Monday, December 12, 2011

The Newest Clare

Jared, in the NICU, holding his own binkie.
 Introducing . . .  Jared Hopper Clare.  He was born on Thursday, November 17th at 4:18 am.  He weighed 8 lbs and 13 ozs and measured 21.4 inches long.  He is also perfect and adorable. 

And, in case you're skeptical about my ability to be non-partial on the subject, here are a few pictures.

After eating, "Food Comma"

Grandma Hopper holding Jared

Jonathan walking around with Jared over his shoulder (a move guaranteed to put the baby to sleep)

sleeping cuteness
after bath cuteness

'nough said
 Baby Story:  After a day of pre-labor cramping I finally went into active labor just after midnight on Wednesday the 16th.  At 8 that morning, when the contractions were 5 mins apart we called the doctor and went to the hospital.  Unfortunately, it was at that point that my contractions stalled out.  Nothing . . . Grrrrrrhhh!  I was 3 cm dilated so thankfully they didn't send us home.  Our Doula spent an hour walking the halls with me but the contractions just wouldn't come back.  So around 2pm the doctor broke my water and put me on pitocin.  Finally, those elusive contractions came back --and with a vengeance.  Suddenly, it was one single contraction with no breaks.  After about 20 mins I asked for an epidural.  It was magic!!   I was in labor for another 12 hours and I was able to doze on and off and watch TV.  No pain is my gain! 

Finally, after 2 hours of pushing and the aid of a vacuum, Jared was born.  It was surreal.  We'd been waiting and planning for 9 months and there he was . . . our baby boy.   Jonathan and our Doula, Talia, were awesome the whole time.  They were my support team while I was pushing and when Jared made his arrival Jonathan was drenched in sweat and looked as exhausted as I was.

Unfortunately, I'd had a slight fever during labor and so Jared was taken to the NICU as a precaution to receive antibiotics.  He was only supposed to be there for 6 hours but ended up staying there for 2 days.  First it was the antibiotics, then there was concern about his heart rate (an EKG showed showed he was fine) and then he wouldn't urinate.  It was pretty tough.  We wanted our baby and he seemed so out of place in the NICU.  He was this big, healthy baby when all the other NICU babies were tiny and sick.  We'd walk across to the NICU every 2-3 hours so I could breastfeed Jared.  It was pretty crazy trying to hold and feed him with all the tubes and monitors.  I was still rolling around my IV pole so Jared and I kept getting tangled up.    We were released on Saturday afternoon and were so excited to go home.

My parents had flown out from Washington and stayed with us for a week.  It was great to have all the help.  My mom took turns with the baby, made dinners and gave us great advice. 

Jared is now 3 1/2 weeks old.  He has already outgrown several outfits and is a big healthy baby.  He has an easy going temperament is and excellent eater and sleeper. 

Friday, November 11, 2011


This year for Halloween I made us Angry Bird costumes (colored felt and 2 t-shirts). I wore my costume to work for our Halloween party and won $30 for Most Original Costume -- just beating out Jesus and the 7 Dwarves.

We had a great time this year. Some friends came to visit and take their kids around our neighborhood. Our neighborhood is really popular with trick-or-treaters though and we ran out of candy by 8pm. Ooops! We had a huge bowl full and I thought we had plenty. Jonathan kept telling me we needed more so I even bought an extra bag of candy that morning. Oh well, next year I'll be prepared!!

The day after Halloween I was talking to a coworker and discovered why our neighborhood is so popular. Apparently, some of the houses pass out beers to the the parents . . .

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baby Update

So we had our 20 week ultrasound on Tuesday and found out we are expecting a little boy!! We are really excited and can't wait to meet him in a few months time.

I'm including some of the pictures we got from our appointment. You will notice that these are not the usually black and white ultrasound pictures. These are 3D images generated by the computer after it recorded the ultrasound. The health center's caveat is that these are "for entertainment purposes only". He he he . . . for some reason that just totally cracks me up.

Here is his face.

Here he is hiding his face.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Safe Baby Handling Tips

While Jonathan and I are super excited to be having a baby there are certainly moments of fear, doubt and panic. I got to thinking today about my last babysitting experience. The event wasn't anything special but the time frame seriously shook me up. I was 22 at the time and I'm currently 33. That's right . . . I haven't been alone with small child in over a decade!!!!!!! Ahhhhh! People keep telling us that because we are older we will make better parents. Gosh, I hope that's true . . .

So, I wanted to share this little pamphlet I found online. I figure if Jonathan and I memorize these diagrams then we should be OK.

Public Announcement -- Baby on Board

Although most of you already know (seeing as we started blabbing as soon as we found out) it is time for the official announcement. We are expecting a baby in November! Our little guy or gal is 12 weeks along and is due on 11/11/11. (Cool right?!)

