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Baby Blogger

2/20/2005 12:52:24 AM  
It's the first blog entry! First of all, hats off to my dedicated and patient web designer for working so hard to get this up and going in time to satisfy my hormonal whims. I'm really happy that we'll be able to keep family and friends in the loop this time. So is Piglet!

Still waiting on what will be the biggest news of this month - the arrival of Piglet's cousin Sean! In the meantime, all is well. I'm officially off bedrest and allowed to resume a pretty normal lifestyle. I'm still taking it really easy though. I'm really scared of doing too much after the cerclage and particularly in the time range we're about to enter. I'm far more restrictive with myself than the docs are. I'm sure that's not surprising to anyone!

Also, I could get stuck back on bedrest at any point so I'm trying to stay "ready" for that. I really didn't mind the post-surgery bedrest at all (only 2 weeks) and this laptop really got me through. Got a lot of knitting on VG's baby blanket done too. In some ways, I was more productive on bedrest than I am on house arrest. Strange.

12/18/2009 4:00:16 PM  
[James here] Well Facebook is officially killing this online scrapbook which is really not a good thing. Facebook will not document things nearly as clearly or completely - 'cause you'll have to wade through a whole bunch of one-liners and virtual farm updates; I mean am I really going to care who just brushed their pretend pony a year from now. Oh that's right, I don't care now!!!!

Getting our new TV upstairs and moving the old TV (as Victor calls it) into the basement has been a really good thing. Using the old superyard gating, I can limit Erick to an area of the basement where he can't hurt himself or disturb mommy's precious trains. And, he can watch one of our many Preschool Prep videos like "Meet the Colors, "Meet the Numbers", and "Meet the Letters". So far, he really likes those programs and pays attention to about 40% of it. He's doing a lot of good playing and being incredibly cute.

Victor and Erick enjoy one another and do some very cute floor playing. Victor seems to understand how precious and fragile Erick is and only every once in a while needs to be reminded to not lie on top of him.

Victor is getting into the Christmas spirit. He loves candy canes and can make one last all day. Usually, he sculpts it into a prison shiv. He also loves hot chocolate and keeps noticing Santa wherever he sees him. Victor also loves sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed, but inevitably ends up evicting Daddy. It's become a bad habit because while sweet, it is kinda silly for Daddy to have to move to Victor's bed each night to keep the peace and allow for maximum sleeping. Now that he's used to it, he really doesn't take no for an answer. Last night, he literally made a break for it and eluded my grasp. Too cute to really get mad about, but we'll have to figure something out going forward.

5/11/2010 11:37:12 AM  
We still don't have a new camera yet, hence the lack of new material up in here. I have Mimi's camera as a loaner, just in case Erick starts walking for real, but I haven't really gotten a feel for using it yet and I also can't seem to upload from it on the laptop. So many challenges. We need to get a new camera soon though because school's almost out and then it will be time for lots of fun outings to keep Victor from tearing the house down! :) He only has 8 more days of school and I'm not sure which of us will cry more about him not being able to go anymore. Erick included (he REALLY likes having some time alone with the toys).

I had a really nice Mother's Day, especially considering that James left town again the day before. He's in Plano for Nationals. He'll be home in 3 more days. Just ask Victor. He could tell you! The boys and I got to go hang out with Mimi & PopPaw and Gaga & Brownie for the day and everyone had a lot of fun. (Thank you M&P!). And Victor is actually doing really, really well this week with Daddy being gone. He misses him a lot but the picture schedule seems to really, really help him. He can actually see when Daddy comes back and how many more bedtimes there are until then. Better yet, he gets to see things on his schedule that he has to look forward to in the meantime (wagon rides, swinging, park, Home Depot, bowling, etc.). We'll definitely need to keep doing this during June so that he doesn't feel completely directionless without school.

And Erick? He's wild. Still not officially walking but he'll stand unassisted for a while and he'll take a few tentative steps before he panics and sits down. He seems more interested in climbing than anything. I don't remember Victor ever being this much of a climber at this age so I really haven't been prepared for it. He's very resourceful about it too, using toys or drawers to try to gain access to all kinds of things he shouldn't. Always with a big smile on his face too, the stinker!

He's really perfected clapping and waving lately and likes to practice those skills a lot. And he's starting to talk a little bit. He says "OK" a lot, to signal that he's ready for something to start or end (such as "OK, get me out of this chair now" or "OK, let's eat!"....he gets this from me because I'm constantly saying OK to myself). Today when I gave him a bath, he very emphatically said "buh-buh!" and reached up toward the bubble bath. He was so excited when I understood and acquiesced and he laughed gleefully and said "mama!". It was our first real conversation!

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot about Victor's swim lessons! He started those last week at Nautilus. It's a special needs class and he gets lots of individual attention but also lots of time to just experiment without a lot of fuss (but always with a parent in the water with him). He LOVED it and he slept soooooo well that night. This week I'm going to take him solo since Daddy's gone (Erick will hang out here with a grandparent) and I think he'll really enjoy the time without his brother diverting attention from him. Next week though, we're all 4 going because we can apparently take Erick in with us too. Victor will love seeing his brother in a pool for the first time but I'll also be very careful to give Victor his big boy space since this is his thing. Maybe James and I can switch boys halfway through!

5/22/2010 8:02:58 PM  
James here:
Victor has a favorite bedtime story entitled "Thesaurus Rex." Tonight he read the entire story by himself. It was awesome! 1) He wanted to do it 2) He kept his concentration on the task of reading the entire story 3) He can only read about half the words so the rest he knows by memory 4) Because he has everything memorized, the process of reading this story is allowing him to memorize what each word looks like.
Earlier tonight he took a guess at what Erick's shirt said: "Ice Cream". What it really said was "Austin Steam..." It was impressive that he saw the "eam" and thought of "cream". This reading process thing seems to be clicking with him at the moment because of his good memory. He'll probably be able to read sentences before he can comprehend their meaning, but one thing does generally lead to another. Way to go, Victor!

7/9/2010 9:01:23 PM  
My apologies (yes, I know that the apologies are getting old) for the long hiatus once again. A lot of things have been keeping us busy but we've also been plagued by internet outages every night for several weeks. You know, right when I finally have some time to blog. It's been quite maddening. Things have been generally good around here though, medical issues notwithstanding.

So we have a new pediatrician. We loved Dr. L but when our insurance coverage changed at the first of the year, she became out-of-network. We tried to make it work for a while but as much as these boys seem to get sick, it became ridiculous. Sad as it was to part ways, we are liking the new doctor quite a lot. And trust me, we've gotten to know her and her entire staff!

She worked Erick in early for his 15 month appointment a few weeks ago (3 days before we we were leaving on mini-vacation) at which point we discovered that Erick had yet another scorching double ear infection. That made the sixth infection since his 12 month appointment so we finally opted for the antibiotic shots since he's had every possible oral antibiotic now. He had to do those shots for 3 days in a row (so yeah, we know the nurses well now!) but man, did they ever do the trick! You could tell he was feeling way better than he had been for a while and luckily it was just in time for our trip to Branson.

He's had fluid behind his ears for the entire past 3 months though (including just a few days ago at the ENT's office) so he's finally getting ear tubes next Friday. We're relieved. We're very much at the point of being concerned about hearing damage (and possible speech delays if we let this continue) as well as antibiotic immunity. The doc that will do it is the same guy that clipped his tongue tie. And he's an Illini!

Meanwhile Victor has gotten to know the medical staff there in relation to another lingering sinus infection (maybe he'll meet the ENT soon too). He's doing better with a stronger antibiotic. Apparently Amoxicillin doesn't even touch his sinus infections now. He also threw a brief bladder infection scare in for fun. After those tests came back negative, we've all determined that he must just be having one of those pesky growth spurts where the bladder has not expanded to keep up with the rest of his growing body. And he's definitely had a spurt. After hovering right around 36 pounds for more than a year, he's suddenly 40 pounds! Still long and lean but a bit more bulked up than before.

He's getting a whole lot of exercise these days. He's much more active and we really think the swimming is a big part of why. He's got a lot more interest in sports now and he seems to actually need physical activity more than before to help him sleep and focus, etc. It's a good change to see in him. We're considering switching to two nights of swimming per week but I'm a bit hesitant since he'll have so much going on once school starts. We'll have to therapy one early evening and he'll have a few weeks of twice a week soccer camp. But we can always scale swimming back. I think James is right that we should probably capitalize on how much he's getting out of it and how much he loves it. It's doing so much for his confidence in general.

Victor really would swim every single day if we'd let him. Luckily when we were in Branson, we could happily oblige! The resort pool was by far everybody's favorite part of the trip. It was a very nice, sprawling pool and it really wasn't even all that crowded. The boys both got to spend lots and lots of time splashing and playing there. We also worked in some other things: a scenic train ride, a Ride the Ducks ride, a paddlewheeler cruise, some general sightseeing and a cave tour (Victor's least favorite part - to the point that he screamed pathetically for most of the tour).

The boys were pretty pumped up about the train ride for the first hour and then it became tedious. It was totally worth enduring to see their excitement when we first got on though. They loved the dome car (let's hear it for neurotic Mommy who buys tickets months in advance so that we can get awesome seats!). We were happy to see them enjoy the train so much because we'll be back to ride it again in December when it magically becomes the Polar Express. And Mimi will be going along for the ride with us! (Mimi likes The Polar Express as much as we do.)

The boys were positively angelic during our travels, as they always are. They truly are like their parents - happy to be out on the open road. It's only when the traffic is icky that we all get cranky. And sleeping at the hotel went pretty darned well, really. So I think we can pronounce our first family vacation a smashing success. We can feel confident about doing it again soon! But not too soon.

There is a montage of pictures from our trip in the works but the aforementioned internet outages have set me back a bit in finishing that up. Hopefully I can get that on here soon. Connection looks great tonight but alas, I am feeling very ready to veg out on the couch with James to watch Tivo'd episodes of Damages while sipping a daquiri. Simple pleasures.

I hope that anyone out there who has managed to read this is having a wonderful summer. So basically, that's you, Ruth & Lori. :) I miss you both.

9/23/2010 9:03:06 PM  
There are new pictures. I'm too tired to talk about them though.

11/15/2010 8:30:00 AM  
[James here] Verse of the day from Victor: "Don't stand. Don't stand up. Don't stand up close to me."

Erick's quotes of the day: "I sowry." "Thank wou."

12/10/2010 9:15:56 AM  
Trying to get to this for an update but I'm buried alive in prep for yet another trip. That and I have a whiny little barnacle who won't let me out of his sight right now. Merry Christmas!

12/24/2010 8:09:47 AM  
[James here] We had so much fun in the snow on Sunday. First Victor helped me shovel the driveway with his tiny shovel. Then, he and Erick took many sled laps around the yard with Daddy on the yoke. Then, I taught Victor how to sled down our "hill" on his own - he was a natural. Later, Victor and I were throwing snowballs and we noticed that the snow was packing really well. So, "we" made a big snowman. Passing neighbors were slowing down to admire him. All in all it was about two hours; very good times.

1/16/2011 3:08:15 PM  
I'm finally getting around to updating things around here. Ironically, today has been the perfect day for it even though James left on a trip to Austin this morning. One would think that I'd have less time for recreational pursuits but actually, I'm making Victor stay down here in the basement so that Erick can get in a good nap and there's not much else to do down here. It's nice to finally take the time to do it though!

Post-Christmas has been kind of a strange blur. Almost feels like break has never quite ended, thanks to the snow days we had last week and MLK Day tomorrow. We've been very lucky that the boys stayed pretty healthy through the holidays but I've got a pretty bad cold right now and I have a bad feeling that Erick is getting it too (I'm hearing a lot of sneezing over the monitor today). This next week will hopefully be his first music class for this session. He had to miss the last two classes back in November/December because he was so sick. Weather sounds yucky this next week too so I really, really, really hope he is able to make it so he can get back to having some fun with friends.

Little Gym, on the other hand, didn't take any break at all between sessions and it's less of a drive so he hasn't had to miss out on it at all and it's a good thing because he loves, loves, loves it. He's always enjoyed going but was always just a bit cautious about trying things but he's really gotten out there and been more confident recently. He just moved up to "Beasts" (from his previous "Birds" level) and I was afraid that he might be intimidated by being one of the youngest kids but it was actually quite the opposite. Seeing those 2-3 year olds really inspires him to be a daredevil. Grrrrrreat.

I'm also really hoping to start taking Erick to storytime at the library regularly, especially now that they do it every week. When we tried it back in the early fall, he just didn't quite have the interest in sitting for stories but he's really come around on that too. He loves to look at his books by himself but he loves to be read to as well. His very favorites are Llama Llama Red Pajama, Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy and Chugga Chugga Choo. He really enjoys any books with textures, pop-ups or trains.

The trains. Oh, the trains. Erick is completely obsessed. Much as Victor had his hardcore Thomas phase, Erick is even more crazed about it. Luckily he's gotten a little less rigid about always having to be holding one of his trains (his favorites are Percy, Duncan and Freddie). He loves watching the DVDs and he loves any and all of the paraphernalia. I'm already plotting a Lego Percy set for his birthday. He loves Legos too and is very much a little builder by nature. He's very much a typical rough and tumble boy with a voice that sounds so strangely deep to us (Victor still has his sweet, angelic voice).

Erick is talking up a storm. Any concerns we ever had about his language development have certainly gone by the wayside. That is, of course, very bittersweet. At 21 months, Victor might have had 5 words. With Erick, we lost count months ago. He easily has 100+ words and is answering yes/no questions, asking for food/toys by name, calling people by name. He's even forming a few rudimentary sentences. He says a lot of what sounds like sentences, of course, which are really imitations of what he hears all of us say. But he also has said some really novel things lately. The ones that come to mind are "I make kitty mad!" and "Yay! It's cheese.". He's pretty clearly influenced by his big brother.

As for the working relationship between those two, it's about half harmonious and half acrimonious. When they are playing together, it's unbelievably sweet, especially the nightly super hero routine. (They put on satin capes and run through the house saying "Let's fly! Go, go, go!"). But Erick is super sensitive to Victor's often overenthusiastic attempts at affection and when Erick feels annoyed by Victor, he screams at the top of his lungs for prolonged amounts of time. We don't remember Victor ever doing this so much but then Victor didn't have an older brother trying to violently hug him all the time. It's a lose-lose situation because Victor is known to agitate Erick just to see him get mad and Erick is, in turn, a huge, melodramatic cry baby about all of it. As you'd expect, he does not react nearly so dramatically when it's any other kid in his space or taking a toy from him. The scream is a special sound just for his brother. Awwww.

As for the big brother, Victor is doing great overall. Winter is tough, of course. It's hard to be cooped up and while he loves playing in the snow, even he knows that it's too cold for that here lately. He was incredibly sad about Christmas being over too. It was so cool that he got so into all of it this year and really understood all of the traditions but it made it that much harder to experience the post-holiday letdown. I went ahead and got out all of our Valentine's Day decor to console him with and now I am asked at least once a day if tomorrow is finally Valentine's Day. On the bright side, maybe he'll be interested enough to help me prepare for his class party. I'm sure he'd rather play computer games though.

Victor would play computer games all day long if we'd let him. He's completely obsessed with the PBS Kids website and plays games for shows that he's never even watched. A lot of it is mindless but harmless as long as we keep a limit on it. Initially he was spending most of his time playing Word World games and we were excited about that because he finally started to grasp rhyming (rhyming is a terribly hard concept for Victor in spite of the fact that he's an excellent reader overall). Didn't take long until Victor started clicking on all of the other game links and getting to all kinds of crazy games though. On the bright side, his computer skills themselves have vastly improved. His reading is really good although he gets really lazy about it if it's not what he wants to do. Imagine that from a kindergartener!

He's doing great at school though, aside from his handwriting (not sure if this issue is a fine motor thing or a visual perceptive thing). That's something we'll be addressing in depth very soon both at school and in his private therapy. He recently switched therapy days (and therapists) and he seems to be responding well to that. Victor definitely has the tendency to burn out on therapy if we don't change up the day and personnel periodically so it's nice to see him with a fresh energy for it. He's really, really made a lot of progress with his feeding therapy and has expanded his food choices greatly. Just today I offered him a cup of yogurt and he ate the entire thing happily. He had not eaten yogurt in probably 3 years! I believe a lot of that is being around other kids in the cafeteria. That and just his overall improvement with his sensory/textural issues.

He's still going to swimming once a week and loving it. I think I can safely say that it's still the highlight of the week for him. He adores his teacher and he has gained so much strength, balance and confidence. You know we're convinced that it's great for him when James continues to take him in the coldest part of the winter! He is really almost swimming. Could not have even imagined that a year ago. And he's now two weeks into Rookie Basketball through local Parks & Rec too. Dribbling is quite a struggle (we need to be practicing that more in the sunroom) but he's a good shooter and James said that he is quite adept at the chest pass. He definitely seems more enthusiastic about basketball than he was about soccer (fine by me because I find soccer incredibly boring and tedious). We're really excited about seeing him get more interested in playing sports and doing things with other kids in general.

I could go on and on and on about what a year Victor is having but this is already obnoxiously long. I truly am just so thankful that he's got some really great people teaching him, helping him and cheering him on. He's an amazingly sweet, smart boy and while I worry about him endlessly, I am so proud of him and am so excited about what he might be able to start doing next. I'll try to be a lot better about updating the blog about what those next things might be. Oh yeah, and I should mention that Erick is running everywhere. And he's using tools to climb things. See, there's a reason I don't sit down much!

3/9/2011 3:28:14 PM  
Well, that was not a very impressive job of keeping things more up-to-date. There have been some technical issues as of late that have prevented me from adding the newer pictures but hopefully that won't be a problem much longer. I finally decided to just post an update with or without pictures. But hopefully I'll get pictures on very soon too.

It's been a strange month or so since the last update. I think that it ended up being 10 snow days that Victor had off school when it was all said and done. And we've all been sick at least twice since I last updated. Just the usual respiratory yuckiness and nothing in need of antibiotics or anything.

The big, horrible event of this past month was Erick getting second degree burns on both of his arms while we were in Chicago. It was a really fun weekend trip right up until that moment. The boys both had fun having breakfast with Auntie Leener's kiddos, Claire and Nate and then had a wild, exhausting and very fun time at Luther's wedding reception where they got to dance up a storm with their girlfriends Avery and Alli. All was right with the world and we were up and getting ready to leave the hotel on Sunday morning to go to the Shedd Aquarium with the Leener crew. If we'd only managed to leave a few minutes earlier........

While we were getting packed up to leave, the boys were frolicking around in Mimi & PopPaw's adjoining hotel room when Erick pulled the coffee pot down from the shelf it was on (yes, we would have a really good lawsuit but no, we won't pursue it). It was scalding hot and by the time I got his shirt pulled off (seersee, within 10 seconds), there was already skin just falling off both arms. So we were off to the ER. In Chicago. We were there for about 3.5 hours and Erick was in quite a lot of pain so we obviously never made it to Shedd. Luckily Victor hasn't brought it up more than a few times. We'll get there next time.

We took Erick to St. Louis Children's Hospital the next day where he began his outpatient burn treatment. At the outset, they told us to plan on possibly being down there twice a week for 3 or so weeks. The first visit was truly awful. The nurses were all amazing but he was in a lot of pain and ended up having to be anesthetized for them to clean and debride the burns. Seeing him fight the anesthesia because he was so scared of getting the mask on was by far the worst part. The burns looked really bad that day too.

We were back two days later for another dressing change and exam. The difference was already amazing. It looked like it was healing really well even if it was still pretty gnarly. They were happy enough with his progress that they sent us home with the supplies to start daily dressing changes on our own each night after his bath. We also had to continue with the physical therapy routine they had initiated with him. They were very worried about him losing flexibility in his right hand since there was burning of the skin right between his thumb and index finger.

Erick wasn't too happy with the new routine that first night, probably because he was used to getting serious pain killers at the hospital before they did any of that kind of stuff and now we were just doing it at home with plain old Tylenol. But within a few days, he was really comfortable with the dressing changes and even with doing his PT. And luckily he started to use his right hand more and more as he realized that it was OK and he didn't need to be afraid of hurting himself. We were really happy with his progress but trying not to get too cocky yet.

Yesterday I took him back for what we thought would be the first visit for this week but it turned out to be the last visit for this month! He doesn't have to go back until April 4 and that may be his last follow-up, depending on whether or not he still needs to be seen for scar management. Now he is able to go without the heavy dressings on his arms and just has one thinnish layer of gentle compression bandage on. They're basically like socks and he actually really likes the way they feel. He's always eager to get them back on. He should really only need those for another week or two. They are mainly to protect his new, very vulnerable skin from getting cut or scratched when he's playing. So when that skin thickens up a bit (hopefully within the next week), he can actually go with bare arms.

For this whole next month and probably a while beyond that we have to do lotion massages on his burns 4 times per day so we are doing that when he gets up, before nap, after nap and before bed. Luckily he kinda likes the massage and it's very easy to work in those hand stretches while we're already rubbing and relaxing him. Victor isn't jealous yet but he surely will be soon. Which reminds me that I haven't mentioned what a great big brother Victor has been throughout this ordeal!

Victor was with us for the 3.5 hours we spent in the Chicago ER and he was so sweet to his brother, constantly petting his head and telling him he'd be OK. He even tried to comfort him while the nurse was removing some of the skin. I could not believe that he wasn't upset by that, let alone that he was being so calm and thoughtful. The cutest part was that he thanked every medical professional that left that room, no matter how many times they'd already been there and he kept telling them all "Good job of helping Erick!". We were so, so proud of him. And he's continued to be very sweet at home and mindful of being gentle with Erick, making sure Erick doesn't get hurt or remove his bandages. Just an all-around awesome brother.

Anyway, that's the big event that transpired since the last update. I'll try to get some pictures added soon. And I'll try to make the next update a little more festive! But much as this has been a sad and trying ordeal, we are also feeling very, very, very happy that it wasn't worse and that he is healing so quickly and has been able to enjoy most of his usual activities. Usually with a big smile and a whole lot of excited jabbering!

Oh yeah, and he's going to be 2 a month from tomorrow. More tears for Mommy.

3/25/2011 12:30:47 PM  
It was seven years ago today, at 2:17 p.m., that we got to meet Ronan Woods Humphrey. We've had so many wild and wonderful moments since then and I know in my heart that he set us on this path - the path that led us to Victor & Erick and back home to Illinois. And he's probably watching over the wrestlemania that now occupies our lives with a knowing smile.

It's snowing here today but Ro's memorial tree at the park is all budded up and ready for spring. Always the eager one!

4/7/2011 1:13:03 PM  
Tomorrow's Erick's birthday party and we are basically a giant mess. I have strep throat but luckily the boys don't seem to have it (Erick even got swabbed but it was negative). They just have constantly running noses is all. :( So the goal right now is just for all of us to actually make it to the party and survive the night!

5/1/2011 9:43:25 PM  
Time to play catch-up again. These pics are all from the weekend before Easter. This first one is from the Hayner Library Egg Hunt, where we ran into one of Victor's kindergarten friends, Kylie:

The rest of these are from the Glazebrook Park Egg Hunt the following day. We actually ran into Kylie again there but alas, no picture this time. Here are the boys egg hunting in the park:

It was a good warm-up for Easter's serious egg hunting.

7/10/2011 6:05:32 PM  
We have a lot of catching up to do around here. It's been a very busy few months with lots of swimming and water parking and horseback riding and piano lessons and summer school. Oh, and vacation. Before we formally catch up on all of that though (there are lots of new pictures until then), we must share the most important news from our home. Also, the saddest.

We lost our kitty girl a month ago today. Her kidneys had been failing for quite a while so we had been giving her subcutaneous fluids at home. She just kept losing weight so rapidly though and then we came to discover that she had a pretty large tumor. At 17, she was just too old to risk surgery so she lived out her last month eating nothing but Fancy Feast (what little she'd eat) and getting as many snuggles as we could all still work in. She became so weak and terribly sickly that finally we had her put to sleep on June 10. The boys said goodbye and some tears were shed. In fact, I haven't cried that much in a long time. Probably since about 2004.

Victor gets it on some level. He talks about how she "had to go rest" and we know that he misses her a lot. Erick will ask every few days "Where did my kitty cat go?" and it breaks our hearts again each time he asks. I think that a new kitty will probably be in our near future because the boys have so much love to share with a pet (and they were so kind and gentle and loving with Pru throughout her illness). No one will ever take the place of the mistress of this house though and even a month later, it feels strange without her presence. We miss you Pru Cat. So, so very much.

Prudence "Jurisprudence" Pressler Humphrey
April 4, 1994 - June 10, 2011

7/21/2011 6:23:18 PM  
[Vic here] i went to school today. it was the last day of summer school. i will miss coco puffs.

8/20/2011 7:00:51 PM  
[Victor here] i rode my bike around the block. i told tink her breath smells like penguin water.

9/26/2011 7:31:06 AM  
[James here] Last night all four of us were hanging out in the bathroom getting ready for bed. Eric was being aggressive toward Mommy, and I said, "Hey, mommies aren't for hitting; mommies are for kissing." A few seconds passed and then Victor said, "What are daddies for?" I jumped up and said, "Daddies are for wrasslin' around!"

10/13/2011 5:33:40 AM  
[James here] I've been saving two voicemails for a while 'cause they're so darn cute. This morning I copied them to digital format. My favorite part is when Mommy asks Erick to say "I love you Daddy." and Erick's response is, "Daddy, I'm eating... I, I drinking chocolate milk."

Vic & Erick Being Cute

11/2/2011 8:34:21 AM  
[James here] Victor is 47 pounds and 47 inches tall today (according to allergist). We will know more about his peanut allergy after we get the results back from today's tests.

12/4/2011 6:11:33 PM  
[Victor here]
i love gg. i eat breakfast.i ride the palar express.

12/24/2011 9:00:48 AM  
[James here] Quote from Victor: "Snoopy is going to use his dog bones to grow up into a dog man."

1/8/2012 7:02:04 AM  
[James here]
Victor: Daddy, what do you want to do with your life?
Daddy: (incredulous for a second) ...I want to rock!

2/25/2012 1:32:20 PM  
[James here] Victor participated in his school district's young author's conference this morning. Both Dawn and I were taken by surprise by the whole event, and Dawn went with Victor to see what it was all about. Apparently, most of the other participating students had help "publishing" their books. It didn't matter, though. Victor had something he did all by himself that he could proudly present. Here's a foreword that I added to his book this morning.


James Humphrey
Proud Father of the Author

Victor wrote this book as part of an ongoing project in his first grade class at Lovejoy Elementary School in Alton, IL. His teacher, Mrs. Cassandra Dinnius, reported that Victor wrote the book with no assistance and was impressed enough to recommend Victor for the Alton School District Young Author's Conference held on February 25, 2012. Victor attended the conference with his mother along with other district children and their parents.

In choosing his subject matter, the author was obviously influenced by books he has read like "Miss Spider's ABCs" by David Kirk. I am impressed with Victor's attention to detail such as page numbers, a dedication page, and an about the author page. I find the connected graph of groups of letters on his intro page particularly fascinating. Although I am disappointed that "D" is for dog :), choices the author made and his accompanying artwork make the work both charming and authentic.

As a fellow "Young Author", I am extremely proud of my son, and will do my best to ensure that many more such works will follow.

4/11/2012 9:55:45 AM  
[James here]
Erick has assigned everyone a letter. Victor is "e", Mommy is "d", Daddy is "w", and Erick is "z". According to They Might Be Giants, z's eat e's and w is double wide and cannot hide its pride. d likes to watch the sports.

5/19/2012 7:58:07 AM  
[James here]
Here are some selected entries from Victor's school notebooks.

Describing words
Place: lovejoy
Feel-smooth hard bumpy cold jucey and tender
taste - sweet, salty, chocolaty
sound loud, yelling talking swishing voices tapping
smell - delicious bland plain salty

Safe at home
Theres a growling noise outside look a bear
theres a musty smell like wet leaves in the air but inside my house I feel cosy and warm I safe and dry here away from the storm

7/1/2012 6:04:20 AM  
[James here] Yesterday was father-son-son day with Mommy out of town in Champaign with Eileen revisiting old haunts at the University.

It was a 100+ degrees but that did not stop us. First, we went to the JCHS tournament to watch some tennis. Victor and Erick still don't have much interest in watching tennis, so it was a blessing that Mimi stopped by to keep the boys entertained and also force them to watch a particularly good match between Sam Graf's son and Dylan Faulkenberg. Daddy was busy talking with Dan Diamond the Jerseyville coach and Sam, the Mascoutah coach. Mimi also took the boys on a tour of the high school including showing them pictures of "young humphreys" (as Victor put it upon seeing Daddy and Aunt Deb as teenagers). "You were a boy then, but now you are a man, " was another quote from Victor.

From there we went to the resale shop by McCary's. It was like a giant garage sale. The boys were having fun playing with all the toys, while Daddy was looking for playground equipment to no avail. Farm & Home was a bust for for watering equipment and maybe a fun swing for the boys. The swings were a bit too wobbly for the boys and the watering equipment overpriced for plastic junk (don't get me started on inflation.)

At that point it was lunch time and we swung by Mimi and Popaw's. Mimi had been to the store and had lots of meats and cheeses for sandwhiches. We also drank lemonade that Mimi squeezed herself, watermelon, and peaches. After lunch Mimi read some stories about sheeps in jeeps and pandas to Erick and then played a game with Victor where he tried to guess whether a tone was a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th - "Does it sound open or crunched?"

After a fun time with Mimi, we went over to pop-in and see "Hengry" (AKA Henry) Dohrn. Everyone was home and Henry did not disappoint. He is a stout young lad who is very happy and interactive. He is good at trying to stand and sit as well. Jack and Bernie were good hosts playing with Victor and Erick - even getting out the dreaded Darth Vader mask (Erick was scared). Later, Jack helped Victor learn how to Wii bowl and they played a full game.

We bid a fond adieu to the Dohrns, and left for home. Victor was not ready for the day to end though, so upon his request, we went to Glazebrook park. To our surprise (not), we were the only ones out there at 3:00! Erick had fun telling Victor and I "I am never going to go down the big slide again." He stuck to his guns on that one - like a campaign promise from a practiced politician. We got very hot and sweaty and then headed for home. But, Victor was still not done, saying that he wanted to go fishing.

So, we went home and drank a lot of water and ate an early dinner and were out the door to go fishing at 4:40pm. Daddy wanted to try a new lake off of Fosterburg road so Daddy drove us by Farm and Home where we got worms and again found the same not-so-stable horse tire swings. While there, Erick charmed the very nice checkout ladies. The two lakes daddy found online based on a story told to him by an old fisherman a month ago were elusive. First, we ended up on someone's private property and Daddy had to back the truck up about 1/4 mile (lucky Daddy's good at that :) Then, we searched fruitlessly for a lake off Culp Lane and only found a mental institution. Eventually, Victor channelled Mommy and said, "Let's just go to the park!" in an exasperated tone.

So, we drove over to Glazebrook Park again and went to our favorite fishing spot there on a small point under a couple shade trees by the concession stand. Victor was preoccupied with seeing the worms. Daddy had to explain several times to Erick that the night crawlers don't have teeth and can't hurt us. Neither boy seemed particularly bothered by me pinching them in half and impaling them on hooks. And Victor was picking them up freely. It was tough trying to keep two boys fishing at the same time and Daddy nearly got hooked when Victor tried to cast on his own when he was helping Erick, but we managed. The fish were biting as usual and stealing our bait as quickly as we could cast it out there. Bass were chasing small fish right in front of us and making a big, splashy ruckus. Victor had a big hook and a deeper bobber setting. So, he got a little less action, and Erick caught the first fish - a 4-inch blue gill. He reeled him in and daddy removed the hook. When Daddy asked if he wanted to kiss him, Erick ran away. Victor gave him a kiss on his fishy lips, and he was tossed back in. Victor was just starting to get anxious that he wasn't going to catch anything, when his bobber went under deep. As he was reeling his fish in, it was swimming in a straight line perpendicular to the shore, so we were not surprised when it turned out to be a strapping 8-inch bass. What a nice fish for Victor to catch! Erick again ran away from the fish and Victor gave him a kiss on his back and off he went back into the pond. We fished for a few more minutes and then packed it up including Victor throwing the remaining worms into the water for the fish.

After that we went to the cream machine for ice cream (and mini tacos for Daddy). We were hot and sweaty and fishy messes, so we went home. Mimi stopped by with our repaired lamp (Thanks Mimi!) After finishing our treats we had a "crazy water" bath. Victor read more from Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann and it was time for bed. Phew!

7/21/2012 11:01:07 AM  
[James here] Erick has been saying some heartbreakingly sweet and mean things lately. For instance, he is very fond of saying "Mommy, you're pretty." or "Mommy, you're good." and sometimes "Daddy, you're good."

When he gets mad, he's not so nice. This morning he said, "I'm gonna throw Daddy in the trash." and "Daddy's not my friend." just because I yelled at him for rolling his truck down the stairs. Geez. What's going to come out of his mouth the next time I enforce a timeout?

7/24/2012  Erick's First Cards Game

[James here] We had a great time at the Cards game last night thanks to a 6-run 6th inning. It was Erick's first major league baseball game, and the hottest of all of our lives - topping 100 degrees at 7pm. We sat through 4 innings of passionless play from the Cards - marching toward another loss to the Dodgers. The boys were mostly disinterested, but I did get Victor to stop asking when the fireworks were going to happen (he thinks they are too loud). Mommy and I were melting, with the only relief coming in the form of frozen lemonade - our favorite treat at Busch. When, suddenly, in the 5th, some excitement arrived in the form of a double (near home run) from the Cards' pitcher Wainright to score the first run of the game for the home team. This seemed to wake the rest of the team up and the hits just kept on coming in the 6th inning. At the same time, Fred Bird made an appearance in our section. Victor was all smiles, and Erick was in tears with fright. "I don't wike Fredinbird." "Fredinbird is bad." Victor was so excited to get his picture taken with him. "He likes to pretend to eat people."

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8/3/2012  Victor's Seventh Birthday at Raging Rivers

[James here] We had a great time on Victor's seventh birthday at Raging Rivers. It was the tenth time that Mommy, Victor, and Erick were there this summer and my second. I had a lot of fun swimming in the wave pool with both boys. Victor rode on my back and we played tag when I imitated a shark. I helped Erick ride the waves when they happened. Victor was diving into them and swimming underneath them. It's shocking to me how comfortable Victor is now in the water.

Victor started the day with seven spanks. I'm not sure if we've kept that tradition going every year. It's funny; I'm trying to actually get Erick worried about the four he is going to get next April. Victor opened a lot of cool presents including a batting helmet from his cousin Sean. Another present was a Viking helmet and a nice wooden sword. Last night we started the habit of him donning the helmet and wielding the sword while I read from the "How to Train Your Dragon" series.

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8/4/2012  Victor's Seventh Birthday Party

[James here] Victor's seventh birthday party was huge! It was off the hook! I mean it was the place to be on a mostly rainy morning!

We planned on doing some tennis activities outside at LCCC, but a thunderstorm forced us to move into the gym. Victor had around 18 friends show up including: Bernie, Jack, Aaron, Adam, Lucas, Josie, Gabe, Anna, Julian, Caroline, Will, Parker, Cooper, TJ, Grant, Avery, Alli, and Aubree. It was great fun learning the basics of hitting a forehand and backhand and practicing some footwork drills.

We took everyone back to our house instead of the soggy park (we had reserved a shelter there), and the kids played in the basement before eating hot dogs and chips for lunch. Victor nearly blew the icing off of his cake extinguishing his candles after Mimi lead us through Happy Birthday on the piano. Victor's friends got him lots of really nice gifts - the spy glass was everyone's favorite. Some of the folks organized a treasure hunt using the map and treasure chest that Victor unwrapped. It was a really neat scene.

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8/5/2012  Dash-N-Splash 2012

The Alton Road Runners is a great local organization. This is the second year we have done their family race series. For $20 your entire family gets to participate in three events and get a t-shirt at each one. The first was at Glazebrook in July. The boys ran a quarter mile - daddy holding Erick's hand and Victor running ahead on his own.

The Woodriver Dash-N-Splash is cool because you run on a track and afterwards get a medal for the season and then get to play at the Woodriver aqua park. Again, the boys ran a quarter mile. Victor went on ahead and about half-way through I let go of Erick's hand. He kept running and was trying swing his arms just like daddy - to comic effect. I ran a mile in 7 minutes and nearly died; it's time to get into a little better shape.

At the water park, Erick really wanted to go on the "big slide", so we did even though we forgot his life jacket. Erick went down on my lap. The ride was quick, but really fun and we both got pretty well dunked at the end, but Erick was resiliant. "I liked that, Daddy."

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8/12/2012  Erick's First Canoe Ride

[James here] The cooler weather inspired all of us to head out to Beaver Dam Lake this past Sunday with PopPaw. We had been on the lake two times with Victor, so it seemed a rather routine planned outing. However, it had been long enough since our last trip that we realized that Erick could probably go in the canoe this time. So, we got out there and casually loaded everyone in the canoe with Erick sitting in the bottom, and he did great. He wasn't nervous about any part of the experience and was a great little fisherman - taking his reel on blind passes from Daddy and slowing reeling it in. He also took direction well when he had to be reminded to not lean on the edge. Erick didn't even mind his pants getting wet from sitting directly on the canoe floor. He did tell PopPaw repeatedly to "Stop splashing me!" It wasn't PopPaw's fault, he had to cross the paddle over to steer :) Victor was an old pro. We didn't catch any fish and only got one or two bites. The fish there seem to be well fed.

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8/28/2012  Erick's First Day of School

Erick had his first day of Pre-K at the same school where Victor started three years ago. Has it really been three years! Erick posed with Victor's old teachers there, Mrs. Perkins and Mrs. Pyle. Erick's teachers are Mrs. Engleman and Mrs. Mason.

Erick really likes the parakeets in his new class - Starburst and Skittles. He also likes the new playground equipment. He didn't even really seemed concerned when I left him there. What a good little stinker.

Victor and Mommy picked him up. Victor and Erick were both so glad to see each other, a big hug ensued.

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10/15/2012  Pumpkin Patching 2012

We visited quite a few pumpkin patches this year. We even have a pumpkin patch in our back yard. Unfortunately, our pumpkins are staying green. I suppose we could still pick them to create a diverse and accepting pumpkin display on our front porch.

Some pictures are from Eckerts. Some are from Erick's field trip to a farm with almost as many kittens as large orange fruits.

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10/13/2012  Autism Speaks Walk 2012

Autism is a debilitating condition that affects a large proportion of our children and adults. It hinders the brain's ability to function in many ways. Statistics seem to imply that Autism is affecting a larger percentage of the population now compared to past generations. More resources need to be assigned to prevent and treat Autism as well as to determine what factors are causing its prevalence to grow. I will go so far as to say it is ridiculous (and perhaps suspicious) that a condition that affects so many people is still so poorly understood.

Autism Speaks is a not-profit organization "dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder."

This is the third year we have participated in Autism Speaks Walk for Autism. It is Autism Speaks primary fundraising event. It is a team event and we are so fortunate to have such great family and friends to donate money to the cause and participate in the walk with us. For the third straight year, the team raised over $1,000. The folks participating in the walk this year were: Sarah Greer; Danielle, Jared, Gabrielle, and Cooper Hartsock; Mimi, PopPaw, Daddy, Mommy, Victor, and Erick. Angela Peterson held a lunch event at Lovejoy Elementary (Victor's school) where she raised over $160. Thank you so much to all of our team members!

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10/20/2012  Up Down and All Around The Arch

We made our first trip to the St. Louis Arch - more officially known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. This was free thanks to Autism speaks, and therefore a very understanding a safe environment to try out going all the way to the top of the Arch. It turns out that neither boy was particularly nervous about the ride in a "Sleeper-esque" elevator car. Neither were they put off leaning over to get a look at the St. Louis skyline from the tiny observation windows.

Victor and Daddy weren't excited to be close to the glass doors of the elevator on the way up, but somehow seeing some of the precipitous drops on the way down wasn't as bad. We went up one leg and down the other. We can say we've been all over that structure and officially approve!

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10/21/2012  Pere Marquette Family Fall Hike 2012

We live in a gorgeous part of the country. The bluffs along the river are always scenic, but this time of year at Pere Marquette State Park is the pinnacle bucolic beauty.

There is a path you can take up to the top of the bluffs at Pere Marquette. In past years, Erick had to be toted up, but this year he walked up like a champ. No complaints.

At the top we were swarmed by lady bugs and treated to some amazing views. On the way down we took a slightly different path. We might be entering the stage where we can take some real family hikes.

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12/15/2012  Clausophobia Montage

This past Saturday we went to Alton Square Mall so the boys could visit with Santa. I think he was the real Santa. He was awesome! Erick was really scared, but bravely stayed on Santa's lap and even answered a question about what he wanted for Christmas.

We had to remind Victor that he was once scared of Santa too, and it inspired Dawn to put together a montage of Santa Christmas pics to date.

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2/23/2013  Sled Fest 2013

There's been some real sled action this winter. We've gotten out on two occassions now. On a hunch we tried La Vista Park in Godfrey, and found that it has some really nice hills. Also, no one else seems to know or care about it.

Victor and Erick are not daredevils, but they seem to understand that it is impossible to hurt yourself in the snow, so the faster you can go the better.

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2/11/2014 11:30:49 AM  
[James here] Erick trying to say paleontologist: "Paleonapologist" - apparently someone whose job it is to make excuses for dinosaurs.

3/20/2014  Erick's Spring Dance 2014

Erick is quite shy, but he managed to bring himself to hold hands with a girl for a little bit and to do some dances like the funky chicken and the hokey pokey.

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4/7/2014  Erick's First Five Years

Erick is turning 5 this Thursday and Dawn thought she'd find her favorite 98 photos of him. In the process, she realized that Erick sure is a smiley little guy. He's still our baby, but he's not a baby anymore - sniff, sniff.

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4/12/2014  Erick's 5th Birthday Bowling Party

Erick turned five on Thursday, April 10 and had a bowling party bash that Saturday with friends. Friends in attendance were Avery, Allie, Aubrie, Andrea, Shannan, Ella, Kylie, Eddie, Bernie, Jack, and Henry. Mimi, Pop-Paw, Gaga, Dan, Debbie, and Carol came to share in the festivities. Erick got some neato presents including a nano-shark that swims in its own little bowl, a fold-up shark, a scale big rig, and a mouse-trap game.

Erick can bowl pretty well with two hands. His follow through is up by the opposite ear like a pro tennis player!

The next day, Erick, Victor, Mommy and Daddy went on a special behind the scenes, 2-hour tour at the World Aquarium in the City Museum (in St. Louis). Our tour guide, Devonte was extremely knowledgeable. Erick was very brave about petting all sorts of animals as the aquarium is more of a general rescue zoo than just an aquarium with exotic birds, an armadillo, a sloth, an anteater, terrapins, turtles, tortoises, snakes, an alligator, a crocodile, chinchilla, a cervet, etc. There were sharks (white tip, nurse, bonnet, bamboo), sting rays, sea stars, arapima, Mekong catfish, pacu, doctor fish, moray eels, etc.

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4/20/2014  Easter 2014 at Mimi and PopPaw's

We had just a beautiful day for Easter along with excellent company (Mimi, PopPaw, Gaga, and Brownie) and fantastic food - amazing ham, potatoes, asparagus, fruit salad, chocolate roll, and orange sherbet with meringue.

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5/11/2014  Mother's Day 2014

We had a great Mother's Day brunch meal at a B&B owned by an ex-Wal-Mart executive in White Hall, IL.

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6/6/2014  Vacation 2014 - Chattanooga

Chattanooga sits at the base of Lookout Mountain and is a very accessible city. It has a historic charm and some great restaurants. We visited the old railway station which is now a hotel where you can sleep in the old cars.

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6/7/2014  Vacation 2014 - Lookout Mountain

Rock City on Lookout Mountain was incredible. The rock formations included a maze of deep channels you could walk through. They also had a great bird show where a hawk counted coup on Daddy's head. There was also a great cave tour with many black lit fairy-tale themed rooms. Also, Erick will not forget the centipede he saw there.

We also visited Ruby Falls cave with the world's highest underground waterfall and the world's steepest rail line which goes straight down the mountain and back up.

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6/8/2014  Vacation 2014 - Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga was Erick's absolute favorite thing on vacation. He could not get enough of the sharks in the giant 4-story "fish-bowl." This is where he picked up a hat that had a bite taken out of it.

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6/9/2014  Vacation 2014 - Smokies Grotto Falls

In the Great Smokies National Park the first thing we did was take a hike to Grotto Falls. It was a fairly tough hike with lots of slippery rocks and tree roots to contend with. The boys were like little sure footed goats - with Mommy and Daddy constantly hovering. We had lunch at the Falls. We probably walked 4 miles and were exhausted.

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6/10/2014  Vacation 2014 - Biltmore

The "house" was really neat, but what the boys were really impressed by were the grounds and the little lake that had lots and lots of bass in it. We had a very nice meal in the converted stables and bought some good wine.

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6/11/2014  Vacation 2014 - Cumberland Falls

Truly impressive falls - pictures do not capture its scale. The poor state park was in disrepair, so we couldn't hike around too much. The boys had fun seining for minerals and "gold" and learning to skip rocks. Erick got the best present of all here - a cork pop gun.

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6/12/2014  Vacation 2014 - Blue Heron Mine

We took the Big South Fork Railway to the Blue Heron Mine in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The history of the mine was fascinating - back in a time when men were great for taming nature and building America's infrastructure - back when nature could take it and laborers didn't expect much from life. The train ride was great fun but it was a long day and at the end, Erick couldn't stop saying "Owl ice cream," because it is the funniest thing in the world.

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6/21/2014  Summer Swim - Novice Meet

This was Victor's second competitive swim meet of the summer held in Edwardsville. Victor swam the 25 free and the 25 backstroke among other events.

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7/10/2014  2014 Jersey County Fair

At the 2014 Jersey County Fair (in Jerseyville) Victor and Erick officially surpassed Daddy in their ability to ride rides. Erick has always been a bit of a jet pilot in his ability to tolerate g-forces, but Victor proved his mettle this year. Those boys just rode everything they were allowed to ride (by height) and had great fun.

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8/1/2014  Victor's 9th Birthday Party

Victor had a great birthday party at Summer's Port. Allie had to come by herself, so Erick hung out with her since she didn't know anybody.

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9/1/2014  Raging Rivers Labor Day 2014

We had lots of fun with Heather, Chris, Bernie, Jack, and Henry at Raging Rivers on the last day it was open for the season. The forecast called for rain, which kept the crowds away, but it turned out to be a nice day. The boys went down the "toilet bowl" like 10 times.

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10/19/2014  Pere Marquette Hike - Fall 2014

Pere Marquette State Park was a beautiful as ever for a Fall hike. Erick insisted on being at the head of the pack. We found a new lookout spot and hiked a total of 3.5 miles.

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11/15/2014  2014 Jim Devine Columbia Meet

We went to our first stay over meet in Columbia, MO. It was a great experience for Victor and he set some personal bests. We got to spend some time with Ray Bacon on Saturday night - eating at Murry's and bowling.

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12/25/2014  Christmas 2014

We had a wonderful visit to Peoria on the weekend of Dec 13-14. Nick showed off his awesome hair and Sean showed off his business saavy - quality duct tape wallets! The boys played soccer together and then some video games.

On the night before Christmas, we had fun with the Dohrns - first supping at Tony's in Alton and then exchanging presents and playing at the Humphrey's. Chris and James played ping pong on a improvised table and the boys played sumo in the basement.

On Christmas day, Victor and Erick opened presents from Santa and got some good ones including Gravity Maze, vintage video games for the TV, and various robots. Later, Gaga, Brownie, Mimi, and PopPaw came over for lunch and presents.

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2/21/2015  1011 Snow Play 2015

We have been complaining all winter about not having snow. "What happened to our White Christmas?" "When can we use our new sled?" Well, we finally got our wish in the last week.

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2/27/2016 11:38:05 AM  [James here] Allow me to comment yet again about Facebook killing this site. When this site was created in 2004, it allowed us to do what Facebook does today - create an online scrapbook about the kids to share with friends and family.

The good news is that even though Dawn doesn't use this site anymore, we still have control of all of our old scrapbook content. Therefore I still believe we should use this site to organize and record.

5/29/2016  Memorial Day 2016

Visiting the graves of Paul D. Pressler and Victor G. Giberson on Memorial Day weekend 2016.

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3/30/2015  Basketball Tourney March 2015

Victor and Erick played in their season ending basketball tournaments at Lewis & Clark Community College.

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4/5/2015  Easter 2015

Easter at 200 Barr Ave, Jerseyville, IL in 2015.

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4/10/2015  Beaver Dam Spring 2015

Fishing in PopPaw's canoe at Beaver Dam State Park near Carlinville, IL in Spring 2015. No fish caught, sadly.

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6/3/2015  Vacay 2015 - Morraine Valley Hike

One of the most beautiful hikes I've ever been on.

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6/4/2015  Vacay 2015 - Sprague Lake

We saw a moose and its calf for a brief moment. It was cool.

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6/5/2015  Vacay 2015 - Pikes Peak

Nerve racking going up and down but quite an experience.

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6/6/2015  Vacay 2015 - Trailridge Road

Grandma Sam was our tour guide up Trail Ridge Road and to Bear Lake.

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6/7/2015  Vacay 2015 - Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Vertically Challenging Zoo

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8/17/2016 6:01:58 AM  I'm so happy that my boys are enjoying The Holy Grail. The other day I heard Victor questioning Erick in a growly voice, "What is your name? - Erick. What is your quest? - The grail. What is your favorite color? - Blue."

It's also having other less savory influences. The other night something scared Victor when he was trying to get to sleep and he exclaimed, "Jesus Christ!" I had to explain that that expression - although voiced properly - is not to be used because it is offensive.

I'm using it to determine which one is going to be trouble as well. After watching the Castle Anthrax scene, I asked Erick what he thinks of those girls and he said, "They seemed very cute and nice." Oh, sh#@


3/11/2017  Our Lady of the Rivers

In all of the years that I've lived in the Riverbend area, I had never travelled on the South side of the Mississippi in between Alton and Grafton. I have driven the Great River Road thousands of times and always wondered about the mysterious Lady in White across the River.

On March 11, 2017, Erick and I finally found an excuse to travel on unknown roads through unfamiliar territory to visit "Our Lady of the Rivers." This strange Missouri landmark is a tall monument that juts right out over the river and recalls a time when the people of Portage De Sioux prayed that a flood would not consume their town and lo it did not.

Portage De Sioux as a name stems from the fact that this stretch of land was a "portage" for the Sioux Tribe seeking to escape the flooding Missouri river to the south. The whole area had a strange, barren vibe like a section of Mordor before you come to some giant wall. We did see the immense Ameren power plant, where electricity and orcs are produced.

One really cool thing about being on the other side of the river is the view it affords you of the bluffs in Illinois. Erick and I easily identified the cave where the Piasa bird brings its victims to devour.

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5/21/2017 9:51:45 AM  Victor and I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) together today. We've been practicing/training for about a month and before that, we had been running separately, so we were in pretty good shape, but hadn't done a whole lot of longer runs.

Today it was a race around Weldon Springs Park in St. Charles. It was a beautiful course on a beautiful day - sunny but not too hot and much of the route was in the woods on soft trails. There was one pretty long hill but the grade wasn't too severe. Victor and I had the benefit of training with Dave Schwegel on the hills of La Vista park and Ouatoga Bluffs, so we were able to handle that hill without too much trouble.

