Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas travel

For a long time I thought we had good luck traveling. But just recently I realized that our luck had changed and suddenly we have a long list of "cliche" travel stories.

A brief recap:

6 years ago - we were stuck on the tarmac in Amsterdam for 5 hours with the pilot intermittently announcing that we would be taking off in approximately 15 minutes. Finally, when the flight crew could sense mutiny afoot they put in the in-flight movie "Emperor's New Groove" and every single person on that plane sat down and watched it peacefully. We were ultimately put up in a nice hotel and flew out the next day.

2 years ago - There was the year that each flight we had arrived late so we were the crazy people running through the airport to make our connection, which, luckily they were late taking off so we made it everytime but one. The only one that left on time was the one we missed, which was good because that gave us time to eat. We had a direct flight to our home town that year. At the gate for this flight instead of the computer screen graphic with the destination listed there was a lined piece of paper taped to the blank screen with the words "Idaho Falls" written on it in ball point pen.

Last year our cat got sick the night before we left so we had to take him to the "Animal Hospital" and take advantage of the charity of quite a few of our friends to ensure his health. That year also featured delayed flights as a result of a huge storm over Denver and a drive from Salt Lake to Idaho Falls on Christmas Eve. The best part was the special Christmas Eve dinner of Cheetos, Beef Jerky and pudding purchased lovingly at the Flying J convenience store.

This year:
There was a light snow falling as we drove to the airport. That light snow resulted in a 3.5 hour wait on the runway during which 10,000 lbs of luggage was removed from the plane so that we could take off with slush on the runway. You guessed it, 200 lbs of that was our luggage. We were assured, and naively believed that our luggage would be put on a plane leaving an hour after we did and that it would be in Denver (and then Salt Lake) not long after we were. In reality, our luggage left Boston 36 hours after we did and then it went missing completely for a time before showing up mysteriously at the Idaho Falls airport just as Aaron and our "muscle" (our brother-in-law John) headed over there to do some thumping.

Thankfully, oh so thankfully, the return flight was smooth and non-eventful. However, both the drive from the SLC airport to Idaho Falls and the drive from Idaho Falls to the SLC airport were through blizzards...we really owe our parents for coming to get us.

See the weary travelers...


Tessa was an excellent traveler. On the 7.5 hour plane ride from Boston to Denver (should have been four) she slept well and rarely fussed. She was a bit less excited about the hour flight from Denver to SLC but I think she did wonderfully!

Okay - in this paragraph I was going to write about how on 3 of the 4 flights we had we sat next to college age girls who didn't say a word to us or Tessa the entire time. I was going to wonder if they thought there was such a great difference between themselves and me that they just couldn't cross the divide and then I was going to say "poo poo" on them for missing a great chance to meet the sweetest baby imaginable. However, then I realized that on 2 of the 3 flights that we sat next to young college age girls I was a coughing, snotty mess and perhaps to them I wasn't "that woman with the baby (roll eyes)" but instead "that coughing, snotty mess (roll eyes)" in which case I also wouldn't talk to myself. Yes, I was that person.

Catch up

These are some pictures I meant to post a while ago.

Behold our little New Englander supporting Red Sox Nation...


And look at the cool bread I be honest, it doesn't taste as good as it looks.

He passed (of course)

Aaron took his first of nine architectural licensing exams earlier this month. Here is a picture of Tessa helping him study.


After he took the exam he sent me a txt msg that said "that was about as fun as a root canal."

Of course, no one ever does as bad as they think on this like this so Aaron was pleased and relieved to get the notice in our big stack of holiday mail that he had PASSED the "Pre-Design" exam!! Next up, Materials and Methods.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


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Seasons Greetings

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Its December

And its COLD!

