strokes. She also comes to all our family gatherings, I assume her family doesn't do much. Or maybe we just throw a better party. ;)

The other truly amazing thing about Edythe and her quilts is that she is 97 years old. She's still active and drives herself around town. I think she even still volunteers at the senior center (which totally cracks me up!). And obviously she still quilts beautifully! I guess I ought to pick out a couple of my fave pics of Ru on the quilt (I like this one because she's making a funny face) and send them with the thank you card! :) We will certainly treasure the quilt as a new family heirloom, given to us by a family heirloom of the best kind. We love you Edythe!
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The wonders of photo editing

I used picasa (excellent, free program btw) and the filtered black and white option, filtering the red out on the image. That cleared her complexion miraculously. Then I started again with the original (color) image and supersaturated it. (that turned her face grotesquely orange, but made the blue in her eyes more intense) Then I switched to paint shop pro (photoshop type program, not free but a whole lot cheaper than photoshop) and layered the two with the b&w on top. Then "erased" the black and white eyes to reveal the supersaturated blue ones underneath. Turned out cool, huh? And the original is cropped from the pic I posted on "teaching my baby to nurse"
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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Teaching my baby to nurse

The picture doesn't really have much to do with the topic, I just thought it was a good one of Ru's eyes (well, and the rest of her too) and wanted to share.

I did want to post some more instructions on how we are teaching her to nurse properly. Just in case someone else out there is frustrated that there isn't much info out there on getting a baby to go from the bottle to the breast. (LOTS of info out there on the other way around!) If you missed it in my last post, because Ru spent so much time in the NICU, then being bottle fed breastmilk fortified with formula, she didn't learn to suck properly. I have been pumping, so I still produce milk. Now the trick is to try and get her to learn to get it direct from the source.

So before we feed her at every feeding, when we give her a pacifier, or any other time we think to do it, we do mouth training. We start by making sure our fingernail is trimmed nice and short, and of course wash our hands.

First we simply rub our finger from her cheek to her mouth, then around her lips. Then put the finger inside her mouth and massage her gums a bit. Brian and I think this part is just to get her attention on her mouth.

Then we put our finger deeper in her mouth, fingernail facing down. We rub the top of her mouth front to back, then drop down and push down and forward on the back of her tongue. This trains her (theoretically) to use her entire tongue instead of just the front as she's been doing. We don't really know if we are doing it right, and it is difficult to try and match her rhythm as she sucks on our fingers. Not to mention I get the giggles every time she starts going to town sucking on my finger. ;) Probably because in addition to her baby cuteness, it tickles a little bit and the situation is just kinda silly so it makes me giggle.

We do think it's working tho. We also bought some Breast Flow bottles by learning curve (I'll do a review in a post tomorrow) that are supposed to better simulate breast feeding. They are probably intended for the millions that have trouble going from breast to bottle feeding. Our lactation consultant recommended we try them with Ru. The first time Brian tried to feed her with it they were both very frustrated, she just couldn't get the milk out. It was exactly like when we practice breastfeeding. Now, 5 days later, she is drinking from them like a champ. Yesterday after breastfeeding practice she had obviously got some out, as she spit up on Brian. ;) Today she latched on and sucked for a good 5-10 minutes, which was surprising since I'd just fed her. Already we are making progress!
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My baby doesn't suck!

No, I'm not defending her character, I'm mourning the lack of an important skill for breastfeeding.

There's lots of resources out there on the internet for teaching your breastfeeding baby how to use a bottle. There isn't hardly anything for getting a bottle fed baby to get back on the breast. Because of her time in the NICU, she had the CPAP machine, feeding tubes, and bottles. Then we had to supplement the breastmilk I pumped, so we still primarily used the bottle for feeding. Breastfeeding practice sessions were short and generally frustrating.

So now that we are cleared to stop fortifying her milk, we're trying to switch off the bottle. After a week of trying, I finally gave in and called the lactation consultant monday. We went in today, she watched us try, stuck her finger in Ru's mouth for a minute and let her suck on it, then informed me she doesn't do it right. Apparently she does little tongue thrusts rather than a full undulating towards the back sort of motion.

So to correct this, we have a series of exercises to practice with her involving more of our fingers in her mouth. We do those before every feeding, then feed her with a special bottle that simulates the breast better. (5 bucks each at babies r us...)

Brian is trying to feed her right now, and it's not going so well. I'm guessing we may need to keep the old bottles handy for after we've practiced this for a while. It may be a slow transition...