26 October 2008

Hi Mike, Hi Corinne - Where's The Baby?

We've had quite a few visitors lately, and if you have children you know what the title refers to. Baby, baby, baby. Everyone wants to see and hold the baby. Well, what about us??

Of course, I'm kidding. We have had lots of visitors, and of course Anders Rocket is the main reason. But we in no way feel neglected or overlooked. In fact, we're happy for all of the extra help!

The first wave of visitors held Uncle Leif and Linda. Leif had only recently returned from a spontaneous trip to Maui; in fact, he was on the plane heading out when we called him to let him know that Rocket was arriving early. Linda was only able to stay for a day or so before she had to head back to work in Portland. While she was here she did volunteer her babysitting services in Portland, and a little more than a week later we took her up on the offer while Corinne and I went to a work-related dinner in Portland. Thankfully, he was good to her and slept most of the time.

The next arrival was Uncle Loren, arriving precisely on Rocket's due date and staying for over two weeks. He bought his plane tickets from Tulsa well in advance, scheduling it so that he would be here when Anders arrived - or so he thought. He spent most of his time at our place, and by the end of it had really grown attached to the newest family member.

But the real onslaught of visitors came the weekend before Halloween. Grandma Donna, Grandpa Reidar, and Grandma Eivor all arrived on Saturday, joining Uncle Loren, two sleep deprived parents, and the man who instigated it all - Anders Rocket. (Uncle Leif, unfortunately, came down with something that kept him away from much of the action.) Everyone got a chance to hold, cuddle, and rock him. We also offered other opportunities, such as changing or nursing, but for some reason no one took us up on those.

And no one was free from the "baby tax." I'm not talking about a financial tax levied by the government, of course. What I am referring to involves cooking, cleaning, and doing general chores around the house and property that the overworked parents just haven't gotten around to over the last few months, such as:

  • Transporting and installing a new upright freezer (which in the end turned out to be defective)
  • Composting the remains of the garden and disassembling its drip irrigation
  • Sawing a stump, and chopping the remains into firewood
  • Helping repair some engine problems in a car and riding mower

We packed more productivity into just a few days than we had in the previous month! We also made time to just sit outside and enjoy the crisp fall weather in the evenings, with some wine courtesy of a grateful client of Leif & Loren.

Thanks everyone for coming! In a few weeks the Daly-side grandparents will get to enjoy some quality time with Rocket during their visit from the East.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket

25 October 2008

Sleep Record: Six Hours!

On a "normal" night these days, the pattern is typically feed for one hour, sleep for three, repeat. But on a recent night Anders slept for six hours straight! Too bad we spent the first two hours of that cleaning up around the house. He then followed the six hour session with a four hour session. We know it was a fluke but we sure enjoyed it.

- Corinne, Mike, & Anders Rocket

22 October 2008

Rocket Gets The Boot

When we first arrived at home with Anders, for the first few days all 3 of us slept in the guest room with the door closed; we slept in the guest bed, and Anders was in the bassinet next to us. We decided to keep Max and Anders separated during the night, just in case those crazy stories about cats and infants have any basis in fact. To make the transition easier for Max, we let him have the run of the house while we fashioned some netting to cover the bassinet. As it turned out, Max really couldn't care less about Anders. He really has paid very little attention to him so far.

After only a few days, we moved Anders into our bedroom. He's quite a noisy sleeper and makes all sorts of interesting noises throughout the night. For the first few weeks, we slept through the chirps and gurgles just fine. However, after a sleepless weekend we were retrained. We began uncontrollably analyzing every noise he made, for fear not that he was somehow in trouble, but rather that he was about to wake up and start yelling. As a result, the quality of our sleep went down even further.

It was time to kick Anders out of our bedroom. The balcony outside our bedroom door is now his new sleeping location. With the bedroom door mostly closed, his noises are muffled just enough that we are sleeping much better. He's still easily accessible when it is time for the next meal. He also has a fabulous view out the Great Room windows, but I doubt he really appreciates that right now since he can't yet lift his head to enjoy it.

- Corinne, Mike, & Anders Rocket

21 October 2008

Rocket's First Party

There are a lot of "firsts" in a young boy's life, but none is quite like his first late-night party.

Our friends Andrew & Amy were hosting a party at their house in White Salmon to celebrate our friend Kerry's 30th birthday. We decided that it would be nice to get all three of us out of the house for a change.

We're generally not very good at coming up with costumes for these types of parties (with an occasional exception), but despite a particularly restless night with Anders, we summoned some creative juices, fashioned masks, and made an appearance. Anders, of course, was the most popular 1-month old at the party.