The non-profit I work for hosts a fund raiser every December called the Christmas in Salem Home Tour and we were out and about all day participating in the Christmas cheer. I left a few hours before Aaron, who stayed home with Tessa while she napped. As I was waiting to meet up with him I could see a man with his little papoose baby all snuggled up in his coat and with her little pink hat-ed head bobbing along. Her body was very warm...but her face was very cold. The poor little thing has never felt anything cold except the little drops of reflux medicine we give her twice a day. She was rather befuddled, but gave me a warm winter smile nevertheless.

I was only able to go with Tessa and Aaron for one house before I scampered off to do a little task, so Aaron got to experience the ego boosting fun of walking around with a cute baby. This was emphasized since there were no other babies that we saw visiting the houses...and by the fact that she was so bundled up that only her big blue eyes and pink cheeks were showing. According to Aaron she loved the Christmas trees and the fancy china in the houses, and everybody loved her.

The camera didn't work in the cold outdoors so I couldn't get a picture of how darling she looked. But when I got home about 15 minutes after Aaron he was standing like this with Tessa in the kitchen...waiting either for me to get home and take the picture, or for me to help him get her out of the Bjorn without waking her...not sure which.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007


We had a great Thanksgiving. We ate dinner with friends and it was great. The only person who ate more than Aaron was Tessa.

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Just kidding, she did feast on the creamy mashed potatoes though...and Daddy gave her some roll. Mommy had to give him "the look" for that one.

No, we did not wake up early to go shopping on Friday. Do we look crazy? Nevertheless we are ready to head into the Christmas season. Ho Ho Ho!!

Just for the heck of it, here is another picture that shows off Tessa's beautiful eyes.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Its confirmed

Yesterday there were a few icy/snowy crystals in the air here at home, but none at Aaron's office. Today, though, its snow.

~*~*~*~ SNOW ~*~*~*~

I guess this week is perfect timing. However I feel just a bit of dread (I must be a a weather pessimist) at the idea that winter is here for the next who knows how long...

I'll just repeat over and over "Hot chocolate, fudge, christmas lights, hot chocolate, fudge, christmas lights, hot chocolate..."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Small Confession

I have a list of blogs that I check frequently and I especially like it when those people post, well, daily, really. However they don't always do that and so then I need to find some other random thing to do to fill my daily-time-wasted-online quota. So then I follow the links for their friends and/or commentators blogs. Wait...thats not the confession. The confession is, that makes me jealous. "Jealous of what?" I ask myself. Jealous that my friends have other friends? Jealous that my witty friends have friends who are eloquent and charming? That is ridiculous. Is it that I'm jealous that I'm not as eloquent as they are? No, no, as edit and edit this post I'm working through my feelings and I think what makes me jealous is that I don't get to have frequent contact with these friends and so I'm jealous that the thought that maybe there are people out there who do. Well, I hope they realize how good they've got it!

Another confession: we are supposed to having Family Home Evening right now (I believe that was either going to be Dunk-angel-food-cake-and-bananas-in-chocolate or Watch-the-movie-we-rented-over-the-weekend) but Aaron is sleeping. Well, I guess it should be him confessing, but he can't, he's sleeping.

Self promotion

In case you've stopped your all consuming habit of checking my other blog you should know that I posted pictures of the before and after of our bedroom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

9 Months/ 6 Months

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The traffic fairy was not as accommodating this morning on our real drive to the doctor. Rain and the day after a vacation combined to make us 1/2 hour late for the appointment. However it gave Tessa time for a long nap so after a brief moment of alligator tears right at the beginning she did very well at her appointment.

This appointment was her "6 month" NICU follow-up visit. Meaning if she had gone full term she would have been 6 months at this point. I'm not sure if I talked about this earlier but that is her "adjusted" or "corrected" age and that means in terms of developmental ability she is only expected to act like a 6 month old. And based on her weekly occupational therapy activities, her monthly pediatrician visits, and of course, today's appointment with the pediatric developmental specialists she is right on track. In some things, particularly her schedule for eating solid food and in someways her visual and social skills she is a bit advanced and closer to her actual, chronological age. As she gets older her developmental abilities and chronological ages will start to align and merge around two years of age.

