Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day

It's really been more of a snow week. We've been getting a few inches every day, and I was pleasantly surprised that we didn't get the predicted eight inches today. Just two or three. But then it stopped snowing, the sun came out, and I bundled up to do some shoveling.

A couple of days ago, I strapped Chloë on in a Moby Wrap so I could go out and shovel. It's a good enough work out shoveling snow without a baby strapped to your front. So yesterday, I managed to sneak outside while she was taking a nap. Today, I had a better idea. Put her in her snow suit that is a little large, and see how she does in a big plastic storage bin. Not too shabby.

Wonder and joy, I think.

She liked touching the snow.

And eating it, too.

Cold though, I think. She was very disappointed when I pulled her away from the fresh powder.

We even tried just playing on the sidewalk for a bit.

I got most of the driveway shoveled before she started getting fussy. Too bright, maybe. I wish I could say we came inside and had hot chocolate. Maybe next year.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Little Person

She's 8 months old now as of last week. And such a little person.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hemangioma Follow Up

(As I log into my blog and begin to type, I notice that my daughter, on the floor, is moaning and grunting with delight and sucking on her fist like she's found a piece of chocolate. I think she's just eating leaf crumbs. Maybe I'll sweep later.)

So yesterday, we made the treacherous drive to Spokane and back for Chloë's dermatology follow up appointment. We haven't had more than a dusting of snow in over a month, so of course I woke up to half a foot of snow on the ground. I called the office to re-schedule, but it would be weeks until we could get in, and no telling what the weather would be like then, anyway. So we made the slow, snowy drive there and back without even sliding off the road.

It has been four months since our initial visit with Dr. Dominey. To summarize, we saw her in October, discussed treatment options, and decided to go with twice-a-day topical Timolol. We followed up in November, December, and then yesterday. Chloë's hemangioma seemed to respond pretty well to the treatment; the slow growing stopped, the color faded from a bright red to more of an ashy red, and it doesn't seem quite as "tall" or "full."

Yesterday, we talked about how things were going. Yes, I've been pleased with how the hemangioma has responded to the treatment. Yes, she's eating just great. Actually, she has been having some trouble sleeping. In the last couple of months, Chloë occasionally has odd episodes in the middle of the night: not waking up, crying and really almost screaming, thrashing around, and having heavy and rapid breathing. She is very difficult to console, especially since she won't wake up, but holding her seems to calm her down after a while. (We have done a little research and think it might be "night terrors." When the brain is supposed to be turned off and getting deep sleep during the 4th stage of sleep, it seems that instead there is something stimulating it, causing unnatural activity. And I guess this can cause a terror-like response.) So I mentioned this to Dr. Dominey, and she said that Beta Blockers (which is what Timolol is) have been known to cause sleep disturbances. She said that the Timolol has probably reached the limit of it's benefit, and that our plan should be to stop treatment and see how things go. If the hemangioma seems to start growing or getting darker, we'll discuss re-starting the treatment. But since there is the possibility that the Timolol could be correlated to the poor sleep, she thought we should see if things don't improve.

Dr. Dominey also mentioned that oral Propanolol (also a Beta Blocker) has been successful in actually reducing and "getting rid of" hemangiomas. Timolol seems to help stop growth, but Propanolol seems to actually shrink it. When she first mentioned this option in October, we were very hesitant to try it because of the systemic effects it can have: slowed heart rate, lower blood pressures, and even lower blood sugars. But she said with careful monitoring, babies can be just fine and the hemangioma will respond well. I said I would discuss it with my husband, but we're just not sure if we're comfortable putting such a strong drug in our baby's body.

So, we are in the non-intervention stage. Hopefully, and Lord willing, the hemangioma will continue to slowly shrink and fade without any treatment. Maybe in a few years it will be mostly gone, with just a little bit of redness reminding us that it was once there.

October: Just before we started Timolol treatment.
February: Just after we ended the Timolol treatment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

My husband spoiled me yesterday and I woke up to beautiful calla lilies, dark chocolate, and a great hand made card. And last night he took me out for a fabulous dinner. But for most of the day, I was home with the baby; playing, feeding, changing, sleeping, cuddling, talking, kissing, scooting, yelling and a little bit of crying. She is a pretty great Valentine.

P.S. After taking these videos yesterday and deciding they should grace their presence here, I happened to look at a friend's blog... which has virtually the same videos of her baby. So weirdly ironic.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Muffins: Gluten and Dairy Free

This is my go-to recipe for spoiling my dad a bit when he's in town. I know he misses the good old days of carbs and dairy (he admits he sometimes has dreams of bread and cheese), and these turn out surprisingly tasty. While he and my husband and two of my brothers were outside working on getting the tree off my house this weekend, I whipped him up a double batch of these. I am so grateful we didn't have to shell out the $500 quoted to us by the tree removal guys. Thanks, Dad!

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together the dry ingredients:

1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (I like to use 1/2 cup white rice flour, and then a mix of brown rice flour, sorghum flour, garbanzo flour, soy flour, and buckwheat flour for the other 3/4 cup.)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

In a separate mixing bowl beat together:

1 cup natural applesauce
1/3 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
2 eggs
4 tablespoons apple juice, more as needed

Beat the wet ingredients and sugar until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and combine well. Add more apple juice a tablespoon at a time, as needed to make a smooth batter.

Spoon the batter into greased muffin pans. Or use muffin pans lined with paper muffin cups.

Sprinkle with raw sugar, if desired, for a crunchy top.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven until firm and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Test with a wooden pick if you need to. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daniel's Art

After my brother Samuel, comes my brother Daniel. A Senior and Graphics Design major at the University here in town, he recently took part in another student art show. Being a Botkin, he is, of course, good at what he does. His style reminds me of his scribbled pictures that covered the kitchen table 10 and 15 years ago. Except he is better at proportions now. I got a few pictures of him and some of his screen print work.

This is my favorite piece of Daniel's. At first glance, it does look very alien. But after reading the text screen printed next to the hand, the picture is very sobering:

I can give no adequate description of the Horror Camp in which my men and myself were to spend the next month of our lives. It was just a barren wilderness, as bare as a chicken run. Corpses lay everywhere, some in huge piles, sometimes they lay singly or in pairs where they had fallen...

One had to get used early to the idea that the individual just did not count. One knew that five hundred a day were dying and that five hundred a day were going on dying for weeks before anything we could do would have the slightest effect...

It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.”

An extract from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO who was among the first British soldiers to liberate Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

Source: Imperial War museum

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Play Time

My friend Hope and her son Brody are in town this week visiting. They came over along with our friends Mary her daughter Louella, and Ali and her babe on the way, and we enjoyed watching our babies play together.

For a little contrast, here is a picture from last summer when Chloë was four days old and Brody was six days old. It's hard to believe how much they have changed.

They played quite nicely together. I don't know about Brody, but I know Chloë wasn't quite sure what to think of another person her own size.

And then when Mary came over with Louella, we had to get a pictures of all the babies. Louella is two months older than the other two, and quite the big girl in comparison.

And I couldn't resist sharing this picture of my hilarious little goof ball.

Louella looking on as Chloë and Brody learn to share.

Chloë and Brody pulled themselves under the coffee table to play with the dominoes.

Good times with good friends, as always.