Friday, April 29, 2011


Yesterday I sent Mike to the Paulina Meat Market to get steaks for dinner with my friend and her husband tonight. I hadn't realized he'd never been there, but he loved it! Of course, the place is major Old School.

One of the butchers, Tim, calls Mike's number, and he steps up. Mike described him as "Big guy. Mustache like a walrus. Hands like hams!"

Mike requests two 8ish ounce fillets for myself and my friend Dora, then decides on New York strips for himself and Dora's husband. He asked Mike what steaks he wanted from the selection out under the counter.

Mike says "Tim, you ever had a steak before?"
Tim "One or two."
Mike "Why don't you pick a couple out for me"
Tim "Smartest thing you've said all day!"

So Tim picked out a couple strips... we'll see how they are tonight.

I'm still laughing about the "Hands as big as hams!!!" though.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I remember touring a daycare about a week after Emmett was discharged from NICU, and thinking that the babies all looked impossibly round and big. Holy cow, giant Godzilla babies. My baby would never be that big!

To be fair.... look at what I was working with. This is Emmett on discharge day, at 5 lbs 10 ounces. He was swimming in his newborn onesie, just a tiny little speck of a man.
Look at those little spindly legs!

And now he is impossibly round and lovely. How time does fly.
The cheeks, they are kissable. He's getting to be such a big boy!

Baby laughs

MVI_0174 a video by agstratt on Flickr.

I got a great video of Emmett laughing at Mike's grandma.... she was just cracking Emmett up!

I'm so glad that so many family members got to meet Emmett last weekend. I love showing our little man off!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I think we need to get this kid some shades....

DSC_5597, originally uploaded by agstratt.

or a hat!

Oh Emmett... this would have been such a good picture if you would have opened your eyes. Oh well.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I've got a case of the Mondays, so it's internet meme time!

A. Age: 31

B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore you hate: Cleaning bathrooms. Which is why we have a cleaning lady now.

D. Dogs: Millicent Underfoot Knowles, Beagle!

E. Essential start to your day: Emmett snuggles

F. Favorite color: Pink

G. Gold or silver: Silver

H. Height: 5'5"

I. Instruments: I used to play the flute, piccolo, and piano, but don't do any of that anymore. I just donated my flute to Chicago Public Schools actually!

J. Job title: Senior Auditor

K. Kids: Emmett Jeffrey, born 1/8/2011

L. Live: What does this mean? Where I live? In Chicago! At the top of three flights of stairs that kill my will to live in the city.

M. Mom’s name: Gayle

N. Nicknames: Apes!

O. Overnight hospital stays: Two times for acid reflux that closed up my airways, and when I had Emmett. I think I might have stayed when I hit myself with a car when I was 4, but I don't remember.

P. Pet peeve: Cabbies who honk to see if you want a cab. Is my hand in the air? NO! Go away. Cabbies that don't pay attention when you DO need a cab. Cabbies that drive super slow down sidestreets and don't allow room to pass. Pretty much just cabbies in general.

Q. Quote from a movie: Pretty much anything from Office Space, Anchorman, 40 year old virgin, or the Hangover. I even made a baby version of the Tiger Song from Hangover for little Emmett. It goes like this:

What do babies dream of, when they take a little baby snooze? Do they dream of drinking bottles or hanging out in their birthday suit? Don't you worry your pretty baby head we're gonna get you back to Lincoln in your pretty baby bed. And then we're gonna find our best bear Doug and then we're gonna give him a best bear hug. Doug, Doug, Doug, Doug Dougie Dougie Doug Doug! Unless we caught out without any Pampers... then there'll be poop on your butt!

Yeah, I had a little extra time on Maternity leave. Also, I named Emmett's bear Doug b.c I couldn't figure out any other way to make the song make sense. And Lincoln is a nod to the street we live on.

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: Jay, 29 and Katie, 26

T. Time you wake up: All the time these days, with baby around. My ideal time for work would be 6-6:30AM although before he came along I got up at 7:30.

U. Underwear: They are awesome. haha.

V. Vegetables you dislike: Beets are so gross.

W. What makes you run late: Chores. I'm always trying to get too much done while I get ready.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth!

Y. Yummy food you make: Prosciutto-wrapped pork chops, goat-cheese stuffed chicken

Z. Zoo- favorite animal: Lions... love the Lion House at the Lincoln Park Zoo, esp when they roar at each other.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Funny post

My friend Tracy is pregnant with twins and due in June. She wrote this post about some of the ridiculous comments she gets. I had to share because I thought it was hilarious!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Everybody was kung-fu fighting!

10 weeks, originally uploaded by agstratt.

Looks like the bean is making some ninja moves in this one!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Working on my fitness

If I lift him up like this a bunch of times each day, I'll be able to do it when he's a grown man, right?
Right? Kind of like this guy who lifted the cow at the Olympics?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wedding pics

My brother and his fiance are going to display pictures of their parents' and grandparents' weddings at their wedding in September. Since I've recently obtained and scanned a few, I thought I would share.

