Angels We Have Heard
Are High

angelic kitsch...from Hell

Cavalcade of Bad Nativities
it came upon a midnight weird

The Passion of the Tchotchke
holy week kitsch-o-rama

Stations of the Kitsch


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Thursday, December 28, 2006

hi ho hi ho

I'm going back to work at St. Ned's next Tuesday. I burned most of my maternity leave while Isaac was in the NICU, so I only had three weeks with him at home. Dennis will be taking care of him during the day, and writing during the boy's naps. Note to Isaac: please start napping.

I know that January is going to have moments of extreme suckiness while we work out the logistics of this. The forecast includes crying jags, random patches of self-pity, low-flying angst, and a guilt front blowing in from the ocean.

My parents are arriving next week for a two-week visit (don't worry, they'll stay at a hotel) and will be on hand to be of service to their new grandson. We originally scheduled their visit for January thinking that the baby would be at most a month old and I'd still be home with him, but having extra help for the transition will be a real gift.

Isaac is being baptized at St. Ned's (@ the early service) while they're here, on January 7, the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (no pressure). Naked, if I don't finish sewing his gown. I'm going simple with this one, though. Really simple, not Sara-Simple. I mean it.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

better not pout

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

holy-ish family

This is as stable as I've been in months! Get it? Stable? [groan]

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

shake, rattle, roll, repeat

So...me playing the Virgin Mary in the Christmas pageant last night...3.7 earthquake in the bay area. Coincidence?

I'm sure my Converse tennies peeking out under the hem of my costume were an authentic touch. I meant to take my shoes off and go barefoot, but then I got all involved with Isaac and forgot.

Isaac was fabulous, of course. Slept through the whole thing. I wrapped him up in his white fleece swaddle blanket and he was happy. There was a bit of fussing before the pageant; here is Joseph/Dennis soothing him using techniques from Happiest Savior on the Block:

We watched the The Happiest Baby on the Block video this week and we're having a much easier time with Isaac when he's grousing. So yay.

I took him back to the doctor today for a follow-up. Isaac is 7 pounds, 12 ounces of healthy chicken. He also added an inch since last Tuesday, bringing him up to 20. We also have side-rolling action now; I put him down on his mat yesterday and he popped himself over onto his side. And then got mad, but still, it was pretty cool.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

random sentences

I'm getting the annual uptick of Cavalcade of Bad Nativities viewers. Greetings! Enjoy the tackiness.

I have the glitter nativity in the kitchen kitsch display year-round, so that's out, but the rest of the Christmas decorations didn't come out. I could get the tree up, but the chances of me taking it down before Easter were pretty slim. And there's no such thing as a Spinning Aluminum Resurrection Bush. Is there?


I just found out that there is a tool to open evil clamshell packaging. I so need one of these.

When I was in the hospital and my laptop power supply ate itself, the new one I had fedexed to me came in the most evil clamshell ever. I didn't have anything appropriate to hack through it, so I took it to the nurses' station for help. It took two nurses and what I think was a bone saw to get that thing out of the packaging. So I consider the evolution of a tool to deal with this to be a gigantic leap forward for mankind.


We're getting ready for tonight's theatrical debut of pageanty goodness. Isaac has been doing his Squinty Pirate face all day, but we've been calling him Squinty Jesus in honor of his role.


All of the McDonald's around here have big banners in front that say, FEELING GIFTY? to promote the joy of giving McDonald's gift certificates.

Whatever. But the problem is, my brain keeps translating that to FEELING GUILTY? so I have this total flush of shame every time I drive by, and not just because my pregnancy-induced lust for the Big Mac has not entirely gone away with the return of more stable hormones.

On the list of things to feel guilty about, I'm still working on setting up a separate site for my parental blather; things got so dramatic so fast when I went into the hospital and then the whole NICU thing happened. I know I promised that a while back and I'm sorry it hasn't really come together. I didn't intend for the baby experience to take over this site. It just worked out to be the best way to get updates out through a rough time.

At any rate, I'm still Time Magazine's person of the year.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

faces of Isaac

Cute boy being cute:

Cute boy being loud:

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

why are there so many songs about chickens?

So. Tired.

