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Sun, 12 Sep 2010

Natalie - 2 Weeks Old

Two weeks already! It is hard to believe. Time has really flown. Of course, I suspect we will be saying that a lot the next 20+ years. Well, here is what has been going on since Natalie was born...

Things went fairly well at the hospital, but we missed Caroline a lot. We were going to come home on Wednesday, September 1, but then Natalie ended up with bad enough jaundice that we had to stay another night. That was really inconvenient and disappointing, but having Natalie on a BiliBlanket overnight helped a lot. We were discharged on Thursday and had Natalie on a BiliBlanket overnight at home. Things were even better Friday, and we received permission to stop using the BiliBlanket after one more night.

Wednesday night at the hospital we started bottle-feeding Natalie milk that Maribel pumped because we wanted to make sure she was getting enough food to recover from the jaundice. (She had very few dirty diapers that day, which was a bad sign.) She has been eating fairly well from the bottle, just like her sister did. I am glad that I can help feed her while we use the bottle, but it is more work for Maribel with all the pumping in addition to the feedings. We will see if we have to keep up this approach.

Natalie still sleeps almost all the time. The last few days have brought more brief periods of awake time, but those were very rare until then. Unfortunately, the awake periods are sometimes at night. There has been no consistency yet, so hopefully as she gets into a routine she will mostly sleep at night. At least we hope so.

And about Caroline too...

Caroline spent a few days with my parents while we were at the hospital. We were told she was very good there, which makes us quite happy. She came home on Friday, a day after we left the hospital. It was so great to see her, but she looked huge to us. Between not seeing her for a few days and spending so much time with a little baby, Caroline seemed so different than we we had last seen her. I have a hard time remembering her as looking little now!

Caroline has been a really good big sister. She has been fascinated with babies for a while, and she really likes having Natalie around. I am sure she is not happy about everything, but she takes most of it pretty well. She shows a great deal of concern when Natalie cries. She likes to give Natalie kisses, and she likes touching her. She has even asked to hold her a few times, and we have helped her do that. It is lots of fun to see her as a big sister. She has shown a little jealousy sometimes, but usually that is not too bad.

And now the downside... Since coming home, Caroline has been acting out quite a bit more. It is hard to tell if this is the result of unhappiness about having a sibling or if it is the natural evolution to the "Terrible 2's" phase of her life. I guess we will see how long it lasts. It has been a bit challenging, but we cannot complain too much. She is still a sweet little girl most of the time. Now we just have to deal with behavioral issues more than before. She just wants to get into everything and no longer likes to do what we ask. Fortunately, she still does all of the same cute, wonderful stuff, so it is not like she is completely different. She is tons of fun, plays extremely well on her own, likes reading books, and has an ever-growing vocabulary. There is not enough room here to describe all the great things about her!

-Keith

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Sun, 29 Aug 2010

Natalie Stella Kruepke

We are excited to announce the arrival of Natalie Stella Kruepke. She was born at 5:17 AM on August 29, 2010, which was just six days before her due date. She was 6 lbs. 13 oz. and 19 in. long. That puts her over a pound bigger than Caroline at birth, which is really great, especially given the fact that she was born just a little early.

Like her sister Caroline, Natalie was delivered by Cesarean section, and both she and Maribel came through it like champs. They are both still doing very well but remain fairly tired. Maribel seems to be recovering very quickly.

We have posted an initial set of photographs in our photo gallery.

Thank you to everyone who kept us in your prayers throughout both of the pregnancies. We are grateful for your support.

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Fri, 12 Mar 2010

We've Got a Walker!

Following those first steps (or first noticed steps) on January 27, Caroline has not show much interest in walking. Lots of standing and lots of walking behind her toys, but she was not really walking. Right after those initial steps at home, the daycare mentioned Caroline took steps, but then there was a whole lot of nothing.

Well, last Friday that all changed. Maribel was home with Caroline, and I was told that Caroline walked that day. Maribel worked Saturday, so I was on solo childcare duty. Caroline walked several times that day, and a couple of those were more than just a few steps. Since then, walking has become a routing but inconsistent event. With each day, Caroline walks more and gets better at it. She has already attempted to run a few times (all unsuccessful so far).

We really appreciate that Caroline cut us a break and waited a while to walk, but we are excited about this milestone. Right now the best part is watching her decide whether to walk or crawl. She will be standing, and she gets this look on her face that tells me she is thinking hard about what to do next. She also seems to understand that she is doing something special when she walks; apparently our excitement is easy to read. She usually looks right at us and smiles while she is walking or about to walk.

Other updates...

