Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy 1 Month Birthday Caroline!

Click here for Annabel's 1 month picture. They look so much alike!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Annabel and Caroline attended their first St. Patrick's party at church where Annabel enjoyed a cupcake with green icing and Caroline had a bottle.

We also met Andi and Kingsley and Erica and Claire at the mall today. It was great seeing some of our mommy/baby friends. Annabel stops the moaning when we're out, so a field trip is always appreciated!

Jen came to visit yesterday and, while Mommy got some stuff done, she took the girls out on a long walk in our insanely large double stroller. I can't wait for the warm weather.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First week home

Our first week home was a little rough. Annabel is having a hard time sharing the attention with her little sister. A lot of what we call recreational moaning. She does seem to like Caroline though now and wants to touch her. We've been working on "gentle." We've been trying it without success for awhile now with Sophie, Oscar, and Lucy, and we're only moderately more successful with Caroline. At least she's stopped glaring at her little sister!

Caroline went to the doctor on Wednesday. She's 8 1/2 pounds now and is really starting to fill out. Her hair is much curlier than Annabel's was and is soo soft. Her cheeks have almost caught up to Annabel's and her thighs are on their way. She's not one to miss a meal - you can almost set your watch by her 3 hour feeding schedule. She's starting to smile occasionally and loves to be held. I started using the Moby wrap with her and she seems to like it much better than Annabel did. It's a great way to hold her and still get some of my ever growing to-do list done. Her nights and days are a little mixed up, but she'll always fall back to sleep at night on my chest.
She also met her Uncle Stu and Grandpa W this week. Mommy was too tired to remember to get pics of Uncle Stu, so we'll have to do that soon.

Now that Annabel's over all of her illnesses, she has really gotten her appetite back and loves grown-up food. She loves chicken and broccoli, slurps her spaghetti like a real little kid, eats Mexican food with Mommy, and will not turn down a cupcake. She's also added some tricks to her performances - she goes straight from patting herself on the head at "Where's your head" to lifting her arms in the air for "How big is Annabel?" to a dramatic peek-a-boo. Sometimes she throws the "I'm one" in there too. Uncle Stu taught her how to climb down the stairs, although she hasn't figured out how to get down unless she is in the middle of going up. She has 7 teeth now and especially likes to show off the top ones with a snorty, head-back laugh.

That's all for now!

Florida and Coming Home

We spent our last two days in Florida enjoying the warmer weather. We were sad to see Mom and Dad go when they traveled back to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

After we dropped off Mom and Dad at the airport, we took Annabel to the doctor to look at her ears and throat and to listen to her breathing. The doctor put her back on steroids and her nebulizer. Even in the aquarium exam room with the dinosaur neb, she wasn't happy.

Walking around downtown St. Pete

On Friday morning, we got the call that we were expected to get clearance to leave the state by the end of the day. We gathered everything together and packed with the goal of not having to unpack the entire car when we stopped midway home. Scott did a fantastic job of making the puzzle pieces fit in the minivan. It's a darn good thing the baby store we love in Tampa didn't have a double stroller because I think it would have had to sit on my lap.

After we finished most of the packing on Friday, we headed to the newly renamed George Steinbrenner Field. When we visited last year, it was called Legends Field. Scott was outraged that we had to pay $10 to park just to go to the gift shop. Damn Yankees! There was a game that evening, and there were lots of people milling about hoping to get autographs, but we didn't see any players. The girls got their outfits for opening day.

By Thurman Munson's monument

On Saturday morning we woke up early, but because it takes a long time to get two adults and two babies out the door, we didn't leave until almost 9 am. The navigation system estimated the drive at a little over 20 hours without stops for feeding and sleeping.

We were amazed at the number of Harleys on the road, and the number of trucks pulling trailers with Harleys. Apparently, it was the next to last day of Bike Week in Daytona, so there were people heading to and from Daytona. The bikes really didn't thin out until South Carolina.

We have a travel tip for anyone planning a trip with kids in diapers - map out the Denny's on your route. Denny's seems to be the only place that consistently has a changing table in the restroom. In the women's and men's restroom! And they don't mind if you just get an iced tea and use their facilities. Most importantly, if you time it right, you can have a nice chicken fried steak for dinner. We stopped at 4 on the way home. Thanks to the GPS in the iPhone we were able to identify our next Denny's at any time.

We stopped overnight in Dunn, NC after we made it a little more than halfway. We had a good drive with little traffic other than around Washington, DC. We made it home in 21 hours - pretty good with all the stops! The girls both slept most of the way in the car and were good little travelers.

It's good to be home!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One week old!

It’s hard to believe that Caroline is already a week old. She’s changed so much already. She’s no longer red or yellow, just regular baby color. She’s eating like a champ – nearly 3 oz every 3 hours, and she hardly spits up. Her black hair is soft as a feather, and her fingers and toes are so long and skinny. She’s a really easy baby and only cries right at the 3 hour mark when it’s time to be fed. Like her sister, she loves to snuggle.

We haven’t really had any adventures as Annabel has been really sick. I would say she’s hit the trifecta of illnesses, but there’s more than three. She has a stomach virus, a sore throat, a mild ear infection, a rash on her belly, a bad rumbly cough in her chest, runny nose, and sneezing. They’ve each hit their peak on different days, and this morning it was slightly less at 101.9 (after several days at 102 – 103 degrees). On top of it all, she’s cutting both a top and bottom tooth. She’s a sad little girl.