Today, 9 months after birth and exactly 6 months after hospital discharge, she giggled during the physical exam and smiled smiled smiled at everyone, until she got sleepy, then she just stared and snuggled with Daddy.

She weighed 14 lbs 14 oz, and is 27 inches long! And, in case you are either challenged in the math department or in denial (like me) in three months my little big girl will be ONE! Pardon me while I go find some sand to bury my head in and pretend she'll be my little one forever.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today is not November 13th

However I did not realize that until after I woke up at 5:30 (2.5 hours earlier than usual), shower, packed up Tessa and Aaron, drove into Boston, and sat in a doctor's waiting room for 20 minutes.

So I am considering that the dry run for tomorrow when Tessa's ACTUAL appointment is. Stay tuned.

"On the bright side," I thought, I was going to be able to get to the bank and the post office earlier and also get more work done at home.

Unless of course today is Veteran's Day, which it is, which I did not realize until after I parked, got Tessa out of the car and tried the door at the bank, which was locked.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I am NOT obsessed with my eyelashes

Although apparently I am supposed to be. After all, every magazine on the rack has a headline about having "Thicker, Darker, Sexier Lashes" that are in fact "Lash-Tastic," the makeup companies are rolling out new products everyday to make my lashes standout, curl, separate, lengthen, feather, and thicken...and I just don't care.

What is my problem?

Perhaps its the fact that I have fairly light coloring (maybe you haven't noticed) so really, if I show up with long, dark, lethally pointy lashes people should be aware that they are not my natural lashes. Its just the truth.

In fact...sometime I go out with NO mascara on. This is pretty big considering that for most of my makeup wearing life I counted "mascara" as one of those 10 things you grab if your house is on fire. Its great to A) feel like I look good (enough) to parade around the grocery store bare faced and B) be able to rub my eyes whenever I want.

In fact my best day last week was when I hit the bank and the grocery store with no make up and my baby wearing her slippers out of the house! I'm not being sarcastic to say that I feel like this is the life!

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Look what I made

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Halloween in Salem

Halloween in Salem is great fun. Even on a Wednesday there was a crowd of 75,000 people who came that night. However not many of them came down our street (thank goodness) so it was a quiet night for us. Tessa did ask to get dressed in her costume though and so we spent some time on the front porch giving out candy and charming the neighbors.

However there was some real creepiness afoot. Some friends of ours' nanny came caught this video...its hard to tell what you are actually seeing so it really could be nothing...but take a look and see what you think.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We're Sick

All three of us.

And for the record. Tessa is a much happier sickie than either Mommy or Daddy. You know you've got a good kid when she gives you a BIG smile - barfs - then gives you another BIG smile.

(Ewww gross...don't you just hate the word barf :P)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tessa's Daddy

During the time I was adding hyperlinks to the tour guide post and writing the post about our Halloween costumes (all in all about a half an hour) I thought Daddy was sleeping on the bed with Tessa. After all it is very easy to fall asleep yourself when you are putting the baby down for a nap. However he surprised me when he finally came out of the room and I asked if he had been sleeping. "No, I was reading that nursery rhyme book..." himself! He he he.

A note about the costumes

I just HAVE to brag. (As if going on and on about how cute my baby is isn't enough.) The impetus for our bat family came when I was perusing the Halloween clearance racks last year. I made sure to buy something gender neutral considering the fact that I was only 11 weeks pregnant at the time! So as silly as that is I DID get a great deal. 1 baby bat costume originally priced at $19.99 on sale for 95 cents!! When I left the store I called Aaron and thought he would make fun of me. Instead the first thing he said was "I'm going to be BATMAN!" And there you have it.

The other brag is that I was out of time and didn't make it to the fabric store like I wanted to in order to get the felt and stuff need to turn ordinary black clothes into bat costumes. So we stopped at JoAnn's Fabric on the way to the ward party. So instead of homemade costumes they are car made costumes! Take that Martha Stewart!