We alternated leading for a mile at a time. The leader got to set the pace and the follower had to stay behind and respect it, but in this race we decided the follower could request the leader to slow down. As we passed each other we always gave each other five. Our splits today were: 8:40, 8:50, 9:00, 8:01, 9:02, 7:42, 9:13, 8:18, 9:34, 8:01, 8:55, 7:18, 7:59.

I didn't experience my normal wall at 7 miles so every chance I got I pushed the pace. Victor only asked me to slow down a couple times. I found it almost more painful to run at the 9 minute pace. I think my stride length is such that I need to be running at least around 8:30. Victor was breathing really hard keeping up when I pushed the pace. His cardio was his limiting factor. At the very end, after keeping up with my 7:18 12th mile, Victor did an awesome job of turning in a 7:59 final mile. At the very end, I sprinted out ahead and he couldn't catch me. Trust me, on a normal day, it would have been a really close sprint, but Victor was spent.

Victor almost passed out after finishing. I had to walk him around holding him up for about 10 minutes until his heart rate came down. I'm very proud of the effort he put in.

Dad, 1:51:35, 8:31
Victor, 1:51:52, 8:32

Race Results

5/31/2017  2017 Arkansas Vacation

We took a 5-day vacation to Northern Arkansas this year to visit with Grandpa Terry and Grandma Sharon in Flippin and Tealpoint Resort on Norfolk Lake. We left on Memorial Day and arrived in time to see GT and GS's beautiful home on the White River. Unfortunately, the river, which is normally shallow enough to walk across, was flooded which made fishing impossible. As it flows south of the Bull Shoals Dam it is cool enough to support tremendous trout fishing, but not in May of 2017. We did get to see GS and GT's pet deer in their backyard and imagine that a black bear may be lurking nearby.

The next day we visited the dam and GT pointed out that the sight of all flood gates open is a rare one, and it was clear that the water level is about as high as the massive concrete structure completed by President Truman can handle. The area is geographically dominated by the very old Ozark mountain range making for winding and sometimes steep roads. The elevation didn't seem to go over around 1,000 feet, but the White River carved stunning bluffs in certain areas. We bought some fun stuff in the gift shop and then drove to Cotter. Cotter is below Bull Shoals and by an old concrete arched bridge.
We fished in its river at a park (no luck), had some lunch with GT and GS and then drove East to Tealpoint resort.

The boys had fun playing in the pool at Tealpoint which has a beautiful view of Norfolk Lake from about 500 feet. We drank some wine and then made our way to Fred's Fish House for mounds and mounds of fried catfish and fritters. The fritters were yummy and Dad liked the Cajun style catfish. Unfortunately, when we got home we were greeted by hundreds (perhaps thousands unseen) "centipedes" (perhaps millipedes) that had invaded our cabin. Being the troopers that we are, we toughed out the night - moving the boys to our bed since they seemed to be worse in their room. Erick kept singing a song about centipedes while the rest of us cringed.

On Wednesday they moved us from Condo 16 to Cabin 10 which was a vast improvement. Had they not moved us, we were prepared to go home. We had planned to go boating, but the cove was so full of logs that we decided to wait a day. The lake was 27 feet above its normal stage which washed all sorts of debris into the water. Grandpa Terry drove all the way over to deliver some fishing poles (thanks GT!!!) and agreed that we should wait until tomorrow on the boat. All of us were pretty demoralized from the night before and the gloomy boating outlook, but Erick kept saying things like, "It's bee-cation, let's just have fun." He had such a great attitude, Mom named him Vacation Captain (AKA Captain Adventure) and our mood improved.

That day we went to the trout fish hatchery at the base of the Bull Shoals Dam. It was pretty cool to see and feed all of the various sized trout in their pens - waiting for their chance to make it in the wild. At the same place there was a kids only trout fishing stream that we tried out. Unfortunately, we really needed fly fishing equipment which we did not have. We saw one kid (with the help of a guide) land a good one, so if we go back we know where to fish (on the platform as far upstream as possible). We went back to the resort and did some more playing the pool and tried our luck fishing from the dock. No fish wanted our bait but we ate some really yummy burgers that we grilled at the cabin.

Thursday morning, we went out on the our rented 21' pontoon boat. It had two fishing chairs fore and aft, a live well, and a fish/depth finder. Dad was the boat captain, GT was the fishing guide, GS and Erick were the entertainment and fish whisperers, Victor was the surly teen, and Mom was Erick's second. There were plenty of logs in the water, but it was easy enough to see them and steer around them, but it required constant vigilance. We headed south past both bridges to a submerged park. GT's plan was to fish for bluegill in 20' water, so we anchored right next to a street lamp and tree tops and began to fish. Dad got used to using the trolling motor to keep our position and move in small increments.

GS was playfully talking smack about how she was going to catch the first fish - as is her tradition, when Mommy called out "Uuhhh, I regret to inform you that I have the first fish on the line." Sure enough she was fighting something and it turned out to be... a 20 inch gar! Mommy claimed that she could see its snapping jaws and that it appeared to be climbing up the line to get to her. With a shake of its head, it snapped the line but not before we all got a good look at it by the side of the boat. Score 1 point for mom for hooking a fish and getting it to the surface for viewing.

It turned out that Erick scored the first 3 points by hauling in a large bluegill. Yay! We had a few more nibbles and saw a lot of fish action at the surface - including a large (4'+) fish spotted by Dad, but decided to move on. We stopped at Panther Bay to refuel and the attendant showed Victor and Erick his huge "pet" carp (plural) that he feeds from the dock. We moved north and found another little bay where we got close to the shore and GS caught a small bass and Erick very nearly caught a 20" walleye. It was getting late in the afternoon and a front was coming in, so we headed home. We only saw two other boats on the lake, one racing by us with the guy exclaiming, "There are some huge logs out there!". I was thinking, "Yeah, slow down!" We got the boat docked and everything repacked without incident. We were fortunate to have good weather, a little luck with fish, no crashes into big logs and a couple of serviceable parking jobs by Captain Dad. We had some yummy grilled steaks (bought at the Meat Market in Mountain Home where we also bought the burgers), some wine, some French Open tennis and went to bed.

On Friday, we lazed around. Mommy and Erick went to see Guardians of the Galaxy II while Dad and Victor took a hike down to a nearly abandoned Boy Scout park. GS and GT took us out to dinner at Whispering Woods Grill which was really, really good including a couple of sinful desserts. After dinner and saying our goodbyes and thank you to GS and GT for being such good hosts, we drove back to the resort - stopping at another park just to check it out. Most of the parks seem to have boat docks. We went to bed early to get ready to drive home the next day.

At 1:30 a.m. Mommy alerted Daddy that Erick had puked all over himself and his bed. So, Mommy cleaned up Erick and got him back to sleep on a couch with his friend "buckety," and Daddy went through the puke protocol with the bedding and the carpet. Thank goodness for the big bathtub/hottub in the master bedroom. Don't worry, Daddy didn't leave any chunks anywhere. All was handled according to the tried and true process and left clean and disinfected. The next morning, we bade farewell to Tealpoint, Norfork Lake, and AR for now. We definitely had a fun and memorable 5-day vacation and will be back sometime soon.

P.S. I think Hummingbird Hideaway would be worth considering. They know how to fish the lake (can guide) and the pool looks nice. They have multi-bedroom cabins and pontoon boats for


P.P.S. Link to Video Erick Sliding

Click here to see full album

5/1/2018 8:16:38 AM  [James here] Yesterday, Victor was explaining what a conscientious eater he is (in contrast to his brother) and how he hadn't gotten anything on his clothes from the meal except for a little "burger water" on his pants. That'll just evaporate right?

11/26/2020 5:18:48 AM  Victor receiving Athlete of the month from Riverbender on 11/10/2020:


2/21/2005 1:56:06 PM  
Sean is still in hiding. Come on Sean!

I'm definitely feeling the first flutters here lately. This is earlier than I felt anything with the twins but supposedly you feel it earlier in second pregnancies and after all, I've got lots of time to focus on every twinge. I'm really looking forward to the first big kick.

I can tell you that Victor is a night owl just like me. In our late afternooon ultrasounds he squirms everywhere but early in the morning he is rather lethargic. Great example I've set for him. Also, I usually listen to his heartbeat on the doppler near bedtime and he always kicks at it and tries to swim away. His heart always sound great though, for the few seconds I can catch it before he gets all evasive.

He seems to be moving up too, judging from where I'm finding his heartbeat now . I'm pleased about that. It makes me nervous when I can feel him so low. Plus, I'm ready to look pregnant and not just portly. Come on up, V!

In his message on the front page of this site, "The Piglet" says that this blog is for me to keep notes on how much trouble he is but I just want him to know he's no trouble at all for me. I'm happy to do anything and everything to keep him safe. I would have happily done it for his brothers too if I'd gotten the chance. I'll complain a little about the nosebleeds and heartburn along the way, but this is the best, most rewarding job I've ever had and he's worth every bit of it!

12/19/2009 9:33:50 PM  
Yeah, yeah, I know. I've been bad about keeping up with this. It's not so much facebook as just the inability to spend more than 10 minutes sitting down. Take today, for example. The goal was to have a relaxing family day inside watching the snow, drinking hot chocolate and watching "Polar Express". We did those things. But not without many, many complications along the way. James is quite right to call Erick precocious, if he is using precocious as a euphemism for rambunctious. He is the most stubborn baby I've ever seen. He screams if he's not allowed to be "on the loose" but you put him down on the floor and he makes a beeline for every electrical cord or small choking hazard he can see. And he sees everything!

He's doing great though. He still loves his brother above all else and his brother seems to love all things Christmas so by association, I guess Erick really loves Christmas already. But he mostly likes trying to get into everything. Everything.

I have some new pics and I'll try to get them on here tomorrow. I'd do it tonight but I'm trying to be a dutiful wife by watching Star Trek with James. So maybe he should stop dissing me. I'm just sayin'.

5/28/2010 2:29:16 PM  
If it seems like Erick's always sick it's because Erick is, in fact, always sick. It's kind of consumed a lot of time and effort lately. Today he is beginning his fourth antibiotic in less than two months. His ears did actually improve from two weeks ago but they're not as clear as they should be and he's still got a lot of fluid behind there. So this course of drugs is mostly preventative since he has a wicked cold right now. And who else has this yucky cold? Victor, of course. Oh, and James. And me. Nothing quite like the family-shared summer cold!

The timing has, on one hand, been good since Victor has been on his first week of summer vacation this week (he starts summer school July 6). It's downright rotten timing on the other hand though because we are supposed to be going to Peoria for a Humphrey reunion of sorts tomorrow morning. It's not happening, sadly. We're hopeful that maybe by Sunday we could drive up and see everyone. More than anything, we don't want to expose the boys' cousins or their beloved GiGi to our hideous germs.

But in spite of the illness around here, things have been generally good otherwise. Victor continues to LOVE his swim lessons (they are on what he today started calling "Swimsday night"). This past Wednesday, Erick got in the pool with the rest of us for the first time and he was giddy and kind of a natural. I think that will continue to be a fun family night this summer even if it does make for a long and exhausting bedtime process. We sure all sleep well on Swimsday nights though!

I've got some pictures to add of the boys and some of their recent outdoor fun but that will have to wait because Victor is begging to go outside right now while Erick is napping. I suppose I'll oblige, especially since he's sad about not going to therapy today or going to see his cousins tomorrow. I think he'll probably be doing quite a bit better by Sunday. I just hope that Erick will follow suit. Oh yeah, and contributing to Erick's constant whining is the fact that he just cut his eye teeth/canines. I think he's got 16 teeth in now! So. much. slobbering.

7/11/2010 10:51:56 PM  
As promised, here is the vacation montage:

10/2/2010 6:35:05 PM  
We're about due for a new montage and today was a day of many pictures. We were off to the Museum of Transportation for some serious train action. Here's the cuteness that ensued:

12/13/2010 2:59:46 PM  
[James here] We had a lot of fun visiting with G, Uncle Pat, Aunt Deb, Cousin Sean, and Cousin Nick in Peoria. On Saturday, G made us lunch, we played, ate dinner and opened presents. On Sunday we spent the first half of the day trapped in the hotel. Erick and Nick were playing a fun chase game. Sean and Uncle James played a Minotaur game. Later we went to G's and sang Happy Birthday to the three December babies (89, 41, and 41) and ate cupcakes. Then it was time for the Humphreys to begin their long and harrowing trip home.

The next morning after seeing his Hot Wheels car shoot down his new racetrack, Victor exclaimed "It's happening." Yes, Victor, Christmas really is happening.

3/14/2011 6:36:05 PM  
In the category of careful what you wish for, I just added about 55 pictures that were backlogged. I really mustn't let them happen again. There are a ton of pictures over in the gallery but there are also some that I'll share right here. These specifically are from our trip to Chicago a few weekends ago:

The boys getting down with Mimi & PopPaw and Avery & Alli.

Hula hooping with Avery.

Victor & Avery waiting to overtake the dance floor.

A moment of peace and tranquility.

Pure excitement.

Lots of pics of Daddy & Erick.

Victor chilling out at the hotel on Saturday before the wedding.

Victor & Claire at breakfast on Saturday.

Getting done with breakfast.

It was a super fun trip even if it did end traumatically.

3/26/2011 7:42:31 AM  
And at 5:38 p.m., seven years ago today, we met James Thomas Humphrey. He was the bigger and the calmer brother. Funny how as time has gone by we've realized that he was more like Victor (we didn't realize how calm Victor was until there was wild Erick!). He was truly an individualist though in spite of being so mellow. That's how I'll always think of him - trying to do things his own way but not getting too ruffled when it doesn't work out.

We miss you JT & Ro. Hugs, kisses and cupcakes!

4/9/2011 8:59:58 PM  
Party was a success. Not terribly well-attended but fun for the crew that was there. Really appreciated everyone making the trip down there for it!

5/1/2011 9:53:02 PM  
The whole week before Easter was packed with activities and antics.

The boys sat around in bunny masks:

Victor wore a crazy bunny fedora in the Kindergarten Easter Hat Fashion Show and Parade at school:

And then the boys wore their fedoras to therapy that afternoon (even while Victor napped a bit):

7/22/2011 6:06:23 PM  
[Victor here] i am smart. i am good.

8/28/2011 6:24:22 PM  
[Victor here]
I went to a pizza party for avery's birthday. i had fun. then i went home.

9/28/2011 6:57:59 PM  
[James here] Victor was so relaxed and had so much fun in the canoe with PawPaw this weekend. When he and Erick were in the clothes basket last night, he was saying "We've got to get in our canoe rocket."

11/4/2011 12:34:43 PM  
[James here] Victor drew this picture for me on a day he stayed home from school sick. He started with the smiling figure (is it supposed to be me?) and the "Yes Dad." I asked if he could draw some grass and he drew that and a flower. Then I asked for a sun and then some birds.

12/7/2011 4:40:45 PM  
[James here]
Cute Boy Speak
Chipmunk --> Chickenmunk
Chinchilla --> Chimpchilla

12/24/2011 9:04:09 AM  
[Victor here] happy birthday ggg! erick and i love you.

1/15/2012 6:14:24 AM  
[James here]
Here's what I found scrawled on a notepad in the basement:

"Victor wants i get old"

Priceless. Ever since I told Victor that he can drive a car when he turns 16 and is bigger he has been preoccupied with getting older and taller and stronger. I'm also trying to emphasize that he needs to learn all the rules of the road and to be safe. So, he likes to remind me what red, green and yellow lights mean - according to him. Green means go - immediately! Even if there are six cars in front of us at the light, we need to start moving as soon as we see green. What's funny is that I remember being frustrated by the same thing when I was younger.

2/26/2012 6:02:17 PM  
[James here]
Erick at dinner: I want peas.
Mommy feeds him a forkfull.
Erick: I want some peas - no pasta.

4/20/2012 5:44:04 AM  
[James here]
Erick is doing a lot of talking these days. Things like "No, I'm not a [fill in what you called him]." and "Baby horse loves mommy horse, and daddy horse , and bwuver horse."

Websters: laptop
Erick: letterpot

5/19/2012 8:06:04 AM  
[James here]
More entries from Victor's school notebooks.

Our School
I Like school
Our school is big
We have special classes
Mrs Slen will kis a pig
Lovejoy is it name
pe is fun
We haev good friends
I do not want it to be done
Mrs dinnius 1st grade class 2012

How to make a pbti sandwich
What you need
2 slices of bread
peanut butter
1 Get a butter knife and a plate
2 Spredd peanut
3 Spredd jelly on the other
4 Put the slices of bread together
5 Eat it

7/9/2012 9:23:46 AM  
[James here] Fourth of July was great. The Dohrns (Heather, Chris, Bernie(7), Jack(7), and Henry(3mo)) came over for a good old fashioned BBQ. Actually, first, all of the older boys and Dawn went to Raging Rivers to have fun. Bernie and Jack made their first trips down the "swirling whirlpool" or the "toilet bowl" as it is nicknamed. You go down a long enclosed slide that shoots you into a big funnel where you circle a hole that you eventually drop through into 7 feet of water. Victor had done it before but waited until we were leaving to get enough courage to try it again. But, he did; yay for courageous young lads!

We went home and got to see Heather and Henry. Henry did a good job of entertaining us with smiles followed by naps. What a good baby!

We had a big afternoon meal of BBQ pork steaks, chips, beer, hot dogs, marshmallow salad, a cloying white wine, and brownies. After some down time (boys quietly zoning out in front of TV), mayhem began again in our 10-foot backyard pool. The boys put it through its toughest test yet - especially when Chris got in and Victor and Erick started playing "I get through you."

Afterwards, Chris and I had a couple of close games of washers and then had a putting competition in the basement. If only we still had a ping-pong table!

At 9pm we left for nearby Glazebrook Park to watch fireworks. There were hundreds (thousands?) of people there, but by some miracle we were able to park in a perfect viewing spot and sit in the back of my new big, red truck :) We were treated to a great show which was very loud. Victor had to take some breaks in the truck cab, and Erick had to cover his eyes sometimes, but overall the fireworks were enjoyed.

Afterwards, it took a while to escape gridlock, but we all made it home to our respective beds where sleep was immediate as our heads hit our respective pillows.

2/12/2014 8:49:12 AM  
[James here] Erick's quote of the day: Watching Mike & Mike while eating breakfast, he sits through a commercial and then says, "Remember to talk to your doctor about V-i-a-gra." [Insert your own snarky comment here]

1/1/2015 10:27:51 AM  
[James here] Ah, to be young and have a fantastic attitude. Victor just exclaimed to himself as he walked out of site, "2015 Begins!"

6/8/2016 7:35:13 AM  
Family Vacation Wauwautosa with Martins
We drove up to Wauwautosa (Milwaukee) on Friday June 3 to visit with Aunt Deb, Uncle Pat, and Cousins Sean and Nick. We drank wine in the back yard of their new house while Sean and Victor played basketball. We played a little badminton and Sean showed us a cool online Swami that can guess what you are thinking in 20-40 questions. We stayed up late watching Lab Rats. The next morning we watched Sean play baseball (2nd base and pitcher) and Nick play soccer (mid-fielder) and then bid our loving cousins farewell.

8/21/2016 11:03:39 AM  Yesterday I was able to successfully test who Erick loves more. He said he was full and couldn't eat the rest of his ice cream. I said, "That's ok. Who do you want to give your left over ice cream to, Mommy or Daddy?" He looked at me apologetically and said, "I guess Mommy, but only by a little bit." I'll take that.

6/21/2017 12:54:12 PM  Quote of the Day from Erick: Totally a toss-up for Erick QOTD and these were both on the short drive home from the pool just now:
1. "It really offends me that Jurassic Park 3 puts Spinosaurus & T Rex together, even if it is thrilling to watch. Sure, they are both from the Cretaceous Period but they lived nowhere near each other. It's ridiculous!"
2. "Charlie Brown is so shy that he's scared of girls. Not me. I take off my shirt at the pool and I know the girls might all go crazy but I can deal with that because I'm 8 now."

5/26/2018 5:54:19 AM  "Oh piffleberries! She's gone."

I loved my Grandma very much but not as much as she loved me, my sister, my cousin, my wife, my children, her sons, her husband, her brothers and sisters, her parents, her friends, her church, her neighbors, and life. She was a wonderful, wonderful person and I'm fortunate to have learned from her for 47 years.

Ada "Evelyn" Humphrey
PEORIA — Ada "Evelyn" (Stauffer) Humphrey, 96, of Peoria, who passed away on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at Bickford House of Peoria, was born on Christmas Eve 1921, near Bader, Ill., in rural Schuyler County. She was the fifth and last child of Harve and Ada (Riebling) Stauffer. She grew up on the family farm and attended a one-room grade school. She graduated from Astoria High School in 1939 and moved to Peoria, where she worked as a nanny and later a store clerk. In 1942, she married A.O. "Bud" Humphrey from rural Fulton County whom she had met in high school. They had two sons, Ron (Kathy) Humphrey of Ennis, Mont., and Terry (Sharon) Humphrey of Flippin, Ark. While Bud was employed at Caterpillar, Evelyn took care of the boys and kept house. When the boys were older, Evelyn worked briefly at the USDA Northern Regional Lab.
Evelyn grew up in the Church of the Brethren in Astoria, but became a member of the First Presbyterian Church (later United Presbyterian) in Peoria where she served as a Deacon and was active in church quilting and sewing programs. She loved quilting and made quilts for all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as many other relatives and friends. Evelyn was a member of the Peoria Women's Club, served as a volunteer for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for many years through her church mission sewing group and was recognized with the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2002.
With her husband and friends and family, she loved going north on fishing trips. After Bud retired, they did extensive travel and she enjoyed seeing the mountains and landmarks all over the country and Canada. Evelyn learned to play the piano as a child and later entertained her friends by playing the organ.
Evelyn was a loving wife, mother, aunt and friend. She lived through difficult times as a child during the Great Depression. She was always positive, optimistic and cared deeply for family and friends. In later years while dealing with severe hearing loss, she still remained engaged and involved in her community at the Bickford House of Peoria and with her family.
She is predeceased by her parents; brothers Harold and Galen Stauffer; sisters, Velma Leib and Ilo Clifford; her husband, A.O. "Bud" Humphrey; and great-grandsons, Ronan and James Humphrey. She is survived by her sons and their spouses, four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, her sister-in-law, Rosemary Trowbridge, and numerous nieces and nephews and their families.
Evelyn specified cremation and she will be interred next to her parents at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at the South Fulton Cemetery, between Astoria and Bader, where her father maintained the grounds a century ago.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to the staff at Bickford House, Vitas Hospice, and her physicians for their compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the United Presbyterian Church of Peoria.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.thewiltonmortuary.com.

2/23/2005 11:16:58 AM  
I think Piglet's dad needs and deserves some praise this week. He has really been taking up all the slack without complaint and anyone that knows him knows that he is one busy guy anyway! He has really had to step up here at home because I can't really do much of anything (although I'm trying to do some cooking again while I still can). He has done a great job of keeping everything on track around the house while still running out to get chocolate when I "need" it and being our sole breadwinner.

In addition to all of those things, James still manages to make Piglet and I feel very loved and provides us with comic relief on a daily basis. So James, thanks for a job well done. We notice.

12/22/2009 9:15:40 AM  
Erick is a thumb sucker. He doesn't do it like non-stop or anything but he's known to do it. And while I know it's not something to encourage, it's awfully cute. I guess it's just nice to see him do something so babyish when he's showing so many signs of wanting to be a big boy ASAP. I don't think we have any pictures of the thumb sucking yet but we do have a slight backlog of pics in general. Specifically........

Here are a few pics from our Peoria trip:

Sadly, while there was a whole lot of cuteness to photograph, none of my pics turned out well due to lighting issues so I picked the only group shot where everyone is looking forward and there is no nose picking. Had to include one of Sean & Erick together because they are best friends now!

Here are a few from the Holiday Express event late last week. We stood in line for an hour in the freezing cold to get on the train, only to get herded through rather quickly. It was pretty cool though. The shots:

(The engine and the gondola car.)

(The inside of the box car. The pic doesn't do it justice. It was an amazing train town!)

(Santa with a very slippery snowsuited Erick. I'm seriously considering putting traction strips on that thing for holding him.)

(Victor & the Big Guy. This is probably the "best" Santa pic we've ever gotten.)

I would not have survived that outing without the help of Gaga. I barely survived it WITH Gaga. The boys were pretty whiny about being out in the cold and standing in a very long line. It's such a neat event though and we learned a lot about how to strategize for next year (show up late rather than early!). Seriously though, Gaga deserves a humanitarian award for helping herd the boys that night, especially Mr. Slippery Suit!

And lastly, I'll include some recent pics I snapped of the boys together in the living room. Victor loves to ride with or sit with Erick any time he can and so he absolutely cannot wait to ride on his sled (with "his Erick"!) but he was temporarily content in the laundry basket:

Today's Victor's last day of school until January 4. I think he'll have a lot of fun being home until about the middle of next week and then the novelty will wear off. Then again, new toys await! (And yes, I'm pretty excited about the new Thomas bridge myself.)

6/2/2010 8:20:13 PM  
Yesterday Erick had his last Music Together class. Probably ever. :( We're taking the summer off from MT & trying out Kindermusik this summer because the drive to St. Louis is getting really old, especially with Victor home all day for a good part of the summer. Here is Erick leaving class in a blaze of glory:

He seriously wanted very little to do with me while we were there. He just paraded around literally throwing himself at every other female in the room (especially a very cute group of 3 sisters ranging in age from 3-7). I know he'll miss it but he'll probably love Kindermusik just as much and it's 5 minutes away.

10/3/2010 6:48:12 PM  
We went to the pumpkin patch today. Victor kept telling us that we were going to "pog the pumpkins" and we still have yet to understand what that is supposed to mean but whatever it is, I guess we did it because he seemed completely happy with the results. We took a ton of pictures but I kinda forgot to take pictures of the pumpkins we actually brought home. Whoops! I'm sure there will be many more pictures this month and the boys will be happy to pose with the poggy pumpkins. Until then, here are the highlights from today:

3/14/2011 6:46:11 PM  
So Erick and I went to the zoo about a month ago. It was a strangely warm Friday and I decided to take him right after we got done with music class (which is 5 minutes from Forest Park!). It was completely awesome mainly because of the wildly entertaining hippo display we got to witness:

We got to see the chimps really well that day too:

So when we finally had some good weather this past Saturday, it was decided that it was time for both boys to get in on the fun. And fun it was. Train ride, carousel ride and lots of animal activity. It doesn't get much better than that. Here's the photos from this recent trip:

Good thing we worked that zoo trip in because it snowed all day today.

4/9/2011 9:10:11 PM  
Hey, look who's two!

It is my goal to make an official Erick at 2 post this week but this will do for now. Happy birthday to our sweet baby boy!

5/1/2011 10:00:20 PM  
Easter at Mimi & PopPaw's was lots of fun for the boys this year. They just barely managed to do their egg hunting before it rained yet again. (Seriously, when didn't it rain this April!?!?!?). And they both really got into the hunting thing this year. Right up until they got really sick of it and just wanted to go inside and play with toys. Here they are enjoying Easter Sunday:

7/23/2011 8:01:22 PM  
[Victor here] erick is bad. not really. i love him.

11/4/2011 2:16:35 PM  
[James here] Victor is cute and smart and good and sweet and FUNNY. At school, when asked to use the word "won't" in a sentence, he said with a devilish, dimpled grin "I won't do what my teachers say."

12/10/2011 8:19:34 AM  
[James here]
Daddy: Hey, Erick, are you excited about going to see Santa and the dogs tomorrow morning?
Erick: (pause) I don't wike Santa.

Later that evening after having dinner with the Baechts - Keith, Becky, Matthew (7), Samuel (1).

Mommy: Why did you like playing with Samuel so much?
Victor: Because he's cute.
Erick: No, he's not cute; I'm cute.

1/21/2012 9:26:13 AM  
[James here]
English to Erick Dictionary

Clifford the big red dog -->
Clippord that big dog

Snoopy -->

Holly Shiftwell -->
Holiday Shwiffwell

Happy birthday to you -->
Have ta birthday to you

Smokey the Bear -->
Snokey the Bear

2/27/2012 5:48:10 AM  
[James here]
Victor wrote: "Daddy want as a pawnd time"
I couldn't figure out what that meant scribbled on a tiny post it note and left in front of my keyboard. Then, Victor came up to me and said, "Daddy did you see my story? It says, 'Once upon a time.'"

4/23/2012 10:05:43 AM  
[James here]
Mommy had Tink's Revolution pkg out on the counter and when Victor saw it this morning he said "You finally got Tink some cat lotion!"

He's been after mommy about that. Every time he sees her itch anything, he tells her she needs cat lotion.

5/20/2012 5:22:53 AM  
[James here]
More entries from Victor's school notebooks.

TODAY IS Wednesday
I LIKE TO SHOP AT grocery store AND GET tomatoes

TODAY IS Thursday
I LIKE HALLOWEEN BECAUSE I like to be a pirate

7/9/2012 10:05:38 AM  
[James here] Both Erick and Victor are doing a lot of good communicating. Today, Erick went to the vet with Mommy and Tink - he really wanted to go! When the vet came in, Erick said "Doctor, don't you hurt my kitty."

Victor is really using more inflection and facial expression to communicate. It's especially cute when he uses a supportive tone with his little brother: "Erick you're doing such a good job!"

3/28/2014 6:01:56 AM  
[James here] During dinner Mommy asked Victor what he had for lunch at school. He thought and thought about it, but just couldn't remember. Later that night we were about to watch Frozen as a family and Victor explained, "Yeah, the first time I watched that it was December 8th." While Mommy and I were talking what a good memory he has, Victor further explained that when he came out of the theater it was snowing. We had to double check and indeed, Dec 8th, 2013 was when we saw Frozen in Jerseyville.

1/21/2015 7:54:11 PM  
[James here] Quote of the week from Erick talking to Victor, "I didn't want just a mom and a dad. I wanted a brother too. 'Cause I wanted help from a brother."

6/8/2016 7:38:32 AM  
Family Vacation Munising
First of all, it's pronounced Mew-ni-sing and the people in this small Northern town on the south side of Lake Superior are very nice. We stayed at the Holiday Inn which had a balcony with a beautiful lake view and a big indoor pool which the boys enjoyed for each of our two nights.

We had some excellent pizza from Mike's and the next day did some hiking at Miner's Castle, Beach and Falls. Then, we took the Pictured Rocks cruise to see some of the same things from the water. The cliffs are from the Cambrian period (500 million years ago) and are colored red, black, brown, pink, blue, and white from seepage of ground water through up to 200 feet of exposed rock. The red is from iron, black from manganese and tanin, white from calcium and blue from copper.

The shoreline also features vast expanses of soft sandy beaches and their is so much open water (250 by 500 miles) that the waves get high (5 feet on our day). Lake Superior goes up to 1600 feet deep. Erick threw up (daddy holding the red sick bag) on the cruise when we turned back into the waves to return to the docks. It was a 3 hour cruise to remember.

The hikes were nice on a somewhat rainy day. We saw lots of cedars and white pines. The cedars will sometimes pull other trees in by their roots (up to 10 feet in movement). We also saw lots of ferns.

9/4/2016 7:52:40 PM  Victor just asked Erick, "What country is Hitler from?" to which Erick replied "Aaaaaah, British." Victor said, "No, but good guess." Then, according to the rules of the game, Erick had to bark like a dog for 30 seconds. I couldn't be prouder.

7/2/2017 8:55:01 AM  Quote of the Day from Erick:
1. "Don't worry, Don't fret, Don't scurry, Just look in the box." in referring to getting down to eat donuts before they are all gone. It is a variation on Poetry Speaks To Children's Ogden Nash poem about Isabell.

2. "Pinch me again and see what happens."

6/7/2018 6:17:33 AM  Here's what Erick said about his great grandmother and her passing.

"I loved her very much because she was very caring and sweet and funny, was good at playing games and just seemed like a wonderful person."

2/25/2005 12:10:02 PM  
Being a woman and a mother, I am totally and completely fixated on dates. A year ago today we found out that Ro & JT were boys. I still remember what a total shock that was because we were so sure we had one of each in there. We were literally stunned and it actually took a few days to sink in. Once it sunk in, it was the coolest thing ever to think of two little guys terrorizing each other. I still like to think of them that way.

So this time around we thought surely we'd have a girl. Piglet started to feel like a boy to me around 12 weeks mostly because his dad was so sure he was a girl. A week later we caught the first glimpse of masculinity and at 15 weeks it was conclusive. I wasn't surprised this time and I don't think James was either.

Growing up I always thought that I'd have a girl right away because I love girly stuff. Now that I've become the boy machine, it really totally makes sense. I mean, let's be honest -- I've always had more guy friends than girl friends. I've spent so much of my adult life hanging out with the guys that it only makes sense that I should be a boy mommy. I just hope Piglet thinks I'm really cool!

12/24/2009 10:42:32 PM  
Now I'm really overcompensating for being such a bad blogger lately. Posting on Christmas Eve! When I should be in bed already! The house is ready and Santa actually already stopped by here with the loot. Thank goodness we can lock the French doors to the living room because Victor seemed like he was really listening to that whole "presents will be under the tree in the morning" explanation.

Earlier tonight we went out to eat and then drove around in the neverending rain looking at lights for a bit. When we got home, the boys were once again fascinated with the Christmas tree train:

(Man, are we ever going to have some wrestlemanias in our future!)

Then, I decided that we should have a special Christmas Eve storytime. We read "The Spirit of Christmas". I fought tears at the touching parental message while the boys rolled around ignoring me. So a tradition has begun! Here are two boys who would love to get to just have a slumber party if we'd let them:

Maybe next year, boys. If you pay attention to storytime, that is.

Merry Christmas one and all!

(Missing our tiniest two boys tonight, as always.)

6/2/2010 8:26:30 PM  
So we did make it to Peoria! We just went for one night instead of two but we did make it. And I'm happy to report that staying in the hotel went WAY better this time than it had at Christmas. Granted, Erick did wake up at 3:00 but he at least went right back down after nursing. I think he was just so tired at bedtime that he didn't fill up enough then. Both boys had a lot of fun, even if Victor did continue to cough non-stop to the point of vomiting Sunday night (he's really gotten good at vomiting into the toilet though!). Turns out that he has another sinus infection so he's back on 20 days of Amoxicillin. Worked last time so hopefully it will work again.

So anyway, the trip was short but action-packed. Erick rested up a bit on the way there:

Then, when we hit town, we met the rest of the family at the park for a picnic and some playing:

Then we were off to the zoo. The only animal I managed to capture on camera was a llama who does not seem to wear red pajamas:

(Victor didn't seem to believe that this was a llama.)

We were all happy to get into the air conditioning at the snack bar. Erick got to snuggle with his GiGi a bit while we chilled out:

(Check out the chompers on this kid.)

For some reason, I didn't get pictures of our dinner festivities that night. May have had something to do with a very pathetic and feverish Victor trying to occupy my lap (though he managed to suck down quite a bit of pizza, a detail soon regretted). The next morning we headed out to the Wildlife Prairie State Park. It was raining quite steadily by the time we got out there and I managed to capture only one shot:

We were sad to leave such a beautiful park without getting to explore.

So then we were back to GiGi's apartment for some cousin mayhem:

And then we sadly all went our separate ways again because it was time for everyone to head back. Naturally the sun came out then. So on a whim we headed back to the wildlife park to check things out a little on our way out of town. It was quiet and deserted and wonderful. The only bad thing was that the train and all of the concessions were closed because of the heavy rains earlier. We took a nice hike and saw foxes and a cougar and wolves and a some bobcats. And the highlight was seeing a very serene brown bear from a mere 5 feet away! But did I have the camera on the hike? Heck no.

We did get the camera out of the car to get a few shots of Victor back at the visitor's center though:

(That's an otter he's kissing.)

And then we scored the obligatory cutout photos. Victor didn't want to stand on the platform to be the elk so it's not terribly realistic since Erick should really be the fawn:

But cute boys are cute boys whatever the animal cutout, right? We'll definitely go back to that park again on another visit to see G/GiGi. It is really cool and James enjoyed the blast from his childhood past. We had a great visit with family even if it was abbreviated. Great memories for all of us, especially the pack of little cousins. They're all pretty special people, I must say. I think Victor would be happy to do it every weekend and not just because he loves staying in the hotel!

10/13/2010 9:05:30 PM  
There's so much to tell that there's really no way to tell it all. We've been so busy. This past weekend we had a zoo trip, the autism walk and Day Out with Thomas. That's just the way it all fell on the calendar. I think Victor is still recovering. Hoping he gets a really good night's sleep tonight and it's fairly likely since he had swim class. We're attempting to force the issue of him staying in his own bed until at least 5 a.m. (he wants to come sleep with us about 75% of the time). We even got him a new clock that turns colors when it's OK to get up and come in our room. We'll see how that all goes.

The autism walk was a success though in spite of the fact that we had to get new t-shirts sent at the last moment because the screenprinter thought that our puzzle pieces were supposed to be sea turtles. Seersee. Anyway, it was a gorgeous day and things went well. I tried to explain to Victor on some basic level what we were doing there and he was left with the impression that it was a big party for various people's birthdays or some such thing. I still can't bring myself to tell him that he has autism (he wouldn't understand the concept anyway) so I tell him that we're a family with autism (which we are) so we seek the support of a community of other families with autism. At any rate, it was a nice event. I don't have pictures though. :( Hoping that I'll be able to get our team picture off the Autism Speaks blog.

I did take pictures at the zoo on Friday though. Here are the highlights:

Wow, I thought there were more than that. It was really a fun day. Erick is suddenly really getting into the spirit of everything and isn't just along for the ride anymore. I'm pretty sure he thinks he's calling the shots. His favorite part of the zoo was the herpetarium. Great. A boy who likes snakes. I'm telling you........this one's going to be trouble.

Speaking of which, Victor has been just positively angelic in general anyway (listening well, happily doing homework, getting ready for school without whining, etc., etc.) but the brattier Erick gets, the more sickeningly perfect Victor acts. I'd like to think that he's trying to really give his parents a break but I think his motives are a little more based in smugness. Whatever. We'll take it! Because when Erick is sweet, he is unbelievably sweet (loves to give kisses and hugs now......melts our hearts, Victor's included) but when he is a brat, he is epically bratty. He has taken to throwing himself headlong onto the floor/ground (recently including a parking lot - ewwwww!) when he doesn't get his way.

We are contributing this recent tantrum fest to his current language explosion. At 18 months, he's got about 40 words. As you might imagine, that's completely stunning to us. Too good to be true, really. (He also knows all of his ABCs but I shouldn't brag!). The more he is able to communicate, the more he expects anything he asks for to be granted though and therein lies the problem. We know it's a phase he'll work through and while it's trying at times, we're just thankful that he is acting out as the result of a very desirable developmental milestone. Interestingly, he doesn't pull any of that nonsense at Little Gym or Music Together (both of which he LOVES and is very much flourishing in).

Oh yes, and how could I almost forget Thomas? Once again, a train ride proves to be the setting for some brotherly hijinks and some great photos. These boys do love their trains (and they don't even know yet that they are going to go ride the Polar Express in about 7 weeks!). Here are some shots from that day:

And with that, time to sleep! It's only a matter of time before Victor wakes up asking if the light is green yet.

5/1/2011 10:05:18 PM  
This past week, I had the honor of chaperoning Victor's class on their field trip to the zoo. It was a fun but truly exhausting experience. Here are the boys frolicking at the zoo (they have one girl in their class and she was sadly absent):

(That doll floating in the penguins' pool was thrown in by Victor's classmate Nicholas.)

7/25/2011 6:17:37 PM  
[Victor here] i do some writing. then i eat ice cream.

11/5/2011 5:48:57 AM  
[James here] Yesterday Mommy was getting Erick ready to go to playgroup and hit her head on a coat hook. "Oww!" she said. Erick said, "Mommy, you ok?" "Yes." Mommy said. "I make it feel better," replied Erick. As Mommy knelt down to put Erick's coat on, he came over and kissed Mommy's forehead where she had her owie.

1/21/2012 10:59:35 PM  
[James here]
A Note From Victor at School 1-19-12:
Dear Mommy,
To Mommy
Thank you for being nice to me mom,
I love you mommy,
I like you mommy,
If its your Birthday you turn 41 mommy,
Love, Victor

2/29/2012 8:08:23 PM  
[Victor here] gg i love you and hope you feel beter soon

5/20/2012 5:28:18 AM  
[James here]
More entries from Victor's school notebooks.
TODAY IS Wednesday
MY FAVORITE TV SHOW IS Jake and the neverland pirates BECAUSE its funny

TODAY IS Thursday

TODAY IS Wednesday
MY FAVORITE COLOR IS yellow The color of the sun

7/10/2012 6:15:30 AM  
[James here] Aunt Deb came by to see us last night. Victor and Erick got to show her their latest "trick". They pretend to be a sleeping possum, and then - with a start - jump up and hiss at you.

3/30/2014 9:02:44 AM  
[James here] At the Read/Right/Run practice yesterday, I couldn't have been more proud of Erick. I didn't think he'd run a whole mile, but he did. He slowed down a little a couple times but kept going. When we got done his little heart was beating so fast. He really gave it a lot. He was proud of "beating"' Mommy and later kept claiming that he wanted to run another lap.

2/10/2015 4:58:05 PM  
[James here] Here are some Erick spellings:

bnanu (my personal favorite)

Can you guess what some of these actually represent?


10/4/2016 7:28:14 AM  The other day Erick came home from school upset. The kids had found a centipede in the classroom and one of them had stomped it into oblivion. Erick told his mom that he was upset about this because even though it was just a centipede, "it was a sad death and an important one." Yes, "Centi" was beloved by all.

7/26/2017 7:50:04 AM  A random quote from Erick during a conversation with his family about how when we first got Tinkerbell she was very gassy, "Maybe cats in Texas don't fart as much as American cats."

6/7/2018 6:18:52 AM  I wrote this about Grandma for her 90th birthday memory book and read it at her service.

"Growing up, the thing that I remember the most about my Grandma is that she was always the sweetest and most pleasant person I knew. Whenever we went to grandma's house, she had always prepared a feast and at least one or two tasty pies. I still think her applesauce recipe needs to be marketed and shared with the world. And we were always guaranteed to get to play a game like Rumikub or do some fun activity like grinding coffee. In keeping with Grandma's sweet nature, whenever she had a run of bad luck in a game, she would exclaim something like "Oh piffleberries!" There were a couple times where she slipped up and let loose with something a little more R-rated, but that was good for the best of laughs because who could imagine Grandma saying such a thing!

The most precious memory I have of my Grandma is the feeling of unconditional love. Through her nuturing high voice, her smiling eyes and her gentle attention I always knew that my Grandma loved me more than anything in the world. I see Grandma - or "G" as the boys have nicknamed her - expressing that same love with my children, and I am reminded that she has been teaching me all my life how to do the same. Thank you, Grandma, for that wonderful legacy that I'm sure will be passed on for generations to come."

2/28/2005 4:22:08 PM  
What a boring OB appointment today! I guess that's probably what we want at this point. Just bummed I didn't get an ultrasound today. The nurse listened to the heartbeat with doppler and was all giddy saying "That's your baby!" I had to break it to her that I listen to the heartbeat every few days at home. It was still good to hear the report that Victor's heartrate is right in the middle of the normal range though.

The only other tidbit from today was that my blood pressure is right on the borderline at 138/80. Not much higher than the non-pregnant Dawn BP but not great either. All part of the rich Pressler medical heritage! Thanks Dad. ;) The docs will keep an eye on it in the coming month to see if I need to be medicated for it. Sure hope not.

Auntie Leener was here this weekend and it was so much fun to laze around all weekend. Just like college without all the beer (and we go to bed 3 hours earlier)! I miss her already and I just got home from taking her to the airport. Come back Eileeny.

12/27/2009 1:49:19 PM  
We've got quite a bit of snow! After a few days of torrential rains, it finally started to snow on Christmas morning and it has continued to do so off and on for the past few days. So naturally this meant that Erick needed to get bundled up to go play in the snow for the first time ever.

He was mildly amused by the preparations at first:

But he soon thought better of it:

Actually going outside didn't seem to help matters much either:

But Victor got to go sledding yet again:

We were probably outside for all of five minutes. It's been pretty to look at from inside our warm, cozy house though:

James & I are enjoying having no social commitments today, Erick is enjoying a normal nap schedule today and Victor is enjoying both his and his brother's toys. Christmas pictures are in process. It's an oppressive amount.

6/4/2010 4:34:40 AM  
James here:
Uh-oh! Erick has lots of teeth that he will use for biting but not for chewing! Erick bit Victor on the cheek and on the ear last night on two separate incidents. It's really quite sad because Erick did some real damage and could do worse. We have to do what we can to get him to stop. Poor big brother cried and cried, and I don't blame him.

In other Erick news from last night, we have an official first word candidate - "Uh, oh." Erick dropped his sippy cup on the floor (purposefully), and while looking at me said "Uh-owwh". When I repeated it, he practiced saying it about 40 times - really focusing on shaping his lips to imitate Daddy, Mommy, and eventually Victor. I claim this as a first word on the basis that he clearly knew when to use it and was clearly working on saying it exactly as he's heard it.

The other possible first word was "O.K." and I have heard him say it, but never to a person and without much meaning or context. Mommy has some unsubstantiated reports, but Mommy is not a "trained observer" (Bigfoot parlance).

5/1/2011 10:09:28 PM  
In spite of all of the rain this past month, we have seemed to manage to get just enough of a break to enjoy most of the events planned to attend. One of those was the annual Arbor Day Celebration at our local park:

(Ronan & James Thomas' memorial tree for this year.)

7/26/2011 5:20:48 PM  
[Victor here] i went to raging rivers with mommy. i am tired.

11/15/2011 4:48:03 PM  
[James here] Erick is learning about the concept of being multiple "things." Sometimes, when we would say, "Erick, you are good," he would say, "No, I'm not good. I'm Erick." But, now he seems to understand that he can be many things at once.

The other night at dinner, Erick was being a good eater, so I told him he was good. He said, "No, Daddy, I not good. I'm bad." We've said that to him jokingly at times, and Victor is fond of telling Erick he is bad when he turns off Mommy's computer. So, I tried to be more positive and emphasize, "No Erick, you are a good boy." But he was not to be convinced just yet, "No, I'm not a good boy, I, I a bad baby." Cutest sounding thing ever! After a few more rounds I finally got him to agree that he is good.

1/24/2012 6:31:12 AM  
[James here]
Victor got 100% on his spelling and math tests last week. In spelling I think he has only missed a word or two on one test. In math he's pretty good too, but I was especially impressed with the problems he is solving. Here's what was on his last tests:

little, wig, hand, single, handle, wiggle, by, girl, turn, boom, ten, who, off

3+4=7, 7+8=15, 8+9=17, 4+5=9, 6+7=13, 3-0=3, 9-2=7, 6-1=5, 6-2=4, 1-1=0, 3-2=1

3/1/2012 11:06:34 AM  
[James here]
Victor said he needs to go talk to Heather's tummy so he can tell the baby to come on out so he can ask him what his name is. Dawn told him the baby won't be here until March and he said "Yeah, he's going to MARCH right out and he's going to say 'Hi everybody, it's me, Mickey Mouse Dohrn.'"
He kept saying it and cracking himself up. "He's just going to march right out!"

5/28/2012 6:56:01 AM  
We're on vacation in Memphis. The quote of the whole trip will definitely be Victor's from yesterday at the Memphis Zoo. It was over 100 degrees and he requested a dragon fan from the gift shop. He was constantly fanning himself and asking each of us: "Are you hot?!?!?" He must have asked each of us about 20 times.

He's also about to lose his first tooth and has very mixed feelings about it. He freaked out about it a little last night and decided he doesn't want it to fall out after all, even if he will get gold dubloons from the tooth fairy. We tried to calm him down and that just made him more upset. We kept telling him we loved him and that everything would be fine and he said "No. No more loves. I don't any people. I want to go sit in the trees." Maybe he wants to live with the monkeys he saw at the zoo?

4/7/2014 8:43:19 AM  
[James here] Saturday I got to spend the morning with Erick while Victor was at the Read/Right/Run event. Erick liked to explore wherever we went. At Don's Hardware, he was in the back room. I told him he better be careful or Don was going to put an apron on him and put him to work.

2/21/2015 7:20:07 AM  
[James here] Dawn and I find Erick's labelling of an elephant heartbreakingly cute.

and on the same day Victor initiated the following exchange with me while I was on the phone:

11/26/2016 1:52:10 PM  I'm so proud of my two little runners. Yes, they are both still little - don't take that from me yet. Today was the 57th Annual Great River Road Run which features a 10-mile and a 2-mile event. The GRRR 10-miler annually serves as a way for me to measure my fitness and in recent years, the boys have been able to run the 2-miler so that Mom is not completely bored waiting 80 or so minutes for her 3rd favorite Humphrey to finish a race.

This year, after the crucible of Fall cross country, Victor decided he'd try the 10 mile at GRRR. After the season ended October 15th with Victor running 7:04 miles in the 2-mile Sectional event, Victor began his training. He ran 30 minutes twice and a longer 45-minute run each week. Two of those 45-minute runs were replaced by 7-mile runs on the River Road. In those runs, Victor was running somewhere between 9 and 10 minute miles, but was looking very strong and comfortable.

So, imagine our surprise today when Victor came cruising in at 1:22:45 which was an average 8:17 mile! He definitely had a race day boost. What was great to see was his willingness to work hard during his practice runs and to push himself to the limit on race day. If I'm lucky, I have another year of being able to run with him.

I could not run in the 10-mile because of a strained calf, which really bummed me out, but it allowed me to run with Erick in the 2-miler. Erick has always shown ability as a runner, but has a hard time taking it seriously yet. I had him run a practice mile about a week before at the Principia track, and he ran it in 10:41. On race day, he was chatty and happy and before we knew it, we had finished the first mile in 9:45.

On the way back, it started to get less fun and Erick stopped talking and started to whimper. I was telling him to go ahead and slow down when an older guy next to us said, "He just wants to beat Dad." Erick looked over at him and started running even faster. He struggled to stay at that pace, but really kept it up for the remaining half mile. I pushed him by staying just behind him, and it was clear that he was not gonna let me pass him. He ended up finishing the race at a few seconds under 19:00 -blowing away my estimate of 21:00!

Couldn't be prouder or more grateful.


8/18/2017 6:21:36 AM  Mom and dad were guessing what Erick might learn at his second day of third grade when dad made a silly guess. Erick replied, "No, wrestling alligators isn't part of getting girlfriends."

12/27/2009 11:57:48 PM  
Christmas montage is done:

Must sleep.

6/14/2010 9:04:43 PM  
Bedtime has crept later and later here lately (it's basically 9:00 now) and that leaves the adults of the house pretty useless once we finally have our "free time". The boys have been having lots of fun though and -knock on wood- they are staying fairly healthy now. I guess I should reserve judgment on that until after Erick's ear recheck on Friday though. At any rate, the boys are enjoying their summer and so we are too.

