i’m probably already a little biased but, seriously you guys, she’s just about the cutest, sweetest puppy in the whole world.
also, playing with puppies in the grass is an excellent way to pass the time.
we were going to name our new malamute puppy freki which was the name of one of odin’s mythological wolf companions. but the ravaneous namesake just wasn’t fitting with her cute and cuddly personality. and people would ask “you named her “freaky?” when they first heard her name. and odin said he wasn’t so fond of muninn so we thought for a bit and i said, “how about frida” which is an old norse name meaning “beautiful, beloved”.
we all agreed that it is a perfect name more befitting of our beautiful and beloved puppy.
last november some very generous Friends Of Odin ( FOO! ) bought raffle tickets, entered to win great prizes and helped odin get a new puppy ( the vast majority of the tickets were purchased by long time readers of snowdeal.org most of whom i’ve never met IRL and i am still touched your kindness and generosity. thank you! ). we knew then that we wanted to get another alaskan malamute, but we didn’t know it was going to take this long to bring one home!
but after one unsuccessful breeding attempt and a long 8 week wait, kris went to go pick her up from the breeder near green bay today. she called after getting her and told us she was a veeeeeery cute puppy.
OH!MY!GOSH! she was right!
within moments of jumping out of the car it was clear she and odin are going to be great friends. she went right to him, sat at his feet and looked up as if saying, “ok, i’m here finally let’s go on an adventure!”
odin leaned down and she unleashed a flood of kisses.
odin has A Way with All Animals, but i don’t think i’ve ever seen a puppy so quickly bond with a member of her new family. very fast friends. they will no doubt be inseparable soon.
odin took her for a quick walk around the block so she could get accustomed to the smells of the neighborhood before seeing our yard and the house. she was thirsty after a walk around the block! she’s has a super mellow, curious and affectionate temperment.
and what about a name? in norse mythology odin had two wolf companions geri and freki and continuing in our tradition of giving malamutes names that nobody can pronounce we’re leaning towards naming her freki which is pronounced fray-ki with a bit of a trill. if that doesn’t grow on us odin also had two ravens huginn and muninn and muninn ( meaning “memory” ) is a close second.
i’m sure you’ll see many more accounts of Odin’s Adventures with Freki(?) in the coming weeks.
it is, of course, bittersweet that pushkin didn’t survive to see freki and died just four weeks before we brought her home. he would have done a fine job teaching the house rules.
yesterday we went on an ocean adventure, so today we thought it would be nice to visit our family camp in whiting, maine on what’s known as “indian lake”. ( for the two people that might be interested, the first white settler of whiting, general john crane, was involved in the boston tea party, the french and indian war and the american revolutionary war. and it still has a two room schoolhouse! but i digress. )
not more than a minute or two after we arrived we walked down onto the wharf with grandma rier to look across the lake and were all suprised to hear a splash not more than 10 feet away near the rock wall at the water’s edge.
at first we all thought it was a fish jumping in extremely shallow water, but then about ten or so feet from the sound of the splash we were shocked to see a loon come up from a dive under water. ( parenthetically, when it came up from the dive, we saw that it seemed to have an impossibly large 5 or 6 foot wingspan, which we all thought was far larger than normal. it’s funny that after a lifetime of observing loons none of us had ever seen one so close to know that it’s actually an average wingspan. )
by the time i ran back with the camera, the loon had lured mauja into relatively deep water and was being much more devious than yesterday’s gull by letting him get relatively close, not flying away, and making loon calls that undoubtably could be translated into “i bet i know which of us will drown first!”
finally he decided to heed our calls and started to head back. but he’s old and we had a brief conversation about whether or not it was possible to pull a fully water laden 120 pound malamute into a canoe.
the loon dared to come back relatively close to shore which made us think that perhaps we had unintentionally disturbed a nesting mother ( ironic considering this comment about yesterday’s photos and the downside of letting dogs run on beaches in the spring ).
