Tie-dye cupcakes

Mixing in the food coloring

Mixing in the food coloring

Six different colors of batter

Six different colors of batter
Spooning in the batter

Spooning in the batter
Ready to bake

Ready to bake
A few bites reveals the cool colors

A few bites reveals the cool colors
Frosting the cupcakes

Frosting the cupcakes

I was inspired to try these colorful creations by a friendfeed post: http://beta.friendfeed.com/ross/310c0b3b/taste-rainbow-with-cake-geekologie
I wanted to bring something in to the office to thank them for their generosity surrounding Spencer’s birth. This seemed like a good opportunity to try these out, as I don’t want to eat them all myself. I got two boxes of white cake mix, and made them according to the directions. Then the fun started. Mom and I mixed in the gel dye in, which worked really well for the yellow, blue, and green. But red comes out as hot pink, which only worked out well in the 80’s. So, we split the pink batter and made a small amount of purple and orange. The purple didn’t look like it would be great, but it baked up pretty well. When we spooned in the batter to the cupcake wrappers, I liked “co-extrusion”, which is holding two spoons next to each other and letting both batters fill at the same time on different sides. They baked up quite nicely. We frosted them with funfetti icing and extra jelly beans. They turned out to be colorful and delicious snack sized sugar frosted sugar bombs. They went over pretty well at work too.

April Buchheit meets Spencer

April, Clare, and Spencer all seem happy

April, Clare, and Spencer all seem happy

This week April came to visit us for a few days. It was nice to get some tips from another mom with some very recent experience. She helped us better our baby burrito swaddling technique, and added some swinging and shushing a la “Happiest Baby on the Block”. Rob and Paul were nice enough to take care of the kids so that April and Clare could have some quality girl time. Thanks guys!

Spencer likes to suck his hands (any digit will do)

Spencer likes to suck his hands (any digit will do)

Spencer has been growing and developing quite a bit. Today marks the beginning of his 5th week of life. His head control is starting to get more refined and less jerky, he self soothes by sucking on random parts of his hand(s), and lately he has been making faces that resemble a smile at appropriate times. It only gets more fun to play with him.

Smile? Yawn? We're not sure.

Smile? Yawn? We’re not sure.
April updating her friendfeed

April updating her friendfeed
Clare and the 'fly guy' (that is what his shirt says)

Clare and the ‘fly guy’ (that is what his shirt says)
April shows us her baby soothing tricks

April shows us her baby soothing tricks

Congratulations on your first month Spencer

Spencer in one of his mom's shirts

Spencer in one of his mom’s shirts

In celebration of this milestone, we tried to take several pictures today. This week was the first time that I thought Spencer was detectably bigger than he used to be, so we are trying to record the cuteness for posterity. Like that Spencer tends to sneeze in threes. Or his ever changing expressions. But most of all, I wanted to capture the little things we have been noticing about his body as we get to know him. Strong hands; long, narrow feet; newly minted belly buttons; detached earlobes; and the limb uncurling that comes with getting used to the idea of being out of the womb.

The yellow tie die t-shirt is one that my parents made for me before I was born, and brought out during their visit for us to let Spencer wear. It’s a good thing we put it on now, even though it says 6 months in the size tag, because it already shows off a bit of belly. The last picture is me with Spencer after a much needed nap. More pictures from today can be found in the One month old album.

Spencer and Rob hold hands

Spencer and Rob hold hands
Spencer stretching his arm. He likes to stretch his left one more than the right

Spencer stretching his arm. He likes to stretch his left one more than the right
Spencer exercising

Spencer exercising
Tiny hands

Tiny hands
belly button

belly button
Tiny feet

Tiny feet
Spencer has Rob's ears

Spencer has Rob’s ears
Spencer has Clare's forehead.

Spencer has Clare’s forehead.
Clare and Spencer hanging out

Clare and Spencer hanging out

Bathtime

Spencer getting a bath
Spencer getting a bath

Spencer getting a bath

On Wednesday, Spencer had his first doctor’s appointment. He checked out just fine, and had gained back his birth weight. Spencer’s umbilical cord stub mostly fell off during the appointment. However, there was some scab left, which was mostly gone by today. The significance of losing his umbilical cord is that he can graduate from sponge baths to submersion baths. Which we tried for the first time today. Ellen and Rob did the honors. Spencer is still not a fan of baths, but it is nice to have a clean baby boy from time to time. The second picture features Spencer’s newly minted belly button.