This is my Mom's parents. Look how young they are! My Great-Grandma Bastian (who immigrated from Germany) made this dress for my Grandma.

Here are my parents on their wedding day. My Mom wore my Grandma's dress for her wedding. I always knew that my Mom and aunt wore the same dress but it wasn't until I talked to my Grandma a few weeks ago that I realized that it originated with Grandma. I love it, and especially love the lace and the tulle overlay. Very classic. Look at my parents, they are babies they are so young. My mom was 19. Holy cow! Also, isn't my Dad's tux AWESOME?!

I marvel at how tiny they were when they got married... there is no way I would have fit into this wedding dress. Maybe if I had gotten married at 19 I would have been able to! But there would have been no way with me getting married at 27!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happier things...

Ok, I have been told that the last entry is super sad. Truth be told, it was a really hard time in our lives. I know I felt helpless, and in this weird limbo of no longer being pregnant but not really fully having our baby. I'm glad I got it out there, but there was alot of that time that was wonderful too. Emmett has been such a joy and is such a little lover, always DTS, or Down to Snuggle, as my brother says. Being in the NICU gave us some time to get acclimated to being parents in a gradual way instead of being thrown to the wolves. But honestly, sometimes I wish we'd been thrown to the wolves a little more, some things would have been easier to experience with the sink or swim method! With all that said, I can't believe our little man is already three months old. He's smiling and cooing and starting to laugh. I love his little giggle, it's infectious. I remember the 3-6 month age being my favorite when I babysat as a teenager, although Mike and I discussed favorite ages last night and we think every age will be our favorite. At three months, Emmett:

  • Hates tummy time. He has a foolproof way of getting out of it: spit up and then cry about wallowing in it. Of course we rescue him every time.

  • Speaking of spitting up, Emmett spits up ALOT. We have a ton of bibs and he goes through them about as fast as I can wash them.

  • Loves to swing. God bless swings. I bought one for upstairs because he loves them so much.

  • Loves his bottles and wants them to be prompt. Faster, woman! What is your problem, why do you not have the bottle prepared already!?!? NOW!!!!

  • Has a giant belly and big cheeks. The belly is huge right after a bottle. And his cheeks have their own gravitational pull.

  • Likes to stare at toys hanging off his playmat and swings. Sometimes he hollers at them. We imagine he is saying "Hey guys! Where ya been all day!?"

  • Is starting to get more squirmy but still loves sleeping on my chest. I will miss that when it goes the way of the dinosaur for sure. I love a snuggly baby nap.

  • Is still too little to play fetch with Milly. Although that doesn't stop her from depositing toys at his feet while he is on his playmat. Poor Milly doesn't understand what he is all about!

  • Loves his baby bjorn-like carrier (We have the Cybex 2.0). He passes out the minute he gets all snuggled into it.
The weather is getting better here in Chicago and we are looking forward to lots more walks in the stroller and showing our little man the city. When we first started trying I thought that having maternity leave in the summer would be better, but it's working out pretty nicely that Sir will be a bit bigger to be toted around all summer! :) This is my second week back at work full-time and it's going pretty well! Last week Mike's mom came up to stay with E and this week my Mom is in town. Next week Mike will be home with Emmett because he accepted a new position with another company and will be starting that on May 2. Then Emmett starts his daycare on April 25th! I am excited to meet his teachers and get him into a routine. I am sure he will love it there. Maybe not as much as doting Grandma attention, but I think it will be great for us as a family.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The NICU diaries

The first day they told us he was holding his glucose levels just fine… “He may come home a day or so after you are discharged” was the optimistic answer. I didn’t know that it was unlikely and unfounded optimism then. All I knew was that I would likely be going home from the hospital without my baby, without the little one we had waited so long to meet. I couldn’t bear the thought of it. But then again I didn’t have much of a choice.

The next morning when the doctors made their rounds, one frowned at me when I mentioned taking him home. “This week is a possibility, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s more likely that he would go home at the end of next week, but we can’t really say at this point.”

He had just finished a feeding and had eaten 15 millileters (half an ounce). One of the other doctors pulled out an iphone and figured out the recommended feeding amounts. They put a minimum feeding amount of 35 mL on Emmett’s chart, noting that if he didn’t eat that much he would have to get a feeding tube.

The most he’d eaten was 15-20 mL. And even that much was always a struggle. Little Emmett was early, and he’d much rather take a nap than eat. Where was his floaty water to finish growing? He wasn’t a fan of this eating thing. I knew the feeding tube would happen. It wasn’t a matter of if, more like when. I hadn't known that he wasn't eating enough. I felt betrayed. I felt hopeless. I didn't want any tubes going into my baby. The monitoring wires were bad enough.

The group of doctors shuffled away as I burst out crying. I am certain I made them very uncomfortable. In between sobs I cuddled Emmett tight.