Caroline's vocabulary is increasing, although I barely understand anything she says. Most of it is still gibberish, but she commands a good variety of sounds now. For the last few days, "day-go" has been her favorite word, and it leaves us completely confused. It sounds like she might be saying "Diego," but we have no idea how she could pick that up. Maybe daycare has Dora books or something like that. We have considered other possible explanations, such as corruptions of "doggie" or "daddy", but those do not make much sense.

Caroline is doing pretty well eating solid foods, but she is not all that easy to feed most of the time. Neither Maribel nor I really look forward to feeding her. She usually eats okay, but she does not eat much when she is sick. Being in daycare, she gets sick fairly often. When she is sick, we are lucky that she sleeps really well.

Caroline keeps surprising us with things she seems to figure out. Today Maribel saw her give Jordan one of his toys, which is pretty impressive. Some of that kind of stuff really cracks me up. She is so much fun. I get to babysit again tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it.

-Keith

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Wed, 27 Jan 2010

First Steps!

Today Maribel stayed home with Caroline because Caroline is sick again. (It is supposedly RSV this time, but I guess that is usually just like a bad cold.) While they were playing, Caroline took a few independent steps from a toy to Maribel. First time! (Well, unless shne walks at daycare all the time.) When I got home from work, I tried commanding Caroline to walk for me, but that did not work.

Well, I should explain what else Caroline has been doing, but I think that will have to wait for another time.

- Keith

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Wed, 21 Oct 2009

More Caroline Updates...Crawling, Standing, "Talking"

Two months since my last update? No, I don't think that could be right.

Well, as you can imagine, Caroline has been changing a lot in the last two months. Of course, that is almost a quarter of her life so far. Weird. She is nine months old as of last week, and she keeps getting more interesting and more fun.

The number of things we can do to make Caroline smile or laugh are now countless. There are times when they might not work, but it is usually pretty easy now. She has two laughs. There is a normal laugh, which I think she uses when she is just amused by something. She also has a laugh that sounds like she is coughing, which I think she might use when she wants us to know she is entertained by something. I am not really sure about that though. It definitely sounds funny.

Caroline crawls anywhere and everywhere with ease. The only time she moves slowly is when she is crying while crawling because she feels abandoned. This often happens when we come home from daycare and I want to change out of my work clothes (although this week has been much better). She has also mastered crawling up the one step from our living room with the sunken floor. She really seems to like doing that; she frequently gives up toys while on the living room floor and crawls to the step. Sometimes she just gets up on her knees and plays at the step, but other times she crawls up it, especially if there is something there she wants to reach.

Caroline can pull herself to a standing position on pretty much anything as well. This is fun to watch. She really likes to stand. She does it a lot on the step in the living room. When she does that, the step is not high enough for her to stand completely upright while she has her hand on it. Then she usually picks up one hand, and sometimes she even tries to pick up the other hand too but has to put it right back down.

Over Labor Day weekend, Maribel and Caroline traveled to Florida. During that trip, Caroline started saying "bah" quite a bit. She goes through phases when she says it a lot and others when she does not say it at all. She has not picked up any other "words" yet. We also cannot get her to to say "bah" in response to us even though we try. Of course, the more she talks or makes other noises, the more she does that in church during mass as well. Fortunately, she is super good in church and only makes a few cute noises during mass. I think the people sitting near us are amused so far.

I know last time I mentioned how Caroline did not like baths. Sometimes she is still unhappy when she takes a bath, but now she usually enjoys them again. Quite a bit of splashing often accompanies baths when she is happy, which gets us very wet. It is pretty funny to watch; sometimes she really looks like she is concentrating when she splashes.

Finally, I think that I have forgotten to mention so far that Caroline has pierced ears. Maribel took her in July, and you can see her earrings in many of the photos since then.

There are also a few videos in our photo gallery; they are the entries that have an icon in place of the thumbnail image. We might be able to devise a better way to share them, but you can view them as they are now if you would like.

More updates to follow...

- Keith

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Thu, 20 Aug 2009

So Many Changes...And Starting to Crawl?

Well, it has been a while since I posted any updates about Caroline, so you can imagine how much she has changed. It has been so fun to watch! Let's see...

Obviously, Caroline is laughing and grabbing things (the milestones I wrote about in May) all the time now. She grabs for everything, and small children are prone to do. And of course, it all goes into her mouth.

Caroline was baptized on June 14, and that was a great time. Several members of Maribel's family were in town, and we had a good party to celebrate. She was very well-behaved for her baptism, although she screamed earlier when another child was being baptized. That baptism blocked the exit, so I just had to hold her in the church while Maribel prepared a bottle.

Caroline started day care three days a week on June 22. That took some adjusting for us, especially me leaving to leave work earlier than I always used to. Now it is basically part of our routine, and she is doing great there.

