Wednesday, January 27, 2010


In the interest of beginning-of-the-year organization, I have started a new quest to scan in all of my old photos. This is going to take a while. I have a lot of old photos. Today I focused one of my wedding albums. It was fun! I hadn't looked at them in a long time. It's funny how long ago that all feels now. The end goal is to get everything saved on a DVD disk and put it in the safe deposit box. Jim has even found a service that does this (the DVD part, not the safe deposit part!). Another idea, after we finish the DVD project, is to print out the photos into small books. Then we can put the photos in storage and save some space. This will take a long time though.

In other good news, we are getting our oil tank removed this afternoon at 4! We thought it was going to be quite costly because frankly, it's going to be a pain in the a$$ to get it out of our basement, particularly since it's still about half full of oil. But our plumber recommended a guy who does it quite cheaply. The sketchy part about it is that I don't know the guy's last name. I know his first name is Richie and I have his cell phone number. But this is the Quincy way. Everyone puts a "y" at the end of everyone else's name, even if you've never called yourself that version of your name, and everyone's pretty trustworthy.

Annika had a follow-up with the dr. today and sorry to say, that ear infection is still there. So she's back on antibiotics for another 10 days. Seriously. We've now been dealing with the stupid cold she got over Christmas and its remnants for a month now. Let's just say that we've gotten to be good friends with the pediatricians and their staff, and I'm able to tell the pharmacist which size syringe I need for the medicine, like a seasoned professional. (She tried to give me another small one that doesn't reach into the bottom of the bottle).

And to end this post on a happy note, I learned today that one of my asylum clients was recently granted asylum in Immigration Court.  It's really satisfying when good things happen to really deserving people to whom good things have not historically happened.

Onward and upward!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Driving lessons in Newport

C'mon for a ride with me, guys!

Watch out!

(I guess we'll have to wait til she can reach the pedals).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Becoming good friends with the plumber

The bad news: our hot water heater, aged approximately 14, bit the dust this evening.

The good news: Jim was here when it happened. Thus, minimal flooding in the basement. And I'm off tomorrow so I can be here when the plumber comes to replace it.

The bad news: No hot water til tomorrow.

The good news: The plumber is supposed to arrive between 10 and 11, so not a big deal.

The bad news: Water in the basement.

The good news: The basement floor is really clean now!

Jim researched different hot water heating options, including the "on demand" system, where there's no hot water tank and the water is just immediately warmed up as you turn on the faucet. (This is apparently popular in Europe, probably because no one has any space for hot water tanks, and they're supposed to be more efficient). But it sounds like there are a lot of down-sides to that, and we really need something installed quickly (and relatively cheaply). So we're going with the standard hot water tank.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A day of firsts

Today, Annika had many firsts: her first ride on the T, her first ride in her umbrella stroller, and her first visit to a museum! We went to the Museum of Fine Arts (or, as it's known in Boston, the MFA). Here we are in front of a sculpture of a baby's head:

Annie's much cuter than that baby ... you can also see her doing her new thing - pointing at everything.

The MFA had a special exhibit on the tomb of an Egyptian governor, circa 2000 B.C. Apparently, the MFA had discovered the tomb 100 years ago, in Deir el-Bersha, and investigated it then. Deir el-Bersha is in Middle Egypt, near the town of Minya.  We did not go there when we were in Egypt. My understanding is that this area of Egypt has seen some instability in recent years. People used to be able to take a Nile cruise all the way from Abu Simbel or Aswan up to Cairo, but this is no longer a common thing because of unrest in the Minya area. Or at least that was the story in 2006 when we went to Egypt.

Anyway, the MFA had the actual sarcophagi from the governor and his wife, a mummy head, and then all the items that they were buried with. I guess it took the museum 100 years to put together an exhibit on it. It was pretty impressive, although we've seen the various exhibits at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and nothing can compare to those (or seeing the actual tombs of the pharaohs in Luxor!). But overall, it was an exhibit that was well planned, and interestingly, was partially on all the efforts they've made to preserve and restore the articles on exhibit. 

After our trip to the museum, we took a walk from the MFA to Copley, and then took the T home. The weather was sunny, clear and in the 40's today. It felt so good to get outside and get some exercise. Tomorrow we're supposed to get some more crappy weather, so I think the plan is to stay in and watch football.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bubble Gum

The good news: Annika weighed in at 19 lbs, 11 oz, and is 28 inches long. So she remains in the 75th percentile and is doing great.

The bad news: She still has an ear infection in one ear.


The doctor did not want to give her another injection, because he said that the injections are sort of for emergencies, when the baby is throwing up or there are other reasons that you can't give the medicine orally. If you give the injection too often to the baby, she builds up a resistance to it, and then you can't use it when you really need it. OK, that makes sense. Is there any way to get an antibiotic that doesn't taste like crap?

