Tuesday, November 30, 2010

meeting dr. fancy pants

After much anticipation Charlotte and I met with Dr. Fancy Pants, a pediatric endocrinologist. I did not share my affectionate nickname with him - at least not just yet - but I was impressed by him and his nurse.  Dr. FP was personable, knowledgeable, and thorough.  Pretty much everything I'm looking for in a man who is now tasked with diagnosing the cause (if there is one) of my baby's "failure to thrive."

First of all, that is a tough description to swallow, "failure to thrive."  I mean, the "f word" seems like a big, long finger pointing blame ... you failed ... and then there's the whole idea of not succeeding.  Whatever happened to failure is not an option?!    I was not surprised by this terminology, but as a mom, it was a blow to the gut to hear those words used to describe my beautiful, happy baby girl.

So little pity party aside, we spent about an hour and 45 minutes with Dr. Fancy Pants - like I said, the guy is thorough.  First Charlotte was weighed and measured.  Just as my scale here at home indicates, Charlotte weighs a whopping 13 pounds 8 ounces - that long-awaited milestone of 13 and a half pounds.  She is 26 inches long. Both of which are far below the "charts" for her age.   However, it is worth noting that she has tripled her birth weight and gained 10 inches in length, and those are standards for the first year of life.  I cannot remember her head circumference, but I do know that it actually makes the charts; a great sign for brain development!

A majority of the appointment was spent discussing my pregnancy, Charlotte's birth (and the decision to induce), and her development. Dr. Fancy Pants also asked a lot of questions to establish a family history - heights of parents, siblings, grandparents, onset of puberty in mother and grandmothers (as if I know when my mom - or Chad's mom - started her period!), ... that sort of thing.  Essentially, he is looking for indicators of Constitutional Growth Delay, which is a common diagnosis and could indicate that Charlotte is simply a "late bloomer."  

To support that possible diagnosis, we had an x-ray taken of Charlotte's left hand to determine her bone age.  It was no surprise and actually good news that her bone age is between 3 and 6 months - probably closer to 3 months.  There is a pattern of typical bone growth, and Charlotte's appears like that of a 3 month old.  That is good news because there is potential for growth; once the bones fuse together, growth is ending.  If her bone age was closer to her actual age, it would indicate that her body has less growing to do.  But the deviation actually indicates that her body is not done growing ... it's more likely delayed - for some reason. (A young bone age could also attribute to her developmental delays - like the fact that she isn't crawling yet or pulling into a seated position - young bones mean lower muscle tone.)

So, we know she has more growing to do ... hooray!  But we also need to determine why her growth is so delayed.  Dr. Fancy Pants did a thorough physical exam and ruled out most syndromes based on lack of indicators and symptoms.  I took that to mean there are no obvious signs of a major issue ... and breathed a sign of relief.

We left the office with a stack of orders for blood work and urine analysis, the next step in this process.  I have to collect a urine sample using a plastic bag that adheres to Charlotte's nether regions, which I am really looking forward to ... not!  And then we'll survive the dreaded blood draw.  And then we'll wait to hear from Dr. Fancy Pants.  Based on how long it took to get an appointment, I am guessing results will probably take a while.  Not expecting to know anything until after the new year.

In the meantime, we just keep doing what we're doing ... and, yes, that includes feeding through the night because Dr. FP agrees that Charlotte needs those calories. {Super great!}  I was also reminded that Charlotte should be treated her age not her size, and perhaps that shift in mentality and how I interact with her will help with hitting some developmental milestones like crawling.  But there's still time for that ...

I will leave you with one final thought ... Dr. Fancy Pants really did not live up to his nickname.  His pants were actually quite plain.  Light gray.  Pleated.  I believe Dockers.

Thank you for all the good thoughts ... and stalking ... sorry this post was delayed ... I chose sleep over blogging last night :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A New Thanksgiving Tradition


This Thanksgiving we decided to head for the mountains!  We loaded the car with everything needed to keep two young girls entertained, fed, and happy.  The two hour trek from our home to Mt. Rainier National Park  was so peaceful; CJV took her morning nap while NHV enjoyed the novelty of watching a DVD in the car.  Chad and I chatted and took in the scenery ... until I got carsick, which is standard-operating-procedure anytime I am in a moving vehicle for more than an hour.  We stopped and had lunch at the cutest little family-owned restaurant.  I couldn't believe it was open on Thanksgiving, and the owner was beyond gracious!  

