Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ada at Two Months

On Monday, Ada celebrated being two months into her life! She went off for her well visit and ... dum dum DUM! ... SHOTS!

She clocked in at 9 lbs and 13 ounces, 22 inches long, and is doing all the developmental stuff babies do at her age -- though much of it was not verified by the doctor, so for all she knew I was lying (She can do math! I swear! In fact, she's the president of that organization!)

Her shots were deployed into her little fat thighs, so just in case, I've agreed to not poke her in her Band-Aids. She, on her part, decided to sleep for the rest of the day and pretend it didn't happen.

We're a great team!

This morning she woke up pretty cheerful -- like she does most mornings because she is a baby and has no reason not to!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ada and Sleeping

One of the frequently asked questions is how Ada is sleeping. So I thought I would discuss her sleeping here for all to enjoy.

Ada sleeps. A lot. And often at night.

Our typical day goes like this:

5:30 a.m. -- Ada wakes up and I feed her. Dogs take this opportunity to run around like crazies antipicating their food. Often, I can't take the commotion and get Jeffrey to wake up and take care of the dogs while I attend to Ada.

5:45 a.m. -- Ada goes back to sleep in her swing so I get my coffee going, check my email, and browse the internets.

6:30 a.m. -- Ada wakes back up again, and depending on her mood, we change her and put her in her swing while Jeffrey reads her a book. Sometimes I take a shower now but often I like to just play with the baby -- she likes to practice her standing, sitting, crazy beetle-on-its-back legs, and hilarious comedy routine.

7:30-ish a.m. -- Ada is now tired of Jeffrey/Play Time and wants to eat again. So I feed her while drinking coffee and annoying Jeffrey with my prattling while he tries to catch up on sports blogs and such.

7:50 a.m.  --  Jeffrey goes to work, Ada falls back to sleep, and I do a few chores, etc.

Ada sleeps from about 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

9:45 a.m.. -- I log into work and nurse Ada while I peruse my inbox

10:15 a.m. -- Ada is back to sleep in her swing (which is next to my desk chair BTW) and I'm working away.

Noon -- Jeffrey pops home for lunch and I often have to wake Ada up for a little lunch herself. She's usually back to sleep by the time Jeffrey goes back to work.

3 p.m. -- Ada is usually ready for me to feed her again after an afternoon of sleeping and I'm usually not quite ready to do so as I'm usually not quite done with my work. So this is the most difficult time of the day. The dogs also want to go out. So it's a lot of beings wanting to do a whole bunch of stuff that isn't possible at the same time.

4 p.m. -- I feed the dogs while Ada usually hangs out on the floor watching everything.
Ada is sort of up and down after this. She'll hang out for a bit, get fussy, eat, fall asleep, wake back up again, rinse repeat.

7 p.m. -- Jeffrey gets home and plays with Ada while I do dinner. Or sometimes I'll nap a bit while he makes us food.

8 p.m. -- Ada is getting a little fussy, so it's my cue to put her to bed for the night. We go up to her room, I put on her Beatles Lullabye CD, swaddle her (she still wakes herself up with her arms so they have to be pinned down), and nurse her until she's so milk drunk she can't possibly keep her eyes open. She sleeps in her crib happily swaddled and additionally blanketed by a lovely blanket my aunt knitted for her that is the perfect weight to soothe a sleeping baby.

9:45 pm.  -- If I'm not passed out yet, I'm just falling asleep.

3 a.m. -- Ada usually cries for a feeding. Once nursed, she goes right back to sleep. I take the dogs out and then we all go back to sleep.

Then it all starts again at 5:30 a.m.!

Life in Prescott: An Update

We like to stick baby in the corner ... of the couch and make her practice her sitting.

Ada considers Shirley.

Welcome to Jerome!

That's Jerome, AZ, a town originally funded by copper mining and now by cute cafes and junk shops run by hippies.

Walking around Tuzigoot National Monument (Ada and I stayed in the car sleeping)

The Prescottonians!

