Sunday, February 25, 2007

We have survived the Ice Storm of 2007 with no lasting damage other than fewer branches on our trees. However, it did start to feel as though the walls were closing in around us as cabin fever set in. Edward has not left the house since we got home from work/daycare on Friday. I left once yesterday and John left once today. John also spent time outside clearing the walks--some shoveling and a lot of salt throwing. (Ed wanted to get a closer look, so we let him stand on the bookshelf with both of us standing with outstretched arms just out of view of this photo! He actually didn't try to move much except up and down rubbing his face--and tongue--against the window. Good thing I keep them so clean--yeah, right!)

It was quite a spectacular storm in terms of paralyzing our area. A section of Interstate 80 was closed as well as parts of a couple of state highways in our area. The ice-coated trees brushing against our roof sounded like some sort of monster trying to scratch his way into our attic. The wind blew the branches enough to cause chunks of ice to fall off onto the patio and in our yard. Lots of us lost power, but our tale of woe pales in comparison to our hardest hit friends and neighbors. We had a 15-minute outage around 3 p.m. and a 3.5-hour outage from about 4:45 to 8:15 p.m. Others were still without power this morning and may still be now. Hotels are full of stranded travelers as well as locals seeking warmth while waiting for their power to return. The only good thing was that this happened on a weekend so most of us could just stay where we were, keeping the roads relatively clear. For myself though, I must say I've never looked forward to a Monday more. I love John and Edward and we had lots of fun together this weekend, but it's really time to get out of the house and talk to other people!

Our power outage coincided with my departure to lector at 5:10 mass. It wasn't my turn, but one of my fellow lectors called around 1:30 to see if I could possibly sub for her, as she had no hope of safely traversing her mile-long (!) driveway. I have less distance than that between my house and the church and it looked like cars were OK on our streets so I said I'd go. Just as I was stepping out (wearing my YakTrax, purchased lovingly by my husband for my winter pregnancies because he knows my checkered history on ice) I heard a loud sound that we know to be the beginning of the end for power. Sure enough I turned around and looked back in the house where all had gone dark. Still, John said he and Ed would be fine so I kept going. Once in the garage, I realized I had no idea how to open the door without power. A quick call (oy!) back to the house and John instructed me to look for a rope to pull to disengage the motor. A ha! That proved the most difficult thing about the trip to church. The roads were really fine and even with no power for the stop lights, it wasn't bad, since, as I noted, hardly anyone was out. There were about 80-100 hearty souls at mass, amazingly enough. Power was out when I first got there and we were all set to have our seminarian intern hold a flashlight for the essential reading, but just before mass time the lights came back on.

Unfortunately, they did not come back on at home. When I got back there were candles flickering in the kitchen and I called from the front door back to John, "You guys OK?" "Well, we're just playing lids by candlelight." Ed took the whole thing in stride, sensing nothing abnormal about playing in the near-dark. He enjoyed the flashlight when we turned it on occasionally (not wanting to use up batteries since we didn't know how long it would last.) He also was fine with a dinner of yogurt, a clementine, bunny crackers and milk. The planned beef stew sat half-cooked in a pot on the stove. He played some more after eating and then we dressed him in three layers and put him under a down blanket for bed. If it got too cold, we figured we could bring him into our bed, but wasn't necessary. Just after John and I finished a cheese and crackers dinner and were contemplating putting some fridge essentials in a cooler outside before starting a game of candlelight Scrabble, the lights came back.

So all's well that ends well. One of Ed's ice-weekend discoveries was the fun of playing with the couch pillows as seen in this video.

One of the things that made the weekend particularly long was his fondness for crawling under the table to grab the phone cord and other power cords. After what seemed like the millionth "No, Edward!" of the weekend, I got online and ordered him a play tunnel, which I hope he will like so much he'll forget the table. But I may be delusional on that one. The first section of this video ends just as he's reaching for the phone cord, since I had to stop the camera and crawl under to drag him out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I've fallen behind again in my blogging, but lucky for me I have lots of encouragement to keep going. No excuses this week as our illnesses seem to have passed and we're none the worse for wear. Edward is back to normal eating and sleeping for the most part (though he did have a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call for John the other night and then refused to be put back in bed. Thankfully, these are relatively rare.) Here's an example of some "normal" eating. The other night he ate half a "squished ham & cheese sandwich," a whole clementine orange and eight grapes for dinner, with about three or four ounces of milk. For the uninitiated, "squished ham & cheese" is one slice of bread, one slice of ham and one slice of American cheese. You fold the bread in half over the ham and cheese and the press down to "squish" it all together so the component parts can not be picked apart by curious fingers. Then small pieces are broken off and left for said fingers to find on the tray and deposit in the mouth. This might not sound like a lot of food, but here's some perspective: without revealing too much, let's just say that I am roughly six times Edward's weight, and I am not accustomed to eating that meal times six--that is, three ham & cheese sandwiches (squished or not), six clementines and 42 grapes! He doesn't always eat like that, which makes meal preparation quite tricky. Some days he drains the bowl and demands more, and he doesn't take kindly to having to wait for the next portion. Other days he just kind of plays with what's offered and subsists primarily on Cheerios, which he now likes to serve himself by the fistful from the bowl.

