Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Kenyons!

If you didn't get a Christmas card from us, don't feel slighted. No one did. We decided that since our family portrait would so soon be outdated we'd save our postage for a birth announcement soon after the new year. Plus, we didn't get this picture taken until Sunday. But really, it's the first reason. This photo should also satisfy those wanting to see a profile pregnancy shot. This is my most form-fitting sweater and since there is ZERO chance of me in a (insert pregnant celebrity here) bare-belly pose, this is as close as you'll get to seeing it all. People are generally surprised when I say I have two weeks left, but I'm not always in the mood to explain that it's two weeks until a forced 36-week delivery. Some things are just on a need-to-know basis. I already find the "why a C-section" questions intrusive and occasionally judgemental.

As John noted, our Christmas/birthday celebration started early with a visit from my parents and sister Saturday and Sunday. Nora was also supposed to come, but she was home-bound recovering from her doctor's first documented case of the flu this year. It was quite a knock-out, but luckily she's recovering well. This will just make her even more eager (if such a thing is possible) to come after the baby arrives.

We continued celebrating with John's parents on Christmas Eve--a wonderfully delicious meal, which Ed absolutely inhaled and demanded "MORE" of (why doesn't he do that at home?) followed by some spectacular presents. Ed's personal highlight was his new wagon--he didn't even care that it didn't have the wheels or handle attached. He climbed in and out over and over and practically had to be forced to open the rest of his pile of presents. He put on a cheerful face, but our gift of mittens and slippers really doesn't even register in comparison. The wagon stayed at Grandma and Grandpa's though--they have more room for indoor use until spring, when we can bring it home. It's a two-seater, but I'm guessing he won't need to share until fall or even next year. We'll have to see how squirmy his sibling is and whether the seat belts can contain either of them.

The downer came when we got home and got stuck in the alley behind our house--mere feet from the safety of our garage, but still in a position to block alley access, so we couldn't just leave it for the light of day. We tried having John push with me at the wheel, but got nowhere. Ed kept asking to get out, and I explained that we were stuck in the snow. This became his phrase of the evening, along with "Help!" Then, to distract him, I had him sing "Row, row, row your boat" since it went with the rocking motion we were trying to create with the car. We eventually took him out and put him to bed so we could call for professional assistance. We were blessed by a kind-hearted tow guy who, in the spirit of the holiday, did not charge extra when the job grew more complicated as he worked. We only had five inches of snow, but the layer of ice from our previous storms made things more difficult. All told, John was outside digging, waiting for the tow truck, and working with the tow guy for about three hours. Brutal! He is sore today and opted to stay home from church while Grandpa, Ed and I went.

Santa "arrived" while we were at church (anyone think I'll ever get away with this again?) so we had more presents when we got home. Given his insistence on opening each box and fully exploring each new item, I knew we'd never get out the door if we did presents before church. Santa brought Ed his first Brio train set (homage to Uncle Joe.) He is quite enthralled, though he doesn't fully understand that pulling the track apart inhibits train movement. He is used to the train at the library, which is glued to the table.

The festivities will end this evening with birthday dinner and presents with Grandma and Grandpa. I'm not sure what Ed will think tomorrow when there's nothing more to unwrap. Then again, he'll probably be thrilled to get back to his daily routine, a break from constant Mom and Dad.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Edward had a good start to the Christmas weekend with a visit from Gram, Pop Pop and Aunt Bridget. They braved the fog to drive in Saturday, then braved the snow -- we received five inches according to the National Weather Service -- to head home on Sunday. Edward had a lot of fun playing with his visitors, and with the new toys they brought him for Christmas and his birthday.

One of his gifts was a very stylish engineer's hat, which he took to right away. Pop Pop caught some great candid shots of Edward, who has evolved from avoiding the camera to making goofy faces for the camera to, as those who witnesses his last video can attest, attacking the photographer to stop the picture taking. So, it's nice to get a few shots of our little boy unaware of the camera.

He'll celebrate even more today and tomorrow, with some Christmas gifts tonight and a lot of birthday celebration tomorrow after church. Then it's back to simply being the center of his own universe... for a couple more weeks, anyway.

Meanwhile, he is getting more clever by the day. His first sentence was "No Daddy belly tickle" (I have no idea where that came from), and he is stringing multiple words together more and more every day. He also is getting crafty about bedtime. We have made a reading of Goodnight Moon a ritual of sorts, and he showed last night that he's onto us. I had him on my lap in a chair in the living room, Goodnight Moon in hand. He said, "No!" took the book from my hands, got down and went over to the couch where he put the book on the cushion and then covered it with another book. He came back over to me with other books and climbed back up, clearly not ready for bed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Edward sailed through his two-year check up today, demonstrating all the appropriate milestones for his age as well as his attention-grabbing tactics (he threw the chalk at us when we were talking too much to the doctor and not paying enough attention to him.) He's up to 28 pounds (no surprise to anyone who has carried him over ice and snow these last few weeks!) and almost 34 inches, which keeps him in the 50th and 36th percentile, respectively. His head circumference, just shy of 20 inches, is in the 82nd percentile. Lots of room for that big brain! One of the developmental milestones our doctor asked about was whether his vocabulary was at least 50 words. She thought she'd heard at least that many in the first 10 minutes she was with us. It got us thinking about quantifying his vocabulary and during an after-dinner game of chase, John stopped at the desk long enough on each lap around to jot down a few words. Without even breaking stride he came up with more than 100. What a little chatterbox!

