Monday, December 29, 2008

We're Here

It's been an incredibly long two days.

Dad is physically doing ok. I had him checked by his doctor today, and we had a chest x-ray done because of all the smoke he breathed in. He has some burns on his cheeks, forehead and nose, although the nose burns are the worst. His eyebrows and eyelashes were singed off, and his eyes slightly injured so he has eye drops to help them heal. His right knee is swollen, and his shoulder and wrist hurt from where he fell trying to get out of the house.

Emotionally, I'm not sure. We're both a mess. He has a cell phone again, but we're really busy right now trying to put things back together. We got an emergency check from the insurance company so he has some money. His wallet was destroyed, so we're working on getting his driver's license and credit cards replaced. We put an application in on an condo in town that is fully furnished and move in ready. Our insurance agent found it for us, and we should be able to move him in tomorrow.

Thank you for the prayers, and keep them coming. It looks even worse than the pictures depict. The house caught fire a second time and is now totally gone. There isn't so much as a wall standing. Everything we thought was important is gone.

Our home is gone.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Things

I'll go backwards to make sure and get the important stuff first:
* George (Karen's Dad) is uninjured, and only had some minor smoke inhalation problems
* We weren't there at the time, and had been staying in St. Louis
* Marilyn had departed a few hours earlier afer an overnight stay
* They're coping as best as can be expected

* George's house burned to the ground this morning (Sun, 12/28)
* Most of his and Karen's treasured keepsakes and family heirlooms are gone 

Tomorrow will begin the process of figuring out what needs to be done and taking care of the immediate necessities (medicine, accounts, insurance, sanity). I know they will both appreciate your thoughts and warm wishes, emails, etc. I suspect it will take them a few days to return phone calls and emails, and we'll probably update more as we can. 

- Dan

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snopocolypse 2008, part 2

If you have any doubts about how bad the roads are right now, check out this article in today's Seattle PI (especially the pictures)!

I was about 4 blocks from where this happened this afternoon. The road in front of our house has been closed because of ice. We watched cars slide up, down and sideways all day, so we're glad it's closed. It's crazy out there, and we have no intention of leaving the house for the next few days.

Snopocolypse 2008

Seattle is not the midwest. It doesn't snow here. It doesn't drop below freezing. It's a nice temperate climate.

So what in the world is going on? We got 4" of snow dumped on us yesterday, and the temperature is in the teens. It's insane. Schools have been closed since Wednesday in preparation for the storm, and they are predicting more cold, more snow and some ice for this weekend. Skiing seems to be the best way to get around.

Seattle doesn't have many snowplows, and no salt to put on roads. Bus routes (the lifeline for many people here) have been cut by half. Of those that are running several have jack-knifed on slick streets. Since the buses are electric and run on a set cable system, if one bus jack-knifes on a route, no other buses can get by it.

Businesses are closed and police are asking everyone to stay home and off the streets. The downtown area looks like a bad game of car pong - cars slid off the road and left at the strange angle they landed in. Commutes for the brave (or foolish) who attempted to make them ran 3+ hours to go just a few miles.

Yesterday at Costco there was a run on milk, eggs and sleds. :) Yes, we put chains on my car and ventured out - mostly just to see if we could. We made it there and mostly back with no problem. I got stuck on the street leading to our house and had to back out and try a different road. Once home I left my car on the street. Our driveway will be a sheet of ice before long.

We're surviving, and spent a pleasant afternoon yesterday with our neighbors. They have a year old girl who loves Kendra, and Kendra finds her just as interesting. In fact, yesterday Kendra rolled over for the first time ever at their house! She was bound and determined to get one of Audrey's toys, and rolled completely over to reach it. Unfortunately we haven't been able to duplicate her feat at home.

We have no plans this weekend that can't be changed if the weather is too bad. Here's hoping it clears up before we have to fly!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Mother's Patience

Here's a recap of my (Dan's) evening:
7:00 Get home
7:02 Marvel at the beautiful sleeping child and her marvelous sick sniffling mother.
7:06 Do a few chores+food
7:50 Grab the now awake infant and hope for some father-daughter bonding time
7:55 Screaming child
8:00 Hand child back to the marvelous sick sniffling mother and stare with confusion as she seems much more calm
8:03 Retrieve child with hopes of consoling her. Many things attempted: exersaucer, milk bottle, hugging, flying, bouncing, placing onto random pillows and furniture, staring into her very very loud face while cycling between confused, frustrated, and hopeful expressions (on my face).
9:25 Change crying infant for bed
9:35 Hold crying infant against shoulder while bouncing her and making that look to her marvelous sick sniffling mother that says "shoot me"
9:45 Infant decides to stop crying for no discernible reason
9:47 Return to sofa and attempt to feed her while she decides to sleep instead
9:55 Stop staring at the baby, and when the ringing in the ears stops place her into her bed
11:15 Be introspective

So here it is: I am amazed at the patient energy Karen has for our amazing little child. She (Kendra) is so full of wonderous amazement and boundless potential, but when she decides things aren't right, none of that matters. She becomes loud and uncooperative to the degrees of which I have never fathomed. Watching her scream at me with little provocation or warning is among the most emotionally and mentally draining things I've ever had to deal with. There's almost always a reason, but some times that reason just really isn't easy to figure out if at all. Which leads me back to Karen. It's really amazing that she is able to handle our spirited demanding little china doll as she does. That she's able to connect with Kendra in such a direct and sincere way even in the face of such directed negativity is so very inspiring, and on days like to day even a little humbling.


My hat is off to every parent as they deal with that same thing, but especially to my lovely wife for the amazing job she does. She is truly an amazingly patient and calming presence in our lives.

My ears still hurt.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

It doesn't snow much here, but today was the exception. The wet white flurries started coming down last night, and brought with them an arctic blast of cold. It's currently 21 here - and the average low is normally in the upper 30s. It's freezing!!

Between the snow, rain and icey cold we've been listening to people slide around the curve by our house all day. More than a few have lost control and slammed into the curb. One did a complete 360 until he kicked in the 4 wheel drive.

Naturally, we stayed home. We ventured out long enough to say we played in the snow and get a picture, but it was just too cold. Mickey and Otis seemed to enjoy it. Turtle kept her tail between her legs, Kendra fussed and Dan and I had frozen hands. Made for a very good day to enjoy hot chocolate on the couch under a blanket.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Karen!

