Friday, December 29, 2006

Edward got to celebrate his first birthday over several days, so it's fitting that we note it with several blog posts, too. We wanted to share Edward's official birthday cake experience.

This is before:

This is during

And this is after

Is there any doubt that he enjoyed himself?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

If you look up the word "sucker" in the dictionary, you'll see a photo of John and me. While you've got that dictionary out, look up "highway robbery" and see if the Sears logo appears. Those portrait studio folks saw us coming a mile away. Didn't help that I forgot the coupon on the fridge, but looking at it now, I see that it was for a package that would have allowed us only one pose and no "discount" on the photo CD. As John says, "He's only one once," so we've got photos up the wazoo if anyone wants one plus a CD with all eight images and copyright so those posted here are totally legal. We've got dressy and casual, full body and close up, sizes a plenty from wallets up to 8x10.

We also managed to finish our own series of monthly couch shots yesterday. Those shoes look huge, don't they? He doesn't particularly care for them, but we're trying to get him used to the idea that he can't go around in soft-soles forever--especially not when it snows. It's tough to be a December baby--you finally figure out how to move yourself around and then you're confined to the house or to bulky winter gear that inhibits that new range of motion. He'll definitely be on the run as soon as the tulips pop up in the spring!

We had a wonderful Christmas and birthday. Ed made out like a bandit thanks to his doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and of course Santa! He was actually satisfied with just one present--didn't matter which one. As soon as he opened it, that's all he needed and he totally ignored the rest of the stack. Gift bags were his favorite--much easier to dig into that tissue and pull out the present than to rip a tightly wrapped box. And speaking of surprise, those were as fun as the toys! Some of the loot went in the closet to be reintroduced when we hit rock bottom of winter boredom.

He's clearly exhausted by it all. He took an hour and forty-five minute nap this morning and is close to the three hour mark on his afternoon snooze right now. I guess when you're in constant motion every waking moment, you need more sleeping moments. He'll probably be glad to go back to daycare tomorrow and be rid of his pestering parents for a little while!

One other milestone--now that he's a year old, he can ride in the carseat facing forward. He's long since reached the weight requirement (20 lbs.) so we've been waiting for the birthday. He was looking all around on the drive to Sears, but it was old hat by the trip home and he fell asleep. That's actually a good sign--our road trips depend on his ability to sleep in the car!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Edward got an early start on his birthday and Christmas today with a pretty standard wake-up time of about 6:15. That gave us plenty of time to have breakfast and open some presents before heading to church.

Santa brought him some magnetic letters to stick on the refrigerator, a good idea because he's able to reach up high enough that the things stuck there had better be Edward-proof.

He also brought him a plastic wagon filled with over-sized Lego-like toys. This doubles, like anything else that is the right height, as a mode of travel. Edward quickly pulled himself up on it and began pushing it around the room.

He also opened presents on Christmas Eve -- which is, of course, also his Birthday Eve -- adding to his already full toy chest.

He also helped his Dad open presents. The Geraghty clan does a sibling gift exchange, each sibling and spouse receiving the name of another with the idea of exchanging presents for Christmas. Mary's brother P.J. drew my name. Lucky me. Edward didn't quite know what to make of my present -- an animatronic reindeer singing "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" -- and to be honest, neither did I. Watch out next year, P.J.

That's just the beginning. He'll celebrate with Grandma and Grandpa Kenyon this afternoon, and with many more family members later in the week. It's a great way to cap a great year and usher in another.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas! It's hard to believe that this time last year we were still waiting for Edward, not even knowing he would be Edward. In fact, a year ago today, John and I went on our last spontaneous date, no babysitter required. We went out to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and to a movie. All the while, our friend Dan, a painter, was painting Ed's room. Little did we know how soon he would inhabit it.

It's been a wonderful year. Watching Edward grow has been thrilling and we can't wait to see what the next year brings.

We started our Christmas and birthday celebrations a little early, when Gram and PopPop, along with Aunt Nora and Aunt Bridget, visited on Friday. So far the Tupperware shape ball seems to be the favorite present, but there's still more to come. We also jumped the gun a bit on birthday cake. This first cake was pumpkin with cream cheese frosting, and at first Ed wasn't too sure what to make of it. He squished it and then tried to shake it off his hand, but when John took some of the crumbs and formed a little cake ball for him, Edward realized the error of his ways and began to devour what was left on his tray. Since that sugar introduction he also has eaten a few pieces of sugar cookie (the ones that broke before making it to the frosting assembly line.) He's pretty fond of those too. Watch out for the sugar high!