Our friend Maria (connection, Jeffrey graduated from law school with her and her fiance Dave. My dad refers to them as "the rat people") is an official Cardinals cheerleader and the squad was in Prescott doing a little mini-practice at the YMCA.

Last weekend, Jeffrey's mom was here for a visit. Shirley visits mean lots of lasagna, often-confusing stories that somehow relate to people's deaths, and trips to fun places.

While she was here we headed to Jerome, AZ, a town that was developed around copper mining and at one point had the second-largest JC Penney in the country. Then it essentially fell down the mountainside -- as precariously perched mining towns often do when you build them over fault lines and then blast the shit out of the earth -- but was rebuilt and rejuvenated and
"includes a modicum of artists, craft people, musicians, writers, hermits, bed and breakfast owners, museum caretakers, gift shop proprietors and fallen-down-building landlords."
We also had lunch at the world famous Hog Wild Restaurant and the food was delicious -- though none of use took on the celebrated 1-pound pork chop sandwich. (I had the chicken philly -- it was amazingly good -- like, "let's go back and eat lunch at that place in Cottonwood" good).

Sunday we went to see our friend Maria do some cheering. She's a cheerleader for Arizona's NFL team, the Cardinals, and also a fellow law graduate.  We felt a little weird standing around the YMCA gym watching half-naked girls jump around ... but it was really fun to see Maria do something she loves.

This is Jeffrey's second week of work and it is going well. He often pops home for lunch which is nice, and no one at the firm has completely shunned him yet!

I'm back at work and doing my normal work stuff and Ada has been amazingly accommodating -- she basically sleeps through the whole morning half of my work day, wakes up a bit for lunch with us, then goes back to sleep. What a good baby!

Lucy and Lily are liking the house. Lily likes to try to flush out the quail from the porch (poodles ARE hunting dogs after all...) and Lucy is doing really well on the stairs.

So life is good!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lucy and the Stairs - A Story of Semi-Triumph! (no dogs die in this post)

I'm a bad dog guardian. Maybe not bad, but I was selfish.

We've rented a townhouse (it's really nice!) that Lucy, our 13-year-old shepherd-collie mix, has trouble with because of the stairs. The townhouse is three stories and that means exterior stairs and interior stairs. No elevator. (For the record, there weren't a lot of viable rental options -- I'm not a total jerk.)

Lucy has never had a particularly correct back end. I've had vets tell me it is arthritis, some have told me she has knee damage, and a few have just said, "Hey, she's old."

Either way, she isn't particularly strong or steady on those hind legs. In her life, she and I have lived in a lot of places with stairs and I have to say that living on stairs for her, rather than being a life-shortener, have generally been a type of physical therapy for her, somehow working the right muscles to help her have better balance, strength, and confidence with her legs. In fact, she's been the weakest this past year when we lived in a house that had NO steps.

But ...

The exterior stairs of the house are painted wood. The paint on the wood has eroded over the years to provide a rough surface in places, but they are still a little slick. Tip for homeowners: NEVER PAINT YOUR OUTSIDE STAIRS UNLESS YOU PUT GRIT IN THE PAINT. Lucy was able to navigate them, though hesitantly, but the first night I just sat in bed thinking of the ice and snow that would make those stairs treacherous, not just for an old dog, but for the people in the house as well.

The next day we went and bought outdoor anti-slip traction tape. There are two kinds -- the harsh sandpaper stuff (like you use on skateboard decks) and the rubberized kind. We bought the rubberized kind because it felt a little less nasty for dog paws and bare feet (and it came in grey so it wasn't so obvious -- we're renting and don't want to get in trouble).

That has solved the outdoor problem.

The inside has been more difficult.

The inside is all Pergo laminate wood floor. Including the stairs (again, homeowners, take note that this is a HORRIBLE IDEA). It looks really nice but it's slippery as hell and there aren't really any  excellent temporary anti-skid options that won't destroy the Pergo surface. One flooring guy I talked to (I did lots of research on this) put it best: "Any adhesive you lay down there, if it's doing it's job, is going to ruin the floors."

But it's impossible for Lucy to get up there.

Or so we thought.