Yup. It's her day. Help me make it a GREAT one!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have been meaning to post this for a while now, and it totally slipped my mind until tonight.

Around the time Kendra was born, we received a new car seat via UPS. Unfortunately it didn't come with any kind of paperwork to indicate who it was from. I was hoping someone would question whether or not we received it when they didn't get a thank you note, but no one has.

Does anyone know who sent it? (And if you sent it, my extreme apologies for being so lax about figuring it out and sending you a thank you note.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kendra Meets Santa

We headed to Bellevue Square Mall tonight to have Kendra's picture taken with Santa. She was cute, as always, but not all that impressed by Santa. She gave him a big grin, then proceeded to look around at the lights, the people, the elves - everything. Hopefully the picture turned out cute. We pick them up on Monday.

Dan snapped this picture outside the mall on "Snowflake Lane." This was the trial run of her Christmas outfit, and it seemed to work very well (except the arms are way to long. Poor child has her mother's short arms!)

Kendra was fascinated by the mall. She turned every which way to try to see everything. She is a curious child - I'll give her that. She spent a chunk of this evening trying to grasp toys we set just out of reach. We were trying to encourage her to roll over. She's soooooo close. That one arm keeps getting in her way, then we'd end up with a baby yelling in frustration. I give her another week and she'll have it.

We also did a photo shoot here at the house last week. Kendra tried her hand at out-cute-ing our Christmas stuffed animals. I think she did a pretty good job!

Then she decided the photo shoot was over and it was snack time. Yummm...tasty bear.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Hangin' Out

Don't ask me because I have no idea. She managed to squirm into position with her feet against my stomach, then progressively pushed herself backwards off the boppy. She laid happily like this for quite some time. (I had a hold of her pants to keep her from toppling headfirst onto the floor.)

I also finished my first attempt at sewing something wearable! It has definite room for improvement, but I'm pretty proud of it for a first attempt. It's a bit big, but it should fit her for a while, and I'm already working on making her a second one. Kai was an immeasurable help to me, and has given me the confidence to try to solo it this time. She is still going to come over, but we are moving on to making a jacket (with a hood!). I'm actually enjoying learning this. It's pretty cool!

I also had my first ever meeting for my new book club. We read "The Sealed Letter" by Emma Donoghue. It was a very interesting book, and I'm glad we chose it. We're going to pick a book that has a discussion guide for next time, since none of us has ever belonged to a bookclub. We muddled through this time, but would like a more guided approach for next time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Begins!

We've been busy getting into the Christmas spirit. I'm bound and determined to drag my bah-humbug family into the Christmas season by whatever means necessary. This week, that meant going to the Garden d'Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. We wandered through an amazing display of plant and animal life made 100% from lights. Dan and Kendra were both suitably impressed.

On Friday we headed downtown to watch the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Contest. It's a fundraiser for the Pike Place Senior Center, Preschool and Medical Clinic. Thousands of people clog the closed off streets to listen to dozens of groups caroling. Some were amazing singers, some were average, one group played a recording of Christmas music and tap danced to it, another looked like a couple of drunken frat boys decided at the last minute to sing - but they all looked like they were having fun. We'll definitely go again next year to check it out - with a better plan for parking! (We hadn't considered the fact that THOUSANDS of people would be there and streets would be closed.) The whole city decks itself out for the holidays, and this event helps kick off the spirit of the season.

After the caroling we headed to a co-worker of Dan's for his annual drunken bash aka Christmas Party. Since Kendra was with us we knew we wouldn't be staying long. However, she was in fine form - smiling and charming everyone she could see. She once again was the hit of the party. We stayed longer than we anticipated and all three of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Holidays Begin

We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving at Kai and Christine's place with some great people. Everyone brought a dish to share and the variety of deliciousness was amazing. We played a few games of Uno, Speed Scrabble and of course, Wii. Kendra was the hit of the party, being passed from person to person as she shared the cuteness. :) It was a very enjoyable way to spend the day.

We did a bit of shopping on Friday, but nothing crazy early like my normal way. We did end up buying Kendra's Christmas gift, and put it together. We figured she doesn't know the difference if we give it to her a few weeks early, and she'll be able to use it longer. The exersaucer will help her build muscle by forcing her to balance in the seat. The light-up-grabby-jingly-musical things will help stimulate those brain pathways while guaranteeing to drive her parents batty. She adores it already.

On Saturday we decorated the house. Christmas music playing in the background all day (we have about 500 different Christmas songs) slowly drove Dan ever closer to the six pack of IPA. We got the tree up, candles happily flickering all over and lights outside winking a cheerful hello. Kendra was even less impressed than Dan. I swear, I'm in a house full of grinches. Good thing I have enough Christmas cheer to wear them down!

(The Pinkard website has also been updated with a new PDF scrapbook page.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

New and Effective Workout Routine

I think I have stumbled across a great new workout routine! Since everyone is always looking for great, easy ways to loose weight and work more exercise into their daily routines I'm going to share with you my wonderful discovery!

Step 1: Find a cranky baby. It doesn't have to be yours. In fact, if you can borrow one from another woman I guarantee she'll be your best friend for life. One bonus point for every pound the baby weighs.

Step 2: Strap the baby to the front of you.

Step 3: Begin cleaning your house.

Calories burned:
Dusting - easy

Vacuuming - moderate. Difficult if you manage to continuously bounce the crying baby while simultaneously pushing the vacuum.

Mopping floors - difficult. Extremely difficult if you add plies in every time you dunk the mop and wring it out. Make sure to bend at the knees and work those gluts!

If you are really, really lucky, at the end of your fabulous workout your cranky baby will be asleep. So your cool down will be walking continuously to keep the cranky baby asleep.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hand Me The Screwdriver...

Our dishwasher died this past week. Totally kaput. It was a cheap one and came with the house. We've hated it from day one and it's demise will not be mourned. It only did a mediocre job at best.

So this weekend we headed out to price shop and compare, and ended up finding one we really liked at a pretty decent price. It's a Frigidaire brand and has some nice features - including the ability to wash only the upper or lower racks, and "caged" silverware holders - excellent for washing binkis and small bottle parts.