Tonight we'll open a few more of the Christmas present that have been magically appearing at our doorstep from such exotic locales as South Milwaukee, WI; Chandler, AZ, and Bristol, TN. Then tomorrow we'll see what Santa brings in the morning and celebrate both Christmas and birthday with Grandma and Grandpa Kenyon in the afternoon. We may all need naps by the time we're done!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The other day Edward discovered that it's just as fun to roll around in a pile of books as it is to read them or chew on them. Rather than restrict this activity to the corner behind the chair (where he had pulled up on the end table to reach the books and brush them onto the floor) we took the next step toward total Edward domination and cleared the bottom shelf of one of our living room bookcases for his use. Now he has easier access and another whole section of the room to leave in utter chaos.

John likes to play with the zoom on our camera, capturing moments like this one outside on Saturday. It was another freakishly warm day, as you might guess from Edward's bare head. No hat in December? Well, it was close to 60, but now we think we've seen the last of it. I'm holding Edward in this photo because he'd had an unexplained meltdown while pushing his walker up and down the block. It was so weird, one minute he was happily giggling and shrieking as he toddled along and then in the blink of an eye he started screaming and wouldn't walk another step. There was no injury that we could see--nothing stepped on and certainly no stinging bugs this time of year. A few minutes later he was calm again and back on his merry way.This week, Edward took the first steps toward another milestone at daycare--transitioning to the next age group in a new room. After the holidays he'll be in the toddler room so for now he's spending a little time there each day to get used to the new kids and new teachers. Two of his "friends" from the infant room will move at the same time so it won't be totally unfamiliar. He'll also be reunited with a couple of the older kids who have moved out of the infant room in the last few months. The toddler room has a door that leads directly outside to the playground. Apparently they take the kids out every day unless the wind chill is below zero. I'll be interested to see if this actually happens though--seems like the law of diminishing returns would kick in when you're talking about getting eight kids between the ages of one and two all bundled and ready to go out at the same time. But regardless, I guess he'll need a snow pants and some real shoes/boots assuming we eventually get into a real Iowa winter with snow.

Meanwhile, inside...
Edward found out this morning that the dishwasher can be fun. Luckily it had just been emptied so nothing to break and no danger of little fingers finding a fork or knife! Just good old fashioned discovery.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Edward visited Santa this weekend at the mall. He doesn't seem terribly impressed here, despite the REAL whiskers on this guy! At least he didn't freak out. Grandpa Kenyon, who played Santa at his office Christmas party for years, says that's more of a two- or three-year-old reaction. Can't wait!

We wisely chose the Santa at the second-tier mall in our area--no line and no pressure to pay exorbitant picture charges. We did buy one from them for $5, but they also let us take as many as we wanted. We had Grandma and Grandpa Kenyon along for the fun so there were lots of flashes going off!

Elsewhere in the mall, a radio station was giving away treats and balloons. Edward clearly loved his!

Back at home, Grandma captured this winning shot of Edward and his walker. He'd run it into the couch I think, but was so happy to be spending time with Grandma and Grandpa that he didn't cry in frustration, as is typical.

Unfortunately we're not seeing much of this smile at the moment. Ed and I both came down with colds so no one is at the top of his/her game. Ed's not sleeping, so therefore neither are we...not a good recipe for health restoration. We'll survive though. Better to get it out of the way now so we're in prime condition for the big upcoming birthday!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Here is Edward in his pre-bed playtime. He has another pajama layer that goes over this one (a cozy footie fleece) but the feet are not no-skid so he doesn't put it on until right before bed. Otherwise, the kitchen floor is hazardous! He now moves everywhere in the blink of an eye. I've noticed lately that he actually follows us when we leave the room. For instance yesterday morning I carried him to the living room and stood him next to his saucer. Then I returned to the kitchen to get my bowl of cereal so I could eat it and keep an eye on him at the same time. In the five seconds it took me to do this, he had gotten down to the floor and started army crawling toward the kitchen doorway. So today I kept him in the kitchen while I ate, and he pushed his walker all over the floor. This does not always entail standing behind it and allowing the wheels to propel it forward. He doesn't know how to turn around when he runs into an solid object (stove, cabinet, table, etc.) so he just walks around to the side and starts pushing the walker sideways in the direction he wants to go. This is more effective on the kitchen linoleum than the living room carpet.

