We both know them all too well.
If there's a Book of Jubilations,
We'll have to write it for ourselves.."
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
All in all, it was a wonderful holiday. Being stranded in the snow meant that we were helping shovel our neighbors out of their driveways instead of staying warm by the fire. It also meant that we had unplanned dinner parties and extra people around, just because it felt right to be together.
I'd like to think that Nora learned a little bit about "community" this Christmas. I've felt fairly rudderless since moving here- part of why I haven't been posting much, I'm sure. However, we chose this town and this neighborhood and this house because it felt like we could become a part of it all. The last week has made Duluth feel a little more like home.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Life is not fair. Doesn't she look happy, though?
In any case, Kat and I thought this would be a good chance to learn how to process deer. So we went over Sunday afternoon and processed it with Carl & Cindy. It was an all night afair (we didn't get home until after 11:00). But we did have fun, and we learned a lot.
We decided to go ahead and bring Nora with. We figured it would be a good chance for her to learn where our food comes from. We don't want to scare her or make her a vegetarian, but we do want her to understand that the meat we eat comes from a living creature and that it should be respected.
Whatever our intentions, this is the picture that will be forever singed into my brain when I think about the whole experience.
We're either really good parents, or really, really, truly awful parents. The jury is still out.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Water and pooping are fine now and then, but Nora's new all-around obsession is letters. She likes picking them out of books, finding them on stop signs and attempting to draw them. "O" is clearly superior- and I'm sure that has nothing to do with how easy it is to draw....She has these Eric Carle cards with letters on one side and animals on the back. She likes to point to each letter and "spell" what the animal is. Most entertaining for me as a mother are "U" (which is known exclusively as "umbrella"- as in "o-c-t-o-p-umbrella-s") and "Q" (known as "O-with-a-tail").
Oops! The toddler in question is home. Back to parenting, while it lasts.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Nora agrees that simple pleasures are where it's at. Nana MJ sent her a homemade froggie pillowcase for a Big Girl Pillow, a smily face bouncy ball ("My Happy Ball") and a bunch of stickers. Nora then had to Aunt Mimi, Bella, Daddy and Nana to tell them how cool this was.
It takes a little more than a bouncy ball to make me happy these days. But not much more.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
1. Call St Mary's/Duluth Clinic Medical System. Ask for Information Services. Tell them to stop firewalling my blog.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Playing near the Split Rock lighthouse:
The view from near the lighthouse:
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
This weekend, Nora also caught her first fish (a bass) and immediately asked, "Can I touch it?" I was proud.
This evening, during dinner, she looked over at the dog and said, "Suma lick her butt. Is she hungry, Mommy?" I was less proud of that one.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Also, clearly I am a dork. Do not let the rockin' boots on my toddler mislead you.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
We don't even have air conditioning.
It doesn't hurt that I hate shorts with the fire of a thousand suns. I've never really been a sun worshipper like some (lookin' at you, Kristin....) and remember hiding under the beach chairs in San Diego as a child. So maybe I've just found my latitude. Or maybe I just haven't seen winter yet.
Nora loves her school, especially now that they're moving her up to the pre-school this week. We at home are hoping that the peer pressure helps initiate potty training a bit. We're trying not to do it until she's ready, but those stinkbombs of diapers are getting old....
Nora also loves riding her tricycle around the neighborhood. Her favorite destination is the school at the end of the block. They have a playground with four (FOUR!) slides. I admit, it is pretty awesome.
Eric bought a mountain bike and has been riding into Hartley Park a few times a week as a break from studying. We also got a YMCA membership and they have a Kid's Club so great that nora cries when you come to pick her up. It's a good incentive for working out. They also have a warm therapy pool that's open for free swim sometimes. I haven't introduced her to that yet, but it's definitely on the list.
Work is great. I'm on call, it's a bad weekend and I still went out to breakfast with my family, rounded in a leisurely fashion and was done by noon. That being said, it's pretty intense when I'm there, which is why I appreciate being 80% time.
Oops! Nora just woke up from her nap. We're off to ride bikes, go to the beach or do something else awesome....
Thursday, July 16, 2009
That would be a freaking bear in our freaking driveway. Seriously, while I was writing this. Eric just ran in with the pictures on his phone. He was out in the front yard pulling a dead tree out of the ground with his truck. (Of course he was- why not?)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
In the meantime, I should relate some of the particularly amusing/appalling/adorable things that have some out of her mouth lately.
