Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Mayhem

Last year, Easter started like this...we got up early, I helped get Jackson and Sydney ready for church, they each got some Easter candy we had set out on the kitchen table, then we all headed out the door and walked down Kane St. to Clinton St. The kids and Jake continued walking to church on Court St. and I hopped in a cab, headed for St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital on 59th St. and Amsterdam. Our little Kate was there in the NICU, and the drs. had given us hope that we might be able to bring her home that day. (That was on March 23rd...she arrived on March 20th) Jake had to be at church because he was to do a reading for the Easter Program. Upon arriving at the hospital, I couldn't go into the NICU nursery because the dr's were in there on rounds, assessing all the babies. If you've never been to a NICU nursery...here's a little glimpse. It is full of tiny cribs, some open and some incubators...and usually a few big aparatuses for the REALLY tiny babies that have lots of tubes and monitors and stuff. Kate and Sydney both spent some time in the NICU, but I always kind of laughed because most babies are in there because they are premature while my girls were there because I'm diabetic and they both had issues with low blood sugar and jaundice...oh yeah...and Kate was almost 9 lbs. and Sydney was 10!!! So they look gigantic compared to all the other babies there. And because of the jaundice, they were both BRIGHT RED and really swollen...sort of reminiscent of Jack Jack when he's on fire in The Incredibles.

Anyway, on that Easter morning, I sat in the parents' room with lots of other moms, waiting to get in to see my baby and hear the doctor's evaluation. Some of these parents had been there every day for weeks or even months. I felt so bad for them! But luckily for us, when we went in to see the babies, all of Kate's bili-lights (the treatment for jaundice is UV lights) and all the monitors were off of her and she was just laying there peacefully. The nurse promptly told me Kate could go home! I was so happy! I called Jake to tell him he could come get us (he wanted to ride home in the cab with us) but he was still in church, waiting to read. So we had to wait there another 3 hours while he finished up, got home, pawned the kids off on the neighbor lady, sweet Aurea, finish fixing the cover on the car seat that Kate was to ride home in, and take a cab to us! Around 4:00 we finally made it home in the yellow taxi with our little Easter bunny Kate in tow and the kids got to see her for the first time. They were so excited! It was so cute to watch them. If you want to remember what that looked like...click here.

This year, no baby, but we did have a fun Easter with all the kids...and they didn't even remember that we didn't really celebrate last year! (phew!) The kids had so much fun finding their Easter baskets and eggs around the house. It was fun for me to hide it all, using all the same hiding places I remember finding eggs in when I was a kid.

Kate's basket was the first to be found and inspected.

Kate loved the grass.

Jackson had so much fun finding eggs. I think we'll have to do this activity throughout the year!

Jackson and Sydney helping eachother open the eggs so they can eat the candy along the way.

Sydney spots her basket!!

Last of all, Jackson finally finds his...

in the fireplace!

Sydney showing off her loot!

Frankenstein Bunny

Kate playing with Sydney's make up. I love it when babies crouch like this and their diapers touch the ground!

Friday, April 10, 2009

In her own words...

video

And if you can translate those last few thoughts, we'd really appreciate it...

Something about a shot...in the room...it made her bleed...it made her sad...in the room....

PS--Jackson was amazing through all of this. He felt so bad and kept apologizing over and over. He sat by Sydney and tried to comfort her, telling her it was going to be ok and that she looked beautiful. He helped feed Kate while I took care of Sydney in the ER. All night he has been extra nice to Sydney and has shared EVERYTHING with her.

UPDATE: after further analysis of the footage, I have also deciphered "I not see bugs outside...I not see ants outside." Btw...she is terrified of bugs and ants right now. That is a new thing since she recently had an ant crawling on her.

Sight for sore eyes


Sydney - who, mere weeks ago, had a big black eye - now as seven good-sized stitches closing a very clean, three centimeter cut above her right eye. Fortunately, she also has her sight. Jackson was taking a gleaming, razor sharp, three-quarter inch, wood working chisel from her - precisely as I had instructed him on prior occasions - when she resisted, the chisel slipped from his hands, and it plunged across Sydney's eyebrow. Jackson dutifully held a towel over the wound and consoled Sydney while Jen dressed all the kids and they raced to the emergency room. The doctors strapped Sydney to a backboard, inflated the area with little pockets of Lidocaine from a hypodermic needle, and proceeded to stitch the area shut. I knew she couldn't feel a thing, but she was hollering at the top of her lungs; poor little girl. Just about every person I know has a cut in that very spot, but it's typically from falling. So, rather than wring my hands - which, come to think of it, wouldn't do any good even if this wound was rare - the doctor and I chatted about Grandpa's book, the Naked Communist.

He also pointed out to me that he was using Lidocaine without epinephrine. This is an important point for you parents. Epinephrine, aka adrenaline, is a vasoconstricter; it stops bleeding...and circulation. That can be good or very bad. Suppose you cut your stomach, a vasoconstricter can be good because that tissue has other sources of circulation. Now, suppose you cut your finger and the doctor uses epinephrine. Yup, you guessed it; when you take that bandage off your unbathed hand three days from now, as instructed, your wound will be healed AND your finger will be black and dead. It has happened too, so don't dismiss the risk. Watch when your kids get stitches. Lidocaine is for numbing all wounds. Lidocaine with ephinephrine - to stop the bleeding - is only appropriate for areas that have tons of alternative circulation.

