Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Last night, I was sitting on the couch and Piper was crawling around like she usually is.  Her little head pops up over the couch cushion every once in a while, just to check that I’m still here.  She often talks to me, flashes a couple cute smiles, then gets down to go play some more.  These little interludes are definitely one of the highlights of our nights.

Last night, though, she was standing up next to the couch and got distracted by something.  All the sudden, she pushes off the couch with her hands, and is standing there.  Just standing.  No bobble, no wobble.

I, of course, was so excited that my screaming made her sit.  So it didn’t last as long as I think it would have if I would have just kept my mouth shut.  But you know how it is- you just can’t contain your excitement sometimes.

So after that, we worked outside trying to get her to stand some more.  Bubbles being blown in her face work well.


But the bubble blower is significantly more fun that standing is…

And, yes- this is a real bear crawl.  She’s doing this more and more these days- especially when we’re outside.




Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stepping Stinker

So after our conversation about walkers, I found this on babysteals.com (have you ever heard?  Kind of like Woot! (also if you haven’t heard), but it’s deal-a-day baby things.  They also have kidsteals and scrapbooksteals…  Love them all!!!) and decided to give it a try.  P1070571

I’ve seen some things like this before, but I really like that this one has a butt in it so that you don’t have to worry about slipping out.  The crotch is very malleable, so I don’t feel like it’s keeping her pelvis spread too far.

Our only issue with it is that the armpit area goes up to her chin…  Not so good- especially when she’s deciding to sit…P1070568

But that aside, I think she really likes it!

And best of all?  I don’t have to be completely hunched over helping her walk!

She made it down the block to the corner, turned around, and came all the way back tonight.  Woohoo!  I think this’ll really help with the endurance-building bit.  I’m also starting to get her to stand unassisted for bits at a time in it, because she doesn’t realize that she doesn’t have any support (it’s lots easier than having to get my fingers out of her hands and trying to convince her that I still have a hand on her…)  In the first and last pictures, you can see how little slack there is in the straps. 

Who knows if it’ll actually help,  but I figure it can’t hurt, right? 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Day, New Problems

The newest addition to our line of “make sure that, whenever you do X, you know where the baby is” events is…

Running her bath water.

I like to give her a bath at night after she eats, so I usually get her out of her chair and take off her clothes before I put her on the floor.  Then I can get her bath stuff ready before putting her in the bathroom.  It used to work well, because she’s not the most patient person in the world, and we all know how exciting baths can be.

A couple months ago, she started to crawl through the house, screaming in excitement, once she heard the water running.  But at least we could hear her coming.


Now she’s figured out how to pull up to the tub.  That, in and of itself, isn’t so bad.

It’s the likelihood of her figuring out how to climb into the tub that’s troubling.


See, she’s figured out how to climb on top of things that go up past her waist.  And the water poses the ideal motivational tool.


What can I say?  The kid has a love affair with the water.


And in this case, it’s not such a good thing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh dear…

Animal…the resemblance is frightening…

For all you moms out there with musically inclined enthusiastic kids, check out the toy aisle at Costco- a big drum (that’s nice), two maracas, a tamborine, two bell arm bands, claves, and a scraper for $20.  Piper loves it, obviously.

P1070457 Drum sticks are for wusses…

P1070445The scraper is good for those fine motor skills- making one hand do one thing in cooperation with the other hand, which is doing something completely different.  It’s a work in progress…

The house has gotten slightly more… musical… than it was last week…  I’m not sure just yet if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I admit…

…that I’ve been a huge slacker lately.  But we’ve been busy.  Crazy, over-the-top, nonstop busy.  That’s my excuse, anyway.  So here starts my lame attempt to get caught up in all the excitement that’s bringing our summer to an end.

Last week, one of my best friends from college came to visit.  From Hawaii.  Yup.  I guess when you live on one of the most beautiful places on earth, you still need to get away every once in a while. 

We took her and her fiancĂ© up to Breckenridge for the day last week.  The boys rented mountain bikes and took them up the ski lift so that they could ride down the mountain side.  And since that’s not exactly a Piper-friendly activity, Amy, Piper and I settled on driving back into town and walking through the shops.  It was nice to have some girl time with just Amy; I miss having her around! 

But before we took the boys up the mountain, we stopped at the dam reservoir to have a dam lunch.  We passed up the dam brewery this time, because we had a dam dinner last time we were up there, and decided it’d be nice to do something different (okay, okay- I stole this from the brewery- it really is called the Dam Brewery, and they sell dam beer.  And dam t-shirts.  And dam glasses.  It’s the funniest (and only) dam place in town…)



Sidenote:  someone asked me the other day if she’s “always this happy”.  My response is always the same- Yes, except for when she’s not. 

