Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sea to Table

Forget Farm to Table...

I will post more about our two weeks at the beach later, but the highlight of the whole trip was probably deep sea fishing on Friday before we left.  Chris' dad has a knack for making money off sports tickets, so he treated himself, JP, Chris and I to a deep sea fishing trip!  (Catrina and Margaret had no desire to go, so they stayed back with the kids.) Every year we enter to win Master's tickets and Master's practice round tickets for Rick from the Master's lottery.  Last year Chris and I won 4 tickets, so Rick bought them and turned around and sold them for a nice little profit.

I had never been deep sea fishing or actually any type of fishing before, and it was a blast!  Actually it was a lot harder to reel those fish in than I thought it would be!  It was hard work!  We got up early pushed off the marina before 6am.  On the way out we caught some bait and then motored out for about an hour to let down our hooks to try to catch some fish!  We weren't going out to catch a blue marlin or anything like that; I was just hoping to catch some Grouper and Red Snapper.  Most of the resturants were serving them as fresh catch, so I figured our chances were good.  But they were closed to private boats- it was only Snapper and Group season for the commercial boats.  Amberjack and King Mackral were what we could catch.

I sipped on my coffee during our ride out...

Sunrise from the boat

Apparently you wear "fishing" belts to help you reel in the fish.  I thought they looked akward, but after wrestling with one fish, I was thankful for them...

I had caught one Amberjack at this point, but it wasn't big enough so we had to throw it back.  The Amberjack was a challenge, but this next fish was something else.  It wore me out.  I kept thinking, this one has got to be big enough...

Look at that determination...

And it was!  I caught a Black-fin Tuna!  It was a strong!  (And we were able to keep the Tuna too)

I caught the fish, but I still don't really want it that close to me..

Gross!  It bled on me!  You can take it away now...

Here's the Amberjack I caught at the end of the trip that we got to keep.  Thankfully, he held it a little farther away from me this time.

We apparently were not getting as many bites as the captain expected.  Well then we saw it...  A SHARK!  There was a shark looming around our boat that was scaring away the fish.  And actually just waiting for an easy breakfast.  Rick was reeling in one fish when the shark ate the whole fish and snapped the line!  A little while later I almost had a Red Snapper in (which we would have had to throw back anyway) when jaws came along and took a big bite!  I ended up reeling in a snapper head...

This shark was certainly raining on our parade.  But wait, who got the last laugh

That's right...WE CAUGHT A SHARK!  I mean really, how awesome is that?!?  It took Rick, JP, and Chris 45 minutes to wrestle him in...

The whole trip was great and we got a pretty good haul, but that shark was icing on the cake!

We got to keep all the fish we caught.  The first mate butchered them there for us and we took home the meat in plastic bags on ice in a cooler.  Chris and I took about half and Rick and JP got the rest.  We probably have 15lbs or so of fish in our freezer right now.  Sunday night after we got home Chris marinated and grilled some of the Amberjack and it was delicious!!  Kinda fun to catch your own dinner.

Now if Chris would only take up hunting we could get some red meat in our freezer too...

Friday, May 25, 2012

RUF SoCu 2012

Panama City Beach Baby.  What do you do in panama city?  Hit up the clubs, get some piercing, tattoos, and airbrush t-shirts.  We were able to avoid the first three...

Some of the students went out and bought air-bursh t-shirts to commemorate RUF SoCu2012, and bought Phoebe an airbrush onesie!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nine Months

Besides being the month of doctors, nine months has given us a new top tooth, seen Phoebe's legs develop so that she will stand up (she would never straighten her legs to do this before now), been the month of night-time awakenings, but still no crawling.

Phoebe's bottom two teeth came up pretty easily.  But man, this top one was rough.  The worst of it was the week before we could feel it poking out.  Poor baby would just scream and scream and scream whenever we would lay her down for a nap or bed and would wake up in the middle of the night screaming.  It is her left lateral incisor that has now come in.

Phoebe is not crawling yet and really not getting her knees up underneath her at all yet.  I'm not sure if she'll crawl at all.  She has gotten pretty good at rolling back and forth to propel herself forward to reach the toy (or in many cases dog toy...) that she is wanting.  She has started standing with support.  Until recently she would always pull up her legs and refuse to stand.  But she is not creeping yet.  She locks her knees when she is standing up.  Its actually pretty funny because we can't get her to bend them at all.

For no apparent reason after Easter Phoebe started waking up in the middle of the night sometime between 12:30am-2am to eat.  She would take a bottle and go right back to sleep.  It was just odd because she hasn't done this since she 2 months old (and it obviously was not a growth spurt).  There were a couple nights when she was wide awake and would not settle back down for an hour to two hours.  Those nights were rough....but most of the time she would go straight back to sleep.

