Monday, December 31, 2007

Have Dress, Need Shoes

Yesterday I made a quick stop into Ann Taylor Loft to return a skirt and attempt to use a $25 coupon that expired Jan 1. I ended up buying this dress for our New Year's Eve party tonight:

It's a color I don't usually wear, but it fits perfectly and the beaded neckline is gorgeous- the picture doesn't do it justice. It's also more of a pewter than silver so I think it's dark enough to look acceptable against my pale skin and reddish hair (and actually the model kind of has my coloring, so it must be okay). And the best part: it was originally $129, marked down to $89, then 30% off the sale price to $68, my coupon took it down to $38, and the skirt I returned was $35*- so I paid $3.27.

The only problem is that I don't own silver shoes. Rather shocking given the number of pairs in our collective closets, but true. And I definitely can't wear black ones with it. So I'm off to find inexpensive, but cute silver (preferably pewter, but I'm not pushing my luck) shoes before we dress up to say good riddance to 2007.

*I know it was still technically $38, but I'd already paid the credit card bill with the skirt on it, so in my mind, that was a sunk cost and doesn't count. JP tried to convince me otherwise (some nonsense about how our account could have been credited so it isn't a sunk cost at all), but I'm sticking to my story that the dress was $3 and therefore had to be purchased.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Baby Gear Reviews- 5 Months Later

Back in August I wrote a review of Landon's baby items at 3 weeks old. When we were shopping and registering for stuff I kept wondering what we'd need after those first few months. With a small apartment and budget, I really wanted things that would last beyond the newborn phase. So here's an updated list of what we have and what we like:


  1. Storkcraft Rochester Crib w/ Drawer: I still love this crib. It was $200 and looks great. Landon has slept in there since he came home from the NICU. I hear him babbling to his mobile and the cars on his bumper when he wakes up, and it's roomy enough for him to roll around in. He'll be in here until he graduates to a big boy bed (I have no idea when that happens, but I'm pretty sure it's a ways off).
  2. Ultimate Crib Sheet: very nice to have when your baby spits up all over the crib- just unsnap the sides and put on a new one over the still clean fitted sheet. It's soft on top and waterproof underneath. I've also found that his drool soaks through the normal sheets and starts to smell- this is quicker and easier to change every few days.
  3. Changing Table: I still really like having this- I know you can use any surface with a pad, but we found this one in the same wood as the crib for about $75 and I like the rails and security it provides. Plus, the extra shelves come in handy for larger items and stuffed animals.


  1. Graco Snugride Infant Car Seat and Stroller Frame: I still love this whole set (especially the stroller) and would highly recommend you get something like it rather than a giant travel system. Unfortunately Landon is getting too heavy to carry around in the car seat. We'll continue to use it a while longer, but we've begun looking for a convertible car seat (if you have any recommendations, let me know!). I'm really, really going to miss the stroller and the ability to just pop him in and out of the car base and stroller frame.
  2. Chicco C6 Umbrella Stroller: This is our regular stroller. It's lightweight, sturdy, and collapses easily, but I've noticed my feet constantly hit the wheels. It's a great stroller, but next time I'd go to a store and try out different ones before buying to make sure it fits my height and stride.
  3. JJ Cole Bundle Me: necessary if you live somewhere cold. It keeps him warm in Chicago winter weather without a coat or heavy clothes- we just stick a hat on his head and we're off. It's roomy and will last him as long as he fits in his infant car seat.
  4. Fisher Price Baby Papasan Chair: this thing was a godsend for about two months. Landon did all of his sleeping in here all swaddled up. I would absolutely buy it again, just for those two months, but it really isn't a playtime bouncer (the toy/mirror are pretty boring) and he quickly got too big for it.
  5. Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker: this is his our fun chair. Landon loves it- at first he just looked at the toys, then he was able to hit them, and now he grabs them and tries to stick them in his mouth. We often take the toy bar off and hand him other toys or books to hold while he's in there. I love that it will grow with him (it can be used as a rocking chair up to 40 lbs.) and wasn't too expensive. I think you need some kind of chair to safely hold the baby while he entertains himself and you get stuff done. I move this all around the house with me.
  6. Diaper Genie II: love this. There's lots of diaper pails out there, but this one is very simple to use (you only need one free hand, a very good thing) and has kept his room stink-free. You have to buy refills at $6 a piece, but they last for a while- after 5.5 months, we're only on #3.
  7. Sure Comfort Deluxe Tub: this worked well, but we only used it for the first 3-4 months (now he takes baths in the big tub with mommy or daddy). I think this a good model and it is nice to have even now for a quick wash when he spits up all over himself during the day.
  8. Evenflo Expressions Plus Highchair: we love this- it's compact, folds up easily, has 3 reclining positions for the back, 7 height positions, and is nicely colored. The tray is wide and snaps off to go in the dishwasher. I was sad we couldn't get the cool Fisher Price booster that snaps onto a regular chair (we don't have a kitchen table or chairs), but now I'm really glad we had to get a normal high chair. We stick him in here all the time to play with toys and books, and it's tall enough to let him see over the kitchen island and watch me cook or do things around the apartment (it's on wheels).
  9. Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier- Active: I wanted to love this, but we haven't used it much- maybe we would have if we lived in a warmer climate and spent more time out and about. It worked well for me on Landon's fussy days when I just couldn't hold him anymore, but buying a swing quickly rendered it unnecessary. It was a gift, but if we'd bought it, I would have wished we saved our money.
  10. Fisher Price Cradle Swing: like the papasan chair, it was priceless for the months we used it, but it didn't last long. It was expensive and big so I didn't get one at first, but having a colickly, acid-refluxy baby made me change my mind. I think it just depends on your situation- I'm glad we have it now for future babies and Landon spent many, many hours (and took many naps) in here between months 2-4, but he's already lost interest and it's getting small. I'm sure there are more interactive swings that would last longer, but the soothing, quiet nature of this one is what made it so magical.