We managed to keep him out and happy (mostly) for more than 3 hours before heading back home, although part of keeping him happy meant over an hour of nursing in an upstairs guest room.

- Corinne, Mike & Anders

20 October 2008

Rocket Is Growing

My friend Amy plots the growth of her kids on her blog. Being an engineer, I'm a sucker for plots and an even bigger sucker for opportunities to play in MATLAB.

Here is a plot of Rocket's weight to date.

Corinne (& Mike & Anders)

15 October 2008

So Much For Farm Help

Okay, I think we're overdue for a non-Rocket post on this blog! But somehow, I just can't think of anything that has happened in the last 3 weeks that doesn't involve him in some way. I guess that's what people mean when they say that "your life changes."

While we were in Seattle, fall arrived in Trout Lake. Most of the trees in the orchard had already dropped their fruit - most disappointingly, the Italian plum trees were just ripening when we left and were pretty much finished when we returned. But by far the biggest disappointment was the garden.

Dead gardenWhen we left for Seattle that weekend, we were only supposed to be gone for about 3 days. So I watered the garden a day or two before we left and planned to water it again when we returned. But of course, Rocket arrived early and changed those plans. If we had been able to return home sometime early that following week to water it, the garden would have been fine. But of course, Rocket had jaundice which kept us in Seattle for an additional week. We even might have been able to explain to someone the somewhat lengthy instructions for turning on the irrigation system, but by the time we realized that we weren't going to make it home as early as we had liked, it was too late.

I almost couldn't look at the result: wire cages full of tomatoes in various shades of red, just rotting on crispy brown vines; clusters of young squash under piles of shriveled leaves. But I keep reminding myself - it is much easier to buy tomatoes and squash than it is to buy a baby.

The main reason that we decided to have kids was so that we would have some additional farm help.1 So far, that plan isn't working out so well.

- Mike (& Corinne & Anders)

1 Okay, maybe not.

14 October 2008

Happy 0th Birthday!

Today Rocket turned 0! It was his (or her!) due date, October 14th. To celebrate, he decided to sleep for a few hours while his parents celebrated with brownies and ice cream.

In actuality, he is 24 days old. He is still sleeping pretty well at night, but has been trying to use Corinne as a "human pacifier" during the days.

I'm going to leave this post short - in favor of some additional sleep, which seems to be in short supply these days.

- Mike (& Corinne & Anders)

08 October 2008

At Home With Anders Rocket

Just chillin'For some reason my post titles these days sound like movies or TV shows. But that's neither here nor there. We have been at home with Anders Rocket for almost a week and a half now, so it's time for a recap of that time.

In grandma's armsDonna came home with us for the first week, to help with the transition and get us settled. And boy, did that make a big difference. Seemingly the instant we walked in the house on that first Monday night and unloaded the cars, the house turned into a disaster. But gradually over that first week, we managed to rein in some of the mess.

There were quite a few things that we had to do right off the bat. The bassinet we borrowed from Malinda and Jean was set up in our bedroom, and tables were erected and equipped in our bedroom and the guest room to act as changing stations, one for each floor. Once those essentials were complete, all we had left to do was raise him for the next 18 years.

Oh no!  The doctor visit!Both Corinne and I are home fulltime for now. Taking care of a newborn can be a fulltime+ job, and we wanted to make sure that neither of us was overly burdened. Kids are supposed to be a good thing, right? Not only that, but we have heard from many of our friends that they regretted not taking advantage of all of the "free" time available via the Family Medical Leave Act. We have stayed connected to work and have tied up some loose ends, but for the most part we've been home with him.

We've made progress with his feedings since we've left the hospital. Initially we were instructed to feed him every 2-3 hours, waking him up as necessary. We also supplemented him with formula (and later on, pumped breast milk) until he was breastfeeding better. After 2.5 weeks, we've now had several days in a row where he didn't need to be supplemented after feeding. More importantly, we've stretched the night feedings to 4 hours (from 3) and are just about ready to switch entirely to "on-demand" night feedings. It's amazing how much of a difference 1 hour makes. Thanks to our friends Amy and Andrew (who have had several early babies of their own), we now have a scale on loan that we can use to track his weight. He's now well above his birth weight and still gaining.

First bathIn general Anders is a pretty "chill" baby. He doesn't cry unless you are actively doing something to him, such as changing him, bathing him or doing something else that makes him cold. Even when he is hungry his signals have been pretty clear - tongue out, fist in mouth, with an occasional sound to make sure that you are paying attention.

