December 30, 2008

Tunes


I heard this on NPR today, and found it interesting. I was tempted to go out and buy more than one of these albums, to save for a later date. Lisa Loeb's "Disappointing Pancake" may prove to be one of our favorites when Ella gets a little older. Happy listening.

December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!



We wish you all a wonderful Christmas filled with love and peace.

December 18, 2008

2 Short Movies

This is mostly for the enjoyment of those over 50. But anyone's welcome to watch Miss Ella.

video

December 14, 2008

Fridays with Dad





Ella has been lucky enough to have two really great Mom-substitutes while Mom works. On Tuesday Grandma Sue gets to see the smiles. On Friday, Ryan takes over. He has done a fantastic job. He sends me pictures throughout the day and when I come home he satisfies my OCD by giving me a sticky note that documents the events of the day. Come January 1 he runs out of the vacation days that have let him stay home...but it's been a good run. Here are some pictures he took last time he was in charge.

p.s. Christmas Cards are going out Tuesday. If you want one, send me your address. Even if you think I know it. Maybe I can't ever remember your zip code, now matter how many times I've written it. You know who you are.

Tiny Dancer




Ella is finally big enough to wear her ballerina outfit. Hopefully she has more rhythm than her mom...you can't get much whiter than me. These pictures are horrible, I know. But Jamie's living the dream in New York. It's just me and the mirror.

December 4, 2008

Christmas Cards

Are you wondering why you haven't gotten your Baby Ella Birth Announcement yet? Well, amidst Boards, Jamie's wedding, and going back to work, I decided that it was just too much. Sorry. No announcement is coming. But to make up for it I am going to send out real, honest-to-goodness Christmas cards. With a picture and everything. This is a new frontier for me, and I realized that I have very few addresses. So if you want a Christmas card from the Packers (and you're going to want one) leave a comment with your address. Or you can email me at alissapacker@gmail.com. Merry Christmas!

December 1, 2008

What to do with the Leftover Turkey?


Turkey Pot Pie, of course.

1/2 chopped onion
3 T butter
1/3 c flour
1 c cream
2 c chicken stock
1/2 bag of diced frozen potatoes
Celery, carrots, corn, peas
Turkey
Pillsbury ready made pie crust


Saute the onion and butter together. If you want your carrots a little less crunchy, toss them in the last minute or two. Add flour, cream and chicken stock. Heat until thickened. Mix together with vegetables and turkey. Cover with pie crust. Bake at 450 for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Easy peasy, and delicious.

November 30, 2008

A Smorgasborg of Ella






We had a great Thanksgiving. Janet, Brad and Alisha, Ryan, Ella and I celebrated together. I made my first turkey, and I was fairly pleased with the results. I found an Ina Garten recipe that uses a turkey breast instead of the whole turkey. Plenty if you are having a small gathering, and everyone gets white meat!

On Friday I had to work, but had a break between patients in the morning, so I stopped at Smith's Market Place to pick a few things up. It was crazy; packed with people, long long lines, free donuts, and socks that were 50% off. I kept thinking, "If it's this crazy at the grocery store, what does Target or Wal-Mart look like?" Maybe next year I'll find out.

November 23, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Wride

Here are some belated pictures of Jamie and Taylor's wedding. It was wonderful, and Jamie was absolutely stunning. Most of these pictures were from her wedding day, but a few are from her bridal shots in New York.

November 20, 2008

Nursery, nearly done










Most of you have seen the nursery, but Camie reminded me that she hasn't seen it and I haven't posted any pictures since it's been done. Well, nearly done. I still need to recover the blue rocker. If anyone knows where I can get upholstery fabric in good patterns (brown with polka-dots, brown with stripes, yellow with polka-dots, yellow with strips, etc) let me know. Thanks to Jamie for making the flower wall hanging. She's good to have around.

November 19, 2008

Control Issues





So...maybe I am a little type A. Maybe I do use my iPhone to record every time Ella nurses. Maybe I did create a Sleep Graph (as recommended in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child). Maybe I should just let babies be babies...eat when hungry, sleep when tired, no schedule, no worries. But I have this nagging worry that 3 months down the road I'll end up with a sleep problem that is huge, a baby that is unhealthy in her eating habits and a life that is chaotic.

Whoa...maybe I should just slow down a little and enjoy today, because Ella is going to grow up before I know it. Elder Ballard once quoted Anna Quindlen, saying
“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less”(Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11)
I am really trying to focus more on enjoying the moments. Those precious smiles when she wakes up from a nap. Bathtime. Walks where she nuzzles her head against my chest. Her curiosity that is already apparent. Picking out clothes to wear for the day. Listening to her jabber. Getting a good burp. Changing a messy diaper (when this only happens once every 4 days you find yourself enjoying it!) The list goes on and on. The trick is to be able to see these things in the moment.

