Tag Archives: sondra

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents!

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! I.

since fall is fast approaching ( or, rather, technically here ) that must mean halloween is not far away which means it’s time for our yearly trek to a local The Pumpkin Patch to search for the perfect pumpkins for jack-o’-lanterns.

it’s a seasonal ritual made all the more special this year because grandma and grandpa snowdeal came for a visit and got to partake in the pumpkin hunting fun.

the pumpkin patch we really enjoy has all sorts of fun stuff beyond pumpkins, including a barn with many different kinds of animals including very curious goats who like to nibble on anything they please.

odin isn’t quite sure whether or not he’s going to lose his whole glove to one particularly nibbly goat.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! II.

i think the sheep would like to taste the camera.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! III.

since we live in a small town it’s certainly not unusual for odin to run into a few friends who are on their own Pumpkin Patch Adventures. it’s mighty nice that the old tobacco drying barn has a slat missing that’s just the right size for posing.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! IV.

it’s all fun and games jostling around the opening, at least until the llama decides it’s time to stand up and leave everyone guessing as to whether or not he’s going to spit on you!

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! V.

this is gunner. he’s one of the nice folks who drives a group of pumpkin patchers to the patch in a wagon pulled by a tractor.

you know it’s time to leave when he blows in the horn.

he asked odin to look after his horn when he jumped into the tractor. see if you can guess what happens to the horn.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! VI.

and we’re off! gunner is happy to not look where he’s going and tell you all sorts of stories about the history of the area, including the fact that the very path we’re driving on was originally a horse and buggy trail that connected two nearby towns.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! VII.

since halloween is approaching you never know what spooky, scary stuff might appear on the trip. since odin is a seasoned veteran he knows to keep on the lookout.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! VIII.


one year they had a gorilla jump out onto the trail which i think freaked too many kids out since they haven’t done it since.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! IX.

the ol’ riding the tractor like a bronco through “raging” stream bit never gets old.

every year, even though it never happens, i think there’s a small chance we’ll get stuck in the stream.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! X.

finally, it’s pumpkin huntin’ time!

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XI.

it doesn’t take long to find The Perfectest Pumpkin that’s all the more perfect ’cause it’s easy to carry.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XII.

and even the bigger ones are perfect when grandpa offers to help carry them on your head.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XIII.

odin poses in The Wilds of the Pumpkin Patch with his Prize Catch.

i almost think we should have it “stuffed”.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XIV.

grandpa and grandma caught documenting the adventure with their camera phones :-

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XV.

we were lucky enough to find a few gourds which was a treat because odin really, really though grandma would enjoy taking a few back home to michigan.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XVI.

back on the wagon, odin says, “hey grandma, how about how put the horn on my head like a hat. that’d be funny!”

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XVII.

the request, i think, was all a set-up for his next request to put the horn on her head so he could could talk into it and she could tell him if it was loud.

to the bemusement of the rest of the wagon riders, she complied.

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XVIII.

what could be more perfect that a little picnic after pumpkin hunting? not much, expecially when the pumpkin patch place supplies brats and sauerkraut!

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XIX.

of course, we can’t leave without saying goodbye to the goats!

day 2660: A Pumpkin Patch Adventure with Grandparents! XX.

such a fun annual tradition, much better than just picking up pumpkins in a parking lot. highly recommended if you’re in the area.

“tucker and becky’s pumpkin patch” on oboe road off PC between highways 27 and 33.

amusingly, our Pumpkin Patch Adventures take place a hop skip and a jump away from odin avenue. in fact, i think we first stumbled upon the road when we went on our first Pumpkin Patch adventure.

the eric update – day 96: welcome home, odin!

day 96: welcome home, odin!

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 )

time passes.

day 96: in the car seat!

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!

day 96: odin unexpectedly meets mauja!

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! ).

day 96: auntie gina, ruby and odin

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 ).

day 96: next to the last nicu bottle

the whole discharge process took about 3 hours, which is two bottles in bottle time.

day 96: sweet ease

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.

day 96: last nicu bath

you can’t go home without smelling fresh and clean now can you?

day 96: new home monitor

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.

day 96: going home duds

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.

day 96: attaching the home monitor

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.

day 96: removing the pulse ox sensor

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?

day 96: in the car seat!