  1. Gymini Total Playground Activity Mat: I think it's nice to have some kind of play gym, but it doesn't have to be this one. I like many of its features: the sides snap up to make a mini barrier around it, the big mirror, the toys can be switched around, and the bars can be removed leaving just the play mat to roll around on, but Landon never figured out the kick pad and I think that's what makes this one so expensive. As a gift, it's awesome, but if you're paying, you could probably do just as well with a cheaper one.
  2. Fisher Price Rainforest Waterfall Soother: we didn't use it at all for the first five months- I wasn't even sure why I registered for it, but we've been trying some light "sleep training" on Landon (basically just getting him to fall asleep on his own without having to be rocked until he's a dead weight in our arms) and it's a lifesaver. Now when he gets sleepy, I put him in his crib, turn off the light, and turn on this soother. He'll fuss a little, but is captivated by the moving water and sounds and quickly quiets and watches. The movements slow, the music gets quieter, and by the time it's done playing, he's asleep. We also use it if he wakes up at night- it gives him something to look at while he's trying to figure out how to fall asleep.
  3. Symphony-in-Motion Geometric Shapes Mobile: the best mobile, ever. He still adores it and I can depend on it to keep him busy for a full 15 minutes (this is not a "go to sleep" mobile, it's definitely for entertainment and you can swing it out of the crib at nighttime). It's pricey, but it's the reason I can take a shower every morning and it hasn't gotten old even after looking at it multiple times a day, every day. He still squeals and pumps his arms and legs like crazy- it was also the first thing he ever babbled to.
  4. Little Superstar Sing Along Stage: Christmas gift from grandma and grandpa. Great fun- lots of lights and sounds, and it isn't too big. It's already made him better at sitting up on his own.
  5. Books: this was the most important thing to me for Landon to have. He loves anything bright and made of cloth or plastic so he can stick it in his mouth. Dr. Seuss is already a favorite as is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
  6. Bumpo chair: great- he likes sitting in this and holding his books. Not necessary if you have a bouncy chair, but we got it as a gift and I'm glad we have it. There was a recall because people are dumb and despite the smooth bottom and lack of any restraints, they would place the seats on counters or tables and leave baby unattended. The recall just involved Bumpo issuing you a giant warning sticker telling you not to do this. Ours came from Target, but I can't find it online anymore- maybe they stopped selling it after the recall. I hope not, it's a useful little seat.
  7. Teethers!! The big plastic ones you put in the freezer haven't worked for us- I think the cold on his hand bothers him and they're too big for his mouth. These blocks are fantastic- they can go in the bath, squeak, and are perfect teethers. Baby Einstein makes a duck with rubber teethers attached and it's Landon's best friend (he's talking to it right now).

Clothes, Diapers, etc.

  1. Outfits: Landon pretty much lives in the footed sleep-and-plays from Carter's. They're easy, keep his legs and feet warm, and you can put a onesie underneath for an extra layer. I've discovered I prefer ones with snaps around the crotch instead of a zipper all the way down. I almost never dress him in two-piece outfits that don't involve onesies- he has no hips (do any babies?) and the pants ride low, exposing his giant belly. It looks chilly.
  2. Burp cloths: we use a 12-pack of cloth diapers and they're great. Absorbent and inexpensive.
  3. Bibs: have lots of these. We go through at least 3 a day because of the drooling and another 2 from meal time.
  4. Diapers: we used Pampers Swaddlers and are now on to Pampers Cruisers. I know I should try the store brands to save money, but each Pampers pack has a coupon inside and I can usually find them on sale at the grocery store. He's never had a leak in these, so I just pay the extra dollar. We use store brands for almost everything else. (And FYI, in Chicago I've found grocery stores- Dominick's or Jewel- are the cheapest place to buy diapers and formula, though oddly, not wipes or baby food)
  5. Dr. Smith's Diaper Ointment: the best diaper rash cream. Landon had a stomach virus and developed a really bad one; we tried Desitin, A&D ointment, Boudreaux's butt paste, and finally this expensive stuff and after 2 days the rash was almost gone. Worth every penny.