Holy Center of Attention Batman!

I tell Tessa she is beautiful/cute/sweet about 25 times a day, minimum. Sometimes I think I should cut back a bit so that she doesn't become completely spoiled, but the truth is, she is too beautiful/cute/sweet for me to resist. Add that to all the old ladies at the grocery store coo-ing over her, oh, and to the problem I have controlling how many pictures I take of her. The result is she knows how to work a room and what to do in front of a camera.

Last night we all got dressed up and went to a Halloween party at a co-worker of Aaron's who lives near us. Don't tell the paparazzi but we had our baby out pretty late (with a long nap before hand.) Daddy couldn't even get beyond the front entry for 10 minutes because of the crush of admirers Tessa had. And oh did she preform!! We also wore the same get up to the ward Halloween party the night before. It was such fun to dress up and show off (as if we don't do that enough).

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Friday, October 26, 2007

If you look to the right...

...You'll see a list of the blogs I check often. This is actually going to be very helpful to me so I don't have to remember web much work. Now...I feel like I'm taking a big risk here because I haven't listed ALL the blogs I go to...its late, I'm tired. So I'll add more later, and I beg you to please don't think I don't love you if you aren't on the list...because I do, deeply.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tour Guide

At the beginning of the month "Auntie" Mindy came to visit. She left her two girls in the able hands of her husband for 5 days and came and played with us. She got here late late on a Tuesday night. Wednesday morning (she'll kill me for posting this but she's not a blog reader so she may never know) she had a bad reaction to flying, food and weak stomach from the flu she'd just gotten over...but luckily she recovered by noon-time and we got to go look around downtown Salem.

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Thursday we did the required, and enjoyable, tour of the Minute Man National Park with stops in Lexington and Concord. We made sure she had a sub at one of the local sub shops. I got to show her off to my book club (and vice versa).

Friday we trekked into Boston and went to the Museum of Fine Arts. That is a great museum. It is huge and with a new addition in 2010 will be even larger. Tessa slept through most of it but woke up in the Contemporary Art section (Mommy's favorite) and was thrilled with the art! If you think about it, contemporary art does look a lot like a children's book.

My driving made Mindy car sick. I think if you asked her that she'd agree. (Now that I think about it my Mom got car sick with me as a driver too...odd.) So Saturday she wasn't too thrilled about going back into Boston so we stayed local, visited the beach at Marblehead and drove around there, then we came back home made bean dip and invited another college roommate and her family up to watch a movie.

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It is great how hanging out with a long time friend can be so easy and comfortable!!

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Mindy left Sunday morning then Wednesday afternoon another friend, Jen, flew in. This was Jen's 3rd trip to New England so we had to dig deeper into the tour guide books to find new things to do. As a result I have a long list of fun things I've just seen for the first time. So, those of you who may have already come to visit...never fear, if you come again I'll be able to keep you entertained.

This was our itinerary while Jen was here.

Wednesday night we went to Salem Beer Works for dinner. Yum yum. Thursday Jen, Tessa and I headed to the Minute Man National Park for a recap of the events and some stops at the smaller sites there. Then we drove up beautiful New England roads filled with fall leaves to Lowell to visit the fabric mills there. Now, if you have lived in New England you may be thinking. Lowell?!? But you'd be surprised, the mill tours are very interesting and informative and I recommend them. I'm putting them on the list for when Aaron's parents visit again because there is a Quilt museum and a streetcar museum near the mill sites and I'd love to spend more time there. Not live there, just spend time there.

We had to hurry back from Lowell because we were going to the show Wicked at the Opera House that night. There were some nail biting moments in traffic when we thought we'd miss it but we got there in plenty of time. The show was great. Jen had seen it before, and she and I had read the book. Aaron hadn't seen it and whispered to me as it began "This isn't a musical is it!?" but he liked it a lot also. The musical itself is done well - it gets the same point across as the book. But the book is also very good and much more in depth so even if you've seen the show I recommend reading the book.

