Thursday, June 30, 2005

End of June, where did it go?

Well, it is the end of June and I am not sure where the month went. Of course, being out of the country for 3 weeks of it might be part of the problem? It continues to rain occassionally here. The shutter installation is further delayed. We haven't heard anything from them, but I am not too surprised. All they can say so far is that they haven't gotten to us yet. If not tomorrow, maybe on Tuesday?

Anne had been thinking of taking up knitting, as there are a number of things she would like to make and knitting is the best way to do it. I had given her a book for Christmas that is an instruction and pattern book for knitting and crocheting. She looked it over last night---the knitting section, that is!----and got to work. She is doing quite a good job, and her stitching is pretty even. She seems to have a good handle on the tension, but I think starting with crochet first helps that! I am sure she will be knitting up a storm in no time!

She saw the doc/actually PA at the ortho office yesterday. She is improving, but slowly. They dropped the ball and although he had put in a referral last time for her to see a neurologist, nothing had happened yet. He is getting them to find out what happened with that, as he still wants her to see one. She obviously has a pinched nerve somewhere, and it continues to give her pain and reduced mobility in her neck, and pain and spasms in her hand. So, we will see. Also, he was wondering why the pt stopped, and she told him that the 12 visits approved by workers comp had come and gone. He wants to check and see if workers comp will approve more, as he feels she would benefit from more pt. So, we will see. She seems to end up with so much soft tissue damage when she gets hurt and then it takes such a long time for it all to heal. At least she is mending, even if slowly.

I do find it strange and interesting that I really didn't have much trouble with jet lag, either going to Germany or coming home. Not that I mind!!!! I do find on being home, that I do seem to get tired more easily than I did. I think I am still trying to catch up on sleep, after all the strange hours we had in Germany with the false alarms brought on by little Mitch, resulting in late night trips to the hospital, and early morning trips home, and strange bed times!!! I know it was just as hard on Brian and Christine, and they have Mitch home, probably still waking in the night wanting to eat! I know it will take them even longer to get rested up---I know, for new parents, what is rested up??? Does that ever really happen? Be brave, Brian and Christine, some day you actually will feel rested and have a full night's sleep again!!!!

I haven't had any word from Germany, so I assume all is well and they are busy having a great time with their beautiful baby girl! She truly is a sweet and lovely baby, and I am sure she brings a lot of joy to them!

Take care, all, and enjoy the upcoming long weekend! We have the added fun of Anne's birthday!! No plans yet, but we will see what we can come up with.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rain, Rain

Hi All!

Anne was off work today and had a doc appt, at the ortho office. She saw the usual P.A. again. She is doing some better, but not all better yet. She never did hear from the ortho office about the referral to neurology for the pinched nerve they are sure she has. He is going to get them to check on that, and also see about more physical therapy for her. She still has plenty of sore bits, but she is improving! He left her restrictions as before, so she will continue at the ID desk at work.

We ran some errands after her appt, and got rained on! It was pretty overcast when we left the house, and it really poured down the rain off and on all afternoon. We have had way more rain than we need. I wish we could send some of it to Lufkin, I know you all could use it there!

The hurricane shutter people were supposed to come today. We hadn't heard from them about a time or anything, and weren't even sure if they would make it today. I had talked to the boss guy on Monday, and he had said that with all the rain this week, they were running a bit behind schedule. As he said, his guys aren't bothered by the rain, but they can't use their power tools when it is raining. He was hopeful that they would make it though! I put in a call to him this morning, just to check, since I would be taking Anne for her appt. He thought we might have already had a crew here working, so said he would check on it and call me back. It seems they will be a crew short for a while, one of the guys fell yesterday and cut his arm, took 30 stitches. Yeouch!!! That meant they weren't likely to get here today, and he asked if tomorrow would be okay. I am wondering if it might not end up being Friday before they make it, since it pretty well rained all afternoon, for all intents and purposes. In any case, the shutters are all ready, and just need the fastenings installed, etc. I think they will be really nice, they are clear, made of Lexan (??) and are very strong. I like the clear part, and if we do have a hurricane and lose power, we will really love that aspect of it, as we will be able to get light in from outside. That should make a huge difference!

Mike has been working longer hours this week, along with the rest of his co-workers. All a plot so they can have Friday off, for a 4 day weekend! I know he will enjoy the extra time off. Maybe the weather will be nice, and he can chase bugs with the new camera some more!!!! He really has been taking some great photos with the new camera. If you haven't seen them on his blog, I really do recommend you check them out! Anne is happy, she has three days off this next week (her work week runs from Saturday to Friday). She is off on Sunday, on Monday ----her birthday!---and one other day, I don't remember which one! She is really happy to have her birthday off, and even better, since it is a holiday, she gets paid too! Can't beat that, can you???

Well, I am sure I have talked long enough, so will go and save some of the other topics I still need to write about for another day. Tune in another day for such exciting topics as: "toilets overseas", "why American companies could learn a lot from the Germans in the area of restroom design!", "my trip home", "the lower floor of Brian and Chistine's home", just to name a few! No new report on Baby Michelle, we will hope for more word soon. As the old saying goes, no news is good news. I am sure they are so busy with the little angel, they don't have much time left for writing!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Let's Try This Again!

Hi All!

I am amazed at how long it has been since I have blogged. I guess I had little enough time at the computer over the weekend? I did start to blog yesterday, but the blog police got involved!! To translate, Mike came home from work while I was blogging, and told me I was doing it wrong. It seems that the screen that comes up is not the one you are supposed to write your blog entry in. My take on it is, why does that screen come up then? Let's have some logic in these things! I thought computer people (as in the ones who set up the blogging stuff) were supposed to be more logical than that. Anyway, he clicked it to where I was supposed to do my writing, and I really didn't like the font, etc. I am just so used to everything looking the way it does when I have been doing it, and I was not in any rush to change---it was working, why "fix" it? I know he was just trying to help, but I lost track of what all I was blogging about, and so deleted it.

So, here I am back again, writing in the part I am not supposed to write in! And in a good mood, ready for blogging!!!!! By the way, Anne told me that when you are in the "compose" section that you supposedly are supposed to write your blogs in, you can't use the enter key, as it will take the cursor off to who knows where. I use the enter key so that would really bug me! I haven't tried it out for myself, since I prefer to continue to write in the part I am not supposed to write in. I guess I am just a rebel.

