Monday, February 27, 2012

Carnevale in Venice


Mark took the day off of work today, since his mom is here.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, in the 50’s, so we decided to head down to Venice for the last day of Carnevale.  I had really wanted to check out Carnevale, but not on a weekend because of the crazy crowds.  I didn’t want to take our two little ones down there and fight crowds all day, so I didn’t think it was going to work out this year.  But at the last minute it did, and I’m glad we went.


Luckily both of our kids are still wearable.  I strap Ben on in the mei tai my friend Emily made for me and Mark wears Abbie in the Ergo when she doesn’t want to walk.  It works out well, especially in Venice since Venice isn’t exactly a stroller friendly city, especially when it’s crowded.  Both kids did really well, except for Ben not wanting to nurse, but more on that in a different post.



Walking around Venice never gets old.  It’s a beautiful city.  Too bad our kids probably won’t remember any of it.  Today we bought Ben a little jacket to commemorate his first time in Venice.  I think it’ll fit him when he’s about 2.



Abbie got her face painted also.  Lots of people had really pretty face paintings so I thought it would be fun to get her one.  We paid 5E for a painting on her face that I probably could have done better even with my left hand…  Grrr.  Oh well.  Luckily she’s cute enough that it doesn’t matter how terrible the face painting is.IMG_5403IMG_5417

Carnevale (equivalent to “carnival” in English) starts 58 days before Easter and ends on Fat Tuesday (today).  Hundreds of people walk around Venice in elaborate costumes.  Surprisingly, it’s usually older people (50+) that have these super fancy costumes.  They normally walk around in pairs and stop when you want to take their picture or take pictures with them.  Young kids are dressed up in Halloween costumes and everyone in between is dressed up in crazy costumes.  The teen and 20’s age group seem to get into it quite a bit.




People even dress up their animals for the festivities!


From what I understand, people started using the masks during Carnevale to hide the difference between the social classes and put everyone on more even ground.  If you’ve ever been to Venice, you know these masks are sold EVERYWHERE and you can see many shops that make the masks as you walk through the streets.


We got some gelato and Abbie was sitting in this step eating hers and this lady in costume came up behind her and posed.  Abbie was much more interested in her gelato most of the time and maybe people took pictures of her and the lady.


I’m not sure I’ll ever get tired of Venice.  It’s a beautiful city and a photographers heaven!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Got our answer

We took Ben in for a weight check today.  It’s been 7 days since his last weight check and he gained 12 ounces in those 7 days, which is terrific.  Babies usually gain 15-30g per day, and average around 20g per day.  In the past 7 days, Ben gained almost 42g/day, so he’s doubling the average, which he needs to do since he has some catching up to do.  He now weighs 9lb14oz and he should be up around 11lbs.  I have no doubt he’ll catch up soon since he’s eating a LOT right now.
Gaining weight was the good news.  Here’s the bad news:  Ben basically refuses to nurse.  He nursed fine the first month since he was gaining weight.  He’s never been a great nurser, but he got the job done.  We would feed him one 2 oz bottle of formula at night so he would take a bottle and Mark could feed him some.  But while Mark was gone and especially after he got back, right before Ben turned two months old, he started to get really fussy when I tried to nurse him.  He’d nurse for about 8 mins on average, and then he’d be super fussy and I couldn’t get him to latch on anymore.  I took that as a clue that he was full, so I would wait an hour or so and try to nurse him again.  We’d go through the whole routine again where I’d try to get him to nurse and he would get fussy and after 8-ish minutes he’d refuse to feed anymore.  Apparently he wasn’t full, he just didn’t want to nurse, which I didn’t even know could happen to babies once they know how to latch on.  I thought he instinctively knew that he got his food by breastfeeding.  And maybe he does know that’s where his food is, but he still doesn’t want to nurse.  It’s to the point now where I can barely keep him “interested” (aka – from completely losing it and just screaming at the top of his lungs) for five minutes before he’s done, let alone nursing from both sides.  He basically full on fights nursing now for the most part, and the more I try to get him to latch on, the harder he fights me and the more pissed off he gets.  I’ve even tried to use an SNS (supplemental nursing system), and he still refused to nurse.  I know I have milk because I can hear him swallowing and I can see it in his mouth when he pulls off to scream, but he just won’t stay latched on.  Now he’ll suck 2-3 times, swallow and then pull off and fuss.  I get him back on and we basically do that for 4-5 mins before he just won’t go on any more and is arching his back and pushing off against me with his hands and screaming.  So now I’ll nurse him for as long as he’ll let me, then feed him a bottle of expressed milk (2-2.5oz) then feed him a bottle of formula (2-3oz) and then go pump.  I can usually only get 2-2.5 oz out per pumping session, but I know I have the wrong size flanges for my pump.  I ordered new ones but they’ll take a while to get here.
I am frustrated by all of this.  I feel really guilty that I was basically starving him and I’m sad that breastfeeding isn’t working out this time around.  I can’t force him to nurse.  I know BM is better for him than formula, and I want him to get as much of it as possible, but I don’t know how feasible it will be to pump exclusively either.  They’ve been telling me that in order to keep my supply up I need to try to nurse him, then feed him a bottle and then pump – every 1-2 hours, around the clock.  That’s just not possible.  If he was my only child, I might be able to keep that up for a while, but I have Abbie to take care of also, and I need to be realistic as to how much time I can dedicate JUST to feeding Ben.  I’m not sure that basically 8-10 hours of nursing him, feeding him and pumping for him a day is anywhere near realistic.
So I’m just going to try to get over this huge guilt I’m feeling for not being willing/able to devote all of my time to breastfeeding him and I’m just going to do what I can.  Sometimes in the morning he’ll nurse for 10 mins on each side (and then drink a 2-4 oz bottle…), which is pretty good.  If I can keep that up, and then also do 3-4 pumping sessions a day, so he’s getting some expressed milk in the bottles instead of all formula, I’ll be okay with it.  Not happy, but okay with it.  I’m not sure I really have a choice at this point.  I’ll continue to attempt to nurse him for as long as he’ll let me and then I’ll continue to pump as long as I have a supply.  I’ve never been able to pump very much though, so we’ll see.
I’m so glad there’s nothing physically wrong with our little Ben.  I just wish that he wasn’t putting up such a fight against nursing.  I had no clue babies even did this sort of thing, but apparently it’s not that uncommon.  Bummer.