After arriving at the lodge, all four of us - CJV in my awesome Pikkolo carrier - donned our best winter gear and headed out for a snowy adventure.  Chad pulled the girls in a sled.  Natalie marched through the deepest snow she could find and plopped down to make snow angels ... and just be silly ... a girl after her own mama's heart!  Amongst trees heavy with snow - and branches dropping mini-avalanches all around us - Chad built a snowman out of very powdery snow.  The girls supervised from the sidelines and made design suggestions.

Charlotte and I headed back to our two-room suite (and that's a term used loosely because the inn was very rustic ... but charming) and took an awesome afternoon nap together.   Chad and Natalie played some more and checked out the game room inside.

We met back up to get dressed for dinner and headed downstairs to the dining room. The lodge served a Thanksgiving dinner ... buffet-style.  It was most definitely mediocre but served its purpose (and kept me from having to cook).  There was another family there with a little one in a high chair, so naturally we chatted.  Come to find out the grandparents were born and raised near my own hometown - small world!  She also shared with me that this was their 25th Thanksgiving spent at Mt. Rainier.  I just love the thought of a tradition that lasts a quarter of a century!   Thus begins our own "new" tradition of taking a little Thanksgiving trip with the girls!

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Ice{skating}, Just lots of SNOW

Today was suppose to be the day I took Natalie ice skating for the first time. We were both very excited! Natalie couldn't wait to touch and smell the ice, and she kept saying, "Dat ice will be veeeerrry sippery!" I was curious to see how my ice skating skills would fare after a three year hiatus. I took lessons in my twenties and learned to jump, spin, and arabesque (my favorite!).  It was the most graceful (and best shape) I've ever felt; how I wish I could get those buns back again ... but that's another story all together ...

A gently snow was falling when all four of us headed for the rink.  CPV doesn't work on Mondays, and I convinced him to come along, mostly so he could take picture.  Within 15 minutes of  leaving our house, the conditions were getting treacherous and other drivers just can't be trusted.  We made the decision to turn back.  Natalie was so devastated by our change of plans that we had to come up with, well, another option.

Here's Natalie in front of our Plan B ...


We followed up lunch with a walk through the Home Depot Christmas department.  It doesn't get much better than that ... especially if you're three years old.  Thankfully Unfortunately some of the singing dogs, cats, reindeer, ... on display have run out of batteries already.

When we got home, the snow had slowed again, but I grabbed the camera, handed it to Chad, and ...he captured Charlotte's first experience with snow!




I know I am totally biased, but I think my husband is just about the cutest thing going ... and Natalie, well, her tolerance for picture-taking is about a maximum of three shots ...


It continued to snow (and snow hard) right on through the afternoon - while the girls napped.  I woke Natalie around 4:00 and suggested she look out the window.  Her face lit up, and she said, "Oh my goodness, Mommy, all the grass is gone!"

And now I have officially become a mama-who-turns-her-child-into-the-Stay-Puff-Marshmallow-Man-in-the-hopes-of-keeping-her-warm-while-she-plays-in-the-snow.  First layer of pajamas.  Second layer footsie pajamas minus the feet. Socks. Bib overall snow pants. Jacket with hood.  Hat. Gloves.  Boots, which were nearly impossible to get on because she was so puffy and clumsy.

Natalie and Chad had a great time trying out the new sled I bought on super (ridiculous) clearance at the end of last winter.  Charlotte and I stayed inside to play and prep a delicious dinner.


Snow Day ... Hooray!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shutterfly for Holiday Cards

Today I am revealing a secret. I have a hard time sending holiday cards on time.  I know I am not the only one who procrastinates and feels the pressure of that December 25th deadline pressing down.  But I do think my approach is a bit unique.  Rather than simply not sending a card at all.  Or sending it late.  I try to play it off like I meant to send it after everyone else's card has already arrived, been on display, and been packed or thrown away.   This works out really well for me because A) I can send my cards late without feeling guilty about it being late.  B)  My card doesn't get lost in the shuffle of all those "other" holidays cards.  I feel certain my card gets a place of honor on most refrigerators because it shows up after you've taken down your seasonal display.

There's one other thing you should know ... I don't see the point to sending a holiday card (on time or not) that doesn't include at least one photo of you and/or your kids.  I mean, really ... store-bought cards are so last decade!