I will write another entry soon and tell a little bit about my trip home. For now, I think I will concentrate on yesterday and today. More specifically, people I have run into! I took Anne to work yesterday and after dropping her off, did some shopping in the BX, then a quick run through the commissary. Well, I got to the BX area, and ran into "Annie the nut lady", who runs the nut stand concession. She is a German lady, from Bavaria. I don't know the whole story, I think she must be married to an American, ages ago, as she is an older lady. She is very nice, and Anne and I talk to her when we see her---Anne sometimes speaks German with her. Anyway, I got two hugs and a kiss on the cheek, for coming back from Germany! Then, I went to the BX, and got two hugs from Anne's supervisor Helen, who is so glad I am back! She asked Anne almost every day when I was coming back. She was afraid Anne would have another asthma attack or something like that while I was gone! They are all so nice, in any case. I also was congratulated by several of Anne's co-workers on the arrival of baby Michelle. Anne had printed out some of the pictures, and I think she took them in to work so people could see her little niece!

We had gotten a late start yesterday, as I had arranged before ever leaving for Germany for a pressure cleaning company to come and do the house. We had some mold/mildew places on the roof, and the house was still pretty dirty from the hurricanes last year. The sidewalks and driveway really needed a good cleaning too. Anyway, they were to come yesterday morning. I got a call from them letting me know they were running late, and was that okay---hoping it wouldn't interfere with my schedule. It was fine, but they ended up not getting here till about noon --they finished, I gave them a check, and I actually left the house with Anne to get her to work, before they pulled out. We got a better start today, and made a stop at WalMart to look for some things. Then got to the base in time for a quick lunch at the food court, and time for Anne to take a quick look through the BX. She didn't get much time to do that while I was gone.

I had a short email from Brian today, he said Michelle is doing well, she was sleeping as he was emailing. I checked the weather page for their area that he had given me a link to, and it is supposed to be cooler there this week. I am sure they will enjoy the cooler temperatures! Hot is easier to tolerate when you have a/c!!

Well, I am going to go for now, and may blog some more in a bit. I still want to tell you about the lower level of Brian and Christine's house, too. I wonder how long it will take me to run out of things of even moderate interest to talk about? It won't be long before there will be trips to Orlando to the university for orientation, etc, with Anne, and then she will be starting school before we know it. I imagine it might take a little while to run out of things! Best wishes to you all, and more later!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Home Again

Hi All,

Just a super quick note to let you all know that I am home! My flights were fine, I will add more about that later today (I say that since it is already Sunday, technically, and feels like 6 a.m. to me) I didn't intend to still be up this late, but was waiting for a chance at the computer! It is good to be home, but sad to leave Germany, because that meant leaving Brian, Christine and Baby Mitch. They all took me to the airport, and Mitch was good as could be. She rode around the airport on her Dad, in the baby carrier. Sort of like a Snugli. Tons of people noticed her-- and no wonder, she is cute as can be!

Well, more later, and you all take care!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Last Day in Germany

Hi All,

It is amazing to think the 3 weeks are up tomorrow and I leave in the morning. The time has really zipped by and I just don't really know where it went. We went to IKEA today and Christine found a cute bookcase for Mitch's room. It is white, to match her furniture, etc. I found some things Anne wanted, and so it was all a good trip. We stopped at a Media Markt right next door, and did a quick look around. They have all kinds of neat things, DVD's, computer games, video games, equipment, etc.

We came home for a sort of rest, at least Mitch got a little rest! I started packing and getting my things organized. We went out for dinner to the Italian place we had gone to before, it was just as good the second time. I am really glad we went, the food is so good, and it is like having the best of Germany and Italy all in one! Their Wiener Schnitzel is so good!!!!!!

I took a few more photos today and Brian took more of me with Mitch, etc. He burned a CD for me, with photos we have taken since I have been here, also some he had taken before I came, photos of the baby shower, etc. I haven't had a chance to see all of them, by any means, so I look forward to having the time to look them all over!

I had a good cuddle with Mitch this evening, since I know time will be short and I may not have as much time or opportunity as I would like tomorrow. Brian and Christine have been very sweet and kind, and made sure I had a chance to visit with her today. With all the running around, etc, we haven't really had that much time to just sit around and visit, and when we are at home, they tend to like to have her downstairs a good bit of the time, where it is cooler! Very understandable!

Well, I am packed, except for the bits that have to be added in tomorrow morning. It will come early, so I will go ahead and close and next time I add to this, I will be back in Florida. And cooler, I hope! I do hope that the hot spell comes to an end for Brian and Christine, it could be much worse, but still no fun to put up with it. Meanwhile, I guess we can all look forward to their return to the States next year, and maybe we will all get to see little Mitch soon after! She is such a doll, I know you will all love her!!!! I gave her kisses for all of you today! I name each of you as I do it, so she knows who the kisses are from. Not that she will remember, but..... See you later!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I've Been Registered!

Well, today Mitch got officially registered,which basically means all is set for her birth certificate, etc. They really need to update things here at Landstuhl, as they have just a tiny office, with one gal working there, very short hours for appts-- only part of 3 days a week, 2 hours of walk-ins one day, and closed on Friday. This for a hospital that is having almost 100 births a month, up from 60 or less not all that long ago.

Anyway, we got through all that, and got some lunch, then the kids all took me shopping. I had a number of things I wanted to look for and hadn't had time to really do a good look for yet. Mitchie just kept us on the run so much both before and after birth, that we didn't have much time for running around, sight-seeing, or shopping! I found just about everything I was looking for today, so that is a real relief! Mitch was good as gold. She is a good little shopper.

She had her first bath at home today too, this morning before we left. She decided that wasn't bad, which was nice. The nicu nurses said she screamed her little head off when they gave her a bath! Of course, she can't be put in the water yet, since her belly button isn't all set yet, but it is getting there! Then she can have nice baths with her rubber ducky and can splash around a little.

The weather continues nice, and that is a blessing. It was warm today, but not as hot as it had been earlier in the week. That is really nice too. I think it is cooler in Florida though than it has been here. Go figure?