As you can see, Kendra was a big help to her daddy. They do marvelous work together! (I was working on actual paid work!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

We' ve Been Busy!

It's been a busy couple of weeks! Here's the basic recap...

November 9 was Dan's 33rd birthday. To celebrate, we invited a bunch of friends over for some smoked ribs and BBQ chicken - and of course carrot cake. We had a wonderful time, and Dan's ribs were beyond amazingly delicious.

On the 10th we went to see Cowboy Mouth at the Tractor Tavern. It was an awesome show! It's only Dan's 5th (or is it 6th) time seeing them, but he still loves them. We enjoyed a great sushi dinner with Hemant beforehand at a new sushi place in Ballard that just opened.

The week went fast, as week's do. I joined a Mom and Tot Weight Loss Challenge. It's a group of mom's who meet weekly with kids in tow to learn about nutrition and talk about the challenges of loosing weight as a mom. How do we fit in exercise? How do we instill good nutritional habits in our kids? Things like that. We all paid $40 to join, and $10 goes to a charity that helps to fight childhood obesity. The rest goes in a kitty and whoever looses the most weight at the end of the challenge, wins the kitty!

Friday we got a wild hair and decided to make the most of where we live. We packed up our camping gear, Kendra and some food and headed out to Ocean City State Park. We arrived after a deluge that left many sites in the camp underwater. We were able to find a good, relatively dry site, though, and as a bonus it was on the trail to the beach. The Pacific Ocean was about 1/4 mile from our campsite, with nothing between us but the dunes. Laying in our tent that night we could hear the waves crashing on the sand.

We wandered to the beach as soon as our tent was up. Dozens of people with lanterns were wandering up and down digging for clams. Apparently we stumbled into the middle of clamming season. It was fun to watch and we talked to some people about the technique for finding the little buggers. You need a "clam gun" to dig into the sand, so next time those little guys better watch out - we'll be digging too!

There were bonfires on the beach, and a few cars driving around. The waves were huge and beautiful. I loved every moment of it. We went back the next day as soon as we were packed up. It was just as wonderful in the bright light of day. We met some of the clammers from the night before and they relayed how nutty the RVers thought we were - camping in a tent with a baby in November! We had plenty of toasty warm clothes for her, though, and she slept in the sleeping bag with me. If anything the poor child was hot! We're assuming she enjoyed it - since there is no evidence to the contrary!

After a quick drive on the beach (I've always wanted to try that!) we headed for home. We took the long way back and drove up the coast. It was beautiful! We arrived back tired, smelling smoke and sea and thoroughly happy with our adventure. Check out some of our pics here.

Dan is in NY all week, so I get to play single mom. It should be quite interesting!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our house gets a little louder...

I don't know what she's saying, but it sure is cute. When do babies discover consonants?

4 Month Baby Check-Up

Kendra had her 4 month doctor visit today - which means more shots. She had to get five vaccinations this time. It once again resulted in a very red-faced, screaming baby. I dosed her with Tylenol this time though, so hopefully her evening will be a little easier. As of right now she is still sleeping.

The good news - she is growing like a weed, and has almost caught up developmentally. {ding, ding, ding} And on the doctor's table, we have KENDRA - weighing in at 11 pounds, 6 ounces and 23 1/2 inches long!

Her length puts her in the 50-75 percentile - a very average little girl. Her weight, however, only puts her in the 10%, so she's still pretty small. The doctor isn't worried, though, because she is gaining and falls within normal parameters.

Developmentally she can do almost everything a normal 4 month old can do. The only thing she's a little behind in is muscle control. She should be pushing up on her arms more than she does. Again, no worries, she's just a little slower than average for now.

The doctor is going to try and get us insurance approval to put her on an antibody treatment for RSV. Apparently it's very expensive - basically unaffordable unless insurance will cover it. It consists of monthly shots of antibodies to help her body fight against a specific respiratory infection called RSV. Only at risk babies are offered these shots - at risk is premies, low birth weight and kids with heart/lung problems. Since we have no other children, and Kendra's not in day care or regularly exposed to other kids, she only hits a few of the "at-risk" criteria. We'll see, I guess.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Website Update

The family website has had a much needed update. Check it out!

(More thorough blog update coming.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Prayers Needed

Many of you know my cousin Dean has renal disease. He's been on dialysis for many years now, waiting and praying for a matching donor. Recently a friend of his mom's decided to donate her kidney to him. They are currently undergoing the final stages of compatibility testing, but so far everything is going perfectly.

Keep them both in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

A friend mentioned going to a pumpkin patch today, so we decided to meet her there and enjoy a wonderful day outside. The weather was beautiful - sunny and cool with lots of beautiful fall leaves.

Kendra was adorable, as usual, but not all that impressed. We had fun taking pictures (click here for more) of her and wandering around the farm. She is starting to react more and more to the world around her - giggles and smiles when she enjoys something, tears when she doesn't. Her personality is fast developing, and I know you're all shocked, but she is an opinionated little girl!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadians!

We have a few Canadian friends up here, and they wanted to throw a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Day party (a day early to fit work schedules). The problem? They had a one bedroom condo. The solution? Use our house! We had a ball (and yes, that is a moose head we hung on our wall!)

Jeremy did all the cooking, Nicole did all the set-up and helped us clean. I made my first ever cheesecake - a light, pumpkin and maple confection that turned out amazingly good. Dan fried up some donut holes a la Tim Horton's, and threw together some tasty Philo dough/brie/apple raisin bites that were also very yummy as appetizers.

The rest of the amazing meal was all Jeremy, and he outdid himself. Creamy Butternut Squash Soup, spicy turkey, pork loin seasoned to perfection, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans with bacon, and a sweet/spicy stuffing that was beyond perfect. Great job, Jeremy!!

We ended up with nine people, five of whom we had never met, and had a wonderful time. The dogs were not as impressed. They were locked up until after dinner, much to their dismay. Baby gate my big toe - it's a doggie prison!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Grandpa and His Girl

Dad is once again back in St. Louis. We had a wonderful visit with him, and I think he enjoyed every moment of it as well. It took him a while to get used to a tiny baby, but he enjoyed playing with his new granddaughter. I can't wait to see the two of them together again at Christmas!