The parents, they are not sleeping. This makes them slow and clumsy. We've hit some kind of sleep deprivation wall around here. We're doing a reasonably good job of splitting up the sleep that is available, although I'm getting more of it because I have better sleep mojo and can go from awake to snoring within minutes. Dennis needs more of a wind-down and we're fresh out of that.

This man needs sleep.

We're keeping our sense of humor for the most part, and that is a good thing. Isaac is now being referred to as The Chicken most of the time. Not sure why that one has stuck, but there you go. I was listening to the new REM collection while I gave him a bath this morning and turned Talk About the Passion to Talk About the Chicken. Not everyone can carry the weight of his head...

Isaac and I have had a few outings, both in the stroller and in the car, and both modes of transportation were big hits. He's a car sleeper, which is a charming quality in a baby. He conked out as soon as the car started moving. The stroller can also produce sleep, unless it produces Super Interested Baby Who Must Look At Everything, as it did today on our walk to Safeway. The grocery store is a very exciting place, full of bright lights and people who must smile at such an adorable little baby.

He's working very hard to learn his lines for his stage debut as Baby Jesus in the Christmas Pageant at St. Ned's. Kidding. He's not preparing. Isaac is all about the improvisation. He can rock those swaddling clothes like nobody's business.

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Friday, December 15, 2006


Is there a space in the baby book for "first time that mom punched dad?" Because that's what I did this morning.

Or at least I'm told that I did. I don't remember it. Dennis took the first Boy Shift last night and sent me to bed, and when he came in to wake me up to do the shift change...my arm came up and I clocked him right in the face. And then rolled over and started snoring.

Isaac got some extra daddy time this morning, and I owe my husband a lot of extra sleep time today. I am going to attempt an outing with the boy to give him a real break. I'm feeling brave. Just don't get in my way, I've got a mean right hook.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006


My latest quick knitting project: binary hat for Nathan.

His name is spelled out in binary all the way around the hat. I got the idea from the binary scarf in the new issue of Knitty, and then used the binary converter here to get the number sequence. It's dorktastic!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

still life with weird dolphin

Here is Isaac playing with an odd stuffed dolphin toy. It has many colors and textures to stimulate baby's tiny brain. He was mostly happy to just follow it with his eyes while Dennis moved it around. That's what passes for play when you're nine weeks old. He has Nathan's old gymini play mat with all the hanging toys, but so far Gracie likes it more than he does. We're definitely seeing an uptick in his interest level, though, so I predict he will dig it in a few weeks.

One of the surprises of having the baby home is realizing just how loud he is when he's asleep. Dennis says Isaac is obviously my son, since I talk in my sleep, too. Isaac makes lots of little chicken noises and sometimes he'll startle and make a loud squeak. We usually fill in a cause ("dingos!") because we're slightly giddy and it doesn't take much to make us laugh.

Today was one of those days where every time we looked at him, we just fell a little more in love. We kept exclaiming over his wonderfulness and cuteness and obvious intelligence. Many many kisses were rained down on his soft little head.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Isaac had his first visit to his pediatrician today, and he's doing great. I was most concerned about his weight; I was worried that he was losing weight because...ok, there was no good reason to think that about the little chow hound. He's up an ounce since Friday, to 7lbs 5 oz.

I gave him a bath this morning. We are losing the war against neck cheese with our many-folded chubster. He finds new places to hide his dribbled milk, no matter how hard I try to sop it all up after a feeding.

The parents are tired. We're getting better at taking shifts and grabbing sleep when we can, and he's willing to sleep in the bassinet in our room now, but he still enjoys having Super Happy Fun Time in the very early morning. We are awake! Let us party! And by party I mean, let us be held and have much interaction and certainly not fall asleep. No, no sleep! I'm too cute to sleep!

We're having so much fun!

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

boot camp

Baby boot camp continues. We're sleeping more, though.

The low point was probably around 3:30 a.m. when I had tagged in and sent Dennis to bed, and was holding Isaac while walking across the kitchen to the microwave to heat water to get his bottle ready. So that's baby in one hand, pyrex measuring cup in the other. And...a foot in Gracie's wet food. She gets her beloved stinky food in a little saucer, which flipped over when I stepped on it, to make the biggest mess possible. So there I was, no hands free, with a foot covered in something called Cluck-A-Doodle-Doo. It was not a shining moment. Item learned: lack of sleep does not make me more coordinated.

