Sunday, September 30, 2007

Baby Julien's First Hiking Trip

Today we took the baby on his first hiking trip. It was just a short excursion to the forest at Fountainebleu which is just south of Paris. Julien did great, he just slept the entire time. We woke him up for about 5 minutes to experience nature for the first time. I also did very well, I was pleased to be able to hike 2 hours while carrying the baby, I thought I would be get worn out sooner.

We also had a bathing adventure when we got home. Julien had his first bath in the "big boy tub". He was getting way too big for the sink. He LOVES the water but he really hates the before and after. Our neighbors must think we torture the poor kid, he screams like crazy when I am drying him. It is worth the effort though because he smells so nice after his lotion rub down.

I also bought him a few outfits at the store yesterday. He needed a couple more warm clothes for our outings around the city. When I bought his clothes I didn't realize he would often need multiple outfits per day. No, he isn't a fashionista he just has a little trouble with spit-up and sometimes his diaper isn't attached quite right. I now have enough so I can do laundry a little less often. I have always been thankful for my dryer which is a luxury in Paris but now it makes me even happier. The simple things in life.

Josh took a lot of pictures today on our hike so I am sure some will be posted soon. We will also try to get a good one of baby Juju in the tub, we need something to blackmail him with in the future.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Short Julien Update

I want to thank everyone for the kind emails, comments, cards and gifts, I promise thank you notes will be arriving shortly! My mom just left after two weeks visiting with us. We had a lovely time although she didn't get to see much of Paris.

I have been busy with Julien and getting used to being a mother. Julien is a delightful baby, he only fusses when he is hungry and between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. We originally tried to put him to bed at 6:00 but it works much better to let stay up with us until his last feeding around 8:30. Also this way Josh gets to see him when he gets home from work.

Josh takes the early shift from 9:00-12:00 which is often the most difficult because we have to get him settled in his bed. Josh then gets to sleep the rest of the night so he is fairly well rested for work. I take from midnight on which means I usually wake up to feed him at 2:00 and 6:00 AM. Julien and I go back to sleep until 9 AM so I am getting plenty of sleep. Of course there are some nights that don't go according to plan and we are all exhausted the next day.

We have taken Julien out a few times now, he had a fun day in Paris with my mom, Josh and me. I even managed to feed him in a cafe which took some slick maneuvering with a cardigan and a blanket but it worked well. We also took him shoe shopping (for Josh, Julien isn't wearing shoes yet) and to champagne both with great success. We are very happy we can still get out and do things with a new little baby.

I don't have much to write about other than the baby. I am taking care of him, cleaning the house, grocery shopping and trying to get to the park for some exercise. Somehow my days are flying by just with those limited things. I haven't read the news or turned on the TV since getting home!

I have to go the baby wants to eat. I will try to write more soon and also answer some emails.. I am sorry to be such a slacker!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pictures Again

Just a cute one of Julien

We had Christoph and Noé over since they are leaving soon for Australia! This is the new super wide angle lens - doesn't the apartment look HUGE?! Click it click it

Marvel, Gena, Julien and I went to Champagne on Saturday. Here's Marvel and Julien in front of Taittinger, where we had a tour.

Julien and his Grandmamma GV!

The Four of Us.
Different take

Me and the kid! Note the remote in my hand, all the baby instruction manuals, and the leftover plastic bags from Carefour - we got our groceries delivered this day!

Opps, how did this get in here, this isn't a picture of our baby! Taken from our apartment window (if you've been, you know this isn't really our "view", but... it's possible to see). I have a ton of pictures like this, all different times of the day. I'm trying to capture the moon behind the tower, Tuesday 5AM should be an opportunity. It's all about the weather.

Gena and Julien out for a walk! This art is just next to our building. I think it's some famous fictional French detective fellow.

Gena got flowers from Sartomer! How nice of all those guys and gals in the Technical Center!

Mamma GV and the baby!! How sweet. She won't let him go!

That's all for now. Sorry to be so long between updates. As you can imagine we are busy busy! Julien is asleep now, hurrah! It's been 2.5 hours so I'm expecting him to need something soon. He sleeps okay for a while but is still eating twice during the night. I take a little wussy shift so Gena can at least sleep a couple hours and then I go to bed since I can't feed him. And Gena is nice enough to give me some sleep too..