9 Month Stats
Weight: 14lbs 5oz (off the chart)
Length: 26 3/4 inches (25th percentile)

She really doesn't... that's the problem.  She was actually eating great for about 4 days and we really thought we had turned a corner.  It was so nice not to have to fight to get her to eat!  But we were wrong.  She's still eating stage 2 baby foods.  We've tried to give her more finger foods, but the Puffs are the only thing she will eat.  Everything thing else- bananas, cooked apples, lima beans, broccoli, cheese, tomatoes, chicken, sausage, potatoes, mac&cheese- she will throw on the floor and spit out of her mouth.  How do we make the transition to table food?

Phoebe has started sleeping till 7:30 in the morning instead of 6:30 (yay!)  Mommy has appreciated that.  She's also been extremely flexible this month with her naps.  She is taking two naps a day now lasting between 1-2 hours each.  We've traveled a fair amount this past month and had doctors appointments and vet appointments and who knows what else but it seemed that we could never commit to a scheduled nap time each day, but she adapted and adjusted well.  So those naps might have been at different times every day, but she was a trooper and rolled with the punches.

Phoebe has a toy kitchen her cousin Caylee gave her that she loves.  It makes noise and lights up and she gets a kick out of it.  She also loves her "Phoebe" stool.  Its a puzzle stool with her name.  She enjoys chewing on the letters and throwing them for mama to pick up.  And "Where is Baby's Belly Button" is her favorite book.  She enjoys lifting the flaps and turning the pages.  She continues to be a happy, giggly baby who is easily amused by people.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Picking Strawberries

A couple years ago we stumbled across a strawberry patch outside of Eufaula, Alabama on the way to Laguna Beach for RUF summer conference.  We picked some on the way home and they were delicious!  The past 2 years we have looked out for this place on the side of state road 431 to stop to pick strawberries.  

This year we had Phoebe so she helped us pick some and tried her first strawberry.  This child will put anything in her mouth except food, but she did try a strawberry.

Trying it for the first time...

Not sure what to think

Cheers!  I like it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is Normal?

So I fell off the band-wagon blogging for a couple months.  I stopped pumping and no longer found the time to sit down at the computer!  And then I was really unmotivated for a few weeks.  But I'm back in the game now.

What is normal?  Is any baby normal?  Is any person normal?  Someone told me that every baby develops differently and hits milestones at different times but everyone should even out by 2 years of age.  Maybe this is the case?  Perhaps I am being an overly-sensitive mother or a mother in denial, but I have been a bit frustrated recently on how certain doctors- mainly my pediatrician- seem to be overly concerned about Phoebe's development.  I am very thankful for doctors and medical professionals and this abundance of medical technology that is available to us; however, I think it can all be over-used to look for problems that don't exist or don't necessarily need treatment at this moment in time.

Phoebe is almost 9 1/2 months old now.  We are going to dub 9 months as the "month of doctors".  I don't really like doctors or really any medical professional at this point in time (and yes I am one).  Over the previous week we had 5 different doctor appointments- that is just absurd.  

Doctor #1- Audiologist.  We had another follow-up hearing screen that was a waste of my time.  They put Phoebe in a sound booth with headphones and tried to determine her level of hearing in each ear independently.  The audiologist would play sounds at different frequencies and decibels into one ear or the other and she was supposed to look towards the side where she heard the sound.  When she looked in the appropriate direction from which the sounds were played she was rewarded with a brief video clip on a television. She was not particularly cooperative (which is expected at 9 months of age) so we learned nothing new.  This particular audiologist at the Marietta satellite campus of CHOA was less than impressive.  This is a hard test to use at Phoebe's age so it is not completely her fault that we were unable to get any results.  We did one at six months which did not tell us anything so they wanted to repeat it at 9 months, but warned we were not likely to get much more of a response at 9 months either.  I'm not sure why I agreed to make the appointment...

Doctor #2- Pediatrician.  She told us she was no longer on the growth chart; she is now "labeled" FFT or failure to thrive and that we need to see a GI specialist.  At nine months Phoebe weighs 14lobs 5oz.  So of course I know that she is little, but as soon as Failure to Thrive was mentioned I did have a minor breakdown.  When I think of FFT babies, I think of emaciated babies in the hospital with a g-tube.  This is definitely not Phoebe.  She might be little, but she's an extremely happy bundle of energy.  (I'm over the label now...she's little.  It is what it is.)  Our pediatrician has been talking about doing some blood work for awhile now to rule out any thyroid or metabolic problem.  I think this is a bit over-kill.  There is no metabolic problem...the problem is that she doesn't eat.  If she doesn't eat then she can't gain weight- it is common sense and I'm not sure why she feels the need to complicate or over-medicalize (I might have just made that word up) the issue.  

She also feels that Phoebe's gross motor skills are lagging a bit behind normal so she wants her to be evaluated by a physical therapist.  Yes, Phoebe was a little late to sit-up and roll over.  Currently, she hasn't started pulling up yet, but she's not late for that milestone yet.  Not babies do things all at the same time- there is a range of normal and we happen to be at the back end...  So I'm not 100% sure we need to bring in another specialist at this point.  But yes, I did go ahead and make the appointment.