She could have put her eye out. Her eye is still bruised from the black eye she got a few weeks ago. So, we're glad there is still sight in that sore eye.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Our New Bed

We got rid of our waterbed.

That actually reminds me of a story that is really funny. Our waterbed mattress had a sponge in it to reduce waves. The problem was that you could never get all the water out of the mattress. When "empty", it still weighed at least 400 lbs. So, when we decided to get rid of the bed, I took it out on the patio of our Brooklyn apartment one night. I cut it into ribbons with a large kitchen knife. Innocent enough...until you consider the "Rear Window" perspective: a guy is on the balcony across from your apartment building. He is sillhouetted on the patio by bedroom lights. He is hacking at a large roll on the patio with the largest kitchen knife you've ever seen. Liquid is splashing all over. He's sloshing around in it. He is obviously struggling under the weight of these large hunks of stuff that you can't quite make out in the darkness. "Is that a body rolled in a carpet?" you wonder. I'm surprised the cops didn't show up. I'm also mad I went to all the effort to hack up my victims out on Long Island when my patio would have been just fine.

Anyway. I needed to get a new bed. We purchased a memory foam mattress - a "cool wave" memory foam mattress from Costco for $800. We love it, but it's a tiny bit warm. "Dang, Jen. Guess you'll have to sleep naked. "

To save money, I decided to build the bed platform. Two pictures inspired me.

A basic scandinavian, modern, teak platform bed frame

A clock that uses bright LEDs to display the time through wood veneer. The "block of wood" suddenly displays the time. "Hey, you means there's a clock in there! Cool!"

Tristan helps me do all the drilling for LED lights.

A close up of the light pattern. I call it "Milky Way Eclipse". Yup, cheesy. The idea was of a planet eclipsing the Milky Way.

I've never applied veneer before. Heaven knows why I choose a $110 piece of teak for my first try ever. Youtube is inspiring, you know? Here, Jackson is helping me work out air bubbles and glue the veneer back down. If you ever want to do this, call me. I'll give you the low down.

The finished piece without oil. Still had to make the footboard. Notice there are no holes. The holes are behind the veneer and awaiting several strings of LED Christmas lights which, hopefully, will light through the wood and create a great lighting effect.

We wanted storage. So, low and sleek wasn't exactly the goal. These voids are so large that BOTH Jackson and Sydney can easily sit inside one. Hide and Seek gets pretty difficult with this bed available.

It works! Execution was perfect. So the burden is on the design. It's pretty close to what I envisioned. I like the look. The proportions are off a bit because the headboard is too high. Jen doesn't want me to change it because, with pillows, it looks more proportionate. I'll fix that later, when I install the lights. By the way, not all the lights are installed. I got impatient. You get the idea.

Here you can get an idea of the intensity of the lighting with the night stand lights on.


Now you can see the footboard, the proportions of the whole project, and, most importantly, the stark contrast between lights and simple, elegant, unilluminated teak. That was part of the idea: to contrast the modern style of the teak with the cool gadgetry of the LED lighting inside the wood. It's tough to get a better picture of the bed. Our room is small and the lighting is your typical dungeon basement lighting. Our bed will feel less insecure when its been released into its natural habitat, a New York loft.

Sydney's shiner

A couple weeks ago Sydney and Jackson were jumping on their bed in the dark. (That is never a good start to a story.) At some point, Jackson gets a flashlight and eventually shines it in Sydney's face, causing her to step back, and off the bed...catching her eye on the night stand corner. We hear screams....we come running...from the top of the stairs I can't tell what's wrong but see something on her face. It was a HUGE goose egg...and by morning the goose egg had gone down, but she was left with a black eye for about a week. (As some of you noticed in the Kate's birthday pictures.) Don't fret...she's back to normal now...and still jumping on beds.

This was taken that night

And these a couple days later

Sydney vs. Kate

Ok, you're not supposed to compare...but this is a FUN compare, not a "why can't you live up to your sister" sort of compare.

This is our brother-in-law Tristan. For some reason we have these 2 really funny pictures of him holding our girls.


Sydney is a little younger than Kate in these two shots, but I thought it was fun because they're wearing the same outfit.

Mascara?


Maybe if I told her it was made out of bat poo (as I was told at a young age) it would deter her from painting her body with it...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kate walks...when she wants to

So here is Kate, taking a few steps. She'll take more on occasion, but still prefers to crawl. Please excuse my high-pitched, annoying voice in this video. It helps me realize how ridiculous I sound to Kate. I need to stop that.

video

Also...this is the first of several posts I'm working on today. I'm going to post them slowly so cute ones like this don't get buried. It's been awhile since I've updated. I need to not do that. Then I just feel overwhelmed and don't want to do it anymore.