Yesterday the sun was shining for the first time in quite a while and Edward actually woke up from his nap in time to enjoy it a bit. As soon as he was fully awake (he usually takes a few minutes to snuggle before hopping down to his afternoon activities) I said, "Let's go outside!" He willingly donned his jacket and boots (not always the case) and followed me out. At first he wanted me to carry him, but I persuaded him to follow me down the walk to look for the moon. Thankfully it was visible, so that kept him going all the way around the block. He shouted "Moon!" over and over and pointed to it. I told him it was his lucky day so he started saying "Lucky day, lucky day." He suggested the park, but when we got there he decided he didn't want to walk across the snowy expanse. So I suggested we look for "Randy's bunny" (our neighbors have a rabbit in a cage on their porch and generously allow Edward access.)

It is difficult to pull him away from the bunny for the last leg of the journey around the block, but the chance for another look at the moon was incentive enough. I tried to capture a bit of video, but he was not in the mood, as you'll see below. We particularly enjoyed the paparazzi response at the end. By the way, the round-the-block journey took about 40 minutes!

In other health news, my appointment was much the same this week with low blood pressure and an active baby thwarting attempts to establish a baseline heart rate for the non-stress test. This is not a problem except in that it makes the test last longer.

John and I have been getting down to some serious business in trying to come up with possible names for the baby. For a long time (until just this week actually) we had nothing on our "mutual" list for a girl. I suggested names and he rejected them. One of John's colleagues suggested that John, Mary, William and Edward are all "pilgrim names," and she and her husband came up with some pilgrim options for both boys and girls. I thought this was hilarious, but then I did a Google search for "pilgrim names" and found a list of all the passengers on the Mayflower: 15 Johns, 8 Williams, 6 Edwards and 6 Marys among the 104 passengers.

Sunday over lunch we had our longest brainstorming session to date and agreed that we'd each come to dinner with suggestions every night until we had at least one contender. Then a friend of mine counted 24 days until January 10--24 days, 26 letters in the alphabet, we decided to start with A and work though to the end (skipping Q and X). We actually have never had a solid choice for a girl's name, even though we didn't know Will and Edward would be boys. There are differing opinions on what this means. Some say not having a girl's name ensures we'll have a girl. Others say it's a sign that we just know we'll have a boy. Either way, we want to be prepared to introduce the child shortly after he/she makes an official entrance to the world.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Edward spent Saturday night at Grandma and Grandpa's house--his first night away from us--and apparently it was a big hit for all involved. They came with us to visit Santa at the mall and then took him home with them while we went to a holiday party hosted by some friends. He thinks it's a major treat to ride in Grandpa's car, so he went off with no objection. In fact the only objection came this morning when he realized he was getting in OUR car, not Grandpa's to come home. He cried until we reached the interstate and then squeaked out "truck?!" through the tears.

He was pretty serene regarding the Santa situation as well--neither excited nor scared. He just sat there while we all danced around trying to get him to register some expression other than, "What's next?" He actually was more excited about the big fish tank he saw when we first came in the door. We had to pull him away to get him headed toward Santa's chair. As we did last year, we opted for our second-tier mall for the Santa excursion and were not disappointed. This was quite a jolly Santa with a low-key staff who let us take our own photos with absolutely no pressure to buy one of theirs. That's what I call holiday spirit!

As mentioned in the last post, we did have an ice storm that kept us home again on Tuesday. It actually wasn't terrible out, but the outlook was very tenuous all day--another degree or two cooler and we might have had more trouble. Many people stayed home, including enough of the daycare staff that they had to close it. John came home mid-afternoon, just to hedge against the possibility of getting stuck out in a deteriorating situation. He took the camera along with the bag of salt he spread all over our walks and captured some of the beauty, which we could appreciate mostly because we never lost power or had any other major inconvenience due to this particular natural event. Others may have seen those ice-covered branches and been cursing the skies. This is one of the bushes in front of our house, which I have decorated with white Christmas lights. They looked really cool shining through the ice.

The day at home plus the storm offered the opportunity for Edward to learn two new words, which he promptly confused. He was making a fuss about something when I noticed the recycling truck pull up out front. I called for him to come quick to see the action and he came racing in. Then he chattered "re-cy-cle" over and over. (He already knew "cycle" because our neighbor has a motorcycle--"Ryan's cycle.") Then the next morning when we went out we pointed out the icicles on the house and trees. "I-ci-cle" he proclaimed. But later when we came home he pointed to the icicles and said "recycle?" So I added "truck" when talking about recycle and I think he's got it straight now. Of course it means one more truck he asks for on every car excursion. The fact that it's only in our neighborhood once a week is beyond his comprehension so he's always on the look out.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Edward was practicing for Christmas last week, "helping" John with his birthday presents. We think he's ready, but expect he'll be a lot more excited about the contents of his own packages. Books without pictures and wool sweaters are not the stuff of toddler glee.