So that's a lot of stuff- and to think I bypassed entire sections of Babies R Us (and have so far held out on getting any kind of exersaucer, though I'm quite sure Landon would love it). Most of the big stuff was used in stages: first the papasan and the swing, now the rocker and high chair, so it's not as bad as it seems. For advice from other new moms, see Magic Cookie's baby product reviews from when her son was a newborn and the list Shelley's doctor gave her when she found herself with a baby several weeks earlier than anticipated. And please add your own reviews or favorite items in the comments!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bikinis Already?

I made a quick Target run this morning and saw bikinis prominently displayed at the front of the women's section of the store. Really?! It's 20 degrees outside and we got a bunch of snow yesterday- just the thought of exposed skin gave me goose bumps. It also made me look at my stomach with sadness and a longing for the days of yore. While my old clothes fit and I now weigh less than I did before growing a Landon, my stomach has not returned to its previous form. Perhaps from a distance, if I was standing up perfectly straight and nothing was pressing into my middle, you might be fooled into thinking the extra skin (that is no longer needed but appears to be staying) is toned abs rather than pure squishiness. But you wouldn't be fooled for long. Sigh, I suppose it's time for a few sit-ups or maybe even going to the gym. The small mountain of Christmas cookies I've eaten over the past few days probably hasn't helped. At least I live in Chicago and can stay fully covered for a good five more months- and maybe the bathing costume will make a come back...

Friday, December 28, 2007

PJ Snow Day

We're in the middle of getting 6 inches of snow- it's making quite a beautiful scene through our big front windows. I'm in my new flannel pj's, Landon is in his kangaroo pj's, and we're both having a warm, snuggley day. There's a pot roast cooking in my crock pot and I've made a lunch out of leftover Christmas cookies and herbal tea. When we're back down South, I'm really going to miss this kind of day. I love the excuse to stay inside, not get dressed, and feel so cozy while the wind blows and the snow swirls outside. So far my biggest accomplishment has been making the tea. The never ending to-do list can wait, Landon and I are taking a snow day.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas, version 2007

Well, Christmas was different, but it was good. Christmas Eve went off without a hitch. The in-laws came over to the apartment in the morning to deliver their presents and eat a light lunch of crackers, meats, and cheeses (I had lots of fun finally using all those fancy serving dishes we received as wedding presents!). Dinner at the Drake was elegant, delicious, and champagne soaked. Unfortunately Landon's teeth decided to make their presence known and he was very unhappy all two hours we were there. We took turns dancing with him by the live band which brought out his smiles, and when that trick lost its magic JP abandoned his prime rib to run down Michigan Avenue in search of infant tylenol. Luckily there's a Walgreens almost every three blocks downtown and a dose of that made the little guy comfortable enough to fall asleep during the church service later on.

It was strange to be at a hotel on Christmas Eve; we've always done dinner at home and I never realized so many people ate out. The Drake is so expensive and I saw tables with 12+ people ordering bottles of wine- I just can't imagine being a part of that world (I was only a part of it that night because of JP's family). There was a large family sitting behind me- all the parents perfectly coiffed and dressed in Brooks Brothers and the kids miniature versions of their parents. They were perfectly behaved, having fun, and obviously used to having their apple juice poured into wine glasses by tuxedo clad waiters. It was so different from the Christmas Eves of my childhood, but they seemed to be creating happy memories of their own. Looking at the other diners got me wondering if/when I'll stop getting so excited about each opportunity to dress up and eat a nice meal. Despite marrying into a family used to fancy dinners, and entering into a profession full of them, I'm not there yet. I kind of hope I never am. A meal that's $100+ per person should always feel special.

Christmas Day was nice. Landon was his usual jolly self in the morning and even though he had no idea why the day was so special, it really was more fun to celebrate the holiday with a child- we were so excited on his behalf. Our apartment looked very cute with its cheap and eclectic mix of decorations and my brunch turned out delicious (I have to post the recipe for the egg casserole I made- I found it online somewhere and it's very easy and tasty). We opened presents around noon- by far the longest I have ever waited to open them, I couldn't believe how grown up and patient I was. I got some beautiful Ann Taylor clothes from the in-laws (this year I suggested that store and it worked out perfectly- for the first time I honestly loved everything she gave me and my work wardrobe is nicely expanded), the Harry Potter books 1-7 boxed set (I was so excited about that, I can't wait to read them all again and one day read them with Landon), cozy Victoria's Secret flannel pj's from JP that Landon loves to snuggle up against, and a few books and other little things. My parents gave Landon a Sing-Along Stage (as my mom put it, it's one of those noisy, flashy toys we don't have room for that grandparents buy for their grandchildren). He adores it- he finds the microphone to be very tasty and the sounds and lights are a source of endless fascination and delight. His mom and dad love the fact that the sound is adjustable and the songs are more catchy than annoying (so far). We got him a few of our favorite childhood books and some rubbery blocks that make the best chew toys (that makes him sound like a puppy, doesn't it?). He always has one partially crammed into his mouth and they're great in the bath tub. I gave JP a game night basket filled with our favorite board games, snacks, and beer. The evening ended with me beating him in Monopoly for the first time in six years (I had to throw that in there, it was a very proud moment for me).

