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.