Friday, February 24, 2012




1. What's your favorite way to spend down time (alone or with a significant other)?  I love curling up with a good book, or writing letters while watching TV,  or working on my quilting when I get the time.  Sometimes I dream about the days when I’ll have more down time than I do now.

2. Are you the kind of person that wants things more as soon as you know you can't have it?  I guess it depends on what it is.  I’m the type of person who decides I want something and then I want it RIGHT NOW.  I don’t want to wait for it.  I would say that usually this is pretty minor stuff, like a set of pens or a shirt.  Very rarely is it something expensive.

3. If you were given $1000 to spend on yourself, what would you buy?  A few clothes, kitchen gadgets, fabric, quilting patterns and rulers, and maybe a massage.  And a night out for Mark and me!

4. Do you ever go out to eat by yourself?  No.  I like the social aspect of eating out.  If I’m going to sit down and eat by myself, I prefer to do it at home, in front of the tv.  I think I’d feel awkward sitting in a restaurant by myself.  What do you do?  Eavesdrop and watch other people eat?

5. What company would you want to do a blog review for?  I think it would be really fun to try a Cricut or a machine that cuts quilting fabric.  Or any sort of kitchen gadget.


Happy Friday!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Echo appointment

We had the echocardiogram appointment at the Pordenone Hospital at 7:15pm on Monday night.  The hospitals over here are just so different than those in the States.  In the States they at least try to make them warm and inviting, as much as a hospital can be.  Here in Italy, it is bare bones for everything.  They have pictures on the walls and stuff, but it’s just very “institutional feeling”.  The doctor that looked at Ben was the director of cardiology there and his the one that came to get us from the waiting room, and the only one we saw for our visit.  We didn’t see any nurses or any other doctors, and not many other people, since it was after 7pm.
I went in to this appointment not really worried about Ben’s heart.  My gut was just telling me that whatever his losing weight issue is, it wasn’t caused by his heart, and I was right.  The cardiologist said almost immediately before he even listened to Ben’s heart that it wasn’t a heart condition that was the problem.  He thought it was a digestive issue, but he still did the ECG (which is what he’s hooked up to here) and the echo also.  (We didn’t get pictures of the echo because it took two of us to hold Ben, feed him a bottle and keep his arms out of the way of the ultrasound wand.)
It turns out the Ben has 2 very small holes in his heart.  One is 1mm in size, the other is 2mm, so they’re tiny.  I guess all babies are born with holes in their hearts, but they usually close within the first week they’re born.  Sometimes they can take up to 6 months to fully close though, so that’s one of the ones Ben has.  The other one is also fairly normal and the cardiologist said that 30% of adults have this hole in their heart and it doesn’t cause any complications at all.  So neither hole is really a problem and definitely neither is the cause of his weight loss.
So on Thursday we have his appointment with the pediatrician to see if he’s gained weight.  I will be shocked (and incredibly worried and frustrated) if he hasn’t gained weight this week.  We’re having HUGE breastfeeding issues and afraid that I’m not going to be able to nurse him much longer, but more on that later.  Fingers crossed for good news on Thursday!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gorgazzo in the winter.

Apparently Lake Barcis isn’t the only thing that’s really low in the winter.  Gorgazzo usually looks like this.  It was about 2-3 lower than it normally is when we visited it on Saturday.  Still very pretty, but again, I didn’t think the level of it fluctuated that much.
We had promised Abbie that she could feed the fish and geese at Lake Barcis, but there weren’t any to be seen. so we decided to go see if the fish and ducks were at Gorgazzo, and they were.  Abbie had fun throwing them bits of crackers.
I’ll miss the little town of Gorgazzo when we leave Italy.  The natural spring is just beautiful and I’ve never seen anything like it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lake Barcis in the winter

Mark’s mom and brother are in town so we wanted to get out of the house a bit and decided to check out Lake Barcis again, since Mark’s mom has never been there.  We’ve been there a few times, but I was SHOCKED at how low the lake was this time.  I had no clue they let it get as low as it was.  It was fascinating and disappointing at the same time.
Here’s one of the dams near the lake.
I love this bridge.  It amazes me that cars actually drive across it.
If you look on the other post I linked above, you’ll see how this normally looks.  There is normally water completely covering this area, all the way up to that railing on the left.
We had our picture taken on this dock before, and the water was up to about a foot or two below the walkway.  I couldn’t believe that entire area was dry!
We stopped by a little park to let Abbie play for a bit.  She had fun making snowballs with Mark and Ryan.

Sidenote:  Ben was along on this trip, but he was asleep in his car seat the whole time and I didn’t want to uncover him to take pictures since it was a little chilly.