So Landon's first Christmas was a good one. He was full of smiles and he seemed to pick up on the excitement surrounding the day. Everyone got along pretty well in our little apartment, which is more of a miracle than I'll ever explain in this increasingly public blog. Next year we'll be celebrating in Texas, hopefully in a house with a dog at our side, and continuing to craft our own holiday traditions.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the big night for my family. It's the day of the fancy dinner in the dining room, the church service, the looking at Christmas lights, and the opening of the presents. Tomorrow is just for Santa and playing with toys. This year things are different- we're in Chicago and JP's family is visiting us. This means that for the first time in my life I won't be opening presents on Christmas Eve. Luckily I'm grown up now and can handle waiting 12 more hours, but if you had told me this when I was little, it wouldn't have gone over very well (not to imply that I wasn't a perfectly behaved, patient child...). One good thing about this first Christmas away from my family is that it's completely different from anything we would do in Houston- tonight we're having Christmas Eve dinner at the Drake hotel on Michigan Avenue followed by service at a nearby church. Tomorrow we're opening all the presents, we don't have stockings, and we're not having breakfast tacos and tamales for brunch. I may feel like I didn't really have a Christmas, but at least I'm not sitting here comparing everything to what I'd be doing at home- there's really no comparison to make.

Landon is having a marvelous time with all the attention. Yesterday we all went to Marshall Field's on State Street (I refuse to call it Macy's) for lunch at the Walnut Room underneath the great tree. He was in his Santa suit and practically caused a traffic jam around our table. The kid is a charmer. His stack of presents underneath our 3 foot Christmas tree is larger than JP's and mine combined (thank goodness he's too young to have any idea how spoiled he's about to be) and I'm about to put him in his most handsome outfit for dinner tonight.

So things are different, but getting married, joining another family, having a baby, and starting your own family are all about changes and the ups and downs that come with them (mostly ups!). Christmas 2007 will be a unique one and as long as JP, Landon, and I are together, I don't really care what we do to officially celebrate it. Merry Christmas Eve to you all, I can't imagine my year without this blog and all the support I've received through it. I leave you with a picture of Landon in the abovementioned handsome outfit:

I can't believe that a year ago he was just a little heartbeat on an ultrasound.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Thank you, readers, for sending me this comic on the theory of "airplaneseatreclineology" and how it explains the human condition. Cracked me up. Who knew seat reclining was such a mainstream and contentious issue?!

I hope your holidays are going well. It's about 5 degrees outside and the wind is howling. Landon is in his Santa Suit, JP is wrapping presents, and I am finally baking our cookies with Raffi's Christmas album playing in the background. It's warm, cozy, and quite wonderful to be inside together. Merry almost Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cookies, interrupted

I've spent hours on multiple grocery store visits preparing for our first Christmas at home. I did one last Target run this morning. I then spent 3 hours in the car going to the airport to pick up the in-laws (and grandma-in-law), delivering them to their Michigan Avenue hotel, and then battling traffic back to our apartment (all with a non-napping, increasingly annoyed Landon in the backseat). We're home. The little guy is happily playing in his high chair, the Christmas music is playing, the tacky lights are twinkling, and I'm all ready to bake sugar and gingerbread cookies before we meet everyone downtown for dinner.

And I have no butter. I have eggs, sugar, flour, etc. but no butter. I never use butter, but I was pretty sure we had a few sticks laying around- turns out, we just have the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter zero calorie spray. I'm pretty sure that would not work in my delicious, sugary, calorie-laden cookies.

So we're piling back into the car to get some freaking butter. If I wasn't craving raw cookie dough so badly, I'd probably just scrap the whole thing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Best Way To Wake Up

Last night Landon slept from 10:30pm - 5:45am (yay!). I fed him a few ounces and since he looked a little tired, and I felt a lot tired, I stuck him back in his crib. There was some protesting, but I knew he needed more than 7 hours so I waited before going back in to get him. He fell back asleep and so did I.