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.

day 96: in the car!

that’s right! he’s in the car! he hasn’t melted in the rain!

day 96: odin unexpectedly meets mauja!

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.

day 96: lounging with grandma snowdeal

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.

day 96: odin meets cousin ruby

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.

day 96: odin, ruby and grandma snowdeal

ruby is having a grand time talking to baby odin.

day 96: wired in a bouncy chair

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.

day 96: antiseptic hand wash and apnea journal

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.

day 96: changing table

hey, it’s a sneek peak at his nursery! it’s sort-of a green-silver-blue with artwork theme. more pictures later.

day 96: first meds at home

eric gets his nightly meds for reflux.

day 96: auntie gina, ruby and odin

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.

day 96: sleepy time in the co-sleeper.  sort of.

it’s time for sleepy time in the arms reach Co-Sleeper®. the only problem is that he’s not so sleepy.

day 97: auntie diane, ruby and odin. I.

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.

day 97: auntie diane, ruby and odin. II.

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.

the eric update – day 91: 13 week birthday! cafffeine free! visit from grandparents.

while flickr has been having issues, i’ve been getting behind on posting updates. so for now, i’ll just post the super abridged version and maybe i’ll get around to posting the longer version when time permits. you can see annotated photos from the day here.

  • you didn’t forget that it’s eric lucky 13 week birthday did you? of course not. 5 pounds and 13 weeks old! what’s next? of course, his 3rd gregorian monthly birthday, tommorrow.
  • his docs took him off caffeine today, which was helping him to remember to breathe, which means that they think he’s at risk for having anymore “apneas of prematurity” ( he could still have feeding related apnic episodes, however ). he didn’t have any alarms during the day which means that he probably won’t go home with a monitor that measures his heartrate and respiration. in other words, he’ll go home without any wires!
  • eric had another visit from his grandparents, which he enjoyed quite a bit.


day 91: another visit from grandma snowdeal!

another visit from grandma snowdeal! strange – her eyes aren’t red anymore 🙂 she demonstrates a superb ability to keep eric from refluxing so she’ll definitely be getting lots of holding time in the future.

day 91: another visit from grandpa eric!

and whenever you find grandma snowdeal, grandpa usually isn’t far behind. i’d use the old, eric watching eric watching eric line, but i used that one.

day 91: caffeine free!

on the day before his three month birthday, they decide to take him off his daily dose of caffeine, which is supposed to help him to remember to breath ( i never really understood why caffeine does what it does, but someday maybe i’ll look it up ). he didn’t have a single alarm after the sudden withdrawal ( i might have an alarm or two if somebody decided to suddenly take away my caffeine )! since he’s not having any alarms that are due to what’s know as “apnea of prematurity” ( as opposed to feeding-related apnic episodes ), they will probably decide to send him home without a monitor, which means he’ll go home without any wires!

the device in the picture is the home monitor that he would have gone home with. he’s been hooked up to it since he arrived, in addition to his other monitors, just to make sure it works well. it makes the most ear bursting sounds if he has an apnic episode, since it’s designed to alert you even if your on the other side of the house. when you’re sitting right next to it, you’d swear that your ears might start bleeding if it goes off for an extended period of time.

day 91: more intentional paci grasping

i never get tired of seeing how good he’s getting at keeping the supersized paci in his mouth all by himself.

he’s nearing his three month birthday old (actual age, technically, he’s still not supposed to be out the womb for two weeks), so i guess it makes sense that his motor skills and coordination are really beginning to take off.

day 91: hands

eric is clasping his hands, content after a bottle, while kris is resting her hand on his chest. you can see the ever present supersized paci in the background.

the eric update – day 83: on reglan and risks, part two. reserve capacity gone?

day 83: first visit from grandpa eric!

the big news today was that thanks to the less restrictive visiting policy at the new nicu, eric got a special visit from his grandparents, which meant that eric met eric while eric watched! fun! he also got to see grandma snowdeal which was equally fun. the new nicu allows anyone to come and see eric as long as we’re there, so it’s nice to get a chance to show him off, although we would begin to suspect later in the day that all the new voices ( he had more visitors than just grandma and grandpa ) might be stressing him and contributing to his alarms.

day 83: first visit from grandma snowdeal!