1. "Mommy, teeter-totter is a funny word, huh?"
2. "I do not like my new friends. I like Lilly McCord."
3. This one goes in the "proof that she is her father's daughter" file. We've been working on potty training. She gets a mini M&M when she goes on the potty. Nora loves her M's. On the long drive from St. Paul to Duluth yesterday, she said, "Daddy, I need to go potty." Despite his best effort, Daddy did not get her to a bathroom in time and she didn't make it. This made her very upset. Daddy wiped away the tears, told her it was okay, and gave her an M&M for trying. At which point her sorrow turned to blind rage. She shouted "No!" and threw the M&M back at Daddy. A 30 minute tantrum ensued.
Don't placate me, Daddy.
4. "Mommy, don't walk there. I'm cleaning the floors." (She was, in fact, cleaning the floor. Silly Mommy.)
5. Nora has a really annoying habit of banging her fork on her plate at dinnertime. She knows it drives us nuts. So she started into it at dinner last night. We were talking, so we ignored it at first and kept talking. The banging fork got progressively louder. Finally, Kat shot her "the look," and simply said, "Nora?" To which Nora replied, "I go time out now!" then ran to her T.O. chair, set the timer, waited quietly for 2 minutes, turned off the timer, came out and said, "I all better." She was delightful for the rest of the night.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Something about the light today made for fantastic pictures of the kiddos. And we know that's what you're all here for anyway, so dig in!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
She has been to her new school three days now and had no hesitation about jumping right in. She especially likes that it's less than a mile from home and that Daddy has been riding her to school every morning on his bike.
She has a swingset in the backyard, a plastic playcube with a slide in the basement (for those snowy days we know are coming) and a park 100 feet down the street. She doesn't understand why someone broke most of the swings at the park (neither do I), but she insists that Daddy will fix them later. I just smile and nod.
She also seems to like the piano that the old owners left. I thought that her banging on the keys would drive me to drink, but it's actually not nearly as annoying as I thought. It must be because she has a gift for music. Excuse me- fewfic.
Nanna and Papa have been with us for the last week and helped ease the transition greatly. The boxes are all out of the house and have been recycled. I can't say that I can find things the first try or two, but I can say that everything is unpacked. We've started putting pictures on the walls, so it feels more like home every day.
The neighbors have appeared in droves to introduce themselves, bring us goodies, offer babysitting and invite us to parties. This neighborhood is incredibly friendly. The small town vibe definitely exists in that everyone knows everyone else, but it's a very inclusive feel. I feel like they're excited to have us around.
I start work tomorrow at St. Mary's/Duluth Clinic. Our biggest order of business for this afternoon is to figure out how to get there. One of the main thoroughfares in town, Woodland Avenue, is closed for construction. All of the tenuous grasp on the local geography that I thought I had crumbles when I have to detour.
And because I know that there are those of you who want to know, the detour takes you directly past the first house that we put an offer on. It is, in fact, still for sale.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Should I be worried about this?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I did manage to feel completely incompetent when I took down Nora's diaper and she had a raging yeast infection that I didn't even know was there. I had been treating a ringworm on her thigh for the last few days, but no yeast.
Oh, well. Such is life, right? I know you don't care about my Mommyangst.
Here's what we all really want to hear: 30 pounds (75%ile), 34.25 inches (50%ile) which is how she has charted all the way along. She's growing and developing normally. Nay, exquisitely.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
This morning, she woke me up with "Bearplane?" And we aren't even packed yet. It's a good thing that she's never been anywhere nice.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I made Nora this dress over the weekend. There are three pictures, because there isn't one single good picture, on account of Nora being a two-year-old moving target and all.
Today, I made a hat to match the dress and wrap shirt from the same pattern. Sorry- no pictures of those as yet.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It's definitely nice to have her back. She's back to school and seems really happy to be there. She likes to tell me about the things she did that day. Becky went down the slide? Lilly jumped? Monkey said, "no-no" and Nora said "What?" Sure. Why not? I have no idea if a two year-old actually has an imagination or if these things actually happened in some odd way.