Then at 9:15, for the first time since Landon was born, I woke up to happy babbling sounds rather than a screaming insistance that he is starving and no one has fed him, ever. I went into his room and found him rolled over (yay!!! his pediatrician was concerned that he hadn't done that yet) and talking to his mobile. He looked quite proud of his new position and was definitely enjoying the more exciting view. (He sleeps on his stomach because of the breathing trouble and acid reflux- both are exacerbated by being on his back.) I got a huge smile and then he continued his conversation with the yellow triangle. Sometimes I look at him and just can't believe I grew something this adorable.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Raffi! (and random updates)

A family friend just sent us the Raffi Christmas album. My childhood Christmas trilogy is complete: Raffi, A Sesame Street Christmas, and A Christmas with the Chipmunks. I love how kids are an excuse to revisit your own childhood!

And now we're off to our parenting class (that we aren't allowed to bring our baby to).

Class Update (because this is already a mixed-topic post): the parenting class was fine, though we didn't really learn anything new.

General Landon Update: he's feeling better, the inhaler has made a huge difference. It doesn't bother him anymore- he actually smiles when I put it over his mouth, which looks hilarious. I don't think he breathes as deeply as he did when he cried, but it seems to be working anyway. The Prednisone has made him projectile vomit, so we're not giving him that anymore. The pediatrician is calling me tomorrow to see if we should try something else or just wait longer and see if the mucous clears up on its own. For the first time EVER he slept 7 hours last night. There was great rejoicing in the LagLiv household. He's over 5 months old and still a terrible sleeper; due, I'm sure, to the craziness and upheaval of the last few months. Maybe now we can finally give him some sort of routine- I think we'd all benefit from that.

Airplanes, revisited

I had no idea my opinion that people should not recline their seats on airplanes would be so controversial- apparently many people feel quite justified to do so regardless of the comfort of the person behind them. The most recent comment:

I don't see how it's rude to recline one's chair, regardless of whether the person in the chair behind is with a child. When you pay for an airline ticket, you pay for the right to recline. If anything, you should be apologizing to him for brining [sic] your baby on the plane and making his trip much less enjoyable. Buy a business class ticket or suffer like everyone else.

Interesting... I'm not sure how the person in front of me's trip was less enjoyable. They took their maximum amount of space the whole flight, Landon was silent the whole flight, and after we landed she (not he) complimented me on his good behavior (she complimented me on his cuteness before we took off). I guess I just don't understand feeling so entitled to knowingly make someone uncomfortable. Of course you have the "right" to recline your seat, but that doesn't mean I can't find it rude. You have the "right" to do a lot of things that are rude. And I have a right to use my tray table and just try using a laptop or eating a meal on your tray when someone's seat is pushed back. I've never reclined my seat- I don't have a dire need for the extra space (lovely as 3 more inches might be) and I just picture the person behind me being all squished and I feel bad. If people kept their seats up, maybe we all wouldn't have to "suffer" so much on planes. And I'm pretty sure those people so full of entitlement to their maximum amount of space would rather sit behind someone like me who will keep their seat up as a courtesy than someone like them who won't.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Career Without Apology

I have a lot of half-written posts right now. Most concern the investigation- the after-effects, our thoughts on the appeal, and reflections on how it has changed everything and nothing about us as parents. I also want to write about CPS doctors in general, ours specifically, and how I think the system isn't helping those who need it and hurting those who don't. But I'm having a very hard time getting those words down- maybe I need more distance, maybe I need more therapy, I'm not sure. But they'll get done someday because I think they need to. Until then, I'll be writing about other random stuff and updating everyone on Landon's increasingly bizarre medical file. And so, without further ado:

At the suggestion of PT-LawMom I ordered Pink magazine- you can get 2 free issues, so I figured I'd try it out and at least I'd have two new things to read at the gym. Well, I have yet to go to the gym, but I love the magazine. It's smart and about real women balancing serious careers. It's not for working women who truly wish they were home, it's for women who love what they do and do it well. And I don't think any other magazine speaks to them (us? I hope to be in that group someday). It talks about being a working mom, but many of the articles are for women in general- how to manage finances, investing for retirement, asserting yourself at work, how women lead teams differently then men (notice the word "lead" - it assumes many of the women reading this are bosses and I like that), etc. Anyway, one article that really struck me was the "My Time" column which features a female at the top of her career path and gives a "day in her life" time line.

The "My Time" this month is an interview with Julie Greenwald, president of Atlantic Records. She leaves at 9am after breakfast with her two kids and gets home around 11:30pm. For the 11:30 entry she said "I sneak into my house, look at my BlackBerry and answer as many e-mails as possible. My family sees me only in the morning and on the weekends. My husband is the most understanding man on Earth."

What I liked about that quote is that it isn't tempered with anything. Plenty of male CEO's work those kinds of hours and you can read interviews with them in Fortune and Forbes (and like most of those men, Ms. Greenwald has a stay at home spouse). But when female execs are interviewed it seems like they almost have to refer to their children and how much time they get to spend with them- as if they know everyone is wondering about that and they need to prove they're still good moms, when the article is supposed to be about their business success. I'm not praising Ms. Greenwald's schedule- it wouldn't work for me, but you can't be a president without putting in a lot of hours and I appreciate that she's up front about that. I think that if she must be judged, it would be a step forward if she's judged as a working parent rather than a working mom. I'm definitely looking forward to future issues of this magazine.