We're not sure if it was the cold he's fighting or the approaching terrible two's (probably some combination), but Edward had quite an ornery weekend with lots of deliberate defiance and resulting time-outs. Maybe he was mad because he figured out he was missing his Gram and PopPop time as they had to cancel plans to visit when they woke up to an ice-encrusted Chicagoland on Sunday morning. He even got to the point where he was about to do something naughty (like throwing a puzzle board or opening the stereo cabinet) and he'd look at us and say "No time out." It's hard to be the bad guy, but we know it's necessary in the long run. This was a moment of levity however, as the dry air enhanced some horseplay on the couch.

In any event, none of us is at the top of our game right now with colds all around and another ice storm expected tonight. Edward and I stayed home sick today after a poor night's sleep. It's possible tomorrow will be a repeat, but this time due to ice. Could be a real test of my toddler entertainment abilities. My mom, usually the queen of the worst case scenario, said we should cheer the bad weather this month in hopes that it will mean a dry January for safe and frequent travel from Evanston to Iowa City.

Today's doctor appointment gave continuing reason to believe we'll actually make it to January. All good reports--my blood pressure was nice and low, Baby Kenyon is the master of the non-stress test, and an ultrasound showed proper development and an estimated weight of 4 lbs. 15 oz. That's quite amazing to me given that this is at 32 weeks and Edward, born at 35, weighed 5 lbs. 7 oz. The ultrasound also showed BK in a transverse position, with the head on my right. This is a change from just last week when the nurse and midwife examined us and declared the baby head down. Since I'm having a c-section regardless, it's not a concern and actually a welcome relief from the pressure I'd been feeling over the weekend.

With John's birthday behind us, we've been doing some Christmas decorating. Our outdoor lights are now shining each night (having been on the bushes unlit since the last 60 degree day in November) and Will's memory tree is decorated and lit in the living room. Edward is learning about the tradition this year as you can see in this short video. It's a little dark, but we think the sound is clear. If you can't tell what he's saying, email me and I'll translate.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Let the countdown begin! No, not 'til Christmas...you have retail America to help you with that. I'm talking about the countdown to January 10, 2008, which has now been set as the anticipated arrival date of Baby Kenyon. Use of pencils in tracking this momentous occasion is recommended, however. Recall that we expected Edward in January 2006, but welcomed him 12 days earlier than scheduled.

Everything depends on our continued health and so far we're looking good. I had a non-stress test today, which went very well. This measures the baby's heart rate over at least a 20 minute period, watching for it to rise and fall from the established "baseline." About 2/3 of the way through the test, I started feeling a kick at a regular interval, low in my abdomen on the left side. This is also recorded in the test. The nurse came over, listened for a moment, and said, "Oh, hiccups!"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

An ice storm kept us captive inside all day yesterday. Edward got up at 6 a.m. and went to bed at about 7:45 p.m. In between we had the enormous task of keeping him entertained within these four walls. (Luckily he did take a 3-hour nap in the afternoon.) Our new bedroom configuration allows access to a full circle path from the living room through the kitchen, office and bedrooms and back to the living room. John introduced this variation on their usual chase game around the kitchen table one night this week while I was finishing dinner prep. Now Ed points to the door from the kitchen to the office and demands "chase" at every opportunity. He tried to get me to play one afternoon after his nap, but I told him we had to wait for Dad to come home from work.

To get a break from chase, we closed the bedroom and office doors reducing play space to the living room and kitchen. This met with considerable resistance until I brought out the tunnel, which had been "off rotation" for quite some time. Worked like a charm--Ed thought it was a whole new toy and it entertained him for a good portion of the morning. (While he was distracted with his afternoon snack, some of his other toys were spirited away to the tunnel's former hiding place. I'm sure we'll need to repeat this trick to survive the winter months!) He especially liked it when John crawled in and he could "chase" him out. Not a high-speed chase, mind you. This tunnel definitely does not have an adult-friendly circumference. I did not venture in, afraid I might not have the flexibility to wiggle out.

I had been to the grocery store on Friday night to ensure we had provisions for the day at home. I used to scoff at those who raced to the store in a panic at the slightest hint of an oncoming storm. But the prospect of being cooped up in the house with a toddler AND nothing to eat sent me scurrying with the rest of the panic-prone. So at least we had our beef stew simmering on the stove all afternoon, filling the house with a warm and cozy aroma. And we survived the day. No doubt there will be others before this season is over. I actually have no problem taking Ed out in cold/snow, but ice is a different story. I've had quite a few falls in my day and don't want to risk another at this point in pregnancy and certainly wouldn't want to put Ed in danger, either in the yard or in the car.