I guess you can go ahead and say that Erick is walking. He'll walk pretty much across a room. He just only chooses to do it a few times per day. What he'll do 24/7 is climb onto things. He's a lot more interested in moving vertically than horizontally, it would seem. He's also saying a lot and although a large percentage of it is unintelligible, we really admire his gusto when he speaks. And bless his heart, he points nonstop. I don't think he has any idea how much we love the pointing after waiting so long to see Victor do it.

And about Victor......he's suddenly really interested in everything and is acting like such a typical little boy. He still loves swimming but is also showing some interest in sports for the first time. He's very intrigued by his buddies Jack & Bernie's t-ball games and he is finally hitting some tennis balls with Daddy. We missed his chance for rookie baseball this summer but he's definitely going to do rookie soccer in the fall and rookie basketball in the winter. I see his excitement about running and playing and I just want to hug his gym teacher! And his OT. And his PT. It's great to see though.

Victor's also continuing to build on his reading skills. I just can't help but get giddy thinking about how much he'll be able to improve all of these skills in Kindergarten soon. His speaking has been impressive lately too. We really feel like his focus on reading has helped with the precision of his speech production. And even more importantly, it's helped him understand how to speak in sentences and link thoughts together. We are really having some great conversations with him! He's so much fun to hang out with these days too. We are so lucky to have such a sweet, fun-loving little boy. We're really getting excited about taking our first family mini-vacation next weekend. He's going to have a blast.

I've got some major photo housekeeping to take care of here too. We've taken a lot of pics lately. The weekend before last we went to our first wedding and reception with both boys in tow (congrats Hannah & Joe!). It was a success but most of the credit for that goes to Mimi & PopPaw for having the magic touch with the boys during the ceremony. Here are some pics from that night:

(Getting ready to leave the house with the stylin' duo.)

(Peaceful together during the drive there.)

(Riding in the beloved "Mimi's White Car - Top Down!" from the ceremony to the reception.)

(Sneaking finger licks of champagne.)

(Mimi & PopPaw. I love this shot but wish the light weren't funky!)

(Taking in the festivities.)

(Hula hooping on the dance floor!)

The next day was our 12th wedding anniversary. We postponed our big night out due to Erick's rashiness so we took a scenic drive over to Calhoun that day. We are the car trip-lovin' family, after all. We got ice cream as we started out. You'll see what I mean:

(Victor working diligently to eat every bit of ice cream.)

(Exhibit A. Stunning.)

(Erick was unfazed by his ever-worsening rash.)

Oh yeah, and Erick climbed around on his box the next morning:

(Eventually he let me open it.)

Then this past week, we did some stuff that is now all a blur. What I do remember is Thursday because man alive, was that ever a long day. We went to Victor's therapy in St. Louis and then I basically forced the boys to go have fun with me at the Butterfly House. Here's what transpired:

(Yes, I did have a nightmare about Victor and his cockroach friends that night.)

(Really. Could this be more disturbing?)

(Not really into the photo op.)

(Aha! Save!)

(Victor literally sprinted out of the Butterfly House to go over to the neighboring playscape.)

(The butterfly sculpture waterer interfered with our outdoor photo op.)

(Erick nervously smiling on the Grafton Ferry coming home. Victor loves riding ferries.)

(And then on dry land again, attempting to hat up!)

(The ferry ride was nearly 20 minutes due to some major sandbar dodging action. I became nervous and this is what I was left to stare at!)

We have more wackiness in store for this week so there ought to be more pics forthcoming. Hopefully I won't take a whole week to update.

5/1/2011 10:23:01 PM  
This past week marked a very special event, truly a labor of love, for myself and a few of my friends who happen to also have autistic children. We successfully pulled off an Autism Sports Day at Victor's school. Here is the newspaper article about the event:


I also took 106 pictures that day. Luckily I have narrowed it down to 13 that I will share here:

The kids had so much fun and it was absolutely worth the months of planning. Now that we know what we're doing, next year should be much easier!

8/2/2011 6:33:18 PM  
[Victor here] i went to schnucks with mommy and erick. and i got a cart.

11/19/2011 9:29:55 AM  
[James here] "My name is Erick. I like to run."

1/24/2012 6:39:41 AM  
[James here]
Victor had his first basketball game last night. We've only been to one practice with the team but we have practiced on our own about 5 times. Victor has really improved his shooting. He's to the point where he can almost shoot a little ball up to the standard 10 foot rim. Of course, his K-1 games are played on a lower (8 foot) rim and last night while warming up, he made like 7 baskets - a new record for sure!

The game was interesting. K-1 kids all have trouble dribbling and mostly do a combination of running and dribbling. A little passing is done, but it is a lot of kids running to the ball. There are lots of cases where teams forget which way they are going. And last night there was even a made basket on the wrong goal. There is a lot of yelling from the parents and coaches trying to get the kids to do the right things, so it is incredibly loud and confusing. Victor took the ball out once and dribbled all the way down the court only to have one of the "brutes" on the other team just snatch it away. Victor got frustrated by that and also by the fact that he never got to shoot it. He became obsessed with wanting to shoot it to the point that he could not be in the game. At one point he was very clearly saying to me on the sideline, "I need help." And, he was wanting me to go out and take the ball away so he could shoot it. I was doing my best to explain that in practice there are lots of balls and everyone shoots and dribbles and passes. But, in a game there is only one ball and everyone is fighting for it so that they can shoot. We'll keep working on it.

3/2/2012 5:27:06 AM  
[James here]
From a worksheet of Victor's:

My cat is lost. I feel [sad] [hungry]: sad

It is my birthday. I feel [mean] [happy]: happy

I am sick. I feel [good] [bad]: bad

Use another feeling in a sentence.

"I someone else stole my stuff. I fell angry."

"If peeple do someing bad I feel mad."

7/26/2012 3:02:26 PM  
Just now as we were driving home from Little Gym in Edwardsville, Erick had informed us that he was trying to rest and wanted some quiet. Victor persisted with nonstop chatter and Erick finally put up a hand and said "Hey hey hey, dial it back man. I'm too tired for all of this jibber jabber!"

4/17/2014 6:16:52 PM  
[James here] Victor: Do you like sports, Erick?
Erick: Not really.

3/28/2015 7:12:54 AM  
[James here] Here is a cute little story from Erick from 3-19-15.


The comment from Mrs. Mellethin is "Use more spaces please."

12/11/2016 8:49:09 AM  Christmas in Peoria in 2016 on Saturday December 10: The cousins were reunited briefly at Gigi's apartment at The Bickford House (assisted living facility) for lunch, some talk of favorite sports, and sightings of animals along the drive. Sean and Nick both like playing soccer the best - baseball being a close second for Sean. Victor listed running and swimming. I think both boys are drifting into new sports, but I reminded Victor that he needs to always have a "skill sport" like swimming. Gigi was explaining how frustrating it is to not be able to hear. She also recounted how she lost the hearing in her right ear in 1975 on Wabash lake WI when Grandpa fired a shotgun too close to her head aiming for some ducks flying overhead. She got a little teary eyed talking about how she is almost to the point of not wanting to go down to eat with others because the noise is so great that she can't hear anything. But she pepped up when all of the cousins were present.

Victor played two of his viola pieces as a demonstration of his skill. Everyone was duly impressed. Afterwards, Nick asked if Victor could play jingle bells and Victor was able to play it just from remembering the notes in his head. Then, Victor played We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Of course, these last two songs were received the best.

After lunch and a concert we left Gigi's at about 3pm to check into our respective hotels. We went to the Riverfront museum to meet up with the Martins. We had a lot of fun there testing our strength (me 300lbs, mom 200lbs, Victor 120lbs, Erick 38lbs), our jumping ability (me 18in, Victor 9 in), and read about the local fishes and rich history of Peoria. I was dismayed to read how the Chicago river was diverted into the Illinois river in 1909 so that Peoria could enjoy all of Chicago's filth.

The Martins couldn't make it because Sean was sick. So, we ended up having Dinner with Grandma in her apartment without them. We got take out from Biagi's on Sterling. It was in a very nice new shopping mall and the place was packed at 5:30pm. We got spaghetti carbonera, spaghetti with meatballs, rigatoni bolognese, spaghetti with wild boar ragu and ceasar salad. The ragu, bolognese, meatballs, and salad were good but the carbonera was without flavor.

During dinner Grandma got excited when she was told that Victor and Erick were going to play the piano for her the next day. She told us how her mother sold eggs during the week to earn a quarter which she gave to Evelyn so that she could pay for her weekly piano lesson on Sunday. Victor asked her who her siblings were and how much older. Below is a list

Harold (13 yrs)
Velma (12 yrs)
Ilo (11 yrs)
Galen (2 yrs)

Grandma also was visited by Rosemary and her son Greg while we were at the museum. She said Greg lives in East Peoria and spends a lot of time with Rosemary.

After dinner we went to the Festival of Lights in Veteran's Park in East Peoria. The event has been put on by the City of East Peoria for the past 32 years. It was awesome! Many of the exhibits were very large and were a wire frame of lights on top of an old car or golf cart. Some of our favorites were the X-wing, the ski jumper, the USS Enterprise, the Whale, Rudolph, and the list goes on. Dawn found a really good way to avoid traffic getting into the park. You take I-74 to Exit 98-Pinecrest Drive. Proceed along Pinecrest Drive, turn right onto Muller Road, and then turn right onto Springfield Road. The intersections will be marked with signage.

During the Winter Wonderland we were all making jokes and having fun and when I mentioned the Piasa Bird Erick said, "If I saw the Piasa Bird, I'd punch him in the face, kick him in the nuts, and run away."

The next day we had breakfast with Deb and Nick at Le Peep. Grandma was too weak to make the trip outside. So we brought Grandma a cinnamon roll when we went to her apartment to open presents and play the piano for her. Erick really liked his U-Wing (Star Wars - Rogue One) fighter. Nick liked his mini-drone. Victor liked his Poop card game. Gigi liked her picture book and soaps. But, what Gigi really enjoyed was listening to Erick and Victor play Christmas songs. Erick played four and Victor played about ten and then switched to some jazz.

After a little more fun playing with toys and setting up Jenga spires, we said goodbye and Merry Christmas to Grandma and the Martins.

9/5/2017 9:26:39 AM  2017 Galena n Dubuque Vacation

We visited Galena, Illinois and Dubuque, Iowa over the Labor Day holiday in 2017. We drove up Friday night and got a little turned around in Bettendorf/Davenport arriving at Chestnut Mountain Resort at around 11pm. In keeping with this year's theme of disappointing accommodations, we were greeted with no elevator and an outdated, stinky room. On the plus side, it had four beds and an awesome view of the ski slopes and river (Wise Lake).

The next day Dad got up for an early morning run and the trails and views did not disappoint. Since it was a kinda gray day we decided to go to Dubuque's National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium but not before stopping in Galena for a yummy breakfast at Otto's. The Museum was huge and we had so much fun looking at all of the animals, birds, and ships outside and the fish, snakes, alligators (yes 8ft long, 300 lbs, 60 years old), crawfish, eels, etc on the inside. There was a huge 5-foot alligator gar and Victor and Erick got to pet lake sturgeon and stingrays. We saw an awesome 3-D movie about dinosaurs with smoke and vibration effects at the theater and left after about 4-hours of non-stop fun. We had dinner that night at Fried Green Tomatoes in Galena, which included a brie and garlic appetizer, steak and sea bass.

The next day we arose later and got an all day pass for the Chestnut Mountain amusements. We rode the mountain slide four times and the Soaring Eagle zip line once. The mountain slide was two side-by-side fiberglass chutes with a sled that you could control with a brake. It was about 1,000 feet long so it was a long, thrilling ride followed by taking a ski-lift back to the top of the mountain. Everyone got a beautiful view of the mountain and a ground hog. The Soaring Eagle was exhilirating and terrifying. The ride up has you going backwards, which wasn't scary until you got to the very top when they tip you forward a couple times to get into final position. It's not fun relying on a 60's style seat belt to keep from falling out. Coming down was super fast and fun. A kid who went just before us said that it was "actually relaxing", but as he was going up Erick said, "That kid lied, this is not relaxing, this is scary," but he was brave and didn't cling on to Dad. We broke up the day with lunch at Dirty Gurts (great burgers and bloody marys) in Galena followed by shopping where we somehow came away with a bunch of socks. After that we visited Ulysses S. Grant's home and his statue in a park. Grant and his wife Julia were quite impactful when he was president and afterwards. We finished the day with a round of mini-golf where we had a lot of fun despite being terrorized by a bunch of children and mosquitoes.

On Monday, Victor and Dad went for another 3-mile run but not before everyone saw a coyote out in the slopes from our room. Luckily the coyote must have eaten someone else before we got out there, so we were only attacked by spider webs on the trail. We bade farewell to Chestnut Mountain and made for Otto's where they had so many "call aheads" that they weren't seating until noon (it was 10:15), so we drove to Dubuque and lucked into a parking spot and a table at Sunshine Family Restaurant (AKA Sunshine Family Restaurant and Band Solution) where we were treated to huge portions of scramble, hash browns, eggs, and pancakes. We drove home on 61 through Iowa, 67 through Illinois and 267 south of Jacksonville. It was a lot of good road and is probably the best route.

It was fun to see more of Northern Illinois and Iowa. It was about 10 degrees cooler than home, very green and a lot hillier. It was not as mountainous as the Ozarks, so it was much more accessible.

Click here to see full album

3/2/2005 9:17:08 AM  
Cousin Sean arrived yesterday. We're sending good wishes for a short hospital stay and a speedy recovery to Mom & Baby both. That and lots of love being sent northward to Wisconsin!

12/30/2009 11:17:12 PM  
Happy 60th to PopPaw, first of all! I had the rare and special honor/treat of having dinner with PopPaw and Mimi sans boys tonight. I initially felt weird about them not sharing in PopPaw's birthday celebration but it was truly such a treat to get to hang out with my parents and have real conversations (and wine!). It is such a blessing to be able to share all of our special moments and celebrations now. Every time I start to feel homesick for Austin I remind myself of that. Here's to many more splendid birthday celebrations, Daddy/PopPaw. You are so very loved and I am giddy that I get to see you so much these days!

Speaking of loved ones, I'm feeling very pensive/nostalgic/wistful tonight but not in a negative or horrible way. Wine will do that to you anyway and the holidays will certainly do that. Throw into the mix that I saw an obit for one of Grandpa's (Great PopPaw's) fellow Lions/Legionnaires and I am just finding myself missing some very special people in my life that aren't here with us anymore. Obviously that includes my dear, sweet Grandpa. Just thinking of his legion comrades (I CANNOT see those guys doing their thing and not be moved to tears. Just impossible.) took me back to his funeral and I'm amazed at how much time has already passed. I miss him so much and I find myself wishing that we had moved back sooner so that I'd had more time with him, even if he was mentally deteriorating for so very many years. I just miss holding his hand. I can remember few feelings in my life more comforting than holding his hand. Last time I got to do that was December 25, 2007.

Now there are many achievements in my life of which I am proud (two of which are sleeping soundly upstairs) but one of my very proudest moments was at my grandpa's visitation when several of the legionnaires came through the line and one of them remarked at how I was "that little girl that helped Paul put out the flags every year". I've talked about that ritual here on the blog several times and I won't toot my own Taps horn too much more than necessary. Suffice it to say though that I felt such a swell of pride to overhear that those old timers remembered me from 30 years ago. I didn't realize at the time that I was doing something that meant so much to Grandpa. I just knew it was a special honor and that I liked getting to walk around in the sunshine with him. Yep, sometimes even holding his hand. I'm sad to see another of his Legion buddies go but it served to remind me that I'm truly humbled to have gotten to bear witness to the special bond that those men have shared through their many rich years.

Also, while I haven't really talked about them much lately, James Thomas and Ronan Woods have been very much on my mind throughout the season. I do realize that it may be hard for people to understand how I can miss them so much at the holidays when they never spent any holidays here with us. It's pretty hard to explain, I suppose. If you've given birth to a child that isn't with you anymore, you understand and if you understand, I'm very sorry. In simplest terms, I can only describe it as that there's just a piece of me that's gone with them. I love the holidays and this was by far the most beautiful and blessed season I can remember ever having but the more my heart fills with joy and light and love, the more aware I am of the hole left behind. I'm not sad but I'm not whole either. I learn to accept it a little more each year and I learn to stop blaming myself a little more each year and I learn to let go a little more each year (though it hurts so much to feel my memories of them getting vaguer) but I'm not the same person. And that's OK. But it's there and the holidays make it more apparent. To me, anyway.

But with all of that said, I feel so thankful to be close to my family again, to include some of my oldest and dearest friends in my extended "family", and especially to have a warm home full of laughter and mayhem where I wake up every day to three wonderful guys. For all that I miss, my blessings really are overabundant and I know it. Tonight above all else, I'm thankful for my daddy and thankful that my boys get to have PopPaw come over to laugh at their antics and take them on sled rides. Happy birthday to him and happy (almost) new year to everyone!

6/16/2010 7:46:17 AM  
[James here]
Examples of Victor answering questions:

Example #1
Daddy: Why do you want to get in there [referring to locked storage room door]?
Victor: Mommy's in there.

Example #2
Daddy: Where's Mommy [legitimately didn't now]?
Victor: In the living room.

8/4/2011 6:09:37 PM  
[Victor here] i sniffed mommy and daddy's food. it smelled like lettuce pizza.

11/19/2011 9:58:18 AM  
[James here] Victor's first Letter to Santa.

1/29/2012 9:36:13 AM  
[James here]
[Victor here]
i slep Late today i love you gg

3/8/2012 10:14:53 AM  
[James here]
Erick's: wizzers
Webster's: scissors

8/7/2012 7:33:42 PM  
[James here] Quotes of the day.

Daddy: Erick, eat your chicken!
Erick: Chiwl-out, Daddy.

Victor: I remember seeing Monica and Luther when they got married. When I grow up I'll be somebody's daddy, so I have to find a lady to marry to be the mom.

4/27/2014 4:30:01 AM  
[Dawn here via James] Every morning at dropoff I am still allowed to kiss Victor goodbye if there aren't too many people on the sidewalk. I always say "I love you! Have a good day!" and I always get a hurried "Love you too...bye!" in exchange. Today I barely noticed that he paused and gestured for me to roll down the window. He said "I really do love you and I'm not just saying it because you did........I'm saying it because I really do and I hope you have a great day".

I am having a great day and he is why.

4/14/2015 7:34:21 AM  
[James here] Erick's term for a very long snake that lives and hunts in the water:


1/14/2017 3:39:21 AM  I was listening to Erick in the car coming home from Principia swim practice and he was telling me that "Do you know that the female mooses will fight too? Yeah, they will fight over the handsome male. And, the male mooses will fight over the good female. And, then the two winners get to ...(this pause actually happened)... hang out together by themselves." The little, innocent wheels were turning. Yes, the prize is to enjoy each other's company for the next 50 years.

3/4/2005 8:04:43 AM  
Isn't Cousin Sean just absolutely beautiful? James is marvelling at what a complex expression he has ("a knowing smile"). Who would expect anything less though? This pic was taken at 2 days old. Needless to say, he's melting hearts across the country already. Great job Deb & Pat!

12/31/2009 11:59:27 PM  
Happy New Year! We went up to Carrollton to hang with the Cunningham clan tonight and the boys ended up staying out super late. They weren't in bed until about 11:00. Wildness! They really had fun (as did we) but most especially because they got to see their girlfriends, Avery and Allison:

Wow! There are fireworks going off over at Lewis & Clark right this very moment (yeah, I'm apparently blogging at the strike of midnight). Must go watch.....Happy New Year!

6/26/2010 6:20:50 AM  
[James here]
Victor has been steadily improving at swimming. We go once per week to a special needs swimming class with Ms. Betsy. Ms. Betsy is very good with Victor and has had him practice kicking and moving his arms with various floatation devices. The week before last Victor and I spent a marathon session going back an forth in the pool with me holding him. Each time we made a turn Victor pulled himself out of the pool. By the end of that session he could get out all by himself!

But something even more exciting happened this past Wednesday night. Ms. Betsy gave Victor a kickboard to use which he normally will hold onto, but requires someone else to stabilize and locomote. But after a couple of laps with only a couple fingers on the board I let go completely. Victor was able to balance it by himself and kick his way across the pool! Yay! His face was pretty serious with concentration, but after a while he started to really understand how excited we were and give a little proud smile. It was "very, very, very" cool as Victor would say.

11/19/2011 8:30:17 PM  
[James here] Victor had his first piano recital today. It went great. My favorite part was when he looked out at the crowd while he was playing. I think he liked having an audience.


1/31/2012 7:23:30 AM  
[James here]
Erick to Mommy:
"How 'bout a hug? Now how 'bout a kiss? I need 'nother hug. Aaaaand, I need 'nother kiss. One more hug. Kiss me again please. OK, one more hug. Now I'm done. Please go somewhere else."

8/9/2012 10:13:59 AM  
[James here]
Mommy: "I love all of this pretend play you guys are doing together this summer. It's really cool!"

Victor: "Yeah, I love playing with my brother. He's my best friend even though we hit each other a lot."

Erick: "Yes, yes, yes. Lots of loving and hitting."

5/6/2014 6:43:32 AM  
[James here] Erick's quote of the day in response to Mommy talking about a kiddie pool. "You can't have a kiddie pool because... cats don't like the water." (Of course he was saying "kitty")

4/15/2015 8:09:06 AM  
[James here] Erick's free thought story of the day (His spacing between words is getting better):

I see the pond.
It has fishs.
I cot one of them.

Bonus (Miss)Spelling Words:

Give up yet? cwau=koala

3/4/2005 12:49:09 PM  
Well, this news is far less exciting than Sean's arrival but I also finished Victor's baby blanket last night. Woo hoo! It only took about 9 weeks so I think I'll try to crank out another one (that and matching booties and hat). Hey, just because he's a boy doesn't mean he shouldn't be nicely color coordinated. :)

1/5/2010 12:31:39 PM  
Wow, we've been in this house for almost a year now. That hardly even seems possible. Pretty funny because the majority of the Christmas cards we've received (correction: are STILL receiving) went to Carrollton and then got forwarded on to Godfrey. I'm sure glad I spent the money on those address change cards that I sent out with the birth announcements! Apparently not everyone is as anal about their address lists as I am. OK, so that's not a surprise, I suppose. At any rate, it's fun to still be getting everybody's lovely cards into January!

We had a truly delightful holiday season but man, oh man, is it good to be getting back to the routine. Victor had an awesome day back to school yesterday. He was excited about going and all reports from Mrs. P indicated that he did really well. Best of all, he was happy to see us again when he got home yesterday afternoon and he had lots of fun playing with his brother and Daddy (and Mommy!) last night. Didn't sleep very well last night though. He still wants to come sleep in our room every single night at some point and last night we tried to lay down the law about staying in his own room until at least 5:00. He ended up sneaking in some time prior to that but I was too tired from his prior shenanigans to notice until it was too late. He was dragging a bit this morning but I managed to get him outside and onto the bus. That is getting less fun every day for both of us. James says we should wait inside but I am certain that the driver would pause only briefly before moving on and I don't want to sprint outside on ice.

And Erick? He's got a full schedule starting this week too. We had music class this morning over in St. Louis. Just as soon as Miss Katherine returns from her maternity leave and starts her classes back up in Alton, we will be there but until then, we're making the trek over to St. Louis. I really don't even mind the drive over there. I like to pretend that I live in the city sometimes (and then leave it behind). The tricky part of our Tuesday mornings is that I put Victor on the bus right at or around 8:20 and then Erick and I have to leave immediately after that for St. Louis. I'm still not really good at having both boys dressed for the cold and adequately fed by that time, especially given how erratic Erick is about his mornings lately (5:30 wake up today....an improvement over yesterday's 4:00).

So yeah, anyway, Erick LOVED music class. Like even more than he did when we went to the trial class a month or so ago. He was moving along to the beat and smiling the whole time. He definitely loves it as much as Victor did, if not even more. So at least it was gratifying to see him getting so much out of it. The boy is definitely a people person. He'll get to see even more tiny peers this week because we also start Play Pals on Thursday. It's basically a cheap, local version of a baby gym class (Little Gym is just plain too far and none of the classes fit our schedule well either). I hope he enjoys that and I feel pretty confident that he will.

Tomorrow night Erick gets to go to his first live stage show! It's his first Sesame Street Live (and Victor's third, or maybe even fourth). I think he'll like it but it will be pushing his limits timing-wise. He won't usually tolerate a lot of large scale activity after 7:00 but hopefully he'll make an exception for Cookie Monster. And while Victor isn't an avid Sesame Street watcher as he once was, I'm quite certain that he'll still be happy to see Elmo and Friends in full regalia. He's always especially fond of the inappropriately nimble Cookie Monster. Hopefully I'll manage to get pictures but it will be a challenge to be sure. It was a lot easier to tote Erick around Scottrade Center last year in utero.

7/28/2010 7:08:50 AM  
[James here]
Obligatory defamation of Facebook and what it's done to MonkeyDeux! But on to more fun things. When I came home from my trip to Austin, the next morning Erick treated me to a display of his two words: "Kitty" and "Victor". Of course, his versions are "Key" and "Dicdor", but they happened to be very close to one another, and he pointed to each in succession as he identified them. He'll point to mommy or daddy and act like he wants to label us, but then gives you a look like, "Remind me again of your name?"

[Dawn Rebuttal]
There are four factors contributing to my failure to update here in a timely manner. Facebook is but one of them. They are specifically as follows:

1. I can't add and update pictures during the day because of network issues while James is logged in for work. I'm often too tired to bother at night.

2. Erick keeps me extremely busy now that he's into everything all the time. And when he's napping, Victor's running laps around the house and terrorizing the cat. A lot of parental intervention needed.

3. The boys have been sick constantly all summer. I'm tired of talking about it and sadly, it's about all I have to report most of the time. I do feel badly that a lot of Erick milestones are going unreported but by the time I can think of recording them, we're on to the next illness and I'm preoccupied.

4. Yes, facebook. I spend more time there communicating with friends than I do elsewhere because it's so easy to do it all in one place.

I'll do a lot better once Victor goes back to school for full days and I at least have some naptime during which to do adult things. And I really do strive to do that. Right now? Not happening. If you'll excuse me now, I have a feverish and crying Erick to hold. More soon.

10/4/2012 1:05:38 PM  
[James here] Overheard from Erick today after Mommy asked him to stop playing in the refrigerator: "You're driving me crazy." Sound like anyone he knows?

5/9/2014 3:26:59 AM  
[James here] A poem from Victor:


How did you grow?
who made you grow?
did somebody stretch
you, did water pow you?
   How did you grow?

5/20/2015 5:37:52 AM  
[James here] Victor's swim goals for summer 2015. This was an exercise from his TCAY swim team.

Three things I want to accomplish in summer training:

1. Making myself faster in 50 free.
2. Improve my fly.
3. Make my breaststroke kick stronger.

My overall goals for my swimming career are:

1. Improve my reocrds each time.
2. I want to swim in college.
3. Keep my body healthy and strong.

What changes do you need to make to achieve your goals?

1. Kick harder all the time.
2. Go for it more on shorter distances.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

3/7/2005 11:36:30 AM  
Just got back from my first of what will probably be many panic attack appointments with OB's nurse practitioner. Can I just say that I love this woman? I don't have to tell her that the twins' birthdays are coming up and that I'm totally freaked about getting past 22 weeks. She just knows and she's ready to do whatever I need her to do to make me feel better. There is a very large gift basket in that woman's future!

Everything looks great. My blood pressure was quite normal today. Makes a lot of sense, eh? Last week I was relaxed and it was high. This week I'm totally freaking out and it's normal. Victor looked active and healthy and Cervix (an entity all her own) looks to be well-behaved from what we can tell right now. Got a few new Vicpics I'll have James put on tonight.

This is going to be a tough stretch for a while but luckily I see the NP again next week and then I have doc appointments the two weeks after that. If I have to go weekly till I get safely through to 24 or 26 weeks, so be it. I'm sure I'm not the only crazy woman out there. Besides, I can live with being crazy better than I can live with being ignorant.

1/13/2010 8:59:03 PM  
Erick's 9 months old! He had his checkup today and was, as usual, charming and gregarious while we were there and then immediately surly once we got home (he gets this from me). In his defense, he did have to get a blood draw (his first actual from-a-vein draw) to check his iron levels. He had a great appointment though and Dr. L continues to be amazed every time at how healthy he has been so far. He was 21 pounds, 2 ounces which is a whole pound and a half heavier than Victor was at 9 months but he's also an inch shorter than Victor was at a mere 29 inches. Very interesting. His head is kinda smallish too, compared to Victor's. While we try not to read too much into the head circumference thing (there are a lot of indications that autistic kids tend to have bigger brains/heads), it's hard not to be a little relieved to see a difference in that growth rate. I think it goes without saying that we're hopeful that Erick will be neurotypical and won't face as many challenges as his brother has had to face already.

Erick continues to try to get into anything and everything to which he can gain access. He gets up and bounces on those knees of his but still always reverts back to his swim/scoot for his really purposeful movement. He's pulling up from his knees more and more every day though, including in his crib. So it's obviously on it's lowest height setting now. No cruising yet but I can see him thinking about it. He'll get brave and try it when nobody's looking. And he might get very inspired very soon because we have Play Pals tomorrow (snowed out last week) and he'll surely see some babies his size doing some very exciting things.

He had a blast at music again this week. We're not minding the drive over there much but I do think it will get old and sadly, that's our only option now. Miss Katherine is moving away and so there won't be a more local class again any time soon, unless I go get trained to teach Music Together (and I don't know how to play the guitar so I'm hosed on that one). So I guess we'll see how we feel about it in a few months. I really want Erick to have all of the benefits of such a wonderful program, just like his brother had. There is such a love of music instilled in Victor and it makes for such a fantastic learning gateway for him.

And Victor. Victor, Victor, Victor. He seemed to enjoy his snow days last week, probably just because snow days were such an exotic new thing, but he was ready to lose it by the end of the weekend. I don't think he could wait to get to school. He's still doing really well and making steady progress. I get really excited about the small things like him actually saying "Bye Miss Joan! Thank you!" to his bus driver as he gets off (that took a month of nagging from me but he does it sweetly and with a smile). We have another IEP meeting coming up in February to determine his kindergarten placement and I am somewhat traumatized by the thought of it. I just have such a sense of security with him at Early Childhood. It's a small building where EVERYBODY knows him and it's 5 minutes away if he has an emergency (peanut allergy or otherwise). Kindergarten is going to involve him being much further away.

He's going to love kindergarten though. He's definitely ready for more academic challenges because he knows the pre-K stuff inside and out. Granted, he has a LOT of work to do with his social skills and his pre-handwriting skills but that will all come with continued therapy. I really am confident of that. He's been working on phonics here at home during the last 3 weeks. He loves the computer games I got him and he masters them but he still has a hard time generalizing that info. It's starting to click slowly though. The important thing is that he really wants to read and thinks it's a fun big boy thing to do.

Oh yeah, and we DID manage to make it to Sesame Street Live last week. Barely. We drove home in The Big Storm. It was a great show though and both boys (strike that....all THREE boys) definitely had fun:

Fifth row for 10 bucks a pop, baby! It pays to get online at midnight on the day of presale. :)

10/28/2012 9:21:09 AM  Say Goodnight to Sharky

This week we were saddened by the untimely death of Sharky the frog. Mommy found him lifeless in the tank. We explained to Victor that his pet frog was dead - i.e. that he was asleep and not going to wake up. It was upsetting and there were some tears fought back. But in the end we gave Sharky an honorable burial at sea.

5/20/2014 12:44:12 PM  
[James here] Sunday was a great day for me as a father and Erick as an emerging personality.

We went to the last Alton Parks and Rec. Kids Micro Soccer practice at Gordon Moore Park. This day they decided that the entire practice would be devoted to playing one team of five against another. In earlier practice games, I was squirming watching Erick follow the crowd, avoid the ball, hunch like his stomach hurt, and look at me instead of the action.

This time I told myself I was going to sit far away from the field, not say anything, and watch but avoid eye contact. I was sitting down and far enough away that I think Erick forgot where I was. He began where he left off, following the pack and generally avoiding the ball. To make matters worse, the other team had a superstar named Eli. Eli was basically scoring at will, and the instructors weren't providing much structure so that other kids could participate. There was a moment where I became frustrated, and I almost called Erick over to take him out of the game. I was going to say something like, "If you aren't going to participate, you can just sit right here and watch." But I didn't, and I stayed in my seat reminding myself that he could do what he wanted today. I was also remembering some advice from Bill Diddlebock - whom I know from my first summer in Alton and now through my tennis advocacy. Bill had told me that the most important thing was for the kids to have fun. Surely, I could try to make it fun for Erick for one practice, right?

So, the first half ended, and Erick eventually found his way to me for a drink (He really did not know where I was.) I was all smiles and told him he was doing a good job of following the ball. As I thought I about it I realized that he was at least paying attention to what was happening and staying close to the action. He was orbiting it like an electron, but he was in the vicinity and getting in some good running. He said something about kicking the ball, and I told him that he could kick the ball if he just decided to do it. The whistle blew and Erick ran out to start the second half.

Again, we had more Eli playing goalie and lead scorer. However, the teenagers running the show decided to keep him back a little bit and to ask him to pass the ball some. I was so busy thinking about how no one was getting anything out of this scrimmage other than Eli that I barely noticed that in one of the scrums, Erick kicked the ball. He didn't try to follow up on that kick, but he did purposefully kick it. Of course, I was too initially hung up on the fact that he didn't follow the ball to realize the importance. But later, Erick begain shadowing Eli from about 10 feet and at one point he actually caught Eli and kicked the ball away from him. Again, he moved his eyes away almost like he was pretending that he only accidentally kicked the ball, but he did do it.

Other parents were laughing it up talking with the parents of Eli - "See you in the pros, Eli!" Eventually, Eli's dad confessed that Eli plays indoor soccer on a select team in St. Louis, but "He just loves the game so much we couldn't say no to signing him up for this." Meanwhile, Erick had managed to kick the ball one or two more times before the final whistle blew. When he came over, I was so proud of him. I realized that he was making progress and that he really was trying. I told him what a good job he did of kicking the ball and that Eli plays soccer all the time. Of his own accord, Erick said "I want to practice and get as fast as Eli." Then he asked if we could practice scoring goals - just him and me. We went out and Erick was running better than I've seen him. He was competing with his dad, stealing the ball and scoring goals.

As we drove home and Erick and I were chatting about practicing soccer with Victor so Erick could get as good as Eli, I thought about how close I came to derailing all of this positive growth in Erick and our relationship. Now, I'm not going to suddenly become the person who hands out first place medals to everyone, but I am going to let my boys develop at their own pace, have fun, and look for every little step of progress. Practice makes better.

3/7/2005 3:33:03 PM  
I love Eileen Nordmeyer! Ah. Sweet, sweet Trinidads from Fannie May. The best surprise gift ever, I think. Mmmmmmmm.

1/22/2010 8:46:36 PM  
In my "defense", my friends with blogs are even more delinquent than me (Note to Ruth & Lori: my refreshing finger is tired.) As usual, my excuse for taking so long to update is quite simple: Erick is everywhere. There is absolutely nothing that he won't pull up on and no barricade he won't try to just climb right over. It's rather alarming, especially considering that we STILL don't have gates up. We've procrastinated since we actually have beautiful woodwork/banisters now. We need to just buckle down and find a way to get it done because until then, there is no rest before 8:30 p.m. Literally.

The boys are good (naturally, just as I typed that, Erick screamed out in anguish!). They've had a good week overall and we're very much back in the swing of the normal routine and are very much benefiting from it. Erick either sleeps through the night like a sleep star or he wakes up between 3 and 4 to do some pulling up practice and then screams because he's afraid to try to get back down. He'll just start jumping up and down until I come feed him but luckily he crashes again afterwards. Victor still tries to invade our bed at least once per night. These circumstances are almost the norm now so it's a truly glorious event when they both will just sleep without intervention past about 5:00. I've actually reached the point where I've been going to bed prior to 11:00 sometimes. That's unheard of for me, truly.

The dynamic between the two brothers has gotten unpredictable and sometimes tense as of late. Victor gets so worked up about Erick now (again). He had somewhat mellowed out about his brother but lately he just gets really tweeked. It's a combination of factors, really. There's the part of him that is jealous and angry that Erick is getting so much attention right now with all of his physical milestones. And there's the part of him that is just overloaded from a sensory standpoint by how loud and in your face Erick can be about everything. And then obviously, there's the part of him that loves his little brother madly and wants to be around him as much as possible, including when it's not appropriate or desirable. And while Erick has previously been so enamored of his brother that he's been elated to have him glued to his side, that is beginning to change. Erick wants some space! He wants to try his new skills out without interference and even more than that, he wants an opportunity to play with some of these toys! So we're seeing Erick trying to get out of Victor's grasp more and we're also seeing glimpses of just how much he's going to hold his own when he's bigger. We've got some brawls in our future.

It's not all strife though. There are still many sweet moments shared between our little guys. And Victor really does seem to think that all of the new stuff Erick does is cool. I have some new photos that would be groovy to insert right at this point but I'm going to have to postpone any further Photoshopping for tonight. I have to get up at 5:00 to go to an autism workshop in Springfield and since I am usually awakened at least 2-3 times between midnight and 5:00, this is quite daunting. I'll try to get those pics on yet this weekend though. And James has tennis practice tomorrow morning (he's the new men's tennis coach at Lewis & Clark, y'all!) so Mimi & PopPaw are taking the helm for a few hours tomorrow morning. Godspeed M&P! DVDs are your friends (If not salvation).

8/3/2010 7:08:45 AM  
Victor is five. Can you believe that? And while I've never really written letters to my children on this blog (mainly because I didn't want to rip off my dear friend Ruth), I think it is probably the best way to mark such an important occasion as this. And so, I offer this missive to my sweet, sweet Victor on his 5th birthday.........

My Dearest Victor Doodle,

You're five now. That's kind of a big deal and you seem to understand that. You understand so much about the world now, in spite of not necessarily having all of the interests and language skills of a typical 5-year-old. I'll admit that I've wished so many times for you to just wake up and be "typical" (that's the magic word for "not autistic") but I wish for it a lot less these days. I've seen those typical kids and you're really just way cooler. I'm not just saying that. You're completely amazing. I think that because I've had to work so hard at getting at your thoughts and feelings, I really know you more than I know anyone (and obviously more than anyone else knows you). And to know you is to love you so it stands to reason that I love you more than anything in the whole wide world. Don't tell your brother.

You're going to kindergarten in just a few short weeks and you are so ready. Your daddy & I are incredibly proud of how hard you've worked in pre-K and in private therapy to get to this point. We used to wonder if we'd need to hold you back a year before you went to kindergarten, just because you're so young for your grade. You barely even make the cutoff, after all. Now that the time has come, no one had any question that you were ready. You are such an old pro at being a good student. You've known all of the stuff that kids are supposed to know when they go into kindergarten for like the past 2 years or so. It was all of the social and language stuff you had to work on. And boy have you worked on it! You, my little stinker, are ready to go to big school and I know you'll love it.

You are doing so many cool things that we love getting to see you do. You are doing a lot of reading and it, of course, makes me so happy to see how much you love your books. You take such good care of them and I so appreciate how you try to show your brother how we should treat books, even if you get a bit too worked up about it at times. Books are something to be passionate about and I respect and love that about you. Naturally, you also seem to love numbers. You are Daddy's boy too, after all. You are happiest when you are following him around being his minion and pretending to do all of the things he does.

You are so much like Daddy, actually. You are really so many of the best things in Daddy, the things that I love most about him. Much like Daddy, you don't really pull any punches and don't have hidden agendas. And you are funny and sweet and love to do imitations like Daddy. You have Daddy's temper too. You don't have a short fuse (unlike your brother!) but when you get mad, you really blow up. But then you move on because you don't really like to be mad. Like Mommy, you wear your heart on your sleeve and you get really nervous when people hover over you.

It's funny how many of your autistic traits are not very weird to your daddy & I. There is just absolutely no mistaking that you're ours. You love order. As any civilized human should. You've gotten a lot more accepting of change though and you have been so resilient through a lot of big moments during the past year or so. Especially the arrival of your brother. You are such a good big brother. Sure, we still have to ask you on a daily basis not to choke him and you lose your mind if he messes up one of your toys. (Also, you've been known to take toys away from him just to hear him scream. Man alive, can that boy scream, eh?). But that's part of being a brother. The torture, I mean.

You love your brother so much though and I'm pretty sure he knows it too because your name is his first and favorite word. You love to help take care of him and you are always so concerned about how he is and what he needs. You've been amazingly patient about Erick's impact on both our schedule and Mommy's energy bandwidth. What's more important than sharing toys is sharing Mommy and you have been so generous and kind with your brother in that regard. That is saying a lot because you are known at times to be kind of a Mommy's boy yourself, especially during the middle of the night when you want to snuggle.

You are such a snuggler. You are such an affectionate boy in general. Not everyone would realize it because you still struggle so much at times to greet and say goodbye to people without prompting. But when you're at ease with people, you are extremely generous and affectionate. No one knows that more than your brother. You always have a smile for him and cannot let him go to bed without a big kiss and hug goodnight.

I'd love to talk about how incredibly smart you are and the things you do and say on a daily basis that amaze us but I'm pretty sure I'd start to sound like an obnoxious mom (you know the type...."blah blah blah, my kid is amazing and brilliant, blah blah blah" when we all know that you're the most amazing and brilliant, V). I will say that your powers of memory stun me at times. Granted, being male, those powers are ever selective. You can forget ever hearing that which you don't want to remember, especially when it pertains to eating.

Oh Victor, I could go on and on about your endearing qualities. Just know that I have never felt a deeper pride or joy in my life than I have in being your mommy. You are what I was waiting for and you are worth every bit of that wait. And while it's hard not to shed a few tears about how quickly my baby is growing up, I am mostly so excited to see you starting kindergarten and making new friends who will see the wonderful things in you that I already have the great fortune to know. Thank you for finding your way to me. Happy 5th. Now let's go to the water park!

Hugs and kisses,

p.s Thank you for still liking Llama Llama, Red Pajama.

11/8/2012 8:40:02 AM  
[James here] We have been doing well here in Godfrey transitioning from Summer to Fall and soon Winter. The boys have started a new swim class at Lewis & Clark and it is really good. They are pretty firm with the boys and are teaching them very exact technique. Victor is extremely comfortable in the water, but has never really focused using his arms until now. I can really see improvements. Erick has been really scared of the water and especially going under, but in this class they have "coaxed" him into jumping in off the side and even off of the diving board. I think he might be doing the dog paddle by the end of the year.

I bought the boys a tablet (Nabi) computer a week ago, and they can't get enough of it. They play Angry Birds non-stop. I'm trying to get them to do other more educational things as well, but at a minimum they are both learning how to operate a tablet computer very proficiently. It's so cute to see little Erick using it like a pro. Victor and Erick are both doing well in school, although they could both be doing better. We are really trying to focus again on math and reading comprehension for Victor. Erick is proving to be a little anti-social, so we are making sure he remembers to recognize his teachers and friends.

We also have Erick and Victor taking gymnastics classes. What they are learning is very basic. They are not close to tumbling yet. However, it is really helping both boys with their strength and balance. I also bought some tumbling mats that just arrived yesterday. We put them in the basement in the hopes that the boys will practice rolling around during these cold winter months. One thing is for sure, they do like to wrestle.

6/14/2014 6:05:31 AM  
[James here] So, we (Mommy, Daddy, Victor (8), Erick (5)) are wrapping up our 2014 family vacation today. I remembered yesterday that the true value and purpose of family vacations is to spend an extended period of time in close proximity to one another. It's not the places we go and the things we see and the food we eat. It's the chances to bond and learn more about each other and teach.

Like yesterday in the hotel after we had spent a long day at Blue Heron National Park, Erick, Victor and I learned how to blow things up with TNT in Minecraft. It was quality boy time for sure. Prior to that Erick had revealed himself to be an insufferable comic when he gets tired - laughing non-stop while repeating "Owl Ice Cream" for minutes at a time.

Both boys are not afraid of heights at all. They have no concept of a long fall vs. a short one. Both are also pretty fearless little hikers; Victor took the lead on many of our excursions and he is sure footed. Erick still takes quite a few tumbles if not helped, but he is good at falling so as not to get hurt badly.

Erick is obsessed with animals - especially mommy and daddy animals taking care of their babies. He loves babies of all sorts and wants to protect sweet little animals. However, he is also quite interested in X vs. Y, such as Lion vs. Tiger or Wasp vs. Bee or Worm vs. Snail.

Victor is obsessed with Star Wars (still) and wants to light saber battle with his brother much of the time. He really enjoyed the video games at the cabin including Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, and Dig Dug. But he kept saying that you can't spend all of your time playing video games and that he was going to practice piano, math, and English when he gets home. Victor also announced that he wants to learn about plants and create a cartoon about plants called "Plants." I need to remember to get him a field guide to identifying trees and plants.

Both boys tried Dr. Pepper for the first time yesterday and liked it. They also enjoyed chips and salsa (especially Erick). Victor is still asking me about how much it hurts to get shot because he saw a cow get "put down" on a TV show we were watching the other night. I explained to both boys why the farmer had to do it (cow getting very old and had already had close calls with bears). I also talked about how we might go hunting some day and the importance of gun safety. Gun safety came up because of a little cork pop gun that I bought Erick at Cumberland Falls State Park.

Erick loves his shark hat with a bite out of the brim. He's gotten about 10 compliments on it - thus a lesson about a conversation starter :) Somehow I'm the only one who has insect bites - that I know of. I'm glad the boys seem to have not inherited that from me. My grandma would get poison ivy from looking at it :) I showed Victor how to shoot pool at the cabin, but I don't think it took - still a year or so from the proper level of hand-eye coordination. Victor reiterated that he really wants to practice basketball (e.g. the "spider" dribble that Mr. Ducey can do) and become a professional. I told him that he'll have to wait and see how big and tall he gets.

The boys are very patient and obedient for the most part. They go along with whatever activity we come up with and don't complain. I hope they keep these attitudes moving forward. It will allow us to have lots of good long and mini vacations in the future.

Appendix A. Vacation Log
Vacation started Friday June 6, 2014.
Fri: Drive to Chattanooga, eat at Big River (good), walk gardens at old Chattanooga station (now hotel) (see frogs).
Sat: Rock City (really cool), Ruby Falls (meh), and Incline Railway (meh).
Sun: TN Aquarium (really cool), drive to cabin (Away at Sha Kon Na Hey) in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Mon: Grotto Falls (1.5 mi) Hike (pretty tough but beautiful) in Smoky Mtn National Park by way of Gatlinburg
Tue: Drive through Cade's Cove (saw only a turkey) and learn how a water mill works, Take unimproved road up mountain for 10 miles (scary but cool - still no bears), eat at BullFish (quite good)
Wed: Drive to Ashville, NC to Biltmore, explored Bass Pond and walled gardens, house, and winery; drove back to cabin for last night
Thu: Drive to Williamsburg, KY to stay at Cumberland Inn; visit Cumberland Falls State Park, saw falls and river, went through mining rough; went back late at night to see Moonbow but no luck (heard later that it happened at midnight - we left at 10:50).
Fri: Drive to Stearns, KY to take Big South Fork Railway to Blue Heron National Park; hiked to Crack in the Rocks, walked across the Tipple bridge, tried to hike to Devil's Jump (way blocked by fallen trees), visited McCreary county museum, ate at Fiesta in Corbin KY.
Sat: Begin drive home (beautiful day), stop at Fort Boone (Boonesborough) briefly, eat at Cracker Barrell and Culvers.
Sun: Watch Fantastic Mr. Fox as a family with Tinkerbell.

3/8/2005 11:31:02 AM  
I have to brag about my other baby. She has a reputation for being less than warm and welcoming but it turns out that she is just too sophisticated for her own good. Prudence LOVES classical music. I've been trying to get in the habit of playing a lot of classical for Victor (even though I know he can't hear much yet). Usually when I turn on music in our bedroom, Pru sprints from the room but I've noticed that no matter how loud I have classical cranked up, she just stays. Ends up she is very refined and not just haughty like others believe. Here is a picture of Pru in the endearing way only we get to see her.

1/27/2010 9:03:03 PM  
It's not a good week. Sometimes I have to talk about the bad stuff too, right? Nope, not a good week at all. Victor is having one of those autism jags where he just backslides for days and days and it feels pretty hopeless at times. We've been here before though and I know that something will happen (a really good night's sleep? a great therapy session? a meaningful interaction that makes him feel like himself again?) to snap him back into "our normal" again. Until then though, it sucks the life out of me and keeping the brave face on all day in front of the boys is wearing me out more than a little.

This all seemed to start a few days ago when we were looking at pictures from last year and Victor saw a very favorite toy in one of the pictures. This is a toy that we eventually phased out and then took away because Victor would so intensely stim with it. Some therapists think that you need to allow a little bit of stimming to satisfy the craving and thus calm the kid but the stimming he did with that toy was counterproductive to everything about our daily lives. It had to go into a box for a year. When he saw it in the picture, he begged for it. We thought maybe he could handle playing with it and would use it in a more meaningful way now, especially since it reinforces his recent phonics learning.

I don't think he'll get that toy back again. It seemed like he tuned everything else out more than ever before. It may seem more extreme at this point just because he's made so much progress in a year and I know that he's capable of much more focused and "normal" behavior now. And really, I don't know if the toy sent him over the edge or if he was already heading that way and the hysterical need for the toy should have been my big "whoa! grab onto something because we're about to slip into the abyss!" warning. At any rate, it's been a tough few days overall. He's not listening, seems lost in even the most basic routines at times, not talking as much and doing more echolalia and mimicry than ever.

So we'll ride it out. He's sleeping pretty well, at least. If I can manage to get us all up early enough, I think I'll start trying to do his therapeutic listening in the mornings again before school (we're doing that only as needed now but I think it's "needed"). That's a whole other can of worms though, of course. The mornings are rather hectic these days because James has to start work a lot earlier in order to accommodate his tennis coaching schedule. I'm barely managing to get Victor ready for school since Erick's first feeding of the day is always right in the same timeframe. Every morning is different, obviously, so it's always an adventure.

8/8/2010 12:18:31 AM  
Victor's birthday party was a smashing success (as far as the kids were concerned anyway........we weren't entirely impressed with the level of service from the bowling alley but the kids were blissfully unaware). There are many, many, many pictures for me to sort through but I'll try to get some of them on very soon. Victor loves all of his presents though and he's even sharing some of them with his brother, probably because he can't even keep track of all of them at this point. He's five and he's been celebrated. Now on to getting ready for kindergarten to start in just 11 days!

12/19/2012 7:57:59 AM  
[James here] More Erick cutisms:

"That monkey is jungling." (He meant "juggling.")

"I like to watch Scuba Doo." (He meant "Scooby.")

Yesterday Erick was unusually sad in the morning and preoccupied. At breakfast he was staring at the picture of he and his brother on Santa's lap and he started crying. Later, in the basement, he ignored the Nabi computer and was running around in circles. I hugged him and played some games of his choice just to make him feel better. As we were getting closer to having to go to school, he started crying again. I thought, "Oh, he is afraid of going to school." Yes, he was; he was crying as he entered his classroom.

Turns out that there is a Santa visiting the school on Friday, and Erick is so petrified about the idea that he is already worried about it. Mommy has assured him that if he doesn't want to visit with Santa, he can watch Scuba Doo instead.

Here's a pic of Erick with the Santa at Alton Mall. This is the picture he was staring at.