Sadly, no. Apparently pharmaceutical companies continue to be under the mistaken presumption that all kids, including little babies, love the taste of bubble gum. Seriously, where did this come from? Why not make medicine taste like apples? Or spaghetti? Why bubble gum? I have heard that there are some medicines where, if you pay a little extra, you can get the pharmacy to mix them up in a different flavor. But the antibiotic that the doctor prescribed is not one of those. It comes pre-flavored. And, although the pharmacist assured me that it tasted like raspberry, it actually tastes like bubble gum.

So I brought the medicine home. We're supposed to administer it 2 times a day for 10 days.  CVS gave me a bottle that is huge, and the medicine fills up about a quarter of it. Then they gave me a dropper that only fits half way into the bottle. So it takes some real gymnastics to try to get the dropper to the medicine. It'll be even more fun when the bottle is starting to run low.

But, I'm happy to say that Annika took it down without barfing. And then she drank a whole, 7 oz. bottle. So I'm praying that the nausea and vomiting from last time were caused at least partially from the cold she had, and that we won't see it again this time. She no longer has a cold. In fact, I think she's feeling pretty good. She had a good breakfast and actually had several spoonfuls of the Indian food that I ate for lunch. I had Palak Paneer, which is basically a spinach puree, and she gobbled it up, notwithstanding the fact that she won't eat any spinach when we feed it to her from the jar. Of course, this was all before we started the antibiotic, but things are looking positive so far.

And I guess we have a new excuse to eat at our favorite Indian restaurant - because it's the only way we can get Annie to eat her veggies! :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

9 months!

Happy birthday to Annika, who is 9 months old today!

According to her day care report sheet, Annika spent part of the morning being in a band with one of the other babies - she was shaking a rattle and herself all around. :) She had loads of food today - oatmeal and sweet potatoes in the morning, then yogurt and peaches at lunch, and oatmeal and applesauce at dinnertime, along with 4 big bottles! (I think she's catching up from last week). When we came home from day care, we saw that UPS had delivered her new car seat and stroller! So, sadly, her days in her bucket car seat are numbered. I'm sad about this - the bucket is cozy, and it's a really easy way to transport her around. Plus, we don't have to bundle her all up to go outside - we just wrap her in the "Cuddle Babe" that's already in the car seat. But oh well, she'll be safer in the bigger seat and we'll just have to come up with a new system for that.

We have her 9-month visit to the doctor tomorrow. I guess she doesn't get any shots this time. Usually Jim and I go out to ice cream after her doctors visits, but I don't think there are many ice cream places open this time of year! Hopefully we'll have better luck at the 12-month visit, and maybe Annika can share a little with us.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Odd things in the news

1) Later this month is the special election for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts. We have a Senate candidate named Joseph Kennedy. He is running for Ted Kennedy's seat. Except, he's a libertarian. And he's completely unrelated to Ted Kennedy or anyone else in his family. What a convenient name. How many people are going to vote for him because they think he's related to Ted?

2) Sarah Palin is joining Fox News. Perhaps she will be their Russia correspondent. She can look out her window and tell all the Fox viewers what those Russians are doing. I guess Tina Fey will be making more appearances on SNL.

3) The Attorney General just swore in Massachusetts' first female U.S. Attorney. Seriously? Why has it taken so long for a woman to get this position?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter weekend

Jim's mom is visiting this weekend. Yesterday, we took Annie sledding at Houghton's Pond. Click here for the video. You may have seen photos of Houghton's Pond on this blog a few months ago. It looks quite different in the winter!

We also went to Little Q, a "hot pot" restaurant on Hancock Street in Quincy Center that, sadly, is closing today. The city is demolishing its building, and it lost its lease, so it has to close. It was a nice restaurant - very different from other places around town. We had a nice dinner with the three of us, Mom, and our friends L. and M. The city is building a street that will go right through where the Little Q building is now. I'm sure the street will be nice, but I'll miss the restaurant.

Now we're watching the Patriots get creamed by the Baltimore Ravens, who got 2 touchdowns in the first five minutes of the game. In fact, the Ravens just intercepted the ball again for something like the tenth time. It's pretty embarrassing, actually. I guess the Super Bowl is not in our future this year.

It's cold, and we're staying in this weekend. I have dreams of warm weather, swimming, and the beach ...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Waking up

So this is weird. Usually at this time in the morning, I'm rushing around, trying to get Annika and myself ready to leave the house for the day. But today, I'm waiting for Annika to wake up. See, she decided that 4:30 would be a good time to take her first bottle of the day. We really, really don't want to get into that routine. Jim started by changing her diaper and giving her a little drink of water. But that didn't help matters. Finally, he gave her half of a bottle (3 oz) and then pressed the "magic button" (the jungle sounds music thing on her crib that will calm Annika down, no matter how agitated she is). It worked - she fell asleep, we fell back asleep. It was all good ... until about 45 minutes later when Jim's alarm went off at 5:45.