As an aside, we have come to conclusion that our faithful dog Otis believes Baby Girl is the worst thing to ever enter his life. When she starts to cry, he will get up and leave the room - often throwing disapproving stares over his shoulder. If we get up in the middle of the night to feed her, he follows us into her room but as soon as we pick her up he huffs back out and goes back to sleep. Crazy dog.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Let The Races Begin!

Dad's in town this week, so we decided to do something different - and Dan found the perfect fit. The Port Townsend Kinetic Skulpture Race. We had a wonderful time! The weather was perfect and the people crazy. People from all over design these crazy "skulptures" that they race across land, water and mud. Some were more successful than others, but they all had fun.

We watched the "stump speeches" as the entrants tried to win the popular vote, promising everything from "an egg on every plate" to no "foul name calling" and everything in between. Apparently the theme for this year involved chickens and every skulpture had a rubber chicken included in it. We stayed for the beginning of the race and watched as they plunged into the icey water of Puget Sound. Click here for more pictures of the event.

After the craziness (and chill wind blowing off the water) we headed to a nice micro-brewery for some warm, yummy food and a tasty beverage. The food was to-die-for good, although eaten a bit hastily since Little One decided she was also hungry. A crying baby does not make a pleasant dining experience. I managed to keep her quiet by bouncing her on my knee, but do you have any idea how hard it is to eat clam chowder while bouncing a baby?

We spent a few more hours wandering the streets and shops of this quaint village, then took the ferry back home. After a fantastic Chef Dan prepared steak dinner, we are all worn out and ready for bed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brief Update

Stef & Jonathan spent several days with us last week. We enjoyed having them immensely, and are already looking forward to a return visit.

We all went to my weekly coffee group for some good coffee and good conversation. Stef did a wonderful job keeping Kendra entertained. She and Jonathan had her dancing and working her arms and legs like crazy - she LOVED it!

We wandered around Lake Washington on a beautiful PacNW day, and ended up at the Taco Bus, thereby making Jonathan's visit complete on the second day.

We also decided to take the Underground Tour. It was really cool! I highly recommend it if you are ever in our neck of the woods. It starts in Pioneer Square, which is the oldest section of the city. Considering how young Seattle is (founded in 1851) there is quite a bit of interesting history here. This was quite the rough town, although they had more "seamstresses" than most other cities. ("Seamstresses" were also some of the wealthiest people in town. What they paid in taxes provided 87% of the city's operating budget! If you can't shut it down, tax it!)

And here is an example of a passed out little girl. She had a rough week! Actually, she passes out like this on a nightly basis - usually after her evening meal. It's so cute! If she is startled by a loud noise she throws her hands out with her fingers extended - jazz hands! I have a future dancer on my hands! :)

Things here are good. I have mastitis - again - but otherwise things are fine. Dad arrives in town on Wednesday for a week. So when are the rest of you coming to visit??

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It Finally Happened

On Sunday Dan (accidentally) called our daughter Otis. :) We all knew it was bound to happen. In his defense, he was tired. We spent Saturday and Sunday painting the exterior of our house - 2 1/2 times. Why 2 1/2? Part of the house was severely weathered and needed to be sealed first. So we bought some seriously discounted paint from HD - it was a mistint but worked perfect for what we needed. We painted two whole sides of the house with that to seal it.

Next we painted the whole house with the color we had picked out - and hated it. By the next morning we realized we had made a mistake and the color was just not right. So we mixed a few colors together and re-did the whole thing. It's still a bit brighter than we might have originally envisioned, but we both like it well enough. We still have a bit more to do - namely the upper story windows. Neither of us is thrilled about climbing a ladder 30 feet up to paint.

Thank you so much Kai for helping us paint and take care of little one. Kendra was remarkably well behaved, even when we accidentally left her sleeping in the sun. We had her in the house, but as the sun set it came flooding in the screen door, right onto her as she slept all warm and comfy. She now looks a little more like her mama - freckles lightly sprinkled across her cheeks.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Baby? What Baby? I Thought It Was A Puppy!

Are we bad parents because the most frequently heard phrase in our house right now is "Turtle, don't lick the baby!"?

Every time we leave the house with Kendra, or Turtle leaves and comes back, she runs to the baby and licks her on the head. It's pretty cute, actually. Turtle has taken on a very maternal role, and has claimed alpha dog status in the pack since Kendra has come along. She will actively prevent the other dogs (especially Otis) from getting food. We think she wants to save some for the "puppy."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of What Do Babies Dream?

From the time Kendra was born, her face is most active in her sleep. Smiles, frowns, a wrinkled brow - they all cross her face as she sleeps. Is she dreaming? What does she dream about? Her experiences are fairly limited, after all. Or are they simply muscle twitches?

Either way, it's adorable.

We had a quick doctor visit yesterday. She is fine but we were worried about how much she was spitting up. But, she's gaining weight - up to 9 pounds, 2 oz - so the doctor isn't worried. Apparently, despite all appearances to the contrary, she is keeping more in than she spews back out. Dan just keeps reminding her that food goes in the baby, not on the baby.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Two Month Checkup - All is Well!

Who knew it was possible for a person's skin to turn brighter red than most tomatoes? Kendra went in for her 2 month check-up and the first of her inoculation series. She was less than impressed by the experience. She screamed for each of the three shots, then fell asleep as soon as we put her in her car seat. We had walked to the doctor's office, so the motion of the stroller kept her asleep the whole way home (about 5 miles round trip).

I left to pick up stuff on Craigslist, and Dan got the joyful duty of taking care of a cranky girl. She saved up all her screaming for when she woke up. She brought her daddy to tears - it is heartbreaking to watch your baby in pain and miserable.

On the bright side, Baby Girl got a clean bill of health! She is currently weighing in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces and 21 inches long. She has finally made the growth charts!! What an amazing little girl we have. She is a bit developmentally behind, but within normal parameters for a six week premature baby. The doctor is not worried. Little One will catch up at some point in the next year. She is starting to develop a flat spot on the back of her head - a side effect of the "back to sleep" advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics. She favors sleeping on the right side of her head, so we just have to force her to lay more on her left side. Maybe work in some more tummy time during the day - despite her protests. It's a fairly minor thing and happens pretty often with little ones.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kendra's First Photo Shoot

For my baby shower, Amie gave us the cutest bib that said "Peanut." This was the basis for our first home photo shoot with our adorable girl.