The mention above of the three-hour nap reminds me to offer an update on his new sleeping arrangement. Actually, there's little to report. After the first night he has not had any trouble. He sleeps all night and naps in the afternoon as if nothing had changed. We are almost afraid to talk about it for fear of jinxing things. We may see some difficulty when the crib reappears and is inhabited by a tiny creature who demands more parental attention than Ed is willing to cede, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Also this week I had another doctor appointment with all good reports. The baby was kicking vigorously, making it harder to capture a heart rate, but eventually we got one in the 150 range, which is where it's been all along. My BP was fine and despite the Thanksgiving gorge, I did not gain weight in the two weeks between appointments. This caused some astonishment, but no worries. I'm on track for proper weight gain and the baby is measuring in the expected size range. From now on I'll be seen weekly, sort of. Because my doctor is on maternity leave, I'll see a couple of different doctors who have clinic hours on different days of the week. So sometimes there will be more than a full week between appointments and sometimes less. The holidays also complicate the schedule as the clinic is closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. I'll try to post reports as I get them.

Signing off with Edward's "cabin fever" video. Note John's considerable videography skills in maintaining his shot even as Edward uses him as his personal jungle-gym.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Update: We made it through the night with only one brief interruption. Edward cried at about 2:45 a.m. and I went in hoping to help him find his pacifier and settle back down. (Yes, he still uses one, but only in bed!) He stood up and was clinging to me so I picked him up and cuddled a few minutes before trying to set him back in the bed. He squeezed his arms around my neck and tried climbing back up my torso with his feet, all while crying. So I lay next to him in his bed until he fell back asleep--about half an hour. I tried to leave sooner, but he popped his head up to object. Luckily that cry brought John so I could request a blanket. You can see from the picture that we didn't bother with blankets for this bed. Edward just kicks them off, so I figured, what's the point? At 3 a.m. I discovered the point.

He slept in until about 7:15 this morning (usual wake up is about 6:30.) He did this the last two mornings in his crib though, so I can't fully attribute it to the new comfy confines. Perhaps it's the fact that we're not up and around getting ready for work. Whatever the case, we'll welcome the extra bed time!

Friday, November 23, 2007

So far so good. Edward has been asleep for about an hour now in his new bed, which John and Grandpa spent the better part of the afternoon getting ready for him. This was a major project because it involved moving all the furniture in both bedrooms so that Ed is now occupying our former room and vice versa. This was necessary because we couldn't fit furniture for two kids into the former Ed room. The new bed had been in storage since Grandma and Grandpa moved this summer. The mattress and box spring are new, but the bed itself dates back to John's childhood (and we all know how long ago THAT was!)

Ed spent the late morning and afternoon with Grandma, including nap time (we knew he would not be a good assistant in the moving project!) Grandpa was home by the time he woke up so they got some good play time as well. When I brought him home before dinner, he was intrigued by the new configuration. He asked to climb up and get down from the bed several times. We encouraged this as we would like him to believe he can't get out of it on his own. With the side rail, there's little chance of him falling, but he could climb off the end if he wanted to. If this becomes a problem, we may move the bookcase to the foot of the bed. We'll see. For now, we'd just be happy if he slept through the night. We don't have a back-up if he decides not to, as we disassembled the crib and stored it under his new bed. We'll put it back together in time for the new baby, obviously, but we thought it might confuse him to see it in the room but not sleep in it.

We already found out that "quiet play" in the room is a bad sign. We let him wander in and out a bit after dinner and got a bit suspicious when we didn't hear much activity. Then we heard "moon!" and thought he'd found one of his books, but when John went to check, he found Ed pulling dirty diapers out of the garbage to inspect the cartoon character drawings, which did indeed include a moon. Luckily diapers in this garbage are only wet (the others are taken outside immediately) and are always taped closed before disposal. Still, it's evidence of the havoc possible in mere minutes at the hands of a two-year-old.

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with a delicious meal prepared by John's mom. Ed wolfed it down and demanded more. The rest of us attempted to be a bit more genteel, but still moved slowly with full bellies afterward. A good time to be wearing stretchy elastic maternity pants! Lots to be thankful for this year, but at the top of the list are good health and Grandma and Grandpa moving to town.

Earlier in the day, Edward ventured into the snow and found it much more enjoyable than he did last year. We only had enough to cover the grass, but he was very interested in exploring, once he figured out that he could actually walk in his boots. He stumbled around inside like he had concrete blocks on his feet when we first put them on. But after holding Dad's hand down the walk, he discovered his "snow legs" and was soon running through the yard. We may have some trouble with chapped lips this winter if he keeps running around with his tongue hanging out. You can see this in the video also. He already knows how to say "tissue" for a runny nose (though the request usually comes after he's wiped his hand and arm across his face) so "chapstick" may be on the horizon.