( for family and friends who are reading this who might be or have been visitors, don’t go thinking that we’re saying we don’t want visitors – it’s just that we might need to be more sensitive to talking quietly around him. or perhaps not talking at all, if he’s really stressing out. )

day 83: catching the reflux. I.

he’s continuing to reflux quite a bit, which means after he feeds he starts to send milk back up his throat and out his nose and mouth. while mild reflux is a relatively benign problem in full term infants ( and adults ), micropreemies can get milk in their lungs which causes pneumonia and the process of refluxing causes them to stop breathing, which is not fun.

he still hadn’t been put on reglan when we arrived. so, we took time during the day to talk to yet another neonatologist about the risks associated with reglan. it’s all the more frustrating that this is one of those areas where, if you ask 12 different people a question as simple as “how common are the side effects from reglan” and, you’ll get 12 different answers ranging from “we haven’t seen anything in 30 years of practicing” to “it’s a drug, it has risks and we see about 5% of kids who have side effects.” to “well, occasionally i’ll see twitches, but i don’t like to use it because it’s not really effective.”

day 83: catching the reflux. II.

but eventually, we had to do something to help him keep his food down; he lost a little weight over the night, presumably due to the fact that he’s losing so much food out of his mouth and nose. so, in the evening, we started him on a drug that can cause blood problems, muscle spasms and tics in children and is the subject of lawsuits due to the fact that it’s known to cause a neurological condition known as tardive dyskinesia. most of the people we have talked to said that they thought that there was no evidence that any of the known possible severe side effects were an issue if the drug was dosed correctly on a short course of treatment and if it was removed at the first signs of any adverse events. i guess we can only hope that they’re right.

in the above photo, kris unintentionally captures a few of his milk boogers from the reflux. if we leave them in too long, then he gets stuffy and has problems breathing, so we have to constantly use a “bulb syringe” to suck out the milk boogers, which he likes none too much.

even though three days have passed since the surgery, he’s still doing things that he never used to do and it’s hard to tease apart the root causes. in addition to the new reflux problems, he’s still having many more apneas ( forgetting to breath ) that he has in the past ( remember, he went quite some time without having any alarms at all ). yesterday he had over ten events, some of which he had a difficult time pulling out of without the use of pure oxygen blown near his nose and mouth. eric is also having problems coordinating his suck-swallow-breath sequence while taking the bottle. he seems to remember the suck and swallow parts, but forgets to breath, which is contributing to the alarms.

day 83: learning new bottle feeding skills

when his evening nurse came on shift, she came over and started talking to me and i saw her make a face as he started to alarm. she came back a few minutes later and he started to alarm again when she started to talk. a lightbulb went off and she said that she thought he was still overstimulated from the move and the surgery and all the new voices and sounds. micropreemies normally have very little “reserve capacity” to keep up with the rigors of breathing and feeding and stressors can often wipe out what little reserves they already have. sometimes, soon after he was born, just using two of his senses ( e.g. looking at you while listening to you talk ) would wipe out his reserves and he’d start alarming. we hadn’t thought about the issue in awhile because as he got older it seemed to be less nd less of an issue.

so we made an extra efforts to “stim” him less in evening by moving him less, turning the lights down lower than normal and talking in even more hushed whispers than typical. thankfully, the efforts seemed to work and his number of alarms seemed to diminish. in retrospect, it’s fairly obvious that his reserve capacity has been completely depleted due all the new alarm bells and nurses voices and babies crying, in addition to the lingering effects from the surgery. thanks to an observant nurse, we now have a working theory that can give us something constructive to do – do things to keep his stimulation levels to a minimum – rather than sitting around, getting anxious and overstimulated ourselves, wondering if an impending infection is the cause of all his alarms.