The first few days we were here, she refused to go near them -- smart girl! -- and I resigned myself to having her sleep on the second floor while all of us were on the third (though I felt bad about it. Dogs are pack animals and it has to be hard to not get to sleep with your protective group).

I guess she didn't like being alone at night and after a week of muscle and confidence building going up and down the outside flight, she just went for it the other morning. At 4 a.m. we heard her slipping her way up the stairs. Going back down was such a disaster that I had to carry her. She's 65 lbs. That's about 50% of my body weight. Not a good combination -- slick stairs, awkwardly carried heavy dog, weak owner.

And now she just doesn't seem to be putting it together that she can't do the stairs. She got up them, by Jove, she can do it again! *head desk*

So last night I helped/carried her upstairs (I'm a terrible softie and a terrible dog trainer -- no resolve) and decided I'd figure it out in the morning.

And guess what! I did! I snapped awake at 4:30 a.m. with a plan! We had a 5' x 8' rug gripper. One of those giant sticky things that looks like a giant cheesecloth (not the felt kind). I cut it in half length-wise and worked my way down the stairs, giving each step a little wiggle with my hands to make sure it was really tucked in between the treads and risers.

It worked. Lucy was able to get down the stairs, unaided, on the rug gripper!

I realize this is not the perfect solution. And yes, it will probably end up stretching and slipping and needing to be replaced and I'll vigilantly keep an eye on it so that it doesn't go from "helpful" to "death trap," BUT, it worked and so for as long as it works we'll have a happier dog. When it stops working, I'll just replace the rug gripper with a new one.

And if you squint, it kind of looks like sisal.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Granite Creek Walk

This morning we headed out to try out a Prescott nature walk.

We parked at one of the trail heads to the greenway (which also serves as some kind of transient/bum ephemeral restaurant), gave a little wave to The Citizens of the Trailhead, and trekked along the creek path.

The path is, according to the map, about a mile and a half. It was a nice shady walk and was doable while carrying Ada, zonked out, in the ErgoBaby.

Little hiker, complete with coffee stain!

Part of the trail loops around a big beautiful park I'm sure Ada will enjoy when she can toddle/run/escape. The rest of it moseys along the creek toward the downtown area. We got to see the advertised "creekside" dining areas and many of them look very pleasant!

We also came across some industrious types pounding tools into the dirt. I asked them what they were up to and they are apparently literally just breaking ground on the first Prescott community garden. That might be something fun to join up with in the spring!

Part of the walk also included some river art -- one with a sign that invited you up a flight of steps and 17 paces to the right to view it. This is the river dragon.
River dragon, carved out of a dead tree.

It was a great morning walk -- Ada made the "to" leg sleeping happily the "back" leg was mostly cranky baby. Oh well!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Last Six Weeks ...

So apparently it was six weeks ago that I blogged ... in that time, I've had a baby and moved to a different city. Rather than bore you with the mundane prattling normally found here, I bring you a photo scrap book of The Last Six Weeks!

Several hours before Ada was born, I demonstrate my wry wit along with my heart rate monitor.

Ada Elizabeth Gautreaux, 7-22-2011, 7:35 p.m., 7 lbs 8.6 oz, mommy had ALL the drugs.

Jeffrey holding his daughter for the first time.
Ada, showing us what she thinks of us.

Ada in a duckie towel after one of her first baths.
Grandpa Rinne holding his great granddaughter.

Who's tired?
Ada, a few weeks in, giving us a typical Ada Face -- she really is sitting up in that corner of the chair all by herself.
At Zinburger with Terry -- he basically packed our whole house.
Lucy in her chair, hemmed in by all the boxes. Lucy has moved ten times in her life. She's a pro.
Ada looking bored with us ... again.
The truck is so big, it doesn't fit in the frame. It also completely obscures our Phoenix house behind it. And yes, Jeffrey drove it all by himself and no one was killed! (I won't mention the incident with the giant rock.)
The view from our deck in Prescott.

Lucy enjoying the view from one of our decks in Prescott.

Sunset at Watson Lake in Prescott.
Ada, finally not bored by us. I think she enjoys living in Prescott!