But I think I will still keep using my Nursing Tracker and Sleep Graph.

November 13, 2008

Ella Jane







I know I'm biased, but isn't she cute?

November 12, 2008

30 Seconds of Ella

We've been playing with our new video camera, trying to capture Ella's different faces and smiles. I can't believe that I didn't record her as a newborn; she has already changed so much. (It's obvious that I can't work the video camera well yet...hopefully it will come.)
video

November 5, 2008

We Won!!!

Yippee! Salt Lake City voted to renew the zoo. I think it was because of this ad:






It makes me laugh every time. Now Ella can grow up with a zoo where the animals are happy and healthy...or at least have a little more breathing room.

November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!





Ella was the cutest little pumpkin for Halloween, thanks to Aunt Beth who whipped out the perfect hat to complete her costume. Thanks, Beth! We love you and your mad knitting skills.

October 29, 2008

After the Boards

For quite some time now I've been saying, "I'll do that after the boards." Well, life after the boards is here! After a very long day at the Seattle Airport Hilton, I am done. I don't know how it went--the first half I was sure I failed. The second half went relatively well. The good news is that I don't find out until January, so I can live in ignorant bliss until then.

Thanks to everyone who sent me your prayers, good vibes, karma and thoughts. It helped.

A sampling of the things I am going to do: read Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Child and start working on Ella's sleeping; read a book for fun; buy new jeans; clean out some drawers; post the pasta bit for the food storage website; go walking; start working out; cook; get my hair done; make Ella a Halloween costume...or just let her wear the "I Want My Mummy" onesie; go back to work. I finally feel like residency is over, and am excited to live a grown up life.

October 23, 2008

Double Tag

I am officially saturated from studying (at least for today...) and Ella is sleeping, so I thought I'd catch up on my "tags."

Quirks

1. I have fingers of steel and a self-preservation instinct that isn't very strong. It is not uncommon for me to grab a pan without a hot pad, try and fish something out of boiling water with my hands, or some other silly maneuver that involves high heat and bare hands.

2. I drink hot water. Plain hot water. I'm often cold and find a hot beverage a quick way to warm my core. I used to make hot chocolate, tea, or some other socially acceptable beverage but eventually I learned that all I really needed was the hot water. I got more than a few odd looks when I filled my Nalgene with the red tab in the resident's lounge.

3. I edit my blog obsessively. I almost always change something after I've posted. They are typically small edits: I'll add or remove a comma, change a word, adjust the spacing.

4. I remember what people wear. I'm not as bad as I used to be, but I can almost always remember what someone was wearing when I visited them. (Example: When I visited with Thayer last she was wearing a purple tee with a silver horse on it over a long sleeved grey shirt, khaki pants and running shoes. Chris was wearing a Block Island sweatshirt and jeans.)

5. I am horrible with names, even people I know well. But I am good at remembering their stories. I recently had to take role in Relief Society, and it was filled with things like, "Recently went and visited a ranch" instead of names.

6. I have poor spatial awareness. Ryan can't stand to walk with me because I don't walk in a straight line. For this reason I don't let Ella sleep with me--I just might roll onto her without even knowing it.

Well, Ella is now awake. I'll have to get to the other tag later.

October 22, 2008

Big Day

So on Monday I take the American Board of Pediatrics Certifying Examination, affectionately known as "the boards." I am really excited to be done with this so I can stop spending every spare minute studying (well, not every minute...I guess I am blogging right now.) The thing is, I'd really like to pass. It would be really great if I didn't have to retake this thing next year. And seeing as the national pass rate is in the 70s, I thought I'd call in a few prayers to boost my odds. In exchange I'll tell you some of the useful, and not so useful, things I've been learning.

  • If your water heater is set to 150 degrees it will only take 2 seconds to cause a 3rd degree burn
  • 80% of toddlers tantrum once a week
  • Proteus causes an elevated urine pH and is found with kidney stones
  • The formula to calculate the correct endotracheal tube size is as follows: age in years/4 + 3 for a cuffed tube and age in years/4+ 4 for an uncuffed tube
  • If you happen to have a liver abscess, and you've recently been in the Amazon, consider Entamoeba Histolytica as a likely cause.
A big thanks to everyone who has helped me out already. I am actually feeling mostly okay about the test. And I am very grateful for all the prayers and babysitting that has helped me calm and prepare.


In other news, Ella continues to grow. She's turned into a little fatty, but we love her anyway. She had her 2 month visit yesterday and weighs in at 9 lbs 12 ounces (40%ile) and is 21 inches long (20%ile). Like I said, a little fatty. But she's been a happy little girl as of late, and sleeping much better, so I'll take it.
We almost captured a smile here. Almost.