I will write more later or tomorrow. It is nice to see so many of the blogs updated and all the new news, also the Walters' new blog. Fun, fun! Best wishes to you all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Free at last will be our yell for the day. We got hopeful news yesterday, but Brian wisely didn't want any of us to say anything, just in case it didn't work out. The long and short is, Mitch doesn't have encephalitis, and she came home late this afternoon!!!

The doctor at the nicu talked to Brian and Christine yesterday, said the head viral doc kept looking at the results of the tests on Mitch and just felt the results looked funny. Said they still had some of the tap sample. Also, said there are two different tests that can be run to check for the encephalitis. He took the sample and ran both tests, and they both came out negative. So, the plan was, they would do another tap this morning and run it, and if it came out okay, Mitch could come home. Of course, we all hated to have them do another spinal tap on her, but that is the only way the doctor felt comfortable letting her go home, and figured that was better than two more weeks in nicu. So, they did the tap this morning, and we had to wait the 5 hours for it to be run. It came back fine!!!! Brian and Christine watched the videos that new parents have to watch before babies are released to them! There were other bits and pieces, etc. Christine had talked to the gal at Fisher House, and went ahead and made arrangements to check out. The gal said that as long as she cleared out of the room, so they could clean and get it ready for the next person, she could leave her kitchen things there, and not actually turn in her key and totally check out till we knew. So, that worked out really well. We got to pack Mitch up at about 3.30 or so, and got her loaded into the car. I stayed with her while Brian and Christine got Christine's food supplies, and off we went! Stopped for some errands on the way home and here we are! Mitch slept the whole way home, and is still asleep. She is a good and easy baby, Christine was able to take her out of the car seat and get her put into the bassinet and she didn't wake up or fuss. How lucky is she????

As you might guess, we are all thrilled to death to have her home, and I'm thrilled that she will be here for me to see so much more of before I have to leave. I know it will be that much harder to leave at the airport now, but it is well worth it to have her home and know that she isn't sick and wasn't sick, either.

I guess I forgot to say more about that part, they figure there was just a fluke of some kind that the encephalitis test came out positive the first time. She really is fine, isn't sick at all, and is nice and healthy. I don't imagine it hurts her a bit that she had all those meds. The constant care and attention didn't hurt either!

Well, I am going to go, things to do, baby to visit with, hold, spoil (except you can't spoil a baby, especially not one this young!!!!), etc! Take care and thanks to you all for prayers, etc. I am sure they all helped! Even if in only getting the viral doc to keep questioning those results! I imagine we will get less sleep tonight than we have been, but it will be well worth it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Oh Baby, What I Want!

As you might guess, we are all anxious for little Mitch to come home. That is a good ways off still, so meanwhile, we are content with the progress she makes every day! She is eating much better and eating more. One of the nurses that has been off for a few days was back today, and he noticed a huge difference in her. That was correct, by the way, the nurse is a he. They have several male nurses who work at the nicu, as well as other parts of the hospital. Christine's midwife for her labor was a man also. They are all very good. I had quite a number of male nurses on duty when I had my different surgeries. They are all very professional, kind and are all good nurses. I would guess there is a higher than average number of them in the military as compared to the civilian world.

Anyway, this nurse noticed the difference in Mitch since he saw her last. She really is doing well. Christine is doing really well with the nursing and pumping, and I think it has been a couple of days since a drop of formula passed Mitch's lips. She is past the tarry poop, and is all set for being a perfectly normal baby!

If you haven't already, check out Brian's web page, Michelle's Moments, which used to be Baby Squiggles! There is a photo of Mitch and her mom, and a surprise photo too! What fun!!!! Be sure to go look!

It continues hot, but it clouds have developed and we have seen some lightening, heard some thunder, and seen some rain drops. We are hoping for cooler temperatures now!

Brian's boss and his family stopped by the Fisher House right after we got back there from the hospital today. It was a good thing we planned to stop in and visit with Christine for a while! Brian had seen him briefly at work today, when we (Brian and I) stopped by there for a minute this morning. I don't think he had known till then that Mitch was sick and still in hospital. I guess he passed the word on to the First Sergeant too, and we got word that he would be stopping by also. He showed up not long after the boss and family left. Very nice, offered any kind of help that might be needed, etc. Really nice to know how many absolutes can be suspended with cause! Because of agreements with the German government, there are restrictions on driving here---I am technically not allowed to drive, unless I were to go and rent a car to drive. Anyway, it seems that could have been gotten around, with the help of the First Sergeant. It has been fine, and as I told him, Brian knew where he was going! But, nice to know that if it had been a problem, we could have worked it all out. I will have to remember that kind of thing in the future! Not that I imagine I will ever need to know this kind of thing again! Anyway, it was nice meeting Brian's boss and the First Sergeant.

Well, I am sure I have gone on and on long enough. I will have to take a photo of the rosebush in the front yard---it is small and has lots of yellow roses on it. Well, a lot considering how small it is! Really are pretty! I am going, I think Brian and I are going to watch a movie or something. Take care and more tomorrow!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sunny Monday

Well, it is sunny and hot today. Up into the 90's, which is not as comfortable here, with no air conditioning! Mitch isn't hot, as they do have a/c in the hospital, which is nice. I thought the Fisher House felt nice and cool, but Christine says she was hot last night. It hasn't been bad here in the house. I noticed that it is quite cool and nice downstairs, where Brian and Christine's room is, and where Mitch's room is too. They will be fine on the days when it is hot. I am upstairs, and was not at all uncomfortable last night. It was hot outside yesterday too. The weather here is very strange---90's, then 60's and 70's, and now back in the 90's. Go figure! I will be happy to have more consistent weather back in Florida!

Baby Mitch continues to do well. She gets an IV dose of meds every day. At least she doesn't have to get shots or get poked everyday, so that isn't too bad. She is still nursing well, and continues to thrive. She still doesn't care to burp for her mom, and so likes to spit up instead. I am sure that will all be easier once she is at home, and has no attachments, like IV lines, monitors, etc.