Anyhow, hope everyone out there is doing well! Leave lots of comments, we love to hear from you. And if you are anonymous put your name so we know who we're hearing from :)

Oh by the way we took Julien to the embassy, made him a citizen, and ordered his first passport! We officially have a duel citizenship baby. How exciting!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Yesterday was the day Jingle has been waiting almost 3 years for. He finally got out - the top! Silly me left the upper window above the desk wide open after taking some pictures of the sun setting, and Jingle was OUT! By the time we knew and I went back upstairs, Santa was ready to go too. "Don't leave me!"

Jingle was so excited, tail bushed out and straight up in the air, trotting around to each corner and along the edges, looking for somewhere else to go. I didn't dare climb out with him and try to chase and catch him, he was on his own. But in the end it was rather cold on the roof and nothing to do so he wandered back close enough to be grabbed.

I'm sure he thought he made his big break, but in the end it was rather anti-climatic for him. Our poor prisoner.

By the way, this is the new lens I'm getting for my birthday! It's super wide, check the distortion and how skinny that building looks!
The camera is at the same height as that other skylight!
Sorry, it's a photo thing....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mid September Now

Hello Everyone,
Well, Gena's mom is here so we have been a bit too busy to write and post many pictures in the past week or so. And, sorry, I didn't bring any to work with me so there won't be any today either...

Oh, wait, I did bring the photo that we are going to try and use for Julien's first PASSPORT!! I'm not sure if they will take it 'cause his head is slightly turned and Gena's hand is in there, but what do they expect - he's an uncooperative baby! Especially 'cause he got woken up to have his mug shot taken.. after reading the rules and whatnot about the photo, we had to take a special one. Imagine, 3000 photos of a baby and none conforming to the passport rules!

Well, I tried a few times but it's a no go to upload anything from here. Oh well, we keep taking pictures so eventually they will get here!

Things are going well so far. Julien is eating a lot, hungry all time time, and has apparently gained about a pound. The scale we use isn't so precise or calibrated, so there is a pretty good margin of error. We think he has grown, lengthwise, too, maybe half an inch or maybe an inch. Our tape measure IS calibrated (ha!) but I don't know how they measured him before (tip of head to heel or to toe?), plus we don't like stretching him on the rack too often.

He sleeps.. off and on. I have Julien Duty until midnight which is usually when he needs the most attention, and then Gena takes over. Last night was super easy for me and from 2-5AM I think he was not as peacefully asleep. If we follow the schedule we have it tends to be more predictable and he does better at night, in my opinion. It's hard to follow when we go and do things, like Saturday we went to Champagne and how do you keep a kid AWAKE in the car?

Ah, Champagne. We toured Tattinger around lunch time, had lunch at a cool cafeteria thing, and then drove along the Route du Champagne - this time in the Côte des Blancs part, south of Epernay. Unfortunately we didn't really see a whole lot more Blanc de Blanc for sale than in the other parts, but the visits were good and the Champage portion of our electric cave is now full! We stopped at a little pizza place on the way home, where Julien started breaking down. Just a hungry boy!

What else is going on? Marvel is helping us out a lot, Gena and I got to go outside by ourselves yesterday to buy some cheese, fish for dinner, vegetables, bread, ect. We took advantage and stopped and had a coffee (hot chocolate for Gena - we learned about coffee about day 5!) at a café and relaxed a bit. We have been eating mostly at home, and Gena and Marvel usually get out at least once a day, Gena with the baby in her Baby Bjorn, usually to the store or around the park near us.

Tomorrow is our appointment at the Embassy to make Julien officially an American, and request his first passport.

I guess that's it for now. Hopefully more soon!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Couple Picts

None yesterday, and worse yet not a ton today to make up for it! But here are three:

"The Scream"

"Bat Boy" in his swaddler, aka The Straight Jacket

Peaceful in his Pack and Play bassinet

Julien is one week old today!

We had a rather rough night last night with the baby, he didn't want to sleep. I think he was excited for his birthday.. but probably it was the half a cup of coffee I had. Today he was much better, going down for his naps and staying awake in the afternoon. I hope he sleeps better tonight! I am giving up coffee for the foreseeable future.