6/16/2014 7:06:52 AM  
[James here] I had one of my happiest Father's Days ever. I got big hugs, kisses, and FD wishes from my boys in the morning; a wonderful lunch from Mimi and Popaw; and to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox with my family (including a cat) in the evening. The movie event was requested by Victor on Saturday as we were driving home. Erick was asleep in the car and we told Victor he needed to be quiet. He began scribbling something on his "magnet doodle" and handed it up to Mom.

Erick capped off my day by saying, "Daddy, do you know why my favorite thing to say is? Happy Father's Day."

3/9/2005 9:26:22 AM  
Online Illini unite! It's time to start cranking up some virtual Oskeewowwow in preparation for Friday morning. Hail to the orange.........and yadda yadda yadda. I even dreamed about them last night.

Specifically, I dreamed that Eileen and I were going to the game against Michigan/Northwestern (in the dream, it was Michigan and Chris Webber was there wearing his weird mask) and that I was mad because Tom Brunet and Tom Zimmerman were smoking cigars! Yeah, I don't know.

1/31/2010 9:13:57 PM  
OK, things are slowly but steadily improving. The frigid weather and yet another round of colds is not doing poor Victor any favors though. He's still just not himself but at least he's more responsive than he was. I hope that he holds it together this week (and that I hold it together as well!) because Daddy is out of the picture until Saturday. He's off to Austin so it's me and the boys. If it gives you any idea how well it's going, they are just now sounding like they're possibly asleep but I'm still terrified to try to take a shower. Fun.

We did have a nice day though. We went to breakfast with Mimi & PopPaw and then we took Mimi with us up to see Gaga for the afternoon. The boys both fell asleep on the drive home (hence the less than smooth bedtime). It was good for all of us to get some quality family time in today. Once we were home, I wanted to collapse though. I broke out Victor's old Legos (Quattros rule!) to see what Erick would think of them and they were a hit. The boys played together very nicely for a little while. James, here's what you missed:

After that I had to enlist the help of Leapfrog for the first of many times this week. I started the DVD and then sprinted upstairs with Erick, got him into pajamas and fed him. I was closing the door to his room post-tucking in just as Victor was emerging from the living room to announce that his show was over. Now let's just see how I fare overnight with the dueling snuggle seekers. 5 more nights. 5 more nights.

8/8/2010 2:17:01 PM  
As it turns out, I have a few other pictures to attend to before the big birthday photo update. I had forgotten how many pictures we've taken lately.

A week ago, we took a little cruise down I-255 with the Dohrn clan for some bouncy housing. Here's the proof:

(Bernie in the air!)

(Jack & Bern getting down on Erick's level.)

(Not too traumatized by his first bouncy housing.)

(The old pro post-slide.)

(Tired, bored boys waiting for food.)

And these are a bit random but just a few days ago, I found Erick just hanging out enjoying the sunroom all alone:

He had company before long though:

Next up, birthday pics. Sadly, there are no pics from the water park. I didn't feel brave enough to attempt keeping the camera dry all day. I sure wish we had a picture of Victor coming off the slide in Treehouse Harbor though. Biggest smile ever. Hopefully this montage will make up for the lack of water park pictures:

12/8/2012 12:02:21 PM  The Nabi has a feature where you can compose books. Here is a book that Victor wrote about his trip to Peoria as an exercise in the difference between fiction and non-fiction (Daddy dictated). It's got pictures taken on the Nabi from our visit on 12/8/2012.

cristmas is not fiction

6/23/2014 5:09:19 AM  
[James here] This may be the saddest thing I've ever heard. When I told Victor that he had taken too long to complete the biking portion of his triathlon and that the race was over, he sadly said, "Last but not least, Victor."

3/11/2005 3:42:56 PM  
Haven't had much to say but thought I'd better blog so that Genevieve won't worry that something's wrong. ;) (Sure Gen, lurk away but never sign the guestbook!). Everything's fine. Big nosebleed day. I blame the cedar pollen, more than anything. Trying to take it easy today so I can be well-rested for John & Jeanie's arrival tomorrow.

The Illini game was BORING today. Sure would have been more fun if we had at least been blowing out Michigan instead of Northwestern. I believe those guys are going the distance. If nothing else, they have to just because 2005 needs to be a much better year. Nothing will make up for losing Ro & JT last year but it's time for happy things to happen for the Humphreys. It's going to take a lot of good to make up for Bush being re-elected too but I shall digress............ (It's a baby blog, Dawn, a baby blog). I feel good things coming, particularly in the little kicks (Seinfeld fans?).

Finished Victor's baby booties today. Shouldn't say they're FINISHED, I guess. They still need to have their seams sewn up - a chore that requires assistance from my trusty teacher. They look pretty good. Now I'm working on gauge swatches to figure out what pattern to use for the next blankie. This is really, really addicting and I think it just might help my blood pressure a little. That and relaxing with Miss Pru. [Note to Paul: We'll fly in European cat psychoanalysts before we'll kick our furbaby to the curb. We've just been through too much together in the past 11 years.]

8/10/2010 3:50:57 PM  As usual, it's feast or famine with our family and photography. So I guess that makes this the occasional feast:

(The rare moments when Erick will wear a hat must be captured!)

(Playing the sad clown on the day after the party.)

(I was a little freaked out to walk in and see this.)

(Another episode of "The Many Faces of Victor: Hat Edition".)

12/22/2012 8:09:39 PM  
[James here] Here is a little insight into how Victor views the world. Victor is coming down with a cold and tonight at around 6pm he was coughing and his nose was running non-stop - obviously a miserable condition. When mommy asked him how he was feeling he said, "Just a little bit good." I think this is the definition of a glass-half-full attitude.

8/1/2014 10:17:32 AM  
[James here] As heard and transcribed by Mommy:

V: "Erick, I broke your Kindle!"
E: "Get out of this house! I want a new brother!"
V: "Um, July Fools."
E: "Not funny, man."

3/14/2005 2:12:42 PM  
Had a fun weekend with John & Jeanie and am now "recovering" with a day of rest. Added new pics of my girth today. Here are also some pics from Saturday night with the Lum gang.

8/24/2010 2:13:59 PM  
Have I ever got pictures to share! Can't get to them right now though, sadly. Maybe one of these nights I'll have enough energy to get them edited and posted once James logs off for the day.

The big moment that we unfortunately don't have pictures of though (OK, we have like 2!) is Victor's first day of kindergarten last week. Dawn the Rule Follower did as we were asked and dropped Victor off at the designated curb dropoff point so we don't have all of those quaint pictures of Victor walking into his classroom and sitting down at his desk, etc. Most of the rest of the school parked and walked in and took their pictures but not Dawn the Rule Follower. :( On the bright side, there really weren't tears shed with our arrangement whereas there probably would have been with the full-on family march down the hall. And he's in good hands at dropoff - his favorite teacher's aide, Mrs. Holder, comes out to the car and takes his hand to walk him right in there. He can barely be bothered to cast a "Bye Mommy!" over his shoulder. I'll take that over leg clinging any day though.

He's doing just great. To give you some idea, he actually gets out of bed voluntarily in the mornings because he's anxious to get ready and go. He really likes the new school and he's happy as a clam with his teacher and aides (and luckily a few familiar friends from Early Childhood). His classroom has a teacher and 3 aides for 6 kids so we feel quite comfortable about his safety during the day. I still feel like I'm going to throw up every time the phone rings during the day, especially around lunch time (PB&Js offered in the cafeteria EVERY SINGLE DAY....ugh) but he's adjusted and happy and all reports from the staff are nothing but stellar. The boy is a kindergartener. Too cool.

1/16/2013 5:10:27 PM  
[James here] Here's the results of a school survey given to Victor.

  • favorite subject: reading

  • least fav. subject: social studies

  • fav. free time activities: rest, dinner, play with Erick

  • occupation when grown up: be a man, be somebody's dad

  • 3 wishes: blow out candles, go to magic house, eat food

  • friends: Noah, Will, Jermaine

  • fav. food: pizza

8/6/2014 2:51:33 PM  
[James here] We are really enjoying the new basketball hoop. Victor and I have been doing layup drills, and Erick made a basket yesterday with his new UofI basketball.

Yesterday, after we played basketball, for the first time ever all three Humphrey boys went for a bike ride and then jog around the neighborhood. I was very impressed by Erick's stamina. He had no problem running 0.9 miles and was leading his brother most of the way. At the end Victor had to kick it in to "win" which did not make Erick very happy. Erick may have the best cardio talent in the family.

3/15/2005 9:01:05 AM  
Outstanding appointment today. My weight gain is 9 pounds so far (hey, that's awesome for me!) and blood pressure was a very workable 120/74. Most importantly, Victor is as cute and active as ever. That boy's got some long legs. He really is going to be long, tall Texan, Dad! He was moving a lot and kept putting his hands in front of his face and kicking right at the ultrasound. The nurse tried to capture a pic of it but it's not the greatest quality. We'll see tonight if it's worth posting.

Aside from the pummeling I'm getting from allergies right now, feeling great. Might even finally brave Babies'RUs today. Or maybe I'll take a long nap now!

8/31/2010 8:26:41 PM  
Hey, I added some pictures! They're even good. :) Things have just been so busy with the beginning of school. Victor's still loving it but he's very tired when he's home. He gets off the bus and he wants to go down in the basement to "hang out with Daddy" and watch a DVD. Definitely has to unwind a bit before he's ready to play with Erick. And while Erick is sad to see his brother leave the house without him, he's really enjoying his freedom. He just started Little Gym last week and he is loving it.

Before I forget that I got these ready, here are a few catch-up pictures from a few weeks ago. We went to the MO Botanical Garden with Jack & Bernie (and Heather & Chris) for an extra special Heather-orchestrated dinosaur event. The big boys all got to ride Metrolink to the gardens (Erick and Daddy met us there) and they seemed to buy that it was a Dinosaur Train. Then at the gardens, we went to the Jurassic Dark exhibit in the Climatron. I don't have pics of that part because Victor literally fell on his face right before we went in and so I was consoling him the whole way through. Here are the few pics I have though:

(Big boys at the entrance to the waaaaaaaaaay cool Children's Garden)

(Erick attempting to climb the cargo net like a big boy.)

(Erick, clutching the parrot that he screamed about having to leave behind, and quite concerned about why Jack has transformed into a dinosaur.)


Good times.

1/20/2013 6:20:56 PM  
[James here] The influence of Star Wars.

Victor: What's scarier - a vampire or an empire?

8/8/2014 8:45:38 AM  
[James here] Victor can snap like an expert. He learned to do it in a day and now does it all the time - like after he makes a basket. He was inspired by the Rat in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Now, when Victor jumps around and snaps, I say, "Careful, Rat."

BTW, I still can't snap. I don't know what it is about my hands/head, but I've never been able to do it.

3/18/2005 7:05:16 PM  
I think I just felt a real kick. I mean like JUST now. Saw him again today (another NP appointment - I will spare further details) and he seems to have grown a lot in 3 days. Got to see a lot of his face today and he reminded me a lot of Ronan. He never stops moving either!

Other than that, not much major news in the Humphrey household. Started a new blanket that is cloverleaf eyelet patterned. James is getting busier and busier with tennis again, both playing and crusading-wise. I really miss playing sometimes but I know it will all come back to me when I get to play again in about November (at least it will be cool then!). Cannot wait to get Vic his first racquet. That will be so cool.

9/1/2010 1:43:49 PM  
More pictures. I didn't want to put the whole shebang in one post because I was afraid the page wouldn't load for GiGi. So here are more pictures. I told you there was a backlog!

First, there are these pictures from the last day the J'ville pool was open. Victor was soooooooo happy and surprised when his best buds Bernie & Jack showed up. For a while, we were just about the only people there though:

1/22/2013 4:47:34 PM  
[James here]
Here's a picture of Victor shooting a basket at the basketball camp in St. Louis. His 6'2" "buddy" was awesome.

3/21/2005 2:14:54 PM  
OK. Breathing this week's first sigh of relief. Excellent perinatologist visit this morning. We had a slight scare this past weekend which was magnified by the significance of this week in our minds. Victor could not look better though! His weight is estimated at about about 13 ounces today and he is measuring about 5 days ahead. Dr. Berry was very pleased with how he looked.

Cervix looks darn near perfect as well which was a tremendous relief right now. V's amniotic fluid looked really good as well. So, though we know there will still be many stresses we also know that things look about as good as they possibly could from a medical perspective. There's no such thing as "out of the woods" but this is all most encouraging.

Now back to pressing matters this afternoon like knitting tiny Illini booties (baby blue with peach ribbons)! Thanks for all of the good vibes from those of you who are out there urging us on this week.

9/1/2010 1:45:21 PM  
But there are even more! These are from just a few days ago when we went to Grafton with -you guessed it- Jack & Bernie and Heather & Chris to pick apples at Eckerts and then on to hang out and eat at the Loading Dock. Everybody was partying like it was Friday night (which it was):

Ahhhhh. Finally caught up. More soon, I'm sure.

1/28/2013 9:14:58 AM  
[James here]

Erick: "Angry Birds Luke Skysquawker."

3/25/2005 9:14:02 AM  
Ronan Woods Humphrey was born a year ago today at 2:17 p.m. He weighed 1 pound, 2 ounces and was 11 inches long. He was an amazing little guy with a lot of spirit and we were honored to share his entire short life holding him. Miss him today and every day.

10/29/2010 6:20:00 AM  
[James here] For about a month Victor has been talking about "Pog the Pumpkin." Mommy and I have been baffled by it. At times it seemed as though "Pog" was a magical pumpkin come to life in some story. Other times he would say, "Gonna pog the pumpkin." But what could "pogging" be? We didn't want to imagine too many things, but it turned out that we should have imagined the most obvious! Finally, last night, Mommy observed Victor very purposefully walking from the kitchen to the dining room carrying a spoon and a steak knife. Intrigued, she asked what he was doing, and he replied, "I'm going to pog the pumpkin." Victor was referring to the little pumpkin he had bought during his field trip to Eckerts. He wanted to put a happy face on it, and he kept talking about it all through dinner.

So, after dinner, he grabbed his utensils again and Daddy showed him the proper procedure including putting down newspaper, cutting a hole in the top, scooping out the seeds with your hand, scraping with a spoon, drawing a face with a marker, and then using a sharp knife to carve the happy visage. Of course, Victor did the drawing and Daddy did the cutting. It turned out very cute - best pumpkin I've ever been involved with:

2/1/2013 1:16:56 AM  
[James here] Here's something Victor wrote on a single sheet of paper at school.

Remember always wash your hands if theres germs on you when theres a lightning outside you stay inside because when your outside in the lightning you be Dead
theres a good boy
your nice
a girl is beautiful who is naughty or nice
what are you doing
where are you
why is thir no Bad guy
How do you stop the Bad guy
your the best

3/26/2005 10:48:59 AM  
James Thomas Humphrey was born a year ago today at 5:38 p.m. He weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces and was 12 inches long. The more pragmatic and calm twin, he had the cutest little mouth I've ever seen and in spite of being a preemie, somehow managed to look muscular.

Always our first and second born, the twins are never far from our thoughts and forever in our hearts. They've given us so much strength and we will be better parents to Little Vic for the lessons his big brothers have taught us. Their presence will always be felt in this family and we wouldn't want it any other way. Thanks boys. Mommy & Daddy love you, always.

2/11/2013 2:36:59 PM  
[James here] This is what Erick said yesterday five minutes after I left for the airport to go to Austin for a week, "Oh no, I forgot to miss Daddy and now he's gone!"

3/26/2005 8:54:10 PM  
Oh. My. God.

I think I need to check my blood pressure after that Illini victory. I so badly wanted to see Auntie Leener in the stands going crazy but they seemed to only care about showing Bill Murray. What a happy moment in a bittersweet day.


Here's a few of Vic's favorite Illini, Uncle Pat and Cousin Sean...........

2/13/2013 7:16:31 AM  
[James here] Erick: "I want Victor to come home and play the piano. When he plays the piano, it is so beautiful it is like going to the symphony but without having to wear nice pants."

3/28/2005 10:07:20 AM  
Great OB visit. We had the big anatomy ultrasound today and everything looks right on. Vic was a bit resistant to being pressed on but was just cooperative enough to get all his measurements. Turns out I have an anterior placenta so he must really be a kicker for me to have felt him so early (weeks and weeks ago).

Blood pressure and weight gain are just right. Cervical length is still splendid. I feel good. This is a good start to the week. OB is seeing us again in 2 weeks since this is still our tough time range. Plus, had to get us back on our OB/peri appointment schedule since they threw us off by actually taking vacations over spring break!

2/24/2013 7:40:20 AM  
[James here] We've been able to get out for some sledding action this winter. I wish I had gotten a picture of Mommy on the saucer sled.

On Friday, Victor was worried that we weren't actually going to go. Here's how he handled it.

3/31/2005 1:27:02 PM  
Serving semi-public notice to the smokers out there (specifically Vic's Grandpa, Great Uncle Dick and Great Aunt Branwyn):

Over the course of the last 34 years, you have heard plenty about my feelings on this topic but they are about to have more impact on you. I don't want to hear how hard it is to quit. I just lived through a really hard year sans addictions and I'm not keen on hearing a bunch of lazy whining. I just want it to stop RIGHT NOW. If after all this time, you can't consider doing it for me, than for the love of God, do it for Little Vic. He wants you here and healthy and not reaking of that terrible stench.

Mark my words, loved ones, you will NEVER smoke in his presence. Not in utero or otherwise. Vic will not breathe your second hand smoke because I am his mother and it is my call. Is this punitive? Yes, partly. But it is also my exercise of my discretion as Vic's mother. If you have a lit cigarette, my son will not be in your presence. No exceptions.

I have gained a small measure of power here and I will wield it! Play time is over. Shape up, people. Love you. DEPH.

3/14/2013 8:17:36 PM  
[James here] Here's Victor's written instructions on swimming:

Step 1 get in the pool
Step 2 swim to the other wall
Step 3 swim back to the wall
Step 4 get out of pool

4/4/2005 11:33:13 AM  
Today the blog becomes the FAQ section of the page! There are two questions that I keep getting here lately so I shall address them:

1. No, I am most certainly not planning to fly home for a shower. The only thing that will get me on a plane is a family emergency. A shower ain't even close to emergency!

Yes, I realize the repercussions - so much so that I recently dreamed that we had absolutely nothing when Victor arrived and had to go buy diapers on the way home from the hospital. It was mildly alarming but in the dream, he was happy and healthy (and probably poopy) so I didn't wake up screaming.

I wish I could get home, mostly because I would so love to see family and friends right now. But alas, that is the main purpose of this very page - to keep everyone in the loop across the many miles. That and apparently allowing me to babble endlessly as some weird form of self-therapy.

2. Will we do this again? Geez. We don't know. Certainly not ruling it out but we're kinda waiting to see how labor and delivery go this time around. We'd certainly love to have another but there are a whole lot of factors at play there. If we do IVF again, it should probably be in November since that seems to be "our month".

I can tell you that if we ever get pregnant all on our own "accidentally", there will be unrestrained jubilation no matter what the timing. Not holding out hope for that though. Dare to dream though I guess, eh? But if the question is whether we'd go through IVF again......yes, in a heartbeat, funds permitting. IVF is a walk in the park compared to what we've been through.

OK, so stop asking! :)

Oh yeah, and GO ILLINI.

3/19/2013 4:23:20 AM  
[James here] Victor chatted the following to me:

I love my dad. and 3x4=12

4/4/2005 4:17:56 PM  
Guess I'm just bloggerific today. Auntie Leener says I sound a little cranky so I thought I'd try to post something more positive. She's right. I've been a bit of a downer lately but it comes with the territory at the present. I'll snap out of it soon. Hormones, people, hormones!

I would like to go on record right now, 4 hours before the NCAA finals, as saying that I believe with every thread of my being that the Illini are going to get the job done tonight. It's time for James Augustine (aka Keeper of Eileen's Heart) to step up and show us why he's all that. I believe that it shall be.

Hail to the orange! Hail to the blue! I'm thinking that since it's such a late game Victor might even do his own little Chief Illiniwek dance in there (he starts up around 10:00).

3/19/2013 6:52:15 PM  
[James here]
Erick: "This food doesn't go down to my leg. It goes down to my 'testine."

4/4/2005 10:15:14 PM  
I jinxed Augustine. He would have made a better water boy tonight.

3/20/2013 4:30:50 AM  
[James here] Today was a kick a#@ and take names day for the Humphrey boys. First, Erick rode a horse (Red Rock) by his own request and with no tears.

Second, Victor started his new swimming session and treated the testing as some sort of speed trials - showing what he can do when he really tries to go fast (e.g. leaving his classmates in the dust).

4/5/2005 11:12:42 AM  
OK. I was completely wrong about the Illini. They could have won. They should have won. I'm not even disappointed in them. I'm disappointed FOR them. They never stopped trying and I am proud of their effort. I'm done shedding tears over it now, I swear.

Today is 22 weeks. Big week. Within a few days, I will be the most pregnant I have ever been. My awareness of how fragile this all is so keen but it's a blessing in and of itself to know to cherish every single little kick. Victor knows how loved he is. Trust me on that.

Onward and outward! And for the last time for a while (I don't DO football season), Oskee-wow-wow!

3/21/2013 5:15:52 AM  
[James here]
Mommy: (referring to the fact that the Peter Pan DVD _was_ in the DVD player) Yes, Victor, that means that you were correct.
Victor: And that means that you were very incorrect.
Mommy: Well, that may be true, but I'm your mommy and it's not appropriate for you to speak that way to me.
Victor: So be it! (Like the Emperor from Return of the Jedi)
Mommy: What?
Victor: Oh, uh, nevermind.

4/7/2005 4:06:05 PM  
Just found out that I am officially preregistered at the hospital and I am all signed up for childbirth and breastfeeding classes. Almost wish I could have waited just one more day for that but it's all good. I was initially really squeamish about doing classes knowing how uncomfortable some moments might be and how many emotional triggers will linger. Kinda forced to deal with it early on though because we need to make sure everything is done before the cerclage comes out because all bets are off after that. I'm admittedly still pretty timid about it.

We owe it to Veeger to try to do everything right though and it's not about what makes it easier on us. It's about what will make it all safer for him. And yeah obviously, we've done a whole lot to be proactive on his behalf, more than is required of most. We gotta jump out there and participate in some normalcy though. Yeah, talk to me in a month. ;) James, on the other hand, will be cool as a cucumber. Thank goodness.

Not issuing specific "shout outs" here to protect the privacy of others but I've had a few friends with some really bad news this week. They know who they are and they know they're on my mind. You know how much we cherish this little kicking maniac but we are more aware than ever of how lucky he makes us. Holding you close to our hearts.

4/1/2013 2:29:53 PM  
[James here] Yesterday Erick went #2 on the potty for the second time. Today, his brother composed the following note to him:

The cutest thing was that Victor wrote this on his own with seemingly no cue.

4/9/2005 3:12:19 PM  
James got to feel his first kick early yesterday morning! Most cool. I thought the kicks were probably getting strong enough that he could feel them but he's pretty erratic during the day. He's a night owl.

Today is less joyous. Taxes are being done in the Humphrey home. Ouch. I was hoping to get a pic of Daddy this weekend but right now he is deranged and surrounded by a flurry of paperwork. He's actually remaining fairly chipper though.

OB appointment Monday. Counting the hours.

4/15/2013 2:51:46 PM  
[James here] Victor and Erick debate human anatomy.

Erick: "Too much cake and now it's all making my tummy too big".
Victor: "Well, it will go from your stomach to your small intestine and then........."
Erick, mercifully cutting Victor off: "Noooooooo! It goes to my BIG testine!!! The BIG one!"
Victor: "Or does it go to your hollow leg? That's what PopPaw told me."
Erick: "PopPaw! PopPaw's funny. He's like a clown."
Victor: "Yeah, but sometimes he doesn't know what he's talking about".

4/10/2005 2:01:03 PM  
Yay! How fun. Victor just got his first cute little outfit (thanks Sharon!) that isn't a hand-me-down from his brothers or made by his compulsive knitter of a mother. :) This is all really happening.

I've been trying not to buy him much stuff, not because I'm superstitious (I'm surprisingly not in the slightest) but because I know once I start, I'll be hard pressed to stop. I know my own tendencies.

I've got to be compulsive about something so I am an absolute knitting machine. I'm working on his second hat and his second blanket and he has 10 pairs of booties on display in his room. What do you expect from a shoe gal?

5/24/2013 1:58:56 PM  
[James here] Today I was yelling down the stairs asking Victor to come up stairs and vacuum under his and his brother's chair. He was asking me why and I was saying because I need his help. Then, he was asking why I needed his help (all being yelled up and down the stairs mind you) and I was explaining that sometimes I need for him to do things that I ask him to do. Then, as he was walking up the stairs and got within eyeshot he said, "Do you need my help because you are getting old?" So, I said "Yes" and Victor began his work. As he was working, he said, "You will need my help as you get older and older. I will help you forever." Just about brought a tear to my eye.

4/11/2005 12:16:56 PM  
Good OB report today. Slightly disappointing because I didn't get to see Victor. His heartrate was excellent though and I'm measuring right on. Actually gained 3 pounds in 2 weeks so I guess we can assume he's packed a little on too. Too much ice cream?

Speaking of ice cream, I take the glucose tolerance test next month when I go back to OB. We see Berry the Peri in 2 weeks for another growth scan and official cervix check (confirmed closed with cerclage intact today but no length measurement). Cruising along and officially marking normal pregnancy milestones now. OB says we can do cartwheels at 24, 28 and 34 weeks.

7/4/2013 8:30:50 AM  [James here] I'm so proud of my little boy, Victor. This morning he and I are exchanging Spanish sentences (poorly worded by both, but attempts nontheless). And, he's just made his own pancakes.

4/14/2005 5:08:33 PM  
My name is Dawn. I am addicted to Nutella. (Haha, Leener thought I was going to say "My name is Dawn and I am funky and when it comes to funk I am a junkie"!). Love, love, love Nutella. It's like eating cake icing but tricking myself into believing it has some redeeming nutritional value.

Seriously though, can't stop eating. Feel great but can't stop eating and can't stop sweating. Basically, in spite of being full of estrogen, I am somehow turning into my father. How can that be?

The nesting has officially begun or rather, the nesting planning. I can't do much physically but I've started stressing myself out with all of the lists of things that must be done to prepare for Victor's arrival. I guess it's a little early to start washing clothes, eh? ;)

7/18/2013 5:59:18 AM  Pulled into Target and V said "Como se dice 'try to stay on task, la mama' en Espanol?" Right after that Erick was saying "When we go to Target, I get scared that we'll be at Target forever and ever". Sheesh. Melodrama.

4/19/2005 12:07:14 PM  
My 24 week cartwheel today is a mental one, especially after the celebratory lunch I just ate. Already looking forward to marking Week 28. Certainly feels within reach now!

No other major news in particular, aside from an attempted crib purchase and a nearly completed Blankie #2. Tried to go ahead and buy the crib so we'd have it waiting at BRU for us but ended up on the warehouse waiting list. Only a few weeks' wait though. Today I'm beginning the tedious process of sewing the border on Victor's blanket. Love knitting. Hate sewing.

The mommy report? Nose still bleeding daily but that's no biggie. Experiencing a strange but intermittent resurgence of morning sickness that seems to be cured by just sleeping until 10:30 or so. Cute belly is quickly becoming scary belly.

Yay 24 weeks!!!!!! Good job Veeg. Good job Cervix.

[Amended at 3:12 to reflect that the blanket border operation is now officially a catastrophe. I will not make the mistake of bragging about knitting progress again. Serenity now!]

7/30/2013 6:13:23 AM  
[James here] This is the Task Manager (Windows XP) from Victor's computer. It is mostly Firefox Browser Windows.

Victors Story.txt
63134 Weather Forecast
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Grandma Orangutan
Buscar en google in Spanish
Raging Rivers Waterpark
Egg in Spanish
Strong in Spanish
M&M's U.S.A.
What Do Geese Eat?
how many cents is a very little ball?
Grandma in Spanish
Online Timer
My in Spanish

I love my little boy so much.

4/24/2005 6:02:05 PM  
It's almost time for the March of Dimes Walk America event here in Austin. I obviously will not be participating but I intend to walk in Ronan & James's honor (as well in memory of many other special babies including -but not limited to- Thomas, Ryan & Reagan, Jack & Kyle, Evan & Brian, Caleb, Rory, Devin & Elizabeth and Lauren) in future years. I really encourage all of my loved ones to participate in this event in your areas or to give generously to the March of Dimes. Prematurity and infant loss is not the freak occurence we all want to believe it is. Great strides have been made but there is a long, long way to go.

I recently read an article in Parenting about infant loss that made an important point. That was that everyone talks about the babies that survive prematurity and go on to live healthy lives as the miracles. Those that don't get that chance are just as much tiny miracles and more people need to see it that way. Their time here is short but their impact is so great and the strength of will and character that they manage to show is truly extraordinary. Please support MOD any way you can and please support those around you that suffer such unthinkable losses by acknowledging their children. Thanks. :)


(If you want to support a specific team and don't know of one, here is an Austin branch of Thomas's Team, a team near and dear to my heart:

8/3/2013 2:05:24 PM  
[Victor here] I like to be 8 because I I like to be in 3rd grade.

4/25/2005 11:42:20 AM  
Good appointment with Berry the Peri. Victor is 1 pound, 14 ounces today and is thus measuring 4 days ahead of his gestational age. Go Veeg! Cervix is closed. We were assured that an elephant could bungee jump on my cervix and these stitches would hold but I consider that a little overzealous. Fluid looked good, all of his little parts looked good, everything looked good. Trying to breathe a sigh of relief and just relax a little.

Also got some great leads on pediatricians from Berry's nurse so we can try to meet with them in a month or so. Need to have everything figured out by 36 weeks just in case he decides to come out when the stitches come out. Probably won't happen but need to plan for it.

Got some new face shots. They're not super clear but he is starting to look a little more human and less alien-like. Can't fit much of him in a frame anymore. We'll try to get a face shot on the site tonight.

Yay for a good report. Now I can just chill and get ready for a visit this weekend from my mommy. Double yay!

4/29/2005 9:54:31 AM  
My mommy's here! My mommy's here! We have a very low impact day "planned" and by that, I mean that we are going to do whatever sounds good. We are about to head off for a Pressler reunion lunch which will be a good kickstart to the weekend. Uncle Dan & Aunt Jean are here visiting Cousin Pretty Girl Susan this weekend too so it's a special bonus event. Looking forward to it!

Victor got his first pair of shoes which were sent along for the trip from Gaga. They are so cute I could just cry! Literally. It's good that he's got a pair of shoes now instead of just booties. ;) I think I have officially stopped caring about shoes for myself now that I've seen these cute little V shoes. At least temporarily.

Happy Friday to all!

5/3/2005 10:50:29 AM  
26 weeks, baby! The time really is starting to go by more quickly now that we've gotten past the first milestones. I think that it also helps that we're so busy with preparing now. Just like that, V's room is starting to look like HIS room! Well....just like that plus some help from a special benefactor/consultant visiting from IL this past weekend. ;) Oh yeah, and several hours of work from my trusty slave. It is frustrating to have so much I want to do and not have the physical ability to follow through but I'm lucky to have loved ones humoring me.

I'm feeling more tired and sore here lately and I really need to make an extra conscious effort to park it and keep the feet up (and drink my water) to stave off any preterm labor. I am in the high risk zone of PTL just by virtue of my experience. Feeling good in general though. Just struggling to keep my excitement/urge to run out and shop in check. Wish me luck!

5/7/2005 3:11:19 PM  
Happy Mother's Day (early)! I think I'll have a good one. Yes, it's obviously bittersweet but I also feel very, very lucky for so many things as a mother. I got to meet two amazing little guys last year that changed my life forever and are a part of my every single moment. Plus, there is much to look forward to as a mother and I'm enjoying every bit of this pregnancy. Vic & I are doing so well. The docs seem to think that if we've gotten this far without any bedrest or drugs, this is going to be pretty smooth sailing. We're having fun hanging out together all day every day. Found out from an ultrasound yesterday that he apparently turned almost head down in the past few weeks. I knew he was up to something!

Thank you to Ro, JT & Veeg's daddy for helping them send me the awesome flowers I got today. He's one in a million. I can pick 'em. :) Thank you also to my family and friends for remembering me this weekend. And thank you to Aunt Deb, Uncle Pat & Cousin Sean for the great gift package today. Fun new Vic stuff to play with!

Laying low this weekend trying to get us some extra rest. I am so obsessed with Victor's room now but I'm trying to stay off my feet and also trying to not spend much money yet so I am knitting away. Currently working on throw pillow covers. Hey, at least it's not more booties!

Happy Mother's Day again to all of the wonderful moms out there, but especially to my mother and my Gaga who have taught me so many things I'm only beginning to discover I know.

5/9/2005 2:59:45 PM  
OK, that's it. I'm declaring myself in the third trimester. Some books say 27, some say 28 and I have one that says 26w5d so I'm going with that because I could really use the ticker tape parade right now. So there. Third tri.

My OB appointment today was not as delightful as they usually are. Blood pressure was rather high. They made me lie down for a while and then took it again and it was better but still a little higher than last time. It's been high a few random times before, of course. OB was mildly alarmed though and now I have to monitor it at home and call in my readings. If it keeps trending toward upper borderline this week, I'll get sent to bed and diagnosed with pregnancy-induced hypertension. I remember a time when this was my greatest pregnancy fear.

I personally do not think that it was coincidence that I had such a high reading right after chugging the glucose test drink on very little sleep. The nurses thought I was grasping at straws with that. They just kept saying "Are you sure you're relaxed? Was traffic bad? Are you and hubbie in a spat?" Um, no. Couldn't be better except that you're freaking me out!!!!!!! I felt much better after coming home and eating. Even had a very normal reading after a mere 45 minutes at home.

I'm taking this all very seriously and yet I'm also determined to nip it in the bud pronto. Needless to say though, my modified house arrest shackles just got a little tighter. Luckily, Babies'RUs is 5 minutes away. Now if they'd just call and tell me Vic's crib is in!

5/11/2005 10:15:36 AM  
Yay!!!!! I'm anemic and I could not possibly be happier about it. NP had left me a foreboding message yesterday afternoon to call in about my lab results so I was expecting the worst. Was pleasantly surprised to hear that I passed the glucose test with flying colors and my liver enzymes looked good too. So, gestational diabetes and pre-E are ruled out at this point. Still keeping a close eye on the BP though and it's looking good here at home. Even looked good after I drove home from errands yesterday in rush hour on Mopac. Now that is a good sign!

So the big inconvience for now is that I have to take iron supplements. A pill. Ha! No big whoop. Seems like everyone I know that's been pregnant lately has had to supplement iron. So that makes me almost normal-like. :)

Victor is busy, busy, busy today. Something has thrown him off his lethargic morning routine because he has been thrashing in there for a good 3 hours now. Fine by me. I'm digging it!

[p.s. A huge thank you to my "virtual midwife" Deb C. for all of the calming peptalks lately.]

5/12/2005 4:57:43 PM  
My Gaga has created a monster. She also made me into a very polite child who was an outstanding reader (and frankly, still is) with impeccable color coordination. But as early as 1972, she made me into a shoe monster. :) That tradition continues. Granted, my dearly departed Grandma Pressler certainly contributed to what has been an endearing but costly lifelong affliction.

I have become more than a little obsessed with these Robeez shoes that Gaga sent me. I salivate over their website the way I used to salivate over the newest season's Birkenstocks. OK, so I still have a weakness for Birks too, especially any pink ones. Now I have stumbled upon a new and dangerous discovery though - I can buy the Robeez for way cheap on E-bay. I feel like an addict and I think I am blogging this only so that I have some accountability for my actions. [James is probably either freezing the credit card or staging an intervention as he reads this.] Must resist temptation to buy a bunch of tiny shoes. What if Vic is huge and his feet grow at some Wadlow rate?

In more normal news, we auditioned a pediatric group today at their "meet the docs" thingy and we were impressed. Most importantly, I think we felt pretty comfortable and not at all overwhelmed by all of this baby stuff. Let's just say we've grown accustomed to doctors. I think I'm calmest in a doctor's office though I guess my recent BP readings might indicate otherwise. I think we might be pretty good at this whole parenting thing though. In fact, I am rather sure of it. I'm not saying we won't drive him nuts though.

5/17/2005 4:53:26 PM  
Yeehaw for 28 weeks! Can't muster much more than that. Nothing wrong. Just tired and sore and achy today. Got my summer highlights today so I should be feeling fresh and revitalized. Maybe tomorrow. Need sleep.

Feels good to make it to 28 though. There was a time when 28 was a lofty goal. Now it's a notch in this growing belt. We did it. And I do mean we. This is a Team Humphrey production from start to finish (although you won't hear me saying "we" about labor ever).

We'll try to get a belly pic on yet this week. Suffice it to say there are no concerns about his growth based on my girth! Also have a very cute pic of Pru to put up. We'll probably get flamed for it but it's just too adorable not to share.

The couch calls. So does KFC.

5/21/2005 8:43:54 PM  
The heat, my God, the heat! I am alarmed. Today was our hottest day of 2005 so far and the AC did not keep up to my liking. I don't take the heat well under normal circumstances. Now it's enough to make me pretty much psychotic. I actually went out to run errands just so that I could enjoy the AC in my car.

Aside from that, good weekend so far. Haven't done anything productive like the cleaning I intended to do today but I just couldn't quite manage that kind of exertion right now. Counting the hours until we see Berry the Peri Monday morning. That and hoping BRU finally calls this week to say the crib is in!

5/23/2005 11:20:13 AM  
Excellent peri appointment. The bad news is that there are no pictures from today. The good news is that there are no pics because he's head down facing the back and squirming all over (but staying in general position).

Victor is measuring about a week and a half ahead at 3 pounds and 8 ounces which makes us just positively giddy. Really reassuring that he's ahead just in case he does come closer to 36 weeks. Cervix looked good from what we could tell but his head is blocking a very good view there too. Saw a few sprouts of hair on that little (or should I say big!) head of his too.

I only go to the peri for one more growth scan and then cerclage removal. On the other hand, there will many more OB appointments. ;) This kid is going the distance! (Thanks Katheryn, the theme song stuck.)

5/27/2005 11:39:40 AM  
Finally made some crib progress yesterday. I was actually smart about it and went waddling into BRU while I was hungry and cranky. The furniture guy got to see the side of my personality to which usually only James is exposed. And what do you know? Once I told him that I wanted a guaranteed arrival on that crib or I was going to go elsewhere (which was a lie because I want THAT crib and no other), suddenly I was able to make a deposit guaranteeing the crib's arrival in 7-14 days. Still later than I'd prefer but better than sitting around waiting on them to call and let me know what's up. Let's just say I'm not horribly impressed with their system.

Crib could come in next week and next weekend is actually our anniversary weekend (anniversary celebrated, since it actually falls on Monday) so we will be on our annual getaway and unable to giddily assemble the crib if we get that lucky. The "getaway" this year is a mere 10 miles down Mopac to downtown but it's still a means of celebration, at any rate. 7 years of wedded bliss. Feels like more (and I actually mean that in a good way).

So Vic's room is finally going to take shape soon and maybe I can calm down about it. Now it's time for the carseat! It just blows my mind that he could be debuting in a little over 6 weeks. We've still got classes to attend and stuff to buy and cleaning to do. And to think not long ago it felt like we'd never get to the 3rd tri...............

5/31/2005 11:41:03 AM  
30 weeks! Gotta love the front number changer, ya know. Feeling pretty pumped about it. I keep cracking up at what a great preggo picture I could take right now at the big 3-0 mark. My nose has bled all over the front of my t-shirt and now I also just smeared warm Nutella all over the front of myself. I'm basically disgusting.

I'm currently going through this phase where I feel great one day and then crappy the next. Definitely getting harder to sleep and I'm also having some stupid 3rd tri morning sickness but it's dealable. Ironically, nosebleeds have gotten worse over the past weekend. Conventional wisdom says they're worse with dry air. This is not dry air. This is very humid air! Whatever. I'm so used to walking around with a kleenex jammed in my nose it's no biggie anymore.

Still making slow but steady progress in the Victor preparations. I'm usually pretty content that we've got a handle on it but I certainly have my moments of panic. Suddenly, it seems alarming to me that we haven't even started childbirth classes yet. We'll finish like a week before the cerclage comes out. It's really just about perfect. So yes, I should calm down. How many times have I had to say that now?

6/1/2005 9:29:20 AM  
Yay! Fun OB appointment. And here I thought it would be the boring "pee & weigh" appointment I've come to expect. Ended up getting another sneak peek of Victor and he looked just fabulous (sorry Lia, they really do coddle me at Dr. C's). He turned to the front again so got a shot of his face today. Much to James's frustration, I could not determine what his face really looked like. I thought maybe he had James's chin. Maybe. I just know he was extremely cute and was moving his mouth around a lot.

I'm on every 2 weeks with OB for good now which is a very good thing. So between dr. visits and all of the classes in June, there will be a lot going on. Showers are coming up too. This is so much fun getting to be somewhat normal.

Need to crank up some music for the Veeg soon. I know James wants him to hear all classical but he seems to also like Curtis Mayfield and Otis Redding a lot. And strangely, Yaz. And Missy Elliot. He's very multi-dimensional. Yeah, that's it.

6/5/2005 3:10:32 PM  
Well, we got away. It's certainly good to get back 10 miles north though. Just happened to be the Republic of Texas Bikers' Rally downtown this weekend. Let's just say the Hilton was not exactly quiet and tranquil overall. But hey, it was free!

We did enjoy the spa treatments and a wonderful dinner. Also got to lounge in fluffy down comfort to watch the French Open men's final. Yay Rafa! It was another relaxing and fun anniversary celebration even if we didn't stray far this time.

We ended up getting the crib Friday and James assembled it fairly immediately (thank goodness he really is quite handy, and certainly not lazy!). So Vic's room is sorta, kinda put together now. It's a rather cozy room. Hope he likes it as much as we do.

6/6/2005 8:04:16 AM  
Thanks Genevieve, Mark, Pamela, and Irene for the car seat. This friendly bear helped us figure out how to use it. James playing with a stuffed animal provided much more entertainment than ever expected.

I took some pictures of Vic's room this weekend complete with an already tired daddy napping but James did not deem them worthy of publication (good thing I'm beyond being squeamish about my photogenicness, eh?). Will get pics of his room up soon. I personally thought the ones I took before were cute.

6/9/2005 10:55:10 AM  
First of all, welcome to Jack "Behemoth" Barnett who was born on Tuesday and weighed in at 9 pounds and 2 ounces. Victor is in for a tough Barnett vs. Humphrey wrestle-off when the time comes. Congrats Mike, Lisa & Lauren!

Also want to say how much we appreciate the gifts that have been pouring in this week. I'm getting to know the UPS guy pretty well. I'd continue to thank people individually on here but I fear that I'd miss someone now that there's more going on and I don't want to be a clod. We are genuinely touched by the generosity of our friends and family though. Plus, it's fun to play with new stuff!

First childbirth class tonight. Should be interesting since our friends Lia & Rich are in the class with us for the next 4 weeks. As if I am not already bound to crack up too much with James and his humorous commentaries. We'll probably all have to be separated. Next week we have a full 9 hour baby courseload: baby care basics, childbirth and CPR. We're going to be feeling pretty smart which is scary because yes, we know we already think we're pretty smart. ;) I'm sure Victor won't be like that at all.

6/10/2005 10:36:53 AM  
Childbirth class? Hmmmm. Felt a little like having to repeat a class we flunked on a dumb techinicality. The information given was good but all felt like things we know painfully well. Then again, I am admittedly hypersensitive about that type of stuff. But we survived it and we survived the intros complete with "is this your first?" details. I'm confident that we'll get more out of the class in the coming weeks as we get into territory that is more new and useful (how things are supposed to go!).

The relaxation exercises we did were humorous under the circumstances. There were a lot of people in that room! I told James it was kinda like "Here's a refrigerator box. Get in it together and attempt to relax." More than a little challenging. I think we'll need to practice at home. And that's only partially an excuse to get massaged more.

6/12/2005 10:14:32 AM  
We've been showered and it was way cool! Yesterday we had an awesome couples baby shower thrown by Chris, Cathy, Connor, and Olivia White. It was great to see so many of our friends and their tiny new family members all in one place. Thank you to everyone who attended for helping us welcome little Victor and for all of the great presents. It meant a lot to us to get to share our excitement with you. Victor sure has some cool playmates waiting to welcome him!

Here are some pictures from the event. As usual, we were totally lax about getting enough pics but there are some cute ones. James just ignored all the adults in his photography. ;) Just click on each to enlarge and see captions:

Also, please note the recent improvements to Piglet's Page. James was hard at work this morning while I slept in. The pictures are now in order from most recent to least and there are update dates on the front page so you can more easily tell if there is something new you haven't seen yet. Nice job, James.

6/15/2005 10:29:29 AM  
Boring but good OB appointment today. It all depends on the nurse I get (Lia, it was the dreaded Wendy.) Everything checked out great though. Dr. Cowan said I get a gold star for my normal BP and complete lack of swelling. I'm truly amazed that I'm not swelling with this heat and humidity. Today we're supposed to get to 100 and the AC is already showing signs of angst. I've got the fans fired up!

We had baby care class last night. It was fair to good. I guess we're not as clueless as we thought because nothing was very enlightening. A good milestone to cross though.

6/16/2005 11:47:28 AM  
I'm officially experiencing the pregnant woman divided against herself phenomenon. I am so anxious to just have Victor already because I can't wait to meet him but I'm feeling all teary about the thought of not being pregnant anymore. It's not without aches and pains (especially now) but I really, really love being pregnant. It's hard to know if we'll end up doing this again or not so I'm really trying to savor all of it. But soon there will be really, really cool new moments to savor and try not to miss as they fly by. Really cool moments.

I went into this thinking that it was all going to be so hard given our history. There have certainly been some really trying moments and a few scares but looking back at the journey so far, it's mostly been a whole lot of fun. It would be almost impossible not to have fun with James as the co-pilot. And now it's the final stretch!

6/16/2005 10:09:48 PM  
This is too funny not to share. After making everyone read details about my cervix, the least I can do is mock myself. When I got dressed today, it seemed like these pants were tighter in the butt than usual but I just went with it. Just realized a while ago when we got home from childbirth class that my pants have been on backwards all day! The really perplexing thing is that I went to the bathroom at least 10 times today and never noticed. Now that is what you call pregnant brain.

[Please note: these are the stretchy pants and not maternity panel pants so it's not QUITE as stupid as it might sound.]

6/20/2005 11:08:23 AM  
We had a good peri appointment today. He's not as big as we thought he might be but he's right at an estimated 5 pounds which is still barely over a week ahead. Don't get to see much of him in detail anymore on ultrasound but was able to see him breathing and to see eyes and an ear fairly closely. He's looking great, as always. Head down like a good boy.

Stitches come out on July 13 and it concerned me that Victor is so low (and his head is so big) that he would want to come out immediately but we were assured that that is not necessarily the case. We can pretty much count on dilation absolutely immediately though and I'm supposed to law low for a few days after the cerclage removal. Not a problem since I've blocked my calendar from that day forward!

6/26/2005 11:35:07 AM  
Third tri morning sickness does exist, apparently. Got sick yesterday morning but chalked it up to heartburn + heat. Today was worse. Got a whiff of something in the trash and it was bye-bye lunch. James will be happy to know I was standing at the garbage disposal this time.

In far more pleasant news, had a great shower yesterday. Thanks Lia and Shelly! :) I'll post more when the pics are ready to go on. Vic got lots of cute stuff and I got to hang out with the girls for the last time for a little while. Lots of fun across the board. Thanks girls. More details to come.............

6/28/2005 11:13:28 AM  
Well, confetti didn't fall out of the ceiling this morning like I'd always expected but there was a kicking show that I would liken to fireworks. 34 weeks! Hot damn and hallelujah.

After being pretty quiet yesterday (then again, I was running a lot of last week errands), Victor really put on a show at about 6:00 this morning. Constant kicking for about half an hour. Pretty cool. I just hope he wasn't trying to change position much. The land relief map that is my tummy still looks to me like he's head down with his butt stuck out to one side.

No puking today so maybe that was a short-lived thing. I'm still a little gunshy though. I guess those that know the daily chronicles of my eating (Lia) would argue that I'm still living on the gastronomical edge and not very gunshy! Speaking of which, I've got some shower cake to whittle away at right now..........

6/30/2005 9:59:40 PM  
I promise I'll post shower pics as soon as I get them but I think Lia is Photoshopping them to make my ankles look even more swollen or something (or maybe to give herself a golden tan and slim ankles). I decided tonight that I have rhino legs. Didn't help that the AC kicked into energy saving mode today. I don't care about saving energy at the moment. I want it to be 72 degrees NOW!

We had our last childbirth class tonight and got the hospital tour. At this point, that is really all we wanted to know. Where do we park? Check. So now it's just a matter of getting the last details ready and for some reason, I'm unable and unwilling to function. I've meant to pack my hospital bag for days on end and I just can't quite get past the nursing gown and toothpaste. Maybe some small part of my subconscious is in denial about this really happening. 95% of me is screaming "OK, let's do this thing!" Maybe tomorrow I'll have more energy for performing simple tasks.

We've decided that Victor is most definitely a very good child. He rarely headbutts my cervix anymore, he gives me lots of kicks to reassure me, he turned head down nice and early (and has hopefully stayed that way), he isn't trying to come out too soon and he has bulked up quite to our liking. He is clearly never going to give us a moment's trouble.

7/4/2005 3:17:49 PM  
Here are pictures of last weekend's shower. Thanks once again to Lia and Shelly for being such lovely hostesses and to all the ladies who helped make it such a special day for me by sharing in the fun!

Just click on any pic to enlarge and see caption............

7/8/2005 11:10:01 AM  
Well, we had the big 36w ultrasound today. Went ahead and did it a few days early since next week is such a big week. Victor looks just perfect. He's estimated at 6 pounds, 5 ounces and is in great position. Moving a whole lot side to side but staying head down and is quite low.

We feel even more clueless than ever as to what we should expect timing-wise. On one hand, he's really low and he's at a good weight already so it's really OK if he comes next week once the stitches come out. On the other hand, my cervix is somehow staying remarkably long (maybe rebelling and trying to prove its competence after all) so I may not go quite as quickly as thought. Next week will hold the answers. Luckily I get checked by OB the day after stitches come out so we should see how rapidly things are changing.

All is quite well though. He is most definitely still a boy. He was breathing well and looked active as ever. Now it's all just fattening up as much as we can. We got some really great face shots we'll get on tonight......... (right, James?)

7/13/2005 11:01:18 AM  
Gee, that wasn't so bad. The cerclage removal was rather uncomfortable but for a very short amount of time. Very crampy now but doing alright. I'm dilated to 1.5 and 50% effaced so it's not like things are totally imminent. Anybody's guess.

So, since labor watch is quite official now I guess I'll try to blog daily so that if people want to check, they can see that I'm still at home. I've been resistant to doing that because I don't really flatter myself into believing that people are interested in my daily musings but seems like a reasonable solution. I'll keep them short! ;)

So yeah, there you go. We're very, very close and he is rather a "chunky monkey" as Dr. Berry so eloquently put it. I think early next week could be good but he seems to think we'll go the usual 2-3 weeks. He could be huge by then!