On July 13, Caroline's six-month birthday, she got her first tooth. At least then we knew why she was drooling so much, especially at her cousin Cameron's baptism the day before. She got that tooth pretty early, and then she really surprised us when she got her second tooth on July 19. She still just has those two (bottom ones).

Right before her baptism, Caroline started rolling over. At the time, she could only roll from lying on her back to lying on her stomach, and that did not make her happy. Fortunately, she was not very good at it and did not do it often. She continued to get better and eventually learned how to roll back the other way. The big highlight was at Opera in the Park on July 25. We were there on a blanket waiting for the performance to start. Suddenly Caroline started rolling all over the blanket. It was very entertaining, and it was fun that we were all lying on the blanket together. She has been rolling a lot ever since. And she is getting better and better at directing herself to where she wants to go.

When rolling around, Caroline frequenly tries to get to things in front of her, which does not normally work. A few days ago, She started getting up on her hands and knees, which looks really funny, especially when you realize she cannot quite figure out how to crawl even though she is in the right position. When trying to move around, she has sometimes gone backward. Then yesterday I noticed a little forward progress when she was on her stomach. Not quite crawling but getting closer. Today we were told that she crawled a short distance at day care! We are excited that she is approaching that milestone, but we are dreading it. Maribel is traveling to Florida with Caroline in a few weeks, and she is kind of hoping the crawling would start after that trip. We'll see...

Several weeks ago, Caroline changed from liking baths to crying through them. That has made the baths difficult on us too. She stays in a good mood during a bath on rare occasions, so those are nice treats. Hopefully this will be a short phase.

Giving Caroline baths when she is crying is a pleasure compared to trying to feed her cereal. We have tried the traditional rice cereal and oatmeal, and both get about the same reception. She may have gotten her teeth early, but she is taking to food really late. That has been a real pain.

Well, I think that about sums it up. I really need to do a better job of posting updates, so I would not need to make them so long.

- Keith

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Wed, 06 May 2009

Laughing and Reaching

Caroline has had a few milestones lately. Over two weeks ago (4/18, I believe) she had her first laugh. At least that is what we think it was. We were able to get her to laugh a few times in a row, and it was cool that it happened at a time when Maribel and I were both able to experience it.

For about a week now, Caroline has been reaching out and touching things. It is still fairly casual and does not necessarily involve grabbing much yet, but that cannot be far behind. It started one day when Maribel noticed her touching one of the toys attached to her bouncy chair. Of course, she had touched things before, but Maribel watched and saw her do it a few times. Ever since then, it has gotten more routine, and she has done a little bit of grabbing things when she touches them.

For a little while now, Caroline has been sucking on her hand at times. It started out being an occasional thing, and it has become quite routine now. It always seemed to me that she was not all that happy with how little of her hand (usually in fist form) fits in her mouth. The last few days she seems to have finally figured out how to suck on her thumb.

Unfortunately, Caroline has been mildly sick the past several days. It is just a cold, but she can get pretty cranky about it. Saturday was my first time being alone with her for an extended period of time (over eight hours), and she was not very pleasant that day. She really reacts negatively when we attempt to clean out her nose. Telling her it is for her own good does not seem to help; I doubt that will ever change. Overall she has been pretty good about being sick even though she has her cranky moods.

Finally, Caroline seems to be exhibiting some independence lately. There are times when she starts fussing while we are holding her, and putting her down somewhere makes her happy. Of course, we try not to take that personally, but we are sensitive parents. We will have to see if this is the start of a trend.

- Keith

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Mon, 23 Feb 2009

Smiling

Today I am convinced that I have seen some real smiles from Caroline. I will be the first to admit that it is very hard to tell, but I am getting increasingly convinced of it. Yesterday I was fairly suspicious that I saw a real smile or two, but I did not want to jump to any conclusions. Today it was a bit more obvious because she seemed to be reacting to me. I was making some noise and moving her arms when she started smiling.

Maribel came in the room while this was going on, so she got to see it as well. At least I have a witness!

- Keith

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Fri, 20 Feb 2009

Big Week For Caroline

This was a big week for Caroline. A week ago, on February 13, she turned one month old. The day before she got to meet her Abuelo (grandfather Aponte). On February 14, we had a party and invited my extended family over to meet Caroline. She got to meet quite a bit of the family that day, and she really enjoyed being held by so many people. Finally, on Thursday, Maribel took Caroline in for her first studio photos. Naturally, that cost more than it was supposed to, but you can see the results here.

It is amazing how much Caroline has changed in a month. Granted, at her size, it does not take much for her to grow a lot as a percentage of her size, but I still find it amazing. She is a wonderful little girl, who in the course of doing so little really does a lot to brighten our lives.

