Grandpa’s Visit

Over the weekend E. caught up on the sleep he had missed during the whole allergy episode and seems to be back to normal. The earliest appointment I could get with the allergist our doctor recommended was October 17th (!) but I had them put me on the waiting list for cancelations. I asked the receptionist how long the waiting list was and she said “very long,” and so I’m not counting on getting in before October, which is a little lame.

Grandpa flew home on Saturday. His visit was a lot of fun. It took E. a day or so to get used to having another person in the house (at first he looked surprised every time he caught sight of Grandpa in the house) but once he got used to it E. was quite taken with Grandpa.

Grandpa was quite taken with the hummingbird that built a nest in our tree. He enjoyed watching the nest through the front window. Last week I thought I could see tiny little beaks poking up out of the nest, and this week we confirmed it. Two hummingbirds chicks hatched successfully!

In this photo you can see the chicks’ feathers starting to grow in. When I was watching them I would sometimes see them stick their tiny tongues out. Very cute.

E.’s Kryptonite

On Wendesday night Grandpa and his sister, E.’s great-great-aunt Dorothy, took us out to dinner. I didn’t have a bottle of breastmilk ready to take along and so I decided to mix up a bottle of formula (using one of the many sample cans they gave me at the hospital) and take it with me for E.

After we settled into our booth at the restaurant E. seemed hungry and so I gave him the bottle and he drank the whole thing. Then, his face turned quite red and he threw up the entire contents of the bottle (my apologies to the wait staff at Sweet Tomatoes). His nose and mouth started dripping mucous and drool and he was rubbing and scratching his face vigorously.

Two and a half hours later we were checking him into the hospital for overnight observation.

Yes, just like Superman, E. has an near-fatal weakness. It turns out that

Since we wouldn’t all fit in one car, N. had driven Grandpa and Aunt Dorothy to the restaurant and I had driven E. in my car. After he threw up, E. seemed to feel a little better but was still flushed and itchy. I decided to leave the restaurant early and take him home. I got E. home and gave him some Benadryl, nursed him for a little bit, and put him to bed. He seemed really tired but still itchy. I called our pediatrician’s after hours clinic and spoke to a nurse. She was mystified about E.’s reaction to the formula; she hadn’t heard of anything like it. But she said it didn’t sound like it was necessary to bring E. into the clinic since he wasn’t having trouble breathing.

While I was on the phone with the nurse, I heard E. wake up and start crying. When I went to go check on him he was on his tummy in a pool of vomit and looked worse. (I have to confess that at this point I started to freak out a little). I picked him up and he threw up all over me. I realized that he really needed to go to the doctor. So I quickly changed him out of his vomit-soaked pajamas (noting that his legs and arms were now a bright solid red color), changed my own shirt, threw some things for him into my bag, and called the clinic to let them know we were coming in. N. had forgotten to take his cell phone with him and I didn’t have a way of getting a hold of him and so I just left him a note.

At this point E. was super tired and tried his best to fall asleep on the car ride to the clinic while I tried my best to drive there as fast as safely possible. As I was driving N. called and I told him what was going on. When we got to the clinic we saw the physician’s assistant and she said that it looked like E. had had an anaphylactic allergic reaction and that she was going to have the doctor who was on call come in and examine him.

When the doctor arrived he looked E. over and asked me if E. had possibly eaten any food at the restaurant that was out of the ordinary, like seafood. I told him that the only thing E. had eaten all day was breastmilk except for the one bottle of formula.

The doctor said that the danger with serious allergic reactions like the one E. had was that sometimes there is a secondary reaction in about 6 or 8 hours that can be as bad or worse than the original reaction. So the doctor wanted to give E. a shot of Epinephrine to stop the current reaction and than have E. admitted to the hospital to be put on IV fluids and monitored overnight. When the doctor told me this I felt overwhelmed–IV fluids? Overnight hospitalization? My poor baby boy! Just then N. and Grandpa showed up, which I was grateful for.

The nurse gave E. a shot of Epinephrine and almost immediately E.’s color started to clear up. The doctor told us to take E. to the hospital (which is only a block away from the clinic) and go straight up to the pediatric ward and the nurses there would be expecting us. We went over and as soon as the nurses saw us they started putting on their gloves and hustling to get an IV into E. so they could give him fluids.

