Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Carvings

We had a few friends over last Saturday to carve pumpkins. Pumpkin guts were spilled, and many beautiful masterpieces were created. I'm sad that I didn't get any pictures of the chaos, but since Saturday, Bryan and I have carved even more pumpkins.

Mr. Owl! I'm quite pleased with how he turned out, although I wish I could claim the idea as my own. Thanks again, Martha.

I do like carving pumpkins.
The green one is from my mother-in-law's garden! Thanks, Ma!

Bryan's, mine, mine.

Mine, Bryan's, mine.

Welcome to our home!

Last but not least, I had to include a picture of our latest Autumn themed centerpiece.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Before It Was Cold

Autumn is suddenly upon us. Just a few days ago, we were having beautiful warm sunny days in the 70s. Now, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.

When it was still nice outside, Bryan would often take Chloë out on the front steps during his lunch break. I had to get a few pictures.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Corn Maze and Another Birthday

Last Friday, all of the extended Blakeys went to the Corn Maze! Being that it was also Bryan's sister Christa's birthday, we had an especially grand time.

I don't think I've ever been to a corn maze before... I vaguely remember a field and some pumpkins from when I was very little, but I don't think there was a maze. So it was a first for me and Chloë! It was quite chilly, so we bundled up, strapped the baby in the Bjorn, and found our way through the maze. The Left Hand method proved a success!

Chloë managed to sleep the whole time, but I took her through the little hay bale maze anyway.

Ma, Christa The Birthday Girl Herself, and Pops.

Austin, Jessie and Laura.

Then we were all freezing, so we went to Denny's for some cocoa and carbs, and (what else?!) the free birthday Grand Slam! Chloë had to wake up and warm up, and she always manages to look cute while doing so.

Auntie ChreChre even got some giggles for her birthday from Baby ChloChlo.


I had to include this one. I love this kid's profile! Those cheeks really are quite tasty.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hemangioma Treatment.

We took Chloë to see Dr. Dominey last week. The consult went well. She looked at, measured, and photographed the spot behind Chloë's ear and said "yup, it's a hemangioma."

First she told us what we were hoping to hear. It shouldn't pose any risk or threat to our baby. Praise God. Besides the fact that skin breakdown is to be expected, and therefore tender, occasional discomfort is really all we have to worry about. Then she told us that infantile hemangiomas often grow for the first year or two, and then they start to fade and shrink. Generally speaking, 50% of them are gone by the time the child is 4, and 90% of them are gone by the 9th birthday. So even if we don't do anything, chances are it will fade and disappear with time.

Then we talked about our treatment options. We had been under the impression that laser treatments might be a good way to reduce the growth, but we learned that laser treatment really only serves to cauterize the growth if there is lots of bleeding. To laser the "healthy" skin would just cause bleeding and scabbing and eventually, scarring. So we threw that idea out of the window.

Dr. Dominey talked about corticosteroid treatment, and told us that it has had a high success rate of slowing the growth of hemangiomas. But, there were the obvious steroidal side affects; stunted growth, slowed metabolism, and redistribution of weight. I really didn't want to subject my baby to a drug that would be so harsh to her tiny little growing body.

Then we heard about oral Propanolol. A beta blocker, it is a drug used to reduce blood pressure, and also has an affect on slowing the heart. I was hoping she would have some good information on this, because it seemed like a good option, but it made me nervous to think about giving my baby something that could affect her heart and blood pressure. It is a fairly new treatment option, but it seems to have good results on reducing the hemangioma. But, Dr. Dominey then told us, she had recently learned of three cases of babies on this drug turning blue, becoming unresponsive, being rushed to the hospital, and miraculously surviving. Um, I think we'll pass.

Finally we talked about Timolol. Again, a beta blocker, but a gel applied topically, and not an oral med that absorbs into the whole body. It has actually been around for years as eye drops to treat glaucoma, but only recently has it been used as a topical treatment for hemangiomas. Although it is still considered to be experimental, it has been very successful in halting and even shrinking the growth. Non-systemic, non-invasive, and inexpensive, Bryan and I decided to go for it. We dab it on twice a day, and already I think the hemangioma looks slightly different. We are praying that this works well to at least slow down the growing. We go back to Spokane in a few weeks for a follow-up appointment.

This is how it has changed and grown.