We have worked out a night system, Josh takes the early shift from about 11-2 so I can sleep then I am in charge from 2 through the night. I have to feed him at 2 so this works well. This way we are both able to get at least some sleep. We will see how it works out once Josh goes back to work, hopefully Julien will be sleeping better by then.

We aren't really doing anything other than taking care of the baby and trying to make one outing a day. Today we didn't go out because I was still sore from yesterday when we walked for longer than usual. I can't wait to regain my strength and get back to normal. I already feel a million times better than the last weeks of pregnancy.

The cats are totally over the baby. They could care less about him, unless he is crying then they look at us with desperation to get him to stop!

All in all he is a good baby. He is really sweet and loves to cuddle, especially after he nurses. We are having a great time learning how to care for him and enjoying this special time while he is so young.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I just wanna say

I just read Gena's account of her labor - now near the bottom of the page - and I just wanna let everyone know that she was a stand up champ through the whole process. She never shed a tear, never screamed, never panicked, never said nasty things to her husband, the doctors, or the nurses. She left out how the epidural wore started wearing off two times during her time in the delivery room, which she also handled very well. I am so proud of her and she is so strong!

A Good Day!

After a long night... but now we are on a schedule! And Julien just slept 4 hours in a row, basically. I'm optimistic about tonight. I took a lot of pictures today so here are some of the better ones.

It's not all smiles and giggles 100% of the time! Here's the bad face! Note the tongue curl. That's to project his voice through all space and time! Surprised you guys don't hear it in California.
The family on the couch. Note the football hold. Heisman pose tomorrow maybe!

Santa stepped in for some loving and had some fun too.

Julien's chili pepper outfit. One of those we have to wear a lot now 'cause I don't know how long it will fit! Super cute. We changed his clothes later, though, 'cause the bottom part isn't really compatible with the Baby Bjorn carrier thing, and we went for a walk later.

We told you Julien's feet are big. Turns out they aren't THAT big.

Cozy little angel.

Can see his eye color pretty well here - or what it is for now. Dark/slate kind of blue.

Julien flashing his gang sign. Anyone know who this kid rolls with?

Well at some point, folks, the pictures have to be cut back a bit. Surely that will happen a lot after I go back to work - Tuesday.
Prepare, you Grandparents, so you don't have too much withdrawal!

Second day home for me and the baby

I posted the story of baby Julien's birth, it is below the pictures from yesterday. Check it out if you are interested.

Today is our first entire day home. We had a long night last night with feeding and crying but today we started the baby on a schedule so hopefully that will help. Julien is down for a nap now and we have a plan for the rest of the night.

We have been outside twice now, both times with Julien in his baby bjorn. He has slept through both outings, I think the walking lulls him and we go out right after he nurses. We have bought everything we need for his and my care. We are having a lot of fun dressing him in cute outfits and taking pictures.

It is really great to have Josh home this week to help me figure out what to do with the baby. We are working together to find solutions to his fussing. We are also having so much fun just playing with him. He is super cute and really cuddly!

I am really tired now so I am going to relax before we I need to feed the baby again. If Josh has time he will post some more pictures, I am sure he took at least 100 today!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Julien's public awaits

Both my mom and Gena's mom demand MORE PICTURES so here we are. Gena and Julien came home today, and everything seems to be going well. We'll see how the night goes - we put him downstairs in the guest room with a walkie talkie (called talkie walkie in French!) since the cats have gone in his bassinet and we are worried they might like him TOO much! We'll see how it goes from here.

Pictures from Today:

Something stinks!!!

Gena, zoning out, trying the new rocking chair.

Baby and the Beast, introductions
Santa was a bit scared, but he's also scared of shoes.

Might be my favorite of the day:
Sleepin' on mommy:

Gena geared out for Julien's first walk on the town. We went and did some errands, he slept 2 hours like this:

The car seat, leaving the hospital:


I DID NOT TAKE THIS CRAPPY PICTURE but we are both in it, so here it is:

Julien and Gena's arm in The Avenger.

The Birth of baby Julien

Hi! I am finally home from the hospital, after six days! Julien is asleep in his bassinet and Josh is asleep on the couch so I have a few minutes to write.

I am so happy to be home with our beautiful, perfect baby boy. It was a LONG labor and as a result a rather long story but for those of you who are interested here goes..