we didn’t see any obvious nests in the rock wall and nobody can remember a loon nesting the cove in the entire 50 or so year history of the camp, but the loon’s behavior would certainly seem to indicate otherwise.
unfortunately for mauja, until we conclusively rule out a nest, mauja will definately need to back on a leash.
the family camp has always had a relatively large and vocal loon population, which makes for hauntingly beautiful nights on the lake.
if you’ve ever heard a chorus of loons you’ll know what i mean.
you can click on each image for a brief description.
grandpa kirk in happy to see mauja make it to shore.
eventually grandma may figure out that i can take a photo with the telephoto lens when you don’t even know it 🙂
obviously according to the dog’s handbook of life, he’s having probably his most funnest day in a long, long time.
odin enjoys sitting on what might look like an ordinary red couch in the family camp.
little does he know that this very couch has not apparently aged at all over the past 30 or so years; regular readers might even recognize the couch as the very same one that auntie m and i shared for a special moment more than a few years ago.
this photo is far more interesting when you realize that the long time family friend on the motorcycle who is talking with grandma rier and odin is david watts whose surname almost assuredly means that he’s a direct descendent of samual watts who we very recently learned is also a member of odin’s family tree and whom played a part in the first naval skirmish with the british during the american revolutionary war.
if it’s not apparent, david is quite a character, in the very best sense of the word.
psssst. i’ve updated the post – please scroll down.
he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home!
( more later, lots to do )
we’re home. after 96 days in the nicu i still can’t quite believe that we’re actually home. and despite my slight anxiety that i’d be paralyzed by fear at not having a nicu nurse at close hand, i think we’re doing pretty well. actually, little odin is making things quite easy for us. he’s mostly just been sleeping the day away in the arms of family members that have come to visit. his monitor has gone off a few times, but they’ve all been false alarms. and while there was some concern that moving home might wipe out his “reserve capacity” and bring on another round of refluxing and alarms, he has only spit up a very little bit of food since getting home. so he seems to be handling the transition very well!
regular readers might wonder how we were released so quickly without having any of the various surgeries that he may or may not need. in an amusing last minute twist the doctors changed the original plan that we discussed with them which involved eric coming home early next week after having surgery for his inguinal hernia. but it appears that scheduling for surgery is quite complicated and they couldn’t get a slot for him in a timely manner and they decided that they didn’t want to have him hanging out in the nicu waiting for surgery; they came back to us a couple of hours later and told us that we could bring him home today. as you can imagine we were, er, quite surprised. in a good way. mostly. so, due to the vagaries of surgical scheduling, we got to bring him home and wait for october 19th to arrive which is when he’ll have his inguinal hernia repaired. with each passing day that his reflux continues to remain under control they are increasingly confident that he won’t need any of the more invasive measure to stop the spitting ( woohoo! no gut tube! ).
a large number of people have asked if i’m going to continue the postings now that we’re out of the nicu. i think the short answer is that i probably won’t stop posting any time soon. so if you’ve been following along, keep following along.
as a taste of what’s to come, some of you may remember that we bought a house for the snowdeal show ® with our sister-in-law and her partner and they are expecting their second child very soon. diane’s due date was within days of little odin’s original due day, october 16th, so things should even more exciting than ever, all the more so because she’s having a home birth, which long time readers might remember is what we originally planned as well.
it’s odd to think that within the next couple of days, odin – who just celebrated his third gregorian monthly birthday – will meet a cousin who is the same age, but not. or something like that.