Friday Aaron took the day off. We had to get to Boston early for a follow up visit with Tessa's neurologist. She was a little show off and did all her tricks really well for the doctor. She is meeting all of her adjusted age milestones and the doctor is still thrilled with her. We had a little scare earlier in the month that required another MRI just to be cautious but there was no reason for alarm.

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After Tessa's appointment we walked through Beacon Hill to the Charles River and walked along the Esplanade, then trekked up to Fanueil Hall to Wagamama. When Jen, Aaron and I went to London last year we ate a Wagamama. Then the opened a store here in Boston and Aaron and I ate there the first time I took Tessa into the city just for fun. We bragged to she had to come out here to eat there also. After lunch we got rained on heading back to the car, then we went south to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum. Once again Tessa slept through a lot of that but woke up during the Cuban Missile Crisis and enjoyed the rest of the museum. I was amazed at this point that she was still being cheerful after more than a week of entertaining people.

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Jen made us spaghetti for dinner that night. The plan was dinner, movie and assemble the Revolutionary War puzzle I bought when my family was here for the 4th of July. (Jen and I were both surprised that we had never put a puzzle together before since we were both so excited to find someone to do one with). The movie we were going to watch was Casino Royale because Aaron and I had never seen it and there was a scene in it Jen wanted us to see. However, we rented that movie from Blockbuster and then went to return some DVDs to the library...yes, you can guess what happened. We returned the DVD we had just rented. So we watched Liminy Snicket instead.

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Saturday we picked up the DVD from the library then headed to the Cape. We got a bit of a late start but still did a lot of things we wanted to. First we stopped at Plymoth Rock then continued to the Cape. That means beaches and lighthouses. We saw Marconi's radio tower location, the Cape Cod national seashore. Yes, Aaron did swim in 65 degree weather in October....I'll try to get the video of him getting beat up by waves. We saw 2 working lighthouses and 3 that had been moved and didn't work any more. We also so a fox, 2 wood peckers and a TON of sea lions.

Sunday Jen ran the Witch City 5K (finisher 226) while Aaron, Tessa and I went to church. Then Jen and I went to the Stone Zoo, a long with 5,000 trick or treaters, it wasn't quite the quiet Sunday activity I had imagined. Aaron cooked us some Chicken Masala for dinner.

Monday Jen, Tessa and I once again headed south of Boston. Jen humored me as we went to the Adams National Historic Site. In case you didn't know, I LOVE John Adams. He's right up there with Bon Jovi if you ask me. The site was great. We took a trolley ride and got 1.5 hours of guided tour for five dollars. And to top it off, the parking garage was free with our validated ticket. You really, really can't get better than that!

Home again for dinner at a local restaurant. Tuesday the tourists extraordinaire (Jen, Tessa and I) hit the Peabody-Essex Museum in the morning, the Boston Hot Dog Company for lunch, and Salem Cycle and Salem Beer Works for souviners. Then off to the airport and woosh then Home.

Tessa is bored today..."Aren't we going to go anywhere?" But then again she is also taking a very long nap so perhaps she's just recuperating.

So...who's coming to visit next?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The tide has turned...

...And Tessa is now heavier than our cat...I think he knew that before I did. He has started acting a bit more deferential to her: hanging out in the same room, sleeping on the bed when she's on it, he even sat close enough for her to pet him. Poor Quincy, we tried to warn you buddy.

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Even if he's not king of the castle any more, he is still a handsome boy.

So thirteen and a half pounds it is and two feet tall. She is a strong stander and is actually very near sitting up by herself. We are finding that we are not the parenting type that races our child to the next milestone. I am of course thrilled when she discovers her toes, or passes a toy from one hand to the other, or any number of other minor milestones...but each one makes her less and less of a baby.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hair and Toes

This is a little bit about me and a little bit about Tessa.