On the subject of vocabulary, I neglected to mention that toward the end of the football season, we successfully taught Edward one of my favorite Hawkeye cheers. It's very simple--sort of a phonetic cheer in which the group chants "I-O-Wuh!" Maybe you have to hear it to appreciate it. We haven't captured it on video. But he will respond with a resounding "WUH" when prompted with "I-O" and also occasionally starts it himself with an "I" waiting for us to respond "O" before his "WUH!" In more useful vocabulary developments, he also now announces "find it!" when he locates an object (or person, in the case of hide-and seek) he has been looking for, and he uses a questioning tone to say "happen," as in "what happened?" when seeking an explanation for some deviation from the expected (usually a mess he created, but has forgotten in the minutes he turned his back to focus on another short-attention span task.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Just a quick post to share a couple of photos and some video. Edward helped us with some leaf raking and bagging yesterday, and it was a study in contrasts with where he was a year ago. Then, we had him in his exersaucer outside (on a much warmer day, as you can tell from how bundled he was this time), watching us with little comment. Yesterday, he was actively helping, running around to pick up sticks and grab handfuls of leaves to put in the yard waste bag.

He also took the opportunity to go into the pile, though he needed a little help to fully immerse himself. I went inside to get the camera and came out to find him on his back. Mary said he decided to flop back into the leaves, and seemed pretty comfortable in that position. All in all, he had a lot of fun, as did we in watching him.

He also has a new "game" of sorts, where he stands next to an appliance, such as the fridge or the dishwasher, and while in stocking feet, slides down until his butt hits the floor, at which point he says "Boom!" He did it the first time a week or so ago, and I added the "boom" when he hit. He liked that and incorporated it into the game. It also occasionally involves flopping onto the floor to look under the fridge (not something I'd recommend). This video captures it all well, and is also quite entertaining for the star himself, who has spent considerable time sitting on a parental lap, watching himself and laughing at "baby's" exploits. Yes, our son is quite simple, but the upside is that entertainment comes cheap.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In the last post I mentioned a linguistic connection between Edward and his Uncle P.J. I forgot to note a shared pattern with Uncle Joe. One of Ed's favorite books at the moment is Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. A book full of vehicles, both real and fanciful (e.g. a pickle truck shaped like a pickle and a corn car shaped like an ear of corn)--what could be better? So much to explore on every page, he finds something new each time through it seems. One thing he identifies is the stop sign carried by a recurring character, a police fox named Officer Flossy, who is trying to get that reckless Dingo Dog to pull over to face numerous traffic violations. Every time he sees it he calls out "Stop!" Well, actually, he says "Fwop!" This is the connection to Uncle Joe, who also had trouble with consonant combos beginning with 's.' The one I can remember most from Joe is "fwelly" when something was particularly odorous. Edward also throws in "fwippers" (slippers), "fweeper" (street sweeper) and occasionally "foon" (spoon.)

We try to resist the urge to mimic his own sounds, so that he'll hear the correct version as we praise his identification of the object in question. But it's so funny to drive along and suddenly hear "FWOP!" from the back seat when he spots the red sign. The first time he did this, it took a few repetitions before I figured out that he'd made the connection between the picture in the book and the real thing outside. When I put it all together I was so excited I called out "Stop! That's right Ed, it's a stop sign!" Unfortunately, John was driving at the time and thought I'd seen something he didn't and was calling for him to stop.

My sore back is improving, though I'm still fighting through some pain. The worst is getting up from sleeping--perhaps that weak muscle is just a little too relaxed then. But I've been working on strengthening it with the leg lifts twice a day and finding time to ice it two or three times a day so we'll hope for continued improvement.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You wouldn't know it from this action photo, but Edward is still adjusting to the end of Daylight Savings Time over the weekend. He's been waking up earlier, napping longer, and refusing to eat dinner. I'm not sure how the eating thing relates to the time change, but it's all concurrent, so I'm trying to explain it away that way. Yesterday, despite napping until 4 p.m. he had trouble staying awake past 7 p.m. This morning we just ignored his 5 a.m. babbling and moaning until he stopped and stayed quiet until the time we actually had to get up--just before 6. We didn't know if he actually went back to sleep (we did) but at least he didn't demand our presence.

Maybe it's not the time change after all, but a period of withdrawal after being lavished with grandparental attention this weekend. My parents came Saturday afternoon and stayed until mid-morning Sunday and then John's were here for dinner Sunday (and of course some pre-dinner playtime.) Of course, Ed did not eat said dinner, so they got to witness his not so charming side. Ed is very close to saying "Gram"--it comes out more like "Bam." He has been saying PopPop since their last visit last month. John's parents are the standard Grandma and Grandpa, and Ed is close on Grandma, but says something closer to "Boppa" for Grandpa. This is amusing since my brother PJ made the same linguistic switch as a toddler, rechristening my dad's dad, who relished the role.

Lots of new vocabulary these days. One of the funniest is that he now says "you're welcome," or something approximating it, in addition to "thank you." But he doesn't know this is intended as a two-person exchange--he says both parts, handing over an object and saying "thankyouwelcome." He's also been practicing his ball skills as you can see in the video below. He's not bad with throwing, but catching is mostly by accident or extreme precision tossing on the part of his playmate. The end of the video is his version of "ring around the rosie." I didn't start shooting until he'd done this four or five times, so he's already pretty dizzy by the time we pick up the action.