We've had a couple of rounds of Screaming Time, where nothing is obviously wrong and yet apparently EVERYTHING is wrong and will never be good again, and no amount of reassuring the baby that there are no dingos in the apartment will have any effect. Sometimes going into the kitchen to look at the ceiling fan helps a bit, sometimes a tight swaddle helps, sometimes a little song and dance helps, sometimes lowering the sensory input helps, sometimes nothing helps and it just sucks to be the baby. We get through it.

I so love Trixie Tracker. The meds module makes things so much easier. He is on four meds/supplements, each of which has a different schedule, including one which has to be given on an empty stomach and he can't eat for half an hour afterwards. I would be a wreck if I tried to remember it all, plus Dennis and I would be forever talking about meds and trying to keep it all straight. I'm amazed by how much more relaxed I am because I have quantifiable data. I can see that he's eating enough, I can see that he's pooping, I can see that he's getting his meds. It's so reassuring; I feel like at least I'm getting the mechanics of parenting down. Seriously, if you ever need an excellent gift for geeky new parents, give them a subscription. Although I'm still waiting for them to implement the Parental Self-Care module that tells you how long it has been since you had a shower. (for the record, I had one this morning. and it was good, too.)

Gracie is slightly put out by all of this; Isaac loves to sleep on Dennis, which is a problem because Gracie also enjoys sleeping on Dennis, and is not used to sharing. Still, we're very pleased with how good she's being, and she's getting extra love when the lap is free.

The thing we haven't done yet is leave the house with him; it has been cold and wet and windy and we've just wanted to stay by the fire with our little family.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

everyone survived!

It's morning...that means we made it through the first night!

Dennis and I ended up getting what sleep we got while arranged toe-to-toe on our L-shaped sofa. The Almighty Swing is in the living room, and that's where Isaac wanted to sleep. He was not. interested. in my big non-tupperware bassinet, so much less cool than his snug plastic bassinet in the NICU. There was much complaining when I put him in it.

Considering the apartment-dwellers creed of Do Not Do (avoidable) Things That Will Make Your Baby Scream in the Middle of the Night, I decided that getting him to sleep in the bassinet could wait. So I put him in the swing, with its sweet sweet white noise and little fishies. By the end of the night I wasn't even turning the swing on, just putting him in it and he'd go right out. So, if sleeping in the swing is going to turn him into a werewolf, don't tell me just yet, ok?

He ate well all night, and let us know that diaper changes are no more fun here than they were in the hospital, and slept for a couple of good stretches. I have now given several doses of meds without incident.

Gracie is more interested in him, and seems like she's into peaceful co-existance. There was one point early this morning where I had a grousing Isaac in my arms, and Dennis was next to me with Gracie on his lap, so they were about a foot and a half apart and she just fell asleep there and purred. So no hostility.

Possible highlights of today include a walk outside and a bath. And maybe a nap for mama.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

we have a baby at our house!

An actual baby! Who lives here! He's very cute, and he's wearing feetie pajamas because he doesn't have any silly wires or sensors on him.

The nurses loaded us up with everything Isaac needs for the first couple of days. He has all of his prescriptions, including one which has all the standard warnings about not mixing it with alcohol or operating dangerous machinery. That kind of kills off Isaac's plans for the weekend. No whisky-fueled forklift races for him.

Gracie has sniffed at him, but found him boring and went off to do something else.

So far so good, although eventually he'll wake up.

ready for liftoff

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Operation: Isaac Home

The nursery is ready! The swing is set up! He has diapers and clothes and bottles and lots of milk in the fridge already!

I'm a little nervous and maybe slightly freaked out. The past eight weeks, it's been like we've bought a time-share baby that we could visit and feed and snuggle, but ultimately someone else was in charge of him. Now it's going to be all us, and I can list about fifty reasons why that's a bad, bad idea. I mean, have the people in charge of babies met me?

It's the usual moment of panic at leaving the hospital with a baby, only I get to do it almost two months after the usual time. I'm sure I'll feel better once we've kept him alive, clean, and happy for a few days.

