Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leaf peeping and eating our way through Vermont

We have just returned from our first family vacation. We flew up to Burlington, VT last wednesday and stayed for 4 days. It was the perfect time to go up for the foliage and check out what this "San Francisco of the east coast" is all about. Suffice it to say that we were trying to figure out every way possible to stay up there forever.

The flight was great; Julian just nursed and played with us and he barely fussed at all. It was a cheaper flight up to VT by way of BWI so we drove up luckily during Julian's long nap of the day. By the time we got to the hotel (Hampton Inn Colchester) it was already late afternoon so we stopped at Shaw's to get supplies (read: popcorn and beer for the hotel room) and went on search for dinner.

I think it's honest to say that we truly did eat our way through Vermont. Our first night there we ate at Junior's. The pizza was EXCELLENT and because of the delayed dinner we got back to our hotel room with our large pizza and proceeded to demolish it within about 10 minutes. While we were waiting for our pizza we sat in the dining room and ended up talking with the couple next to us. They were a very nice couple; she was about 4 months pregnant (unexpectedly, they had to add) and we talked with them about life in Vermont, raising a baby there, and all the fun things there is to do in Vermont. We left the restaurant with excited for our was a great start.

In the morning we drove out to Essex to check out houses and neighborhoods and ate a fantastic lunch at Joyce's Noodle House. Our first observation about Vermont was that it is extremely baby-friendly. When we walked in with Julian we didn't get any bad looks. In fact, the waitress and the fellow diners all cooed and played with Julian. It was great. We wanted to see what the culture is like with children there and from the get-go all we got were positive vibes.

Later that day we drove out to the Ben & Jerry's factory as well as the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, both in Waterbury. We ate our fill of apple cider donuts, fresh apple cider, and ice cream. We rolled out of Waterbury pleasantly stuffed and on a sugar high. :)

For dinner we joined my friend, Liz, with whom I worked at the Little Beginnings Child Development Center. She and her husband, Deane, are from Vermont and they were living in DC while Deane was working on his Masters. She was very excited to show us her city and we were very excited to see the city with a local. We met up at the Church Street Marketplace and had dinner at Sweetwaters. They served this beer there- Switchback- that is made by a local brewer who only sells it in kegs out of his basement. It is an unfiltered beer that is DELICIOUS but unfortunately not sold commercially....too bad, as it would be a hit outside of Burlington!

On friday we first went to Essex to check out the new baby store. We thought if the baby store would be a good place to see what the culture is like for raising babies around Burlington. We were VERY excited to see this shop! The first thing we saw when we walked in were ponchos to wear while wearing your baby (very good sign). All the things they sold were in line with how we are raising Julian (organics, natural, attachment parenting) and they even had a whole room dedicated to cloth diapering!! They had a play/comfortable room for kids to play and moms to nurse and they even had a cute changing room complete with a table. The women were so helpful and nice and we got to meet a couple local doulas. Needless to say, I felt right at home. We got such a cozy feeling about the family culture in Vermont from this one store that we were seriously ready to just find a house and stay there! If you're ever in need of a baby shop in Burlington, check out Bebop Baby.

Then we went downtown to check out the Harbor area and had lunch at Cobblestone Deli right by the water. Despite the chilly weather we took a (brief) walk down by the Harbor, just long enough to see a naked 5-year old run by. Welcome to Vermont, right? Then we grabbed a coffee and crepe at the Skinny Pancake. We noticed that almost every business we visited had social and environmental missions. Everything they did lent to sustainable development, supporting local farmers/businesses, and growing long-term community wealth. Seriously, why can't more businesses be more socially conscious?! The market in town is a coop which supports all the local farms and if it isn't local, you can definitely bet on it being organic and from another small farm elsewhere. City Market (or "Shitty Market" as locals call it...not because it's bad but because they wanted it to have a fun name) was just perfect and everyone came in with their own bags (yay reusable bags!) and everything they carried was stuff you'd find at Whole Foods/Trader Joes/Wild Oats. Thad and I were so excited since we love to cook and a big question mark for us moving up there would be the availability of the foods we like to eat/prepare.

On friday afternoon we drove down to Rutland (not before Thad could take a stop at the Magic Hat Brewery for a taste test and a free growler....he talked death metal with the bartender and he gave him a free growler for talking music with him....sweet) to visit with a dear high school friend that I haven't seen in years. Katherine and I were super close in high school and after she moved to Albany after college it's been difficult to see each other so Rutland was midway for both of us for a quick visit.

On saturday before our flight home we met Liz and Deane for breakfast at Magnolia's in downtown Burlington. It was started by University of Vermont students and it is a totally green restaurant. It was a fantastic way to wrap up our vacation in Vermont. As we left there was a saturday morning farmer's market and they were playing live music....seriously, as if they needed to sell Burlington anymore to me, the acoustic live music on a sunny morning was the kicker. I was seriously ready to just set up shop forever in Burlington and send for the animals later.