In non-Ed news, I hope I'm on the road to good back health after a physical therapy session today. I've been having lots of back pain, especially after sitting or lying down for extended periods (i.e. sleeping). The first couple of steps out of bed are excruciating. My doctor, who is also pregnant, said she had the same symptoms and physical therapy worked wonders, so recommended that I try it. The therapist was able to isolate the troublesome muscle (gluteus media) and gave me a simple leg-lift exercise to do twice a day to strengthen it. He also said to ice it for 20 minutes at a time as often as possible (with at least an hour between ice treatments) to trigger blood flow that will help it heal. He said to expect results within a week, although full healing will take longer. It's such a relief that I don't have to resign myself to the pain for another eight or nine weeks!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Health update: I passed the three-hour version of the gestational diabetes test yesterday, which is very good news. I was pretty certain this would be the outcome, since the same thing happened last time. But a small part of me was worried about adding another complication--not to mention more shots! I came home and ate everything in sight (this was a fasting test--no food or water since midnight!) Then had a major sugar crash and took a two hour nap while Edward was sleeping.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween from our little Hawkeye fan!

This was sort of my slacker mom approach to Halloween, but given how little he enjoyed last year's costume, I figured he'd be better off in something approaching regular clothing this year. Plus he still really has no idea what it's all about. Maybe by next year he'll be able to request his own costume and understand more about trick-or-treat. This year, he was confused about why people kept putting things in his bucket. As we left each house, he took out the candy and handed it to John. Maybe he was worried about his Herky doll eating the loot.

He did seem to enjoy the pumpkin carving yesterday--for about three minutes. Then he moved on to more excitement and outdoor adventure on what will likely be our last 70-degree day of 2007. Grandpa was here and had just finished helping John with an afternoon project. Ed did not see any reason for him to rest after his labors and Grandpa seemed happy to comply, chasing him as he sped down the block on his bike. He's really fast on that thing these days. Luckily he does not head toward the street and usually stops when you call out, particularly as he approaches the alley. Anyway, Ed helped with the scooping, but then left me to carve the face. He did like that the pumpkin had a "hat" when I cut off the top. We had to carve a substantial round nose because some critter had snacked on our pumpkin while it sat on our stoop for the last week.

I had another pre-natal appointment today and everything is fine--my blood pressure, the baby's heart rate and all measurements normal as we approach the 27 week mark. The only "bad" news was that I failed the glucola test and have to go back Friday for the more intense version. This is a screening for gestational diabetes that involves drinking a super sweet beverage (kind of like orange pop syrup) and then having blood drawn after an hour. The next test is done after fasting from midnight and then you have blood drawn every hour for three hours after drinking the brew. The same thing happened in my last pregnancy, so no need for anyone to get worried. I think there is actually a fairly high false positive rate on this initial screen.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This is Ed's mullet.

This is Ed's former mullet.

Yes, 22 months and three days later, it's finally time for Edward Kenyon's first haircut. I use the term almost literally, as it was only a few hairs that met with the scissors, but it was necessary. As our humid summer evaporated into cool, crisp, dry fall, nature's curling iron is on hiatus and it has become increasingly apparent that there was just a little too much "party in the back" for this straight-laced non-NASCAR-watching family. And it was most pronounced in a very public place--at the park where the combination of plastic slides and a fleece jacket brings enough static electricity to really have the strands on end. So after tonight's bath, John did the honors. Just two or three snips, but we think we've restored some order.

This was low-key compared to the weekend's real excitement--a visit from Aunt Nora! She is quite adept at all things toddler, from literary choice to hide-and-seek, to early wake-up calls. John and I got to "sleep in" (past 7) since Nora volunteered to take the early shift. Not that she had much choice--sleeping on the couch means rising with the first alert. She says she's so well programmed by her work schedule that she was up before Ed called for her at 6:20 this morning. I know she made it back to Chicago without falling asleep, so I'd say the whole endeavor was a success and would encourage as many return visits as possible! Ed agrees--several times this afternoon/evening he looked up from his activity with a quizzical "No-wah?"

Tonight I got to hold a tiny newborn--so small and precious I could hardly believe she was in my arms. The daughter of two good friends, she was born Wednesday, about four weeks early, and weighs just under six pounds. They came home from the hospital yesterday, and I had been planning to bring dinner this evening. They called this morning and asked if they could also borrow any of our smallest baby clothes--smaller than the 0-3 month size she was swimming in. I remember trying to put that size on Edward when he was first born--not a good fit. Luckily there are a few "newborn" and"premie" sizes in our assortment so those are on loan now, but I predict she'll be done with them by Thanksgiving. It's amazing how fast they grow, but at least that helps explain why it's so hard to remember them this tiny. Well, that and the sleep deprivation. Can't wait for January!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Iowa Hawkeyes have had a rough season thus far, and things aren't looking up with a matchup against favored Michigan State tomorrow. So, Edward thought he would do his part to cheer on the Hawks.

UPDATE: Maybe we should have tried this a few games ago -- Iowa 34, MSU 27.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Edward likes to play hide-and-seek. He's not very good at it, but he doesn't know that. He always hides in the same place, and if we don't come soon enough to look for him, he calls his own name "Edward?!" as if to tell us what we should be doing. I remember playing hide-and-seek with my nieces when they were this age and a little older, and they liked to hide in the bushes outside their house and shake them if you took too long in the seeking. They would probably deny level of amateurism, but it's true girls! Edward takes the lunacy one step further when he puts his hands over his eyes in a peek-a-boo gesture and then calls out "Edward?!" as if he's hidden while doing this.