I got to spend a little bit of time with her today, but she was asleep the whole time and I didn't get to hold her. It is still nice getting to see her though! I hope for more time with her tomorrow. We went to eat our belated Father's Day dinner at Chili's tonight. It is part of the NCO club at Ramstein, but anyone can eat there! It was really good. Christine will be able to store and heat her leftovers, for a meal tomorrow or whenever. It really does work out well for her, being at the Fisher House. We plan a trip to the commissary tomorrow to get a few things for her. It is also her WIC shopping day, and she can buy more milk, juice, etc. She will have room to store it in her cupboard and fridge shelf in the Fisher House kitchen.

Fisher House---I don't remember the whole story, but from what I remember, they were begun by a couple (Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher) who noticed what a hardship it often is for families to be able to stay near their loved ones who are in military hospitals. They donated the money for the first Fisher House, with the idea that it would provide low cost housing on base for families visiting their loved ones. I don't remember how the Nightingale Houses fit in, except that it is the same kind of deal. Here at Landstuhl there are two Fisher Houses. At Wright-Patterson, there is a Fisher House and a Nightingale House. It is definitely something that has grown and grown over the years, with money donated, new houses built, etc. It really is a good program. The houses here are within easy walking distance of the hospital, which is especially helpful.

No new photos of Mitch today, but Brian did take a photo of the hospital for me and one of the beds of flowers that mark out LRMC---Landstuhl Regional Medical Center---on a grassy slope in front of the hospital. I wanted pics of them! I will get a photo of the Fisher House Christine is at too. I want a nice, complete record of things, or at least pretty complete! I still have to take photos of the house, the view, maybe some of the town, etc! I don't imagine I will get another chance, so have to make the most of the opportunities while I can!

More later, take care and blog!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sunday, part deux

It has been a busy Father's Day, here in Germany. We were getting ready to leave the house, to run errands and see Mitch, when someone from the Fisher House called--they had a room for Christine. She got the details and ran to pack. We ended up getting to the base later than expected. It was going to be a mess to try to have a Father's Day dinner out for Brian, so Christine picked up a few things she needed from the BX and we then ate at the food court. We will take Brian out later, when it won't be so crowded everywhere for Father's Day.

Brian had suggested Christine call the NICU and see when Mitch was going to want to eat--it was a good idea. She had eaten at 3.30 p.m., and seems to be a 4 hour baby, so they told her to come on in at 7.30. We had time to kill, and had plenty of time to stop off at the Fisher House, get Christine's info and key and take her things to her room. She has a nice room, with two twin beds, an arm chair and a rocking chair. The room has a private bathroom, with a tub with shower head. She has a TV in there, DVD player, clock radio and telephone. They really do it up nice. Down in the kitchen, there is a locked cupboard for each room, and large fridges, with a shelf for each room. They make regular runs to the BX and Commissary and residents are allowed to go to shop. They have several cupboards with community items, available to all residents. This includes cereals, snack bars, coffee, tea, really all kinds of things. I had heard, when I went to the quilt show and luncheon at Wright-Patt in aid of the Fisher/Nightingale Houses, that sometimes meals are brought in for the families by volunteers. I think that was the case this evening, as there were large aluminum containers with spaghetti, meat sauce, french bread, and Texas sheet cake on the counter in the kitchen when we were there. The house also has a nice dining room with several tables and chairs---no eating or drinking in the bedrooms! There is also a nice living room with large TV, books, videos, etc. It is all really nice. The price is nice too---$10 a day.

I will give more background on the Fisher/Nightingale houses later on! It is an interesting story.

Brian and Christine got in a good visit with Mitch and baby nursed. She doesn't like to burp for Christine, and she spit up on her new shirt that her Daddy had made for her---her "My Daddy has a Buggy!" shirt. Oh well! Won't be the only time, will it? Christine came out later so I could go in, and visit with our little angel. She is looking especially cute today, and had been changed into a onesy after spitting up on her t-shirt! She feels like she is filling out a little bit and the nurse said she has gained more than an ounce. She looks right at you when you talk to her, and looks like she is paying attention! I don't imagine she really is, but it is a nice illusion. I gave her kisses for you all, and she fell asleep in my arms. Then Daddy woke her up when he checked her diaper! She was happy again by the time that was all finished though! The nurses will give her formula tonight, and Christine will nurse tomorrow. She pumped tonight and had a good turnout, so that is encouraging!

Brian is going to put two photos on here for me, both taken today. I hope you enjoy them!

Brian has blogged!

Hi All

I will blog more later, but wanted to let you know that Brian has updated Baby Squiggles. It has a new name, and photos on it. He had already put a link on my blog, so just click on Baby Mitch (I think that is what it says?). The first photo is from the first day, I think. The rest were taken yesterday (Saturday). I took the ones of Brian holding Mitch, and he took the one of me holding her. I was just about to say something when he took the picture, that is why I look so funny. Oh well, that is always happening to me!

I will have to tie Brian up and not let him move till he finally gets around to putting some photos on here for me!

We are getting ready to go visit Mitch and will stop out for a Father's Day dinner for Brian!

More later, be good, and Happy Fathers Day to all the dads!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Happy Fathers Day!

Brian was supposed to put some photos on my blog for me, but we didn't get to it. I hope to get this done today! It is officially Fathers Day here, as it is after midnight.

Congratulations to all the daddies, especially the newest one! Brian will be a good daddy, and he sure has a cute little daughter. She is so adorable and she is so happy and content when he holds her. He has sure gotten the hang of swaddling her up to put her back in her baby warmer at the NICU.

I think most all of you know by now that Mitch is sick. It really seems like it was just one of those fluke things. She is getting treatment and will be fine. The course of treatment is long and she will be in hospital for 3 weeks. They won't cut back on that, the doctor wants her to have a full 21 days of treatment. We can't complain about that, they are taking very good care of her.

On the plus side, she is very healthy except for this, and really does look healthy. She has good color, she is eating much better now and is looking like she will become quite a little chow hound. She is not fussy about how she gets her food---bottle or Mom, it makes no difference to Mitch! A real blessing under the circumstances. She also loves her binkie now, although it took her a little bit of time to get the hang of that! She doesn't insist on having it all the time though, so that is nice. She is often perfectly content on her own, without binkie or anything else.