Another new trick is crawling under things--anything will do, tables, chairs, even the walker, which is not terribly satisfying given that your head is all the way through before your butt even enters the tunnel. Needless to say, this is not a favorite parental activity as it means lots of chasing and redirecting, since there are generally cords or other dangerous items accessible from under the tables. Also, chairs have been, up to now, useful in blocking access to things like bookshelves, not all of which have been Ed-proofed. But sometimes he just likes to tunnel and doesn't get into trouble. Then it's kind of funny to see the effort it takes to crawl through the chair legs and maneuver from crawling to sitting position under the table, looking out with a satisfied mug.

Above you see him looking out the bedroom window. This is in the 1920s era section of our house, where the long double-hung windows are low enough to the ground that he can pull himself right up on the sill and check out what's happening in the yard. This provides minutes of enjoyment. Then he realizes he's in our bedroom where there are SO many things to explore and destroy. The door to this room is most often closed so whenever he can he likes to see what is behind it.

We may get out to the yard for real pretty soon. Temperatures in the 40s this week are quickly melting the snow. Of course that means lots of puddles so I'm not too sure how outdoor play will work. First we have to get Ed up from his afternoon nap and fed his afternoon snack with enough daylight time left to accomplish an outdoor adventure. He's been taking substantial naps these days, clearly exhausted from all the effort he's putting into walking. Yes, walking. He's not fully independent yet, but he's definitely advanced beyond the "step-step-flop" phase. He'll now arrive at his destination upright, turn around and walk back. He still has balance issues though so he needs a soft surface to land on. You'll notice that the video ends abruptly, which was due to my needing to catch him as he fell tooth first into my knee. This was unpleasant for both of us, but only drew blood on one (he cut his lip.) No worries though--a little TLC and a few minutes of pacifier sucking and he was on the go again.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Welcome to the infirmary. We spent the weekend at home resting and recovering from the week's ills. Ed seems to be doing a lot better, though he did take a few extra naps. He is not coughing as much and he's back to his usual eating/drinking habits. Unfortunately, as he was recuperating, I was stricken with an entirely different germ. His was respiratory. Mine was gastro-intestinal. Unpleasant. Enough said.

Ed and John did get out to storytime at the library on Saturday morning, allowing me an extra hour of quiet sleep. Thank goodness! I also slept through Ed's entire naptime Saturday afternoon--for those keeping score, he averages about three hours in the afternoon. Then after I got up with Ed's 6 a.m. wake up call today we ended up taking another nap from about 7:30 to 8:30 when I could think of no other method of getting him to stop crying after a quiet interlude for breakfast and kitchen play, so as to stay far from the bedroom where John was catching his well-earned "late" morning snooze. It worked. Guess he was a little over-tired too.

Afternoons were better, as you can see here. Ed and John worked on some walking, with Ed starting out leaning against the chair and then propelling himself forward. I managed to capture the most exciting forward motion, but the battery was running low, so these images are not very high quality--probably won't print well, for those who might be inclined.

And here's another from earlier this week. I named it "multi-tasking" as you can see there are quite a few entertainment items being employed here. He doesn't stay focused on any one of them for terribly long, but if there are enough spread out around him, he's happy moving from one to the next.

