Posts tagged birthday

Chloë’s 7th Birthday Clue Hunt

Chloë turned 7 this past October 7th, and on her birthday we gave our present to her. Without giving anything away (because maybe you want to play along!) the present was a bit unconventional in that there is nothing to be given exactly. Our gift to her is an event. But, we wanted her to have some kind of experience in the gift reception, so Leah came up with a fun little hunt for clues. I chronicled most of the hunt, and I’ll fill in with narrative as needed.

After getting home from school for the day, Chloë was greeted by the entire family in the halls of the Ranchero. Leah told Chloë that there was a note waiting for her on our apartment door!

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This was inside…

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!!! What was Princess Pug up to? If I know anything about that dog, I can assure you it was something mischievous at best. Attached to her collar she had a note! What did it say…

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Well, Chloë is no slouch at figuring out clues, so she quickly figured out to look under the… rug! She found a little gift

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and another clue

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Okay. Well again Chloë proved to be a quick study, and knew exactly where to go. At the washer and dryer she spied something. Surely this must be the present!

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Hell yeah candy!

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But there was more than candy and snacks inside. Hmm…. another clue?!

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This clue was a little trickier. Chloë and I discovered little tiny doors in the Ranchero a long time ago where tiny-people-that-will-get-you live, which she loves to show Rex-Goliath. We headed in that direction…

Rex-Goliath was faithfully assisting in the hunt the whole time.

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Ah ha! Another bag. Surely this time it was the real present!

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Alright! What’s inside?

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Footy pajamas! Aww man that’s cool! They have all sorts of kitties and moons and stars and …wait, what’s this?

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Carol and Bill. Ah jeez, does that mean she has to knock on their door?

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Yep!

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Haha Bill. Getting into his skivvies at 4:00 pm. God I love Bill. Anyway, he had a gift, a note, and a dollar of his own for the birthday girl. Dad didn’t snap a picture of the gift – a few bottles of sparkly nail polish.

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Now we’re getting to it! A slumber party! The snacks, the movie rental, the pajamas – they all make so much sense now. But what oh what else could be in store?

Off to the garage!

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And what was inside?

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A beach towel! And a bathing suit (in absentia, it was still en route). Now how does this fit in with a slumber party? Well, we aren’t quite done.

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Well this clue was quite a bit trickier. Where would a little bird leave a note?

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Inside the birdhouse! Of course! Well we got the note out of there, and then… the big reveal.

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Well, of course, after all this, Dad didn’t take a picture of the final note. Our gift to Chloë was a day, with two friends, at the Waterpark of America, a movie and a slumber party. Oh my god what a GREAT PRESENT!

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– Mr. Wonderful

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Baby Pictures: Birth.

Here is the first in a series of baby photos of our little guy, Xavier Merten Wonderful.

At about 3:30 am, on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, my labor started. We spent a bit of time deliberating whether Dan should plan to go into work that day or not. When I went into labor with Rex-Goliath, it took a while before things really got going, so I figured that we had at least twelve hours before the baby would arrive. Dan went back to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I decided to pack Princess Pug’s bag, since Grandma Vicky would be coming to get her. I had to keep stopping because the contractions were getting stronger. Once I realized it was taking me 30 minutes to put some Kibbles ‘n’ Bits and a leash in a bag, I decided to wake Dan up again.

Dan called the midwife, Amy, and after talking with me, she recommended that I take a bath and call back in an hour to make sure that this was true labor. For the record, I was pretty sure that this was true labor. I was a little surprised at how painful it had gotten in such a short amount of time. Maybe I had forgotten how difficult labor is in the two years since Rex-Goliath was born? I really hoped she didn’t have twelve more hours of this in store for me. Dan started packing and making arrangements for Rex-Goliath and the dog. I am a planner, and we had checklists for our checklists. Every man, woman, and child had a packing list, and I had long since googled directions to the hospital. Who wants to be bending over in labor pain while trying to get the printer to work? After an hour, Amy and I decided that it would be a good idea to go to the hospital.