One Day He'll Win the Lottery

After worrying about his coughing all weekend, we were finally able to get Landon to the pediatrician yesterday morning. The nurse saw his wheezing and retractions (a sign of respiratory distress when the baby is pulling the chest in at the ribs below the breastbone), and immediately got an oxygen saturation reading- it was 93%, definitely too low. The doctor came in and diagnosed him with tracheomalacia, an "extremely rare" disorder where the windpipe is floppy and closes completely after each breath, making it harder for him to take the next one. In Landon's case, the extra mucous in his respiratory system because of a little cold (he's had a runny nose) created a terrible, choking-like cough as the trachea collapsed on the mucous. Which is why the cough sounded so awful even though he didn't seem very sick (no fever, no change in temperament). She said it usually resolves by 18-24 months of age, but in rare cases requires surgery to place a stent in the trachea to keep it open.

He had two albuterol breathing treatments which did NOT go over well. I think the mask freaked him out, but at least all the crying made him inhale it well- his oxygen saturation was back up to 99% when we left. We now have an albuterol inhaler with an aerochamber to give him every 4 hours for the next two days and then every 6 hours until his retracting improves. He's also on the steroid prednisone for 5 days. He seems much better today and only coughed a few times last night. I'm so glad to know what's going on, and I'm even more glad it's not some serious respiratory infection I found during my late night googling, but man- how many more "uncommon" disorders can this kid have? He's five months old and was born a healthy weight at 36 weeks but still had RDS and de-satting episodes for 12 days, he had an undescended testicle, then digestive problems with everything but alimentum formula, then he had severe acid reflux, then unexplained chest fractures, then a mysterious bump over his eyebrow (that appointment is on Thursday), and now tracheomalacia. Some of those are more unusual than others- but all in one 5-month old baby?

As Maya said when I told her the latest, "someday he'll have something rare that's good!"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

5 Months!

I wanted to do a whole post about what Landon's doing at 5 months old, but my sister is here and things are busy, so maybe I'll write something for 5.5. Until then, a few pictures of the little big boy (as his grandpa calls him):

Playing with his special friend, Bonnie the cowgirl.

The rare tummy time smile.

Eating some squash and cereal in the big boy high chair.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Friends have asked me if being a mom has changed me and I kept saying that I didn't think so. Maybe in subtle ways, but I didn't feel a big transformation when Landon was put in my arms.

But this morning "Cold Mountain" is on TV and I just watched the scene where Natalie Portman's baby is put on the ground, uncovered in the freezing cold, to get her to tell some roaming Union soldiers where she's hidden food. She's crying and saying her baby is sick and shaking and oh my god, I thought I was going to throw up. I had such a deep, physical reaction to that scene that it shocked me. I don't even remember it from the first time I saw the movie. I know it's fake, but I had tears in my eyes and was holding out my hands to pick up that baby and make him warm.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Airplane Etiquette

To the person in the middle seat in front of me:

When the woman behind you has a baby in her lap and two bags in her one cubic foot of leg space because the flight is overbooked with business travelers and their giant carry-ons, have a bit of courtesy and KEEP YOUR SEAT BACK IN ITS FULL UPRIGHT POSITION. Did you notice that I couldn't move once your seat encroached upon my 15 inches of personal space already compromised by a squirming infant? I would have enjoyed kicking the back of your chair, but it was no longer possible for me to move my legs. Airplanes are crowded and uncomfortable, but we can all work together to make the experience a little better for the person behind us if we just keep the seat back up. If you do it again, karma is going to put your ass in the last row window seat behind a person reclining their seat to the maximum extent possible. You're not claustrophobic, are you?

Lag Liv

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Letter Quandry

The flight to DC went quite well- over 300 were canceled out of O'Hare yesterday, but ours got out only an hour and a half late. Landon was a perfect travel companion. He sat quietly during our lunch at the airport Chili's, had a big poop before we boarded the plane, slept for an hour, and then smiled at everyone on board for the last 40 minutes. At one point we had all 3 flight attendants crowded around our seats fawning over him- he's such a flirt, giving them sideways glances and little coy smiles. After landing we cabbed it to the hotel, admired our fancy room (the shower is incredible- lots of sprayers, including ones in the middle of the wall- someday I will own a shower like this), and then spent 30 minutes reconfiguring the room to fit 3 suitcases, a stroller, a crib, the desk, other furniture, and the king sized bed. After some serious rearranging we loaded Landon into the stroller and went out to find dinner. We ended up at a scrumptious Mexican place in Dupont Circle with very tasty frozen margaritas (if you haven't noticed, I rate Mexican restaurants purely on the frozen margaritas- because if they do a good job there, the food really doesn't matter). It would have been a perfect day if Landon hadn't projectile spit up all over his crib, our comforter, the floor, my shoes, and JP's shirt before going to bed, but you can only ask for so much.