One funny thing from this weekend--Ed figured out when we were imitating him and it made him laugh. We think he might have a few more teeth on the way because his fingers are in his mouth constantly and there's lots of drainage from both mouth and nose. So at one point, John was holding Ed and Ed was chewing on his finger. John put his own finger in his mouth and pretended to do the same. Ed thought that was hilarious and then we of course thought his hilarity was hilarious. As I noted earlier, we didn't get out much this weekend. And finally, Ed discovered a new taste treat--pretzels. I was eating them in an effort to add something innocuous to my ailing stomach, and he reached up for the bowl and grabbed one. I was too wiped out to object and waited to see what he'd do with it. He ate it...eventually...after stopping at various points to spit it into his hand to observe the mastication process firsthand. Food and a toddler, what an appetizing mix!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Edward is doing better today, though still not up to full speed. He gets crabby a lot more easily and he's nowhere near the eating machine we know and love. I think he's getting enough liquids through my attempts to force feed him. His diapers have been wet and he still has plenty of tears and drool! We tried a few other foods that are "liquid like," including Jell-O, pudding and sherbet, but all were roundly rejected. John was happy to eat the left-over Jell-O and sherbet, but he passed on the pudding after I told him that Ed plunged his hand into the cup. It was quite messy. These two green shirt photos were taken only moments apart, demonstrating today's mood swings. Strangely, one of the only things to hold his attention today was playing with my slippers, taking them off my feet and then attempting to put them back on. Also trying to grab my wiggling toes. Weird kid.

The snowman sweatshirt photos were taken the other day. Edward frequently finds his own shoes and offers them to whoever is nearby to hold for a moment before he grabs them back and replaces them on the shelf above his books. He also loves the box of books Gram got him for his birthday. The books are all songs (Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald, etc.) and he like to "chair dance" while I sing them to him. But more than anything he likes to take them out and put them back in the box. He doesn't quite get the concept of putting them in vertically and will smash the book flat against the box frustrated that it won't go in. Spatial relations are apparently a later skill.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'm not sure how I managed to post my earlier entry twice, but things should be back to normal now. Thanks to my brother P.J. for the heads-up. While he was at it, he sent along this photo--the phone photo alluded to below. We'll try to get one in higher resolution, but here you can see the tips of Edward's new red Converse All-Star low tops. Sweet!Edward is back asleep now, after waking from his morning nap with a full diaper, getting changed and dressed, snacking on Kix and clementine orange slices, enduring my force-feeding of a bottle of milk (or at least 3 oz. worth of the bottle), playing happily for about an hour, slowly devolving to tears and moaning, refusing any more liquid or food (except three or four Cheerios) and then finding solace with his pacifier and blankie. Two steps forward, one step back.
We had a busy weekend with a trip to Evanston to see Gram and PopPop for the first time since Christmas. Now, it used to be fairly routine for six weeks or more to pass between in-person visits, but somehow that's all changed in the last year. Kidding aside, it was great to see them and my brothers, who were also home for the coldest weekend of the winter. Temperatures struggled to stay above zero and lost the battle once the sun went down. But it was well worth it to see the look on my uncle's face when we, along with 100 of his closest friends and family members, shouted "Surprise" at his retirement/60th birthday party on Saturday night. No one is more deserving of celebration!

Believe it or not, we were more than an hour into the eastward drive on Friday night, with Edward sound asleep in the carseat when I thought, "Hey, we didn't pack the camera!" That's right...a whole weekend with no Ed photos. Well, one or two might have been snapped with PopPop's camera and the various cell phones. In fact, I know P.J. took a phone photo and sent it to Bridget so she could see Ed sporting the cool birthday present she got him, which prompted her to send me a text message, which provided me the opportunity to send my FIRST text message. I believe I acquitted myself quite well, though I didn't know how to backspace/delete, so there may have been a typo or two.

In any event, I realized during playtime yesterday afternoon that I'd better capture a few blog-worthy shots. And now I have the opportunity to post them, since we are home from work/daycare on Edward's first sick day of the winter. He had a few last summer with ear infections and such, but he's been amazingly healthy through the cold and germy months. He was coughing over the weekend and a little less active than usual (which didn't bother Gram since it meant he took TWO naps while she cuddled him.) But he was OK Monday and Tuesday mornings so we went about our usual routine. This morning however, he didn't want to eat or drink much and when I sat him to play while I ate breakfast and John showered, he just kind of whined and moaned until I picked him up. When he laid his head on my shoulder I knew we were in for the day. He doesn't have a fever though so I think he'll be able to rally soon. As recently as yesterday afternoon he was playful enough for one of his favorite games--peekaboo with the living room curtains. It's pretty cute to watch and I don't think he can pull hard enough to do any damage other than wrinkling the curtains. If that's the worst decorating blunder in my living room, I'm doing pretty well.
He's napping now. We'll see what else the day might bring.