But now, we sleep at home together for the first time! the Beginning of Many More Adventures to Come.
here are a few sights from The Very Exciting Day ( some dupes from above but with more description ).
the whole discharge process took about 3 hours, which is two bottles in bottle time.
sweet ease is sugar water and it’s given to preemies in the nicu to calm them down. if a kid is screaming or uncomfortable, you’ll often hear a nurse say “just give ’em some ‘sweet ease'”. eric never fussed too much, so he never had much of the stuff ( some of the kids were sweet ease addicts ), which is nice because we never were too comfortable with training him to be comforted by sugar water.
but today it appears that they gave him some sweet ease while they were administering his vaccines, which needed to be done before he could leave.
you can’t go home without smelling fresh and clean now can you?
despite being caffeine free, eric is going to go home with a monitor, so we can make sure that he doesn’t react adversely to the change in environments by slowing his heartrate and respiration.
we had to go to a “class” to learn how it worked as part of the discharge process, which was a little silly because we’re pretty familiar with monitors after 3 months in the nicu.
he’s sleepy after the bath, a feeding an diaper change, but we decide to show off his very cute duds that he’s sporting for the ride home.
the sensors for the home monitor are held in place on his chest with a cloth “belt”, which a much nicer alternative to the “sticky” leads. they’re cutting the cloth belt down to a proper size as they transfer him from the nicu monitor to the home monitor.
he’s has his pulse oximeter sensor on almost continuously from the the very beginning, so it’s a little odd to be taking it off for the very last time. what will i do with my time if i can’t stare at his blood oxygen saturation levels for hours on end?
woohoo! normally they like to test kids out in the car seat, but we’re leaving on such short notice that we just cross our fingers that he’ll enjoy being in the seat.
indeed, he liked it a lot and didn’t make a peep during the entire process.
that’s right! he’s in the car! he hasn’t melted in the rain!
auntie gina greets odin when we arrive at the house. mauja hangs back for a bit and then decides that he really, really wants to get a closer look. it’s hard to tell, but if gina hadn’t stopped him, he would have had his front legs on the table and would likely have commenced with licking, which is probably not a good idea.
mauja loves babies and i think he’s going to have a hard time understanding why he can’t plant a wet sloppy tongue on odin whenever he pleases.
gradma and grandpa snowdeal came along to help us with the transition from the nicu to home. they held eric for a long time which was nice because we had lots to get done. odin slept comfortably the entire day.
cousin ruby lives in the house that we bought for the the snowdeal show ®, so she’s sort-of like a big sister. she’s been anxiously waiting to meet odin for 3 months. ruby was very thoughtful and brought a balloon along for a gift.
ruby is having a grand time talking to baby odin.
we won’t be going anywhere without the home monitor and i’ve found that it’s a little tough to remember to not just pick him up and walk away without grabbing the monitor.
the antiseptic hand wash is going to be a very important fact of life for quite some time. anyone who touches eric must wash their hands before picking him up.
we have to fill out the apnea journal anytime the alarm goes off to give the doctors contextual information such as whether or not he changed colors and what we were doing at the time – e.g. feeding. so far, we’ve only have “loose lead” alarms which aren’t very important.
hey, it’s a sneek peak at his nursery! it’s sort-of a green-silver-blue with artwork theme. more pictures later.
eric gets his nightly meds for reflux.
auntie gina also lives with us in the house we bought for the the snowdeal show ®, so you might be seeing many more pictures of her, if she doesn’t mind.
they were watching the presidential debate which obviously wasn’t doing much to help keep ruby awake.
it’s time for sleepy time in the arms reach Co-Sleeper®. the only problem is that he’s not so sleepy.
auntie diane is super duper pregnant and her due date is within days off odin’s original due date, so she’ll be having the baby very, very, very soon.
auntie diane was on the short list of visitors at the old nicu so odin is quite familiar with her belly. whenever auntie diane holds odin, her baby starts to stir, so maybe there’s some sort of baby-to-baby communication going on.
eric seems to be stabilizing quickly. he only had 6 alarms today, which is a lot better than the 36 he had just a few days ago – and many of those alarms were induced the nurses “meanie” sessions where they due all manner of not fun things to him. and he’s continuing to pack on the weight; tonight he weighed in at 1020 grams which is 2 pounds 4 ounces and means that he’s finally, officially hit the kilo mark! hooray! his breathing also seems to be getting more regular and stronger, which means that they’ll probably try to put him back on the nasal cannula soon.