JP's parents picked the little guy up this morning and now I'm trying to accomplish things in the room while JP attends his meetings. My to-do list includes: research how to clear a stale mechanic's lien for dad, download the Texas bar application (apparently it's due Jan. 30- what?!), respond to lots of emails, type up address labels for Christmas cards, write the Christmas letter, and create Shutterfly photo albums for JP's parent's Christmas present. I dissected the crazy Texas property code and got the lien question answered for my dad, so I'm moving on to the Christmas letter. Now, I know a lot of people who mock the Christmas letter, saying it's just a way to brag and make your family sound better than the recipient's, but I love them. One of my favorite things about Christmas is reading the letters my family receives from relatives and old friends. Before facebook and blogs they offered one of the only ways to keep up with that group of people whose lives were closely intertwined with yours for a time, like college roomates and old coworkers, that you may no longer stay in regular contact with, but you still want to know how their lives have progressed. I hope that I'll get letters from college and law school friends because I really do want to know if/when they have kids and what they're doing in their careers in 10 and 20 years. Checking the mailbox is so much fun around the holidays and it's such a letdown when someone just sends a card with their signature- I want pictures and information! And, as a personal benefit, they're a great way to document your life. I made a scrapbook for my parent's 25th wedding anniversary and the most fun quotes in there were taken from old Christmas letters. So, in conclusion, written properly and with the intent to update rather than brag, I think the letter is an important part of the holiday card.

But what on Earth do I include this year? Almost everyone on my Christmas list knows about our 2+ month nightmare, and it did dominate the last quarter of the year, so it seems odd not to refer to it at all. But writing: "And in October, Landon was ripped from our arms and taken to a shelter while child abuse allegations swirled around [JP] and I..." just doesn't match my cheery holiday stationary. I suppose it's a sign of how blessed we are- that we've never had to wonder how to address bad events when summarizing the preceding year. I think I'll say something about how the challenges of the past few months have reminded us of the importance of family and friends... or something. I just can't not acknowledge the investigation at all, but I also don't want to mention it so cryptically that someone who doesn't know is intrigued and confused. Hmmm... maybe I'll start with the Shutterfly albums- playing with pictures of Landon photos is so much fun and I already miss the little fellow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Bright Side

As I pack for our flight to DC tomorrow, I'm definitely seeing the bright side of not flying home for Christmas. The packing logistics are almost overwhelming- and I'm not dealing with presents and saving space for bringing more stuff back. Gone are the days of throwing some clothes in a suitcase, grabbing a magazine or two, and heading for the airport. Traveling with a 4.5 month old is much more complicated. The carry-ons are carefully filled with everything needed to support us for 24 hours without back-up: toys, Landon's favorite peek-a-boo book, his spit rags/blankeys, a wardrobe change for JP and I, two wardrobe changes for Landon, more diapers than he could possibly use, and enough formula and bottles for two days. (The forecast shows freezing and snow tomorrow, so a long airport or runway delay is grimly realistic.) The logistics are made more complicated by the fact that Landon will be with us in the hotel Tuesday night and then staying with JP's parents in Maryland Wednesday and Thursday nights, so his stuff needs to be separate and ready to go in his grandma and grandpa's car Wednesday morning. (Oh yes, we get a hotel room to ourselves for TWO nights- just think of the sleep, the glorious, uninterrupted dreams we will be able to have- and the sex, but oh my god the SLEEP!) I've been trying to think of everything we need to feed, clothe, bathe, and entertain a Landon overnight in a hotel room, but I'm sure I'm forgetting things.

This trip is for JP's annual company meeting and holiday party. His firm's headquarters is in DC so they fly everyone out for the event. I've missed the last two because I always had a final on the day of the party. This year, my last chance to go, our finals ended a few days early- and since JP's parents live right outside the city, Landon's existence didn't even stand in my way. I have a gorgeous dress (I found some non-obtrusive band-aids to cover the stitches), even more gorgeous shoes, and a hot date. We're all about escapism right now and this is going to be a fun few days away.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Decking our Halls

For the first time in my life, I will not be at my parent's house for Christmas. The holidays were divided early on in the pregnancy: JP and I would visit Houston for Thanksgiving and the baptism and his parents would come to Chicago for Landon's first Christmas (we never pretended it was about seeing us- it was all about who got to see the baby when). We spent out first two married Christmases with my parents, so it was JP's family's turn, and we really wanted to avoid packing up the presents and dealing with the inevitable airport delays. JP is an only child, so we knew it would be easy for his family to come to us. I'm excited to be in Chicago over the holidays- it's our last one here and the city is so beautiful right now, but it's going to be a little sad to not be home.