This week Edward is also working on putting himself to sleep. That's not as independent as it sounds. I just mean that he's really too active to put up with being rocked to sleep, even when he's clearly tired and ready for a nap. So I've been putting him in the crib awake and then listening for when the chatter stops as the signal that he's finally fallen asleep. Sometimes the telltale sound of the pacifier being thrown over the side (or through the rails) signals that I will soon have to go in to retrieve and replace it in its rightful mouth. I wish I could see through the wall to see how he entertains himself in the minutes before he succumbs to sleep.

After a few weeks of picky eating, Edward jumped right back into full vacuum mode last night, devouring a jar of baby food (veggies) and then scooping up piece after piece of the pear I was dicing until he'd eaten the whole pear. Then he proceeded to eat bunny crackers until we finally cut him off after we'd finished our own spaghetti dinner. At daycare they said he loved the spaghetti lunch, which is a bit perplexing since we've tried to give him pasta in many different forms and he's always spit it out. But maybe his palate is maturing (ha!)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Edward has fallen in love with his walker, using it every chance he gets. He also has been pulling himself up on everything, including the walker, his exer-saucer, a chair and the sides of his crib. It seems he gets a bit more mobile with each passing hour, let alone each day.

Today he slept in until 8 a.m., which was a rare treat for us. Of course, that screwed up his sleep schedule for the rest of the day, but as long as we remember back to this morning and sleeping past 7 a.m. for the first time in a long time, it was a fair trade-off.

Mary got some good photos of Edward making his way across the floor to the walker, pulling himself up and taking off, which you'll find below. And below that is a very short video of Edward letting us know that he would like some more cereal tonight at dinner. Quite loudly. I'd suggest adjusting your volume before you hit play.

For a real treat, go back to this video from six months ago, where Edward is sitting in the same highchair. He looks so small back then...

Monday, November 27, 2006

It took quite an effort, but we finally captured Edward sitting still long enough for his traditional couch corner birthday shot today. As noted last month, it's very difficult to keep him in one place long enough for a photo, much less a photo where he has his eyes open and is looking at least sort of in the direction of the camera.

For your amusement, here are some of the bloopers of the last few days:
Now that he has his walking toy (see video below) he's really impatient with the sedentary lifestyle. At the same time that he's mastered this new skill, he's also figured out that he can pull himself to standing on objects other than his parents. He's been able to use our legs (or bodies if we're laying down at his level) to pull up for some time now, but this afternoon I watched him use the exersaucer to pull up for the first time and his teacher at daycare said he also pulled up on the table there for the first time this morning. It's amazing to see him coordinate all the necessary movements--things he's done separately before--and achieve something that in his world is monumental. Then he just does it over and over until he collapses into an exhausted, crying heap and I haul him off for a nap.

Here also are some shots of Ed's first Thanksgiving, which we were lucky enough to celebrate with a majority of my family at my parents' house in Evanston (only the Arizona contingent was missing.) If ever there was a year for them to risk a northward venture for the holiday (and there likely never will be!) this would have been it, as we had a balmy weekend with daytime temps in the 60s. What a treat. It was nice to be able to enjoy the daytime because our nights were a bit challenging.

Edward developed a low-grade fever on Wednesday and it continued through Thursday and early Friday. I noticed it first when I picked him up from daycare on Wednesday and decided I'd better call the doctor to see if he needed to come in. I couldn't remember what the threshold was for worrying about fever. His was only 100.5, which they said normally they wouldn't worry about. But given his history of ear infections and the fact that they would be closed through the long weekend, they said to come in just to be safe. His ears were fine and he had none of the other symptoms of the various bugs that are "going around" so they said just to watch it and let him ride it out. Fever, after all, is the body's natural defense against intruders. The doctor did say that we might want to reconsider travel plans, though she agreed that driving probably wouldn't be as bad as flying with a mildly sick child. We decided to go ahead; we'd been looking forward to this for too long to abandon the plan.