7/14/2005 9:53:46 AM  
Hey, it's just 5 more days till official full term. Pretty cool. My lofty goals were 37 weeks and 7 pounds and I think we've got the poundage thing in the bag (most likely). Additional days past 7/19 and additional ounces are bonus!

I'm off to Dr. Cowan later this afternoon for another check. I won't be surprised either way, be it progress or complete lack thereof. I'll post an update.

7/14/2005 2:54:52 PM  
Oh, such angst. 3 centimeters today. As usual, could mean everything or nothing. Apparently all of the talk about 36 weeks being just fine because he's so big was lip service to make me feel better. Now Dr. Cowan has quickly changed his tune and asked me to dial back all activity (does he realize just how little I actually do already?!?!?!) so that we can be sure I get through this weekend and into next week. He really still wants me to go another 2 weeks. The advanced chunkiness isn't swaying his opinion. So yeah, no pressure at all. Geez.

7/15/2005 10:13:19 AM  
I'm feeling pretty philosophical this morning about my cervix. I think it really is "incompetent" and it's a darn good thing that cerclage was in there. I'm at 3 with no painful contractions to get me there so it seems like maybe that writing's on the wall. Also, the fact that I've delivered previously probably has some bearing on it. I think I do need to take another few moments to thank that cerclage (and Dr. Berry for doing such a great job of putting it in).

I'm still hanging in here. I'm rather antsy. I don't trust myself to know the real contractions because I sure didn't feel any of the early stage ones last time. I'm just counting on something to let me know it's time to call. Thank you to Deb C. (virtual midwife extraordinaire) for reassuring me that Victor will let me know, as big as he is. ;)

Can't knit anymore because of carpal tunnel. Can't nest anymore because I'm supposed to be resting (and everything's ready anyway). It's me, the TV, the laptop and the cat. Not such a bad existence for now, actually.

7/16/2005 11:24:10 AM  
Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs. Nothing concrete enough to say "yeah, this is happening" though. There seem to be a lot of bets for days in the upcoming week. Maybe. Maybe not. ;)

7/17/2005 11:03:08 AM  
Still pregnant. I think if I were out walking around I'd probably be having a lot more contractions than I am. As it is, I am experiencing the "general malaise phase" of prelabor and a few other signs that I will spare our friendly readers. Sore, tired, cranky, achy, queasy, feel like the cat has stomped all over me in my sleep (which is actually a possibility). Still nothing that merits a call to the OB though.

We've got 2 days till full term now. Forget about that due date. It ain't happening. ;) Let's get to Tuesday and then start shooting for as close to 38 weeks as we can get.

Bags are packed and we are holding ourselves to higher standards of hygiene than normal so that we'll be presentable on short notice. We're ready. Victor is not. Not quite yet.

7/18/2005 10:11:03 AM  
This is getting a little surreal. When I got up and looked in the mirror, my face didn't look like my face. My eyes are all puffy and my cheeks and undereyes look discolored. Isn't it a little late in the game for melasma? My head is killing me too. I think it's all the mold in the air after 4 days in a row of rain/steam bath. I know whine, whine, whine..........

Still lots of signs but not the "call the OB because you're going into real labor" signs. Just the "yeah, it will probably happen soon" signs. Soon still seems to mean hours or weeks. Wouldn't the happy medium there be days?

7/18/2005 8:31:36 PM  
My face is back to normal. Maybe it was all in my head. I just had to share that we just got DishTV last week and I am loving having HBO Comedy. I just discovered that they are showing the old Pee Wee Herman Show special tonight (with Phil Hartman as Captain Carl). Brings back wonderful memories of watching that with my sibling, I mean Dad, in my youth! :)

7/19/2005 12:01:25 AM  
Full term, baby.

7/19/2005 9:10:16 AM  
Here is a quote from my weekly e-mail update from OB's office:

"Week Thirty Seven
At week 37 your baby is officially full-term. That means your little chick is ready to hatch! So be on the lookout for signs of labor, keep your bag packed and the infant seat in the car because you'll be bringing your little baby home before you know it!

Week Overview
Your baby's lungs are mature - he's good to go at this point. Your baby is doing the same thing you are - waiting! While he's waiting he continues to grow and gain weight. He should be snuggled down into your pelvis ready for the go ahead. "

So Dr. Cowan better try not to act like it's dreadfully early come Thursday's appointment. We'll shoot for 38 weeks but any time is go time. Veeg?

7/20/2005 11:02:45 AM  
Stop panicking, Dena and Jen. I'm up! Yesterday I had to just get up early because I couldn't bear to sleep anymore. Today I couldn't sleep enough but as a result, I am so sore. Still nothing going. Had some contractions last night that fizzled (still Braxton Hicks, I suppose). They are starting to hurt more which is cool! Yes, I'm strange.

I'm getting this feeling I'm going to be making blog entries like this for many days to come. At least tomorrow there will be some news to report, even if it's just "no change". I do feel like there might be a little too much happening physiologically for NO change though.

7/21/2005 6:41:44 AM  
Off to Dr. Cowan's in a bit here. We're hoping for progress but not holding our breath. Allegedly, most cerclagers hold on for another week or two after the stitches come out so progress seems likely on one hand. On the other hand, this is me we're talking about. Likely doesn't always mean much.

More details soon........

7/21/2005 9:32:10 AM  
Still 3 centimeters. Grrrrrr. Grrrrr. Grrrrr. But all is not lost. I have OB's blessing to try to get things moving now. A nice long walk would sound wonderful if it weren't so blasted humid out there.

If I make it to my appointment next Wednesday, he'll strip my membranes and hope for progress. He'll also set up a planned induction at 39 weeks if we so choose (which I think we lean toward). He too has concerns about how big Victor might get if we go much further. So one way or another, Victor will be here in less than 2 weeks! Obviously, I'd like for it to happen naturally. Bring on the Mexican food!

7/22/2005 9:18:34 AM  
Well, we went to Labor & Delivery last night but it was not the fun event that we've been building up to. That Chuy's dinner ended up being a horrible idea. If only we'd driven away when we saw the crowd. As we were finally being seated for our dinner, I slipped on an UNMARKED wet floor and fell flat on my butt. So yeah, after talking to the nurse on call we headed for the hospital.

The good news is that my membranes definitely did not rupture (water breaking to any males who may be reading) and an hour of monitoring showed Victor to be rather unbothered by the whole event. He's continued to move a lot and his heartrate was totally appropriate throughout uterine activity last night. I'm going in to OB's today to hopefully get a sono and to make sure I didn't crack my tailbone.

We are so thankful that all seems well and a little surprised that this didn't send me screaming into labor but we are obviously still pretty freaked about the scare. Not fun at all. We're ready for L&D to become the happy place it's supposed to be! Next time.

So I guess we're hoping for several days here for me to heal since it hurts to even lie on my back at all. Maybe that kind of expectation will make me go into labor. I don't care anymore. I just want him safe and how and when that occurs is totally irrelevant.

NEVER going to Chuy's again. Ever.

7/22/2005 10:41:28 PM  
Ahhhh. Walking helps. It feels so good to get a little exercise after months of atrophy. I believe it's even helping the tailbone pain a little. I can do this.

I was so giddy tonight to learn that my daddy reads my blog. Not surprised that he cares that much, of course. Just surprised because he is a little technologically challenged, shall we say. Anyway, just wanted to say hi to Daddy! Love you. :)

p.s. to Dad ---- stop smoking! I heard that lighter flipping on the phone earlier. Stop. Now.

7/23/2005 10:20:46 AM  
Well, Victor is definitely a Leo and not a Cancer. Seems appropriate since he has no choice but to be a cat person and he should already be totally full of himself given how much love and attention is lavished upon him.

Speaking of cats, curses upon Tanya for sending the Blabla cat doll (and many thanks too). Now I'm obsessed with all of that stuff. Between Blabla and Robeez, I can easily become an online shopaholic on V's behalf. And I feared there wouldn't be cute stuff for boys! Not so.

In other news, I am considering approaching the Boppy people with a new marketing approach. It seems that their pillow is not only great for breastfeeding, tummy time and learning to sit up. It's also wonderful for bum tailbones. I don't think that picture would be as cute on the packaging though.

7/24/2005 11:53:22 AM  
Still here. Still sore.

Interestingly, if you Google "bruised tailbone" and "broken tailbone", most of what you'll find is horrifying tales of women injuring their tailbones in labor and delivery. That and chronicles of NBA injured player lists. So if I go into labor with an injured tailbone, will it heal itself? Sort of a reverse trauma? That would be cool but I'm not counting on it.

Nesting hit again today. Much cleaning happening which may just have to replace the daily walk. The puffy feet indicate that might be a good idea.

7/25/2005 9:20:17 AM  
Happy 35th Anniversary to my parents. Just think....at your big 50th bash, you'll have a surly teenaged grandson to contend with. Won't that be bliss? I kid. We'll make him act human.

Weird pregnancy dreams abound. Last week I had a dream in which the ENTIRE family was in the L&D room with us and everyone was going in and out of the room constantly to get food from some other room while I was there attempting to focus on breathing. Worst part - the smokers (you know who you are) were smoking in the room. I was screaming profanities while laboring which was cracking James up and Gaga was trying to soothe me and was telling me that I was entitled to swear all I wanted to.

Last night's dream was even stranger. In this one, I went into labor at home during the day but James was already down at Seton waiting for me at the entrance with a wheelchair. For some unknown reason, I was driven to the hospital by Bootsy Collins and Q-tip in a baby blue cadillac. They were very kind and got me there quite safely. This dream will probably only be amusing to Eileen. ;) James took it to mean that I wish I'd married Q-tip which is not true at all.

7/26/2005 10:37:38 AM  
I'm here. Not feeling the greatest at the moment. General malaise again. Time for some fresh fruit and raspberry leaf tea!

7/26/2005 4:34:52 PM  
This would be a great 38 week preggo picture but I know I would have regrets if I let James capture it forever........

I'm about to hop on the treadmill for a while. Still really trying to get some more strength back, if possible. I am actually wearing my running tights! ;) I know it sounds crazy but it's better than having my swollen legs rubbing each other raw.

It is really quite a humorous sight but I think James will be the only person I'll share it with. I don't think I've stumbled onto a great new ad campaign for Nike here! I think I've stumbled onto a look that probably shouldn't see the light of day.

7/27/2005 10:15:49 AM  
False labor pains again last night but that's fine. Hopefully today will show some progress and if not, at least we're stripping membranes. Many people have been eager to tell me that this procedure can hurt a little. Bah! No really. In the words of the ever deep poet-philosopher, "haven't got time for the pain". If it gets things going, sign me up!

We're taking bags to the doc just in case we go to to the hospital and Mom is on standby pending a progress report but I'm sure I'll likely be reporting back in here late this afternoon or early this evening.

Tomorrow could be a good day for a birth but it's also a bittersweet one. It is the anniversary of Ro & JT's due date. I haven't blogged about them much lately but any of you that know me at all know that I would still give everything in the world to have them here right now. But I know they're rooting their bro on! He seems to be trying to kick his way out of there.

7/27/2005 3:59:46 PM  
Home again. Still 3cm but now 70% effaced and V has dropped just a little but not quite to a true 0 station. Stripped the membranes. No biggie there. Hope it works SOON! Dr. C says we have about a 50/50 shot of labor in the next 24 hours. Bring it.

Sounds like we won't be going past next Wednesday, August 3. Waiting on a time but that sounds to be induction date. I could live with that, especially since it would mean a guaranteed Cowan delivery. I've grown most attached to him.

Blood pressure was really rather bad upon arrival so I guess I'll be scaling back my activity again. I'm tired of resting!

7/28/2005 10:09:39 AM  
And so it continues. Some really good signs but still nothing to hang my labor hat on. Given the BP situation, I'm resisting the temptation to run windsprints and jump on trampolines.

False labor pains always come when trying to sleep. It's a rule.

7/29/2005 9:15:26 AM  
Hey, guess what? I'm still pregnant.

More noteworthy pains and pressure and indicators but we are now officially acknowledging that this might happen every night and day until Wednesday. The kid is still trying to kick his way to freedom. He doesn't understand that it's not going to be quite that simple!

7/30/2005 10:53:21 AM  
My mommy's here so any time is fine, Victor. ;) Actually, it would be a good thing to get through this weekend. Yes, I'm still obsessed with getting to deliver with Dr. Cowan!

Having fun playing with all the baby stuff with Mom and getting more and more excited about putting it all to good use next week sometime.

7/31/2005 10:47:18 AM  
Last day of July. Who woulda thunk it?

We're continuing to be spoiled with lots of tasty treats. Maybe that's why Victor is staying put. Guaranteed good food.

7/31/2005 6:01:22 PM  
Holy crap. Dad is flying here on Tuesday. Flying. Here. Alone. This kid has no idea how special he actually is!

8/1/2005 9:21:26 AM  
It's all a matter of perspective. Days ago, we were so frustrated that Victor wasn't here yet and now that we've accepted that he's probably going to be forcibly evicted on Wednesday, we're saying "Oh wow, we only have 2 more days!".

I honestly believe Wednesday will be it at this point. I have less and less contractions. I think the membrane stripping started a lot up but just not quite enough to amount to anything and now it's back to a stalemate. But I'm happy. We're back to weekdays and thus Dr. Cowan. :)

8/1/2005 4:19:46 PM  
I just wanted to take a moment to thank Pfizer for making Zantac 75. Thank you Pfizer. You saved me today.

8/2/2005 9:12:29 AM  
I guess it goes without saying at this point that there will be no news until tomorrow. 24 hours from now I'll have been reunited with my old friend Pitocin and will be riding out contractions. Sounds fun right now.

Not much on today's agenda. Getting as much rest as possible. Oh, and painting my toenails. Very important. ;) Dad gets here tonight but I'll probably be in bed already.

Wow. This is the last day!

8/2/2005 9:24:01 PM  
Last blog as a preggo? Most likely. Might be too much other stuff on the plate tomorrow morning and I am NOT a morning person (as is well chronicled here).

If this is it, thanks for the support everyone. It has been an honor and privilege to carry this little guy around but it's time for him to come on out. We'll update as soon as we can.

8/3/2005 6:56:34 PM  
James Here: The following is a log of events during labor and delivery this morning at Seton Medical Center, Austin, TX.

7:00 check in
7:10 get in room; meet nurse Rachel; Rachel predicts 3pm arrival based on 4-5 cm dialation and 80% effacement.
7:40 pitocin drip started.
8:00 Dr. Cowan breaks the bag.
8:10 picture of still happy Dawn taken.
8:20 first contractions (4 mins apart); they hurt more than expected; straight line mouth.
8:45 contractions 2-3 mins apart. Peaking at strength 30 ("quite painful")
8:50 contraction peaks at strength 40; nausea encountered.
9:05 5-6cm, 90% effaced, -1 station
9:10 decided to get epidural
9:35 contraction peaks at 45; very angry face picture taken of Dawn.
9:50 epidural set up
10:10 feelin' fine
10:30 begin resty time
10:50 9cm, 100%, 0 station; Dawn bets 8lb4oz; James bets 8lb8oz.
11:00 contractions where have to fight urge to push.
11:21 He's born! 8lbs1oz. 4 contractions of pushing (15 minutes).

8/5/2005 6:43:15 PM  
We're home. I've thought I was pretty exhausted a few times in the past. I was apparently wrong. Looking forward to establishing a feeding schedule once "true breastfeeding" begins soon. For now, sleep is just really not happening. He'll get there. Please say he'll get there.

It's good to be home. The hospital got surreal after a while. Was there for a little more than 2 days but felt like many, many more. Some nurses are awesome and some are just incredibly irritating.

James's version of the birth story is fairly accurate. Yes, I did end up with the epidural. Went 2 hours without it before I informed James in no uncertain terms that it was time to stop hurting. I dilated 3 centimeters in a little more than an hour so there was a reason for those horrific contractions. The epi made that all better and also helped make the pushing phase quick and easy (seriously, 20 minutes and there he was!). Episiotomy? Not so fun.

Will update more soon when I'm not exhausted and distracted by Dad's shenanigans. Needless to say, everything Vic does is heartbreakingly, earthshatteringly wonderful. I'll be sure to annoy you all with it soon!

8/8/2005 4:51:42 PM  
What a difference the last few days have made. Victor is starting to be able to calm himself a lot better now that he's getting used to home. He's also sleeping for some decent stretches now that the breastmilk bar is officially open. (And mommy is feeling much better after acquainting herself with the pump for the first time!).

Pru is still pretty scared of Vic but she's starting to make more and more bold entrances into the same room he's in. She is still horrified by the slightest little sweet peep though. I can see how he'd be so intimidating. Whatever. She'll come around.

First pedi appointment tomorrow. Most exciting.

8/9/2005 11:34:53 AM  
Spoke too soon. "El diablo pequeno del noche" is back in full force. Still having problems with Victor wanting to do all of his feeding at night but not cooperating to make that happen. Lots of angry thrashing is not conducive to peaceful breastfeeding. Finally got enough milk in him to knock him out again.

OK, so we had a great night Sunday and were due for a crappy night last night. It'll be OK. SO glad we're going to see Dr. Mirrop today so that we can see if there's some other issue here and so we can make sure he's getting enough milk. That will do us a world of good right now.

He's still stunningly cute. And during the day, he's sweet as can be! ;)

8/9/2005 4:10:29 PM  
So exhausted. Pediatrician visit was a grueling ordeal. Love our doc but Victor was starving so I had to nurse there and he hated the blood draw. We feel like we just ran a marathon. Needless to say, he's taking a much deserved nap.

Victor is definitely a little jaundiced. "Upper end of normal" as Dr. Mirrop puts it. Basically, his metabolism is about 2 days behind right now. His weight loss is still OK but we really have to enforce the feeding at least every 3 hours rule now so he can poop his way to fighting weight again and lose the yellow look. I was just relieved that we weren't pushed to supplement with formula. He goes back for a re-check (and another needle stick, wah!) on Friday to make sure things are moving in the right direction.

Trying to sneak in a quick nap before the next feeding. I'm catching on to the importance of that. Vacuum, schmacuum!

8/9/2005 6:29:30 PM  
James here: I am the one vacuumming. Also, the boy's new name is "El Diablo Pequeno del Siempre."

8/10/2005 1:09:26 PM  
The little guy is one week old!

We had a great night. Seriously. He fed VERY well for nighttime and slept two 3 hour stretches in our room quietly enough that we were able to sleep too. Huzzah! Still having to wake him up for these every 3 hour feedings but he almost always has something waiting in his diaper and the change wakes him up so it doesn't seem too cruel now.

Quite relieved that we don't have anything going on today. We all needed a day at home to rest and recuperate and get back on track. Based on the diapers and his renewed enthusiasm for feeding effectively, I really believe the jaundice will have improved by Friday.

Geez. Can't believe it's 1:00 already though. Time to sneak in a quick shower!

[Note: It's 2:30 and I still haven't taken that shower! ;)]

8/11/2005 2:33:24 AM  
We've become big fans of the Miracle Blanket (thanks to Tony & Denise and Granger & Tara). The only time the Miracle Blanket doesn't work miracles? When the only one you have is soaked in pee.

So here I am checking the tracking on my latest Miracle Blanket order. ;) Come on UPS, come on! I was so looking forward to sleeping for a few hours too. Wah.

8/12/2005 9:42:54 AM  
Veeg gained 4 ounces since Tuesday and his bilirubin levels are going down so it sounds like the jaundice thing is getting nipped in the bud. He was an exemplary little patient since he got fed right before the appointment. He did scream his head off during the heel stick but can't say I blame him.

He's sleeping so I believe I will too. Ah, sweet, sweet, precious sleep.

8/12/2005 4:42:31 PM  
Somewhere my Grandma Pressler is smiling down upon me. I decided to forego that afternoon nap I wanted so that I could finally catch up on the backlog of thank you notes. Feels good to be a little more back on top of things. Sleep. Who needs it?

In other news, we are having diaper struggles. The Size 1s are a little "gappy" for young Victor since he's still a little down from birth weight. Sent James out for some smaller ones and they are quite the opposite extreme. Looked like he was wearing a white Speedo. Also, looked like it was cutting into his poor little legs. So I guess we'll suffer the constant leaking for a while yet. Should have bought stock in Dreft.

8/13/2005 10:31:23 PM  
Kind of a harrowing day here in the Humphrey household. Vic was pretty much either screaming or breastfeeding all day long with the exception of about 5 or 6 hours of sleep. Hoping he'll sleep it all off tonight. Never showered and just now managed to put on different pajamas.

Tomorrow, one way or another, Vic and I will both be bathed. I won't immediately pee all over myself as he is wont to do though. Such a boy.

8/14/2005 4:42:15 PM  
We've done it. 4:30 and Vic and I are both clean. I don't know that I'm ever going to get to blow my hair dry again though. I intend to every time but it just never happens. Maybe I should just cut my hair off really short. (Just trying to scare James.)

Much, much better day today. We're definitely alternating between grueling days and blissful days. With this current pattern though, Wednesday will be a hard day and it's already going to be hard enough. James goes back to work that day and Vic & I make our first journey as a duo to the dr. for his 2 week checkup. Luckily, we'll be consoling ourselves with a scrumptious gourmet dinner that night though. Thanks Paul & Kim! :)

8/15/2005 1:57:37 PM  
I'm sad. James only has one more day of leave. I know I can do it all on my own but I'm just really going to miss having someone to share all of the little facial expressions and grunts and squeaks with.

Continuing to work out some nuances in the routine. Basically, the best way for me to get rest is to sleep while he sleeps between the hours of midnight and 11:00ish. Some would say that's not too different from when he was still in utero. ;) I also finally broke down and breastfed while watching TV in our bedroom. I was determined not to do that but I had to get out of his room for a change. He didn't seem to care. I just want to be really conscious of being totally available to him and not just zoning out during his feedings. But I do have that backlog of DVR'd shows to catch up on!

8/17/2005 3:50:29 PM  
Sir Stinksalot is 2 weeks today! (He doesn't really stink but the name is catchy.). He had a great visit with Dr. Mirrop. He's grown an inch since birth and his weight is only 2 ounces shy of birth weight which is great considering the jaundice ordeal. He gained 7 ounces in the past 5 days so he's really back on track.

We do have some pictures to put up but time is scarcer than ever. James is back at work and swamped with tennis stuff this week (the battle for courts continues!). And I'm pretty short on time too. Victor's weight gain = Dawn unavailable for anything else but feeding. The boy is eating A LOT. Yay!

We promise to get more pictures on as soon as time allows. There will certainly be more pictures after this weekend. Victor is getting a visit from his Gaga, his Great Aunt Branwyn and his ever doting yet-to-be-named grandmother. He's ready to turn on the charm.

8/17/2005 4:34:47 PM  
Forgot to mention the most fabulous news of the day. Victor's circumcision has healed and his cord fell off (with a little help from Dr. Mirrop) so diaper changes and baths just got a whole lot easier around here! No more of Victor rolling over onto the Vaselined gauze pad and getting it stuck on his head. That's why his mohawk held so well in some of the pictures, ya know. Most importantly, 2 less steps in the middle of the night when we're lucky to even put the diaper on frontwards.

8/18/2005 12:00:49 PM  
Victor is sleeping off all of his overnight rage now. His parents are not so lucky. Wow. The crying last night didn't even sound human. We tried every trick in the book but in the end, all he wanted to do was eat, eat, eat for about 3 or 4 hours straight. A little early for a growth spurt, I think.

8/19/2005 10:24:23 AM  
Sweet little Vic allowed me 6 whole beautiful hours of sleep last night (not all at once, mind you). Maybe even a little more when it was all said and done. We did achieve the 5 hour stretch from 3:30 to 8:30. Trust me though. No one was more ready for that 8:30 feeding than me. Ouch.

I'm currently strategizing his next few feedings to aid in the ease of our airport pickup this afternoon. Need to try to get him fed and full before the trip and make sure he's satisfied enough to last until we're home again. Feeding him on the side of 183 with a full car is not appealing somehow.

Oh yeah, Victor had his first real (tub) bath last night. For a few moments, he seemed like he was going to like it but then he freaked a little. I think it was less traumatizing than a sponge bath though because he was at least warm. I think he'll enjoy bathtime once he's more used to it. Hope so.

8/21/2005 10:36:35 PM  
We had a great visit this weekend. Victor is already getting used to ladies swooning over him after all of the attention he's gotten over the past few days. He & Gaga hit it off just like I knew they would too!

We've had a few pretty good nights in a row and hopefully tonight will be the same. Pretty fussy this afternoon though. I think he was playing catch up after getting a little off his usual feeding "schedule" yesterday (meaning going more than 3 hours between feedings numerous times). That and my guess is that he really is eating more for his 2-3 week growth spurt. This afternoon he was only taking half hour breaks between feedings. Needless to say, Mommy's tired. The moniker of "The Piglet" seemed more appropriate than ever today.

Wow, tomorrow begins our first week with no appointments to run to or guests arriving or anything. That's both relaxing to think about and maddening to think about. Might have to invent a reason for a cartrip.

8/22/2005 12:17:42 PM  
Pictures are now titled and commentable again. James put in a lot of work on Saturday making that modification (much more complicated than you might think). There are more pics coming soon too. We've got some more and Aunt Brownie's got some great ones on her camera too.

Speaking of pictures, we don't obviously have the time (or the funds) to send out a bunch of physical pictures to all of you at the moment. You can clearly copy and save any of the images from here and upload or print them yourselves if you so wish (Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, Ofoto/Kodak EasyShare, etc.). I have some of them uploaded to Kodak Easyshare and am more than happy to send an "invitation" to anyone who wants to order prints from my album there. Just shoot me an e-mail if you want to do it that way. I don't have them all on there though.

Must shower while Veeg allows it.........

8/23/2005 12:34:11 PM  
My poor kitty. I still keep thinking she's Victor in my sleep. I'll totally freak out when she starts moving around or trying to jump off the bed because I think it's him. As if she wasn't already feeling slighted enough already, now I mistake her for him. Sorry Pru.

James had an interesting dream about Victor last night. He was talking (but at this age/size). Not only that but James was saying something to him in Spanish in the dream and Victor corrected him! ;) He's surely smart but maybe not quite THAT smart.

Fearing a case of thrush here. Hopefully not but I'm having a lot of pain that is indicative of it and Victor has a diaper rash. James keeps saying that I should have a subscription to "Fretful Mother" magazine. Maybe so but I can take quite a bit of pain and I'm increasingly unhappy so I think I'll look into it. And I'm out of Vicodin!

[Update at 5:55: My pain has improved greatly as has Veeg's rash. Maybe I am crazy after all. Holding off on medical assistance for now.]

8/24/2005 11:14:15 PM  
Today was a feeding frenzy. Don't even really know what else to say about it. I don't remember anything else except for him eating or crying because he wanted to eat. His rash is much better and I am in considerably less pain though. Hoping maybe all of this cluster feeding hits him hard and he sleeps a good block now. Please!

8/25/2005 10:53:42 AM  
I think Dad's got it right (MY dad, that is). Our day-to-day life right now is much like "Groundhog Day" (the Bill Murray movie, not February 2 itself). It's pretty much the same thing over and over and we know how it will play out so we try to just slightly improve on it each day. Sure does seem impossible to ever remember what day it currently is though. Not setting alarms anymore for feedings since I have the most reliable alarm ever. He goes off in as little as 30 minutes or as many as 4 hours. And he's very, very cute. But loud.

8/26/2005 1:45:11 PM  
Vic almost tolerated his bath just now. Oh sure, he still pooped in his little tub. He was a little more cooperative in general though. He did seem to actually enjoy his post-bath massage though. He's catching on slowly but surely that skincare can be enjoyable. ;)

Now here's hoping his zen-like baby state carries over into this next feeding and subsequent nap. Who knows? Maybe he just wanted a bath these past few days! Oh yeah, that's right. He's a boy.

8/27/2005 9:28:12 PM  
Yesterday turned out pretty good. Not only did Victor do pretty well with his bath but he also did fabulously on a little outing. We went to the post office and Babies R'Us and he either slept or gazed around contently for the whole adventure. We have my postpartum OB appointment this next week but we might have to come up with some other excuse to jump in the car again before that.

Today was not so textbook. Back to frantic feeding. Today was basically one hour eating, one hour "resting" (20 minutes of sleeping followed by 40 minutes of grunting building up to wailing). He is now sleeping in his swing. I love that swing. So, in reality, I should be sleeping right now while I can. He's going to get hungry soon though. I can feel it.

The only other news is that Victor has taken to making this strange little sound when he gets done eating. It's basically like the gopher in "Caddyshack". Pretty cute.

8/30/2005 11:32:38 AM  
Finally breaking down and going to the pediatrician today. Still on the fence about the thrush possibility. Victor is still rashy and he is far fussier than he was a week or so ago. If nothing else, I really need to regroup with his doc about breastfeeding strategy so I'm glad we're going in. And that's even if they all look at me like I'm nutso mommy! Fine.

We are going to have to get a pallet of D batteries at Costco with the amount of time Victor wants to spend in his swing. During the day, he is having none of his crib. He wants to be held or he wants to be in his swing. And since I haven't mastered using my toes to grip things yet, there's a lot of swing time around here.

8/30/2005 4:32:53 PM  
Victor's diagnosis at Dr. Mirrop's? One crazy mommy. Actually, his diagnosis is "really bad diaper rash" accompanied by "fussiness during growth spurt". Still glad we went in. Dr. Mirrop supports the tough love breastfeeding approach (cutting him off at 40 minutes per feeding). He's a kind and intelligent person so he wouldn't tell me to do something that was mean, right?

Buddy boy packed on the weight which was definitely good for morale in these parts. 21 ounces in 13 days. Speaking of cute little chubby babies, we got to see John & Ruth while we were at the weighing station. (Hi Ruth - if you happen to lurk soon!). John is even more precious in person. :)

And now, while Victor contines to snooze from the soothing effects of his exam room feeding (he loves to eat in those rooms!), I am going to attempt to reclaim his room and myself from the projectile pooping that occurred earlier as we were trying to leave the house. This is exactly why I am so gunshy about giving him diaperless time to help with the rash. There was considerable damage. I'm almost afraid to walk back in his room. Why don't these things happen when James is changing diapers?

8/31/2005 11:22:12 AM  
Our piglet is 4 weeks old today! He's in pretty good spirits so far. I think his rash bothers me far more than it bothers him. Hard to believe this much time has passed already in some ways. In other ways, not so much. He has changed so much already.

9/3/2005 10:16:26 PM  
Kind of a hectic few days but mostly in a good way. Finally starting to feel like I'm reclaiming some sense of normalcy and getting a few things done around here. Slowly getting the hang of this stay-at-home mom thing.

James was supposed to give his first bottle tonight but he is unconscious. So much for that plan. We'll definitely be trying it in the next day or so though. Want to break those two into it while there's no pressure (meaning I'm right here in case Vic will have nothing to do with it!). Meanwhile, got to work at finding a pumping schedule that works for us. We'll get it figured out. The good thing is that there is no urgency about it so we've got lots of opportunity for trial and error.

Victor still loves the swing and hates his crib during the day. He is sleeping solid blocks in the Pack & Play at night as long as he's swaddled. I'm sure he'd sleep those same stretches in his crib (in his room) but then I would miss knowing he was feet away and hearing his little squeaks. Who's the big baby here?

9/4/2005 11:16:19 AM  
[James here]: Yes, asleep at 10:16, but awake to take screaming boy from desperately tired mommy at 2:00 a.m. Figured out how to use bottle warmer and successfully (no spilling/puking) fed Victor 4 oz. at 4:30 a.m. Got him to sleep at 5:30; mom came in at 8:00. "Your welcome!" (in style of Nick Burns - Your Company's Computer Guy)

9/4/2005 12:52:02 PM  
Wow. I stand corrected, Bottle Elf. And here I was worried about how well Vic would take his first bottle. No problemo. He wasn't "confused" during his first two Mommy feedings today so I'd say it was a stunning success. Thanks for letting me sleep a little, sweet boys.

9/6/2005 4:33:53 PM  
Lessons learned this week:

1. There aren't enough burp cloths in the world.

2. Baby clothes sizes are meaningless. Victor has already outgrown some 3-6 mo. clothes and others hang on him. Everyone told me this but I didn't know how true it would be!

3. A long night's sleep is always offset by a day of frantic, angry cluster feeding. There is no happy medium yet.

4. You can literally stare at a peaceful sleeping baby for hours and usually when you should try to be peacefully sleeping yourself. I need a giant swaddle to go to sleep myself!

9/7/2005 10:11:48 AM  
I thought James was going to put some new pictures on but he hasn't yet (hint, hint!). I was hoping to get a pic of Victor this weekend at his daddy's tennis match but it's still so hot that I don't think we'll be spectating. Maybe next week.

Well, I'd say Victor is doing just fine with the new feeding plan (40 minute limit) since he almost gained a whole pound in the last week. He made it over 10! He was a very good boy at the doctor's too, especially considering that he had to get another vaccination. The nurse was surprised at how it really didn't bother me to see him get his shot. I didn't enlighten her as to how much worse I've seen and been through. He's a tough little guy and he shook it off pretty quickly. Makes his mommy proud, as always.

9/9/2005 11:27:21 AM  
I left the boys alone for the first time last night and they survived without me just fine. I was probably more traumatized about leaving than either of them were about being left. It was nice to get out and have a real dinner and some adult conversation (thanks Lia & Shelly!). I get another furlough to get my hair done this next week!

I was all worried that Victor would spit up a lot more from his bottlefeedings and the reverse is proving to be true. He keeps his bottlefeedings down really well but he's spitting up a lot after his breastfeedings. Is that a testament to Dr. Brown's bottles or James's feeding technique?

9/11/2005 12:49:57 PM  
Feels like we chalk everything unmanageable up to a growth spurt but I think that's what we've got going on. Victor wants to eat non-stop again and never seems satisfied with anything. It's raining here and I'm really, really hoping it will cool things off and then stop for long enough to go for a little walk with the stroller. I think it would do us all some good to get outside but it's still too hot to even consider it most of the time.

Well, Wednesday will be 6 weeks and so many people have said that things get better at 6 weeks. No offense to those that have shared that experience but I'm starting to think that you all lied!

9/12/2005 10:59:11 AM  
Ugh. We're sick. Victor has had a stuffy nose for weeks that Dr. M said was normal early on but it's now a lot more rattle-y and he's coughing occasionally (of course he's also spitting up like a madman these days too so go figure). Meanwhile, I have a really raw throat and my eyes are burning and I have a rash on my face. I'm thinking (dare I say, hoping) this is from the surge in mold this past weekend and not an actual cold or anything. Victor does not like nose drops one bit and I suppose I wouldn't either if they were involuntarily administered.

Hoping Victor's buddy Alex makes his debut this week. I'm about to have more time on my hands than Lia again! :)

9/13/2005 12:52:40 PM  
My poor sweet little sniffler is sleeping again. The swing is magical again. The other thing that is pure magic lately is the Winnie the Pooh mobile. We need to get an organ grinder monkey to perch on his crib and just wind it up over and over again. He simply will not cry if it's on. He loves to watch Pooh & his crew dance around above him. Too cute.

Nasal drops are helping a bit. He's getting a little more permissive about them too. And now, while he sleeps, must eat and pump like the wind!

9/14/2005 3:25:38 PM  
Grandpa hasn't smoked for over a week! Right, Grandpa? Great job. As a gesture of reciprocity, Victor is abstaining from tobacco products as well. Keep up the good work, Daddy.

Today marked my longest absence from home yet. Salon day. Once again, I was far more traumatized than any other involved party but I lived. Victor was so happy to eat and I was so happy to feed him that the little piglet ate so fast he ended up puking a lot of it. His breathing sounds considerably better today though and it is good to see his appetite rebounding again.

Oh yeah, and today is 6 weeks!

9/16/2005 2:46:02 PM  
Jeepers! This week flew by. I feel like I've been out of touch with most everybody this week and we haven't even been THAT busy. The only major change was a lot more pumping. I'm trying to build up a surplus and I'm also starting to enjoy my pumping time because it's the only occasion I ever get to read a little. So I guess that's where this week went, for the most part. Built up a pretty good stash of milk though.

Victor officially looks more like James than me right now, in my opinion. For the first month or so, I would be the first to tell you he looked more like me (& my ilk) but I think that has changed. I think it's mostly his eyes that really look like a young Bruiser Humphrey to me. And since he is showing us those pretty eyes more and more, that should expain it!

9/18/2005 4:26:50 PM  
Boy do the weekends rush by in a blur. And yes, I know I'm home ALL the time anyway but it's nice to have whatever small amounts of time we can get with James. Tennis season has started again so that leaves even less time. Once it cools off (it's still near 100 every day for the foreseeable future), there will be a Humphrey cheering section though. I swear it.

This next week we get to finally meet Alex. Here's hoping that Lia has a sub-4 hour labor like mine. I joked with Dr. Cowan that I would tell people that was his trademark if, and only if, Lia had a short labor too.

Victor and I also get to go to our first La Leche meeting this week too if the group leader ever calls me back. So expect many militant feminist rantings soon. [Insert "what do you mean, SOON?" jokes here.].

More and more smiles from our little boy these days. Some seem accidental but many seem driven by genuine contentment and perhaps, dare I say, affection for us. So sweet. And yes, he is more beatiful and chubby with each passing day.

9/19/2005 10:50:19 AM  
At 3:00, I curiously awakened to the smell of someone making homeade pudding. Then reality set in. James was up to give the middle of the night feeding and we discovered that the bottle warmer just keeps right on warming once it beeps to tell you it's done. Milk boiled all over the counter. Naturally, I was nearly brought to tears by the sight of 5 ounces of liquid gold gone to waste.

So James administers a newly warmed 5 ounce bottle. Should knock that boy out, right? Not so. Grunting, kicking and flailing insued. Even in the swaddle, he was doing these amazing leg lifts in the Pack & Play. He should really have some impressive abs if he keeps that up. Anyway, all soothing techniques were met with scorn for the next hour until 5:00 when I finally came to the stark realization that he was hungry again. Fed him and he passed out cold.

So today, the Humphreys are back to being rather sleep deprived. Daddy, most of all, I'd say. Victor is rather content and well-adjusted though. Thank goodness.

9/20/2005 4:32:06 PM  
La Leche just isn't happening for us tonight, I don't think. We are still recuperating from last night's marathon fuss session. James speculates about constipation as a root cause and I think he may be right. There was evidence to indicate that theory as a good one. 7 hours though?

[Deleted portion of blog early on 9/21 because declaration of plans now mocks me and my lack of sleep/ability to function.]

Trying to decide whether to attend another coming event - the big IVF reunion! I don't really see how much fun that will be for an 8-week old. He's not really into the moonwalk or facepainting yet. Would really love to get a pic of Victor with Dr. Vaughn for his baby book though. Sadly, that makes me realize that we forgot to get a picture of Victor with Dr. Cowan. Should have done that at my postpartum. Dummy.

I think I'll stop talking to myself and shower now while Vic continues to catch up on his beauty sleep.

9/20/2005 10:45:31 PM  
I'm 34 years old. I have a J.D. I'm married to an engineer. Somehow trying to understand the workings of the Baby Bjorn still escapes me.

9/21/2005 6:42:19 AM  
Shift change. James is now on duty and I am going to attempt to finally sleep. Hoping this is not the new Vic regime - one parent sleeps per night. Hard-pressed to remember being this tired in many years.

9/21/2005 8:27:11 PM  
Yay! Alex debuted at 6:45 p.m. and was 8 pounds, 11 ounces and 20 inches long. Well done Lia, well done.

9/22/2005 2:52:43 PM  
First off, James was right. James is wise, blah, blah, yada, yada. Constipation it is. Oh wise James.

So this is hopefully shaping up to be a day of resolution for much Humphrey angst. Victor went to see Dr. Mirrop and his night troubles are probably not actually colic but more likely constipation. I felt like kind of a moron as I sat there saying "well, he feels better as soon as he poops....." without realizing that it really is just THAT SIMPLE. I guess I thought constipation meant no poop at all. Whatever. Probably more detail than most people want. At any rate, Victor responded to his first suppository appropriately and will hopefully continue to do so for the next few days until he gets back on track, so to speak.

Also, some quick Googling on my part revealed that the problem with the bottle warmer is specific to our Dr. Brown's bottles (due to that nifty vent system it has) and so we just have to warm the bottles sans nipple assembly. Easy enough. No more crying over spilled breastmilk. Knock on wood.

Speaking of knock on wood, "So You Think You Can Dance" was a very pivotal episode last night. Kamilah is so gone and Nick is slowly edging out Blake. Oh wait, did I just type that out loud?

Oh yeah, and Victor is 11 and a half pounds now. No wonder he is busting out of his onesies.

9/23/2005 12:39:02 AM  
Alex is very, very cute.

9/25/2005 11:51:50 AM  
Victor is feeling much better about life now, I think. Granted, he did eat 3 times during the night but at least he was up because he was hungry and not because he was uncomfortable/inconsolable. He's just still off schedule. Trying to get him back on track today by stimulating him more during the day so he'll eat rather than letting him sleep it off (even though I desperately want to sleep it off myself). I miss that 6 hour stretch of sleep and I want it back!

9/25/2005 1:49:46 PM  
It's 103 out there. We didn't get any rain from Rita either so the pollen is still quite bad. Looking at the forecast though, sounds like triple digits finally end in a few days and then we actually might get lows in the 60s by late this next week. Maybe, just maybe, we can finally get Veeg out for a walk if we do it fairly early in the morning. Come on cold fronts. Please don't toy with us!

9/26/2005 12:34:32 PM  
I hesitate to do any soliciting on this site but I assure you that I only do so as an alternative to an annoying group e-mail. I am walking in Austin's Komen Race for the Cure on November 6. If anyone does feel compelled to donate to the cause, my personal fundraising page is at this address:

I have made an unofficial tradition of registering for the race annually in memory and honor of my Grandma Pressler. The past two years, I had to opt out of actually racing that day due to IVF restrictions but this year I am looking forward to actually getting out there and hoofing it!

Also, this will hopefully give me a reason to get motivated about doing some walking in preparation for November. I sure hope Victor enjoys the Bjorn for at least an hour because he's still more than a little wee for the baby jogger.

9/26/2005 11:45:27 PM  
New obsession. Zutano velures. Oh my. Just thought I'd share in order to torment Lia, Dena, LD & Jen. Check 'em out.

Why am I up? Why, because I'm afraid to walk into my own bedroom for fear of making eye contact with Victor. I might try crawling to bed now........

9/28/2005 8:32:07 AM  
Lia and Rich had little Alex one week ago today and they are as proud as can be. And who can blame them? Just look at little Alex! I had the privilege of visiting the new little heartbreaker when he was just a day old.

Just click on pics to enlarge and remember that James put those captions on:

In other news, Victor is 8 weeks old today!

9/29/2005 1:58:19 AM  
Trying not to resent James for sleeping through these middle of the night changes/feedings. Trying really hard. So rather than acting out in anger, I am trying to come up with a "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" parody to keep myself awake.

The suppository Victor got around 11:00 finally worked just now. Really, really well.

9/29/2005 6:12:23 AM  
I've officially lost my sense of humor.

Victor hasn't slept since he woke up at 10:30 so obviously neither have I. Feedings at 11:00, 2:00, 4:00 & 6:00. Guess we'll spend most of the day sleeping.

9/29/2005 3:47:03 PM  
Life is better. No, I did not get to sleep more. I haven't even gotten to shower yet. It is 75 degrees out there right now though and that is enough to make me positively giddy!

Sleep and showering can wait. A stroll outside with a gentle breeze is not to be missed. But will Victor agree? ;)

9/30/2005 12:21:06 PM  
Playing lots of the "Who does Victor look like today?" game here lately. It seems that he looks the most like Granddad (my daddy, that is - just annointed him "Granddad" as I typed this) here lately. Something about his facial expressions just channels a young Don Pressler. James has always felt that James Thomas looked much like Dad too and now I think I see what he means. Victor very much has James's chin though (as did Ronan, without any doubt). All of this adds up to impossible cuteness.

Victor really seemed to enjoy getting out for a walk yesterday afternoon. I think we'll try to venture out after this next feeding. We'll be back up in the 90s within a few days so we've got to get out there while it's still "cool"!

10/1/2005 9:31:10 PM  
Victor went to his first tennis match today and got to see his buddy John (future doubles partner?). His dumb mommy took the camera and then totally spaced out and forgot to take pictures. Whoops. He's definitely starting to like being out in the world more though

10/2/2005 5:09:10 PM  
Big scary, first step. We booked our X-mas travel. Feeling both extremely daunted by the thought of keeping track of all of his stuff and getting it to STL and extremely excited at the thought of him getting to meet the rest of the family! One of the highlights will definitely be Victor and Cousin Sean hanging out at G's house in Peoria. I'm getting giddy thinking about it. Plus, he'll get to wear really cute sweaters and boots!

10/3/2005 4:01:51 AM  
Victor's 2 months old!

That and he's eating more than ever thought humanly possible. Please, please let me him sleep a while now. Swing, work your magic!

10/4/2005 10:48:03 AM  
A couple of major milestones today. First, Victor slept in his room last night and it did, in fact, seem to go better. I think that James is right (there are those dreaded 3 words again) that Victor is far too aware of us now and it keeps him from just settling in and sleeping when we're feet away. I did not sleep very well while straining to hear the baby monitor though. I guess I'll get more comfortable.

We also just moments ago had our first major poop blowout. We have had several events on the changing table but this was the first incident that made me consider cutting the onesie off of him (thinking of Uncle Pat & Cousin Sean). That's what I get for telling Lia that I never have to change his clothes because of diaper leaks and then telling my mother that I never have to change the crib sheets because of diaper leaks either. Now I have a poopy onesie and crib sheet in the washer. I was asking for it by gloating!

10/5/2005 10:07:36 AM  
Victor grew more than usual. He's now 75+ percentile instead of 50-75%. Almost 13 pounds and 24 inches long. Everything checked out great for 2 months and while he did not enjoy the 4 shots (turned a shade of red I'd never seen before), he calmed back down pretty quickly and is now back to life as usual.

With a peptalk from Dr. Mirrop, I am really going to try to rectify our sleep schedule a little. Need to keep him up and eating more during the day so he'll sleep the long stretch during normal sleeping hours instead of in the mornings until noon. We are not college students so this pattern is really not appropriate. I say this all with fierce determination but I really just want us to both take a nice long nap right now. Keeping my eyes on the prize.......precious sleep.

10/6/2005 6:20:18 PM  
Yeah, I think that we'll be doing that 5K with the stroller. My back hurts after walking a mile with Victor in the Baby Bjorn. It's awesome for leisurely wandering about though and it certainly relaxes him. What a gorgeous day for a walk outside too. We're both sneezing now but we both had lots of fun out there.

Now the little guy is lounging in his Pack & Play actually PLAYING with a toy! It seems that Tucker the Turtle is the toy that finally enticed him, probably because Tucker has a mirror on his tummy and Victor is pretty fascinated with the beautiful face he sees in it. I could look at that face for hours too which is why it's taking me a while to get around to taking a shower.

10/7/2005 1:50:41 PM  
It's finally raining and I take full credit for it. I got Victor in one of his few comfy, warmer 3-6 outfits, managed to get some socks on him and was about to load up the stroller when it started.

On the bright side, my pre-IVF running shoes fit comfortably again. I was starting to think that they would just be mementos but my foot swelling finally abated. Small victories. Pun intended.

10/8/2005 10:44:11 PM  
We had a very full day. I'm certainly tired. James is extremely tired and passed out on the couch with the cat. But will Victor decide to sleep a nice stretch? Fingers are crossed.

We had a nice walk today though it had already gotten a bit warm again out there. Then we had a fun visit from my cousins (3rd cousins? I never paid enough attention to that part of Property Law or Wills & Trusts in law school) Susan and Sarah. Then, following a bath for Victor, the Humphreys took our first trip to the grocery store as a threesome. He really took all of the activity in stride and hopefully it will make him feel that he deserves a long snooze now.

10/9/2005 2:02:38 PM  
We're slowly getting there on the sleeping nights thing. He's at least starting his longest stretch at midnight again. It's something.

This week we really are going to La Leche. I swear it. The nice thing is that it's only a few blocks away so we can just throw ourselves together and go. Also going to try to go ahead and take in some of our surplus frozen milk to the Mother's Milk Bank this week. It's hard to part with it but we'll never use all of it before 6 months is up (the limit on freezing breastmilk in the deep freeze) and it's for a very wonderful cause so we are glad to share.

10/11/2005 9:55:23 AM  
I'm in a fairly foul mood and desperately trying not to be a bummer with Victor. Ragweed is working us over right now. Everyone in the house is stuffed up and I'm sure our daily walks outside haven't helped one bit. It's nice and cool and cloudy out there right now but I don't even want to go breathe that air.

Also feeling bitter because I don't even feel like I can take Claritin because the milk bank requires that I wait 12 hours after taking it to pump for donation. It's on my list of safe medications so I don't know why it's such a big dramatic thing. But I just always have to play by the rules! No fun.

Still striving for that elusive long stretch of sleep but instead getting a few 3 hour stretches of sleep out of Victor each night. Can't complain much though. Lately he only cries when he's hungry or needs to burp.

10/12/2005 2:19:14 PM  
We made it to La Leche! We got to see our buddies Ruth and John which is always a treat. I really wish we'd gone a month ago. It did me a lot of good to hear from other mommies and see that yes, I am doing just fine with this whole thing. And yes, it really is normal for him to be waking up to eat twice in the night. I repeat - it is normal!

It's hot again so our plans for a walk are nipped in the bud unless it cools off early in the evening. Should probably wait a few days anyway though. Poor Victor is rubbing his little eyes. Ragweed be gone.

Hi Gaga!

10/12/2005 7:28:43 PM  
I've finally got a handle on the photoshopping thing so I do solemnly swear that "we" will remove the redeyes before we post pics on here so that they are photo worthy. (Speaking of photos......greatgrandmothers, you've got another batch in the mail to ya!). Hoping to get some really cute ones on tonight yet.

Also want to send a big ol' shout out to Daddy for more than one month smoke-free. Your grandson is very, very happy with you. He has smiled more tonight since confirming that you're still off the cigs. Really.

Hi Gaga! :)

10/14/2005 12:22:08 AM  
A big happy 1st birthday to Bernie & Jack! (And hi to their mommy when she sees this weeks from now.) Can't wait until Victor gets to meet you guys.

It's shift change and off to bed for me. I'm pretty excited about sleeping.........

10/14/2005 2:13:21 PM  
I got to sleep for more than 5 hours at once. I think. It's hard to quantify sleep very well, what with the occasional jolts awake by grunting on the monitor. I know better than to think this is how things are going to be now but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Victor gets to be more social this weekend. Tomorrow he gets to hang out with Lars and Aisha (and Baby Hagen, in utero) at their baby shower in the afternoon and then he gets to have dinner with Jamie & Yvette tomorrow night. Hopefully he'll continue his trend of being alert and adorable as long as he's well-fed.

10/14/2005 2:35:20 PM  
Yeah, I'm excessively bloggy today but I just made a horrific discovery. The Busch Braggin' Rights game (Illini vs. Mizzou b'ball for non-Midwesterners) is being played on December 21 which is the first night we get in to the area. That means Victor and Sean will not get to watch it together ! Seriously, it almost made me cry. I was really looking forward to posing them together in their Illiniwear for a cousin shot. Wah.