Two years ago, I sent this adorable and clever (if I do say so myself) NEW YEAR's card ... including four photos of NHV during different seasons of the previous year:

Inside: 
Winter, spring, summer, and fall …
We have honestly loved it all!

During a whirlwind 2008 … 
(and then a quick description of what we did during the past year)

Wishing you the very best
at this special time of year and
through all the seasons of 2009!

Last year's I sent BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS instead of holiday cards.  And I sent them when I was good and ready ... with the excuse of sleep deprivation and caring for a newborn and toddler.

Here's what I am getting at ... 
No matter what kind of "holiday" card I send.  
Regardless if I send them "on time" or purposely late. 
I use Shutterfly!  (They have the best photo books, too!)

This year I am even more excited to make and send holiday cards (perhaps even on time) using Shutterfly because bloggers (like me) have been offered 50 free cards in exchange for spreading the word about their awesome holiday collection.  Which means I shopped the Shutterfly card selection with reckless abandon - choosing all of my favorites!  First I sorted by number of photos - there's no way I can create a holiday card with less than three photos. I mean, if you know me at all, you know I adore a good collage!  And since I take a ba-zillion pictures, I always have plenty to choose from!

Oh, this square card has room for 8 photos!  And it really is a wonderful life!  Love it!


I have a thing for this shade of blue and snowflakes ...


The combination of brown, red, and blue makes this a top contender!


Again, lots of room for photos and I think a big "V" would look so cute in the middle!


Did you notice these are all very "holiday-ish"?  Well,  as a personal challenge, I am going to try to send an actual holiday card this year ... since I get 50 free cards, I felt like it was good motivation to make it happen!  Not to worry ... I am certain my card won't get "lost in the shuffle" of all the other cards you receive ... because I am ordering from Shutterfly and you just can't find a better looking, higher-quality card!  

Oh, wait, you're ordering from Shutterfly, too?  There's goes that plan ... 

Oh well ... Happy Holiday-card Making!

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up: http://bit.ly/sfly2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

cjv & the orange chair




This is the {new} orange chair on the deck behind my parents' house. The house where I grew up. The house my girls and I recently visited. The orange chair wasn't around when I lived there. But the deck and the gorgeous trees beyond hold plenty of memories for me.  And the adorable baby in that orange chair - that's Charlotte in her ballerina pajamas.  Teething with a finger in her mouth. Curious about her surrounds.  Showing just how flexible she can be.  Looking so adorable!

nhv & the orange chair




This is the {new} orange chair on the deck behind my parents' house. The house where I grew up. The house my girls and I recently visited. The orange chair wasn't around when I lived there. But the deck and the gorgeous trees beyond hold plenty of memories for me. On this particular morning, Natalie was doing what she does everyday. She climbs out of bed and out of her {Ariel} nightgown and into her princess dress of choice. This one is her new Tiana dress - a purchase made by Grammy during our one trip to Target. Her "accessories" are two Care Bears and a plastic hammer.  It was warm enough {in November} for bare feet and no sleeves. And her hair is all-natural aside from the bow I managed to wrangle into her bangs. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

moving on up ...

 ... to the big{ger} tub!

Up until just an hour ago, 
my 11-month old was being bathed in her infant tub.  


This is Charlotte in August - the last time I took bathtub photos.

And this is Charlotte earlier tonight.  In the inflatable bathtub.


She was so excited with her new splash pool!  I am just glad to have all that splashing contained in the tub rather than all over the vanity and mirror.  Isn't she just about the tiniest, cutest little naked baby ... ever?!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

11 months, 11 days

It is just a matter of days {about 19 of them, to be exact} until my baby turns one.  Charlotte Jane is just shy for 365 days old.  This time last year I was still pregnant ... and dealing with lots of contractions, weekly ultrasounds, and twice weekly non-stress tests ... and all the emotions that went along with such an "interesting" gestation.  The past 11 months have been filled with much joy, very little sleep, some worry, and plenty of fun!  This is Charlotte Jane - just in the past month!