It took them almost half an hour and many, many needle jabs to get the IV started. It was so hard on E. and really hard to watch. They needed me to fill out some paperwork and so I gratefully left N. with E. while the nurses were sticking him but I could hear E. screaming all the way down the hall. After I was done with the paperwork they STILL hadn’t gotten the IV started and so I went to go comfort E. It was pretty heartbreaking; E. was exhausted and was trying his best to go to sleep. His eyes kept fluttering close and then flying open every time they jabbed him. It took 3 nurses to hold him steady during all this time: they said that E. was really strong for his age. (They also all mentioned that they liked his hair.)

Anyway, things settled down after the IV was in and they put him in a room and hooked him up to a bunch of heart and respiratory monitors. It was a little hard to get the cords out of the way while I nursed him, but I fed E. and then put him in the hospital crib and he fell asleep right away.

There was only one adult bed in the room and things seemed to be under control and so I sent N. and Grandpa home. I filled out some more paperwork and then around 2am I went to sleep. The nurses popped into the room to check on him every couple of hours and changed his IV a few times.

In the morning N. came by and brought a change of clothes for me and a few other things. While N. was there the doctor came by to check on E. The doctor said E.’s allergic reaction was pretty mysterious. They didn’t know if he’s allergic to cow’s milk or to something specific in Similac. A cow’s milk allergy would be unusual since I eat a lot of dairy and the proteins that trigger cow’s milk allergies pass into breast milk. Either way, E. needs to see a pediatric allergist so it can get sorted out. I need to call the allergist they recommended later today to get an appointment. It will probably be a few months before we can be seen, though.

The doctor also proscribed Epipens for E. so we can keep one with us just in case he has another serious reaction. On the way home I picked them up from the pharmacy. (I like how “Jr” is in a fun font. Cutest needle ever!)

Until we get his allergy figured out, E. (obviously) can’t have any formula. I was planning on breastfeeding E. until he turned one anyway, but I have to admit that now that formula simply isn’t an option I’m feeling a bit more pressure.

E. seems to have made a full recovery, other than being a little tired from the lack of sleep. After we got home from the hospital yesterday he took a nap and when he woke up he enjoyed bopping around in his jumper.

And for something completely different:

Good news! Sometime during all of the hoopla E.’s tooth finally broke through.

…so there’s that.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

When we were in Oregon with N.’s family we went to a couple of lighthouses. One of them, Heceta Head, is dear to N.’s family because they would visit it during their summer vacations in Oregon when N. was growing up.

The view is pretty amazing. The lighthouse is perched on a bluff that’s edged by forest. To get there you walk through the woods up a winding trail and then BAM! – there’s a lighthouse.

Back in 2001 the lighthouse lens had to be dissembled, repaired, and reassembled, which was a huge undertaking.

But now everything’s working again. You can take a tour and climb up to the lens. It was pretty neat to see the ridges in the glass that focus the light. Apparently on a clear night the light can be seen for 21 miles.

While we were waiting for our tour, N.’s sister Miranda noticed an interesting plaque on the bench she was sitting on.

Wow. Can you imagine being at that wedding? It would have been crazy! The lighthouse is pretty remote and so it would have taken an ambulance a long time to get there. I like to think that Grandma Manja just sat down on the bench and peacefully slipped away before anyone else knew what was happening. There are definitely worse ways to go.

Cousins Galore!

This vacation was the first time that all of the kids were under one roof. It was fun to see them all together.

E. takes a break to munch on his toes.

Little cousin E. basks in the elusive Oregon sunshine.

Big cousin E. enjoys ice cream.

C. eating her dinner.

D. examining starfish at the aquarium.

L. exploring the taste of sand.

E. really enjoyed watching his cousins bounce around; they really cracked him up. It’ll be fun to watch him interact with them more once he gets a little bit older.

Oregon Coast Vacation

N.’s family wanted to get together for a family vacation before their parents go to Korea this summer. And so last week we rented at a beach house in Yachats, on the Oregon coast. The weather was even lousier than average for the coast (brrrrr!), but the trip was a lot of fun.

Vacationing with a baby is a lot different than vacationing without one, but E. was a real trooper. We drove there and back and E. was great in the car even though we were driving for about 15 hours each way. He mostly played on his own with his toys and napped. He got fussy a couple of times but didn’t start screaming or crying even once. He was pretty awesome.

I’m still sorting through the photos I took while we were there, but here are some that I like in particular. I’ll be posting more this week.

Did you hear the one…

…about the German and the 200 Koreans?

They all went camping together.