Guess Victor will be wearing his bball onesie (thanks Zac & Amy!) in Jerseyville while he roots on Dee Brown.

10/17/2005 6:42:59 AM  
Longest stretch of sleep EVER! Victor went down at 9:00 and slept (as far as I know....he was content anyway) until 5:30. He was insanely hungry at that point though. Usually he's all smiles and coos as soon as he gets on the changing table because he knows that he's going to get fed. This morning he screamed until the moment he was eating. I don't blame him one bit. That was a long time to go without milk.

I think Victor may graduate from the swaddle soon. It still seems like it helps him sleep longer at night because it keeps him from startling himself. He keeps busting out of it a la Incredible Hulk Baby once he really gets awake and impatient though. He's getting to be such a big boy.

10/19/2005 4:13:18 PM  
I think it's time to change "A Message from the Piglet" because he doesn't cry a lot anymore. He's very mature and well-adjusted now, as a matter of fact. OK, slight exaggeration. He's been a very busy boy this week and it's only Wednesday. We are both a bit worn out!

We ran more errands than Victor might have preferred on Monday but he was so well-rested and agreeable that I just had to try to capitalize on the opportunity. Yesterday we had lunch and went shopping with Lia and Alex. It was pretty cool strolling around together. We rock. (Right, Lia? ;) )

Today Victor went to his first Travis County Women Lawyers meeting. We went for a quick cameo appearance but ended up staying for the CLE program and Victor was very dignified and professional for the duration. Then he even put up with me getting my blood drawn so that my milk donation will get approved. Excellent teamwork!

Tomorrow we're going to NI so that some of the people who have been no doubt subjected to endless details about how cute Victor is can witness Mr. Smiley for themselves. Should be fun.

10/21/2005 11:21:53 AM  
Our goal today is to never get in the car. If we leave the house at all, it's in the stroller for a leisurely walk. That would entail both of us changing out of our pajamas though. We may get around to that. It is a beautiful day out there.

10/23/2005 5:02:09 PM  
Victor's not the happiest pumpkin in the patch this weekend. He's had a really fussy few days which we are naturally chalking up to the 3 month growth spurt. Really does seem to make sense though. That or some really early teething pain. He cooperated today just long enough to go get some Halloween pumpkin pics. Now a much-needed nap is taking place. The house is silent. Ah.

10/24/2005 10:17:38 AM  
It's actually cool! Now this is a great day for a walk outside. I thought we'd be doing that right now but somebody decided he wanted to go right to his nap after eating. Loving this cooler weather. Victor is much like Pru in that he has gotten instantly snugglier. He's being very clingy and sweet. And he's finally getting to wear pajamas and sleepers to bed now instead of onesies. So very, very cute!

I'm scared to say it "out loud" but Victor has slept through the night (meaning that he has slept for more than 6 hours at a stretch) for about a week now. Pretty much goes down between 8 and 10 and wakes up between 4 and 6 here lately. It's about time to establish a bedtime routine. Oh boy.

10/26/2005 7:52:39 PM  
Still loving this weather. Ends up that it does not lend itself to getting rid of the swaddle though. Oh well, there are worse habits than swaddles. The main concern is that he's about to outgrow it so I was hoping to kinda wean off of it before then. It shall all work out.

Speaking of crutches though, I keep really trying to start using the swing less. Of course I've sort of traded that evil for the Kick & Play (the newest magic formula). Sometimes though, I just gotta find a way to clean a little or, heaven forbid, take a shower. And so, I'm going to go back to assuming that he'll wean himself off the crutches as he starts doing more and getting interested in more anyway.

10/27/2005 6:09:52 PM  
First walk around Town Lake today! We had fun strolling with Lia & Alex but now I am quite tired. That was considerably more than our usual walks and Victor decided to wake up at 4:30 this morning. I could sleep in this chair right now if it weren't for the noise coming from Mr. Kick & Play a few feet away.

10/28/2005 12:30:52 PM  
Not much to report today except to say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GAGA!". Wish we were there to coo and smile at you.

10/30/2005 10:31:00 PM  
Victor is in Size 3 diapers now. Trying to finish out most of the Size 2s we have left but it's starting to be not worth the risk of catastrophic damage, particularly at night. He is growing at a frightening rate, alright. Hope he fits his costume tomorrow!

10/31/2005 9:12:23 AM  
We achieved the elusive 9-6 sleep stretch! That and he's still napping post-6:00 feeding. This rest thing is cool. Mommy likey.

11/1/2005 8:50:15 AM  
10-6:30 sleep stretch and that was only because somebody woke him up! :( He must be worn out from trick or treating. We ended up staying here in the hood and just going to a few neighbors' houses to show him off. That was pretty much his time limit in the costume anyway. He made a very cute pepper as evidenced by the many pics. No smiles while in costume though.

Happy to see that James has changed the dev tracker (age in the far left column) to reflect months rather than weeks now. However, I wonder about the proper mode of calculation. I don't consider him 3 months until Thursday (the 3rd) because I thought month ages were calculated by day of the month rather than clusters of 4 weeks. That may complicate the web master's life too much for now though. Hmmmmm. Input about proper calculation is welcome.

11/2/2005 10:11:06 AM  
Well, Pru still slightly outweighs Victor. She went to the vet yesterday and weighed in at 15 1/2 pounds. Haven't weighed Victor for about a month but based on his usual pattern, he's probably between 14 1/2 and 15 right now. It's going to be a milestone when Pru becomes the smallest member of the household again.

In other news, bought the Jumperoo for Victor yesterday but the sound and lights part is dysfunctional so I called Fisher Price and they are sending me a replacement part. Yay for not having to haul that monstrosity back to Target! And for those of you that know how much I hate the phone, yay for me calling customer service! Seriously considering taking the defunct part in the backyard and smashing it in a la "Office Space". Probably not a good example to set though.

11/3/2005 12:02:47 PM  
Victor was so excited about turning 3 months old today that he woke up at 4:00 for a celebratory bottle with Daddy! He's such a good boy though that even when he wakes that early, he goes right back down again for a few hours (meaning a few more hours of sleep for his parents!). That's what 7 ounces of warmed liquid gold will do.

Looking back at my log (not as neurotic as it sounds - I just write down feeding times and what side we start on), it appears that "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is very right about one important thing. The earlier he gets to bed, the later he seems to sleep. When he gets in bed around 9:00, he can go till 6:00ish. Post-10:00 usually means there will be a 4:00 feeding. Sounds simple, right? Seems like it should be to me too but managing to get him fed and ready for bed at 9:00 is not always the easiest undertaking. But we have a goal at least!

11/5/2005 9:44:23 PM  
Victor slept until almost 8:00 this morning. Best. Baby. Ever. Amazingly though, in spite of that full night's sleep, I feel like I'm getting sick. Swollen throat and pressure on the ears. I just hope I don't have a cold that I have given or will give to Victor. Also kicking myself for forgetting to ask Dr. Cowan or Dr. Mirrop for a recommendation as to a good family doc for when and if I need to go this winter. Dumb mommy.

We went to root James on to a tennis victory today. Quiet rooting but rooting nonetheless. It was rather warm and sunny - too much so, frankly - and I spent most of the time chasing down what little shade I could find. I'm really happy that Victor is in such a nice adaptable phase though. He was quiet and content for 2+ hours. I was too.

11/7/2005 6:00:47 PM  
Thank you to Lia for reminding me about voting tomorrow. I'm blogging about it so that when I look at this again tomorrow, I'll remember to actually get out there and do it. Hope my fellow Texans will join me in going out and voting, preferably AGAINST the gay marriage ban.

A couple of completely insubstantial firsts to report today. First, I had my first beer in over a year last night and it was so delicious. It was every bit worth the breastfeeding strategizing that was necessary to drink it

The second, and even more trivial event was Victor pooping in his swing for the first time. It was rather dramatic. 3 clothes changes today. I will be so happy when he gets out of this in between diaper sizes stage. Not a swaddler but not yet a cruiser! (Lame Pamper's joke.)

11/8/2005 10:23:34 PM  
Well, Prop 2 passed statewide with the exception of our fair Travis County (40-60 here). Yet another reason to be embarrassed about being a Texan. Victor got to participate vicariously in the voting process though. Ironically, we go right back to the same church our polling place is at for La Leche tomorrow.

Got Victor in bed a bit on the late side tonight because he napped so long this afternoon/evening. Hoping that doesn't spell out a 4:00 wake-up. James is actually out late tonight (I was invited - he's not a jerk!) so this is kind of a strange feeling. It is very, very quiet here.

11/9/2005 12:17:26 PM  
We missed La Leche this morning so it stands to reason that we'll have some issue in the next few days that we could have used some feedback on. I really hope the topic wasn't travelling this month but I bet it was. That's something I wanted some pointers on. Asi asi.

More importantly, I've finally got our carseat saga settled (which is why we got totally behind schedule this morning). Enboldened by my recent Fisher Price triumph, I contacted Graco to let them know that I would kinda like for them to replace our carseat infant carrier because the adjustable handle is stuck in an inconvenient and unsafe position. They initially proposed that they send me a return label and then issue me a replacement once they get mine. See the problem? Yeah, no carseat while we wait for the transaction to occur. So now, they are going to send us a refund once they get the seat and I can go buy a replacement in the meantime. Success!

Hoping nothing else turns out to be defective or broken for a while here. It's hard enough just staying on top of the battery supply for all of Victor's stuff!

[Oh yeah, let me add that we did, in fact, have the 4:00 wake-up today. Tonight, it's bed at 9:00 for that boy!]

11/10/2005 6:24:11 PM  
We had a brush with fame today but then it was all jerked away! :( We went to Town Lake to walk with Lia & Alex today. While we were there, a news crew filmed the little guys in their strollers for part of a spot about the heat today (yeah, some joke of a cold front we got there!). We were told that it would probably be on the 6:00 news. Well, apparently they were just too cute to be shown on the news. They did manage to include a stupid dog with sunglasses on though. They're still stars to me!

11/11/2005 8:51:54 AM  
Hey, they made it on TV after all! Vic & Alex were on KXAN Firstcast News this morning. The best part is that we weren't up out of bed to see it because Veeg was still snoozing away. We did DVR it though and have watched it about 30 times. OK, 50 times.

Now you can watch it too by clicking below:

Victor on TV

11/14/2005 5:33:09 PM  
It's a big day in the Humphrey household! First, it was determined that Victor does now outweigh Pru. Granted, the method of measurement was weighing myself with and without holding him. I got him right at 15 1/2 pounds.

We also had our first meal out in a restaurant today. We chose to introduce Victor to dining out with a trip to Artz Ribhouse. He was there many, many times in utero and seemed pretty at ease there today as well. James & I were overly jubilant about eating a lunch out in public together again. We might just have to do that again now that we know it's totally doable.

James is "off work" this week on vacation so there will be more family fun later in the week, hopefully with good pictures as proof.

11/16/2005 7:09:05 PM  
Victor has totally worn me out. He cried more today than he has in a long time and all we were doing was hanging out at Lia's with the A-Man. Crikey. We did get some somewhat meaningful interaction out of the boys though. That and some cool photos!

Tomorrow is Daddy & Victor bonding day while I go pay someone to reclaim my hair or at least make a good faith attempt to reclaim my hair. Ah, to sit in a chair and read InStyle! Bliss.

11/17/2005 11:55:20 PM  
Oh, Señor Allsup just made my whole day or possibly even month! Hola Señor Allsup. ¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias ! Semana próximo obviamente.

Did a little experiment tonight at bedtime. Since I am firmly convinced that we need to try to break Victor of the Amazing Miracle Blanket before long (since he gets loose in the mornings now), I tried just taking it away cold turkey and putting him to bed in a sleep sack. Wow. You would have thought I had tarred and feathered him. He screamed endlessly until I removed it. Swaddled him up and he immediately smiled and even giggled with relief. Then right to sleep.

Sigh. There are worse habits than swaddling. It's not like he smokes or gambles. And for the record, I doubt that it helped the situation that his daddy was laughing hysterically at the sight of him in the sleep sack.

11/19/2005 8:32:28 PM  
For anyone who wanted to see it, here is a clip of Victor's TV debut. Don't blink or you might miss Victor & Alex. Lia & I almost got more screen time.

Victor on TV

[Addendum as of 11:04p.........Victor is sleeping peacefully in his sleep sack. I will not dare to tempt fate by packing away the miracle blankets but I am pretty ecstatic that the cold turkey plan seemed to work. Swaddle who?]

11/20/2005 9:06:24 PM  
Victor has really "bloomed" this week. Very nice timing since his daddy was home to see it. We're getting a lot more giggles and grabbing. He's also starting to push up a lot more during tummy time. It's very exciting and scary at the same time. We are already plotting a rearrangement project in the living room to prepare for rolling and crawling. Those little wheels are turning.

We went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Friday and enjoyed quite a nice stroll on the trails but I somehow managed to forget the camera. We're probably going to try to get back out there yet before X-mas so maybe we'll get a cool pic yet.

Today we went to the Dr. Seuss exhibit at the art museum. It was really cool. Got a few pics of Vic there but he was snoozing away in the stroller so the scale is not the greatest. It was a really neat exhibit though and James & I really got a kick out of it. Our favorite piece was "Cat From the Wrong Side of the Tracks".

Wow! Could it be? It sounds as though Victor is already quiet. Operation Swaddle Diss might be a smashing success. He even napped in his crib for over an hour today. I think he's getting ready to impress the whole family over X-mas with what a good sleeper he is.

11/21/2005 10:33:40 PM  
So here it is. The emotional seesaw of the holiday season. I am so happy and excited to be celebrating more of Victor's firsts, especially with the extended family. It's always still there though - the constant gnawing feeling that someone is missing. Ro & JT are very much on my mind and for the first time it is really hitting me that I wish they were here to see their brother growing and doing so much right now. I know most people probably don't understand that. I don't think you could understand it unless you had met Ro & JT.

It's getting better though when I think back on how things were a year ago. There is so much to be thankful and joyful for and life feels very, very blessed. If only people knew how an innocent question like "Is this your first?" still feels like a dagger through the heart. He's not the first but he is the boy that came along and changed our lives into something very wonderful. Best gift ever.

11/22/2005 1:01:39 AM  
Here's the thing. I'm the one with the sleeping problem. Victor goes down like a dream and sleeps 6-10 hours quite peacefully. I, on the other hand, stay up putzing around until the wee hours because I'm so happy to have quiet (and free will). And I've been saying every day for over a month that "this is the last night I'm doing this!". Well, I'm tired. Maybe this really is the last night I'm doing this.

[It goes without saying that James is having no problems sleeping.]

11/23/2005 2:36:24 PM  
Victor has had two days in a row of getting up post-7:00 a.m. Such a welcome change. As a result, he is eating every 3 hours, if not more often, during the day but I suppose it's a very reasonable trade-off. He is also escalating the grabbing and babbling at an alarming rate. He's the coolest.

One major development lately is that Victor is now tracking me with his eyes from well across the room. There's no hiding! And now, when he wakes up in his bouncy seat or swing, he can tell I'm in the room even when I'm not in his line of vision. He'll contort himself to look around and find me.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Hope everyone has safe travels and a relaxing holiday. We'll be going out to eat, most likely at Hoover's. Mmmm, mmmm. And now, as though on cue, Victor has awakened for an afternoon feast.

11/26/2005 8:11:03 PM  
Busy few days around here! It feels like most of the past 72 hours was spent changing diapers and soaking clothes in Oxy Clean. I know there are people who will say that explosive poop has nothing to do with teething but I don't think it's coincidence.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at Hoover's (although they didn't present me with my very own personal casserole dish like Gaga would). Victor did just great and seemed to take a lot of interest in our food. Still not time for solids though. Not budging on that. 6 months will be here soon enough.

Didn't do a whole heck of a lot yesterday but we did manage to visit the Zilker Botanical Garden today. Our schedule was set back by yet another poop-splosion but it was so well worth the effort. It was a gorgeous day and there were tons of people out taking pictures in the gardens. We took a lot ourselves, as evidenced by the swelling page index on the pics page. Check them out!

[Speaking of the pics page, there have been some improvements made this week. Now if you hold your cursor over the page number link on the index at the left of the pics page, it should show you the date and title of the first pic on that page as a point of reference. Should make navigating the increasingly voluminous pics a little easier. ]

11/29/2005 1:54:34 PM  
I really tried to get a good X-mas picture a little while ago but it was fairly hopeless. Definitely a 2-person job. We need a photographer and a clown and they cannot be one and the same apparently. I'm not good at dancing around like an idiot while holding the camera steady. Need to get it done though. I got the tree up early just for this purpose!

We've got a pretty full agenda this week. I hope that Victor remains as flexible as he usually is about being out and about. We are definitely having some bouts of fussiness with screeching and frantic hand chewing. And yet that tooth still lurks beneath the gum. Can't wait to see a toothy grin, maybe even in time for X-mas.

12/2/2005 11:22:30 AM  
It's been a busy week and we're having a rest and recuperation day. Victor is doing a whole lot of napping this week which I believe is his only defense right now with the teething and possible growth spurt he's got going on. He's just started doing so many new things that I think his little head needs the recharging effects of sleep. I know the feeling.

Tomorrow night will be a rare Mommy outing and Victor will get to do his bedtime routine with Daddy for a change. I'm sure they'll both enjoy it and even though it will pain me to miss tucking that sweet little boy in, it will be fun to hang out with some adults & Lia for a few hours. Also, we're going back to the Wildflower Center tomorrow (albeit briefly).

Naptime just ended. I hear the cries of the hungry!

12/3/2005 4:29:00 PM  
Victor's four months old! It really does feel like a major landmark since he's suddenly doing so many new things. He celebrated today by going to his first ever book signing. He got a couple of signed David Kirk books ("Miss Spider" series) and seemed to enjoy another Wildflower Center outing.

James & I switched wake-up and bedtime shifts today since he had a late night working last night and I'll be gone tonight. And wouldn't you know it? Victor chose to wake up to eat at 5:30 today instead of his usual 7:15. It seems that he has mastered the art of turning his Ocean Wonders Aquarium on and off himself (albeit sometimes rather inadvertantly). Yep, he had that thing going for about 45 minutes straight while I just hoped and prayed he'd go back to sleep. No going. I got in there and he was turned totally sideways in his crib and was quite ready for breakfast.

He's supposed to be napping right now but is doing his howler monkey routine. He's happy though. His voice is fascinating and he has discovered that he can almost get his toes up to his mouth. Quite a day of celebration!

12/6/2005 3:57:45 PM  
Whew. Big day. Victor & I went to our first Preschool Mothers Club meeting and he had lots of fun looking around at the other babies and listening to the sing-along. Then he passed out from the excitement.

A quick feeding after that and we were off to see Dr. Mirrop for his 4 month shots and check-up. I thought he was a real champ. He fell asleep the moment he got back in his carseat and is still there snoozing away. He was measured at 16 pounds, 1 ounce and 26 inches long which is still 75th percentile (and his head is still 75-95th, total Pressler head there!). I will go on the record as saying I think the nurse who measured him is a bit of a sluggard and didn't get his legs stretched out or wait for him to hold still on the scale. I think he's a tad bit bigger than that. ;) Whatever.

Oh yeah, and Victor got his photo taken with Santa yesterday afternoon too. James still needs to add it to the pics page. He's got quite the attitude in it. In this latest batch of pictures, he displays more and more resemblance to his namesake. Maybe it's just his aura of cool that does it but I think there's an unmistakable Woodsian quality.

12/7/2005 8:47:01 AM  
James Here: I just wanted to make note of the fact that starting last week Victor began using his little shovel hands to hold the bottle while he's eating. I'm still holding and controlling it, of course, but he has begun grasping the sides. Pretty neat!

12/8/2005 2:23:07 PM  
We're having our 2-3 days of brutal winter here at the moment. We've been iced in and forbidden to be out on the roads (by James) until it melts off tomorrow. It's been kinda nice to just stay in for a few days though. Victor got to see his first fire in the fireplace today.

Had one of the rare 3:30 wake-ups this morning. Teething? Vaccination hangover? Growing pains? Who knows.......... He's a little bit out of sorts but doesn't seem sick so we'll shrug it off and just be thankful that he usually sleeps so well.

Still seeing/hearing major advancements in Victor's vocalization and grabbing. Also, a lot of scooting going on, so much so that we had to put the crib bumpers in and lower the mattress. We're finding him in some pretty interesting positions! And he's really, really thinking about officially rolling. We've had some of what we consider rolling but it's been hit and miss. He's on the cusp of more movement than we're ready for. But hey, bring it on.

12/9/2005 11:44:00 PM  
So we tried a little experiment tonight and it blew up in our faces. We decided to see if maybe we could stay out with Victor past his bedtime and just get him to sleep in his carseat at 9:00. He pretty much reminded us who's the boss and then some. Just now got him settled and into bed and I feel like I just ran a marathon.

My new weird compulsion is making baby food. It's only weird because he's still at least a month and probably 2 months away from eating any solid foods. I really like to be prepared though. Once again, there are certainly more strangely obsessive things I could be doing. It's sort of like I was with the booties, except that it's a little more practical.

He's got about 45 servings of butternut squash, 30 servings of sweet potato and 18 servings of avocado waiting for him in the freezer. It was even more gratifying when I looked at baby food at HEB today. We can put him through college with the money we'll save! For now, he gets the cheapest and most nutritious food on the planet though.

12/12/2005 12:07:31 PM  
Still no tooth. I know this can take months but I was hoping maybe it wouldn't. No need to rush it though. Victor does not seem horribly bothered by the teething so far. It's more instinctual, I think. He is constantly chewing and sucking on his hands and even pushing against specific spots on his gums. It's still just more of an awareness than a real expression of pain though. At least I hope that's the case!

Breastfeeding. Always some challenge going on. He's doing just great with it now. Weight gain is still right on and that's even with dropping down to 5 feedings a day now. Our pediatrician is advising holding off on solids until as close to 6 months as we want or can get it for a multitude of reasons but especially because introducing solids would detract from the amount of breastmilk he takes in. At his age, breastmilk still satisfies his nutritional needs far better than any solids would. Fine by me. It's the most portable food ever!

Our challenges these days are arising from the fact that Victor is interested in every single sound he hears and any bit of movement he detects. He has to practically be fed in an isolation chamber now. If James is in the room, Victor is going to roll over to look at him and laugh. Very cute and very frustrating when I'm trying to get him fed so we can leave to go somewhere. This will be very interesting in the airport and on the plane next week! It may be one of the rare occasions that we wish he used a pacifier. Speaking of which, I'm trying to work on practicing my polite responses when well-meaning people tell me that he just needs a pacifier when he cries.

12/13/2005 5:03:07 PM  
Victor went to his first music class yesterday and was so enthralled that we decided to go ahead and sign up for the whole winter session. I'm really excited about it, especially since he'll get to be in a class of infants only. He really loved watching the toddlers doing their thing but he'll get more out of an infant class (and I'll have less of a headache afterwards). He also went to his very first weekly play group today and it was a smashing success. Seeing all the bigger babies sitting up and crawling really captured his interest. He'll probably do more practicing behind our backs while we sleep.

In shopping news (don't worry James, didn't buy anything today), I was very frustrated to find that Old Navy doesn't make one-pieces above the 6-12 month size. Victor's wearing 6-12s right now and we both think that the Old Navy French terry one pieces are just nifty. So soft and comfy and easy for diaper changes. I looked to see if I could get him a few more of them in the next size but nope. I guess he's supposed to start wearing real outfits after this. Sniff, sniff. I like my Mr. Munkles in cuddly cotton jumpsuits! Yeah, yeah, get over it.

12/16/2005 10:33:39 AM  
We've got to get some audio of this howler monkey screeching going on. Family will get to hear it next week though (if you wait long enough for him to get in the mood). Wow. Time is running out and I'm not very organized. Got sidetracked by some home projects this week. Still have several errands to run and lots of laundry to do!

We're going to meet Cousin Sean a week from today!

James Here: Squirrels finally tore through some siding around our chimney and began scampering around in our ceiling crawlspace. I responded by pruning all of the trees that were giving them access to the second story and braving the two floor climb to "repair" the hole. The trees put up a good fight, especially while I was dismembering their limbs on the ground. The squirrels were heckling me the entire time - it was rough. When I wasn't concentrating on not maiming or paralyzing myself, I worked on my George Costanza pronounciation of the word "squirrel". It was good fun.

12/19/2005 3:24:26 PM  
It's nearly time for my blog hiatus. I'm probably going to go through major withdrawal. We fly out on the 21st and return on the 28th. I'm sure I'll probably break down and get on at some point but I'm going to try to just take a break from it. I'm looking forward to also taking a much-needed break from pumping! I've already donated more milk than I ever imagined I would so I'm sitting out a week.

Naturally, I will be sure to blog about any major firsts though. ;) If that tooth pops up, everyone will know. If he starts running windsprints around the block in Jerseyville or if he cooks his first souffle, that will be mentioned too. Probably none of these things will happen in the next week though.

Oh yeah, just noticed that James interjected in the below entry about the squirrel showdown. I'm glad to report that I have not heard their scampering. I don't even see them out in the trees. Success, James! I think we sucked all the joy out of their little lives. It's a little sad but they were creeping me out, man. And for the record, this incident still paled in comparison to the possum showdown of 2000.

12/20/2005 2:09:05 PM  
Well, time has run out on me. Had intended to get pics from Trail of Lights and the Christmas photo outtakes up before leaving town but I don't think it's going to happen. Victor is very sleepy today which is working out well so that I can get last minute stuff done. Plus, tomorrow is going to be such a shock to his system that it will be good for him to have some extra sleep.

Getting pretty excited but also feeling strange about leaving home for the first time in so long. I've tried to spend some extra time with Pru but she is far more interested in sleeping today too. I'm going to miss her while we're gone.

Happy holidays to everyone out there in Piglet's Page Land. Safe travels and best wishes for a fabulous 2006!

12/24/2005 3:53:24 PM  

Merry Christmas Mommy!

Plubming Work done by Cazzola Plumbing on 12/21 and 12/22

1. Replace kitchen sink and faucet.

Downstairs Lavatory
1. Replace faucet.
2. Replace faulty shutoff valve.
3. Overhaul toilet including replacement of illegal sensor.

Upstairs Lavatory
1. Replace faucet.
2. Overhaul toilet (get it to flush properly)

Master lavatory
1. Replace faucet.
2. Improve hot water flow.
3. Improve drainage.
4. Overhaul toilet.



Arrange for work to be done by Cazzola Plumbing on Dec 21 and 22. Purchase sink and faucets from Lowes (tell Dawn that these are purchases for CATA). Enlist Charlie Price's help to store sink and faucets and let plumbers in and out of the house. Get boxes down from the garage attic to use to store under sink items (Tell Dawn that boxes are for consolidation project). Pretend to forget Dawn's present and put Pru and her litter box and food and water in the office right before leaving Dec 21. Enlist Steven Harrison's help to clean out the items from under the sink in preparation for the plumbers on Dec 21. Call Charlie on Dec 22 to confirm work is done. Tell Steven that he can let the cat out and move her food and water back downstairs on Dec 22. Get Steven to take digital pics of the work done and have him e-mail it to me. Make this post for a Merry Christmas.


Thank you so much to Steven Lidell from Cazzola Plumbing, Charlie Price (wonderful neighbor), and Steven Harrison (good friend) for their part in making this Christmas present and surprise possible.

12/25/2005 8:54:37 AM  
Victor got a white Christmas! Just as hoped, there is a light dusting of snow this morning but it is melting off pretty quickly. Gonna have to get out there and show the kid some of this white stuff in a little while. Obviously, I'm far more excited about it than he is.

Having lots of fun in Illinois but now I'm anxious to get back to Texas so I can check out all the new plumbing! Thanks James.

Merry Christmas!

12/28/2005 7:52:25 PM  
We're home and we're exhausted. We've been running around like crazy trying to get unpacked and cleaned up from the plumbing extravaganza. I'm finally getting my turn at being sick today. James just got to feeling much better and Victor is still stuffy and runny mostly at night. That and there are some gastrointestinal issues above and beyond the usual poop blowouts. I'll spare a lot of details but it ain't pretty. Naturally we had a major diaper blowout on the Houston to Austin leg of our flight home. Changing a diaper while holding Victor across our laps is not as hard as we thought it might be.

The trip home was wonderful but entirely too short. Victor met more people over the last week than he probably had in his whole life up till now, which is probably why he is now sick. Oh well. Gotta get that first cold out of the way. He really enjoyed his grandparents and great-grandparents. A particular highlight was Victor meeting Great-Grandpa Pressler for the first time. It was one of the most touching moments I've ever witnessed just to see the special connection between them. Breaks my heart that we didn't have batteries in the camera that night.

There are so many people that we didn't get to see during our trip home and I swear it wasn't for lacking of wanting to. We seriously only left the house to go see Grandpa in the nursing home once we were back from Peoria. There was a turnstile on the front door at 200 Barr. We'll venture to the Midwest yet again and hopefully catch up with everyone else. We need a whole lot of rest before the next trip though! Cannot wait to sleep in my own bed with my cat.

Oh yeah, and by the way, the faucets, etc., RULE!

12/29/2005 10:23:43 AM  
There's a gazillion new pictures. I am just about to put the captions on them if Victor cooperates. Somebody got a little spoiled during his Christmas trip and now doesn't want to give Mommy a moment's peace (or a morning nap). Sounds like the Baby Monet DVD might be working its magic in there though. Ahhhh.

To the pictures.................

12/30/2005 9:00:36 AM  
Happy Birthday to Victor's Grandpa! We can tell he misses you because we can't seem to do enough to keep him entertained. I guess that means that you're going to have to come visit very soon, eh? Hope that you're having a great birthday. No chips. Please.

12/30/2005 8:39:33 PM  
I think, really think, that Victor is down for the night. Sheesh. He napped for like an hour today. Total. I'd go to bed early too. In fact, maybe I should!

Victor continues to be just a tad high maintenance since we got back. He's definitely not feeling so great but he doesn't seem to be getting worse. Hard to tell if it's the cold or teething or just withdrawal from all of the holiday excitement. He acted inconsolable at 8:00 but after nursing while I sang U2's "MLK" to him about 20 times in a row (he really seems to like that song and the words are easy), he was powerless and surrendered to sleep.

Hoping to buy his big boy carseat over the weekend. We're probably just going with the Britax Marathon. If any readers out there want to try to talk me out of it, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I just have a feeling I'll regret it if we go for a cheaper seat. I guess I'll go read a bunch of reviews on Amazon yet again. ;)

Happy New Year! Almost.

[Spoke too soon. At 8:44, Victor is screaming and stomping up a storm. When will I ever learn?]

[And now at 10:29, it's all good. I'm going to bed "early" and I could not be more joyous!]

1/1/2006 3:46:18 PM  
We have a New Year's tradition here in this house wherein we do some kind of major home organization overhaul. Fun stuff like closets, the garage, attic, etc. This year, as part of our ongoing and gradual babyproofing efforts, we replaced our chintzy, dormesque lighting in the living room with sturdier, safer floor lamps.

We also bought bookshelves for the office so that we can replace our "accident waiting to happen" bookcases in there. So we're in sort of a consumerism gone wild mode but it's good to get a lot of this stuff done while we're in the mood for it. Victor is intrigued by the activity and definitely is readjusting to home. Oh, and the air conditioning is running today! Yeah.

1/2/2006 11:36:59 PM  
The Piglet will be 5 months old in less than an hour. I hopefully won't be awake then (yeah, who am I kidding there?). He is doing so much these days. It really feels like he changed a lot just over the week of Christmas. Maybe it was the blur of events or maybe he really did amp up his interactivity with so many people around to charm. He just seems like such a big boy.

I'm getting sicker tonight. It's probably my annual cedar fever. It's not fun and I keep whining to myself about having to tough it out without allergy medication (even if it's approved for breastfeeding, I'm paranoid about messing up the milk supply). Then again, I made it through the previous 2 cedar seasons without drugs because I was pregnant both times. It can be done.

Hoping to feel much better tomorrow so that we can go to playgroup and run an errand or two. We finished redoing the office today but now I kinda think our desk might need to be restained to better match the new bookcases. It never ends. And no, this really has nothing to do with babyproofing!

1/5/2006 1:19:26 PM  
We're headed out to the pediatrician's in a bit. Come to think of it, not sure why I'm blogging now instead of afterwards. Just had some time now. Anyway, the coughing is getting worse and he's pretty squirrelly about his feedings so I want to get him checked out. If nothing else, I want to make sure he isn't contagious before I take him to playgroup and music class next week. That and I'm worried about his little ears.

In spite of all 3 of us feeling pretty yucky, things are good in these parts. Finally wrapping up the home projects (the interior ones at least) for a while. We are sorta kinda ready for a mobile piglet.

Victor got to meet a new friend Tuesday night. Our friends Jamie, Yvette & Katie just moved "back" to the Austin area again. Victor & Katie were fast friends in spite of the fact that she is quite mature for him (22 months). Unfortunately, we left our camera at their house so no pics to post yet. Also, we missed a great photo op last night. Victor petted his kitty for the first time! We'll get a pic of it later, I suppose.

1/5/2006 4:52:12 PM  
Double ear infection. I knew something wasn't right. Didn't get a weight on him while he was at Dr. Mirrop's though I sorta wish we had because I don't think he is eating nearly as much as normal. And now we know why, I guess. Poor little guy.

1/7/2006 10:24:08 PM  
I think Victor is quite a bit better tonight than he was last night, in spite of some crankiness earlier. Antibiotics have started to kick in (with accompanying poopslosions!) and he had numerous Baby Vicks rubdowns today. Oh, and I think the humidifier is making a world of difference. It's tempting to go sleep in his room since the rest of the house is so dry in comparison. But I shall give him his peace and rest.

Just the fact that I haven't heard him cough and whimper since he went down is most encouraging. So hopefully he'll be rested and ready to go back to playgroup this week and then start music classes on Wedmesday. We are actually doing 2 different music classes now but one doesn't start until February so luckily we're easing into it.

I was thinking of starting cereal at some point in the next few weeks but I really want to wait for him to be healthier first. Right now he needs all the breastmilk he can get and his appetite is not the greatest. Plus, after seeing how good he is at shooting Amoxicillin out of his mouth, I'm less than eager to try cereal. Granted, the taste will probably be much better. The morning dose is a piece of cake because we just mix it in his morning "Daddy bottle". Bedtime dose is not so easy. I got a pretty good system down tonight though. I've had ample practice with Miss Pru. At least I don't have to squeeze Victor's head between my knees and pry his jaws open!

One more thing. I hate those blasted Hawkeyes.

1/9/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Lots of people have been e-mailing me asking me what these music classes are. We're doing Sign & Sing starting next month (which is fairly self-explanatory) and the one we start this week is Music Together. Here's the website for our school.

We'll let you know how it goes Wednesday. We're doing an infant only class and it is going to be very small. We'll see if that's a good thing. He really enjoyed the mixed age class we attended but it's our only shot at the infant class (it's birth to 8 months) so I wanted him to get the special attention.

Still up in the air about playgroup tomorrow. His chest is still rattling but at least the congestion is loosening. I'd really like to get him back out so he remembers that he's not the only boy in the world!

1/11/2006 4:43:35 PM  
Music class was way cool! It's a small class of only 4 babies (including Victor) and their caregivers so it could be a pretty tightknit little group. We even have a stay-at-home dad in our class. Supposedly there are lots of even younger babies in the mixed age classes. I'm glad we get to do it this way for the first term though!

We are having nap issues. Both playgroup yesterday and music class today were definite power struggles due to Victor's fatigue. We are going to have to tweak the morning routine a little because here lately he wants to sleep right when we need to head out for our activities. I nearly kept him home from playgroup yesterday but then decided that I needed to instill in him the understanding that we have to learn to be resilient. He, in turn, attempted to instill in me the concept that when he's tired and hasn't gotten his nap, he's going to flail and scream so much that I'll cry for a nap myself. Touche.

Really hoping this Amoxicillin is working to rid him of the ear infection. He seems much, much better both in appetite and comfort level. If he requires more antibiotics after Monday (when he finishes his 10 days), we are going to blow through more diapers than ever imagined. Pun intended.

Tomorrow is male bonding day while I go get my hair reclaimed once again. I think they're both looking forward to it.

1/13/2006 11:46:45 AM  
Friday the 13th is a momentous day in the Humphrey household! Victor is most definitely cutting his first tooth. It's not actually in or anything but it has started to push through and I can feel the sharp edge and see the white.

He also just had his very first solid. We just tried some cereal and it was a bit trying but a success overall. He was not at all happy in his high chair or his booster seat but he did allow me to feed him about 10 tiny spoonfuls in his bouncy seat. He really got the hang of the spoon thing and even anticipated the next bite. It was almost "A Clockwork Orange"-esque. Gonna have to just start making him spend some time in the high chair and booster chair to get him used to sitting upright (neither of them recline). Might try feeding him in the Bumbo next time too.

He is tuckered out from all of this effort so far today and is actually snoozing away in the bouncy. Perhaps this afternoon we'll take his maiden voyage in his new Britax Boulevard. I wish I had one. It looks really comfy. Oh, and his toy piano should be arriving today (he saw Jack Barnett's piano and just HAD to get one too!).

Happy weekend to all!

1/14/2006 5:41:13 PM  
Today Victor ate his cereal while sitting in the Bumbo seat. I consider that an advancement from the bouncy seat arrangement yesterday. Maybe with a few more tries in the Bumbo, he'll be ready to sit in the high chair. I'm too old to crawl around on the floor to feed him in the Bumbo for much longer.

Everybody is kinda crabby and out of sorts here. Sorry James but I think that is a fair assessment and I'm wiling to concede that I'm the crabbiest of the 4 of us today (Pru is actually the least bothered). Oh, but in good news, the new carseat is a hit with all of us.

1/17/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Today we're anxiously awaiting news of our friend Rilea's arrival from her mommy, Dena. Major kudos to my cerclage sister for going the distance and hats off to Ryan and Reagan for watching over their little sister with such love and care. Now when is she going to give us that update?!?!?!?!??!?!!!!!??

Chaotic few days around here with the ear infection and teething moodiness combined with my cleaning frenzy. John & Jeanie are visiting this weekend so I had to get this place presentable. It only took 3 days to clean! I remember when naps could be counted on. No more.

1/18/2006 2:56:53 PM  
I figured out how to make cereal something to get a little more excited about. Banana! So that's the new concoction. Tablespoon of rice cereal, 3 slices of banana mashed and 1.5 ounces of breastmilk. Of course the other secret was that he was quite hungry.

Now it's just a matter of tweaking our schedule a little so that he can be in a better mood for our activities. A month ago, early in the day was his best time. These days, he likes to nap every 2 hours until after his 2:00ish feeding and then go full throttle until the evening nap.

I'm starting to wonder if his playgroup buddies and classmates at Music Together and Sign & Sing will ever actually see him at his smiley, giggly best. Right now he's the one that shrieks and chomps. Speaking of which, the tooth is about halfway in.

Hoping for a good report from Dr. Mirrop tomorrow at our ear re-check appointment. I'll be reporting on that for sure. Oh, and I FINALLY got my milk donation taken in which should amuse any of you that have heard my daily sagas about that. Still seems to me like it should be a little easier than this for the donors (and their babies!).

1/19/2006 12:39:44 PM  
I just went to update Victor's weight and somebody already beat me to it! He doesn't weigh as much as I expected but he had a week there where he did not eat very much. He's still hanging right in the 50-75th percentile though.

Most importantly, ears are clear! Dr. Mirrop thinks his congestion is a thing of the past too. The coughing we've heard as of late seems to be more of an extra saliva thing. Speaking of which, Dr. Mirrop told me that Victor has 2 teeth trying to come in on the bottom! Yeah, I KNOW. They keep biting me.

He's in good spirits though and his mommy is extremely relieved that he has a clean bill of health again. Better get to whipping up his daily concoction.

1/20/2006 1:02:50 PM  
What a little piglet! Victor sucked down every bit of his cereal and nanas today and he had even just had a full nursing session 30 minutes prior. I think he likes it. I'm being very vigilent about introducing the solids slowly but I will admit that I'm really excited about trying some new things with him. I think he's going to be all over that butternut squash when we try it next week.

Heading to the airport in a bit to get John and Jeanie. This is going to be a pretty action-packed weekend for us by today's standards. A highlight will be our big dinner with the whole gang tomorrow night. Our server at Z'Tejas is going to cringe when we all come in. It's going to be 13 adults and 5 wee ones. We'll see how that all works out! It will be cool to all be in one place for the first time in a long time though. J&J must be pretty loved.

1/21/2006 10:26:49 PM  
Well, I've got pink eye but luckily I got into urgent care today and got antibiotic ointment for it. I really, really, really hope that Victor doesn't have it. He doesn't appear to (or if he does, it's not nearly as bad as mine) but he's also just finished a course of antibiotics. It's a good thing I'm already in the habit of washing my hands 20 times a day.

Victor attended his first big group outing tonight. We've gone out to dinner as a family before but this was his first big group event out in public. He started off really rocky but got much, much happier as the night progressed (after zonking out on my shoulder for a bit). We got some pictures of the tiny members of the gang that we'll share soon. I think he's warming up to Mia.

Victor got to bed late tonight because once we got home from dinner he was kind of hyper so I let him hang out with us in the office and listen to some tunes. Tiny Elvis had quite the little dance party on the futon. The kid definitely has rhythm and he really enjoys swiveling his hips. It wore him out but good too.

1/23/2006 10:45:34 PM  
James says:
The boy said "bah" (letter b) today at the urging of his mommy. He couldn't repeat the trick right away, but he was very happy and excited that his mouth obeyed him once.

1/24/2006 12:03:43 AM  
Special excited Piglet shout-out to some new friends:

Rilea Caroline did arrive last Tuesday although she certainly kept us waiting for the news of her arrival. And now tomorrow Providence Marie will be picked up by her proud parents to jet out of Russia and home to Colorado. Two fabulous Tuesdays in a row! Congrats to all of the giddy parents and props to Ryan & Reagan and Thomas for seeing their siblings home safely.

1/24/2006 10:44:44 AM  
I had forgotten just how miserable pink eye is (had it in law school once) which makes me even more determined to not let Victor get it from me. I think I'll call the doc today and tell him this ointment is very much not working. I'd really like to feel better soon because my mommy is coming to visit this weekend and I want to enjoy it! Victor is definitely excited about her impending arrival in town. Lots of screeching and "buh"ing and "puh"ing and kicking going on.

1/26/2006 10:27:37 AM  
Sorry the blog has turned into the chronicles of Dawn's oozing eyes as of late. I got worked in with the opthamologoist this morning and she seems to think that the Neosporin ointment I was using probably made it much, much worse. So now I've got erythromicin ointment. She thinks it's healing and she said that it doesn't look Victor has it at all.

Yes, he went along. And screamed. And screamed. And screamed. The clinic called me this morning to tell me to come right away so Victor's nap got interrupted about 10 minutes in. He was coping pretty well until we had to sit in an exam room for 45 minutes waiting. Now he's passed out in the carseat and I don't have the heart to get him out yet. Poor sweet boy.

1/26/2006 8:05:34 PM  
There. The house is "just clean enough" for a visit from my mother. Don't misunderstand. My mother would never be critical of my housekeeping . I just want to be able to relax and enjoy our visit without feeling antsy about how funky this joint is. And now I can.

1/27/2006 10:17:14 AM  
Dada wins. Consider this my concession speech. We're not talking first official word or anything because he was not naming anything but James did get to hear his name before I've gotten to hear mine. Very clear and excited "dadada" this morning. I'm sure James is still strutting around gloating about it!

He really changed course on me. He was starting "puh" and "buh" so I had my hopes up that "mama" would be coming soon since, as Auntie Leener pointed out, he was manipulating lips and not tongue at that point. Then yesterday, there was such a flurry of raspberries being blown and he was alternating them between lip raspberries and tongue raspberries. I knew I was probably about to lose the contest as soon as I saw that tongue moving around.

You win this round, Dada. Enjoy.

1/28/2006 11:57:08 AM  
James here:

ROLL OVER! We have our first unaided ROLL OVER! With Grandmother watching, Victor was on his stomach and he used his little right arm in a quick shoving motion to flip himself over onto his back. Yay, er, I mean gulp.

1/29/2006 12:29:28 PM  
It was a whirlwind weekend but what a good one. Victor showed his grandmother lots of smiles and jumping and kicking and even - gasp! - rolling over. And Victor's parents had a major milestone -- we went out to dinner without our monkey. We really lived it up because it might be a while before we get to do it again! Victor was in good hands and seemed to take it all quite well (although he was hungry and tired enough that he was really happy to see me return).

I was anxious to try avocado or squash with Victor next but since his bananas seem to have given him some moderate plumbing issues as of late, I switched out the banana for pear. So pear is the new "trial food" for this next 4 days. He seems to like it and it seems to keep his colon happier. I guess we will be using the bananas sparingly for a while. Too bad because he really loves them. Luckily he also really loves sweet tater.

Feeding the solids has gotten a little more challenging these past few days because Victor is now quite obsessed with watching Pru since she's usually in the vicinity. Pretty hard to get him to focus on his food for very long. I sure hope they become friends soon.

1/29/2006 11:57:04 PM  
I don't like "Goodnight Moon". I just plain don't like it. I've read it to Victor many, many times and I continue to be bothered by the fact that the meter is totally screwy, the rhyming is iffy and there's not really a plot. I do realize that when Victor starts to talk and really follow along with his books, the simplicity of "Goodnight Moon" might be a beautiful thing. But for the record, I'm not alone. I googled "Goodnight Moon sucks" and there are a lot of other people out there who don't consider it fabulous. Perhaps knowing that will help me sleep now. I was starting to think I was a bad mommy because I just don't get that book!

2/1/2006 9:42:12 AM  
Nothing particularly fun to report here. Victor and I both seem to have colds again so I'm trying to get us a little more downtime this week. On the bright side, I think my pink eye is finally better. Victor has his 6 month appointment next week so I'll have Dr. Mirrop really look at his eyes to make sure they look OK too.

I did just sign Victor up for swimming lessons starting in March. I sure hope he enjoys that. I think that he probably will. It will be a good outlet for his relentless kicking.

2/2/2006 5:39:18 PM  
Well, luckily Victor does like prunes. I'll spare further details for those of you that haven't had to hear the play-by-play via e-mail this week. He still hasn't tried a food he didn't like though he definitely has preferences. Banana is still the all-time fave.

We had a fun day. We had a mini-playdate with Victor's buddy John. They didn't interact a whole heck of a lot but at least Ruth and I got to hang out for a bit and we had a great walk. It was a beautiful day for it and now I'm inspired to get out there and do it more often, especially considering that a month from now swimming lessons start (and that means that we both have to don swimwear). John and Victor are going to be in the same swim class too! Should be fun.

Took a quick trip to Whole Foods earlier too and Victor did quite well with the grocery cart adventure this time. He doesn't mind when it's short and sweet and Whole Foods has to be short and sweet or there will be no money left to clothe us. Had to get some more yogurt-making supples. My first batch turned out really, really good. Trying to get healthier around here. Trying. Really trying.

2/3/2006 10:28:23 AM  
Victor is half a year old today! We are celebrating by staying in and snuggling because neither of us feels too great and it's gray outside. I could not be more excited about the prospect of not going anywhere all day. Of course now the sun just came out but I am resisting!

2/5/2006 5:06:45 PM  
Victor and Alex were reunited briefly today over lunch. It's still so much fun to see them together even if they seem to have no real awareness of each other. It will be cool for them later when they see that they have been buddies since birth, whether they wanted to be or not. But hey, two guys so wonderful and brilliant and adorable just have to be friends. There are pics, of course. They'll be on later today or tomorrow.

Yesterday marked a crappy milestone for me. I would not even mention it except that I really am using the blog now to diary and chronicle stuff for my own purposes. I hurt (accidentally, mind you!) Victor for the first time. I pinched his little tummy in his stroller harness clasp and he reacted like I had never seen before. I know what it looks like to see him in real pain now and I hated it more than anything. He made these horrible closed-mouth groaning sounds with huge tears rolling out of his eyes. I've heard him make that same groaning sound today a few times so I think he really impressed himself with it and is trying to keep it in his repertoire. I don't think he is old enough to master manipulation yet and make sounds just because he knows they'll make me cry and do anything he wants to make it all better. We both lived through it though and that's the important thing.

I'm fighting the urge to go outside and let Victor try out his swing that James hung in the tree earlier. It's beautiful out but James is gone for Superbowling festivities and I wouldn't want to do that first without him. Sounds like a pretty week so I'm sure we'll work it in. Victor and I might go for a stroll yet today though.

[Amended at 7:17, post-walk and dinner, to add that Victor likes avocado.]

2/6/2006 3:03:29 PM  
Victor got almost all the way through his first Sign & Sing class without a meltdown. As usual, he just really wanted a nap right as we were getting to class. It's hard having a different schedule every day of the week. Naturally he passed out in the car immediately after class.

I just pulled off the rarest of feats though. I managed to get him out of the carseat and into his crib without completely enraging him. He's napping in his crib. That's a major success in and of itself. Must shower!

2/8/2006 2:08:52 PM  
We've got a little nursing strike going on today. I really think the teething is taking its toll on Victor's mental well-being. I suppose he'll be hungry enough here in a bit that he'll play ball. He ate his solids today quite happily though. Butternut squash gets two chubby and enthusiastic thumbs up!

As cranky as he's been today, I shudder to think of how sullen he might get tomorrow after his 6 month shots and check-up. We're going to try to get outside for another walk yet this week since it's still so nice out. The nights are about to get cold again though. We've got daffodils and irises blooming and there's a hard freeze coming. Argh.

2/9/2006 12:42:27 PM  
Victor had a great 6 month check-up. He's at 18 pounds and 3 ounces now which is still hanging right in the 50-75th percentile. He continues to be a long little boy, now at 27 3/4 inches which is 75-90th percentile. His melon head is in the higher percentile too. So he's growing quite consistently but starting to thin out a little. Maybe he's going to be tall and thin like his namesake.

The best news is that his ears are still looking clear so apparently his brief nursing strikes are due to teething or general 6 month attitude (got better things to do like play and kick!). Dr. Mirrop was sick today so we saw Dr. Boes and Victor was very sweet and good for her. Oh, and she didn't seem surprised at all that he's not sitting up yet since he has always been nothing but a back sleeper.

Unfortunately, it sounds like Victor does not agree that this is a good time for a nap. He's so tired and achey though. Poor little sore monkey.

2/12/2006 4:41:00 PM  
Victor likes mango and I like James. We are still on a roll with the solids. We're up to 2 meals a day and he has yet to taste a veggie or fruit he doesn't like. Granted, prunes don't make him giddy but he does suck them right down. Definitely enjoying the oatmeal cereal far better than the rice cereal too.

I got an early birthday present from James. We're going to see Elvis Costello with the Austin Symphony Orchestra in April. It's kind of an unofficial tradition for us to always go see him when he's in town. It's pretty cool that he's at Bass Concert Hall this time instead of the usual Backyard. No sweltering and no cigarette smoke! Really looking forward to that night out. We've got a few months to find a babysitter, I suppose. Unfortunately, Victor's grandmother isn't available on Tuesdays. That and she's a wee bit busy for the foreseeable future.

2/14/2006 10:51:52 AM  
Happy Valentine's Day to one and all! We're going to go for a nice stroll outside in a bit to celebrate. Victor's in a pretty sweet mood so far, especially considering what a flurry of development has taken place this week.