  1. One thing is for certain, my little baby {born at just 4 pounds 9 ounces} is destined to be a little one year old.  Less than three weeks before her birthday, Charlotte weighs 13 pounds 5.5 ounces.  She is tiny.  Everything about her is tiny ... her hands and feet, her waist, her ears, ... except her smile!  That grin takes up her whole face!
  2. Charlotte is wearing mainly size 6-month clothing and size 1-2 diapers.
  3. She's a good eater.  Haven't come across a flavor of "mush" that she won't eat.  However, in the past few weeks I have definitely noticed a preference for feeding herself.  With every bite, she grabs the spoon - almost as if to say, "I can do it myself."  And she eats finger foods with great enthusiasm and determination.  While she still eats puffs and mum-mums, she especially loves Veggie Sticks and Garden Tomato Crunchies.
  4. I am still nursing about 6 times in 24 hours.  Two or three of those feedings are at night - when I would rather be sleeping.  I am not willing to end those nighttime feedings because she needs all the calories she can get.  However, I am looking forward to weaning in the next few months ... and sleeping through the night soon!
  5. Bedtime is around 7:30 pm.  She usually sleeps until midnight, eats, and goes right back down.  Then I hear from her again around 3:00 am and sometimes again before 6:00 am.  Then she sleeps until about 7:00 am.
  6. Naps are from 9:00 am - 10:30 am and again from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm.  Sometimes Charlotte has a tough time settling down for naps - tough to spend a lot of time transitioning her with a routine because Natalie needs my attention/supervision. A light swaddle usually does the trick, though.
  7. Aside from "tiny,"  I would describe Charlotte as happy and easy-going.  She smiles all the time and waits patiently - for the most part.   However, she is very sensitive to changes in her environment - like sleeping in a new place. 
  8. To communicate Charlotte does her fair share of vocalizing, signs milk and responds to the signs for more and all done, and is clearly opinionated when appropriate - like when her big sister takes away her toy or I try to get the spoon back for another bite.  Also, her giggle is just about the most adorable sound ever!
  9. Charlotte loves playing with balls, cups, and straps.  As soon as I put her in the carseat, stroller, high chair ... she is reaching for the strap and trying to pull it to her mouth.  She is also still very interested in her feet ... and pulls off her shoes {little leather Robeez} to chew on them, too!
  10. This little girl can ROLL just about anywhere she wants to go.  However, she is not crawling and is still very wobbly when sitting up - she topples over very easily.  I have noticed her trying to push into a seated position in the past week but no success just yet.  I don't anticipate her walking anytime soon.
  11. People often comment about Charlotte's size, her beautiful blue eyes, her cute cheeks, and the constant motion of her feet.  I also hear a Cindy Lou Who comparison quite often.
We have an appointment with Dr. Fancy-Pants at the end of this month - just three days before her birthday.  I am very anxious to hear what an expert has to saw about Charlotte's small size.  There are times when I worry and imagine the worst.  I really hope my seemingly happy, healthy baby is "just small" and that's okay.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

sleepless in ... chicago

Apparently I have to leave Seattle and fly four hours in order to have a truly sleepless night. 

Who would've thought?!

For the next 10 days I am traveling with my two girls - by myself - with a stop first in Chicago to see my girl Chitown Momma and her two adorable nuggets and then onto Alton to spend time with my family.

So the trip through the airport and security (where the new rule is babies must be out of carriers, btw)  and onboard the flight for 4+ hours ... all of that was uneventful.  Natalie was so cooperative.  Charlotte took a good snooze.  The DVD player battery lasted through all of Curious George and about 30 minutes into Tinkerbell.  Even the pick-up - despite a temporarily lost vehicle (those parking garages can be so confusing!) and a very hungry 11-month old - went well.  The trip was off to a great start.

To make the experience even more enjoyable (and deceptively easy), both girls went right to sleep - NHV in the same room with her buddy Benjamin and CJV in "my" room.  AND Chitown Momma and I got to enjoy two uninterrupted hours of red-wine-sipping and catching up.   Good stuff, right?

I climbed into bed at 11:30 and listened to the plethora of city sounds outside the windows.  Cars zooming past, buses screeching to a stop, conversations of the people walking by, the wind off the lake rattling the windows, ... all of this on the third floor, mind you.  Eventually it lulled me to sleep until Charlotte woke me up at 2:30 ready for some milk.  I snuggled her and nursed her in bed.  Out of nowhere I got this weird mommy-tuition that Natalie needed me.  To confirm this feeling, I heard her voice call out. 

I carried a now sleeping (and full-bellied) Charlotte down the hall with me, opened the door where Natalie was sleeping and saw her sitting up in bed with this very confused look on her face.  A look like, "Where in the world am I?"  Waking up in a strange place is disorienting enough for an adult, and I could tell she was feeling upset.  I quietly calmed her and climbed in next to her on the futon.  The three of us - me and my girls - laid there for a while; I rubbed Natalie's back and waked a peaceful Charlotte sleeping.  And then Natalie starting chatting - loudly, which woke up her baby sister and I feared would do the same to Benjamin. The three of us made the trek back down the hallway and got into my bed. 