These days, getting up feels like I just got hit by a bus.

So when I finally willed myself out of bed, showered, dressed, etc., Annika was still sound asleep! I had breakfast, filled up her bottles for the day ... still sound asleep. I just heard her now.

Wish I could sleep til 7:15. :(

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All's clear

Yesterday was more of the same. Annika was throwing up her medicine and her bottles and we were getting pretty concerned about dehydration. Jim was home with Annie and I went to work. In the afternoon, we finally decided to check in with her doctor again. They said that if we wanted a follow-up visit, we could bring her right in - Jim called around 4:00 and they said they could see her at 4:45. Awesome.

At the doctor's office, they confirmed that she was dehydrated but not seriously so. They told us to stop with the antibiotic, and they gave her an injection instead. Apparently, the injection has enough antibiotic in it that we don't have to give her anything else. They had her hang around for 20 minutes afterward, just to make sure she didn't have an allergic reaction. But it was fine and then Jim brought her home. She then took a couple of small bottles. The doctor sent Jim home with some Pedialyte, but Annie hates the taste (it's sort of an apple taste, but sweeter than apple juice). We've just been giving her watered-down formula and she is actually taking it without us forcing it on her.

Last night, Annie only woke up once during the night, which sure beats the waking every 2 hours that she was doing the night before. She has a lot more energy this morning, and has taken 2 small bottles (5 ounces and 4.5 ounces). She is taking a nap at the moment. I'm going to try to get her back to her regular schedule today, so that hopefully she'll sleep through the night tonight. I'm taking a sick day today to stay with Annie to make sure that she continues to progress.

What an ordeal. I really, really hope that this is not how it's going to be every time she has to take an antibiotic. I don't think the doctor's office can always just give her an injection like they did yesterday.

And to answer a question from a prior post, I figured out one of the reasons why the doctor prescribed amoxicillin first. It costs $13, total. This is because it's a pretty old medicine and is not under patent any more. Azithromycin is owned by Pfizer and costs $84.99. And I imagine the shot they gave her yesterday costs even more. I'm very lucky to have insurance, because it doesn't make a difference. We paid $10 for the amoxicillin and $10 for the azithromycin. I think amoxicillin is also supposed to be pretty easy on most people's systems ... it's not as strong as the azithromycin. So for a baby, it would make sense to try the amoxicillin first. I'm not sure what we'll do next time though.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Taking Charge ... or not.

It's the new year. And it's a long weekend. We thought that this would be perfect to take control of our life again. We have so many piles of things that need to be put away, thrown out, or brought to Good Will. We have so many things on our list of things to do, but it feels like we haven't made a lot of progress over the last few months. So this was going to be the weekend to catch up.

Here's what we did: we installed the new car seat, and we organized some stuff in our former office (now Annika's bedroom), where our bookshelves are.

So much for taking charge. Annika has been fighting a cold all week. On Friday afternoon, (yea for New Year's Day) she came down with a low-grade fever. We brought her into the doctor on Saturday, who found that she has an ear infection. The antibiotic that the doctor prescribed, amoxicillin, made Annika sicker. It made her lose her appetite completely and it also made her throw up every time we tried to give her the medicine. This morning, after fighting with Annie to get her to drink a couple of ounces of formula, only to have her throw it up, we called the doctor again and got a different prescription - azithromycin. She only has to take this one for 4 days, instead of 10 days. And she only has to take it once a day, instead of twice of day for the amoxicillin. And it seems to be easier to go down too - it tastes like "cherry" instead of "bubble gum." So things are slowly improving. She is still taking next to no formula, only 2 ounces at a time, and even those 2 ounces are a fight. But we also got her to take some Baby Motrin, which made her feel like her normal self for a couple of hours.

Hopefully, we'll all sleep better tonight. Annika was up every 2 1/2 hours or so for the last couple of nights. We are absolutely exhausted. It's going to be pretty hard to function at work with no sleep. Hopefully Annie's appetite comes back soon. It is really, really difficult when Annie's not drinking anything and we are so worried about dehydration, and yet there is very little we can do to fix the situation. We can shove a bottle in her mouth, but that doesn't mean she's going to drink from it. We can squirt water into her mouth, but there's only so much of that you can do at a time without her choking on it.

So, here we are at the end of our "take charge" weekend, and instead, I feel further behind. Ugh. I also feel that Jim and I are at the bottom of yet another learning curve - the "taking care of a sick baby" learning curve. Parenting is full of these steep learning curves.  Let's hope for good health soon, and a respite from these colds that seem to keep coming, one right after another.