P1070352My lame attempt at getting a cute mountain shot of the twerp.  She was much too interested in eating rocks to give me her cute smile.  And I was much too interested in keeping them out of her mouth.  And when that failed, I was much too interested in keeping them out of her esophagus.

The next night, they and some of their friends who just moved into town from Hawaii (yeah, apparently that happens, too) came over from dinner.  We had a lot of fun.  Amy and Jesse left that night to drive to Montana.  They come to the mainland about once a year, and we’re always tickled pink to see them!  And it looks like we’re going to have to (gosh, darn it) make a trip back out to Hawaii in the next few years for a wedding.  We’re heart broken, obviously.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Walker Questions

A few folks have asked what kind of walker we have for Piper, so I thought I’d show you all.

We have two problems with walkers- they need to have a handle short enough for her to hold comfortably (my mom has a REALLY nice, heavy, solid wood one from Parents, but the handle is too tall!), and it needs to be easy enough for her to push, but not too easy that it gets away from her.  Keep in mind, too, that you want their feet to be able to go between the back wheels so that they can stand upright. 

Picky?  Yup.

We have two for her now.  I like having different ones for her to play with to keep her interested.  My uneducated theory, too, is that different walkers make her adjust so that she’s not used to walking in just one way.

We got this one for Piper’s birthday.  It provides a lot of games to play, like in-and-out (and gives fun songs when things go in), sings songs, and plays sounds when it gets pushed.  My only beef with it is that it walks a little too easily, so I always kept a hand on the end to make sure it didn’t go too fast.  I ended up putting the heaviest things I could find from the pantry in the basket, which helps a lot.  Now that she’s getting a lot better at standing with minimal support, she can go solo.  The handle is just a little below her shoulders, so it’d be better for someone a few inches taller than she is.  If it were shorter, she could push down on the handle for support.  Instead, she can really only use it for minor balance checks, because if she pushes, it goes forward.  But I don’t think these things are typically meant for kids not even 26” tall.  P1070439

This one I got not too long ago at a garage sale for $5.  Did I say I like having different ones to play with when they’re CHEAP???P1070424

The beauty of this one is that it’s harder to push- the wheels turn slower.  She can make it all over the house without me keeping a hand on it.  It’s Leap Frog brand; I’m not sure that they make walkers any more (but did they merge with VTech???  I have no idea…).

It’s really too bad that these come unassembled- it’d be nice if you could take your kid to the store and let them try out a few to find one that works.  BUT, it is a great time of year for garage sales (at least it is here in our neck of the woods).  For something that we’re not anticipating Piper needing for a huge period of time, I couldn’t quite rationalize spending a whole lot. 

Rachel at Blessings from Aubrey also says that you can  push from the side with walkers like the grocery cart one.  The wheels don’t turn that way, so it goes slower.  Thanks for the hint!

I’ve also heard about using milk crates or other upturned baskets on the floor- too tall for Piper, but might work for someone else!

Do you have any favorites???

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Did you know that August is National Breastfeeding Month?

When we found out, at about 26 weeks, that Piper had duodenal atresia, I knew that, if I wanted to nurse her, I’d have to pump for a substantial period of time.  And maybe that’s why it was a little easier for me than some of the other moms in the NICU- I knew it was coming.  My pump became my fifth appendage.  I learned to pump in the car (no, I wasn’t driving) and at other peoples’ houses.  I spent way too many hours attached to the darn thing.

When Piper was finally up to full oral feeds (at about a month old), she was taking less than an ounce a feeding every 3 hours.  8 ounces a day. 

My problem?  I was getting more than that a pumping.  I was getting somewhere close to 60 ounces a day.

No, I’m not exaggerating.  Our nurses in the NICU laughed in flabbergast.  Literally.  I began thinking I was part Guernsey.

And it got worse.  And worse.  And worse.  There was no way that Piper could ever eat as much as I had. 

Piper and I worked really hard to get her breastfeeding. Being a preemie, she couldn’t take in as many calories as she needed to without supplementing her milk with extra calories (she was maxed out on the daily volume at 27 calories).  But, when she was about three months old, her skills started getting a lot better, and she took off from there.  By the end of August, she hated her bottles.  And she never looked back.

Once she was nursing exclusively, I had to keep pumping because I was afraid that if I let the supply drop, it would drop completely.  So, she’d nurse.  I’d pump. 

It was a great life… (notice the sarcasm???)