All in all it was a definitely worthwhile trip and we can't wait to go back. Our next goal is to visit during the dead of winter to see if I could really handle how cold it gets. Everything else about Vermont was perfect so I won't let a little thing like below-zero weather and tons of snow slow me down! Enjoy our doesn't give our trip justice but it's just the beginning....I know there will be more pictures up of Vermont someday again soon!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Quick update

Sorry for the lack of entries lately but it's been CRAZY here in Lurieland the past couple of weeks. Thad ended up in the ER with what we thought was a hernia and ended up being Epididymitis and was on bed rest for a few days. He's all good now but it was a very stressful week with a patient who had to be horizontal (we left the ER with instructions to "take his antibiotics, take the painkillers, and to elevate his scrotum"....tricky that last one), 2 doggies, 2 kitties, and Julian. My mom and Terri stepped up wonderfully to help out. Shortly thereafter we had to take Paige to the vet because she scratched a hot spot on her shoulder that ended up becoming infected. She is now on about 6 medicines and slowly getting better. Scout had issues for a few days as well. Things are slowly going back to normal here at a good time as we are headed up to Vermont on wednesday for a much-needed vacation. We'll only be gone for a few days but hopefully it'll be just enough time to relax, see some foliage, have some Ben & Jerry's, and sleep in a couple times. Hope all is well on your end and I'll be posting some photos, I'm sure, of our trip to Vermont shortly after we return!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Four Month Update

Today we had Julian's four month doctor's appointment. We have been looking forward to this appointment to see if he is "on track" with his development. Before I get into some specifics about his development/growth, I'd like to say a bit about growth charts. I realize that people want to know where their kid stands with regards to other kids...that's fine. All moms want to know if their kid is 'normal.' The problem I have with this as it applies to physical growth is that the growth charts- while there are ones that distinguish breast-fed babies and formula-fed babies- do not account for the variety of ethnicities out there. How can an Asian baby possibly be measured on the same growth chart against an African baby? I wonder how the growth charts used today will change over the next 100 years with all the new mixes of babies out there. *steps down from rostrum here* Moving on, here are some updates:
  • Length/Height- I'm not sure when we start using the word "height" instead of "length" but for now he is measured at 26 inches. He has grown 4 1/2 inches since he was born!
  • Head Circumference- I can't remember what his head was when he was born but as of today his head measured around at 16 1/2 inches.
  • Weight- He weighs 17 lbs 15 oz. He has gained 9 lbs 2 oz. since his birth! We are very excited about this doubling in weight, we are wondering about when he's going to start sleeping for longer than 5 hours at a time at night (and that's on a good night). I'll get to sleep in a little bit.....
About vaccinations....We decided to go with an augmented schedule so that he does not receive more than 2 at a time. While there are no definitive links between vaccinations and their alleged (negative) impacts on development, there is enough research that told me not to take any chances. Since our pediatricians were okay with spreading out his schedule, we decided to do just that. Here is a detailed schedule of what we are doing for anyone who is interested in this kind of stuff:

  • Birth- Hep B before he left the hospital
  • 2 month- DTap & Polio
  • 3 month- Hib & PCV
  • 4 month- DTap & Polio
  • 5 month- Hib & PCV
Other than this we will follow the recommended vaccinations by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but we are turning down Rotovirus, Influenza, and Chicken Pox.

Sleep....oh, that blessed, blessed gift. We were talking last night and since I was pregnant enough that I was getting up at night to pee (pretty early for me, about 4 weeks) I haven't slept more than 5 hours in one block. Good grief, I would give anything to be able to just sleep for a few days. Anyways, he is doing great. Our current night time schedule goes something like this:
  • 7:15 PM- Julian starts showing sleepy signs
  • 7:45 PM- Thad and I look at each other and wonder if it's time to start "the process." If it's bath night he'll have a bath now.
  • 8:00 PM- We go upstairs and we proceed to manhandle our child by changing his diaper (been using disposables at night as they wick away the moisture better and we don't need to change him until morning unless he has a poopy), putting on a night time onesie, suctioning his nose if he's stuffy, and putting lotion on him.
  • 8:15 PM- Set the lights low in the room, turn on the fan for white noise, and play some Enya while I nurse him in the rocking chair.
  • 9:00 PM- This is on the later end, but by now he's passed out in the pack 'n play and I am headed downstairs for emails/cleaning up/glass of wine/Tivo'd shows.
  • 10:00 PM- I am about to fall asleep standing up.
  • 12:45 AM-1:30 AM- About now Julian wakes up for his midnight snack. He is promptly pulled into bed with us and we snack/sleep until about 6:30 AM, or whenever he wakes up and makes his big morning poop.
I am hoping that second block until we wake up will start to stretch out but who knows....sometimes he sleeps the whole time, sometimes he wakes up 2-3 times to eat during that time. The nurse today said that's totally normal for breastfed babies to wake up more often during the night than formula fed babies, so hopefully now that we've started solids and will hopefully increase the amount he takes over the next couple of months that'll help him be fuller for longer. Only time will tell.

Speaking of sleep, I can't hold my head up anymore so I think it's time to go. Since he had a couple of shots hopefully he'll sleep a bit longer tonight while his body deals with the vaccines. Good night, folks, and thanks for reading!!!