At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. I just love the way she collapses into peals of laughter everytime she tells me how she yelled at a cow. I'm sure that when I'm a demented shriveled old lady, you'll still be able to make me laugh by saying, "Get DOWN, Monkey!" Particularly if you hold a stuffed primate over your head when you do it. Of course, I'd probably laugh at that anyway.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Through it all, she has been a champ. She is a sweet, sweet kid underneath all the toddlerhood and I never love her more than when she is retching on me. Weird, but true. There's something about a cuddly, sweet, sick kid who has no energy for boundry testing or independence fostering that makes that bond grow just a little stronger.
I'm so proud of how cheerful she's been and how easily she's adapted to my limitations. I never would have fathomed that she could possibly carry that over when we both are feeling bad. But she has. And it might just be evolution making sure that she doesn't end up in a dumpster, but I like to think that Nora is just turning out to be a really cool person.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The first night after Kat's surgery was a little rocky. Her pressure sucked, her hematocrit sucked, she was wifty, she either itched or was in pain or both, she couldn't get comfortable, and there was someone in the room about twice an hour all night, so sleep was out of the question. For both of us. Saturday was a little better, but still pretty rough. Sunday she turned the corner. She looked like my wife again. She was even busting my balls over the nominally perceptible, so I knew she was feeling like herself.
I had to take call for the weekend, which made the lack of sleep a little more painful, but I was fortunate enough to be on call with a superstar junior resident who busted his tail to make sure that I was able to devote most of my attention to what was going on with Kat. It's sort of been a theme for us lately... friends and family busting their tails to get us through this. We are incredibly blessed.
This morning, when I got to the hospital, I took one look at her and knew we were taking her home today. Which was good, because I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get her out of there. I pulled strings and rattled cages all morning to speed up the process of getting her epidural out, getting her through PT and OT, getting her all the equipment she'll need, getting her lovenox, and getting her out the door. I used just about every trick in the manual they give to irritating, overly-driven surgical residents on the first day of internship. But it worked. We were home by 11:30, which is nothing short of a miracle by HMC standards.
Let me just say, Kat was an absolute champ through all of this. Bear in mind that someone fractured her pelvis 3 days ago. This morning, she dressed herself, learned how to walk with a walker and with crutches, learned how to climb stairs, then hopped in a wheelchair and said, "get me out of here."
God I love that woman.
To add to the drama of the weekend, we had two competing offers come in on the house. Today, an hour after we got home from the hospital, our realtor came to present them to us. We got one very good offer, and one that was everything we could have possibly wished for, plus more money, plus a bunch of other good things we hadn't thought of but will actually make life much better for us over the next 3 months. So we took the second offer.
The house is sold! Yippee!
Meanwhile, back at the homestead this weekend, Nora was having her way with Nanna and T-Dan. They spent a lot of time "O-side." She even convinced them to take her to the public playground in Hershey.
I'm not sure if she even noticed that Kat and I weren't home. Later she showed them around the kitchen.
"This is how we clean up after dinner, ok guys? Now put this in the dishwasher and give me something else to clean"
Although Kat was home this evening, Nora was unaware until she wandered into our bedroom after dinner to find Mommy in a Percocet and MS-contin induced haze. She crawled up on the bed to check out the whole situation and pointed out "Mommy's boo-boo" several times as she inspected the enormous pressure dressing overlying her left side. She was also ready for some cuddle time, and she left that little snugglefest to go take a bath only after a good deal of stalling. My favorite moment of the day came about a half hour later, though, when she emerged after her bath topless, with a green band-aide stuck to her belly, crawled back onto Mommy's bed, and pointed out, very ernestly, "Nora's boo-boo." See Mommy, I have one too. We're relating to each other.
God I love that kid.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Last night, we had a long, painfully involved discussion with Kat's orthopedic surgeon about whether we really ought to go through with the PeriAcetabular Osteotomy, or whether we should try a less invasive procedure first, with the thought in mind that she'd have a shorter recovery, and if it didn't work we could always come back again in a few months to do the PAO.
In the end, after much agony and a lot of tears, we decided to go ahead with it today. For many reasons, we needed to give Kat the best possible chance of getting better now. Though doing the bigger operation today may involve more risk and a more difficult recovery in the short term, we had to accept that. Though it may be medically safer to do so, unfortunately we just couldn't afford to take the "wait and see" approach. Kat expended an enormous amount of energy and rearranged her entire life and career to prepare for this operation. We have also been fortunate enough to have family and friends commit to making big sacrifices to help us through this. Sadly, our lives are now so mired in responsibility that it will be years before the stars realign in such a way that we'll have another opportunity to commit to this operation and its inherent recovery period. We just couldn't accept the possibility of another year or two of living with the pain, or with all of the limitations that it inflicts; no hiking, no biking, no gardening, no running around after Nora, and no chance of conceiving again. All the while, her hip could be getting worse, making the chances of a successful PAO ever more remote.