After a few months of this, I looked into donating to the local milk bank.  They collect, test, and pasteurize donated milk and send it to hospitals around the nation so that babies, mostly preemies, who are too young and fragile to handle formula, and who don’t have mother’s milk for whatever reason, can eat. 

In order to donate, you have to start before your child turns 6 months old.  I had to have blood tests (just like the ones they run before you can donate blood) to ensure that I was healthy enough to donate.  I had to answer a questionnaire of about 200 questions (not quite, but sure felt like it) asking some of the most bizarre things ever.

I started donating last July.  I quickly came to the conclusion that it was nice having something other than breast milk in the deep freeze.  Every few weeks, someone from the bank would come by  and pick up (or I would drop off) all my extra milk.

You have to retire when your child turns one.  And as you know, that was in May.  In June, I dropped off the rest of what I had in my freezer.  And got my totals.

Drum roll, please…..

In addition to Piper being exclusively breastfed, I donated 5780 ounces.  That’s 42.5 gallons.  360 pounds.  And over 115000 calories. 

Yup.  That’s alotta milk.  And a lot of quality time spent with my pump.  About a week before Piper’s birthday, I decided I was done, and packed it away.  I sighed a BIG sigh of relief.  And my schedule magically opened. 

So what do all the items have in common?

Six wine refrigerators, one granite-topped double vanity, 9 bags of dog food, two pallets of chips, a couch plus a chair, the kitchen table set, and a treadmill all way about the same amount.

482 cans of pop and 42 gallons of milk is about 5780 ounces.

If you consider that every ounce of milk has about 20 calories, 5780 ounces is the same as 580 Kitkat bars- about 115,000. 

The moral of my story?  I know that a lot of moms out there have to pump, too.  If you ever find yourself in a position where you have an excess, please consider contacting one of the banks around the country.  There is a huge deficit right now- it started with flu season (you obviously can’t donate if you, your baby, or anyone in your house is sick), and they’re having a tough time.  For the babies that get this milk, it can mean the difference between life and death.  There are only a handful of banks around the country, but if you don’t live near one, contact them anyway- if they’re in enough need, they’ll arrange for you to mail it to them.  You can find more info here.

The pump has been packed for a couple months now.  And I can honestly say that I hope and PRAY that it’s never used as intensely has it has the past year. 

But would I do it again?  Absolutely.

Besides- I’ve decided that this, forever, relieves any guilt I may feel for being too big a wuss to donate blood.  I’m just thankful that they don’t have t-shirts that advertise how many gallons of milk you’ve donated.  I may feel like a milk cow, but I don’t need to advertise the fact…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Who’s up for a game??? Part 5

Okay, guys- this is it!  Get your guesses in!!!

P107029745 gallons of milk.

P1060968Well over 3 of me.

…or 28 Pipers.

Good luck!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Who’s up for a game??? Part 4

580 regular-sized KitKat bars.

482 cans of pop.

P1070286Aaaand- a kitchen table.  With 6 chairs.

So there ya go.  Today’s clues.  No one has gotten close, hardeeharhar.  I think we may need a “booby” prize to the person with the most creative answer.  And I’ve gotten some whoppers. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Who’s up for a game??? Part 3

Today’s clues:

P1070293Two pallets (yes, pallets) of potato chips.

One granite-topped vanity.

P1070284One giant couch, plus…

P1070285One chair.  Plus a baby.

I have enough clues for two more days.  No one’s guessed right yet!  Maybe we’ll do the reveal on Tuesday??? 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spaghetti Skinny Dipping

P1070309“Hey, Noah- do you know what these crazy Moms have for us today???”

My friend, Alison, invited us to a “Messy Playdate” today, and I thought it sounded like fun.  So off we went to a little park where they had kid-friendly spray paint, cornstarch and water goop, pudding finger paints, bubbles, playdough…  All those good ol’ staples.

The best part of the whole thing, though, was the pool filled with spaghetti.

Yup.  Cooked spaghetti.

There must have been 30 pounds of cooked noodles in this little baby pool. 

And who better to share the experience with than our friend, Noah?


Once they got over the initial shock, I think they had a lot of fun!  Piper didn’t mind the new sensation at all

I think this is Piper asking Noah if this is how he usually takes baths…

P1070305 Learning to stir.  Mixed in with a bunch of “bangbangs”.  Life is good.


Piper’s preemie-ness in combination with her seven weeks in the NICU, which included eight gillion and seven hundred million pokes, prods, and nastiness, funny lights, binging machines, and way too many people, have made her a little more susceptible to sensory overload.  I used to have to be very careful about over-stimulating her; it was easy for her to get overwhelmed with a lot of people, noise, funny lights…  She’s been getting better and better, and it hasn’t been much of an issue for a long time now.  But it’s always in the back of my mind.  After today, though, I’m convinced those days are past.