His first tooth looks to be all the way in now and the second is more visible every day. Also looks like his feet grew tremendously in the last week! I'm serious. Maybe he can finally start wearing all of his Robeez. And then last night he finally rolled from his back to his tummy and then right back again. Something has definitely clicked with the whole rolling thing and now he suddenly realizes that being on his tummy can be fun. Life is about to change!

Looking forward to a fun but busy weekend. Victor gets to hang out with two different pretty girls on Saturday. He gets to go to Katie's 2nd birthday party and then he will meet Providence for the very first time. Might get to hang out with Kepler for a little bit on Sunday too. So much excitement! We're having a lowkey family fun day on Friday (meaning James is taking vac that day as a late birthday celebration) too but I don't think outdoor activities will be in the cards. Unfortunately, the weather sounds quite icky for all three days. All the more reason to get out there and enjoy the sun today with our buddies John & Ruth!

2/16/2006 9:02:26 AM  
Victor here:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOMMY! This is Mommy's first birthday with a baby boy to take care of, so I'm going to do my best to say "mama" today.

2/16/2006 4:46:35 PM  
Thanks for the message Victor and thank you to James for assisting with the typing. ;) Victor did utter a slight "mama" earlier and I got really excited but it was followed by "dada" and 'baba" and then it was over and any attempts to prompt an encore were thwarted.

Well, gee. We have near record heat on my birthday and apparently Victor did not get the memo about how I really, really wanted a nap and a long, hot shower as my gifts. Of course now he is napping away, 6 hours later! Still the best birthday ever though because I get to spend it with the cutest person imaginable.

Victor developments? He hates peas. A lot. We won't be trying those again for a few weeks. In better news, he did some crawling-type motions last night during his tummy time. He can and will move several inches toward a toy. He'll practically move heaven and earth to get to the pillow on the bed he likes though. Of all the many, many things I knitted I never would have guessed that that pillow cover would be the thing he loved.

I'm trying to embrace this 35 thing. As Jen says, it's the new 25. If only.

2/19/2006 4:37:50 PM  
I am embarrassed to admit that today's Illini game was the first that Victor ever actually watched. It's not my fault though. We don't get any of the games televised on ESPN in our satellite package. Great Illinois victory today though and Victor seemed happy in his orange and blue regalia (as evidenced by new pics). Geez, how did Indiana manage to beat these guys a month ago?

2/20/2006 7:26:09 AM  
We had a lot of fun at Katie's 2nd birthday party this past Saturday. Victor was the youngest there and enjoyed watching the antics of the older kids and riding around in a plastic box. Here are some pictures of the festivities:


2/20/2006 7:37:40 AM  
Saturday night we had the privilege of getting to meet Providence for the first time as Katheryn and Brian were down in Austin visiting family. Our batteries went dead after just one picture which was a bummer because I had hoped to get a pic of Victor with the girl of the hour too, but we were able to get this pic of Providence and her daddy. Come back soon, guys!

2/21/2006 3:02:44 PM  
Victor does not enjoy green beans. Hates them even worse than peas. So any delusions about how he was just going to eat anything we gave him are over. I'll try all of these things again in a month though. There are plenty of other things to work into the rotation.

In spite of his finicky behavior, he is apparently growing just fine because he is pretty much out of his 6-12 month clothes. Most of those pants are way too short now. So we are officially in 12-18 territory across the board now. That's fine and all but once you get past 12 month clothes, it all starts to look more toddlerish and not so babyish. Very cute but very bittersweet. Sniff, sniff.

In case you hadn't noticed from the pics, Victor smiles a lot now. He laughs a lot too. That never gets old. It's still like the first time I heard it every time. Awww.

2/23/2006 11:59:29 AM  
Victor had fun at music class yesterday. I mean like for the entire time. No 12:30 meltdown whatsoever. We were very excited to find out that our class gets to all stay together for the spring term too. It's such a great group and we would have really missed everybody if we'd had to split off.

I'm very pleased to have found out that my "Mother's Story" is going to be published in La Leche's "New Beginnings" magazine. I'm not sure when yet but I'm hoping it's soon. Also, Victor's and his brothers' birth stories are included in an article in the March issue of "Parent: Wise Austin" about breastmilk donation (I was interviewed as a milk donor). I am so happy that this is all occurring as we go into March so that it can be a part of our remembrance of Ro & JT's birthdays. Definitely one of those "sometimes things happen right when you need them to" situations.

And yes, I know that Michigan beat Illinois on Tuesday. I just haven't been willing to face up to it. I guess maybe it was because Victor didn't put on his outfit and watch. Sorry guys.

2/23/2006 10:45:21 PM  
There was a struggle tonight. It all started when Victor started screaming during his nap this afternoon and I went in his room to find him rolled onto his tummy and pulling himself up to quasi-standing against the bumper and rails. I promptly removed the bumpers and dropped the mattress all the way down (I thought of you, Tara!). I didn't figure it would be too much of a shock to his system at bedtime but I was proven wrong. He cried for an hour off and on before he finally settled.

Here's hoping tomorrow night goes a little better. More importantly, here's hoping he sleeps a good stretch tonight. He already is showing a tendency to kick his legs between the rails, even in his sleepsack. He's sleeping peacefully for the moment though.

2/25/2006 12:33:05 PM  
James is going to be so disappointed when he wakes up from his nap (he's quite sick at the moment). Victor will eat peas after all. It does require a slight amount of trickery - specifically, sneaking pea bites in between bites of something good - but he will eat peas. In other news, he's mastered the "throw anything on the floor and Mommy will pick it up" game. Also, he can sit up. He CAN sit up. He just plain doesn't want to. He does it accidentally sometimes.

We'll be staying in and resting up today but it works out well because Illinois will be playing Iowa in just a few hours. This time we will be ready in full regalia. Oskeewow-wow!

I should also mention that pretty much everybody probably got an e-mail from me about our WalkAmerica team - The Brothers Humphrey. Our team fundraising page is at


This is the annual March of Dimes event and we will be participating in memory of Ronan and James. Any form of support our friends and family can offer - be it sponsorship at any possible level, participation in the walk itself, spreading the word about MOD's events or just remembering our sweet boys in your own way - will be so appreciated! Truly.

2/28/2006 11:59:55 AM  
Everybody's sick here. Just a cold but it's not leaving anyone in the best of moods, to say the least. I'm keeping Victor out of Sign & Sing today due to his excessive snottiness. I don't want him to be that baby that the mothers all look at aghast as they reach for their sanitizer. Besides, I'm just shot. Victor's pretty much refusing to nap for long but is thankfully still sleeping well through the night. I'll say this for the 8,473rd time: I need to just go to bed earlier.

Today is Victor's namesake's birthday since this is not a leap year. I've been thinking about him and wondering if he's getting a good chuckle out of Little Vic's crib shenanigans. Every time I picture Uncle Vic, I see him laughing. He had a strange knack for laughing really quietly but in a big, big way. I miss that. Maybe our little guy will do that too.

3/1/2006 9:19:13 AM  
Happy Birthday Cousin Sean!!!!!! Hard to believe it was a year ago that we were impatiently waiting for the phone to ring with news of your arrival. Hope you're having a really fun day. Wish we could be there to share in your one birthday spank.

Up in the air right now on whether we'll go to music class today or not. I feel pretty awful but I'm not sneezing or anything. It pretty much all depends on Victor's snot level. I'd hate to miss class though because it really is the highlight of our week.

3/3/2006 1:02:52 PM  
Victor was so excited about being 7 months old today that he just had to wake the whole house up at 4:00. Then it was brief snoozes interspersed with bouts of stomping and squawking with a brief break for the morning bottle. That was right up until the moment we left for swim class. I got 4 hours of sleep at the most. Not too perky.

Swim class was a success overall. He really seemed comfortable in general and had a blast for about 25 minutes. Then he was inconsolable until pretty much the moment we got back in the car. Figured he was going to nap hard and immediately. Nope. Still no nap at 1:00. It's like he snuck out to Starbuck's around 3:00 a.m. and he's still jazzed up.

In the past few days we've discovered that he will stand with a table or ottoman as support. I'm starting to think that the many hours in the Jumperoo are contributing to his favoritism of standing over sitting. He has always been all about leg strength though. Oh, and the top front teeth are starting to poke through. Just barely. Suffice it to say that he tried to chew EVERYTHING in the pool today.

3/6/2006 4:14:15 PM  
James has scolded me about my lack of a blog entry. I'm not entirely sure why he's so bothered by it since he has to listen to me blabber on and on about all of this stuff in person. Let's see. What's new?

Victor likes papaya quite a lot. So these days his favorite foods are the exotic fruits - mango, banana & papaya. I like to think of it as an indication of his worldliness. In reality, they are just very mild, sweet fruits that have nice smooth textures and feel good on his teeth when he eats them cold.

Sign & Sing is going much better these days. Today, for instance, Victor sat up on his own for most of class. There were a few topples but he's getting there. It helps when there's something new and fun to look at and grab (and then try to shove into his mouth).

The big development is that the morning nap is dwindling. That's a tough adjustment for Mommy. I'm used to having that time to get some things done. However, he will still nap in his stroller if I take him on a walk. This is especially true when we go to the park that Ruth & John recently introduced us to (thanks Connells!). That gravel path puts him right out. Today I had him reclined all the way in the stroller and he slept with his feet splayed out on top of the cup holder for a good 45 minutes while I walked. Works for me. I get exercise and he gets some much-needed rest. The nap this afternoon is another story. He is fighting it tooth and nail. Still in a good mood for now but the meltdown is imminent.

3/8/2006 3:49:31 PM  
Thank you so much to many friends who have helped me to already surpass my MOD fundraising goal of $1,000. And there's still 2 whole months until the walk! I am truly overwhelmed at the generosity and it could not have come at a better time. Such a nice birthday tribute for Ro & JT this month.

And Victor and I are actively training for the walk. He continues to happily nap as long as I stroll him so it's been a real win-win. I'm feeling so much better now that I'm getting some exercise again.

I'm hearing "mama" fairly consistently now but it's always part of a crying jag and I don't think he's necessarily addressing me by name. It still breaks my heart every time I hear it though. Even when the volume is high, I just love that sweet little voice of his. I think he's quite aware of that too.

He's currently napping on his tummy which is also new. He is rolling and locomoting all around that crib these days. He doesn't really totally crawl yet but it's closer to a true crawl than an army crawl. It's a crawl/scoot/roll hybrid. I've had to install a mesh bumper to keep his errant limbs out of harm's way.

And once again, I've spoken way too soon. The nap is perhaps not to be. Awww. And there's the "mama" cry. I might cry myself.

3/11/2006 10:46:06 AM  
Oh Illini. I didn't even get to see the boys get sent packing because once again, not in our satellite package. Well, I didn't have time to watch this year anyway and Victor has almost outgrown his Illini onesie. No sports excitement in our lives until the French Open, I suppose.

Victor is still in the midst of a rare long morning nap. He was very restless during the night last night so he's playing some catch-up. It's nice and overcast out so we might work in a walk yet today. Yes, I said NICE and overcast. Given our walk yesterday in the scorching sun and 92 degree heat, I consider cloud cover a very, very nice thing. This coming week looks wonderful though and we'll be on spring break from all of our classes so we can get outside and enjoy it every day if we want!

[Note of interest: As soon as I posted this, the sun came out and Victor woke up. It's uncanny.]

3/13/2006 11:35:32 AM  
OK. Maybe I was too fatalistic about the Illini. I'll try to watch and not lose my mind but I don't have a very good feeling about their performance in the DC bracket. Fatigue is making me a bit of a fair weather fan.

It's spring break and I've got lots of big plans to get some errands taken care of this week while we're "off school". Yesterday we had an action-packed day of going to the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens and the Zilker Garden. It was far hotter than we expected but Victor really toughed it out. This week looks to be much nicer so hopefully we can enjoy some walks outside in between fun things like an oil change and consigning baby clothes. I've got a writing project to get underway as well. What break?

3/14/2006 12:36:09 PM  
The milk donor article that I never shut up about ran this month and is now online. If anyone is interested, you can see it at

ParentWise Online Edition

Once you download the pdf, the article runs on pages 8 through 11. I'm so pleased with the sensitivity the reporter showed in relating our story and the timing is really nice.

3/14/2006 4:10:06 PM  
We just negotiated the gauntlet that is the pediatrician's office during spring break. That place was nuts! Anyway, Victor has a cold. It's just been hanging around so long that I was worried about his ears. Ears and chest are all clear though. That is good news and I guess this means we continue to chalk his nursing strikes up to those top two chompers that are almost all the way in now.

Tomorrow Victor is participating in his first psychological study. No, really. It's a study on infant music perception at UT and I think it will be very interesting to see the results of the study in a few months.

3/16/2006 2:39:32 PM  
I am restraining myself from singing the Hallelujah Chorus. Naps are back on track today. Thank goodness. Victor was fit to be tied last night because he was so overtired. And here's the kicker -- both naps today have been in his crib! As a result though, we have not yet been to the park for a walk. We may still get there. That remains to be seen.

In other news, Victor did great with the music perception study at UT yesterday. It was quite interesting and I hope that we get called back for more studies.

The only other major excitement is that he has started eating yogurt. Yeah, I know. I was up in the air about that one but the pedi said it was good for him to go ahead and start it and that it doesn't pose the same dairy reactions as whole milk itself. He likes it. He's had it mixed with banana and he's had it mixed with avocado. I found it quite tasty myself.

Ahhhhhh. The house is quiet. I'm so happy he's sleeping.

[James here:] And, I'm so happy Mommy is happy!

3/17/2006 7:52:28 AM  
[James here:]
Baby boy has become an expert roller. Last night I was given the "task" of playing with him upstairs while Mommy vacuumed downstairs (he doesn't like the Dyson for some reason.) I just put him on the bed and watched him roll over and over and over and over - catching him from time to time when he reached the edge.

He'll even roll over when he hits an obstacle - twisting in place. He now officially has a means of locomotion.

3/20/2006 4:30:28 PM  
It's so beautiful outside. We had 2 days of pretty much non-stop rain and now the sun is out so everything is unbelievably green. Time to go do the wildflower thing. Maybe Victor and I will do our own tour and then do another one with James later.

So yeah, Illinois. Huh. I was extremely angry at CBS because they were playing the A&M game (no offense to our Aggie friends) and only cutting it to the Illinois game during time-outs, even in the very last minutes of the game. So basically we only got to see the excrutiating parts. Argh.

Victor is really getting more comfortable with all of his classes these days. Wednesday is our final Music Together class of this session. Luckily we only take one week off before we start again. Trying to stay busy this week but it's a bit of a struggle for me mentally. I'm really doing OK with the twins' birthdays coming up overall. I just have that quicksandy feeling at the moment. Luckily I've got a little sidekick to get me in gear. He is more and more fun with each day and he has started giving me kisses. My little sweetie monkey.

3/22/2006 3:31:32 PM  
Victor has started biting during breastfeeding this week. Not cool at all. I've addressed it though and I think he's started to get the message. I'm hoping we don't have more than a week of this. Thing is, I believe he's only doing it because nursing feels so weird to him right now because the top two teeth are in now. Can't really fault him that but can't really allow bloodletting either!

I've done some minor babyproofing this week since Victor has demonstrated his desire to roll from one end of the room to the other. His crawling attempts still look an awful lot like carpet swimming but he's making some slight forward progress. And today at music class he sat up unassisted for most of the time and only toppled once and he even recovered quickly from that one topple. He did the swoop onto the tummy trick where he acts like "Yeah, this is what I was trying to do....I wasn't falling...I was just trying to imitate a seal!" The kid is really getting it though. We've got a lot of work ahead of us around here battening down the hatches!

3/25/2006 12:29:12 AM  
Today we celebrate the birth of Ronan Woods Humphrey, our firstborn son, whose presence is felt as much today as it was 2 years ago at 2:17 p.m. when he joined this family. Thanks for our Victor, sweet Ro. Many kisses.

3/26/2006 12:13:09 AM  
And today is James Thomas day. We welcomed him to the world 2 years ago at 5:38 p.m. and have held him close to our hearts ever since. Happy birthday, Little James.

3/27/2006 9:02:12 PM  
So I had Victor on the dining room floor tonight while I was talking to Gaga on the phone so she could hear him in action. The Jumperoo is practically obsolete these days and his favorite place to be is the floor. He happily rolled and chattered away while I talked to Gaga. Then when I went to put the phone back in the kitchen, I put him at the far end of the area rug so that he'd have lots of rolling space while I was up. In the 10 seconds I was gone (and not looking), I suddenly heard him plinking away at the piano. He had rolled the entire length of the rug with what I believe to be an intent to play his piano. Goodness gracious! He looked very pleased with himself too.

In other news, we're in another weird clothes phase right now. He's definitely getting longer and leaner. I pretty much have to put him in 12-18 month pants now in order to have enough length in the torso and legs. However, that size is a bit roomy in the waist for him. So right now he has his choice between wearing droopy waist hip hop pants and wearing pants that won't even pull all the way up to his waist. We're going with the hip hop look for now. He's also already wearing Size 4 diapers for the same reason. He's not even in the weight range for that size yet (I think he's just under 20 pounds) but the Size 3s are like hip huggers. I call him The Torso.

3/28/2006 3:00:02 PM  
Our two most important household appliances are the Cuisinart and the Dyson and Victor is now terrified of both of them. I keep telling him that the food processor is necessary to make his food and the vacuum is necessary to get the floor clean enough for him to roll and scooch on. No going. He screams bloody murder the moment either one is turned on within 15 feet of him. This is why it's a very good thing we have 2 floors (though I won't be singing the praises of 2 stories in July and August). It practically feels like I have to impound him like I do Pru now though. The funniest part is that she is now defiantly brave about facing the vacuum, probably just to spite that tiny human that grabs her fur all the time.

We're taking a run at this 3 meals a day thing and it's fairly grueling. I will confess that there is a part of me that does think sometimes about how much easier it would be if Victor was taking bottles instead of breastfeeding. But hey, easy is boring! I'm so glad to still be breastfeeding him and I would not trade that bond for anything. It does cross my mind though on some of these days where it feels like all I'm every doing is feeding. In reality, I have to cherish every bit of this because soon he'll be far more indepedent than I like.

4/1/2006 11:51:35 PM  
Everything's fine. Just been a busy few days around the house here. Today we went to Miss Mia's 1st birthday party. Her skills are absolutely dazzling and frightening. It was a fun time but Victor missed his nap and then wasn't willing to make it up once we were home. As a result, everything else was awry for the rest of the evening.

He wouldn't nurse before bed at all and that always spells trouble. Tried letting him cry it out but he realized that he was, in fact, hungry. So Victor wasn't in bed until after 10:00. That sort of makes the impact of daylight savings practically irrelevant, at least in the short term.

On the bright side, with all of the tired and frustrated crying that went on this afternoon and evening there were lots of utterances of "mamamama". Someday I'll get to hear it in a happy and excited setting, perhaps. He has definitely been pretty focused on vocal skills as of late.

Oh, and another great day at swimming class yesterday too. He has put his exemplary raspberry-blowing prowess to good use by very, very briefly dipping his face in the water to "blow bubbles". Mind you, this is after watching me make a complete buffoon out of myself trying to get him to mimic my own bubble blowing. He finally did a little bit of paddling too. In fact, he did so much slapping of the water that we got far wetter than usual. Our shrimp is going to be ready for kipper level before we know it!

4/3/2006 3:22:09 PM  
After a gastrointestinally harrowing day yesterday, Victor is back to pretty much full speed just in time to turn 8 months today. His appetite is not quite back to normal but thankfully the hazardous diapering conditions seem to have abated. He's even napping at somewhat normal time today in spite of still being a bit out of sorts with daylight savings. As soon as we got home from Sign & Sing, he went straight into his crib and he barely resisted being abandoned there. He's napping away so I'm greatly looking forward to playing in a little bit knowing that he'll be far jollier. Pru better brace herself for frantic petting!

4/4/2006 8:37:57 AM  
[James here]
This morning after I fed him his bottle, he was about to begin his morning boppy-nastics when he looked at me and said "Da" right as I bent down to pick him up. Now, this comes three days after Dawn swears that after I left the room, he looked at the doorway intently and said "Da." Coincidence, or something more?

4/4/2006 3:10:53 PM  
Spoke too soon. Tummy troubles continue. I think he's getting over whatever gastro bug he's got going but we're not out of the poop woods yet. Let's just say I've done a lot of OxyClean soaking today. Still not eating like normal either and now the pedi's nurse is saying to restrict him to bananas, applesauce, sweet potato and rice cereal. He's going to think he's being rewarded!

4/6/2006 9:10:27 AM  
[James Here]
Over the past two days we've been able to very quickly teach Victor (by physical demonstration) how to put balls into his toy aquarium and remove them with his tiny hands. He is very right-handed at this point. He likes to grab things, shake them up and down about 5-7 times, and then let them go - sometimes for good distance.

Last night while we were practicing "put-in and pick-out" he looked at me and began stringing together a bunch of D's and vowels which of course began sounding like Daddy and Dada and Dad. With me imitating and coaxing him, it lasted for about a minute. On a couple more occassions since then, he has seemed to greet me or suddenly look at me and say "Didi". I can't be more happy, but still not ready to call it a first word.

[Dawn Here]
I still think the first official word is going to be "kitty".

4/9/2006 11:31:33 PM  
It was a very busy weekend of reunions. On Friday, Victor got to see his buddy John at swim class for the first time in a few weeks. Both of them seemed too interested in watching the girls in class to really pay each other much attention though. Then on Saturday, we got to hang out with Lia & Alex for several hours. Victor was a little too interested in Alex. He kept grabbing at him and trying to wake him up so he could pat him on the head (Victor is currently obsessed with touching everyone's hair). Then we saw our tennis buddies at James's match on Saturday night and today he got to see Katie again (she is such a sweetie and the least terrible two I know!). So many friends and so little time. Fun was certainly had!

Victor is feeling quite a bit better by this point although he does have a wee bit of a runny nose. I really think it's allergies. No, really. We were outside a lot more than usual and the oak is through the roof. My eyes are really red again and since I still can't use any prescription allergy drops due to breastfeeding, I'm giving the homeopathic drops a shot again. They come in a glass bottle with a little shaker top though so it's much like trying to put soy sauce in my eye. Quite maddening. Well, this is really devolving into mundane details, eh? Maybe tomorrow I'll have something more compelling to offer my whopping audience of 3 (James, G & Brownie).

Oh, and Victor is sleeping on his stomach more and more and I'm really getting OK with it. That's a breakthrough for me! :)

4/10/2006 4:51:06 PM  
We have achieved independent play. For the first time ever, today I have been able to put Victor down on the living room rug while I work in the kitchen. Even when the Peek-a-Blocks got out of reach and the cat scurried away, Victor was able to entertain himself by scooting and rolling all over the place to touch, and preferably chew, every surface he could reach! This is way too cool even though he looks like a used dustmop. :) He finally plays "Mommy and Victor can roll the ball to each other!" too.

4/12/2006 2:07:03 PM  
Last night we left Victor with Cousin Susan while we went to see Elvis Costello with the Austin Symphony. It was spectacular! By far our favorite show yet, I do believe, although I will say that it is also fun to see him in the open air with a beer in hand too. Victor did just great and while we missed him terribly, we were able to enjoy ourselves knowing that he was very safe and loved at home with his pretty girl cousin. He went to bed for her like a good boy and slept right through the night like usual. So the night was quite a success!

Music class today was far less overwhelming than last week. We are in a mixed age group now instead of infants only and last week left us feeling a bit like deer in headlights. I got Victor there nice and early today though so that we could say hi to our teacher Carey and get settled before things started getting wild. It definitely helped. I really like the songs in the collection for this session and Victor seems to respond to them well too. It's almost like those Music Together people know what they're doing. ;)

4/15/2006 4:05:09 PM  
Victor is very sneezy and sniffle-y and I am feeling quite dejected. There has been an absolute barrage of dada/daddy/dad/didi in the past few days. James may or may not be trying to protect my feelings by insisting that Victor is still just babbling meaninglessly. To me it seems like he joyously greets his daddy when he's around and pines for him when he's not around. That makes me happy and all but I'm starting to feel like I'm not worthy of a name. I guess when he can't ever get rid of me, there's not much point in ever having to say my name. I'm grasping here.

Crawling is just around the corner. He's so close to really doing it. His new Incrediblock and the Play Wall he borrowed from his buddy John are definitely helping that effort along. That and a fuzzy toy named "Keeeeeee!". He's pretty excited about the newness of everything right now and is thankfully oblivious to his constantly running nose. And yay for no tennis this weekend! We get more time with dada/daddy/dad/didi.

Oh, and I weighed Victor today and got him at right at 20 pounds. So my guess is that he's really just under 20. He's definitely slowed down weight-wise. Length-wise, it's outta control!

4/16/2006 9:10:06 AM  
[James Here]
Victor is inexplicably struggling against diaper changes with the power and fury of a tiny chimp. My wrestling training is of no use on an opponent this small and determined. He is committed to flipping over onto his stomach. His reasons are his own.

4/16/2006 8:36:17 PM  
Despite Victor's faucet of a nose and my impending sinus issues of my own (I have the "night before it hits" sore throat), it was the best Easter ever. Ever. Granted, it was not terribly Eastery. It was certainly the first time I ever spent an April Sunday sitting in the 95 degree heat watching my son splash around in his baby pool. The experience can't be beat though!

Victor definitely likes the baby pool. He can't show off his swimming very well in such a confined space but he can manuever around really well and watch the neighborhood. Unfortunately, our time hanging out in the shade of the front yard is limited due to the lack of fencing there. Soon Victor will be forced to run around the funkier backyard for his own safety.

In other news, I made Mexicanized Cuban pork and fried bananas for our Easter dinner. Oh yeah, and Victor did a little bit of crawling. Just a skosh. He is finally getting up on his knees and bouncing and so I think it's all going to finally click very soon. And whoops, we didn't manage to get those baby gates this weekend like we said we would! James?

4/18/2006 11:51:09 AM  
I'm taking my first ever mommy sick day so that hopefully I can get over this cold quickly. Thanks dada! So yeah, nothing much to report...........

4/19/2006 3:37:00 PM  
Well, Victor is feeling much better anyway. He's a bit snotty yet but is fairly undaunted at this point. I pulled out all the stops last night - Benadryl, Vapobath, nose drops & Vaporub. Now if someone could just do the same for me! Based on Victor's progress though, I'm hopeful that I'll be feeling friskier by Friday. Just in time to go swim.

The 5th and 6th teeth are starting to poke through, one on top and one on bottom. He is really going to look different once they're in. And speaking of appearances, Victor has really taken to rubbing his food all over his face here lately, probably because his nose has been so itchy. Today's spinach catastrophe was photo-worthy but I couldn't muster the energy to get the camera. Mama's old and sickly.

4/19/2006 10:01:57 PM  
First off, there are several new video clips that James just added tonight. Good stuff.

Just experienced a strange and sad "comedy" of errors with a poor sleepy boy. He was in bed and sleeping by 8:30 but then by 9:30 was crying in full-on distress. I went in and he had kicked and rolled and squirmed himself into a rather uncomfy position and had a leg stuck (even with a sleepsack and the mesh bumper). I picked him up to readjust him and thought something smelled amiss. Now remember, my nose is not at peak performance.

I put him on the changing table and naturally all hell broke loose. He currently hates being changed. But I'm still figuring he's got a poopy diaper that must be contributing to the distress. Nope, all of that for an asparagus pee diaper (James fell for it earlier tonight too). So I changed a barely wet diaper and enraged him far beyond the level of angst he had when I went in. Oh, and as insult to injury, I took his temperature while I had the diaper off anyway. 97.5.

I tried to nurse him as consolation for so badly botching his whole zen sleep thing but he wanted nothing to do with it and his gestures of frustration seemed to say "put me in the crib and leave, please, you silly woman!" So I did. He is now sleeping quite peacefully again. He really does like that asparagus though.

4/23/2006 10:34:40 AM  
There are yet more new video clips added. Many thanks to Lia for sharing them (and new pics!), especially since I stupidly forgot my camera that day.

Not much to report. Victor & I are both doing a little worse again with this cold. I'm almost to the point of hauling him in to Dr. Mirrop. Thankfully, he is still sleeping through the night (though with many more brief emotional outburts than usual). When it goes on this long, I get concerned about his ears though.

He's pretty chipper, aside from being annoyed that he hasn't quite figured out crawling yet. He's getting really good at going from sitting to prone position though. It's no longer just a controlled fall. It's now a slow gymnastic maneuver.

4/25/2006 1:13:10 PM  
I'm vacuuming about every other day now and while the Dyson is everything I hoped for in a vacuum, it does not seem to magically prevent more stuff from accumulating on the floors. We sure track in a lot of stuff. That and I'm managing to suck up the equivalent of a mid-sized juvenile cat every time. And yes, Victor is still terrified of the vacuum.

I haven't dusted in weeks though. I may have to start crawling and rolling around on the floor so that I can enjoy the cleanliness down on Victor's level and spare myself from having to see the layer of humidified dust funk all over everything at adult level.

4/27/2006 12:14:08 AM  
I'm tired. This was the second day in a row of only one official nap. In spite of being napless though, Victor did great at Music Together today. He spent a whole lot of time today rocking on his knees which I attribute in large part to his playdate with John yesterday (speaking of which - happy birthday to John as of right...........NOW!). Victor has definitely been watching his crawling friends closely this week. This weekend the gates need to be deployed. I mean it this time!

What else? Oh yeah, Victor also had his first meat. I made him poached chicken breast and pureed the heck out of it and while he doesn't dig it all on its own, he'll eat it mixed with squash or sweet potato. He's still not super interested in finger foods and he has no use for the sippy at all. He would much rather just drink from a cup and more often that not, he prefers to blow bubbles in his cup of water while accidentally "drinking" some. The sippy's not urgent though because I don't intend to switch him to whole milk the moment he turns 1 or anything. He's got lots of time to decide to do it on his own.

We're off to see Dr. Mirrop tomorrow - or, I guess that would be today - to see what's up with this neverending cold and make sure the ears look clear. He's a little weird about breastfeeding yet again but then he's also extremely distracted by his developing skills and by his erupting teeth. He seems to feel pretty good and he eats as many solids as I put in front of him, for the most part, so I think he's probably pretty healthy. We'll be right back at the doctor's office in a week and a half for the 9 month appointment because we can't go ahead and do it this week due to the spacing of the vaccinations. As a result, I won't be surprised if they don't bother to weigh him this week. I'm thinking 20 pounds, 3 ounces though.

4/27/2006 4:23:12 PM  
Ears are clear. The doc says that it's a great sign that Victor hasn't gotten another ear infection since January in spite of fighting off this neverending series of colds. Found out what is most likely causing the nursing strikes too. He's got 4 more teeth coming in and not just 2 like I thought. He's not super cranky about the teeth though so I shant complain.

Victor was 20 pounds and 5 ounces with clothes on. Since he'll be back so soon, there was no official naked weigh-in. So he probably really is 20ish now. He has most definitely thinned out a lot.

4/27/2006 8:03:23 PM  [James Here]
I had just walked in from the garage and was standing in the doorway looking at my little monkey on the floor. He was in a crawl position bouncing on all fours. I stood still and paid special attention because he was doing this for longer than normal. I thought, "Hey, maybe he'll take a tentative crawl step." Instead, he kept pushing with his arms, twisted his legs under him and sat up! I witnessed his first unaided sit up. Yay, Boyo!

5/1/2006 2:02:01 PM  
Teething + Snottiness + Newfound Mobility = Very Short Naps. I cannot wait for music class and swim class just because they wear Victor out so much that he can't fight the long nap. And yes, I am almost beside myself right now because I'm exhausted (and still a little sick) and I missed my own window of opportunity for sleep. I should have just sprinted for bed instead of getting on the computer when I put Veeg down.

But wait, I hear silence again. Can it be?

5/1/2006 3:52:02 PM  
Ahhhhhh. It was. It was. I got in an hour nap with Pru because Victor settled back down again and napped for an additional 90 minutes. He's awake and babbling in there. These are my very, very favorite moments with him. He's so sweet and happy and chirpy when he wakes up from a nice, long nap. Yay, it's playtime!

5/2/2006 3:22:44 PM  
I was just getting all of my WalkAmerica sponsorship stuff together in preparation for next week (a good quiet, naptime activity for me) and I was just so overwhelmed again at being reminded of the outpouring of support from so many of you out there. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for the generosity and the moral support. Now we just need to do some practice walks before next weekend. It figures that it has been nice and overcast and now that Victor is probably about to wake up, the sun is blaring and I can just feel the steam rising. Yuck.

Victor had a rough night. Our sleeping star (has only nursed during the night twice since 3 months) woke up and cried 3 or 4 times during the night. He settled back down without help but it disrupted everyone in the house. I was on edge anyway because he had a nosebleed right before bathtime last night so I naturally had to check on him numerous times during the night. The humidier in his room seemed to help although I am puzzled by how his nose could get so dried out in this muggy weather. His room feels like a terrarium.

5/3/2006 9:40:58 PM  
You know it's been a crazy day when I don't manage to blog about Victor being 9 months today until this late. The only naps today were 2 half hour naps in the car. Victor would have gone to bed at 7:00 if I hadn't forced the bath issue. But he's clean and peaceful for the first time today!

So yeah, reflections on 9 months, eh? It has struck me today how Victor has now been out among us for as long as he was hanging out inside me. While it's stunning that he's this old already, it feels like he's been here a lot longer than it felt like I was pregnant. I guess, in essence, it's just kinda hard to even remember what life was like before he was here consuming every moment with his neediness and his cuteness and his stunning Victorness. He's just so much cooler than I ever even dared to imagine he would be, even on a day when he never gave me a moment's peace.

5/7/2006 2:22:59 PM  
We played tennis today. It was the first time I had set foot on a court in a year and a half plus one day. I am just thankful that Victor is not yet able to perceive just how pathetic I was out there. He was such a good boy though and enjoyed frolicking in his PacknPlay in the open air. It is delightfully cloudy today.

We also installed the top of stair baby gate. I hate it. I want to tear it off its hinges even without a 20+ pound squirmy on my hip. Now we must figure out how to gate off the bottom of the stairs. Poor Pru. Meowing to be let in or out will be a new and degrading experience for her.

5/7/2006 6:16:24 PM  
[James Here]
We have a sitting up baby now. He's been good at staying seated for some time, but now he can go from a prone position to sitting on his own. The key has been to get to his knees first. From there he can kick a leg out and sit. He is also very close to crawling from his knees. He's taken a few crawl steps but nothing sustained yet.

In other news, one of the boys' trees was nearly knocked over by the storm this past Thursday. I had to give it "special shoes" like its brother today so that it grows up straight and tall. As a result of using the sledgehammer, I can barely type. What will I ever do!

5/8/2006 11:25:59 AM  
I'm not just crazy. Victor is officially a tall and skinny boy. At his 9 month appointment today, he was 30 1/2 inches long which puts him up into the 95th percentile for the first time. He's even thinner than thought though. He's only 19 pounds, 12 ounces (naked) and that drops him down into the 25-50th percentile for the first time. I think he actually lost a bit of weight while he was sick. Dr. Mirrop is unconcerned though and pronounced him healthy and cute.

James has some theory about the amount of energy required to grow so much sapping resources that would otherwise go to storing fat. I won't try to explain it. It's all science-y and whatnot. Sheesh, I just wonder how I'm going to keep Victor's pants on if he continues on this growth pattern. A little young for suspenders.

He's rather unhappy about his shot and blood draw but I'm hoping a good brunch of his favorites followed by a nice long nap will help us both rebound.

[Edited to add that the nap helped.]

5/10/2006 8:58:37 AM  
[James Here]
I saw Baby Boy take his first crawling steps yesterday. He seems almost as excited as I am. While I watched he made his way across the living room (two steps and then to the stomach, two steps and then to the stomach) over to his favorite "no-no's" - the name mat and the knitting basket. He began tearing up his name mat and then sat up and starting grabbing yarn and knitting needles out of the basket. Later, I noticed that the Mommy-elf had removed the mat and knitting supplies. Let the true baby-proofing and confinement begin!

[Mommy comment/clarification: Those were not the FIRST crawling steps but the first sustained crawling steps.]

5/13/2006 2:15:43 PM  
Our MOD walk was quite a success! Almost $1300 raised between the 3 of us (um, meaning me!). I won't toot my own horn too much. All thanks goes to the many of you out there in Pigletland who generously donated. It was a really nice event and something I look forward to our family doing together each year to honor the memories of Ronan & James. I'm so glad that today was a part of Mother's Day weekend. And I returned home to flowers from all 3 of The Brothers Humphrey. Very sweet.

Victor hung tough through the whole morning without losing it but was so hungry by the time we got home. While I wholeheartedly support breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere in public, it's just not something that works particularly well for us given his propensity for obsessing about any sounds or movements around him when he's trying to get in his "milk zone". So now I pay the price for staying out so long. The boy won't seem to nap. And he REALLY needs to nap so that we can go to Dada's tennis match in a bit.

Sounds like Victor is most likely sitting up and beating his head against the crib rails so maybe it's time to throw in the towel and just get ready to head out for tennis. This ought to be interesting.

5/15/2006 2:55:47 PM  
Mother's Day was good. We had a nice brunch with Yvette, Jamie & Katie. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures even though I had the camera along. Doh! I did the same thing at the tennis match on Saturday. Had the camera right there and could have captured Victor with his buddies John & Kepler. Maybe I need to just strap the camera to myself at all times.

It's a gorgeous day today and I've been dying to get out for a walk but I dinked around too much this morning and missed that window of opportunity and now Victor is napping. I'm hoping to still make it out yet today because this is a day not to be missed since we won't get many more like this until fall. But hey, a nap is a glorious thing so I won't knock it.

I'm hating pumping more than ever. Historically, I haven't minded pumping in the mornings much because I always read while I pump and it's nice to have that time to myself while James & Victor do their bottle and play routine thing. I'm just not very prolific anymore and it makes the whole experience unreasonably prolonged and anxiety-ridden. As a result, I've had to break into the remaining frozen stash to make Victor's cereal in the mornings several times lately. Today he seemed to find that unacceptable. Maybe it was just his mood but I thought he seemed like he did not like the smell of the thawed breastmilk. So for the first time ever, I am considering using formula to make his morning cereal when I don't have enough fresh milk. I'm still hoping it won't come to that though. And I mean absolutely no offense whatsoever to formula feeders and/or supplementers. It was just a personal goal of mine to never have to give Victor any formula whatsoever. I might have to start hitting the Mother's Milk tea hard! We'll see.

5/17/2006 10:25:15 AM  
First things first. James was right. He convinced me that we should "fence off" the dining room doorway and make it into a little Victor zoo exhibit since it is the safest room downstairs. So far so good. It is very nice to have a nice big play/crawl space to put Victor in while I work in the kitchen. So thanks, Dada.

Pumping is going a little better since I've gone back to twice a day. There's really no reason I can't pump while I watch American Idol on DVR after Victor goes to bed. I hope the trend continues. I do not want to take that blasted pump on our trip to Seattle though. I could use a vacation from it!

Interesting nugget of wisdom I keep forgetting to mention......Peek-a-Blocks really don't do well in the dishwasher. I tried a few as an experiment and when they came out fine I got cocky and put all 40 or so in. I am still waiting for the last 2 to dry out about 2 weeks later. Lesson learned.

5/17/2006 3:06:30 PM  
It always makes me feel like a needy lunatic when I blog twice in a day (Lia, I know you know what I mean) but there is just too much cuteness to talk about for it to wait until tomorrow.

When it was time to leave for music class this morning, I was getting myself ready while Victor was playing on the living room floor. I walked into the room and he crawled quickly over to me, sat up and held his arms up for me to pick him up. That's the first time he's ever made such a concerted effort to get to me. And when he held his arms up, he was smiling and saying "mmmmaaaa". Hey, it's something!

So we went to music class and he made a similar beeline for Carey (our awesome teacher) and her guitar. Basically, for the whole hour he wanted very little to do with me because he was so focused on crawling up to and onto pretty much everyone else in the room. While it was fun to see him being so independent, I really did miss having him sit on me during the songs. He had the most fun I've ever seen him have at class though. The highlight was when one of the preschoolers put a huge sombrero on him during our Mexican folk song. He was plum pleased with himself at getting attention from the cool girls in class. Unfortunately, his fixation on other people's shoes and hair continues and he showed a few of his friends why his cat fears him. He's not quite getting the gentle petting thing yet (as poor little Saira found out).

So this time I mean it. I am taking the camera EVERYWHERE from now on! And don't worry James......I won't run out and buy a sombrero. Yet.

5/21/2006 10:53:56 PM  
Whew! What a busy, busy, extremely fun weekend. Yesterday was the big NI picnic which is an event very near and dear to my heart because I met a few of our closest friends at my very first picnic 9 years ago. It will be even more fun next year though, when Victor can enjoy some of the festivities rather than just being paraded about. He seemed to enjoy all of the activity though and, aside from refusing to take a bottle, he was quite agreeable.

Today was also a lot of fun but I am ever so tired now. We went to Brushy Creek Lake Park for a nice long stroll and then drove around for a bit while Victor catnapped in the carseat. Then we had some fun in the tiny pool. Oh how that has changed in the past month or so. Today was the first time that he really crawled in the pool and he used his new skills to pick lots of grass and throw it into the water.

We've got a very busy week ahead of us with a lot more on our plate than usual. Tomorrow morning, we'll be off to UT for another infant perception study. I'm just excited about getting another cool UT t-shirt for Victor. Oh yeah, and helping science and all that.

5/24/2006 11:41:28 PM  
It's been a rougher than usual few days. Our star sleeper has been rather restless at night. And yes, that does beg the question - why am I still up and not trying to grab some sleep? Luckily tomorrow we don't have anywhere that we are scheduled to be so we can hopefully both get some good napping in. And hopefully a walk if we can hit it before the heat gets too bad!

Victor is crawling like a pro at this point and is doing a lot of standing on his knees (and scarily, usually without much support). He also has started making a lot more demonstrative movements with his arms and is getting a wee bit of separation anxiety. He still doesn't have much in the way of stranger anxiety though because he happily flirts with anyone and everyone around him, especially at music class (but then again he knows everyone there pretty well by now!).

5/26/2006 8:46:31 PM  
Victor is now a two-time shrimp certificate holder. We had our last swim class at the Y for a while today. Now that it's officially outdoor pool season, I'll have to try to get him out regularly to practice his skills. The beauty of paying for a class is that we're on the hook for it each week but frankly, it was getting boring at this point anyway. I was going to lose it if I had to sing "Old MacDonald Had a Pool" one more time.

Speaking of losing it, the nightly crying it out is really taking a toll on my nerves. Typically we have faced this about one night a week but this past week it has been every night, I do believe. There are so many factors that I don't even know what to pin it on. He's definitely teething. He's also really working on pulling up a lot. Throw in his sporadic napping and it's no wonder he has a hard time calming down. Some days he only naps once now (like today, for instance).

We don't have all that much on the agenda this weekend which is truly a wonderful thing. The French Open starts Sunday though. That will make for some nice air-conditioned fun. I'm curious to see who Victor's favorite player is going to be. I definitely see him as a Nadal fan.

5/28/2006 10:04:17 AM  
We had an action-packed day yesterday. Once Victor woke up from his nap, we rushed to get to the new Blanton Museum while he was still feeling agreeable. Let's just say we all survived. The stroller is only a magical place if it's moving constantly (and preferably on gravel) and if it's not constantly moving, it's just a reminder that he'd rather be crawling. The museum was really nice though and we enjoyed our first of many trips there.

After the museum, Victor fell asleep in the car so James and I got some treats and drove around looking for the Mayfield Park & Preserve since we hadn't ever been there. Victor woke back up just in time to get out and explore the park a little bit. He got to see lots of peacocks! It was certainly more peacocks than I'd ever seen in one place. Another place we'll definitely be going back to, although it will be a lot more fun when Victor can toddle around. Here are some pictures of the peacocks and Victor's reactions (click on a pic to enlarge it):

5/29/2006 7:45:14 AM  
[James Here]
Victor has been a very temperamental eater for the last few days. Recently, while combating Mommy during a feeding, he showed us his mad face. It was the first I've ever seen from him. He stuck his little jaw out and bared his handful of teeth in an attempt to be menacing. He did it several times as he grabbed the spoon angrily from Mommy. I was laughing hysterically at the time, and Dawn was angry with both of us. Later, Mommy had to admit that it was extremely cute and funny.

[And Now Dawn Here]
In addition to Victor's first scary face, we also marked his first haircut a few days ago. Luckily I only had to do a quick trim above the ears because even that was quite a struggle. I ended up having to just trick him into playing his drum and then sneaking up behind him. Trimming the nails, on the other hand, just gets more and more challenging all the time.

Another first? Pru's first confrontation with the baby gate. She did not even attempt to jump over it as we thought she might. Her strategy was to just repeatedly headbutt it until I intervened.

5/30/2006 8:32:09 AM  
[James Here]
Pru is becoming more and more tolerant of the little boy. The other day, she was lying on the floor and I put Victor next to her (away from her back talons). He crawled over and grabbed her, to which she replied with a complaint cry but stayed put. He then basically tackled her and buried his face in her fur. It looked like he was trying to eat her, but it was more like what we do to him when we pretend to eat his tummy. Amazingly, through his repeated play bites, she stayed put. After about 20 seconds of this, I had to remove the boy for his and Pru's safety. I think it demonstrated that she now trusts that he is not out to hurt her, but only to annoy her.

5/31/2006 10:37:36 AM  
Victor is a bottomless pit today. He had 2 ounces of thawed breastmilk when he first woke up and then decided that he did not like thawed breastmilk so we gave him an 8-ouncer of fresh milk and assumed he'd only drink part of it and I'd use the rest for his cereal. Nope, he sucked it all down.

Then, an hour later he had his breakfast which was 2 1/2 ounces of breastmilk and 3 ounces of mashed banana mixed with his cereal. Again, no hesitation. He acted tired so I tried to put him down but he was giving all signals that he'd like yet more milk. He breastfed for 20 minutes (unheard of these days) before he finally succombed to sleepiness.

Whew. We might actually miss music class today for the very first time ever if he decides to keep sleeping. His napping has been so erratic lately that I am not about to cut a good nap short, especially since we can do a make-up class. Knowing him, he'll wake up at 11:45 as the class is starting.

6/2/2006 4:10:28 PM  
We've had a nice day even though Victor won't nap right now. He's been in his crib for close to an hour mumbling and babbling and shaking the bars. We went for a walk in the park around noon and he unexpectedly fell asleep for the duration of the hour walk so I guess he figured that's it for napping for the afternoon. OK then.

And now, some whining has begun. Might have to pull out the big guns and take him to Whole Foods. I don't really know why but Whole Foods always puts him a really good mood. There is something intoxicating about the smells of garlic and chocolate drifting on a wave of crazy cold AC. Yeah OK, sign me up.

The boy is really enjoying his Gerber puffs lately although an errant puff got too far back on his tongue and he gagged enough to throw up most of his breakfast. He didn't care though. He reached for another puff! He likes the crunching sound he can make with his little chiclet teeth. I usually do find several puffs stuck to his butt when he gets out of the chair though. Sticky little buggers.

Guess it's time for that fruit run.

6/3/2006 1:58:37 PM  
[James Here]
Our little Destructicon pulled up to stand on his own for the first time last night. He was in a tiny chimp rage because he was so tired. He grabbed on to the ottoman and before we knew it, he was on his own two feet. We quickly swooped in to support him and looked at each other just to make sure that we had witnessed the same thing. Let the standing and falling and crying begin!

6/4/2006 6:51:49 PM  
It's a glorious 2 long naps day! Not only have I been able to get a lot done around the house while Victor slept today but I also have been able to do a lot more while he's been awake than I usually can because he ate well all 3 times and he has been happy and content to play by himself quite a bit because he is just so rested. Ahhhhh. I hope these naps beget a good night's sleep which will beget more good napping tomorrow.

Had a couple of duh-duh breakthrough moments today. First of all, rather than trying to get Victor to use his sippy cup in his booster chair, I decided to give him his cup while he was playing. It's only water (Victor doesn't drink juice per Mommy's orders so that he'll have healthy teeth) so he could make as much of a "mess" as he wanted. He actually used the sippy and made no mess whatsoever. It wasn't textbook sippy use but it was the most he's done it on his own. Since he is male, I just had to trick him into thinking it was his own brilliant idea to drink water out of that thing sitting next to him.

The other big duh moment was that I can use yogurt for Victor's cereal (without heating it) since I can't pump enough anymore and he is repulsed by breastmilk that has been frozen (and frankly, I am too because it smells "not right"). So today he had blueberry/honeydew and banana cubes mixed with his cereal and yogurt. He seemed quite pleased with it and I will concur that it was quite tasty. And in other food news, he's doing a little better with some finger food experimentation. He's not ready to self-feed quite yet but he's starting to learn how. And he's likes tofu too!

6/6/2006 3:30:36 PM  
Victor had his first bite of cookie, entirely by mistake. After music class, I was eating a cookie and talking to Lori & Eli when I looked down to see that Victor was gnawing away on my sugar cookie that I was holding in my hand. He seemed to like it. Yikes. I'm not letting him having any sweets at all until he turns 1 and then only in extreme moderation. I'm going to hope he forgets about that whole cookie thing. On the bright side, he might be more ready for finger foods than I thought.

We are celebrating 8 years of wedded bliss today. There are no big plans besides dinner out (hopefully - Victor's lack of napping is threatening to throw everything off) but it is still probably our best anniversary ever. Our joint gift is a 21 pound writhing bag of mobility and chatter.

6/7/2006 4:03:59 PM  
Victor is suddenly very outgoing. Too outgoing, in fact. He's got this whole friendly aggression thing going at music class these days and I keep hoping it's just because he can get to all of his little friends that he's wanted to be able to get close to for months and months. I want to let him explore for at least part of his class time but I don't want him to maul his buddies either. I adore our classmates and don't want to be the Hellion Humphreys. :( Victor certainly has crawled (quite literally) right out of his shell this month!

6/7/2006 6:59:41 PM  
[James Here]
The pace has really picked up. Let's see, four days ago, he pulled up to a stand on his own for the first time. Today he is pulling up to a stand on his very tall pack-n-play walls at will and can control his fall - landing on his butt every time. This is frightening.

[And now Dawn]
He's also doing some very basic cruising and some one-hand standing as of today. And coolest of all, he is sitting on his StrideNRide car with complete confidence. Just in time for Auntie Leener to see him this weekend on the present she got him for Christmas!

6/8/2006 7:00:33 PM  
Victor took his afternoon nap at 5:30 today because he finally crashed after being wound for sound all afternoon. Left to his own devices, he is standing more often than not at this point. He's doing more and more letting go with his hands and he looks quite pleased with his little daredevil self. He is also learning to sit down gradually instead of just plopping on his butt each time. He's currently standing in the PackNPlay watching Signing Time with Alex & Leah and liking it a lot better than the French Open (but not as much as Seinfeld or Classical Baby).

And perhaps because I've asked him to work on his verbal skills a little for Auntie Leener's arrival, he's talking a lot today. He keeps saying something that sounds like "cold" or "gold" and he'll say it in relation to bottles or cans. While I'm extremely dazzled, I will be most offended if he really starts saying and meaning "cold" before he says and means "mama". Come on!