October 19, 2008

First Friends

Ella has made some new friends. She is very excited to get bigger so she can play with her new pals.
Avery and Ella are 4 months apart, which is fun because Avery's Dad and Ella's Mom are also 4 months apart, and were friends from the beginning.

"Big Trav" giving "Baby Al" some Easter cookies.





Ella and Lily are only a week apart. Ella's jealous of Lily's gorgeous hair and her ability to sleep for long stretches during the night.

There are a few more buddies that Ella is sure she will be friends with...Kate, Ethan, Bea, Ros, Ty, Cole and Beck. Here's to many a playdate!

October 16, 2008

Good Eats

Per request, here are the recipes for the Lasagna and the Raspberry bars we had at Ella's blessing. Thanks, Mom!

Lasagna
1 T olive oil
1 minced onion
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 garlic clove
28 oz crushed tomatoes
28 oz diced tomatoes
1/4 t oregano
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1/2 lb ground pork--I think I used 1 lb of each meat
1/2 lb ground beef
Cook tomatoes until acid cooks off. Add everything else and simmer.
Filling
15 oz ricotta
1 1/4 c grated parmesan
1/2 c minced fresh basil
1 egg
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 pkg no boil lasagna noodles
1 lb shredded mozarella
Mix ricotta, parmesan, basil, egg, salt and pepper.
Spread 1/4 c tomato sauce in 9 x 13 pan. Place 3 noodles on top. Then 3 T ricotta mixture on each noodle. Spread. 1 c mozzarella. layer 2 more times. For final layer--noddles, sauce, mozarella and then parmesan. cover with foil and bake 15 min at 375. Remove foil and bake about 25 min--until cheese is brown and sauce is bubbly. Let set 10 minutes.


Raspberry Streusel Bar with Lemon Cream Filling
1 c unsalted butter, softened
3 c flour
1 1/2 c old fashioned oats
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 egg, separated
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
2 t lemon zest
2 1/2 c fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, leaving a 1" overhand. Lightly butter foil.
Combine flour, oats, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter. Reserve 2 c of crumbs for topping.

Blend egg white into remaining crumbs and press into bottom of the pan. Bake the crust 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest and egg yolk. Let stand for five minutes until thickened.

Sprinkle raspberries evenly over hot crust and then drop spoonfuls of the lemon mixture over the berries. Spread gently with a spatula to distribute a little more evenly. Be careful not to crush the berries. Bake until the lemon mixture begins to form a shiny skin, 1-8 minutes.

Sprinkle reserved topping over the lemon raspberry layer, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps as you sprinkle. Bake until filling is bubbling at the edges and topping is brown--about 25-30 minutes.

Let bars cool in the pan for about an hour. Refrigerate until firm. Lift out using the foil overhang and cut into squares.

October 14, 2008

Dressed in White




We had a big day on Sunday--the first snow of the year and Ella's blessing. She was a perfect baby for most of the day, and didn't make a peep during the blessing. We had a great dinner after church with family and friends (minus those who had to beat the snow so they could get back to Idaho). Thanks to everyone who came!

October 5, 2008

Family Photo




We had a nice Conference Sunday, spending it with Grandma Sue and Grandpa Paul. We decided to take the long way home, over Guardsman Pass. It was absolutely beautiful and we took the opportunity to get our first real family photo. You can't see Ella as much as I'd like... maybe next time.

September 30, 2008

I Love...

Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle
Increased my milk supply and saved me from 12 months dependent on formula.


White Noise
I put an radio in Ella's crib and cranked up the static. She seems to like it. Thank you Dr. Karp.


Baby 411
Even Pediatricians have questions. This book has answers.


Diaper Gene II Elite
Foot pedal for easy hands-free disposal. No twisting or pushing required.



iPhone
I can check email, surf the web, read blogs, read
Pride and Prejudice, keep track of my nursing...all from the comfort of the glider rocker.


Baby Bjorn
The BB+Fresh Air=Calm Ella. Hasn't failed me yet.


NICU Nest
Thank you Danielle. We love it.


Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe
Ryan calls it the Swaddlepotamus. I call it brilliant.


the occasional bottle

I know breastmilk is nature's perfect food, but sometimes you can't beat the convenience and ease of a bottle. Just stay away from that Chinese formula.


Nancy Barrus
Not related to Ella, but the woman is a genius.

September 24, 2008

Getting Bigger

Ella had her first real doctors appointment yesterday, and my fears of her being underweight were allayed. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces! A far cry from the 6 lbs 3 oz she was two weeks ago. She has been so good lately, it has made motherhood that much more fun.