Well, no one was sorry we went, but Wednesday and Thursday nights were rough enough that we cut the visit short and came home Friday after dinner. Ed normally wakes up only once in the night, nurses and goes right back to sleep in his crib. The two nights away he woke up two or three times, screaming, refusing pacifier and food, and then even when we finally managed to rock him back to calm, refused to sleep in the crib. Both nights we brought him to our bed in the early morning hours, which is really not restful for anyone, but an act of desperation. Even if we're not really sleeping well, at least we're laying down and he's not screaming.

We had a great time during the days though with my mom's delicious traditional turkey and trimmings on Thursday and then a big pizza party with my aunts, uncles and cousins on Friday. Friday afternoon John and I even snuck out to see a movie (our first in the theater since March!) leaving Ed in PopPop's expert care. I had thought that our Thanksgiving meal would be smack in the middle of Ed's afternoon nap, but given his weird nighttime patterns, his day sleeping was a little different too, so he joined us in the highchair. He tried the turkey and some broccoli, but I think mostly ate his favorite puffs and pushed the rest around. A few bites might have made it from tray to mouth to tummy though. (The festive bib was a "too cute to resist" gift from Aunt Diana.)

Friday night when we got back, Ed was still in his non-sleeping mode so that was another rough night, but Saturday was so gorgeous we couldn't resist the opportunity for a long walk and some park visits. Then later, of course, naps! Saturday night was a little better and then last night he was back to normal. So he must be over whatever was bugging him and feeling nice and comfy back in his own bed. So are we, and glad to have it to ourselves!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We have been enjoying our time with Edward so much lately that we haven't done a very good job of sharing him here on the blog. He is much more mobile these days, walking with a lot of assistance from various people and things, and crawling (albeit without much help from his legs) to get where he wants to go.

Here are a couple of videos of him in motion. The first shows him walking, the second finds him playing ball with me and crawling. His destination on that particular crawl was to our kitchen, where he finds a doorstop to be a puzzlingly fascinating thing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A few photos that have been languishing in the Ed folder on the computer, waiting to be shared with Ed's fans. He's just so busy these days there's hardly enough time to take pictures, let alone post them with updates. Aunt Nora says, "Skip the text, just make with the pictures already." Yikes! Once she gets her hands on him this weekend, I may not see him except when he wants the one thing only I can provide.

Part of his activity is exploring further and further from the center of the room where we usually plop him down. If he is pointed in the direction of the kitchen, he eagerly drags himself toward the smoother surface where his army-style crawl is not hindered by the increased friction of the carpet. He still does not crawl in the traditional sense, but pulls himself with his arms, dragging his legs behind him, which occasionally results in the removal of his pants.

We tried overalls the other day, but he's out of one size and not quite into the next. These are still a little big, but SO cute! Another gift from when he was born that it seemed impossible he'd fit into in so little time! (Side note: Grandma Kenyon was in this picture; the cropping tool is the key to preservation of our harmonious mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship!)

When he's not dragging himself to the kitchen, Ed's opposite line of attack takes him to one of many bookshelves that may have to be rearranged in the weeks/months ahead. For now, it's enough to jam the books in tight and he can't pull them out. But we're not kidding ourselves that this will work forever. Some of these surely will end up in a box one of these days, replaced by toys or Ed's chewable board books.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I just realized another week has gone by since the last post. It's been a busy one. Gram and Pop Pop came to visit on Sunday, attempting to synchronize their arrival with the end of Ed's morning nap. It didn't quite work as planned since Ed picked this day of all days to catch a few extra a.m. winks, but they still got some quality time, including a trip to the park where Pop Pop captured this shot. It was a little colder than it was on our last trip so the hat and jacket were required. Mittens probably would have been good too, but then he wouldn't have been able to hold on to the equipment for cruising--no thumb holes in baby mittens!

Last night we attended a candlelight vigil in honor of Prematurity Awareness Day. It was a nice event organized by our local March of Dimes chapter. They had a few speakers and then we lit the candles and had a moment of silence in memory of all the babies who have lost their fight against prematurity. We remembered Will, of course, and also Harry William, a little Irish boy who died last week after a two-month fight. His parents found Will's blog and emailed over the weekend to let us know they were comforted by our sharing our experience. How tragic to "meet" this way across international borders, but Will lives on, continuing to shape our lives and to touch more people than anyone could expect of such a little guy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yikes, where did the last week go? I received a gentle reminder from Ed's fan club that new pictures were needed. Luckily Mother Nature cooperated with a gorgeous 70-degree afternoon (quite a treat in an Iowa November) and Ed cooperated by taking an early nap leaving some daylight time when he woke up. So we headed over to our little neighborhood park. It was our first trip there since Ed started standing and cruising. I wasn't sure how he'd do on uneven surface (woodchips). It took him a little while to get comfortable but then he was on the move. He used up so much energy that I just put him to bed at 6:45--at least 30 minutes earlier than usual. (Hoping this doesn't bring an early wake-up call tomorrow, but we'll be heading to bed early ourselves tonight since we were up late watching election returns last night!)