So, every Memorial Day weekend the members of the Korean branch (church congregration) that my mom attends go camping. They’re done it every year for over 15 years. Growing up it was pretty much a given that our Memorial Day weekend was going to be spent in the middle of the woods with Korean food simmering over the campfires (even if my sulky teenaged self was not at all interested in being there). Looking back on it now, there were some good times. One year I entertained myself by trying to convince the younger kids that I had a twin sister (named Hope, naturally); another year (I think I was 14) I spent most of the time clumsily flirting with the only boy my age there; and yet another year my sister got engaged to her now husband of 10+ years. So yeah, good times.

Anyway, my mom is a great Korean cook. And she REALLY likes sharing her food with other people. Since they live by the water, she will go dig her legal limit of clams for days leading up to the campout so she’ll have buckets of clams ready to make her special soup when the camp-out arrives. Last week she was digging clams when a “VERY nice looking young man” (her words) came up to her and asked her what she was doing. She explained how you dig clams and he asked her what she was going to use them for. She explained all about her special soup and the Korean campout. It turned out that the guy, whose name was Oliver, was from Germany and on a month-long tour of the States. Anyway, Oliver was intrigued by my mom’s description of Korean food, which he had never tried, and about the church campout.

Long story short, my mom invited him to tag along with her and my brother to the campout and Oliver accepted. He thought that hanging out in the wilderness with 200 Koreans sounded like fun. What a brave guy!

Our First Mother’s Day

Yesterday was low key but lovely. N. surprised me with a fancy bread machine for a combination Mother’s Day/anniversary gift. I’m really excited to use it. It makes a 2 lb. horizontal loaf and comes with recipes for all sorts of bread. I’m particularly intrigued by the recipe for the cheese and onion bread–yum!

In the evening we went up to N.’s parents’ house for dinner. Holidays with N.’s parents are getting a little poignant because in June they are moving to Korea for three years to perform full-time service for our church. So it was N.’s mother’s first Mother’s Day with E. but also her last one with him until at least 2012!

I wasn’t able to see my mom yesterday since she lives out of state, but I wanted to thank her for everything she’s done for me. I know it’s trite, but becoming a parent does give you more appreciation for everything your own parents did for you.

Hooray for mothers, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and friends!

Happy Birthday to N!

N. and my dad both had birthdays over the weekend. Happy birthday to both!

To celebrate N.’s birthday we left E. with N.’s mom on Saturday and went to dinner and a movie with friends. We went to an MacCool’s, an pub restaurant because N. had a hankering for pierogis and MacCool’s was the only local place we could find that had them. I had the sheperd’s pie which was quite tasty.

After dinner we went to see Ironman. I enjoyed it. I think Robert Downey Jr.’s performance was good, which was pretty key to the success of the movie. And even though Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t have a lot to do, she was appropriately plucky and likable. The writing was better than I expected. Over all, I would recommend it. If you go, be sure to stay until the end of the credits – we didn’t and we missed a stinger with a cameo by Samuel L. Jackson.

Yesterday we went to N.’s parents house for a birthday dinner. It was fun to see E. and his cousin L. interact. There’s only two months between them. Right now they mostly just look at each other, but it will be fun when they’re old enough to play together.

E. has his 6-month checkup tomorrow and so we’ll see how much he weighs and how tall he is. The eczema on his face has pretty much cleared up, but the cradle cap on his head has gotten worse. Over all his skin is really improving. So goes the war!

Korean Cooking

My mom was in town over the weekend to visit my sister, Jan. When you put Jan and my mom together, there’s bound to be a lot of Korean cooking going on–both of them are experts at it. And after many long years of practice, I am an expert at eating their cooking! I’m lucky that Jan lives only 20 minutes away from my house. Because I have more free time during the day now, I’m planning on hanging out with her more and hopefully learning how to make a few dishes.

While she was here, my mom made makguksu (not sure on the romanization), one of my favorite Korean comfort food dishes. Made with an anchovy broth, these noodles are topped with egg, dried seaweed, Korean fish hot-dog, and cucumber. You can put lots of different things on top. The sauce is made up of soy sauce, ground sesame, green onions, crushed red pepper, garlic, and a few other things that escape me at the moment. It was delicious! It also took a lot longer to put together than I remember it taking as a kid. I asked my mom if it was taking an especially long time to make for some reason but she assured me quite thoroughly that it always took this long to make and just I didn’t realize it because as a kid I only showed up at the very end. Oops.

My mom and Jan also made up a big batch of kkakdugi kimchi, made from diced daikon radish. It’s SO good. They knew it’s my favorite kimchi, and so…

…they saved this gigantic jar for me! Wow. I don’t know if even N. and I can finish this before it goes bad. It’s a race against time!