Saturday found us at the orchard/pumpkin farm, rescheduled from last week due to rain. Unfortunately a rainy week meant the fields were too muddy for the tractor to pull a wagon full of passengers. We did not kid ourselves that Ed would walk out and back and neither of us wanted to carry him back, so we stayed near the main building and considered (and rejected) the pre-picked assortment they had available. None of this seemed to bother Edward, who was probably happier playing on the sidelined tractor/wagon than he would have been riding on it out to the pumpkin patch. He's very into jumping right now (as evidenced in his daredevil leaps in last week's video) and did lots of climbing and (parent-assisted) jumping from the wagon. After a while they detached the tractor so the orchard owner could take it out to groom the paths a bit so he got to see it in action anyway.

All this action took considerable energy and he ended up having a major meltdown when it was time to go. We thought we were timing it right to get home in time for lunch and a nap, but apparently pumpkin sorting and wagon jumping take more out of a boy than we had factored in. I got him calmed down with Teddy Graham bribes on the way back to town (only about 15 minutes) but then we had to stop for milk and realized the grocery store had better pumpkins than the orchard, so we picked one there. Again, Ed was not eager to leave the magical overflowing pumpkin bins so the tears and screams started anew. When we got home he rejected all of our lunch suggestions so I finally said, "Do you need to go to sleep?" He stopped crying and said "Ni-nite?" pointing to his bedroom. So at 11:30 there he was napping.

I planted 40 tulips before John and I had lunch, followed by (he hopes) his last mow of the season. Poor Ed slept through it. He's going to miss the "law-mo's" but maybe "sno-blo's" will be an acceptable substitute. John found a woolly worm while mowing and saved it in Ed's bucket until he woke up. There's some video of this playmate, but it will have to wait for John to edit and post. I'm too tired to mess with it tonight. John is on a two-day retreat as part of a community leadership program he was selected to participate in, so I'm in single-parent mode today and tomorrow. He'll get home in time for me to head out to my Monday evening class. He has a crazy week, so no promises on when that video will appear.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We had a busy weekend keeping Edward entertained despite some persistent rain. After being cooped up inside all morning and through nap time on Saturday, John and Edward welcomed the opportunity to head outside for a bit of raking. The leaves and grass were wet, but they didn't seem to mind. Edward and John had different ideas about what "helping" entails, but they got some piles out for our first pick-up this week. (The city sends a truck with a vacuum attachment to pick up whatever you rake to the curb, but not in the street. If we're home when that happens, Ed may pass out from excitement.) Edward found the rake to be most useful when turned upside down so as to scoop leaves out of the pile. Luckily, John worked faster than Ed and managed to get him surrounded, which both found quite amusing.

Another funny moment came when Edward pulled the "Cubs 101" book from the shelf, where it had been in mourning for the last week. He brought it to me and flipped through for a while, identifying the balls, bat, shoes, hats, etc. But then he found the pages with the lyrics for "Take me out to the ballgame" and started "dancing" until I sang it for him. After one chorus, I turned the page to look at the other pictures, but he turned it back and demanded "more more!" After I sang it three times and John sang it twice, we called PopPop (who had provided the book in preparation for the post-season) so he could sing. Unfortunately he wasn't home Friday night and didn't get the message until this afternoon (and I'M the one in my family who gets made fun of for being low-tech?) by which time the moment had passed. I feared we'd have to go another five rounds if we put PopPop on speaker phone to share the song with Ed.

The rain thwarted our plans for a visit to the pumpkin patch on Saturday. We'll try again next week. In the meantime, Ed and I went to Grandma and Grandpa Kenyon's house on Saturday morning where there are lots of "pum-po"s. Also some ghosts and witches and other assorted seasonal decorations. Edward was even more in heaven than he usually is at their house. He learned that ghosts say "boo" and he got a new book with a Halloween theme so he can continue to live the "pum-po" dream even after the holiday has passed. He also likes it because it's a Corduroy book, which means it has two O's in the title. He loves to find O's in his books and elsewhere in the world. He can also identify B--plucking it from the assorted magnet letters on the side of the dishwasher. I don't think we've emphasized these over other letters, but for whatever reason, these are the first he can readily identify.

And speaking of favorite books, here are some snippets from "Dig Dig Digging," which is the first book we ever checked out from the library for Edward. We've been afraid that he might not be gentle enough for borrowed books. We've had to remind him to be careful with this one and have kept it out of his reach when it's not in use. He knows where it is though and will stand beneath it pointing and demanding "dig dig!" until we take it down and start reading. This happens three or four times each day and usually entails starting over from the beginning as soon as the last word is read. We decided to buy a copy when we realized what chaos might ensue if it left our house.