- Keith

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Sat, 17 Jan 2009

Caroline Doing Well

Caroline had an appointment with the pediatrician today. Even though they examined her in general, we were particularly concerned about her weight. At the hospital, the nurses told us that Caroline was starting to lose more weight than they would hope. Since she was so small at birth, she did not have much extra weight to lose, even though losing weight is normal for a newborn.

We were very excited to learn that Caroline gained a little bit of weight between Thursday and Saturday, so hopefully she has turned the corner. We made changes to her feeding routine, including more regular feedings and using formula to supplement, so these probably made a big difference.

What a relief!

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Tue, 13 Jan 2009

Caroline Stella Kruepke

We are excited to announce the arrival of Caroline Stella Kruepke. She was born at 5:47 AM on January 13, 2009, which was just a day past her due date. She was 5 lbs. 11 oz. and 18 in. long.

Caroline was delivered by Cesarean section, and both she and Maribel came through it like champs. They are both still doing very well.

We have posted an initial set of photographs in our photo gallery.

Thank you to everyone who kept us in your prayers throughout the pregnancy. We are grateful for your support.

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Mon, 17 Nov 2008

More Ultrasound Photos

Today we had another ultrasound, and we received much good news. Our daughter is growing normally (just a bit on the small side, which Maribel considers good news when it comes to delivery), and she still looks healthy. It was kind of crazy all of the different measurements the ultrasound technician was taking. It was really great and a tremendous relief to keep hearing words like "good" and "normal," and we really enjoyed seeing our daugher again after 12 weeks since the last ultrasound.

Even though the last ultrasound was kind of a bust when it came to photos for the website, this time we were given digital copies of a few. We have posted them to our photo gallery. Check them out!

They were going to do one of those new 3-D ultrasound images today as well, but our little girl was shy and had her hands in front of her face.

This appointment means that there are only eight weeks left until the due date. That is really starting to feel close, although it still feels far away at times.

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Tue, 26 Aug 2008

It's a Girl!

Today we had another ultrasound, and we found out that we are having a girl! Of course, we are only half-way there, so it will be a while before any of us really get to meet her. We are extremely excited by the news, and now the name selection process can begin in earnest. This also opens the door on some of the purchases and/or gift registrations that might be influenced by this knowledge.

The ultrasound photos taken today are not very good, so we will probably not be able to post them in our photo gallery. We may try to scan them to see if anything will be visible, but do not count on seeing them.

Of course, the most exciting news we received today is that our little girl still appears to be healthy and developing normally. That is such a great miracle, and we pray that the pregnancy continues to go as well as it has been.

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Sun, 03 Aug 2008

Baby #1 is on the Way

Summer has been busy, so we are a little late with this announcement...

We are expecting! Maribel is due on January 12, which still seems far away but rapidly approaching.

There are a ton of things to do between now and then, and of course we will not get all of them done in time. We have not been freaking out much yet; that will probably come later. For now, we are just very excited and looking forward to the adventures ahead.

Pregnancy seems to suit Maribel well. She has not really been sick at all, and I think she gets sick less often now than usual. She started reading What to Expect When You're Expecting but did not really like it. She really likes The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy, and she is getting all of her buying advice from Baby Bargains, which should be no surprise to anyone.

Not much to see, but we have posted ultrasound photos on our photo gallery.

We will probably have an opportunity to find out the sex of the baby later this month. If we find out, we will let you know!

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Sat, 24 May 2008

Google Health Concerns

I tend to be concerned about many things having to do with technology, but I rarely feel the need to comment. In this case, however, there is something about Google Health that I feel deserves highlighting in as many places as possible. I know that Google is very popular (I use them for almost all of my searching), so it seems likely people will flock to Google Health without giving it much thought. Therein lies my concern.

It is one thing to carefully consider the options and decide that Google Health is right for you. However, it is unlikely that most users of Google Health will be this careful. Google is not the kind of place I want to keep my health information. That information is very private, I would be hesitant to share it with anyone who does not need it, especially a company like Google with a privacy policy that is rated one of the worst of leading online companies. This article reminded me of this fact and how readily it will be overlooked by the general public. The author also points out that Google does not publish details about security flaws in their poducts. While security flaws are to be expected, I am not impressed with Google's track record when it comes to volume. The fact that they do not people know when they have slipped up is unacceptable.

If you are looking at using Google Health, please give some thought to how much benefit you will get from it and how much risk you are taking. I am not sure if there are any similar services out there with which I would be more comfortable, so for now I will stick to the traditional (painful) methods of tracking and sharing my medical information. Hopefully I will find an option in the future that will work well for me, and maybe that will be Google Health if they make some changes to their policies and exhibit a strong track record.

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