First of all - Tessa finally found her toes. Despite the fact that I've been showing her toes to her everyday for the past two months, last Friday she suddenly looked at them, looked at me and said "Hey Mom, have you seen these things!! Why haven't you told me about them!?"

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Well, that should have been the second of all because if we are thinking chronologically I got my hair cut 4 days before Tessa discovered her toes (the two are not related in any way, but these are the milestones that I live my life by). Here is a before and after. It will probably never look like that again but miraculously it looks even better when I do it myself.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Sleeping like puppies

There are a lot of great things about Sunday. Very near the top of the list is the Sunday Afternoon Nap. Many people told me that when you became a parent the Sunday Afternoon Nap left your life for good. I was ready for that and if it were nessessary I would give it up. However, my sweet girl ALSO enjoys a good 3 hour afternoon nap (and she isn't limited to Sundays lucky little thing) so "those people" are far. Yesterday Mommy and Tessa started the nap, Daddy joined us when he got home from church, and even Quincy joined in on the fun. When we are all snuggled together I feel like we are sleeping like puppies. Awwww...

Here is the picture I took when I woke up...

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... see that empty green pillow, that was my spot. That dark black puddle above the pillow is the cat. All those clothes at the foot of the bed, I have NO idea how they got there, we NEVER put our clothes at the foot of the bed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

That's Crazy Talk

Ya know that period in between sleep and awake when things jumble up in your mind, and ideally you fall asleep and don't, for example, say the crazy thing your thinking...

Last night Aaron decided to feed Tessa just a bit more bottle before he went to bed (which means she'll sleep longer in the morning, and I'm okay with that!) As she finished up she was fussing just a bit and it woke me up, sort of. Well, it woke me up enough to know she needed her binkie and HE wasn't giving her one. "Here, give her this," I said and proceeded to put the imaginary binkie I "held" in my hand in her mouth.

If only Aaron hadn't seen that...dang witnesses!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


We went camping!! Mommy & Daddy love camping...well, maybe Mommy better just speak for herself. I think Daddy likes camping and Mommy loves camping.

We went with our ward to the Joseph Smith birthplace in Sharon, Vermont this was a big deal because the tradition is to go camping in the Harold Parker State Forest, which is 30 minutes from our home and with in sight of other houses. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that New Englanders just don't do camping.

Sharon, VT is 2.5 hours away and I was a slacker and didn't get the Jeep packed up so we were late getting started and didn't get there till after dark, about 8-ish. Luckily those Mormons are a helpful lot and they got our tent up in a jiffy. I on the other hand spent about a half an hour warming a bottle for our little princess who won't take a cold bottle. When people asked where Tessa was I just shrugged...I mean its not like she can wander off...someone had to have her!! (Don't worry, I had seen our Bishop's 1st councilor hoovering about when we got there and when I went to hunt her down she was being toted around by him)

I thought it was great, even the torrential downpour that began in the middle of the night. Of course I wasn't the one with the wet shoe caused by someone leaving the tent door open just a smidge (oopsie!). Tessa thought it was great too, she was a bit startled when the flashlight went out at bedtime, there are no nightlights in the wilderness afterall, but when she woke up at 4:30 she was as happy as could be.

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The presentation at the visitor center was good. They had nice pictures and graphics, the senior missionaries who showed us around were very sweet and the video they showed was well done and touching. I bawled, Aaron bawled (he won't be embarrassed I told you that...salty badges of courage), this cute little boy, about 7-ish bawled.

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There are so few photos of us as a family that I have to post this...however I am blaming the camera case in the sweatshirt pocket for the apparent pooch I have. Look away.

On the way home we stopped in Concord, NH to let Tessa visit her first state capitol building. She loved it.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You are 102.8 times older than me!

Today is Tessa's Grandpa's birthday, he is 60!!