There was NO sleep after that point.  From 2:30 am - when Charlotte woke to nurse and Natalie woke to be soothed - until almost 7:00 am, the three of us did not sleep.  Bless Chitown Momma who helped out from about 4:00 on ... putting Natalie in bed with her, and then singing and rocking Charlotte - when Natalie refused to cooperate.  None of our efforts payed off.  I tried everything I could think of. 

At 6:00 am - as the sun began peeking over the horizon - we climbed into Chitown Momma's bed.  Natalie tried for an hour to fall asleep but finally gave up and went to play with Laurie and her two kiddos - who were awake for the day after a restful night's sleep.  Charlotte and I slept until 9:00 and then joined the party.

Both girls are napping now - thankfully.  Here's hoping that our second night in Chicago is not sleepless!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

buckle up - every time

I keep replaying the scene in my mind ... over and over again.  I wish I had that split second back. 
 
Charlotte fell off the changing table this evening.  Yes, I am a terrible mom.  Or at least I feel like a terrible mom.  I feel awful knowing that something I did - without even thinking - caused my baby pain.  Caused her to cry out, to be scared, to fall ... but not in that order.

I normally strap her in, but this time - for some reason - I didn't.  I had only managed to take off her pants when Natalie began swinging the baby monitor over her head like a lasso.  It whacked against the crib and the wall and nearly knocked her in the head.  I issued a warning.  It was not heeded. I turned my back and took three steps toward my misbehaving three year old and heard a thug :(  Within a split second it registered.  The next minute is a blur.  I turned around to see Charlotte on the floor on her belly, and she was crying, which apparently is a good sign.  

I very carefully turned her over and checked to see that she wasn't broken.  And then I scooped her up and began calming her - while simultaneously instructing Natalie to go to her room and stay there.  I called Chad and spoke through sobs.  I pulled myself together and called our pediatrician's office and talked to a nurse.  She ran me through a triage checklist and felt confident that Charlotte was probably okay just shaken up.  While she was still on the phone, I put Charlotte in her crib and tried to finish what I started - changing her diaper.  She cried out in pain several times when I moved her right leg.  

My gut said, "Better safe than sorry."  The nurse agreed, especially since I am leaving with the girls tomorrow for a 10-day trip to Illinois.  So we visited the ER just to make sure ... thankfully Chad met us there and entertained Natalie with a book.  My compliments - once again - to our ER; fast, friendly, thorough, ... 

Charlotte checked out fine.  No signs of head trauma, no bruises, normal responsiveness, generally happy, ... but, boy was I freaked out!  I've been whispering, "I'm sorry," against her little head all evening.  As penance, I rocked her to sleep - something I don't usually do. Of course, she's awake now chatting with her bunny ...

What I know now - that I already knew but temporarily had a lapse ... 
Do not leave children unattended on raised surfaces!
Buckle up - every time!

Monday, November 1, 2010

trick-or-treat 2010


As if it were a complete surprise, Natalie walked away from each door, 
gave her bucket a quick glance, and proclaimed,  
"I got a treat!"  
before hurrying off to the next house. 
I honestly think she was expecting some tricks!


Natalie's costume was a gift from Grammy.  It has been worn just about every day since September.  She calls it her "Frog Princess dress" and answers to "Tiana" when wearing it.   There's even a stuffed animal frog tucked under her arm.  To up the princess-ness, I painted her nails {for the first time} and put on some blue eye shadow and roll-on sparkles.  She insisted on a pony tail "in the back of my head" just like Tiana, which was no simple feat because of the length of her hair.  I talked her into two ponies - one on top, one in the back - with a couple barrettes to hold back the sides and a tiara, of course!


The pea costume worked out great!  {Thanks to my neighbor Laura for handing it down to us!}  While this costume does fit my PEAnut, the bunting-style is meant for a much younger baby so I cut it all along the back seam.  I found a green sleeper to keep her covered and warm.   Charlotte is forward-facing in my new {awesome} Pikkolo carrier with her arms through the sleeves.  And the Cindy Lou Who hat, just makes the outfit!


Of course, the little sister, my little PEAnut,
already has her sights set on ... 
being the princess!
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