If this is the first time you are hearing about our upcoming arrival we hope that you will not be offended that we didn't tell you earlier. The truth is that we enjoy sharing our news and hearing people's reactions but it can all be a bit overwhelming sometimes. So, if we call you in a few weeks or months (or on our kid's first birthday) please feel free to act surprised.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snuggie Revolution

Well, I must admit to a bit of a goof up this Christmas. I bought Jonathan a really nice warm blanket when we were in Disneyland. It was even his favorite color. I was so excited. I just new he would love it.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a blanket at all . . . Yeah, it was a Snuggie . . . what is up with that! What self respecting man wears a Snuggie? In my defense it was all rolled up and on a shelf with all the other blankets. There should have been a big sign! Grrrrrrr!

Well, Otis likes it.

He staked his claim. The snuggie is now his.

Merry Christmas Oats!

The Happiest Place on Earth

For our birthdays this year (back at the end of Nov-beginning of Dec) we went to Disneyland! We drove up on a Monday morning, partied hard for a few days and then drove home Thursday night. It was fantastic!

As most of you know, Jonathan is a bit of a Disney fan :-) So, Jonathan planned everything and showed me the ropes. We had a wonderful time. We stayed at the Grand California Hotel and could go straight from the hotel into California Adventures. This was really convenient for mid-day naps and clothing changes after water rides.

So, here are a few pictures of our trip.

Here's the view from our hotel room. We were overlooking California Adventures and the monorail.

This is us the day we arrived just inside California Adventures.

On two consecutive nights we went to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean right before the park closed. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip . . . twice. Both times we got a boat all to ourselves and there were no people in boats ahead or behind us. It was like our own private tour. Plus, it was a kind a romantic holding hands and drifting through the scenes.

Jonathan in front of the ghost driven carriage next to the Haunted Mansion. For Christmas they had the "Nightmare Before Christmas" overlay which was so fun.

Jonathan is looking thoughtful while we ride Mickeys Fun Wheel. The first time we opted for a basket that rolls back and forth. It was terrifying rather than fun. I highly recommend the stationary baskets.

This is Jonathan's game face while shooting on the Toy Story ride. We really enjoyed the interactive rides like Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear.

This is us sitting in the Jeep on the Indiana Jones ride before it started.

Me screaming as we went down the Splash Mountain drop. This was Jonathan's favorite ride and we went on it several times.

Me in front of the Small World ride. It was particularly cool at night with all the Christmas lights.

A Word About Food

On our first full day we went to the Blue Bayou Restaurant. This is the one that you pass by when you're on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. They have the pretty lanterns and the piped in frog croaking noises . . . and the best thing ever -- the Monte Cristo sandwich. These are fried turkey, ham and cheese sandwiches that you dip in whipped blackberry jam. Unbelievably good!

We also had a great breakfast at the Storytellers Cafe one morning. This is a restaurant located in the hotel. It was a buffet and we stuffed ourselves silly. We also saw Chip (or possibly Dale) who stopped by to greet all the kids.

The Storyteller's Cafe serves yummy Mickey waffles.

On our first day in Disneyland I spent a few minutes staring longingly at the caramel apples at a candy store on Main Street. So . . . Jonathan bought me two!

A chocolate covered, caramel covered apple. Yum! You should have seen the mess I made eating it too!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Return of the Native

My younger brother and I were born in New Orleans but our family moved to California when we were too little to remember life in the Crescent City. The oil spill response however, provided me with an opportunity to explore my geographical roots.

Originally, I was going back and forth to Mobile, AL to help with the oil spill but the operation there shut down and we all moved to an office building in New Orleans across from the Super Dome.

I took my last trip (Yeah!) in mid-November so these pictures are all a few months old. I love the balconies and the pretty iron scroll work in the French Quarter. They even had horse drawn carriages . . .

A co-worker and I went on a "Haunted History" Tour in the French Quarter. We met up with our group around 9pm in the evening at a local Voodoo Shop. We then walked around for 2 hours while our guide, an aspiring stand-up comic, told local legends and pointed out dark and creepy buildings. We were sweating buckets but it was still pretty great. Unfortunately, none of my pictures came out well so I stole the one below from google images. The French Quarter has these great gas lamps and at night they give everything an old fashioned spooky feel.

One of the "must see" places to go is Cafe Du Monde. This is "the" place for beignets in New Orleans.

These are the classic Beignets (french donuts). Imagine a humid afternoon, a couple of these babies, a tall glass of cold milk and a little jazz music wafting through the air. Oh yes!

Post Script: This picture in no way reflects my personal powdered sugar preferences. They just come that way, OK. . . OK !!