In honor of this momentous occasion I decided to learn to post video. (If you want to you can mentally insert your name in my high pitched narrative and pretend she is talking to you, but the fact remains that it is really only Alan's birthday today).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tessa's Daddy

I came home tonight and found Daddy and Tessa asleep on the bed. Tessa was holding Daddy's finger. It was the PERFECT picture. I grabbed the camera...and couldn't take the picture because I knew the flash would wake one, or both, of them. So I guess I'll just stick to old fashioned remembering, in lieu of a picture. Trust me, it was heartwarming.

Friday, August 24, 2007

"A few of my favorite things"

I wanted to be a mommy so I could rock-a-bye my baby. I think being rock-a-byed were some the best times of my life. Sometimes when I'm feeling kind of needy I wish I could still be rock-a-byed by my mommy.

The first time I held Tessa I had a stockpile of songs I'd been waiting a long time to sing her. I tried each one on the list and the one that stuck the most was "These are a few of my Favorite Things". I took it as a personal victory that I would be in my little corner humming to Tessa, then a few minutes later a nurse would walk by singing "brown paper packages tied up with strings" and have no idea how that got stuck in her head.

Other songs I like to sing to Tessa are...

Lullaby by Jack Johnson (this was especcially poignant while she was in the hospital

Whenever I hear the song of a bird

I love to see the Temple

Lately we've started dancing to "Sweet Caroline" (dum dum dum)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Onion rings & Neurologists

I have a confession. There is one part of Tessa's story I didn't share, until recently. I guess you could say this is "the rest of the story."

I was discharged from the hospital Thursday night and planned to come back into town Friday on the train. I was a bit slow getting things taken care of the next morning and didn't head to the train station till about 4-ish. I stopped to get some cash and I got a phone call from the NICU. The doctor on call nonchalantly asked if I was planning on coming in that day. I felt a bit chastened and let her know I was. She wanted to discuss Tessa's prognosis with us and after she quickly got off the phone I realized I should have verified everything was okay, I tried not to be too alarmed in the hour it took to get to the hospital. Then when I get there Meredith (Tessa's primary nurse) wouldn't really look me in the eyes and was very concerned with when Aaron would get there from work. So I called him, he was on his way and when he got there we were taken into "the patient consult room."

Yes, in case you were wondering, that isn't a good thing. We were very gently told that a routine head ultrasound (u/s) showed that Tessa had bleeding in her brain (IVH). There are 4 grades of IVH, grade 1 and 2 aren't generally worrisome, grade 3 causes concern, grade 4 is the worst. Preemies very often have these IVHs because of the stress the delicate tissues of the brain are under. Tessa had a grade 4 on one side of her brain and a grade 3 on the other. This bleeding occurs in the ventricles and grade 3 means the whole ventricle (that is where the spinal fluid is made, i think) was full of blood and grade 4 means that blood had escaped into the gray matter of the brain.

At first we just heard them talking and accepted what they were saying. They would say that it was serious, and then in the next breath say that babies are very resilient and that this could mean nothing in the long run. Her health overall was good, they were going to do bi-weekly u/s to monitor the ventricle sizes and head growth. Hopefully the bleeding would stop, or had already stopped and as long as there was no swelling than any further damage could be avoided.

Brain damage. That is why we didn't share this with everyone. Our baby had brain damage. And it was my fault.

We really sort of continued on, holding onto the hopefulness of the NICU staff. Of course they said hopeful things but acted like it was a tragedy, so I really felt like they were sugarcoating it for us.

The following Thursday we met with the neurologist. I had thought I would be meeting with her by myself since it was during the day, but Aaron showed up at the very last minute and we went together. I am so glad, if I had had to repeat the things she told me I couldn't have done it.

She did not sugar coat things. She showed us the three u/s they had done so far and showed us the bleeding. She also showed us some cysts that were indicative of previous bleeding, these cysts take 2-3 weeks to show up after the blood recedes. Tessa had been alive a week. Her brain had been bleeding while she was still inutero.

Until then I had been mourning that she was now "outside" of me, instead of "inside" when it was safe, and turns out that wasn't the case. She hadn't been safe inside of me either.