Doctor #3- Ear Nose and Throat.  We saw her when Phoebe was 5 weeks old and I have been canceling appointments and putting them off since then. But I finally did go back 8 months later... Last week she told us that because we have not been able to get concrete results in the sound booth to quantify the extent of her hearing loss at 3, 6, or 9 months (is it getting worse or staying the same) that she strongly recommended a sedated ABR (a more accurate ear-specific hearing test that involves sedating and intubating your baby.)  We have declined this test several times before.  I simply cannot see the benefit in sedating a 9 month old for a mild documented hearing loss just to see if it has gotten worse or affected the other ear.  If her hearing has not worsened we would not do anything except continue to test to see if it gets worse.  If it has affected her other ear or other frequencies then they would fit her with a hearing assistance device at this age.  I would much rather WAIT AND SEE if she shows delays in language development or hearing difficulties and then proceed with the more invasive testing if it proves to be necessary.  I would rather play catch-up on the back end with more intensive speech therapy rather than proceed with invasive testing on the front end.  I understand this might not be everyone's decision for their child, but it is ours.  If she compensates with her good ear and we continue to work with the speech therapist (as we are currently doing) and there are no significant language delays then I don't really care what the exact frequencies and decibels are that she can't hear. 

While at the ENT we also saw her audiologist who did the exact same thing the CHOA audiologist did a few days earlier, and then also recommended a sedated ABR because she was unable to get the data she was looking for.  So now the audiologist and ENT want to do these sound booth tests much more frequently than every 3 months since we are refusing the sedated ABR.  She wants us to come back in 2-4 weeks for a repeat hearing test- we choose 4.

Doctor #4- Speech Therapist.  Kelly is our speech therapist through Babies Can't Wait (a federal and state funded early intervention program for children with developmental delays or disabilities).  We do like Kelly, she comes to our house for therapy sessions every other week.  She has worked with us and Phoebe on language development as well as helped us with some of her feeding difficulties.  She thinks that Phoebe's refusal to finish her food and bottle might be resulting from an oral/motor weakness or fatigue.  She is also concerned about Phoebe's swallowing abilities (she apparently coughs and chokes more frequently than "normal").  Phoebe was late to babble and apparently babies this age should be able to make 8 different consonant sounds and Phoebe is only making 3, well now 4- she just starting saying "ba".  But it is unclear whether this is because of a hearing deficiency or an oral/motor weakness.  Kelly has given us some different feeding techniques to try to get Phoebe to eat more.  She has also shown us some oral exercises to help strengthen Phoebe's mouth and jaw as well as help make her aware of different areas of her mouth needed to make sounds.

Doctor #5- GI specialist.  My favorite so far.  He was very practical and laid back and actually explained his thought process, which I appreciated.  I felt like his approach to things meshed a little bit better with my personality.  He did not want to do any fancy tests or blood work at this time.  He said she seemed to be healthy- just very little.  Her liver, spleen and internal organs are healthy.  He agreed with me that she is little because she doesn't eat very much so we need to pack in the calories into what little she will eat.  Makes total sense.  I had actually tried to do this previously by adding olive oil to some of her food that I made, but she wouldn't eat it!  So I stopped trying after that because I'm not into wasting food.  Meal-time can already be stressful when we're trying to feed her something she likes so fighting over something she doesn't like wasn't worth the trouble and was not adding calories.

His prescription was to add 2 tsp of butter or 2 Tbls of heavy whipping cream to all of her solids.  And then to add an extra scoop of formula and 1/2 tsp of canola oil to her bottle.  He is looking for her to gain about 10 grams/day so when we go back in 6-8 weeks he would like her to have put on a pound and a half.

Whew, and that is what we've been up to over the last week or so.  Going to the doctor.  I am hoping to stay away from the waiting rooms and co-pays for a little while now.  I have a surprisingly healthy daughter to be spending so much time at doctor appointments.

My little peanut

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

My first official Mothers Day was wonderful!  Being a mother is such a blessing; I love my little girl more than I ever thought possible.  Phoebe gave me a beautiful necklace and wrote me the sweetest card!  Since we were heading down to the beach Saturday morning, she gave it to me at home a little early.

She gave me this James Avery necklace and actually helped me open it!  She might have had more fun helping to open the gift than picking it out and purchasing it.

Here's a little bit better picture of the necklace.  I love it!  Thanks Phoebe!

Helping open the present...
The tissue paper was her favorite part

She also wrote me the sweetest card!  Well Phoebe doesn't have the best penmanship yet, so she dictated it to daddy to write.  Here's my favorite line from her card "You're the best mommy ever!  Daddy says you're a pretty amazing wife too...whatever that is.  But if you're half as good of a wife as you are a mommy then daddy must be pretty blessed"

I'm the blessed one.  I have one amazing husband and daughter!