I couldn’t do the next feeding. I couldn’t even watch. I made Mike do it, but he would only do it if I promised not to be mad at him if Emmett didn’t eat 35 mL. I couldn’t imagine blaming him. But I could imagine blaming myself. So I went back to my room while Emmett had his lunch. God bless Mike, he got him to take 35 mL. I’ll never know how. He got him to do it for the next couple of feedings as well.

Of course, the nurses, even though they were saints, had less time and patience to coax feedings down his gullet. That night when we went home he got his feeding tube put in.

That night we were discharged. I had to rent a hospital pump from the gift shop and we got there just before it closed. I hate to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gotten there in time, how much harder the whole process would have been. My pump was to be shipped a month before Emmett’s due date, which wasn’t another week yet. The nurses on the postpartum floor said that you could rent them at the hospital, promising to bring me one or the paperwork for one. They finally told me that I would have to get it at the gift shop, and only informed me of that once we were leaving. Because we had a little one in the NICU, we didn’t have to leave until shortly before midnight on discharge day. We left around 6 so we could go home and walk the dog – this was the only reason that the gift shop was still open when we made our way home. Thank you, Milly.

The hospital we went to only served food on a room-service basis. You ordered the food and waited in the room for an hour before the food was delivered. No pre-scheduled deliveries at certain times. I am sure this is incredibly convenient for those whose babies are IN their rooms. For me, it was torture. Order food, wait for an hour without the little one. Counting the minutes until I could scarf down my food and make it back to the NICU. I felt like I had to choose between Emmett and feeding myself. A lot of times I put off eating as long as possible, or had Mike pick me up food from the cafeteria downstairs.

Once I got back from eating and the NICU room was too full – we already had 4 people total in the room. So I wasn’t allowed in. I stood in the hallway and sobbed. Every person that walked by asked if and how they could help me. The receptionist who had denied me entrance repeatedly asked me if she could do anything. I wanted to scream that the Mother should ALWAYS be let in, no matter what. Then, Mike sent out someone so that I could come back in. I felt embarrassed as I walked in to the room and everyone worried over me. I reminded myself that I’d just had a baby the day before, to cut myself some slack.

I talked to some friends on Facebook that had babies that were born around 35 weeks. Almost all the babies had been in the NICU for 2 weeks. I steeled myself for a stay of at least that long. I decided to look at each extra day as another day closer to bringing him home. He was going to at some point, of that I felt certain. He wouldn’t have that feeding tube in college. And if he did, it would be a sweet party trick.

I spent the days at Emmett’s side. I feel like he was in the NICU for months but in reality it was only 9 days. 2 days of which I was also in the hospital. I tucked a black and white picture of Mike and I into his bassinet. The cafeteria grill worker knew Mike’s order, I kept slippers at the hospital so I didn’t have to wear actual shoes all over the NICU floor. We sat in Emmett’s room and worked on our laptops and listened to the other babies in his pod cry. A set of twins by the window cried all the time. We marveled how all the crying newborns sounded like cats. We educated ourselves on NICU speak, how much he should eat per kilo, how much he should be gaining each day, what they expected of him before sending him home, things that may have delayed his departure. We talked to the nurses about everything under the sun related to Emmett and babies. We picked their brains constantly regarding how he was doing and what he should be doing. Each day we held him as much as possible and then said goodbye to go home and walk the dog, to feed ourselves, to catch some sleep. To wake up every three hours to pump. Every day I left him in his bassinet by himself I felt like I was failing. Failing to be there for him when he needed me. Of course, I was doing as much as I could. More than I had previously thought I could. We were the lucky ones, our baby was born just short of full-term. He wasn’t a one pound super preemie. He had no other health complications. It was crazy to feel lucky and unlucky at the same time. Hard to watch Dads wheel Moms holding babies in their wheelchair out to the car downstairs. People just going out into the world, while in the NICU, our world stood still.

Each day the eating got a little better, but still no one would comment on when Emmett could come home. Then, while I was at my baby shower with my girlfriends the Saturday after E was born, Mike sent me a picture of Emmett. The feeding tube was gone. The doctors planned for discharge on Monday, one week after I had been discharged. That morning felt like Christmas day. We had to wait around for the discharge papers to come through on the computer, and once they did the nurse walked us downstairs. Once we were in the car I couldn’t believe it. He was actually coming home. I kept waiting for someone to grab us and take him back, to say it was a mistake. But no one did. And just like that, the whole ordeal ended, our world began spinning again and there were three of us.

Where Mommy and Daddy met...

DSC_5465, originally uploaded by agstratt.

This weekend we headed downtown to take pictures of Emmett in the building where we met. Mike saw me on the elevator and told his friend that I was his future ex-wife. I hope not! He meant it to be funny but I was super offended when I found out. At least we got the wife part right.

Emmett is also wearing a shirt that says "My Dad is a geek." We saw the shirt on our honeymoon and when I found out I was pregnant I got this onesie for Mike!