we were also surprised to find that his eye specialist came by for eric’s initial visit to assess whether or not he any signs of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). we were surprised because we weren’t expecting to see the eye doctor for another week or two. i guess they like to check micropreemies early and often. the absolutely fantastic news is that the doc says that his eyes are “perfect” right now! that said, the doctor cautioned us that it’s nearly a certainty to see some manifestation of ROP in a micropreemie, so they are going to keep a close eye on him ( ahem! it’s an eye specialist joke! ) in the coming weeks.
other than that, all was quiet on the nicu front. we still haven’t been able to resume the kangaroo care, but hopefully that will change over the next day or so.
and i have photographic proof that kris and i are trying our best to regain some semblance of our normal schedule. today, we had a little free time and we went to the dog park. our city isn’t very dog friendly, in terms of official dog parks, so we had to become members of a private dog park; prior to eric’s birth we were dog park “regulars”, but haven’t been able to find time recently for all the obvious reasons, much to the dismay of our two dogs. so, today, we were finally able to enjoy a little time away from the nicu with the dogs.
and we even stopped to smell the flowers. even if they weren’t roses.
what’s my boring life like outside the nicu? well, here’s a couple of glimpses that both involve walking the dogs. with four large dogs in the house and no fenced in backyard, you can imagine just how much dogwalking there is to be done. at a bare minmimum they all need 3 walks a day totalling somehere around 2.5 miles. gina and diane (and ruby) help out a lot, but i to still get my (un)fair share of walking a day, of not only because walking 2 miles a day is a Good Thing.
last sunday, i was walking a typical route, not particularly paying attention to anything as i’m lost in thought about the day’s tasks at hand. as i’m walking up logon street, passing the meyer may house, getting ready to cross onto madison, i find that i have to pay attention in order to not fall into a hole left by the missing curbs ( a funny story itself, someone has decided that the curbs and driveway entrances on our block are not historically accurate, so they’re tearing them out and putting in new ones that look suspicously similar ); as i’m getting ready to step over the hole, trying to manage two large dogs ( a 105 pound malamute and an 85 pound bernese mountain dog ), i hear screaching tires, followed by racing engines. but i can’t quite see what’s coming up the street, because of all the trees and shrubbery in the way. so i continue to step out into the street just in time to see a truck pass by at about 90 miles per hour ( not really 90 m.p.h. but that’s what it seemed at the time since it was only a few feet away ) followed by two cop cars literally in “hot pursuit”. i could hear them continue to race down the street as i wondered what would have happened if the timing had been any different. later i would learn that it was this guy and that he crashed into a police cruiser just about a half a mile down the street. surprisingly, i didn’t hear the crash. you don’t see that everyday, now do you? too bad i didn’t have my camera.
aside from almost getting run over during a high speed chase, most dogwalks are quite unexciting. sure, they like killing small land animals and might pull you down the street in an attempt to maul a cat or squirrel or skunk, but usually it’s just a plain-vanilla walking and poop-picking-upping. and with the poop-picking-upping, you don’t want them to “get the runs” for all the reasons that you can imagine. so, it was with much dismay that i found mauja squatting multiple times and leaving runny, stinky messes everywhere. odd. i thought. hopefully he’s not getting sick.
diane would later ask me if any of my dogs had runny poops. “aha!” she said, when i told her that, indeed, mauja just did. “i suspect that means he’s the one who ate the four sticks of butter off the counter today.” the next day, gina would tell me that his poops would get worse. much worse.
so, if any of our nicu nurses reading this, you can blame mauja for your not getting the multiple loaves of zucchini bread, as he ate all the butter in the house and nobody has time to go out and get any more before the zuccs go bad.