We had a lot of fun!

(No, she can't sit up yet - or even balance her head 100% of the time - but pillows work wonders.)

Check out the rest of our August pictures here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Natural States

Here we are in our natural states...

Baby in her boppy with her binki. She does love her binki!

Dan with his little girl by his side, Wii controler in hand and the ever present laptop.

Me with our little one, and all the accoutrement's of motherhood: laptop, Kleenex, burp cloth and binki.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Day at the Dog Park

Saturday was an amazingly beautiful day here, so we did what every self-respecting PacNW would - spent the day outside. We loaded all three dogs and one baby in the car and headed to the Sand Point dog park.

Kendra slept through the entire thing. :)

Three hours later we came home - wet, sandy and tired. Dan grilled some chicken and zucchini for dinner. An after dinner martini (yum!!), some Wii and it was a perfect day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Have A Newborn

I forgot to mention in my previous post that we had another pediatrician visit last week. Kendra is officially up to 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 20 inches long. Congratulations - we have a newborn!

She got a (mostly) clean bill of health. We had noticed a day or two before that her belly button suddenly popped out about an inch. She has a hernia, but the doc says its harmless. We are supposed to keep an eye on it, but hopefully it will heal up on its own.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Surviving the Seattle Heat Wave

We have survived a Seattle heat wave! It was in the 90s for a few days - and before all you midwesterners scoff at me, remember that very few people have air conditioning. So when it's 95 outside, it's also 95 in your house! Baby Girl and I sat on the couch with at least 2 fans blowing on us at all times.

Saturday we decided to get out of the heat, so we went to Carkeek Park. The park is right on the edge of Elliot Bay so there was a wonderful, cool breeze blowing off the water. A friend sponsored an "ethnic cookout" - everybody brought food based on their ancestry. We decided to go with Dan's Texas roots and brought hamburgers and a big jug of sweet tea. Everyone's food was delicious - everything from curry to shepard's pie to octopus.

After we ate too much, we walked along the beach with Baby Girl. Although she was less than impressed (she slept through it), we enjoyed it. The water was ice cold, and felt wonderful to walk through. There were people swimming and kite surfing (despite how cold the water was), plus all the sailboats and ships. All in all a beautiful day (and much cooler than in our house!)

Sunday was slightly cooler, but still warm so we decided to start Baby Girl's cultural education. We spent most of the afternoon at the art museum enjoying the new Impressionism exhibit (and their air conditioning). Afterward we had a fabulous dinner at the Icon Grill.

My confidence level is growing in regards to taking our little one out of the house with each trip we take. It's amazingly difficult to haul a baby around - and only partially physical effort. Did we bring everything we need? What if she gets hungry? (We're still having breast feeding issues.) What if she's cranky and starts fussing? What if I can't calm her? What if a satellite looses orbit and falls out of the sky, landing directly on us? The things you worry about.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I dreamed last night of my breast pump. Granted, in my dream Kendra and I were on a bicycle tour of Egypt, but still...sigh.

Dan says he's been hearing the swishing sound of the pump in his sleep for weeks :) Ah, what we do for our kids.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

From the Other Side of the Table.

Anyhow, I think it's worth it to note publicly just how hard Karen (and I presume any new mother) works at being a mom. She does get frustrated trying to decipher our little one, but then Kendra isn't going to be able to help with that for a few months yet.

Let's see....

  • Breast feeding an uncooperative premie?
  • Poorly defined sleeping schedule?
  • Diaper changes? Disposable or cloth?
  • Ever growing collection of unwatched CSI episodes?
  • Incessant pumping?
  • Doctor visits?
  • Cranky husband?
  • Mastitis?
  • Laundry?
  • Barking/wimpering dogs?
  • A Seattle "Heat-wave"? (umm it hit 82. That's high, or something)

    That's a LOT to deal with! Just the same, I do think that's a napkin on the baby.

  • Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    How Can One So Cute...

    be such a frustration? Babies should be born with the ability to talk - it would make life dramatically easier. Nothing is more frustrating than your child crying, you having no idea why and nothing you do helps. Thank goodness there are two of us - one gets frustrated and hands her off to the other.

    So far, I've learned the following things about motherhood:

    1. Sometimes ice cream and a spoon is necessary. Dan saw my frustration last night and handed me the carton of ice cream and a spoon.

    2. Chocolate is your friend during late night feedings. I keep a stash of various candy bars that are easily broken into small pieces on top of the fridge. It is much more enjoyable to trudge down the steps at 2am and again at 4am and again... if you know there is chocolate as your reward at the bottom.

    3. Nursing is hard. People have been nursing forever, yet it is one of the more difficult aspects of motherhood. Frustration levels are high, and tears (from both of us) aren't uncommon.

    4. There is a HUGE size difference between "newborn" clothes and "0-3 month" clothes. And none of them will actually fit a newborn, unless you give birth to a linebacker.

    5. Despite the frustrations and tears, she is the most amazing thing to ever happen to me.

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Update on Life

    So much has happened since we brought little one home. Everyday I said I was going to post, but somehow there just isn't time! (Everyone warned me about this!)

    Dan's Mom - She was here for 10 days, and was a tremendous help. Much to her delight, she was here when we brought Kendra home from the hospital. We did a bit of sightseeing with her when Bryan and Cheryl were in town, but mostly we hung out at home. She helped Dan cook, kept the laundry caught up and the house clean. I got a chance to know my baby a little bit and practice being a mom. She got to dote on her first grandchild - and has the pictures to prove it. :) On her way home she was bumped off her flight and got a free ticket for her trouble. She's planning a return trip for Kendra's first birthday. We can't wait to have her again.

    1st Pediatrician Visit - July 30 we had our first pediatrician visit for Kendra. We have a very healthy little baby. She had gained more weight, and was officially 5 lbs, 14 oz and 18 1/2 inches long. (3-13 and 16 inches was her birth stats). She also had her first vaccine - Hep B. She wasn't all that fond of it, but I think it hurt Dan more to watch her get it.