Thursday we checked into the hospital around 7:45, by 8:30 I was hooked up to a monitor for contractions, heart rate and babies heart rate. After an hour of monitoring the midwife inserted a gel to soften my cervix. I was monitored a while longer then sent to my room to wait for the gel to work. I spent the entire day being monitored and checked every few hours. I had lower abdominal and back pain all day but it wasn't too bad. By Thursday night I had dilated only 1 centimeter so we decided Josh should go home to sleep. I spent Thursday night trying to sleep through both the excitement and the pain. I think I might have managed a few hours before the real contractions began.

Friday morning around 5:00 AM I noticed my ab pain changed, it was worse but then it would actually go away. I started to time the pain and realized it was coming every 10 minutes and must be contractions. I called Josh at home to make sure he was on his way (we had planned he would be back at 7:00 AM). I waited for him to arrive and then we called the midwife. She monitored me and I was still 1 centimeter but I was having contractions every 7-8 minutes. She hooked me up to the monitor again and also started an IV of saline and a round of penicillin. She gave me something else but I am not sure what it was. Luckily I asked for the IV to be attached to a movable stand so I could walk around. After about an hour I went back to my room. Josh and I spent the rest of the day with him timing my contractions, about every 5 minutes for most of the day. The midwife would come check me every couple hours. The doctor also came a couple times. Around 3:00 PM they got really bad (it had been 10 hours now) so the midwife checked me and told me I could have an epidural, she just needed to call the anesthesiologist. She came back at 4:00 to tell me the anesthesiologist wasn't available but she was trying to find another one and would come back at 5:00. She told me to take a shower and try to relax. 5:00 came and went with the contractions getting worse and worse. When she still hadn't come back at 5:45 we called the nurse. She went to find the midwife, they both came back at 6:15 and said I could go to delivery. I was getting rather annoyed that I had to wait 3 hours longer to get my epidural, it was now 13 hours of labor.

We went to the delivery room where Josh was given scrubs and I was hooked up to the monitor. I am not sure why but it took another hour for the anesthesiologist. An hour is a LONG time when you are in labor! She finally came and I got my epidural, it was so, so, so great! It took effect around 8:00. The new midwife came and added some medication to my IV to speed up the labor. She came to check me every 20 minutes and to increase the dose of medicine. We did this until about 11:00 when she called the doctor. The doctor came and told me I was 10 centimeters dilated and completed effaced. I was so happy! He said the baby hadn't come down the birth canal though so we needed to wait. We waited until about 12:30 and he did an exam and said he thought we would be able to get the baby to come down so he prepared me for birth. Everything happened really quickly and they were telling me to push. Josh was counting and the midwife and anesthesiologist were all encouraging me. We tried for about 25 minutes then the doctor got out the forceps which I didn't know at the time.. only that it hurt. We tried this way for another 15 minutes but with no success. At this point the doctor told me it would be safest for me and the baby to have a cesarean. He said the baby just wouldn't come down and he didn't want to wait any longer.

The anesthesiologist explained she was going to increase the epidural and my legs would go numb. She did this and the midwife and doctor cleaned up all the delivery stuff. I thought they would do the cesarean in the same room but suddenly some guy walked in with a bed and I was being transported to the operating area. Josh, the doctor, the midwife, the anesthesiologist, the strange man and I all left the room. We picked up a pediatrician on the way and we set off to the surgery. We got down there (after taking numerous hallways and the elevator)and they made Josh go put on sterile clothes. I was transferred to another bed and brought into surgery. Once I was in the room they strapped my arms down and then cleaned me with iodine. They then put up a big sheet in front of me so I couldn't see what was happening. Josh came back then and was trying to watch but they told him to sit next to me. At this point I was really tired, I was kind of falling asleep, it was about 2:45 AM. I had a warm pad behind my neck and warm air blowing on my and I couldn't feel anything.