I got to visit with her twice today and she was good as gold both times. The second visit, I got to hold her, and Brian took more photos. I took more photos of him holding her before he turned her over to me, too. She is extremely photogenic, and looks lovely in all the pics! She has the prettiest little face and a nicely shaped little head. She really did smile at me today when I was holding her, and no, she didn't burp, toot, or fill her diaper after that either!!!!!!!

It would have been wonderful to have her here at the house, waking us all up at night, and all the usual routine. Since it is not to be, at least her mom and dad have a chance to get caught up on their sleep, and should be nice and fresh for when she does come home. I am sorry I will be long gone before that happens. At least Christine and Brian will be well used to dealing with Mitch by then, since the nurses encourage parents to deal with diapers, etc, while babies are in the NICU. Also, Christine is getting used to handling her with the nursing and Brian has given her bottles. Christine will pump and collect milk at home to take to the NICU, for times when she can't be there for feedings. The nurses will suppliment with formula as needed. Mitch really does seem to be an easy baby with all this, and I think Christine will easily be able to continue nursing through it all.

Well, I am hoping for photos when I blog again! Until then, Happy Fathers Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Baby Birthday Final Update

Well, today is finally almost over and Baby Mitch will officially be one day old. Brian and I are home and will check email, etc and finally get to our beds and we both hope to sleep all night long for the first time in ages! This has got to have been the longest past couple days, and today the longest, ever. We both felt like it should have been a different day when we woke, but it sure wasn't. By the time we did all the things we needed to do, and got to the hospital, it was after 6 p.m. We went to see Christine in her room. She is in a double room, and is on her second roommate already. This one has a baby in the nicu too. The rooms are pretty small and although there is a sink in the room, the mommies all have to go down the hall to the bathroom and shower. It seems to be okay though, and it is a good arrangement, I guess, since they encourage the new mommies to walk a lot. Christine is feeling pretty good and looks good.

We visited with Christine for a little bit and then went to see Mitch, as the nicu closes from 6.30-8 p.m. for shift change. We got there and the one nurse said they close at 6, but let us in for just a minute, then found that she was wrong and it was 6.30 they are open till. It was a quarter after six when we got there, we hadn't planned to stay long anyway. Mitch was asleep, so we just looked at her and Brian rubbed her forehead a little, then we went back to visit with Christine. She said there used to be a chair, but it is gone, so we perched on the bed with her. She brought jammies with her, so she isn't stuck in the dumb gown with her bottom hanging out!!---as she puts it! Brian and I were half starved, so Christine checked to make sure it was okay to go that far away, and went down to the food court in the hospital with us. It was nice to get around to eating! We took a spin through the little BX down there, and I found the cutest set of salt and pepper shakers---cute little cows, with a metal frame they sit in, with a painted cow bell at the top---really cute. I had to get a set to commemorate Mitch's birth!

By the time we got back to her room, it was almost 8 p.m. and nicu visiting hours were in effect again. We all went along, and Christine and Brian went in, I sat in a seating area in the hallway and caught up on my journal. Mitch nursed, which pleased Christine, as she had tried before and Mitch wasn't really interested at all---although the nurse in the nicu said they had trouble getting her to take a bottle, too. Brian came out and talked to me for a little bit, said Christine was really tired and starting to nod off. When she finished nursing, she came out and headed back to her room, and I was allowed to go in with Brian. He was holding her and they were having a grand time together. Mitch was awake and having a good look around. I got to hold her for a little while too! They had brought a blanket, that got put around Mitch earlier in the day to get her scent. We brought it home and Brian put it with Pudgy, so she can get used to Mitch's smell before she comes home. One of the things the recommend when there is a dog at home!

We are sure looking forward to sleeping tonight! We will be able to have a more normal day tomorrow--up at a decent hour, etc. They are supposed to bring Mitch to Christine at 5 a.m. and she can take over the baby minding chores. All is fine and her 24 hours of observation will be over!

Oh, one correction. Although Brian and I both say the guy who weighed Mitch said 7.5 pounds, all we can figure is that it was some kind of code or short way of saying it, as it seems it was actually 7 pounds 5 ounces. So, she officially is no longer bigger than Brian was, but instead is a little bit smaller. She really is still 20.25 inches long!!!! Everything else is still correct too!

Well, I think I am out of things to say. I will get back to the description of the lower floor of the house, etc, later on. Brian and Christine took more photos, and Brian and I took more too, so eventually there will be photos on my blog, and I imagine Brian will put some on the Baby Squiggles page. She sure is a cute little doll! More later!

Houston.....We have a ...Baby!

Well, the blessed event has finally happened and baby Mitch is here! She is cute as can be, has her daddy's nose and very long, skinny feet. I am not sure where she gets those from, well, her dad probably gave her those, too!

The vital statistics! Michelle Elizabeth, 7.5 pounds (7 pounds 8 ounces, for traditionalists!),
20.25 inches (20 1/4 inches!), for those that remember the meaning Apgar: 8/9.
Hair, hard to say, just rubbed dry and so not fresh washed or anything! Looked light brown, slightly blondish to me, the nurse said reddish. Time will tell on that. Eyes indeterminate at this time, as is standard! Time of birth--3.23 a.m. 16 June.

She missed payday, but Jo guessed the date right on, and was pretty close on the time even! It wasn't widely publicized, but Christine had invited people to guess through her Pampered Chef things, I would imagine she will consider your entry Jo!!!!! I will see about the photos!

Christine had a pretty easy labor, with an epidural to block the pain and pitocin to keep things moving. Her water broke yesterday afternoon, and her contractions had slowed down. She decided an epidural might be a good thing, so they got that going before starting the pitocin (which can cause especially painful contractions). Brian had gone home earlier on to let Pudgy out to potty, and after they got the epidural and pitocin going, went again, as it was after 9 p.m. by that time, I think? My brain is still a bit fuzzy from lack of sleep! He got back in plenty of time for the birth! Christine got in a good bit of sleep while he was gone, which she sure needed too. I held down the fort, catching a cat nap when I could.

Christine did start running a fever, which could or might not mean a little infection somewhere, and which possibly could effect the baby, but not necessarily so. Anyway, just to be safe, gave Christine more antibiotics, and arranged to put Mitch in the neo-natal intensive care so they could keep a close watch on her. They don't have a regular nursery here at the Landstuhl hospital, babies stay with mom. They don't expect any problems with Mitch, just want to be sure that if anything does come up, they spot it immediately and deal with it. We are glad, of course, that if anything, they are erring on the side of caution.