    Despite her clean bill of health, the doc wants us to keep her as isolated from people as possible. No going to stores, parties or restaurants - anywhere there are large crowds of people. Children are especially off limits - they are little germ factories. Outdoors is fine, so we've been going on lots of walks around the neighborhood with baby and dogs in tow.

    Seafair - Seafair is a huge summer festival here. The Blue Angels fly over Lake Washington, and hydroboats race across it. They actually close I-90 for parts of it and let people walk out to watch the show. Wen live about 1/2 mile from Lake Washington, so for several days prior to Seafair we had the fighter jets flying overhead at various points in the day. It was crazy loud, but luckily didn't seem to bother Kendra any.

    At the same time, the largest and oldest African celebration takes over the three parks across the street from our house. There are basketball and music competition, booths selling stuff and a huge carnival.

    Between Seafair and the African thing, we couldn't have left our house by car if we'd wanted to. Traffic was bumper to bumper on both sides of our house. The police were directing traffic, but since several major roads were closed for the parade, traffic was re-routed through our little street.

    We had decided to walk to a friends house (he lives on the lake) to hang out and watch the show. Lucky for us we walked. Other friends who tried to drive said it took over an hour for them to get there - and they lived less than 5 miles away. Traffic was amazingly crazy - even by Seattle standards.

    I think that's all for now. I'll (hopefully) start to be more regular with posts as I get the hang of this all.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Baby, Parents Survive Day

    Never ones for common sense, we choose to take our young one out for her first venture on this pleasant but atypical Seattle summer day (lower 60s, partly cloudy, with the slightest hint of precipitation). The result... well I'm too beat to reach over and grab the camera to show that we're too tired to do much.

    We placed Kendra into her spiffy Boppy sling and after a few failed attempts had her secured well enough to venture in and around the Crittenden Locks for a bit. This year's salmon runs have been at near record levels, and that means there are lots of yummy fish to observe in the adjoining fish ladder! I did feel a bit like a bear waiting for the fish to leap into my ready and open arms while staring at these delectable creatures. Kendra seemed thoroughly unimpressed from the bottom of the sling, but Karen and my mom seemed to enjoy it. This was followed by a trip past the locks to observe the nice large boats out for a sputter. Neither Karen nor Kendra headed my requests to hijack one of them, an oversight we will likely regret for some time.

    On to Red Mill for a bite and now... sitting.

    In short: we did things, and we're home. I'm proud that we took some effort to do something that we enjoyed that was mildly active and that we got to include the baby in the experience, but that leads to my most surprising observation. We didn't do all that much, so why are we so damned tired from it?

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    She's Home!

    Baby Girl has been sprung from babyjail! We brought the car seat to the hospital last night for a car seat check (they make sure little babies can breathe ok in their seats), and the nurse told us we could take her home.

    We survived our first night as full time parents. Of course, I jump every time there is a squeak from the monitor, but she's doing great.

    More to come soon as we work on figuring this whole parent thing out.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    It's The Little Things

    Our lives have fallen into a weird routine of home/work(for Dan)/hospital. We spend several hours a day being with our girl, or running back and forth to the hospital. It's not easy, and we're trying to find a balance. Mostly we just want her home, but we're looking at another few weeks.

    We celebrate the little things -

    • Kendra taking four full feedings during a day (she needs to get to 8 before they will consider letting her come home)
    • Learning her facial expressions - and she has a bunch
    • Spending time with Dan somewhere that's not home or hospital
    • Fitting into my own underwear
    Yes - I am finally done with the ugly, scratchy disposable underwear the hospital provides. After a c-section you want nothing anywhere near your incision, and you are so swollen that nothing you own is coming near you- so their stuff fits the bill.

    I can also get into my jeans again!! But, they are just a little too tight to be comfortable at this point. I'll stick with loose fitting stuff or maternity pants for a bit longer. I have lost everything I gained while pregnant, plus a few extra pounds. Easiest diet every - get sick, sleep and loose weight.

    Dan's mom arrives tonight to stay for 10 days. We were so hopeful that Kendra would be home by now, but she's just not ready. She tires out too easily while eating and can't finish her bottles. Until she no longer needs to be tube fed, she has to stay in baby jail.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Club Med - Again

    Turns out I didn't really overdo things last Friday - I was getting sick. By Sunday night I was running a 101 degree fever and Dan and I became familiar with the ER here at Swedish.

    I was put through a series of tests in the hopes it was a simple problem, but it turned out to be the toughest one to treat - a uterine infection. My temp went up to 102 and I was admitted to the hospital around 3am Monday morning. I've been on IV antibiotics ever since.

    I feel considerably better today than I have in the past week though. The pain is finally getting better - not worse. Having never gone through this, I had no idea what was "normal" for the healing process. Apparently the infection had been setting in for a couple of days, but until I spiked a fever I didn't recognize the symptoms.

    I have one more round of antibiotics this afternoon, then they'll let me go home. Of course I haven't been able to see Kendra since Saturday morning (first the pain was too bad, and they won't let you on the floor if you are sick). I'm hoping they'll let me see her today before we leave.

    Swedish is a great hospital, but I sure hope I don't have to see it again for a long time.

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Freedom From IVs

    Kendra made one more milestone...her IV has been removed. Her only nutrition is now breast milk. They also moved her into a crib yesterday. She's doing great at regulating her body temperature. Such an amazing little girl :)

    According to her nurses she is so sweet natured and well behaved - she never cries unless she wants something. She does these adorable smiles as well- maybe they're gas, but I'll take them!

    This is movie weekend for Dan. He signed up for the 48 film contest several months ago, of course not knowing we'd have our baby girl by now. We were up early this morning to see her before he got involved in taping. We'll try to make it back tonight as well.

    My stitches came out this morning - they were actually Steristrips and not stitches. I can't even see the scar! It's amazing, except for the pain. I don't know if the stitches coming out are the reason, but I am in so much pain today I can barely move. It's worse than it has been in a while. I skipped out on any movie stuff and slept most of the afternoon.