You can find a post about follow up and how the treatment has worked here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Going to the Dermatologist

Over two months ago, we decided we should have a specialist look at Chloë's ear. Chloë's doctor, Dr. Worth, recommended Dr. Dominey, a dermatologist in Spokane. With over 20 years of experience, we are excited and relieved to have her take a look at the hemangioma behind Chloë's right ear. Tomorrow morning we drive up to Spokane for the highly-anticipated appointment.

Having done quite a bit of research in the last several months, we are prepared for the worst, but hoping and praying for the best.

See the post about the consult and our decision on treatment here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Bumbo

Some of our friends loaned us their Bumbo. (For those of you who don't know what a Bumbo is, it's the purple thing that Chloë is sitting in. They've only been around since 2001, and are great for babies who are learning to sit up.) Our little girl has really been enjoying it this last week or so, as it gives her a change to do something besides lying on her back or lying on her tummy.

Sometimes she hangs out with Mama in the kitchen while I cook.

And sometimes it's a great way to keep her entertained.

But sometimes she entertains her parents with her feeble attempts at playing with and chewing on her toys.

Friday, October 8, 2010


We have two apple trees in our backyard. Neither were pruned last Spring, so they gave us lots of tiny apples. One is a tart green (Granny Smith, maybe?), and the other is a sweeter red and greenish/golden type (some kind of Gala, perhaps?)

The apples started falling a couple of weeks ago, and I was overwhelmed with sadness at the thought of them all rotting and going to waste. I've also been thinking about the fact that my daughter will be eating semi-solid food in a few short months, but who wants to pay 80 cents for a quarter cup of Gerber applesauce? Not me. So, I decided to try making my very own super-organic applesauce.

My apple/peeler/corer/slicer didn't work very well for these because they are so small. So I just chopped these kiwi-sized apples into quarters (and cut out lots of mush spots and black nastiness), and filled both of my stockpots.

Then I let them simmer into a golden mush.

And then I put them through a Victorio Strainer that a kind friend offered to let me borrow.

I think I will have to get my own strainer at some point, because that machine took all of the seeds and peels out in a few short minutes, leaving me with a pot of beautiful golden pink applesauce.

I haven't cared much for applesauce in many years... even before I started using processed, cold, store-bought stuff to help patients swallow their pills. But boy, let me tell you, the perfect blend of tart and sweet, warm out of the strainer... oh yum.

Since I've never actually canned and don't have any of the equipment, I'm hoping all of this goodness will keep well in my freezer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tummy Time and Talking

So she's not really talking, but she sure does like using those vocal cords. She also likes to hold her head up and see what's going on, but she's been doing that since the day she was born.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Saturday marked my 27th birthday. (But now that I'm a mother, I realized that we count wrong, because the first day of birth really does count ever so much.)

My dear and wonderful husband surprised me a day early with the perfect present: a beautiful Canon Rebel T1i. I've already taken hundreds of pictures, and have had so much fun messing with the settings and playing with lighting and shutter speed and learning how to take better pictures. One of my favorites from the first night:

My parents came to town for the weekend, and my dad brought me a special present. A Blue Spruce, which had been planted as a little sapling a few years ago along the stream on my parent's land. (This tree is now a special part of our yard, especially because we planted it over Chloë's placenta, following a Botkin tradition. There is a tree on The Farm in Iowa that my parents planted shortly after I was born.) It even came with it's very own authentic bird nest.

The morning of my birthday, spending time with my family. And loving my sweet, chubby baby.

On Saturday we had a little party, also celebrating my friend Susanna's birthday this week. Our dear friends Joel and Mary came early, and Louella smiled sweetly for the camera.

Lou is two months older than Chloë, and we finally got a few pictures of them together. Of course photographing babies is no easy task, and harder still to get a shot with two babies looking good.

Grinning at her Uncle Samuel.

With my mother, for whom I have a new appreciation, after having my own daughter.

Birthday girls!

Suz and I with our pumpkin bread "cakes." They were great, Mom!

Trying to get a family birthday shot. My poor daughter was a little cranky at this point... slightly over-stimulated by all of the noise and fun.

Then on Sunday, we had The Blakey Birthday Dinner out at the Alpaca farm. My in-laws are fantastic people, and sweet Jessie made me my favorite chocolate peanut butter cake.