In dad's armsWe weren't quite sure how Max was going to react to Anders. In the past he has generally been afraid of small children, but in those cases the kids in question were walking around and generally walking towards him, so the current situation would be different. In fact, Corinne and Donna even devised a secure netting system over the top of the bassinet that should theoretically be strong enough to hold Max's weight if he decided to jump in the bassinet. In the end, Max has been rather indifferent to the whole situation. Occasionally he looks at Anders and probably wonders what it is, but in general he has completely ignored the new addition. We'll have to see if that changes once Anders is more mobile.

We've learned a few things about babies during these first few weeks home that we thought we'd share:

  • Babies' digestive tracts are a pressurized system. When food goes in, "processed food" comes out the other end, typically at high speed. I'm guessing it's somewhere around 15-20psi. (Corinne has unfortunately experienced this several more times than I have, despite the fact that I do most of the changings.)
  • Babies have a lot of clothes, but typically don't wear any outfit for more than a few hours at a time.
Quality time with DadPossibly the best part about having Anders has been that Corinne isn't pregnant anymore! Towards the end she was really uncomfortable most of the time. Even though she has been getting up every 3-4 hours to feed, she still says that sleeping is much better than in those last pregnancy weeks. Thank goodness he came as early as he did! (Okay, maybe that's not the best part, but it is significant.)

Donna had to return to Seattle on Sunday - something about getting back to work, though I can't quite remember what that means right now. ;) But before she did, she cleaned our fridge, freezer, oven, and bathrooms, cooked virtually all of our meals (including a few that are in the freezer for later), provided advice from the perspective of someone who has done this before, and just generally did all of the stuff that we didn't manage to find time to do. Thanks!

Oops... End of the first week

First walk in Trout Lake - to the mailboxIn the past few days, we've even managed to get Anders (and Corinne) outside. We used to walk to the mailbox in the evenings after work as a way to get some exercise, quiet time, and fresh air, so we decided that all 3 of us should get back into that habit. (Our mailbox is about 1/4 mile down the road.) It's nice to be home in the country!

Deer at the windowWe've also had a few of our "country neighbors" stop by to check out the new addition.

I guess that about does it for now. We've had a number of visitors stop by to say "hi", drop off clothes (or swap girl clothes for boy clothes), or even bring food. We look forward to introducing him to everyone!

- Mike (& Corinne & Anders Rocket)

01 October 2008

Anders Rocket's Road Trip

No, it's not a National Lampoon movie. But perhaps it should be.

Monday was the day we were finally free to make the long journey home! We knew the trip was going to take us quite a bit longer than the usual 4.5 hours, but we didn't have any particular schedule or expectations. Whenever we got home, well, that's when we'd get home.

Before we left, though, on Sunday afternoon the parents (that's us!) went on their first "date", complete with babysitter! Corinne and I walked down to the local coffee shop, Caffe Ladro, while Grandma watched Anders. It was Corinne's first real outing (ignoring doctor appointments) since the delivery!

But now, back to the road trip. We have been placing a strong emphasis on sleep recently, increasing quantity to make up for lack of quality. On Monday morning we didn't get up until about 11am, and it took us several hours to eat breakfast and pack up all of the "stuff" that we had acquired (which was significantly more than the 2.5 days worth of clothes that we came with!) Donna will be staying with us to help out during the first week home, so thankfully we had two cars available in which to pack all of the stuff.

Anders still has to eat every 3 hours, so when we fed him at about 12:45pm the clock started ticking.

A. 3pm, Seattle. Our journey begins.
B. 4-5pm, Snoqualmie Falls. Time to feed! We just stopped at some random strip mall. Corinne fed him in the front seat, and I changed him on the sidewalk.
C. 6-6:30pm, somewhere near Ellensburg. This stop was for an adult bathroom break at a fruit stand.
D. 7:30-8:30pm, Union Gap. Next feeding and changing, this time in a supermarket parking lot. We opted to change him on the hood of the car rather than on the questionably-clean bathroom changing table.
E. 10:30pm, outside Glenwood. Dangerously near feeding time, Anders begins to awaken but hasn't started making any significant noise. With less than a half hour left, we opt to push on.
F. 11pm - Home!

Aside from the timing of having to stop to feed every few hours, Anders actually made a fairly good travel partner. We're hoping that he has inherited Corinne's traveling genes which allow her to read in the car (if she is able to stay awake - which she usually isn't.)

We're home!

- Mike (& Corinne & Anders Rocket)