Brian got to go see Mitch about an hour after she was born, and was settled in at the nicu. I am allowed to go in with either of them, so Brian took me in after he got done! She is cute as can be and was so good! They have her nice and warm, and she was mostly awake when I was there. We were allowed to touch her, but not pick her up. She mostly just looked around a lot and napped a bit now and then! Christine was going to be allowed to go see her soon. She had things she had to be able to do before they would let her go!

Brian and I were both about dead on our feet, so left and headed home. We got in at 6.30 a.m. and Brian went right to bed. He finally got up just a bit ago. We are both pretty well exhausted still and our internal clocks are way off. Brian talked to Christine just a little while ago, she is doing fine and I think she is a lot more awake than we are, after the nice naps while in labor! That was one of the best things about the epidural for her, she was able to get rested up and have more energy for the pushing.

Well, I had best go, we will get ready and head for the hospital before long. Take care and more soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rainy Tuesday

Hi All!

Still no baby, but dilation is up to about 2 cm, so there is hope! I told the kids that it would be only fitting for a military baby to be born on payday! How perfect would that be????? As you can imagine, we are on pins and needles waiting. Christine has a bigger stake in it all, of course. She has been suffering from heartburn and reflux and it is pretty well everyday now. She will be so happy to see the end of that! She is so looking forward to having a lap again, etc! There is also the worry that baby will wait till just before I leave to come out, and then she will be without my help. That was part of the reason I came, after all.

Meanwhile, it has been really great getting to visit with Brian and Christine, seeing some of the area, etc. It would be nice to be able to go a little further afield, but with a baby still aboard, that is out of the question, of course. We have fun going to the different bases and shopping at the BX's and such. We still need to go to Ramstein again before I go, for sure, so I can check out all the concessions around their BX. I would love to go to the Italian restaurant in Sembach again too---they have wonderful Wiener Schnitzel! There are some German shops we want to visit too!

I will try to limit the amount I write in these, as I notice after I post them and read them, that they are rather long! I know some of you might not want to take that much time to read them. So, I will try to put more info and less chatting, maybe?

I will save the lower floor of the house for tomorrow, unless there is news of a blessed and much desired and pined for event to report!!!!!

So, I will finish off tonight with a brief further description of Brian and Christine's yard! When I actually looked at it the other day, I realized how amazing it was that I couldn't tell more before! There are two trees right in the front, one on each side of the little walkway! Also, while looking at the house, to the left, there are several trees --- 7, I think----that extend in two rows from the front of the yard down along the side yard to the back yard. They have a decent sized side yard on that one side, and a relatively short back yard, that runs the full length of the house. They really have a nice amount of yard. Brian says that some of the trees are fruit trees, and at least one is supposed to be an apple tree. We can see little fruit on at least one of the trees. Pudgy enjoys running around in the yard, and barking at dogs, kids, just about anything that passes by! She is very affectionate with people she knows, and she decided she knew me quite quickly.

From what I hear, it sounds like Mike and Anne are getting along fine. Mickey makes sure that Mike doesn't sleep too much--I guess she doesn't want him to miss waking up to my snoring? She pats him instead, to pet her!!! She has been pestering Anne too--wanting kitty treats. I am sure they will be glad to have me back to distract Mickey!!!!

Well, I am going to go, and will hope to have good news to relay soon! Please continue to send good thoughts to Baby, encouraging her to make an appearance!!! Arriving late to make a big splash is fine, but now would be a good time! Best wishes to you all!

Monday, June 13, 2005

I keep trying......

We had some excitement and thought the big day had arrived last night (Sunday). Brian had turned off his computer and said he was going to go to bed, went to put the dog in her cage and Christine said "No! We need to go to the hospital!" To make a very long story shorter, we left here about 11 p.m, with Christine having contractions 3-5 minutes apart. We had to stop at one of the bases, that happens to have a 24 hour gas station, as the tank was too low. We got to the hospital, they got her to change, into a bed, hooked up to a monitor, and her contractions went to 10 minutes apart. Oh well. We tried walking, she sat on an exercise ball----some wise person found that sitting on an exercise ball can help stimulate contractions, and is more comfortable for the mommie-to-be. Well, none of it worked, she just isn't ready yet. They put her back on the monitor before we left, for about 20 minutes, to make sure Baby was still doing well. Which she was. So, we left and headed back home, arriving at the early hour of 4.30 a.m. The sun rises early enough here that the sky was definitely lightening up and dawn was not far off. When I got into bed at 5, the birds were singing and I was very grateful for the wonderful shades the Germans put on their windows, as you can pretty well block out all of the light!

So, we continue to wait! Before all the excitement though.....

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk around the block, so to speak! It was nice to see so many of the houses in town, to see their flowers and plantings, etc. Roses seem to do well here, and they were really gorgeous. Some more than others, as some of the people really seem to have a green thumb, and others don't have such green ones! An indication of how cool it has still been most of the time, I saw plenty of peonies, still blooming and looking lovely as they usually do. I always loved May in Ohio and the blooming of the peonies. I saw fuchia, bleeding hearts, the peonies, roses, poppies, geraniums, and I don't remember what all else. Parts of the roads we were on are paved, and some are brick and cobblestone. Some of the houses are right on the street, and some have yard/garden in front. There doesn't seem to be a lot of uniformity. There are barns right in town, in places, and that was an interesting sight. I don't think they are animal barns, as I didn't hear or smell them! Some of the places are small, and some are really big. You will see some places that are like little compounds--but in the nicest way. They face right on the street, a gate to go through, and a courtyard with house, garages, etc off the courtyard. Some of them were extremely nice, looked huge, and often had lots of gorgeous flowers. One place like this had two huge climbing roses, one white and one red, that climbed up two stories worth of wall. Really pretty!

Speaking of animals though, there is a farm or something right behind Brian and Christine's house, that has animals, or at least roosters. I have not noticed them crowing in the morning, particularly, but they do crow off and on all day. Both places are on a hill, with the farm or whatever downhill from the kids, and a good break of bushes, etc, between, so you don't see the farm much at all. There is a church a couple of streets over, and we hear the bells there everyday, and they seem to ring even more on Sunday--go figure! I think Christine said they always ring at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., along with times now and then between.