And I think that’s officially the last bit of NICU that we’re leaving behind.  15 months later.  Alleluia!

Who’s up for a game??? Part 2

What do these things have in common?

Today’s clues:

P1070296 9 bags of dog food

P10702882 giant coolers…  Baby’s extra.

P1070292Exercise anyone?  1 giant treadmill.

Any thoughts???

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Who’s up for a game???

…and I’ll have a prize for the winner.  But I can’t tell you what it is because it’ll depend on who it is, if they have boys or girls, or no kids at all…  I want to be equal opportunity, lol.

Let’s play a game of “What do these things have in common?”

I’ll post a couple pictures a day.  First one to guess wins.

But, if you know what it is, you don’t get to guess.  You know who you are.  And so do I…  wink wink.

So, here are your first clues:


Growing, Growing, Growing

Piper had her 15 month checkup on Tuesday.  She had two shots leftover that she didn’t get at 12 months, so we needed to get those.  They didn’t have the flu shots yet (they were hoping that they might by then), so we’ll go back next month and get them for her, Luke and me.  It’s really nice that they let us get them, too!

Piper actually kept up on her 5% curve for weight.  I was pretty shocked; as of Thursday, she only weighed 12 1/2 pounds, so she gained a full pound in less than a week.  For Piper, that’s absolutely unheard of.  She’s been eating SO MUCH for the past couple weeks, apparently it just caught up with her…  (Of course, <ahem> there were some “outside influences” that kept her from “bottoming” out, and probably helped keep “stuff” from hitting the fan, but we won’t admit that…)  I was very relieved!  She’s still below the 5% in length, but I have a feeling that’ll be the story of her life.  Her head, however, is at the 50% on the Ds charts, and miraculously actually hanging on for dear life to the typical chart.

By the way- our clinic uses a Ds chart that has a 5% line, not just a 10% line.  My beef with it is that the scale for months is in base five, which isn’t very handy when the calendar is in base 12.  Anyway, does anyone know of a Ds growth chart online that has the 5%?

We went ahead and had a consult with the nutritionist they have in the clinic.  When the ped said that she was going to have her stop by, I wasn’t overly thrilled.  I’ve never talked with the one there in person, but the doctors have consulted with her(apparently a different one), and I’ve never particularly liked what they had to say.  I really liked this lady.  She was really impressed (and shocked) by the amount and variety of types of foods and textures that Piper is eating.  I’m not sure if she would have believed about how good an eater Piper is if she wasn’t eating her lunch then.  She didn’t have any suggestions there, which was good.  She did have a couple suggestions that I would never have thought about.  We usually have a glass of milk out for Piper to sip on in the day- I always figured that her volume would increase if she had it available.  But she said that it probably keeps her blood sugar up, so she’s not as likely to feel hungry between meal times.  Makes total sense!  So, our plan is to only offer her something to drink (outside of water) at meal times, and try to get two snacks in during the day.  She said that they like to see three snacks with three meals, but I have a hard time getting her to eat one snack.  So we’ll see if the milk plan works. 

I talked to the pediatrician about our ENT visit.  I wanted to get her feelings on everything.  I trust her.  Dearly.  So I was really anxious to get her thoughts.  She said that our doctor isn’t known for his bedside manner (along with the rest of that clinic…).  But, she did say that if she had a kid that needed something done, he’d be the only one she’d want to do it.  She said that he’s amazing at what he does.  Whew!  That’s exactly what I wanted to hear!  Makes me feel so much better!

Piper still has no teeth, but we’re going to hang out until 18 months before they make us go to the dental clinic.  I didn’t get my first tooth until then, anyway, so I’m really not worried about it.  It would be helpful, though, if she could chew with TEETH and not just gums!

So long as Piper agrees (keep your fingers crossed) we don’t have to go back until November.  We’ll stop by when we’re down there for one of our other appointments next month for the flu shots, but that doesn’t count.  Her ped said that she was going to try and catch us before we go home after the scope/tubes/ABR, and that, in the complete chance that we get admitted overnight, she’d be sure to come and see us.  One benefit to seeing doctors in the hospital!

15 months.  Holy cannoli.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh. No.

I have a sweet tooth.

A serious sweet tooth.

And, against my hopes, apparently it’s hereditary.

Looks like our candy budget is about to increase…



P1070263  P1070255



For the record, she found my stash.  I did not give this to her.  Luke ate it after he got home; it was completely mauled.  As bit in half as is possible inside a wrapper.  And with no teeth.  Maybe that’s for the best…