Peter, Sparkler, and September peaches

I took Peter to visit my family in Minnesota almost 3 weeks ago.  Peter was able to experience his first camping trip at Forestville/Mystery Cave state park.  He was a bit disappointed by the relative lack of electricity while camping, but he appreciated the campfire.  (Peter needed electricity to charge his Kindle so that he could play Stack the States with Grandpa as we sat around the campfire.)  Roasting marshmallows was nice in theory, but when the time came to eat the marshmallow, Peter was unconvinced that the entire thing could fit in his mouth at once.  Perhaps we will try roasting mini marshmallows next time.

Our tour of Mystery Cave was timely as it allowed us to seek shelter from the weekend rainstorm.  Peter was, however, surprised to find that caves in Minnesota are much colder than caves in Vietnam.  He eventually allowed us to put a sweatshirt on him, and he fell asleep in the Boba carrier during the last half hour or so of the tour.  Peter did enjoy visiting antique shops (at least those that had accessible antique toys) Saturday afternoon.  Pulling him away from the die cast bulldozers and tow trucks proved a bit challenging when we were all ready to leave.  Peter expressed mixed sentiments about our walk to Forestville Sunday morning.  Seeing horses and streams and wold flowers was nice, but not being carried by Mom the whole way was less-than-ideal, at least from Peter’s perspective.  Peter was ready to go back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house (to play with their toys) after our walk to Forestville, but after a couple days at home, Peter expressed interest in going on another camping trip.

We took Peter to the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday.  As might be expected, transitions from one part of the fair to another were difficult, but Peter eventually realized that there were fun things for him to see and do at most fair buildings and booths.  Peter enjoyed the military vehicles, tractors and other heavy equipment, the DNR building, the cattle barn, the equestrian barn, the education building, and the fine arts building, but his favorite building by far was the ecology building.  After spending over 8 hours at the fair and over an hour at the “eco” building, Peter was devastated to learn that we had to go home.

Me:  Would you like to come back to the fair next year?

Peter:  No.

Me:  Would you like to come back to the fair tomorrow?

Peter:  Yes.

Alas, we were unable to return to the fair on Wednesday, but I promised Peter that we would go to The Big E in September.  (I called it the “Massachusetts State Fair” for simplicity.)  We even went to the Sterling Fair last weekend because it was close and admission was free.

Thanks to Grandpa, Peter was able to start a Statehood Quarters collection.  Peter was naturally excited about this, given that he likes anything and everything geography-related these days.  And finally, we have a use for the piggy bank full of pocket change that Son had been collecting for years!

On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we went to Lake Quinsigamond State Park.  That day, there was a small “boat parade” that was kind of fun to watch, though some boat owners did a better job than others decorating their “float” for the parade.  Although Peter had no interest in the ocean when we went to Martha’s Vineyard in June, he enjoys lake beaches these days.

We visited “Garden in the Woods” in Framingham on Labor Day.  They had lovely woodland walking trails featuring plenty of interesting flowers, berries, and foliage.  Peter’s favorite were the pitcher plants.  Can’t say I blame him; I thought that carniverous plants were pretty fascinating when I was a kid, too.  They had a “family activity area” that allowed Peter to exercise some creativity collecting objects from the forest floor and building with them.

Peter continues to enjoy geography; we bring the globe with to mass as a “toy” to keep Peter busy, and we read a world atlas as a bed time story.  (Unfortunately, the atlas was much more effective at putting me to sleep than putting Peter to sleep.)  We have, however, discovered a new interest in anatomy and physiology.  I checked out a “brain pack” from the library with videos, books, and models pertaining to the human body.  Peter enjoys the videos and models.  (The books are geared towards 3rd to 5th graders.)  I assume that the models appeal to his spatial reasoning skills.  Peter told me that his favorite body systems are the skeletal and muscle systems, but he also seems to enjoy the digestive system.

I don’t really feel pregnant these days, so I ordered a Sonoline B fetal doppler.  I didn’t want any surprises at my nuchal translucency scan.  Happily, Sparkler’s heart beat is easy to find, now beating in the 150s or 160s.  I had my nuchal translucency scan this morning, and thankfully, there were no surprises.  Sparkler was wiggling around with a heart rate of 148 bpm.  The sonographer seemed almost unduly delighted by Sparker; she kept going on about how my baby is “gorgeous…” “one of my all-time favorites…” “I could image your baby all day…” “I would like to take it home with me.”  Not being a sonographer myself, it’s hard for me to appreciate why she found Sparkler so unusually charming, but I’m not going to disagree with her.  Certainly, Sparkler did make her job easy, and she rewarded us with some cute images of various body parts.

NT screening profile 11w6d

NT screening front 11w6d

hello, Peter 11w6d

NT screening leg 11w6d

Five fingers!  (At least on one of the hands.)  A full stomach!  (Though I’m not quite sure what Sparkler is eating.  Amniotic fluid?)  More importantly, the nuchal fold was a good width.  And Sparkler was measuring 12 weeks, 0 days (or about 5.5 cm crown-to-rump).  So growth is now a day ahead of schedule.  Peter also measured a bit ahead of schedule after the initial dating ultrasound.  At my next appointment in four weeks, I get my first “bonus” ultrasound to measure my cervical length.  (Yay!)  I’ll also start my Makena injections then.  I hope they help because they are – quite literally – an expensive pain in the ass.

As for me, I still haven’t gained weight.  Good thing Halloween is coming…

I’ve been staying busy with Peter, job applications, and peach recipes.  Our peach tree was over-ambitious this year, producing so many peaches that the trunk completely bent over and one of the larger branches broke.  I used the peaches to make peach carrot pecan bread (twice), peach custard pie (twice), peaches ‘n cream popsicles, peach banana smoothies, peach sour cream bundt cake with cardamom and ginger, and golden peach soup with crab and shrimp seviche (Son insists that this was actually a peach chutney).  All the dishes were nice, but the peach custard pie probably takes the prize as our favorite recipe.  (Now why haven’t I gained any weight yet?)  If you’re not a fan of pie crusts, the recipe can be baked in custard dishes; about an hour of baking would be sufficient for custards.

The UMass Memorial NICU’s 40th birthday party is this weekend.  I ordered a custom t-shirt for Peter to wear.  Hopefully, it will help his favorite NICU nurses to recognize him.  I’ll take a picture of Peter wearing the shirt this weekend, but here is the front:

reunion t-shirt

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