    The adorable outfit Kendra is modeling is a gift from my neighbors in St. Louis. It looked so tiny I was sure it would never fit. Surprise, surprise - it's a little big. She looks so adorable in it, though. It's perfect for preemies - open at the bottom for all the wires and tubes to come out (although she's down to a minimum). The way it snaps onto her is wonderful too - it wraps around her instead of going over her head since little heads are awfully wobbly.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    First Postpartum Visit

    I had my first postpartum visit to the doc today. I've lost 20 pounds so far (not bad for 9 days)! I'm starting to feel like myself, and my clothes (the smaller maternity tops anyway) fit again. I'll be in maternity pants for a while yet - my abdomen is swollen from the surgery and extremely tender. Regular pants are simply too tight in the waist. The maternity shirts are much more convenient for nursing because of the way they are cut, so I'll wear those until I get the whole thing figured out.

    My blood pressure is on the high end of normal, and that's with taking meds 2x per day. They won't make any changes until I'm 6 weeks postpartum though, as this could all still be pregnancy related. My internal thermostat is out of whack from hormones, so I'm hot all the time. Good thing we live in the PacNW or I'd be dying! I also had to get a refill on pain meds. Without them I can barely walk, and heaven help me if I cough or laugh. I'd rather die than sneeze right now.

    Anyone contemplating a baby - pray for a vaginal birth. This whole c-section thing sucks. Our bodies weren't designed for it.

    Kendra, however, is doing fabulous. She sleeps most of the time. That's great in some ways - brain growth occurs during sleep, she's healing and growing as she sleeps, and she's just now 35 weeks gestation so sleep is what she would be doing in the womb. The downside is we can't even keep her awake long enough to try to feed her. She simply curls up like a kitten and goes to sleep in your arms. We tried nursing last night, and she did better than expected, until she fell asleep. We just let her snuggle skin to skin and Dan fed her through her tube.

    She officially weighs 4 pounds, 3 ounces now so she's packing some weight on. You go baby girl!!

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    First Graduation

    Kendra graduated from the NICU to the SICU last night! She was moved to the step down unit shortly before we arrived - they hadn't even had time to call and let us know.

    We went through her evening routine, but the move proved to be exhausting to her and she zonked out in my arms. She even slept when I handed her off to Dan, and later when he put her back in her isolette. Tired baby.

    We'll talk to the nurse more tonight. She hadn't had time to review Kendra's chart so she didn't know much more than we did last night.

    One more hurdle cleared!

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Happy One Week Birthday!

    Kendra is officially one week old today! I can't believe it's been a week already - she's made such amazing progress.

    There is a rumor among the nursing staff that she will be released to the step down unit (SICU) sometime this week. That is a huge step for preemie babies.

    She continues to gain weight, and the nurses have nothing but positive things to say about her development. I'm still a tad under the weather, so I didn't go see her last night. I may tonight if I continue to feel pretty good. It's hard to say if it's a cold or simply my body's reaction to all the trama and stress of the past two weeks.

    Dan says I'm starting to look like myself again - neither of us had fully realized how bad the swelling had become. Now that it is going down I look like Karen again. I really didn't recognize myself in the mirror at the hospital. My feet and ankles still look like they are more befitting an elephant than me, but hopefully they will go back to normal as I continue to heal.

    Keep the prayers and positive thoughts heading our way - they are obviously working!

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    I'm Home

    I'm home! I was released from the hospital Friday evening (7/4) and went home and slept for the next 24 hours. I stayed awake on Saturday long enough to go to the hospital twice, then out for a quick sushi dinner.

    The great outdoorsman from St. Louis had been staying with us, although I rarely saw him. We did dinner together before he and his buddy headed out to the San Juan islands for some rest and relaxation in the great outdoors.

    Kendra is doing fabulously! She's put on a some weight, and is almost back up to her birthweight. She's been off the C-PAP and all oxygen support since Friday. She was moved to an isolette yesterday, so she no longer has the gold heart temperature monitor. Basically she has monitors for heart rate, oxygen, and respiration. She has a PIC line in her thigh that helps deliver IV nutrition - vitamins, fats and minerals - that preemie's need. The tube in her nose runs directly to her tummy and she receives breastmilk via that or the bottle. She was slightly jaundiced, so she's been on phototherapy for the past three days as well.

    Dan and I have both been able to bottle feed her a couple of times. It's such a wonderful feeling to hold her close. Kendra loves to be swaddled up and cuddled close, but because of the phototherapy we've been limited in the amount of time that's allowed. She needs as much time under the lights as possible.

    This is her isolette. They allow the babies to sleep more deeply and therefore heal more quickly. Hospitals are noisy, especially in the NICU where it seems there is always something beeping for attention, or a baby crying. The isolettes allow for sound to be blocked, and can be covered to allow for a darker environment - hence better sleep. My little diva - sleeping under the sunlamps with her eye mask. :)

    Yesterday they let me try to breastfeed her - more for psychological pleasure for both of us than any expectation that she'd actually be fed :) Dan actually fed her directly into her tummy tube while she nuzzled with me. The idea is she starts to equate mom to a full belly - the start of the breastfeeding process.

    We're extremely happy with the progress she's made. She still has a way to go, but our little girl is strong and fiesty. The nurses laugh at just how much personality is crammed into that not-quite-four pound body.

    Dan and his baby girl - he is such a proud father. I couldn't ask for a better dad or husband.

    Thursday, July 3, 2008


    Karen says that I should just go to bed instead of posting stuff (or assembling the stroller that we can't use for a few weeks), but I really can't wait for this moment:

    We would like to proudly introduce you to Kendra Jeanette Pinkard! She's got her mother's beautiful blue eyes and nose but the rest is the kind of thing that makes a father both proud and apologetic. The coloration on her head is from her breathing system, which she'll likely be on for another 2-3 weeks. She has a full head of wavy thin hair the same color as mine. Of course all three of those things are subject to change. The tube in her mouth is for removing oxygen from her belly, and the gold heart is to measure her skin temperature from the heat lamp above. There are also sensors for oxygen in the blood, and heart rate, as well as an IV and a tiny little blood-pressure cuff. I can't help but to gasp at those tiny elegant little fingers grasping onto her mother's finger.

    I really didn't want this to be the image that introduced her to all of you, but it brought (brings) such joy to my eyes (and tears) that I can't help but to share it. This was the first time Mom and Daughter got to meet each other outside of the OR. Sometimes we just don't take a moment to marvel at the power and wonder of life, but there it is at its very best. Hug someone, 'k?