The neurologist also told us the truth. With a grade 4 IVH we should count on Tessa having some form of cerebral palsy. Hopefully it would be mild, most likely affecting her left leg but we shouldn't think that there would be no effect, it was realistic. "If we prayed", she said "we should pray that there would be no blockage of the ventricles leading to swelling." If that happened they would have to drain the fluid and put in a shunt, which she would have for life.

Does devastated describe well enough how we felt? The most overwhelming feeling was sorrow that our sweet baby had such a malignant force inside her tiny little brain. It was horror at the idea of brain damage. Brain damage. We never said that out loud to each other. Bleeding in the brain sounds bad, brain damage is unimaginable.

We went back to Tessa's bedside. She looked so good. It didn't matter what the her prognosis was, when we were with her we felt calm. There was the information they doctors told us, and then there was the facts we could see, and those facts won over the dreadful things we were told.

So that was day 9 of life. Over all she had 17 u/s in 13 weeks. At first they were bi-weekly. Then as the bruised area stayed the same and the ventricles miraculous drained the blood without becoming clogged, the u/s were weekly then every other week.

Finally, after she was discharged we went in for the MRI. This was to be the ultimate diagnostic answer. Already we could see that Tessa was moving her body equally on both sides and had normal reactions. But what would the MRI show?

A week after the MRI we met with the neurologist. We were had the familiar feeling of hopeful dread.

And the neurologist was practically dancing. "Do you want to see the MRI tape?" she asked. She took us to her office, the same place she had told us that we should count on Tessa having some sort of disability, and showed us that...

...there was no bruising, no swelling, no notable damage visible. Tessa's brain was 99% perfect. She said if she hadn't seen the previous u/s she wouldn't have known Tessa was a "26-weeker" or that she had any bleeding. She said she had heard of but never seen a recovery like this

And she told us to go home and celebrate. Of course we had a baby who wasn't supposed to be around a lot of people and Aaron had to work late that night. So I went to the grocery store on the way home and bought all of the freezer appetizers they had. Onion rings, potato skins, mozzarella sticks and ice cream (the doctor had suggested beer and ice cream so I was improvising). We ate that for dinner, in addition to the 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's that Aaron brought home. Doctor's orders.

In the previous three months Aaron and I had talked a lot about miracles. We had definitely already been blessed with more than we deserved. So I wasn't expecting another one. My prayers were (and still are of course) that we could deal with whatever was in Tessa's future.

Aaron prayed for a miracle. I am so glad he did.
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Monday, August 13, 2007

One Half a Year!

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

When last we met...

It has been a long time since I updated - Tessa was just home from the Hospital. It was Mother's Day...and it was three months ago.

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Since then, well, thankfully, things have wonderfully normal. The only real indication of Tessa's rough start is the more frequent doctor visits, which mainly focus on her weight gain. Although she has been a finiky eater thus far she has still gained, about three quarters of an ounce a day. She came home from the hospital at 6 lbs. 10 oz. and today, I estimate, she is around 11 lbs. She is still long for her weight, but she has sweetly kissable cheeks and her little legs are getting more squeezable by the day.

Here are some other pictures of the past three months.

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Mommy and Tessa's first day home alone...this is going to be easy ;) .

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Tessa is all dressed up to go out for Mommy and Daddy's 6th Anniversary.

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See I told you this would be easy...all she does is sleep.

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Happy Girl.

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Pretty Dress

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Tessa's Blessing was July 1st. Grandma Udy made her pretty dress.

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Tessa as a tourist, on board the USS Constitution.

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Avast ye mateys. (Can you tell Tessa is just riveted by our country's nautical history?)

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This is the side Tessa has her scar on...its pretty much invisible!

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Tessa and Mommy came into Boston on the train to have lunch with Daddy at the new Wagamama resturaunt at Fanueil Hall.

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Playtime - she doesn't do as much sleeping lately, how can she with all these toys?

And to top it off...look what we started doing this past weekend!

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Can you tell she likes it?
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