12/10/09 Brady

Juliana made it through the night well and continues to use the breathing mask. Jen is holding her right now and she is occasionally making little cries and even sneezed once. She received her last steroid dose this morning. The steroids have depressed her heart rate some so she is hovering between 95 and 130. Under 100 is technically a bradycardia so the alarms are going off frequently. They may turn the lower alarm down to 90 so it isn’t constantly beeping. Her oxygenation is 97-100 and her lungs are clear with no apnea. We are having an enjoyable time even with the klaxons. Her feeds have been ramped up from 0.4 ml per hour to 0.8 ml per hour! They are very happy with her progress and I’m looking forward to her rapid growth.

Update: Her leg looks swollen compared to yesterday. The fellow checked it out and ruled out holding her until her leg looks better. My guess is Monday since that is when Ortho will x-ray and check her progress.

A Fighter

Thank you all for your comments. Jen and I have read every single one and have taken great strength. Tonight I spent an hour in the NICU and met a couple who has twin boys set up next to Juliana. They are 10 weeks old, but were also born at 24 weeks under similar circumstances. Their one son has grade 3/4 hemorrhaging. Encouragement and love just poured out of them as they recounted a similar situation with their son as to what Zoe is experiencing right now. They said there will be many terrifying moments to come, but not to lose faith in the strength and resilience of Zoe and to each other. Zoe will be a fighter.

The Legend

For Christmas Dinner, Evan and Jason put together an amazing gourmet menu of delectable dishes, and then we all created different portions of the meal.

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Course One:
Butternut squash soup with cilantro garnish by Ted
Arugula, Red and green leaf lettuce salad with walnuts, fresh raspberries, feta cheese, fuji apples, and pomegranates, complete with blueberry pomegranate dressing by Jen (with help from Jenny and Alban)
Celadon Idol (drink): lime, pineapple juice, ginger beer, and Pellegrino flavored with cucumber and mint by Jen

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Course Two (a):
Four cheese (special cheese) lasagne by Evan and Jenny
Asparagus with leek, salt, pepper, and olive oil dressing by Evan and Jason
Fresh, roasted carrots by Evan and Jason
New Potatoes (idea by Jenny) created by Ted

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Course Two (b): Same as above with one major difference: Fresh poached salmon with an herb and caper vinaigrette by Evan and Jason

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Course Three: Hot fudge chocolate cake with raspberry drizzle by Beth
Ginger ice cream with mint garnish by Alban

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Course Four: Cheese platter

Grapes, crackers, and breads complete with several different kinds of cheeses for reflection and discussion.
English Stilton
Gorgonzola
Apricot Stilton
Cranberry Stilton
Gruyere
Irish Cheddar
Brie

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Thanks to everyone, but especially to Evan and Jason for their inspiration, for the most delicious meal of the entire year!

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Life According to Anne . . .

Anne of Green Gables

Yes, I’m re-reading my favorite book series: Anne of Green Gables. As I discovered the last time around, L.M. Montgomery (via Anne), has some very interesting and important and sometimes rather profound things to say about life. I’ve decided to make a post with some of my favorite quotes from the story as I read, and then you all can enjoy what Anne has to say as well.

“It’s easier to be cheerful and bear up under affliction on a sunshiny day.”

“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything.”

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray . . . I’d go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep woods, and I’d look up into the sky–up–up–up–into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”

“It’s lovely to be going home and know it’s home.”

“Her advice is much like pepper, I think . . . excellent in small quantities but rather scorching in her doses.”

“It does people good to have to do things they don’t like . . . in moderation.”

“That’s the worst of growing up, and I’m beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.”

In memoriam: Summer 2008

It was only with us for a short time. Too short. It was lazy, yet productive. Hot, yet cool. Stormy, yet sun-filled. Here are some key moments from this fleeting summer.

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Key (left to right):
1. Dupont Circle with Evan and Jenny, about to enjoy some amazing Lebanese food and then some ice cream and BlackAdder
2. Driving through Cunningham Falls on a gorgeous summer day. Isn’t western Maryland beautiful?
3. Ocean City in the heat of the day
4. Our new dishes, courtesy of Daddy and Laurie, via IKEA
5. Jen driving the convertible
6. DC United v. Houston Dynamo match
7. Jason, Ansley, Tiffany, et al enjoying homemade Howe ice cream and cobbler
8. Jen at Ocean City beach
9. Jen and soccer buddies enjoying DC United

Travels

I nearly always long to be traveling. Even though we just came home from a lovely 12 days in Ireland, I could quite easily pack up again and leave tomorrow to wander the world. I gain energy, insight, and oh so much joy from experiencing other places on this amazing planet that God created for us, and I have such a long list of locations I want to see or return to for further enjoyment. I found Billy Collins’ sarcastic poem to be a great description of my feelings on this subject this summer, and every summer!

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Consolation

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon’s
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyes camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

Billy Collins

So, yes, I’ve become a little addicted to photo collages. Bear with me for a time while I get it out of my system. Perhaps the faithful few readers of this blog would like to identify the locations of all 16 photos. You have probably seen them all before in one forum or another.

Old News but Still Impressive…

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In light of Katie and Justin’s Central American adventures I thought I would share pictures for those of you who have never seen Jennifer’s conquest, the Insano Water Slide in Fortaleza, Brazil. Yes, it’s old news, but it’s never too old to be impressed by my courage to go down a waterslide that is 41 meters (yes, that is 123 feet high), goes 105 km/hour, and is the highest water slide in the world! 14 storeys high!!  To add to the torture of the height, while you climb the 14 storeys of stairs, they play scary music, a really loud heartbeat, and a scary man’s voice telling you in Portuguese that you will never make it.
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Musicianship

Thanks to everyone who pitched in for the guitar. I have thanked many of you, but probably not all of you. As many of you know, I have been playing guitar off and on for ten years now. I have gotten to the point where if you give me a song to play, I can sit down and learn it within a day. However, to me this is akin to reading a book by memorizing word shapes and sounds and not understanding that each word is made up of letters and are put together using grammar. So I am setting out to learn the letters and grammar of music, or rather the language of music. It’s a challenging goal, but I think it will make me a much better player in the long run. Additionally, I need to work on my playing technique. Like the fine instrument it is, the Epiphone requires only a delicate touch to play. I am used to my acoustic, which requires an over-firm fingering of the fretboard to make music. Anyway, the next time you see me, I will be a much stronger player.