September 23, 2008

Ella update for the Grandmas

Here are some pictures of Ella over the past few days. She has graduated out of some of her preemie clothes and into one of her newborn outfits! And, last night was our best night yet. She ate well, slept well, all with minimal formula (big news for us formula junkies). Way to go, baby!! Hopefully we're starting a new trend.



Ryan put together her swing and she loves it, happily falling asleep.


She loves putting one arm straight out.

September 20, 2008

It's Official



I am so excited to announce that Jamie is getting married!!! She and Taylor and tying the knot November 1st here in Utah. A little quick...yes...but Jamie did NOT want a winter wedding, so instead of waiting for spring we are in full wedding planning mode. Things are falling together AMAZINGLY well--it's like it was meant to be. We are all so happy for them and can't wait for the wedding.

September 16, 2008

Out walking

Ella and I took a walk to the Sandy Library today. It's possible that the 3 mile walk was a little more than we should have attempted, but Ella loved it and I suppose I've got to get back in shape somehow. She is really a good baby, as long as she's fed. I am having a little trouble with my milk supply, and have resorted to supplementing (don't tell the American Academy of Pediatrics). I am trying out Fenugreek, an herb recommended by my Lactation Specialist, so we'll things if improve. The good news is that Ella doesn't care how she gets her food, as long as her tummy is full.

I downloaded the pictures from my camera today (Ryan has been taking most of the pictures on his camera) and here are some random shots from the first two weeks.

September 8, 2008

Photo Shoot

Aunt Jamie was in town this week, and we utilized her mad photography skills. I still can't figure out how to put the pictures on my blog, but you can check them out on Jamie's at


I think they are pretty amazing, especially if you consider what she had to work with: a sleepy baby, an unshaven dad, and a "studio" that consisted of a black blanket and a brightly lit window. She's good.

September 4, 2008

sleep, sleep, sleep

Turns out, Ella wasn't getting enough food! Once my milk came in she has slept worlds better. (The NICU nest, the 2 ounces of formula, worries and prayers probably didn't hurt!) We're all much happier that our little squealer is gone and sweet Ella is back.

September 2, 2008

Welcome Home

We made it. We are home, healthy and happy (and a little tired). And we have a name. You can check it out, with some new pictures, at www.ryanandalissa.com

We came home yesterday afternoon after spending Friday night to Monday morning at the University of Utah. We had a great hospital experience. Everyone was wonderful, from start to finish. Amber did a perfect job with the c-section, and Tara and Beth were superstar resuscitators.  It was very reassuring to have people I know and trusted in the OR. 

The first night was a little rocky, but I had absolutely wonderful nurses and staff. I even got the princess room! By Saturday I was feeling a bit better but still tired and not quite myself.  And Saturday night we were introduced to "Second Night Syndrome," a phenomenon for which I was not prepared. Ella was a perfect baby Friday and Saturday day, sleeping, eating and being adorable. But Saturday night she decided to come alive.  Anytime she was not being held, she was awake. Ryan and I took turns swaddling, shooshing, swooshing, and walking up and down the halls with her. By Sunday morning we were exhausted and happy to sleep during the day away with our baby.  

Sunday night Kimmy stayed the night with me while Ryan got some sleep, and we experienced third night syndrome, similar to second night, but not quite as pronounced. We still had a hard time getting her to sleep and finally put her in the nursery for an hour or two. I was amazed that they were able to get her to sleep in her crib. When I asked what their secret was they sheepeshly told me that they had put her on her stomach and watched her closely. Not very helpful advice if you don't have a full-time nurse sitting next to her at night.

By Monday we were ready to go home. She did great in her car-seat and seemed to like her new place. That is, until nightfall. She again stayed up most of the night, but did sleep some, which is an improvement. I'm learning that the things I know from being a pediatrician are not as useful for everyday life. So if anyone has any tips on getting your 5 day old to sleep during the night (in her crib, not in her daddy's arms) we're open to suggestions.

All in all, we're thrilled to have our sweet little girl. We love her more than we knew was possible and are excited for the days ahead (but don't worry, I won't make a habit of the day by day synopsis!)

August 30, 2008

Our baby girl is here!

The day finally came, and our new little baby girl is here. She seems healthy and happy and Alissa is feeling better by the hour. For now we've posted a few pictures at ryanandalissa.com. We'll have much more in the next day or two, but this should give the grandmas and great-grandmas something to see for the time being.

August 28, 2008

Nesting, with help

My mother-in-law, Janet, has been here this week in anticipation of the new baby (tomorrow!!!), and she has helped me get my house in order. "Helped" may not be the right term, though, as I did little more than point out what could stay and what could go.

Here's to neat closets, organized drawers and clean cupboards! (If I had before and after pictures this would be even more impressive.)