    Sorry about the wet mouse, Karen. I'll dry that off later.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    A very special person...

    It was my privilege to meet a very special lady today who has her work cut out for her. Our daughter was welcomed into the world at 12:05 PM, at 3lbs and 13oz (let's say 4lbs), and 16.something inches from stem to stern. She is strong and despite her curtailed gestation screamed so very loudly at her forced evacuation. Once the trauma had subsided Karen was moved to temporary recovery and on to her own room in the maternity ward. Our baby is in the NICU where she will remain for a few weeks attached to more things than a borg, but she's doing great.

    Karen hasn't gotten to spend time with her tonight and we haven't had a moment to choose a name, but hopefully we can resolve that in the morning. Just know that we've appreciated all of the thoughts and calls and emails. By tomorrow night Karen should be able to respond and return calls, and she'll probably get to go home Friday or Saturday to critique my vacuuming lethargy. The grandparents are beside themselves or in denial, depending on which phone call you base it on.

    Karen is in room 485 in 4 South, at the Swedish Medical Center at First Hill. She has her phone (and charger) but only so many minutes to go around. She still needs some rest, but will enjoy chatting with each of you as she can. Visits will be welcomed, and we can take one person in to NICU at a time.

    Swedish Medical Center
    747 Broadway
    Seattle WA 98122-4307
    Main, 206-386-6000

    (We'll get our own pic up soon)

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    Day Four, Part Two

    My protein counts finally came from the lab (they were a little slow). They've skyrocketed. I was at 292 last week and over 2,000 from Saturday. I'm off food and water for tonight and have another round of blood tests scheduled at 6am tomorrow morning.

    Wish me luck. We may not make it to Friday after all.

    But on the bright side, I married the most wonderful man. He showed up tonight with a home cooked meal of fajitas, chopped tomatoes, cheese, rice and ice cream. He rolled me out to the courtyard, grabbed the dogs from the car, and we had a picnic. It was wonderful to get some fresh air - I haven't been outside since Friday. It felt so good to have the breeze in my face and doggie fur on my hands. The food was divine, of course. :)

    After dinner I even got a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my room. What an absolute sweetheart.

    Day Four of Captivity

    First off, the good news - all baby tests are coming in wonderfully. We had another ultrasound today and the amniotic fluid level is higher than it was on Friday - that's good because it was pretty low. They checked for 8 points of reaction from the baby, and s/he got an 8/8 - that's our little overachiever. :)

    My blood work and protein counts also look better than they did a week ago, and my blood pressure is dropping.

    Apparently laying around being waited on hand and foot agrees with me. :)

    On the downsides, the upswing in results might be nothing more than a temporary reaction to the steroid injections I was given. They sometimes produce a "honeymoon" period. I'll have more tests tomorrow and the next day to see if the bettering is a trend or just a fluke.

    It's really hard to lay around all the time. My back and neck are in a lot a pain - even with then new comfy bed. I did sleep pretty good last night, but was still exhausted by 11am this morning. A quick nap and I feel much better, but it's amazing how much of my strength is being zapped daily. Taking care of a newborn is going to be tougher than I even imagined.

    I'm still retaining a tremendous amount of water. Dan didn't think I was quite as puffy today, but I think he was just being sweet :) He spent yesterday with Kai shopping for the last of the baby stuff we needed. I'm not kidding (or exaggerating at all) when I say the receipt was close to FOUR FEET LONG! I think we're up to a bout a $1000 an ounce for Little One now :)

    Thanks for the phone calls and emails - keep them coming!

    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    Club Med Update

    Things are fairly status quo here. We know a little more...the docs have made an official diagnosis of preeclampsia. What does that mean? Not much :) except I will be a guest of the hospital for the foreseeable future.

    The way I understand it, we will be walking a fine line everyday. The line between my health and the baby's. When it becomes too dangerous for me to remain pregnant, or too toxic for the baby, out baby will come. With luck, that will be sometime after next Friday.

    I'm gaining nearly a pound a day in water weight, and really look it. I'm carrying around 20 pounds of fluid right now. Everything that could swell and get puffy is. :( I look a mess. I did get to take a nice soak in the maternity jacuzzi today, though, and that felt like pure heaven. The water was considerably cooler than I would have liked because of the baby, but even with that it felt so good.

    I still feel good, except for a severe backache from having to lay around all the time. I just got an air bed that should help with that. Tylenol is the only pain killer I'm allowed, but it does help a bit.

    Dan is bringing the pups by later tonight. I can go to the courtyard to play with the them as long as I am in a wheelchair.

    Keep the calls and emails coming - you guys are the only thing making this bearable at all.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008

    Greetings from Club Med!

    (as posted by D., who is too lazy to figure out his own login at the moment)

    Karen will most likely not be leaving the hospital without giving birth, but that could be between 3 and (I'm guessing) 7 days out. What this means is that anyone who bet on August in the baby pool is automatically out. She has or is at high risk of Preeclampsia but the baby is fine and she hasn't spiked into dangerous territories. The question at hand is just whether or not we have time to chill or of that nursery needs to be complete tomorrow. ;) Rest assured, she is being well cared-for and we're both concerned but not freaking out.

    Why? Becuase it is very much beyond our control an influence! We've got great medical care, so the most important thing is to keep Karen from being too bored.

    The room is decent with a little bit of a view and wireless access... call often!

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Almost Like St. Louis...

    We attended a fabulous show tonight! Keb' Mo' and Taj Mahal played at the Woodland Park Zoo. It reminded me so strongly of all those fabulous concerts St. Louis offers in the summertime. There were a few notable exceptions, however:

    1. The concert was not free. It wasn't crazy expensive, but most definitely not free.

    2. There were no bugs chewing on you the minute the sun went down. Oh wait, the sun hadn't actually set yet when the concert ended at 9pm. Gotta luv life in the Northwest.

    3. We were not sitting in a pool of our own sweat, with fans frantically trying to impart some breeze to cool us down. Actually, it was chilly. By the end of the evening most people had on coats, or were wrapped up in the blankets they had brought to sit on.

    All in all an awesome evening.