belly button

belly button

The waiting is the hardest part

Clare between 38 and 39 weeks
Clare between 38 and 39 weeks

Clare between 38 and 39 weeks

So, with any luck, I am nearing the end of pregnancy. We are excited to meet the kid. With the passing of the 38th week milestone comes the anticipation of when labor will actually begin. The “official” due date based on the fetus size at the first ultrasound is 2/8. However, a study of “The Length of Uncomplicated Human Gestation.”, published in 1990 indicates that as a first time white mom with health insurance, my kid is more likely to emerge around Valentine’s day. The study only has 31 first time births, so hard to say how much weight to place on it. But it’s main point it that it is significantly longer than the due date predicted by Naegele’s rule (2/1 for me). According to Rob’s calculations, there is a 50% chance the kid will be here by 2/9. I wish the confidence intervals on this kind of thing were easier to find. It’s hard to mentally prepare for labor and work at the same time.

My love of data and numbers, incidentally, is why I don’t like pain scales. There are lots of resources for pain management techniques for labor, but nothing that is really concrete about what to expect as it does not seem to translate very well from one person to another. One thing I attribute this to is lack of definition or consistency in measuring pain between induhviduals. When a nurse asks you how much pain you are in on a scale from 1 – 10, what does that mean? Is it linear? Logarithmic? That is, is a 4 twice as much pain as a 2 or an 8 10 times as much pain as a 7? Is anything less than a 5 something that you can handle with your daily business? Does acute pain count differently than chronic pain? Do they have a fixed point like a 2 is always how much pain a cloths pin on your ear
causes? No one can ever answer these questions.

Spring break
OR
Daffodils sprouting

sprouting daffodils from afar

Sprouting daffodils seen from afar

Last weekend marked the beginning of Indiana University’s spring break. This doesn’t mean we get a week off, but it does mean less traffic congestion. And more importantly, it means that spring is on our doorstep. It has been very nice this week; sunny and in the 40s or 50s. This is a welcome change from all the freezing rain and gray of February. I was feeling grumpy Saturday, one of the first days of nice weather, so Rob and I decided to go on a walk around the property. It was very wet. We crossed the stream and went back to the field, pond, and up the hill to where Rob usually gets the wood he so enjoys chopping. When we reached the pond, we found that it was full enough to cover the drain pipe, which leads down to the field. That explains a lot. The ice on the pond was cracking and sinking, a sign of spring emerging.

Daffodils up closer

Daffodils a bit closer

When we came back down from the pond and the woods, we walked around the planned garden sites and talked about what to plant where. We also discussed whether or not to get chickens some more and if we did where to put the chicken coop. Then, almost done, we went to throw away some garbage we found on our walk. That’s when we saw the most definitive sign of spring: daffodils.

daffodils up very close

Daffodils up very close

Poking up through the dusting of snow and last fall’s leaves, little green blades and buds stuck their heads out to let us know that the annual cycle is complete and spring is on it’s way. The spirit of renewal and rebirth reminds us that we will try it all again this year and see where life leads us.

We spent the next half an hour or so clearing brush and leaves to give our newest arrivals a hospitable welcome.

Let there be light
OR
Baby it’s cold outside

I just fixed the lamp in the kitchen. When I say fixed, I mean that a month ago, changing the bulb didn’t work to restore the light that should come on when a switch is flipped. This was not surprising because the fixture had a long, slow death, taking tens of minutes to come on in the morning at the end. We had an electrician out to fix the wire that I ran over with a lawn mower this summer (oops). He also looked at the light and said the ballast was probably dead. I got a new fixture last week and tonight I wired it up. The kitchen is much brighter now. And Rob seems impressed that light comes immediately on when he flips the switch.

Rob has been enjoying heating with wood. Unlike when I was growing up, the house now has an HVAC system, so if he decided it wasn’t so fun, we could flip a switch and be warm. But the heat from the furnace isn’t as good as wood heat somehow. It’s too dry and doesn’t smell as good and makes weird noises in the middle of the night. Rob gets up early Saturday morning to go collect and chop wood. He sometimes literally can’t wait to get out of the house. He claims it is in the name of exercise, but I’m pretty sure he enjoys it.

According to him, we keep the house in the mid-60’s. He monitors the temperature in each room several times a day. I seem to like it slightly colder than he does. The upstairs is warmer than the downstairs. The living room heats up quite a bit on sunny days (due to the parents eco-friendly design), but Indiana has plenty of cloudy days as well. That’s when it helps to have wood heat.