The town is quite hilly and so it was a good walk for us all, stretched the legs a good bit! I was a little sore after, and thought at first that I was in worse shape already than I had thought, but then remembered the time spent on the floor the day before, pinning a small (relatively) quilt. That took at least an hour to pin, so my legs weren't too happy! My legs are fine today, so I am sure I am right about it NOT being the walk but instead the quilt that was the culprit!

Today, Monday, we slept in pretty late, as you might guess. I was up at 12.30 p.m., after waking up at noon and not being able to go back to sleep. The kids got up at 2.30, shortly after Christine's mom called. We eventually got moving and went to check mail, then off to Vogelweh, where we picked up a few things. It was really pretty outside today, mostly sunny with a few clouds and warmer than it has been. We should have walked, but I guess we did enough when at the base, and I knew that Christine was still pretty tired. They headed off for bed at 10 p.m. tonight. Christine has a doc appt tomorrow at 11 a.m., so we will have to be up and ready to go by 10 at the latest.

I will continue the tour of the house tomorrow, barring more pressing news! Meanwhile, I will tell about the wonderful shades I mentioned earlier. Brian and Christine say they are called rouladen, which makes sense since they roll up. The nice thing is that they are plastic slatted things which can be lowered or raised as low or high as you wish, along the height of the window or door. They are on the outside, and there is a heavy fabric strip (band??) that you pull or let out to raise or lower the rouladen from the inside. I just noticed when looking at them again, that there is also a sort of box, which actually looks a little bit like a valence, that I guess the rouladen go into when they are pulled up. You can arrange them so that the slats fit right flush with each other, and in that mode, they block almost every bit of light. You can lower them so they aren't flush and there are little holes in the connecting material, so that a little bit of light can come through. They really are quite neat, and so much better than the old fashioned roller shades I did have the thought that made out of metal or certain tough plastics, they would make great hurricane shutters, and be so much easier to deal with!

Well, I think that is enough for tonight. Take care and I hope to have good news soon! Oh, by the way, I don't think I remembered to tell that one of the doctors put Christine on prednisone for the puppps and it cleared it right up. She has some residual dry skin but she doesn't have all the horrible itching and hive type rash, so she is really happy about that! That was just before I got here, I think, that they put her on it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The house

Well, still no baby in arms, so we continue to wait! While we do that, I thought you might like to know a little bit about the house.

I finally "get" it all, so may actually be able to relate this correctly! The house used to be two apartments, and was converted into a single family house. From the outside front, it looks like a one story house, except that you can see stairs leading down to a door, in the front, just over from the garage. The downstairs section has its front section underground and in the back it is like the walk out basement we had in Virginia. There is a brick (?) or stone patio in the back.

Anyway! You come in the front door to the entry. Immediately to the right there is a half bath. To the left is the kitchen, and straight ahead is the living/dining room. It is a good sized room. The kitchen is actually a decent size too, but those who are familiar with overseas housing will understand that there is little cupboard space and little counter space too. The sink is a small stainless steel, one bowl. There is a built in draining area, with holes down at the one end to actually help drain! A nice change! There is also a dishwasher that Brian put in and that the landlady mostly paid for. Also a small stove/oven which is electric. An American size fridge/freezer. They got a freestanding cupboard thing, which gives them more storage space, etc. Mom and Dad, it is a smaller version of what we got in Italy.

The living/dining room is a good size, as I think I said before? They have a small table and chairs in there, and a living room set. A nice big TV, a sort of storage/china cabinet/whatever unit that Brian got very cheap (free?). His coffee table he made is in the living room too, and still looks great! They have windows and a glass door out to the balcony, and a lovely view out those windows. You can see part of the town, and the nearby hills, etc. Very scenic!

Come out of the living room and start down the hall. First on the right there is a storage closet, which is very handy. There are some shelves, and plenty of room for vacuum cleaner, broom, etc.

Continue down the hall. On the right you will come to a full bathroom. There is a nice sized bathroom sink, the toilet, a large tub with hand held shower as is usual in European homes. There is also a small shower stall, which is really small. About the same size as the ones in San Antonio at the motel when we went for Brian's graduation from Basic! However, it is big enough to do the job! The door to the shower is neat, as it is in three parts, and it slides along a track. Really is a space saver and very handy. There is no exhaust fan, but a huge window with pebbled glass, so fine for privacy. Many of the windows in the house are hinged at the bottom and the top will open part way. I am not sure I described that adequately. The top edge of the window can be pulled into the house, leaving an open space at the top, for air, etc. It is a real space saver, and in the case of the bathrooms, maintains privacy while having the window open. It only opens about 3-4 inches, I think. There is a big window just like that in the kitchen too, except the glass is clear. Brian and Christine have our old stereo cabinet, that we once used as a microwave cart, in this bathroom, for extra storage. It is in the space where the washing machine would have gone, as the general trend is to put the washing machine in the bathroom.

Kitty corner across the hall from the bathroom is a bedroom, that they use as the computer room and it is my room! Both Brian and Christine have computer desks in here, and there is a twin bed for me. There is another large window, and a glassed door to the balcony. The room is really a nice size, not cramped at all. There are storage units that the previous tenants left, that are handy but not in good shape. They do the trick for now though! This room has flat carpet on the floor. The other rooms have no carpeting. Some are tiled and some have vinyl flooring.

As you continue down the hall, you come to a final room, which used to be the second bedroom in the apartment. Hummm, I think they are using it mostly for storage. I think it is at least partially carpeted too, but I am not sure about that! It does not have as much usable space as it once did, as this is where the stairs were put in when the apartments were converted to a house. There is a circular staircase in this room. It is big enough not to be scary, but definitely not something to run up and down!

There is a two car garage outside and a nice fenced yard. There is a little walkway from the gate to the door, and flower beds on both sides of the walk. There is a nice big tree in the front yard, and some of those fir type bushes along the walkway too. Space for flowers between the bushes. I guess I didn't describe that too well! There is a pond to the left that the previous people put in, but the pump does not work right and it has been a bane to Brian's existence, rather than something nice! I am sure there is more in the front yard I am missing, but somehow I have been distracted when coming in and going and haven't noticed as much as I should have.