He's coming home tomorrow!!!!!

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

homeward bound

Dennis and I often sing Homeward Bound as Boyward Bound when we're leaving for the NICU. Which we will not be doing much longer!

The doctors are planning to send him home on Friday! Usual disclaimers, things could change, blah blah blah. But he's doing great, he put on 40g yesterday, he's finishing most of his bottles, etc., so there's no reason to think that he won't be home this weekend.

I have so much to do! I have to buy diapers! And get all his little clothes washed and put away! And figure out where I stashed the diaper containment device I bought last summer...and...and...whee! Boy coming home!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

still no tube!

The news is still good. He lost 5g yesterday, so that's not great, but it's a lot less than the day before and he's eating more today. I think this weight loss nonsense is going to end and he'll be back to packing on the grams.

He's operating under the threat of a returned tube if he doesn't meet some fairly aggressive intake minimums, but so far he's hitting his targets. It helps that no one in the NICU wants to see that tube come back, so everyone is working extra hard to get the milk into him. He's eating so much better since the tube came out.

Yesterday was his due date, so he's 8 weeks old today. Dennis and I have both noticed how much more vocal he is the past few days. He's got all kinds of new noises that he can't wait to share. I need to get more video.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

I got no tube to hold me down

So far, things are going well with the tube-free living.

He lost 50g yesterday, which isn't surprising since he ate so much less. It's not worrisome unless it doesn't turn around; he can't go home if he's losing weight. They're going to start using the high-octane fortifier in his milk again to up the calorie content. That should help. He is also taking more milk today than he did yesterday, and it is a bit more than he was typically taking from the bottle when he had the tube in.

We're trying not to get overly excited but...we're pretty excited.

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name that footwear

Ryan and I went to a sample sale on Saturday. Many fabulous things were obtained, including a decoupaged retro space mirror for Isaac's room. I also got these Ambiguous Baby Shoes for $5:

Is that a fish? Or a rocket ship? Or a sort-of fish-shaped rocket ship?

Seriously, I don't know.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006


There's nothing cuter than an Isaac with NO TUBE!

He took his feeding tube out this morning while he was in the swing. I was especally impressed by this because he was wearing a shirt with mitten sleeves and didn't even have full use of his fingers. But he got it out, and then the doctor came around and said that he's supposed to get all of his feedings from the bottle today, to see what he'll do if he doesn't get topped off via the tube. So we just left the tube out.

He ate pretty well after that, although he seemed kind of confused. I'm sure it felt different without the tube in his nose and throat, and he was trying to figure it out. We'll see how things go the rest of the day.


So far so good. He had a minimum intake requirement for the first 12 hours, and he hit that, so the experiment continues.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Isaac is my homeboy?

There is talk of springing the boy from the NICU. The variables that have not yet been determined include the exact date (probably late-ish next week) and whether or not he'll still have The Tube. They are willing to send him home with the feeding tube, after we have a bit of training and practice in the art of tube maintenance. We're still hoping that he'll work this all out and it won't come to that, but given the choice between tube-feeding a boy ourselves at home and having him stay in the hospital...no contest. Give me the syringe!

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Friday, December 01, 2006

a message from the baby grossness council

Isaac was kind of fussy at the noon feeding today, and didn't want to take more than an ounce or so from the bottle. We got the rest into him with his tube, and then I snuggled him up on my shoulder. A few minutes later, I heard this weird gurgling noise next to my ear. Then I felt 75cc's of previously ingested milk hit my chest and mostly go down inside the front of my shirt. And then I heard the distinct sound of a poopsplosion.

I mopped us up and dealt with the Diaper From the Abyss, and he looked so much happier afterwards. I wrapped him in a warm blanket in his bassinet and drove home (with the windows down) to change my clothes.

He's still having tummy issues; I don't think we've hit the exact combination of reflux meds yet. Since we can't actually ask him how he feels, we're like shamans, trying to read and interpret his signals and, uh, leavings. Once he's home, we're going to use trixietracker to keep track of his input and output, meds, and sleep patterns. It's not quite as extensive as the nurse's notes, but we'll still be able to keep an eye on everything.

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