My mom and dad are here, and I don’t think we could have done it without them. Annabel wants to be held whenever she’s not asleep, and we’re really appreciated and needed the extra sets of arms and laps.

We’re hoping to make it out today to walk around downtown St. Petersburg and the marina and Legends Field on Friday if Annabel starts feeling better.

I never had time to document the rest of Caroline’s first few days, so below is a recap of the events of the last week.

The rest of the story

Thursday - Daddy and Annabel arrive

The day started with a call to Scott when I woke up. He and Annabel were enjoying a Grand Slam at Denny’s in South Carolina after driving through the night. Annabel had slept most of the night, and Scott stayed awake partying to Springsteen. After their breakfast break, they continued on their 20 hour journey.

Before heading to the hospital, I stopped by the hotel’s breakfast buffet for some southern biscuits and gravy. I recognized the front-desk manager from our stay for Annabel’s adoption. By the end of breakfast, I was reacquainted with several more of the hotel staff. They even have a picture of Annabel in the break room!

Before going to the nursery, I visited M in her room, and she invited me to stay with Caroline in the room with her that day. We had a great time talking about everything from curd cheese from Wisconsin to the merits of different styles of tanning beds. Later in the day, MR, Annabel and Caroline’s birthfather, and J, her 4 year old birth brother, joined us. I held and fed Caroline all day while getting to know her birthfamily better. Like her sister, Caroline loves her formula and loves to snuggle.

Caroline's hearing test

Scott and Annabel made into Tampa a little after 5pm. The last few hours of their trip were rough. Annabel had the beginnings of another bout with the stomach virus, and apparently no men’s rooms in Florida fast food joints have changing tables. I met them at the hotel, and after a little freshening up, we were off to the hospital for Scott and Annabel to meet Caroline.

Due to nursing shift changes, we weren’t able to see her right away, and we stopped to visit with the girls’ birthfamily in M’s room. Annabel and J had a fun time together. We chatted for awhile and signed the necessary papers with our attorney Amy so that custody could be transferred in the morning. We had a quick peek at Caroline, and then back to the hotel so Scott could sleep.

Friday - Now a Family of Four

Friday morning, Scott, Annabel and I were off to the hospital to officially welcome the new addition to our family. We were more prepared this time – we had a carseat AND an outfit for her to wear home from the hospital! And the discharge instructions didn’t seem so overwhelming this time.

The pediatrician told us that she suspected Caroline was more like 38 weeks gestation when born based on her assessment of several factors including the definition of wrinkles on her feet, lack of the fuzzy hair that cover most preemies’ bodies, and presence of breast buds. That - and the fact that she weighed over 8 pounds.

First time in the carseat

Right as we were putting Caroline into the car, my mom and dad, having just arrived from Austin, pulled up to the hospital. They were enchanted by their new granddaughter - Annabel, not so much by her new sister. She sized her up suspiciously from her car seat as we made our way back to the hotel. The stink eye continued for the rest of the day.

Outside of the hospital

Annabel figuring out that Caroline's coming home with us

The rest of Friday we didn’t do much – just started settling into a routine in our hotel.

Saturday – Lunch with the girls’ birthfamily and moving to St. Pete

On Saturday, Scott, Annabel and I picked up the girls’ birthfamily at their home and headed for lunch at Chili’s. We were touched to see so many pictures of Annabel displayed around the house. Annabel and Caroline have 2 a birth brother, J, 4 who we first met in October at M’s sonogram. They also have a full birth sister, H, who is 10 and a half birth sister, A, who is 11. They are great kids and we all had a good time. Annabel wasn’t feeling that well so she wasn’t her usual bright and cheery self, but she still played with the kids and posed for pictures. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to them, but good to know we’ll be in touch through letters and email.

Saturday afternoon we packed up the minivan and rental car and moved over to St. Petersburg – a little less than an hour away from our hotel and the hospital where both girls were born. We found a great last minute 3 bedroom, 2 bath rental house a block from the water. It was built in 1928 and was recently restored and is just beautiful. If you ever find yourself needing a place to stay St. Petersburg, check out The house has plenty of room for all of us, and most importantly, it allows us to keep Annabel and Caroline separated.

After we unpacked the car into the house, we decided we should take Annabel to the night-time pediatric office to check out her symptoms. She, er, evacuated all over Scott and the waiting room floor. Here we learned about her ear infection and sore throat. We got a prescription for antibiotics and hoped that Annabel would feel better soon.

Sunday through Tuesday – Enjoying our time together

By Sunday, we had really settled in, with the house fully stocked with groceries and everything in its place. I felt like we were finally able to relax - at least as much as you can with a sick little girl and a newborn. Of course, everything’s a lot easier when the grandparents are here to help!

At the doctor with Mommy

Caroline went to the pediatrician on Monday for a check up that is required by the interstate clearance process for adoption. Mommy and Daddy made a rookie mistake in that we’d over-bundled her for the hour long drive there, and when the nurse took her temp, she was at 100.4 – a temp considered high enough for a trip to the emergency room and a battery of tests including a spinal tap. The doctor did her exam and rechecked her temp a few minutes later and it was fine. She thought she was still a little too yellow, and she did a bilirubin test. It was high, but the pediatrician said we didn’t need to come back for a recheck unless we thought she wasn’t improving. She knew that Grandpa was a pediatrician and that Caroline would be in good hands.

Annabel when the Tylenol is working!

Caroline with Grandma and Grandpa