There ends the tour of the top floor of the house. It has been long enough, I will save the lower floor for next time!

I hope to have good news of a baby arrival next time I write, but in the meantime, good thoughts and mental urgings for progress will be appreciated!!!

Friday, June 10, 2005

A day late and a dollar short

Hi All,
Anne pointed out that my paragraphs didn't show, so I hope this makes it better? Thank you, Anne! I did try indenting, but found when looking at the preview that the program takes the indents out.

Well, we all slept most of the night, although Christine was up several times during the night for the bathroom. The eternal preggie mom problem. I know she will be happy to have an end to that, although it will soon be a case of getting up to feed baby, but that is different, right?

We had a slow morning and Christine making silver dollar pancakes. They were very good! We eventually got out of the house. Stopped at Sembach to check mail and then on to Vogelweh--which I have misspelled before--sorry! We stopped at the furniture store on base, to look at bookcases that were to be on sale. Christine decided against them, as they had to be picked up somewhere else. They do have some very nice things at the store there. They have some lovely Italian inlayed wood tea/drinks carts. I have to admit I was tempted. We went on to the BX, where I found just how pitiful a selection of paperback books they have. I did notice that at the BX's, they seem to have more and a better selection of hardcover than they do paperback. They have one small section of mysteries. I guess it is all a case of what sells, and it must not be many mysteries? However, I am almost done with the second book I brought with me, even though the only reading I have done was on the plane and has been at night right before going to bed. Oh well! I found one book at Vogelweh, and then we decided to go on to Ramstein. They have a much bigger selection and a huge (relatively) book selection, but still not many mysteries. I did find two more books to get, so I should be okay and still have something to read on the way home. Since my flight back is all during the day, I will sure need plenty to read! We also picked up a copy of Stars and Stripes. It was the first paper I have seen since I have been here!

We got home at a reasonable time this afternoon, and did some email, etc. Christine hasn't been feeling well today, having a headache (that started yesterday) and feeling quite nauseated. I wondered if it was a sign of things to come? It seems not, however. She could not get rid of the headache, even doing the tylenol and rest as recommended at the hospitals. She finally called in and they said she could come and get checked if she would like. She also hadn't been noticing Baby moving much, but we did figure that she is just big enough and cramped enough (Baby, that is!) that she couldn't make big enough movements for Christine to notice. That idea has been pretty well confirmed, she is moving. We headed off for Landstuhl and got put into a labor/delivery room. They got her hooked up to a monitor, which shows and graphs baby's heart rate, intensity of contractions, and baby movement. Baby is still doing plenty of moving, even though Christine can't feel most of it. She did have some contractions, some fairly good in intensity, but they were about 10 minutes apart, so way too far to be staying there. They checked her out, and it is still early days as far as being ready to pop Baby out! They said they would send her home, but did an ultrasound first to make sure all is okay. Things are fine, and Baby is still a girl!

We ended up staying up late tonight, with all the excitement and the long stay at the hospital before being sent home. I think they forgot about Christine after they got her put into the room, and then we had to wait ages for the doctor to come do the ultrasound. But, we know all is well, so it was worth it. I think Christine still has the headache, but will see how it goes.

We did see a little bit of TV at the hospital, which was quite a change. We do watch DVD's and such, but Brian hasn't cared to spring for a converter box and cable bills and I can't say I blame him. They don't seem to get any local stations, or I guess Christine said the only ones they can get run soaps. Not their speed!

Well, it is 1.19 a.m. here, so I had best go. I know Brian set it to show eastern time, but I am wondering exactly which variety of it, as it seems to be more than 30 minutes off! We are hoping that Baby gets the idea and gets with the program, it will be nice to see her! I know you all are anxious to know that she has arrived, too! Take care and more tomorrow! And, maybe good news before too long?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Thursday--Baby D-Day?

Hi All!
It seems there is always so much to say, and so hard to repeat it in all the email, as I tend to forget things, or get tired of saying things! So, I got Brian to set up a blog for me so all can hear it all!
You will all know already that I had a good flight over here. Everything went just like clockwork, even with Air France being delayed at JFK. How freaky is that, to have everything go so well? It was reassuring, for any future trips I make anywhere in the world!
The kids look really good. Brian is thin as ever, but I guess not much is to be expected. He is so much like Mike, eating is about the last on the list, as he gets wrapped up in what he is doing. Christine looks good---ready to pop! There are no doubts at all that she is expecting and due any day!
Baby is due today. I guess we will see! We had a false alarm last night--the second one. The first was the night before I arrived. It is all moving in the right direction, in any case! So, last night. Landstuhl, the base hospital that they send all the preggie mommies to, was full. Christine says they do labor and delivery all in the same room here, and they only have 7-8 rooms, so it can get filled up pretty quickly. I have to stop with the "asides!" So, they were full, said she could wait and call back in an hour, and maybe they would have space for her. So, we waited. The contractions were coming along fine, 4-5 minutes apart, and it really looked like this was going to be it. She called again and they were still full, so diverted her to Johannes Krankenhaus (for the benefit of those of you who know German!)--otherwise, Johannes, the German hospital. Christine was not happy about that, one of her big concerns being if they were going to be able to understand her and vice versa. Also, of course, she was all set for the base hospital. Anyway, off we headed for Johannes, with all the bags, things to read, things to eat, camera, etc. All the essentials! The receptionist downstairs didn't speak English but was able to let us know where to go. We got up to Obstetrics and they did speak English there! What a relief! A midwife came and got us into a room and got Christine onto a monitor. To make a long story shorter (!!), she was in the very early stages, it could be one or two more days, and they did an ultrasound to make sure all was okay, then sent her home. So, she still has a chance to deliver at the base hospital. They were very good there at Johannes, and I think that Christine is not as concerned, if she should have to deliver there. The guy who did the ultrasound also spoke very good English and he measured Baby, said all he could tell us, not being very familiar with pounds, is that she is more than 6 pounds. Whether that is ounces over or pounds over, it is hard to say. We are kicking ourselves for not asking how many grams--knowing these are just estimates. We could have converted it! Oh well. Anyway, we came on home and got in about 12.30 a.m. Off to bed and some rest! More soon!