The drive to the hospital takes thirty minutes, and frankly, it sucks. Dan had classical music on in the car because he thought that it might be soothing. I thought about ripping the radio out of the car, but then decided to nicely ask Dan to turn the music off. The things that bother you in labor are funny – things that might be mildly irritating or even pleasant in normal circumstances can be rage-inducing. Contractions in a moving vehicle are miserable. Contractions in a moving vehicle while listening to Mozart might make me homicidal.

Dan is bad with directions on a good day, and normally depends on me to just tell him where to go. Since I was focusing on other things, we both hoped that he could find the hospital. About a mile away from the hospital, we encountered a road closed for construction. Dan decided to just drive on the road anyway. Then we were stopped by a barricade that was unmovable. The hospital was in sight. Dan drove over the sidewalk to get around the barricade, and we finally made it to the hospital. it was like something out of an action movie, but much more irritating.

Once we made it to the Labor and Delivery ward at North Memorial, I felt better. Getting to the hospital is always the worst part – sometimes I would have to stop every twenty steps or so for a contraction. Once in the hospital, they have all sorts of contraptions with wheels on them and I don’t have to worry about walking from place to place anymore. Amy met us in the L & D Triage, and after checking Leah she found that I was already at eight centimeters.

Once we made it to the birthing room, Amy wanted to listen to the baby to make sure that everything was okay. I hate fetal monitoring – having things strapped around my belly in labor is excruciating for some reason. During my prenatal appointments, I threatened to labor in the North Memorial parking ramp until I was pushing if I had to have it for any more than a few minutes. The midwife wanted to be able to see that the baby’s heart rate was increasing when I had a contraction, and the little guy just wouldn’t do it. He was being evicted from the only home he has ever known in a fairly dramatic way, but he was proving to be pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Eventually, Amy gave up and took the monitor off.

I labored in the birth tub for about fifteen minutes. By “birth tub,” I mean slightly deeper than normal bathtub. Waterbirth is new to North Memorial, and although the midwives that I see are trying to convince the hospital to invest in a real birth pool with lots of room, it hasn’t happened yet. I have wanted a waterbirth for a long time, and I was willing to do it in the bathtub if that was the only option. Water is helpful at reducing the pain of labor – it is sometimes called “the midwife’s epidural.”

At this point, the midwife that attended Rex-Goliath’s birth, Kathrine, arrived. The hospital wanted the midwives to have two present for waterbirths because they were a new thing. We were excited that Kathrine could be there for this birth because we had such a good experience with her during Rex-Goliath’s birth.

I decided that I felt like pushing, so I did. Pushing this baby out was more difficult than pushing out Rex-Goliath. Once again, I wondered if I was getting soft in my old age. I decided that I was ready to be done with this whole birth thing, pushed like heck, and out came Xavier at 8:37 am. Later she was surprised to find out that it only took about fifteen minutes of pushing. Amy remarked that Xavier had come face-first, which is somewhat unusual. She said that she liked to call these babies “stargazers,” because they come out looking upwards instead of down, like most babies.

Xavier was calm immediately after the birth, just looking around and almost smiling. It took a minute or so before he even let out a little cry. He was 7 lbs, 9 oz and 20 1/2 cm long. He had his first meal from mama shortly after he was born. We went home from the hospital later that day to avoid inedible food, uncomfortable beds, and nurses demanding to know whether or not the baby had pooped yet. Those nurses were really concerned about the contents of Xavier’s diapers.

True to his behavior on his birthday, Xavier is proving to be a very calm baby – he loves to nap and seldom cries. The newest addition to Team Wonderful is fitting in just swell. Which is good, because I don’t think that we can return him at this point.

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We’ll be keeping this little fish.

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After getting out of the birthing tub, these two bums are just laying around.

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The handsome Mr. X.M.W.

– M. & Mme Wonderful

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