So, today was the big day. MJ and Dan came to town last night and took over Nora's care, so that Kat and I could turn our attention to her left hip. We hit the hospital doors at 5:15 this morning, she was in the OR by 7:30, and she woke up 9.5 hours later.
I was too anxious to just wait around, of course. I had to do something, so I did what I always do... I went and did some operations of my own. Right across the hall. It was a good distracter, but unfortunately we had some cancellations so I ran out of cases by lunch time. Initially, I resisted any temptation to even peek in the door of her room. Then, at about 2:00, her surgeon called me and said things were going great, and asked me if I wanted to come take a look. My stomach initially turned at the thought of seeing my wife laid open, her pelvis in pieces and her muscles detached. But then it occurred to me... what an incredible opportunity! To be able to see for myself exactly what we're up against.
To be clear, the surgeon was careful to invite me down only for the most controlled portion of the case, when everything was exposed and he could demonstrate for me what the problem was and what he had done to fix it. He wisely chose to make sure I was not in the room to see anything gruesome. I saw no bleeding, and thankfully I do not have to live with the image someone breaking my wife's pelvis.
What I did see was nothing short of amazing. I saw for myself why she was hurting so much. And I saw what he had done to fix it. I stayed for nearly two hours, and when I left I was neither disturbed nor upset. I was relieved. We made the right choice. She's going to get better.
Even as I scrubbed the adhesive from her face and the soap from from her side tonight, as I adjusted her SCD's, held her emesis basin for her and cleaned up afterwards when she missed, I felt not a hint of regret or doubt about this decision. She's comfortable now, resting quietly next to me in her hospital bed, and I'm incredibly grateful for that. Most of all, though, I'm grateful that I can sleep tonight (and for the first night in three days) knowing that her suffering from this surgery, and all the sacrifices our loved ones have made to help us through it, are not in vain.
To everyone who is pitching in, thank you. You're giving Kat a chance to take control of her life again, to reclaim her identity. This next couple of months is going to be tough, and we couldn't do it without you.
We'll try to keep this blog lighter in the future, and turn the attention back to the reason you're really all here in the first place (pictures and videos of Nora being Nora). As she mentioned in her last post, Kat keeps a separate blog for all the fussing, but that one is really just for her... tonight I just had to say my bit.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
It's down to the wire. Yesterday was my last day of work. Today, I go in for my pre-operative physical, x-rays and blood work. Then, tomorrow I show up at the hospital to voluntarily have my pelvis broken.
Seems like a bad idea, right? Be that as it may, it's kinda late to back out now. I've already given them 2 units of my blood.
I anticipate a lot of whining (you know, from me) and I'd really like to keep this blog positive and focused on our family life. So, if you would like to know where things stand with the surgery and recovery, or if you just enjoy my navel-gazing, head on over to mdconfessional.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The following clip is very clearly a case of manipulation of the parental variety. Once upon a time, about 2 months ago, I posted about how Nora could now talk and thus was talking back. After a long lament about the mixed bag that parenting a toddler inherently is, my brother sent me a prophetic email. He said, "Yes, but one day, you will be able to reap endless entertainment by teaching your child to unwittingly repeat your favorite movie quotes."
Jim, this is for you:
That'll do, since she's two and probably not ready for the ones I really want to teach her. Please feel free to recommend your favorites...
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
An added bonus for those of you who saw the house in it's original splendor or at various torn-apart phases along the way- it has a ton of great pictures of all the improvements that we've done over the last 5 years.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I have to say, what an amazing toy for a two year old. Yeah, I know, it's a classic and it's been around forever. But as a father watching his child entertain herself with piles of colored clay for hours at a time, my perspective on the stuff has completely changed. I have got a whole new respect for this magical goop.
It was a rough few weeks there, and for a while I wasn't sure if they would both come out of it alive, but it's quite a relief to see them re-connect. Of course, the down side of this is that now that Kat's back in the game, I'm apparently not. Last night when I offered to read to her, and when I suggested that I help with her bath so that Mommy could have a break, Nora pushed my legs until I backed out the door and said, "Daddy away," then promply shut the door in my face.