This is a bit on the long side (2 min.) and the opening segment is a bit dark, but I included it for the demonstration of his "jumping" and other gymnastic abilities and because he asks for "dig" at the very end. Yes, that is a package of diapers he is jumping from. What a daredevil.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Geez...try to give the new kid a week in the spotlight and catch flack about a lack of blog update. I'll remember this when I'm being teased for the disparity in the number of photos of my children.

We had a busy busy weekend, with a trip to Great Grandma and Grandpa's, a 5K walk, a basement clean-up project, and of course, our seventh anniversary. John's whole family got together Saturday in Chariton, Iowa, home of his grandparents and about a two-hour drive from here. Edward was a champion road tripper--sleeping for about 45 minutes on the way there, just long enough to give him the energy boost he needed to stay up two hours past his normal nap time. The rest of the time on the road he was eagerly looking for trucks, buses, tractors and other vehicles--basically just an extension of our daily car trips, but on a much larger scale. We never see THAT many trucks on the way to daycare, although we do pass a construction site with TWO cranes on the way home. And I have to tell you, this never loses it's luster. Another thing about driving with Edward is that once he sees a truck or a bus or other vehicle and it drives away or we turn, he asks for "more bus?" "more truck?" as if I can simply conjure another for his viewing pleasure.

Anyway, we had a really nice family visit--the first since Easter--and Edward had fun playing with (or more like, near) his cousins. Here you see him outside where he discovered the hilarity of tipping over a goose lawn ornament. Just as long as he never tries that with the real thing! He also acquired a Halloween gift basket on this trip, courtesy of John's aunt. While he loved the contents, it was the outer package that most captured his fancy. "Pumpkin" is one of his latest words (though most people would probably require translation to know that's what he was saying--it sounds more like "pum-po" which is a little like his word for "purple.") We were quite tired after our day trip, so we were content to let Edward run around with his "pum-po" as entertainment as long as he wanted.

This weekend's near-record heat was in stark contrast to seven years ago when we actually had snow late in the evening on Oct. 7. This difference was not lost on our many well-wishers. We ended the day with a nice dinner out and an ice cream treat, which we felt we doubly deserved after our day of mutual labor. Mine was a 5K fundraiser for the local schools (walking with Ed in the stroller and two friends for company.) John's was the next stage of our basement clean-up after two heavy rains this spring/summer produced our first basement water in five years of homeownership. It's a labor intensive project that we hope will mitigate the problem in the future, or at least demonstrate to potential buyers next spring that we have taken steps to spare them the hassle. Unfortunately, due to the extreme heat, we had the air conditioning on (in October? Crazy!) so the house got a bit fume-y from the oil based wall paint. Luckily the heat broke on Monday and we've had cool breezes blowing through ever since.

And finally, here's a shot that's about two weeks old (shock!) of one of Ed's current hobbies (a.k.a. time-killers.) He can reach these pans in the drawer under the oven, but they're too bulky/heavy to carry more than one at a time, so it takes quite a while to remove them individually, carry them to wherever a path is needed and then lay them all out in a row. This of course is immediately followed by carrying them back to the drawer one by one and starting all over again.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I don't kid myself that we'll be able to keep an equal pace with photos and blog updates once the baby arrives, but at least this is something s/he will have that Edward never did: a preview of coming attractions. We had plenty of ultrasounds with Ed, but never scanned and posted the images. Here is today's snapshot of Baby Kenyon, strong and healthy, approximately 1 lb. 3 oz., and often quite energetic if the kicks are an indicator. The ultrasound tech seemed quite eager to share the gender secret, but we resisted the temptation. We like having this mystery awaiting discovery (though we'd be better off if we only had to choose and agree upon one name--such a difficult task!)

We had a couple of extra measurements taken as part of a research study here at the University--the same study I participated in during my last pregnancy. This measures the blood flow in the uterine arteries as a possible indicator of future onset of preeclampsia or other complications. My reading was perfect and the doctor was quite pleased with what she saw. She also said the early results from the study are quite promising as far as the effectiveness of this diagnostic compared with others currently in use. Perhaps I'm part of the wave of the future in prenatal care. Glad to contribute to any knowledge that keeps moms and babies safe and healthy!

We noted with particular interest that this baby already outweighs Will, who was two weeks further along when he was born. This is still a scary time and we're certainly not out of the woods risk-wise, but we know he's watching out for us and we're comforted by his continued presence in our lives.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Edward had a very busy Saturday today. Instead of our usual father-son trip to the library, we decided to stay home instead and take advantage of a great fall day. He kept us busy, helping Mary to dig up a flower bed and picking up leaves, then rewarding himself for his hard work with a walk up the street to the park where he played on the slide played hide and seek and tried the climbing wall (with a spotter very close by). We then went home so he could ride his bike. He got to take a nap after all of this, and Mary and I both felt like we needed one!

Otherwise, Edward had a good week. He does have an ear infection -- he's been tugging on his left ear and getting up around 5:30 every morning this week -- and got medicine for it on Thursday. He seems better, and as these photos clearly show, his energy level is still high.

Helping mom garden.

Picking up leaves with Mom's gloves.

Running to hide.


Caught... making a goofy face.

Climbing (very low to the ground).

What's that? A ladybug.