After 22 hours of labor, we finally heard baby Julien screaming before we ever saw him. It was such a relief to hear him cry! Then we saw this rather large purple screaming baby! I couldn't believe he had come from inside of me! The pediatrician took him and put him in an incubator and Josh went over to see him. Then the pediatrician brought him over and let me see him. They then left to go clean him up. Josh was so sweet and said he would stay with me but I told him to go, thank goodness I would have been so worried if he didn't! They took about 40 minutes to put me back together then I had to go to recovery. I was in recovery FOREVER! I just wanted to see my baby! Finally after 45 minutes they took me back to my room. I was transferred to my bed and Josh came in with the baby. I was so happy to see them! Julien was much bigger than I expected but so beautiful! I held him until they took him away.

I spent Saturday and most of Sunday stuck in bed with a catheter but I had Josh and the baby with me the entire time so it wasn't too bad. Sunday afternoon I got rid of both the IV and the catheter and had the longest shower ever! I spent the rest of the time in the hospital with my sweet baby and my great husband. The staff at the hospital were really great and I couldn't have wished for a thing. It was really great to get some rest after the two day birthing process!

Josh was so amazing through the entire pregnancy but especially the end. I had to go the hospital every day for the last week and he went every time. I know it was really boring to sit there and watch me be monitored. Thursday and Friday he was so amazing, helping me through a very long labor. He made me laugh and kept my smiling the entire time. He made sure I knew what was happening and that I was taken care of. I couldn't ask for a better husband and I know he will be an amazing father to baby Julien!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


This blog site now supports video! So we took a couple in Gena's room today, this first one is just us fooling around with the camera. Julien was circumcised at noon today so this afternoon he was a little testy. They gave him some pain killers but they wore off pretty soon. Two more videos to follow, and then below that you should find some pictures from today. Hope everyone is doing well!


Video 2

Julien gets the hiccups a lot.


We already taught Julien a little dance.

Thirteen Today

Photos, that is. And hopefully you can see the videos, which should be above this post (?). If you just see this one I'm in the process of working on it, while eating my Gazpacho! LOVE Gazpacho. Okay, the Gazpacho will probably be gone by then. I hope Julien and his mother can forgive my garlic breath tomorrow!

So Gena is using the "old" camera, and we discovered (remembered) two good
reasons why it can still be a very good thing to keep handy! Aside from her being able to take pictures of me, like the one above! First of all, the "old" camera can take much closer macro-type photos (closeups) than the new camera. This is because the all-in-one lens on the "old" camera is designed to do this, while none of the lenses I have for the new camera are designed to focus this close (I would need something like this - on the list, but out of budget for the near/foreseeable future)

So with the old camera I can take closer pictures that I can't with the new one, like these:

The second thing is that it can record video - unlike the new camera - and those should be posted above this post, or on the way, or I'm having technical difficulties.

Here are the other pictures from today. Enjoy! I'm off to bed again! Gena is home tomorrow, so maybe she'll write some words if we can get the baby settled in here.

This is the crib thing the American Hospital of Paris give us to use in the maternity ward. Pretty nice, and name brand! See that white and blue thing in which Julien is sleeping? That says "American Hospital of Paris" on it? They tried to sell us one to take home - new of course - for 70€. That's about $95. Wow!

Another family picture attempt. Julien was awake this time, now he just has to look at the camera!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Smaller Today

No, not the baby. The number of pictures - only four today!
Finally, I took some with all three of us in the frame. They are alright, but plenty of room for perfection so this will be revisited again I'm sure. Also a work in progress is the "put the baby on top of where he used to be" photo. I can't be the first person to think of this so maybe I can find some inspiration/ideas from some real artists for this one. For now it's great but I'm thinking more art quality work. We'll see.
Like I said yesterday we aren't astonished by his "smallness", we think he's rather big actually, but I will say coming home and seeing our cats - the cats look enormous! And heavy! Of course Jingle IS a bit over 20lbs, so... we'll have to stick up for Julien for a few months.. by the way anyone have advice about cats and newborns? We aren't worried but at the same time looking for others' experiences.

A cute one of Gena and Julien:

And that's it! I know, not nearly as much as the past two days, but you know what he LOOKS like now, so it's just a matter of finding those special expressions and new ideas of pictures to make.

So Gena is still doing well, she should go home Wednesday or maybe Thursday if she has to stay an extra day. The baby is doing well too, everything is fine he had tests today for blood coagulation, hearing (not sure how this one worked), and something else, and all is good.

Well, as usual this week I'm getting home rather late, so this is all you get today - I'm off to bed.