These next two pictures illustrate Ed's ability to move from one object to the next. This is a very slow and careful process as he is still working out exactly how long his own reach is. He'll see an object to move to, reach for it, realize he's not close enough, bring both hands back to the original object and move a couple of steps before trying the whole process again. Once he reaches the new object with the lead hand, he stands for a bit considering the situation before deciding it's OK to let go of the original and trust the new object as his sole support.
After his dinner he was cruising around the living room and I finally decided I'd untangled his feet from his pants for the last time and just stripped him down to his t-shirt. It was warm enough, plus that provided exposure for a thigh photo shoot. This was the best look I got even though the top of his head is cut off. He would not sit still to display them in all their glory!

And finally, here's one from a few days ago that I held off on posting after I realized it showed him sitting pretty close to the sidewalk. I didn't want Ed's protectors to worry that he was in danger of hurting himself if he happened to tip over. Never fear...after I captured this shot, it occurred to me to move him further into the grass. He was only leaning forward in search of leaves, so no real danger of a back dive. I will never deny Edward's rotund figure, but this jacket really exaggerates the effect!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Edward had a happy Halloween and inspired "awww"s on a brief trick-or-treating excursion. (The treat was really for the neighbors who love to see him. We were somewhat successful in declining the candy--it just felt unseemly for two adults to be begging at their neighbors' doors for sweets.)

At first Ed wasn't too sure about this whole costume thing. Actually, the screaming was more because I sat him down and he ONLY likes to stand these days. He was happier once we got outside. Maybe it was because he liked the friendly face of the jack-o-lantern I carved with two bottom teeth, just like his.I've been trying for two days to post these pictures and finally had to resort to using Internet Explorer to make it work. Something must be screwy with our Firefox.

Monday, October 30, 2006

We took a little vacation this weekend to Minneapolis and had a great time seeing friends, eating out, and staying up late. If Edward could talk, he might complain of too much time strapped in--carseat, stroller, restaurant high chair. But we tried to work in some play time as well. It's hard to make plans when you don't know exactly when a certain someone is going to demand food or crash for a nap, but we did our best and our friends were very gracious in accommodating our best guesses at timing.

We weren't really in photo mode very much, though we thought we'd get one at the city's famous Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture since we were very near it when we went to see the Heart of Darkness exhibit at the Walker Art Museum. But by the time we'd seen the exhibit it was very close to lunchtime and we thought we'd risk a public meltdown if we tried to fit in a sculpture stop. (By the way, if you click on the Spoonbridge link above you'll see a winter image, but our weekend was classic fall--we didn't even need our warm coats, just a fleece layer. Very lucky for the last weekend of October!) Edward was VERY patient with our museum trip. He was content in the stroller for almost an hour chewing on the strap and various other toys that were produced from the diaper bag. At lunch in a bustling marketplace with food, crafts and music, we found a kids play area so Edward took his first trip down a slide. Nothing says "Minneapolis vacation" like this nondescript shot of a Little Tikes slide, huh? Oh well...we were concentrating on friends and fun. It's all documented in our memories.

When we got home today around noon, the mercury was on its way up into the 60s, so after lunch we headed outside for work and play. Ed worked on his leg muscles, standing next to his saucer and bouncing up and down while John and I raked. Standing and bouncing can be exhausting, apparently. At one point I looked up from my leaf pile to see Ed leaning over resting his head on the edge of the saucer, so I picked him up and put him in the seat, where he happily played for another half hour or so, turning around to watch John make trips to the curb with piles of leaves. (A city truck will come by to vacuum them up tomorrow we hope.)

After watching our hard work, Ed thought maybe he should help. But then he got a little too ambitious for his own good. Maybe next fall...