My family has always celebrated Christmas alone with just the five of us. Most of my friends find that strange- their Christmas is all about big family gatherings and all the fun and stress that comes with them, but I cherished our little Christmas. As a kid I loved our special family traditions: dressing up and eating a prime rib Christmas Eve dinner in the dining room, taking turns reading the Bible story, going to the 7:00 church service, driving around to look at the Christmas lights, and then going home to open presents. The present-opening had its traditions too: wearing cozy pj's, listening to our favorite Christmas albums (A Sesame Street Christmas and Raffi's Christmas album were huge), eating popcorn and sugar cookies, sitting on the floor around the tree, and taking turns opening each present. On Christmas morning I always woke up first and had the arduous task of rousing my younger sister (my little brother would help). We'd yell downstairs to our parents that we were ready to see what Santa brought, and then we'd sit at the top of the steps and wait for my mom to get ready and Dad to try (and usually fail) to get the ancient video camera up and working. After waiting for forever we'd finally be allowed to run downstairs to look at our gifts (my mom hates wrapping presents and interestingly, so did Santa, so our Santa presents were just out in the open). Our stockings always contained an orange, chapstick, and a toothbrush, among other little things, and we got one big gift each and a few family ones like movies and games to share. My dad always took us out to the driveway to see if Santa brought him a boat (and when I was really little, I couldn't understand why Santa didn't bring him one. He had been so good!). Christmas wasn't huge, but the Santa gift was always something exciting that we had waited and hoped for. We'd eat a big breakfast (complete with more Christmas cookies) and then play with our toys. As we got older and the toys didn't lend themselves to playing as easily, we'd go see a movie in the afternoon. Almost all of my mom's family lives in areas surrounding Houston so we'd often see some aunts, uncles, cousins, and/or grandparents at some point on the 25th or 26th. It was nice to see family over the holidays while keeping Christmas Eve and morning to ourselves. I think that's what I would like to do as JP and my family grows. My memories of Christmas are so happy and relaxed, and when JP and I are two full-time working parents, that is going to be lovely.

So that was a nice though unintended trip down memory lane... now back to the point: Christmas will be at our apartment this year with JP's parents and grandmother and I realized we didn't own a single Christmas item. Since we're moving to Austin over the summer I didn't want to buy nice stuff that may or may not work in our future home, so I thought we'd go fun and cheap. I bought an adorable 3 foot tree to go on the table, some multi-colored blinking lights (that I would normally hate but Landon is going to love), garland to string over the fireplace to pretend we have a mantle, and mini stockings to hang on the garland. We now have Christmas candy in a Christmas candy dish and little red bows attached to a makeshift Christmas-card basket. There are Christmas songs queued up on iTunes and I am going to try baking my mom's Christmas cookies. It will be different, and it might be a little sad (ok, I'm already tearing up just thinking about not being home, so maybe more than a little), but it's going to be special in its own way. We're together as a family (something that means even more than I imagined) and starting our own traditions. I think growing up is done in pieces, and this is just another one. Hopefully someday Landon will talk about our Christmas traditions with the same love and nostalgia that I feel for mine

Baby Santa

We took Landon to our friend's holiday party last night.

The wee Santa was a big hit!

Friday, December 7, 2007

7 Quarters Down, 2 To Go

Well, it's done. I think I did fine- I'm guessing just below the median (B-). I finished reading my notes around midnight last night and stopped bothering to transfer them into my outline around 11 since transferring is really all I was doing at that point. The exam had three fairly straightforward essays. You knew immediately what area of the law they were concerned with and it was just a matter of figuring out how to structure the response and what info and cases to fill in. I found myself staring at the wall and checking email a lot- it wasn't that I had so much extra time, I just wasn't that concerned. I knew I had something to write down and I knew that it would get down before time was called, I just wanted time to speed up and get it over with. I think about how hyped up I used to get for finals and feel rather pathetic. Or smarter. Think of all the energy I used to waste for pretty much the same grade.

And so ends another quarter. I enjoyed International Law and I wish I could have focused on it more. I enjoyed my seminar on Complex Business Transactions and I wish I could have kept my other two classes. I have no idea what I'm taking next quarter, but I'll figure it out before classes start on Jan. 3. Now it's time to catch up on a few emails, pick up Landon for some quality play time, and just relax at home. Oh- and I have two papers to write from past classes that I never completed. Not sure when I'll do those. Anyway, I'm happy this quarter is over and time is moving on.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Year Ago Today...

... I was sitting in the law library trying to study for my four finals when it dawned on me that I might be pregnant. Once the possibility entered my head I couldn't focus enough to study so I went home to take a test. And it was positive! (I had just started my blog and no one read it or knew about it- not even JP- so I wasn't worried about telling the internet world before I told my own husband.) We were so excited that night. We knew we were embarking on a pretty amazing ride- and that most of the time we wouldn't be the ones driving- but we certainly never expected the amazing highs and devastating lows of the past year. He's worth it, a thousand times over, but wow... I wonder if we would have been so eager to start a family if we knew how little control we'd have over our lives from that point forward!