6/11/2006 11:55:09 AM  
What a lovely visit with Auntie Leener and Uncle Geoff. Victor definitely loved all of the attention they gave him (and his cool water drums!) and James & I really enjoyed having so much adult conversation. We were all bummed to see them head out this morning but they've got more vacation fun to get into. Thanks for coming, Nordmeyers! :) Here are some pics from their visit (thank you for forwarding these, Eileen):

(Click on any pic to enlarge it.)

Now we're on to getting ready for the trip to Seattle this week for Cousin Ann's wedding. I'm already lamenting that we aren't going out a day earlier so that we can see more sights but our main objective is to spend lots of time with the family anyway. It's going to be a lot of fun and as long as we can keep Victor fed and napped, I think he's going to be a happy and excited little boy.

And before I forget, look at what Victor received in the mail this weekend. This was so cute I wanted to cry........

(Click on the pic to enlarge it.)

6/14/2006 1:25:57 PM  
Well I guess we're ready for our trip. I suppose we can always buy a toy or two along the way if we have to. It's the flight that concerns me. Victor doesn't like to be held for more than 5 minutes at a time so I can't wait to see what he thinks of being held for 4 hours.

We may or may not be entering a blog hiatus but there definitely won't be more pictures until next week (so yeah, what's the point, huh?). I cannot wait to experience temperatures 40 degrees cooler than what we've got here. Victor is going to think we took a vacation to another planet!

6/17/2006 9:26:06 AM  

[James Here]

We made it to Seattle and have spent a day and a half visiting with family and checking out the city. We had a great time meeting Steve Sonnen (Ann's soon-to-be husband) and his family on Thursday night at a BBQ at their house in a northern neighborhood (65th and 32nd). Mmmm King Salmon, chicken, and steak. And, Victor got to hang out with G, Ron, and Kathy. Here's a link to Steve and Ann's Wedding Web page:


Yesterday, we went down to Pike Place Market (about 1.5 miles from our hotel - the Mediterranean) and ate at the Athenian Grill. I had a plate of oysters and a five egg omelet with shrimp, mommy had a five egg omelet with crab meat, and Victor took a nap. It turns out that certain scenes from Sleepless in Seattle were shot there. We then went to the Aquarium where Victor seemed to comprehend that there were large mammals and fishies swimming around. Our favorite part was the undersea, geodesic, see-through dome. When we got back to the hotel, we were so tired we took a nap together (which is unusual and very sweet). Then, we went to the rehearsal dinner at a fantastic Chinese restaurant and hung out with more relatives including Ben and Pat (Kathy's parents), Alison and Tandyn (Kathy's daughter and son-in-law), Jenni (Kathy's daughter), and Kristie (Ann's mom).

Today we are getting ready for a big brunch at Chinook's, followed by the wedding at 4:30. What a great time!

6/19/2006 11:39:14 AM  
We're home. Seattle was equal parts fun and grueling. The weather was spectacular with only short bursts of rain and lots of sun and cool breezes. Seeing family was a lot of fun for all three of us and we got to meet lots of fun people too, all of whom Victor warmed right up to. We found ourselves wishing we had a few more days there.

The trip out was fairly tranquil, all things considered and Victor was pretty resilient about being up 3 hours later than usual. After another day of that though, he kinda lost it. A few hours before the wedding, we ended up getting all dressed up and driving around to get him to take at least one hour nap before the big event. He made it through the ceremony with flying colors but didn't make it very far into the reception until it became a tag team wrestling match. He strolled around the parking lot at the wedding site a lot on Saturday. I think the noise was too much for him at that point. It was a great party though!

By Sunday, Victor was pretty much delirious from sleep deprivation and the trip back proved to be even more challenging than we thought. We got to the airport in Seattle in great time but after waiting in line to check in at American Airlines (couldn't do electronic check-in because we needed to get our little "PLUSINF" on my boarding pass), we discovered that our flight was really on Alaska Air so we ended up barely getting to our flight on time. He was great on that flight - flirted with rowmates and then fell asleep on me. Then it got harrowing. We landed in San Jose, where we were to have a 3+ hour layover. Well, we needed it.

We sat at the gate we came in on at SJC for 30 minutes waiting for them to bring our gate checked stroller. They couldn't get the front cargo door of the plane open and had to get a mechanic. Victor still hung in there but was becoming increasingly annoyed. Then, we realized that we had to go to the other terminal for our American flight home (the good old nerd bird) so we waited around for the shuttle and loaded and unloaded Victor yet again. By this point, he was horrified by each transfer into and back out of the stroller. Ended up getting to our gate with just enough time to shove food into all 3 of our faces and call my daddy to wish him a happy Father's Day. Then the fun really began.

The last leg of the trip was about 3 1/2 hours and I would guess that Victor screamed and cried for close to 2 hours of it. It was the most exhausting experience we've had since the newborn days. There were moments of peace when he was distracted or placated by breastfeeding or chewing on an AA snack box. Eventually I just bounced him relentlessly until he passed out on me. I'm not sure that last hour of the flight was enough to negate how much everyone around us hated us though.

Oh and then we claimed our bags to discover that my indestructible Samsosite hard sided suitcase was caved in on one corner from what appeared to be the work of either a sledgehammer or a gorilla fist. Nice touch. Then James left us at the passenger pickup while he went to pick up our car from long term parking. He forgot the keys. Yes, by this point we were laughing through the tears. Victor smiled in recognition as soon as he hit his own carseat in his own car (that Britax really is worth every penny), exclaimed with delight when he saw his kitty at home and then went right back down to bed at about 1:00 this morning and slept until 9:30.

Quite an adventure. We got a lot of photos and we'll narrow it down and put the best ones on hopefully tonight. Seattle is pretty darned cool. We'd love to go back for another visit but we're not ready to get back on a plane or live on PST again for a little bit here.

This week is all about chilling out and getting back on schedule. We've got errands to run too but they'll seem like no big deal after yesterday!

6/20/2006 9:51:56 AM  
Still no Seattle pics on yet but it looks like James did put the proofs from Victor's portrait sittings on. All of those pics are actually from about a month ago and were part of a clandestine Father's Day mission. It was very hard to hold myself back from buying every single pose.

The first "normal" night back went OK. Victor went to bed at 8:20 and woke up screaming an hour later but settled fairly quickly and slept until 5:00. After breastfeeding, he slept again until about 9:15. I guess we'll consider this progress. It may be a few more days before we have our 8:30-7:30 sleeping boy back. At least I hope we will.

I forgot to mention that during the trip Victor learned a new cry. It's a horrible, pathetic, gasping cry with "mama" and "dada" sprinkled in for good measure. It's excrutiating. He also seems to have gotten his first cold in a while. I don't think there is enough Purell in the world to prevent a cold on a trip. He's in good spirits and glad to be home though.

6/21/2006 9:54:09 PM  
Still struggling with napping. There was no official nap today and as a result Vic went to bed at about 7:45. Unheard of. In better news though, I am back on my good old Couch to 5K training program. The goal is to become a bonafide runner again by the time Victor becomes a bonafide walker. That gives us both about 6 weeks. I'll probably beat him. It's on.

And now here are some additional pictures (there are already Seattle pics of Vic on the pics page) from our Seattle trip and Ann & Steve's wedding this past weekend. The skyline pics are from the roof of our hotel. And no, it's not a camera trick. Ann & Steve both really are that tall. Congrats again to a wonderful couple!

6/25/2006 3:38:27 PM  

Long time, no blog. It's been a busy several days but it's been mostly filled with fun. Thursday we went to swim at Milburn Pool in Cedar Park with John & Ruth. It was extremely chaotic but fun too. We have vowed that we will always go during the Parent & Tot morning swim in the future though. The water was cool and refreshing but we could have done without the hundreds of grade school aged children jumping into the pool over our heads and splashing us. And don't get me started on the teenagers.

Yesterday tennis got rained out and Victor & I headed down to the mall to hang out with Lia & Alex for a few hours in the air conditioning. Apparently everyone else had the same idea because it was pretty nuts there too. The boys got to catch up with each other a bit and practiced touching each other's hair both gently and completely non-gently while Lia & I attempted to shop and chat.

And then today Eli's birthday party was a blast! We got to eat Hebrew Nationals, hamburgers, and birthday cake and hang out with music class friends. Eli had his own cake and while it took him a while to figure out that it was ok to demolish it, he eventually had it all over his face (See pics below featuring Eli and his mommy Lori and Linnea and her parents, Tammy & Eric.) After cake, we all went to play in the water playscape. Weeeee!

(Click on any pic to enlarge it.)

Best part? Victor is taking a nice, long nap now which means that I really need to grab a shower while I can!

6/28/2006 2:42:47 PM  

Victor likes to chew things. He chews Mommy, Dada, Keee, his own thumb, every toy in the house, every strap attached to any of his gear. You know what he won't chew though? His food. Finger and table food is still just not happening. He is still trying to just gulp his food down without chewing it and his gagging is bad enough that he WILL throw up. This is why he only gets finger foods at the beginning of meals now. Less there to throw up. I'm trying to stick with it and give him something to attempt to chew and eat once a day but it is really trying at times. I'm sure Dr. Mirrop would tell me that it's not even a real milestone and to just let him do it at his own pace. But will I be spoonfeeding him when he goes to kindergarten? ;)

The fabulous news is that napping is back on track and after a few days of a brutal nursing strike, eating and "drinking" seems to be back on track too. This all makes for a much happier and more well-adjusted Dawn. Victor is actually less finicky now than he was before about his vegetables too. These days there really aren't vegetables that he'll refuse. Due to the chewing issues, still not much progress with meats though. He's getting a lot of tofu and beans so that I can at least get some protein into him in the meantime. I really need to make a meatloaf and pate it in the Cuisinart like Yvette suggested.

Today was the first day of summer session for Music Together. It's always an adjustment going back to our class with new people in it but there are luckily several familiar faces too. Two of our little baby gang members have recently turned one (Eli & Linnea) and they are all really starting to show cool little personailities. It was good to be back and certainly great to get a new song collection. I think everyone in this house was going to go nuts if we listened to the spring session's CD one more time.

We're going to take another crack at swimming tomorrow with Ruth & John before they abandon us for their vacation. John is taking some steps these days and I can't wait to see it (although I know he might get stage fright). I don't necessarily want Victor to get any ideas quite yet though. The wheels are turning in there but I think we're still at least a month from walking, if not more.

7/3/2006 2:59:24 PM  
We have an 11-month old boy. He is such a boy now too. I'm actually a lot cooler with that than I thought I was going to be. Don't get me wrong - I still cling to those fleeting babyish moments, especially the random times he'll fall asleep in my arms. He is just turning into such an interesting little guy though. Watching his personality unfold before us is highly entertaining.

Busy weekend and it ain't over yet. Victor got to hang out with his buddy Katie Saturday morning for brunch and some swinging and then he hung with Dada while I went and got a massage. That was sublime. It really did me some good to be trapped in a quiet room for 90 minutes. Yesterday I also started yoga classes too and I honestly think that did me more good physically than the massage. It's going to take some finagling to make the scheduling work, but we can do it. James & I are working around his tennis and my running & yoga. I just hope we can still make plenty of time to hang out together without becoming complete night owls.

We went to the Austin Children's Museum today for the Baby Bloomers program (kids 0-3 only). It was a lot of fun but I'm sure it will be a lot more fun in 6 months. The highlight was definitely the "Austin Kiddie Limits" stage and activities. That and the wind tunnel. We're hoping to get to the zoo yet today. It sounds like Victor is fighting his nap up there so we might give up and just throw him in the car and go soon. And then tomorrow hopefully the rain will hold off enough for us to hit Parent & Tot swim so that Dada can actually get to experience real "swimming" with his boy. V's got a new pool float and he's ready to splash and frolic.

I'm officially in full-on party planning mode for the big first birthday party too. Right now I'm having too much fun for the bittersweet part of it to really hit me. I really cannot believe that I'm about to throw my son's first birthday party though. Wow.

7/4/2006 5:37:58 PM  

Happy 4th of July! We had a very fun day. We went to Parent & Tot swim this morning and Victor tried out his cool new pool float and showed off for Dada a little. It was so nice and tranquil since very few people were out at the pool this morning due to the off and on rain (and the holiday).

Victor took a really good nap after swimming and we were actually able to head back out again (a rare feat here lately). Since we didn't make it there yesterday as planned, this afternoon we headed out to what James has deemed "The World's Most Dangerous Zoo" which is more commonly known as The Austin Zoo. It's a rescue zoo and you get pretty darned close to the animals. It's always amusing to me when I'm more relaxed about something than James is since it's a phenomenon that doesn't happen much. James was a tad bit freaked out by being a few feet from an intently staring lion. We got to hear some really authentic roaring too. Pretty cool zoo. Lots of monkeys just made it that much better. I liked the very sweet antelope. Victor watched the chickens more than any of the exotic animals. He had fun though.

And thus the long weekend draws to an end. Having so much Dada time made for a fun way to mark 11 months and Victor's first 4th of July. It's raining now so we're probably in for the night and we'll see if we can see any of the downtown fireworks from our driveway later. The wine is chilling in the fridge!

[Amended later: Forgot to mention that Victor and I played in the baby pool in the front yard yesterday and he made some really good finger walking progress in the water. Also, we visited V's buddy John's kitty Franklin yesterday (we're on catsitting detail while they're on vacation) and Victor laughed more gleefully than we've heard him laugh before because Franklin let him "hug" him. :) Thanks for the patience, Franklin.]

7/7/2006 5:13:22 PM  

Gosh, it's the weekend again already. More Dada! We've had a nice week and Dada has been very sweet about working with me so that I can go to yoga a few times a week. Just in the nick of time because Victor is getting more and more physically taxing. I only wish we could harness his squirming energy to air condition the house this month.

Victor clapped last night but he hasn't been willing to repeat it and to be honest, I didn't make a huge deal out of it at that moment because it was bedtime and I didn't want to get him all whipped up into a frenzy by doing cartwheels and maternalistic whooping. It was extremely cute though (and masterful, of course). He's also getting better at using his stride & ride car walker though he still prefers to "drive" it. He's really getting the dismount down.

Nothing else very new except that he had cantaloupe for the first time today. There was no particular reason I was waiting. I just never saw cantaloupe that looked that great at the store previously. Well, he likes it. He gave me a look as if to say "Um Mommy, where have you been hiding this stuff and, more importantly, WHY?!?!?!".

7/11/2006 3:57:40 PM  

Things have been sort of hectic here lately, hence the absence. As we've tried to get a handle on getting me some "Dawn time" for yoga and whatnot, I've let Victor's feeding and napping schedule get a little loose-y goose-y and now I'm paying the price, to the tune of two middle of the night feedings in a row. Not entirely sure what's going on. As usual, there are so many factors to point to that it's hard to tell.

On one hand, Victor is most definitely teething again. I can just barely see two on the bottom just poking in. He still won't let me look at the top. And that strange giddiness about getting his teeth brushed is over just as quickly as it started too!

There's more going on though. The boy has been taking 2 long naps a day which might sound delightful in theory. However, he is taking those naps much later than usual and has skipped breakfast several times. I think this might have something to do with why he is completely unenthused about breastfeeding come bedtime (and then desperate to breastfeed at 3 a.m.). He's really made some strides with coordination and balance (not walking though - I wouldn't just slip that in!) so I guess he may just be needing some extra sleep from all of that hard work. I just want my gloriously wonderful sleeper back!

And yep, he's napping right now. This is far too late in the day for him to nap but trust me, the alternative right now would be far worse after the meltdown he had in the grocery store a little while ago. So tomorrow, Dawn the Schedule Nazi will be back in full force!

7/14/2006 12:50:28 PM  

Ruth and I just pulled off the ever so elusive coordinated arrival at Mom & Tot swim. That water felt wonderful today. John & Victor didn't last too long since they were both just on the cusp of pre-nap breakdowns but it was a nice little dip on a very hot day. Victor still likes his floaty but it had lost a little air and the sagging was letting water get close to his face. Once he got really tired from swimming, he was accidentally sticking his face in and gulping quite a bit. No wonder he's so worn out.

And to make this an even more outstanding Friday, I just managed to transfer a sleepy boy from his carseat to his crib. There is nothing better than the post-swim calm. And on a Friday to boot!

The only bad thing about our day so far is that, in spite of dragging the camera to the pool, I still didn't manage to get any photos. In my defense, it's a pretty difficult thing to attempt without an extra adult. And I doubt that anyone (aside from Ruth & I) would be all that charmed by pictures of very tired little boys getting their diapers changed.

Happy weekend!

7/16/2006 8:10:12 AM  
[James Here]
Victor is the world's meanest little boy, but I love him to death. He has always hated anyone doing anything with his arms or hands. If you try to "instruct" him on how to do something, he pulls violently away. He has also started to show some territoriality. This morning, I had to laugh so hard when he disdainfully "removed" my hand from the area after I had tried to bang on HIS drum . And, earlier he was doing the same with Mommy's hand when she was brazen enough to leave it on HIS leg while he was sitting with her. Right now, having the meanest boy in the world is fun. I wonder if he'll start saying "No" before he says "Yes." Somehow, I see that in his future :)

7/17/2006 9:39:22 PM  

Victor is actually the world's sweetest little boy. He is really into crawling at me and lunging to give me a hug and kiss now. It's pretty much the coolest thing I've ever experienced. Never mind that he slobbers all over my face. He's also using "huggy time" to practice more and more hands-free standing. James finally took the seat completely out of his Intellitainer so that he can just use it as a little DJ booth (James: His stage name is "Sir Stinks-A-Lot") and not only does he just love it, but it also is greatly improving his balance and "pre-stepping".

It is brutally hot. I keep laughing as I reminisce about how I was feeling this week last year. I was so ready to meet Victor. Now he's about to turn 1 and I just don't even see how it's possible.

But back to that heat. Yuck. I had to put a sweaty little boy to bed tonight with his ceiling fan on. And now I'm about to head out for my run and it is still 95 degrees out there, even this late.

7/19/2006 3:42:05 PM  

Victor is still a pretty good eater but he continues to hate, hate, hate broccoli and meat for the time being. He'll suck down zucchini, asparagus and spinach without batting an eye though so there's hope for him as a non-finicky eater. His most recent favorite is blueberries. He's making slow progress with the sippy cup but again, hard to make a sippy full of water all that enticing. Hopefully by the time he can have cow's milk in it, he'll be more used to it. For now, it's mostly a toy.

We've fallen behind on pictures. I was going to take some today at music class but no one else from our little baby gang was there this week. Victor hung really close to me at class this week which is unusual these days too. I think it was just because his girlfriend Linnea wasn't there. He really likes to go stand at the wall of windows with her and giggle at her. So today he was just stuck learning!

We do have some recent video of Victor to put up but it's going to entail some editing to make it succinct and compelling. That's my nice way of saying that I have to just record a whole lot of crap to get something good.

7/20/2006 3:21:12 PM  

Happy 1st birthday to Quinn Koster! Hope Victor's West Coast homey is having a fun day today. :)

Victor is having issues of the poopal variety. I'll spare details. He's kinda fussy but doesn't have a fever so I'm going to assume that this is related to "Mommy's undercover turkey casserole" or it's a little tummy bug. Just hope it passes quickly.

I think Victor might be saying "no". A lot. It's actually more like "nein" and since he doesn't speak German yet, I'm trying to convince myself that maybe it's just a cute baby word of his. Sometimes it even sounds like "ninny". Ninny's cool. This whole "no" thing has been a fear of mine for a while though because I find myself saying it to him so much. I hate to be saying it all the time but I'm just trying to communicate with him urgently in some situations. Much as I would prefer to redirect him gently, I don't think he can understand phrases like "Please don't pull everything off the grocery shelves" or "Let's not chew on the fan cord" or "Mommy would prefer that you not pull her hair out". I do at least say no in a nice way so perhaps we'll start hearing "No, monkey pie" or "Nein, sugar bear" instead of just the standard bratty "NO!". Dare to dream.

And a shout out to the Griff. Hang in there buddy (unless your mommy really is ready for you to come early). Victor wants to share his birthday with you!

7/23/2006 8:17:23 AM  

[James Here]
It has now been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt - Tony Iglesias is a barbecuing savant. He prepared some moist, flavorful brisket that I wish I could get at a restaurant. Well (or not so?) done sir!

[Now Dawn]
And while we were enjoying an awesome cookout, Victor explored Tony & Denise's yard and enjoyed Mia's empty baby pool as kind of a miniature bounce house. He was very exhausted and very, very dirty when we got home.

7/24/2006 12:13:37 PM  

Victor participated in his 12 month study at the Children's Reseach Lab at UT today. He's actually going back for another 12 month study in a few weeks. He really enjoys going and hey, he got a new t-shirt! My speculation about whether Victor really still needs a morning nap or not ended promptly when we got in the car at UT and he was asleep before I had even backed out of our parking space. He wasn't a bit fussy during the study but as soon as he got a chance, he was out! I guess he still really does turn into a pumpkin at 10:30 if he hasn't napped yet.

Busy, busy week trying to get ready for the big day and the big party. It's all very exciting though. Hope we get time for a swim this week because the pools aren't open much longer and it is quite hot. How is it almost August?

7/25/2006 3:00:03 PM  

Griffin Summers has arrived! 8 pounds and 3 ounces. 20 1/2 inches. Almost exactly like little Vic nearly a year ago. I'm anxiously awaiting pictures from the proud mama. :) Also today - Happy Anniversary to my parents! 36 years and still kicking.

Things are still a bit of a whirlwind in these parts. Somehow the birthday preparations have ended up involving me staining and finishing a table. James wanted to just give it to Victor unfinished since it's for boyish block-beating type of activities but I just couldn't bear the thought of his table being so plain. Sometimes it's like I create work for myself. How did I ever end up that way, Mother?!?! Turns out though that using tung oil is not all that fun in this heat. Neither is running but I'm sticking with it in the hopes of making my goal of running the Cedar Perk 5-miler again this October with my dear sweet cuz, Susan. So, onward on both light-headed counts!

Oh yeah, and there are 5 new video clips if you haven't noticed. A few of them are several months old. Since putting the video clips on is such an undertaking, we let them pile up for a while.

7/26/2006 11:30:57 PM  

Apparently Victor is ready to redecorate his room a little. I went into his room to check on him a few minutes ago and he had one of his Pooh wall murals in his crib with him. I had been considering phasing out the Pooh stuff for some brighter colors and more boyish decor so I guess now he is forcing the issue. When I put him down for the night, I heard him rustling around for a while on the monitor but I sure didn't imagine that he was peeling wallpaper off the walls! Makes me glad I was smart and didn't hang anything on the wall above his crib that he could pull onto himself.

And speaking of little troublemakers, here are some pictures from music class today. Linnea is walking now so I'm supposing Victor & Eli will feel the peer pressure to follow suit. Until then though, they continue to be completely fixated on Carey and her guitar:

(Click on any pic to enlarge it.)

7/30/2006 5:12:04 PM  

Unassisted steps have occurred. Does it qualify as walking? Nope. Pretty cool though. It started off with some water walking in the inflatable pool this morning. Victor took 2 or 3 steps from the side of the pool to me and then back again. Then he got so excited that he did it about 10 more times. I tried to keep him doing it until James got home from the store but he got tired and started crawl/splashing to me instead of stepping so I brought him in for lunch. After lunch and a nap, he did it for his daddy too though. On dry land even! He's still very much hurling himself at us and just managing to get a few steps in on the way but he is really getting more comfortable. He's even doing some hands-free squatting too. It is just so much fun to see the look of excitement on his face!

8/3/2006 3:57:47 PM  

Victor is one! He's had a great day and is taking a much-needed nap, despite the sugar high he had going from his first cake experience. As expected, he didn't want much to do with eating the cake. He mostly wanted to use it as a drum and squeeze icing between his fingers. We were very pleased that he showed slight interest in his new bongos and Legos and Brio blocks and his Daddy-fashioned Mixmaster Vic play table. He was slightly frightened by his new speedboat pool floaty though.

We're all enjoying some quiet and relaxation before the next phase of the festivities. Wow, and we still have a party to get through!

8/6/2006 1:19:50 PM  

The birthday party was a smashing success. The heat wasn't even that brutal since we had shade and then water sprinklers to keep us all cool. Victor really seemed to have a blast. Highlights were his first ride in his new wagon (thanks Granddad, DG & Gaga) with his buddy Alex and crawling through the water playscape with the whole baby/toddler gang!

Victor passed out pretty much immediately on the ride home from the party but after a 2 hour nap at home, he was right back up to open presents and to play with his grandparents and Gaga a little more. He sure did love having company. I think he'll get sick of me pretty quickly this week. We'll have to work in some fun outings, including some pool frolicking!

We've got about a gazillion pictures to put on from yesterday. We'll work on that yet today, hopefully.

8/9/2006 2:07:40 PM  

The de-Poohification of Victor's room is going well. His bedroom is really coming together and reflecting his personality more now. Lots of bright colors and alphabet and animal stuff. Feels a lot more cheerful in there and thus appropriate for Mr. Smiley.

I think all traces of Pooh have been removed and packed up now with the exception of James and Ronan's Pooh letters (they're these cute little carved letters spelling out their names) and I'm having a very, very hard time convincing myself to take them down. It's Victor's room though and his brothers will still be a part of it even without their letters on display. It's just the last tangible memento I have to pack away and I'm finding it hard to let go and I'm dreading digging out their memory boxes.

It's kind of a big moment for both of us as Victor's room becomes more of a big boy room and I let go of all of the baby decor from the past 3 years. We're both growing up! Victor even gets his first salon haircut this week. More on that in a few days.........

8/9/2006 11:51:24 PM  

Hey, happy birthday to Shelby Frances Pressler! Got that in just under the wire. Hope you've had a fun one, Shel.

Well, I did manage to pack away the Pooh letters and it wasn't so traumatic. It did unleash a barrage of memories though. That had me really feeling reflective and then it all just really hit me during my run tonight (it was still 93 out there at 9:30, by the way - yuck!). It was in a good way though.

While I was packing the letters into James & Ro's boxes, I came across my 2003-4 calendar in there with all of my appointments, etc. Dang, have I spent a lot of time in doctors' offices in the past 3 years. I could not believe that my laparoscopic surgery was only 3 years ago next week. That feels like forever ago to me because SO much has happened to us since then.

When I went in for that surgery, I really believed that they were going to fix me and I was going to be pregnant just like that. In reality, they scoped in and there was so much scar tissue that they just got out of there and closed me up. That's the day that we found out that we'd have to do IVF for me to get pregnant. It was completely devastating even though, in hindsight, I should have known what was coming. Still, I thought it was the worst thing imaginable. That's almost laughable now given how much worse things got.

Thinking back to that whole experience though, I feel so lucky because my former OB didn't even want to do the surgery and just wanted me to just try injections for several months before getting more aggressive. I was the one that was insistent on doing the surgery because I guess, in my heart of hearts, I knew something just wasn't right. I wish I'd known that in time to do something for the twins but that's neither here nor there. I do think a lot about how different things would be if I had just plodded along without being my obsessive, overzealous self.

I guess part of my point, if there really is one, is that I'm exceedingly thankful that I came to this point in my life in a time and at a place where I had so many resources and I was able to feel so much hope. I just think back to when I first met my now beloved Dr. Cowan the summer after we lost the twins. I went in there and basically said "Dr. Vaughn is doing my IVF and at 13 weeks Dr. Berry is putting in a cerclage...I'm hoping you can do all the rest." That would have been unheard of not all that long ago. And I get accused of being obsessive and overly anxious but I honestly believe that if I hadn't spent a gazillion hours on the internet researching IVF protocols and cerclage success rates, I probably wouldn't have the most amazing and gorgeous little boy I've ever seen sleeping upstairs right now, 3 years after an infertility verdict and almost 2 1/2 years after having to say goodbye to his brothers.

So, with my apologies for how long-winded and perhaps a bit self-serving this got, I just wanted to get this down while I was thinking it. It's just kind of amazing how much has happened and how much of it has been driven by sheer force of Humphrey will. My oh my, how the reward exceeds all expectations though. And if Victor turns out to be a little too obsessive about game plans and details and odds, so be it. He'll come by it very honestly and he wouldn't exist were it not for those very traits in both of his parents. Won't our family vacations be fun?

8/11/2006 2:45:53 PM  

Happy 94th birthday to Victor's Great Grandpa Pressler! Sadly, Grandpa probably has no idea that it's his birthday today. We all do though and it's a good day to celebrate what a blessing he has been in our lives. I had a wonderful childhood and that man is an absolutely huge part of why! He's still the funniest person I've ever known too. Love that goofy guy.

Today also marked Victor's first real haircut. It went very well. He was such a good boy and sat there quietly mumbling and chewing on a comb. He looks cute as can be too! I almost wish we'd taken him sooner although I think it was a good toddler rite of passage. Afterwards, the three of us went to the park to swing a little bit and kick off a relaxing weekend. Hopefully some of the pics will be good.

And now, I just checked on a napping Victor and discovered that he managed to get his shorts off. I've been putting a belt on him when he wears his 18 month shorts since they are still so loose in the waist but I took his belt off before I put him down, figuring a belt wouldn't be very comfy for him to sleep on his tummy. So far the diaper is staying on. It's hard not to run in there and check but I think I'd rather let him nap and risk a mess than disrupt his beauty sleep!

8/15/2006 4:45:40 PM  

We went for Victor's 1 year well check today. He didn't get a lollipop. He IS a lollipop. He's only 22 pounds but 31 1/4 inches long so he's still hanging in the same 25-50th percentile for weight but 75-90th for height and head circumference. Dr. Mirrop warned us that we really don't want to get in a big hurry about him walking since "he'll be really accident-prone being so tall with such a big head". You can imagine how soothing that was to hear for the mommy who stresses about every object with which Victor comes into contact.

He had to get 2 shots today and he was extremely distressed about it. We knew it was a bad sign when he completely lost it over just getting measured and weighed. The nurse said that kids usually start to remember what's going to happen by the 15 month appointment but that's he's ahead of the curve on that one. Indeed. He writhed and screamed and thrashed and cried huge, pathetic tears and made horrible guttural noises. Minutes later, it was back to the usual casual screeching followed by passing out in the carseat nearly immediately. Will we be ready to do this again in 3 months?!?!?

8/16/2006 2:55:07 PM  

It's been a little harrowing around here. Victor pretty much lost it last night. He seemed really, really sore from his shots and he had several very messy poop incidents. Then as I was trying to get him ready for bed, I noticed - as he was screaming at the top of his lungs - that he has 4 new teeth on the bottom that weren't there a few days ago. There might be more on top but I was not willing to attempt to investigate at that particular moment. So Victor ended up passing out at 7:30 last night without even nursing.

I got myself ready for bed much earlier than usual last night because I was just sure that Victor would never sleep all the way through the night. Actually, we both ended up sleeping much longer than usual. In spite of nearly 13 hours of sleep, he's been pretty cranky and lethargic today but I really don't blame him. That was a lot of annoying stuff in one day.

For some idiotic reason, I decided to go ahead with our plans to get his 1 year portraits done today. Great fun. He was tired and wanted to nap by the time we got there for our appointment and then we ended up waiting because they were about 20 minutes behind. I was not a nice person to try to sell thing to by that point. We got some good shots but it was by the skin of our newly cut teeth. We're both exhausted and despondent but he's currently fighting the nap. That pretty much precludes my nap for now.

8/17/2006 3:43:28 PM  

We've stayed in today and had a very, very lowkey day. The poop situation has improved for the most part. I guess it's no wonder that he's picked up some kind of little tummy bug because he is chewing on everything in sight pretty much everywhere we go. Come to find out, he seems to have 6 or so new teeth rather than just the bottom 4 I found a few days ago. They're not all the way in but they've popped through the gum. So buddy boy is fixing to have a mouth full of teeth! I don't think I see canines yet, which is most confusing because I don't think he should be getting 2nd molars yet. I'm too scared to poke around anymore today to figure it out.

In other news, while I swear that Victor is not allowed to listen to rap music, his favorite thing to say lately is "deuce deuce". I really don't know what he means by it exactly but it typically seems to be an expression of being completely amused with himself. Go figure.

8/18/2006 9:16:26 PM  

We've decided that maybe we won't take so many pictures for a few weeks. ;) The data entry has gotten downright oppressive, even for nerds like us. Besides, photos have probably reached and exceeded a saturation point. This latest batch is pure gold though so please do admire the handiwork of our dear friend Rich and the result of our bilking Picture People out of reprint charges.

Victor was about the unhappiest I've ever seen him tonight. He only napped once today and his teeth are clearly really bothering him. I didn't realize until almost bedtime that he was running a fever as well. He went right to sleep but he sure wasn't himself. I wanted to cry right along with him. I just really hope the Tylenol is doing its job right now.

Gotta run. Literally. I'm back up to a respectable 3 miles again. I wonder how much harder that will be with a jogging stroller. And I'm off.........

8/19/2006 11:06:37 PM  

James installed a new battery in my car today and turned Victor's carseat around to forward facing. It was just in time for Victor's first trip to the ER tonight. We joked with him that he staged it all to get to go for a ride. Even given the circumstances, he did seem to enjoy the leg room and the view.

He's been pretty miserable for the last 4 or 5 days and we have been chalking it up to his 1 year shots and teething. He's still been sleeping through the night just fine and, while he has had a fever, it has been low grade. Tonight was different though. He felt hotter than ever and when we took his temp around 6:00 tonight, it was 103.7. He also was more lethargic than we've ever seen him and was whimpering non-stop. So after conferring with the pediatrician's office about how much fever is too much fever, we hauled him in to the ER.

Not a fun experience. We didn't have to wait at all to go back into a room at least. Obviously, they had to do blood work though. He was screaming as soon as we tried to lie him down and then matters just got worse and worse as the nurses stuck him - and I am not exaggerating - probably 10 times to puncture the vein. The good news is that his blood count was not indicative of a bacterial infection so that rules out many very bad things. So the diagnosis is "unknown viral infection". This seems odd given that any symptoms he's had of an infection have greatly improved in the past few days.

We're just hoping that we have our happy boy back very soon! Oh, and I'm trying to just relax about the fact that we didn't brush his teeth before he went to bed. And he's been wearing the same pajamas for the past 27 hours.

[Back again now at 11:41 following another frenzied breastfeeding/Tylenoling. I think he might get some sleep now so I believe I will too.]

8/20/2006 2:05:22 PM  

Things are looking a lot brighter for the Humphreys today, aside from the sleep deprivation across the board. Victor slept through the night just fine and took a good morning nap. Most importantly, his fever seems to have broken. He ate well at breakfast and lunch. Not quite up to his usual appetite but not at all worrisome either.

He's been breastfeeding a lot again these past few days. If we were headed toward weaning before, we just did a big U-turn. I haven't been feeling extremely compelled to force the weaning issue so this does not bother me. I'll get more bodily freedom back eventually and I've gotten so used to being available and abstaining from alcohol that it doesn't really feel restrictive anymore. Yes, I'll have still days when I backtrack about that attitude. For now though, it's just fine by me to keep on keeping on.

We had big plans to go to the museum for a new exhibit today but that shall wait. We all need to grab some extra sleep anywhere we can and I probably better keep Victor out of circulation for another day, for his own good. Never mind the multitude of germs he was exposed to during 3 hours in the ER last night!

Our little patient is napping away now after a much-needed bath. He always really likes bathtime for its splashing opportunities but today he seemed genuinely happy about getting the getting clean part of the operation. . I'd imagine it felt good to get the Tylenol/Motrin/Pedialyte/boy sweat glaze scrubbed off of him. He's even wearing a real outfit today. Things are looking up, indeed.

8/20/2006 5:44:53 PM  

Never mind. Victor's temp has spiked back up again (though thankfully not as high as yesterday so far) and he's super clingy again. We're going to the doc first thing tomorrow. This is exactly like yesterday - acted normal all day until 5:00ish when he suddenly got hot as a furnace and inconsolable. Hoping tomorrow brings more insight.

8/21/2006 3:44:43 PM  

Duh, duh and duh some more. It's his throat that's infected. Two big clues that apparently didn't hit me in the face hard enough: (1) I've gotten a very sore throat myself within the past 24 hours and (2) Victor is unenthusiastic about eating. The good news is that it's not strep. The bad news is that since it seems to be viral, there's nothing to be done except to let him fight the infection. His white blood cells were just on the borderline of being possibly bacterial but Dr. Mirrop, being ever the conservative one about prescribing antibiotics (which we love him for), wants to wait it out. So it's more of the same!

I'm glad I took him in though. I don't think I was going to figure out what was wrong on my own since I lack tongue depressers and Dr. M's soothing demeanor. Most of all, it's good to rule out something more serious. I guess this means that within the next day or so, I'll start crying inconsolably and I'll spike a fever too, eh? Hopefully James will be spared.

8/23/2006 1:09:19 AM  

I know. I shouldn't still be up. The problem is that Victor napped so much this morning that I got to sleep so much more than usual that I'm up too late now. Doesn't help that James snores. A lot. In fact, it is so bad that when I was showering earlier after my run I could hear him from the bathroom. Granted, it is totally ridiculous that our master bathroom gets called a master bathroom (in much the same way that it's ridiculous to call our garage a 2-car garage unless we're talking about shriner cars here) since I shower 10 feet from our bed. Whatever.

The good news, and the point of this babbling, is that Victor is doing much better. He napped for more than 3 hours this morning and then I kept him up this afternoon even though he wanted to nap at 4:00. That got him to sleep at a much more normal time tonight so that hopefully we'll be able to participate in life again in the next few days, perhaps. He ate like a champ today. He ate like a champ that requires cold, runny food but like a champ nonetheless. Most signficantly, he hasn't been running a fever or acting psychotic.

I'm feeling considerably better too and am now firmly convinced that my sore throat is related to allergies rather than Victor's virus. I very scientifically determined this when I realized during my run tonight that I could not breathe through my nose. I guess that's really nothing to get excited about, especially since my mouth breathing left me in fear of inhaling a bug.

Victor is going to start chattering in 6 hours and 20 minutes so I better face this sleep attempt head-on. James even sounds quiet up there. Tiptoe, tiptoe.......

8/26/2006 6:03:13 PM  

We had a fun family outing today at the Bieris' with Linnea and Eli and their parents Eric, Tammy, Dan and Lori. After playing with Linnea's toys and instruments, we all sat down to lunch and then took a trip to the NW District Park Pool. It was time to go after a good amount of splashing and water walking was followed by a lifeguard's ear- splitting whistle blow that caused Victor to cry for ten minutes straight. James says that this is reminiscent of someone; he just can't put his finger on who. ;)

Good times. And some good pictures! As always, click on any pic to view it enlarged.

8/27/2006 3:48:19 PM  

I've been keeping a really cool secret. Auntie Leener is becoming Mamacita Leener. Yay! She's doing great and is due in March. Victor can't wait to have a new friend to meet.

We're having a lowkey day after yesterday's scorching and exhausting fun. We went to lunch at Artz Ribhouse, a family favorite. It's the first restaurant we ever took Victor to and he always does well there. I honestly think that was the first time we had gone out to a restaurant as a family since Eileen & Geoff's visit in June.

And in a shocker, Victor even ate a few very small morsels of baby back rib and some bread. He was a little gunshy but more intrigued than he has ever seemed to be by table food. We've got to take him out more often. He even got a few bites of chocolate mousse pie and, in fact, he would have probably eaten most of the piece if it had been allowed. I guess he has a sweet tooth after all. There was never much doubt that he'd be both a chocoholic and a riboholic. It's genetically unavoidable.

[James here]
After giving the little pieces of rib to Victor, I was joking that the protein would turn some little key in his head. Later that night, it seemed my joke was not so far from the truth. He took three or four steps about three or four times and was babbling more like he was trying to talk. We need to feed this boy more meat! Then, I can start teaching him calculus.

8/30/2006 9:12:48 PM  

A hearty Humphrey shout out to Victor's new Omaha buddy, Avery Marie Shaw. Can't wait to meet you, Avery. Maybe a Christmas rendezvous in Illinois? :) Many congrats to Jennifer & Brock and to the whole Cunningham clan. I just can't believe how quickly that time just went by! Jenny, you might disagree.

All is well in our parts. Operation Humphrey Family Dinner is going well. Turns out that getting a healthy dinner on the table for all 3 of us by 6:00ish is not the easiest thing. It will get better. We've just gotten way too used to not eating until Victor goes to bed. It has been so nice to have that time together as a family though and it really is getting Victor far more interested in table food. I'm almost inspired to make him a chocolate mousse pie!

I am one tired mommy tonight and I still need to go do my run. We had a very fun playdate with Eli today. It was really cool to see the boys playing with toys together and just hanging out but I felt the pain of staying out through naptime. As a result, I had to wake him up for dinner and he was none too pleased about that. I guess 1:30 or 2:00 really is his official cut-off and I probably need to just get onboard with that. Oh, how I miss the two nap days of yore.

9/1/2006 8:04:31 PM  

And just like that, we've got a Danger Monkey. I knew I should be concerned an hour or so ago in the car when Victor was waving and grinning at the biker sitting next to us at the stoplight. And when I say biker, I don't mean some Lance Armstrong devotee. I mean a chopper ridin', leather chaps wearin' scooter tramp. Very nice guy though. It did make me smile to think of how Vic's namesake would love that he chose to share his first enthusiastic waving with a biker. It seemed to plant a seed in his mind though.

We got back home and I decided to take him for a short spin in his Radio Flyer. He loves that thing. So we started conservative since we didn't have James as back-up. First we were just on the driveway, then we stayed within a 3 house radius and then we got brave and started to go the whole block. That's when Victor decided to become a daredevil and I started to wish we had gotten the wagon with seatbelts. He kept standing up and laughing hysterically and then eventually he dove out the front of the wagon and balanced himself on the handle (since I had quickly dropped the handle to try to grab him), laughing giddily all the while.

And to top it all off, I went to the dermatologist today to have an arm thingy removed (nothing bad - just some subcutaneous bug bite scar) because Victor likes to pick at it constantly. Now I get to deal with 2 weeks of trying to get Victor to leave my big gross stitches alone (I can't wear bandaids for long because I have weird reactions to them now). Given the new propensity for danger, I somehow doubt that Victor is going to be very gentle during this healing process. Another scar of motherhood. Literally. If I can just keep him unscathed, I'm doing great.

9/3/2006 2:56:54 PM  
[James Here]
It's a day of milestones. I was trying to watch Agassi play Becker and eat pizza and Victor was cruising around (walking with the assistance of furniture) and trying to grab my food. At the same time, Victor was showing off his ability to initiate and stop and reinitiate unassisted steps. This has only come about in the past two days. All of a sudden it hit me that he is really quite capable now with his climbing and walking and grabbing and breaking. He is also now eating more adult type food and interacting with us more. He has also started shaking his head side-to-side in the past few days ("Just say no to hunger.") So, I stopped what I was doing and explained to him that I was no longer going to call him a baby and that he is now officially a "toddler" - specifically "Walker, Texas Toddler."

An hour later, Agassi lost to Becker after trying his best to deal with a bad back and he gave one of the most meaningful and moving speeches I've ever heard in his farewell to tennis fans. In the interview room afterwards, Andre was asked what he was going to do in this stage of his life. The expectation is that he'll do even more for his local community and lead tennis to greater things. Andre, not understanding the implication, eloquently spoke of looking forward to being somewhere and not having to think of being somewhere else. Hah, good luck with that, overachiever!

As one phase of life ends another begins with brand new opportunities.

9/6/2006 12:29:02 PM  

I've been quite a yoga slacker during this past week or so. Scheduling constraints, the US Open and an angry arm wound have made yoga much less of a priority though. I am anxious to get back to it this weekend. This is really is a segueway to something Victor-related, I swear.......

We found a great use for my yoga strap yesterday! We were able to use it to sorta kinda strap Victor in place in his wagon. He was like a pig in mud because he loves to chew on all straps (bags, strollers, carseats). He was in fact so enthralled with the strap that he hardly noticed the lovely scenery during our after-dinner family walk last night. He did say hi to a kitty though. I have since slightly refined the yoga strap system and am anxious to see what James thinks of it. ;)

And speaking further of yoga, next week we not only start back up with music class again (it's been a LONG break and we're ready to get back!) but we also start yoga with childcare at the music school. Any bets on how many anxiety attacks I'll have leading up to that? This will be Victor's first experience with being away from Mommy in a place that is not home. Historically, he's pretty resilient and independent but we seem to be experiencing our first real tantrums lately and also a bit of separation anxiety. I'm hoping that the similarity to music class will help put him at ease. If we can get past this transition period, this should be really good for him to have some unstructured play time with other kids each week. I hope it goes well. It might be hard to get all relaxed and zen-like when I'm sure that I can hear a Victor cry in the distance.

9/7/2006 8:45:26 PM  

There's very much a yin and yang element to this new, more emotional and turbulent side of Victor. Today was a whole lot of yang. While he's prone to more tantrums and clinginess, he's also much more affectionate and engaged when he wants to be. He's just turning into the coolest guy like ever. I'm sure no one else feels that way about their kid.

I'm just riding a high from this day, I suppose. We got to enjoy a beautiful day (only 85 when we were out there!) with a walk at Town Lake with Ruth & John. OK, the boys weren't quite as thrilled as Ruth & I but I think they reaped some benefits of the sun and fresh air. We got to see an overly aggressive swan assault a toddler's foot and John had his granola bar stolen by a bird.

After lunch and a nap, Victor and I played in the baby - pardon me - toddler pool for a long time, enjoying a nice breeze in the shade. Then he ate dinner without any protests or complaints, played happily and then headed off for bedtime. This is when the really unthinkable happened.

Victor had a bath and splashed and played away until it was time to brush his teeth. I was actually allowed to hold him on my lap and brush his teeth without even restraining his arms. Yeah. For real. Then it got even more strange and dream-like. I said "Hey Victor, how about a bedtime story?" and he cruised over to the bookshelves and picked up "Kitten's First Full Moon" and flung it at me. Whoa. He then proceeded to sit on my lap in the rocker and hold my hand while I read the story to him in its entirety.

This may sound like no big twig but it is the first time Victor has EVER allowed me to read an entire book to him while he sat on my lap quietly paying attention. Usually I have to get pretty creative about reading to him but tonight something clicked and he just curled right up with me. Please, oh please, let my boy be a bibliophile! I dare not hope for a repeat performance tomorrow night but at least now I know that magical things can happen.

[Edited on 9/9 to add the following pics of Victor and John at Townlake]

9/10/2006 1:13:04 PM  
[James here]
Victor walked about 10 feet today. The circumstances needed to be just right. In this case, I was in another room saying "Hi Victor" and waving at him. He looked at me and "walked" across his room to the child gate. It was slow, but determined and qualifies as a new World Record!

9/12/2006 8:37:47 PM  

Victor napped for a total of 45 minutes today and is now kicking and groaning in his crib. Man, I really thought we had this nap thing figured out a few weeks ago. Now? Not so much. He's been in remarkably good spirits but has been a bit crazed (and thus completely exhausting). I really hope he gets a good night's sleep because tomorrow we return to Music Together. I want us both to be fresh and frisky to be reuinited with our friends!

Speaking of music friends, we had a playdate with Eli today. I'm really pleased with how well they are able to play together. There are squabbles over toys and all but they are pretty darned harmonious and seem to have awareness that they are actually friends. Pretty cool. And while at Eli's house, I learned that the yellow Baby Einstein soft block makes a duck quack when you squeeze it. Why is this noteworthy? It is noteworthy because we have that same block set and in 13 months that we've had it, I had no idea that the yellow block made noise.

First thing this morning we strolled over to the library for storytime. I would not pronounce that a success. We are still on an endless quest for a compatible storytime. Last week we went to a 0-18 month storytime that was seriously way too infantile. I know that sounds ludicrous but I kid you not. Well, today we tried the toddler storytime (18-36 months) right here a block away. While it was much more what I envisioned storytime being, Victor was not quite ready for sitting quiet and still. We were given "the look" by the storytime bouncer and went on our way a mere third of the way into the first book (and it was even "Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs!", darn it). We still have a 12-18 month storytime we can try but it is a good 8 mile drive away. An exhaustive search requires it though. Turns out that getting out and having fun is a lot of work!

On the bright side, Victor is sleeping like a cat right now. That's good.

9/14/2006 2:03:46 PM  

Whew! We survived the first yoga with childcare experience. This was the first time Victor has ever been left with a caregiver outside our house (and actually only the 2nd time he's been under the care of a non-parent or grandparent). He did great. He didn't seem to notice I was even leaving. That concerned me because I didn't want to sneak away and then have him be startled by me being gone. He was too fixated on the toys to let me say goodbye though. The babysitters said that he fussed a few times but was easily distracted again by the toys. When I went back to pick him up, he was happily playing. As soon as he saw me though, there was crying with arms in the air. Nice to be needed, actually.

It was the least relaxing yoga class I have ever had but I would imagine I'll get into it more next week now that I know that Victor is fine without me for an hour and a half. I really, really had a hard time trying to focus on anything other than how much I missed him.

We also started back up with music class yesterday. The first class back each session is always a bit trying and I'm sure we'll be back in the swing of it soon. He was desperately wanting to nap right when we went to class and he has been barely napping at all for about 3 days. He went down peacefully after lunch today though so I'm hoping that getting into a routine with our classes will force the one afternoon nap to finally come to fruition for more than a few days at a time. We'll get there.

9/17/2006 5:30:06 PM  

And he's off! Victor's favored mode of locomotion is now officially walking. He's still pretty clumsy at times but he's getting some pretty alarming speed and his persistence is awe-inspiring. And just like everyone said, there was pretty much an overnight transition from dabbling in walking to flaunting it. I won't be horribly surprised if we have a walking hiatus or two though. Now, on to language skills!

Victor and I are both sick at the moment though. He's a few days ahead of me. He's not letting it get him down too much. The problem is the copious amounts of snot that pour out of him at all times. Puts a damper on playtime, for sure. And yes, I'm fairly certain that this cold has everything to do with the sippy swap at yoga the other day. Grrrrrr.

9/20/2006 10:41:07 AM  

Legos - friend or foe? I was excited beyond excited about giving Victor the big bucket of Quatros for his first birthday. Back then, he didn't show a lot of interest. Well, these days the legos are the magical fix-it around here. The only building going on is by James though. Victor's favorite thing to do with the legos is to dump them all out of the bucket and then spread them as evenly as he can to cover every bit of space in the entire room. So yeah, legos are really cool until the end of the day when my back hurts and I'm picking them all up while Victor tries to pull them right back out of the bucket. Why didn't I get the smaller Quatro set?

We are supposed to be at music class right now. I was almost sure that Victor would be well enough today but during breakfast, his nose started running wildly again. We can make up the class and everything but I already have us grossly overscheduled for next week! Sure hope he's over this cold by then. And of course, I'm both eager to try to make yoga tomorrow and reticent about it since that's how he probably got sick before. It's supposed to be a fun playtime, not virus day camp.

9/22/2006 11:17:52 PM  

We discovered this week that Victor loves Elmo. I've been DVR'ing Sesame Street so I have something to entertain him with while I fix lunch, etc. He doesn't really care much about any of the scenes involving people but as soon as the "Elmo's World" song comes on, his head whips around and he's all smiles. So of course I had to fall for the hype and order the TMX Elmo earlier this week. I managed to get one off Amazon right before they sold out. The plan is to wait for Christmas to give it to him. I can't wait though. His reaction to Elmo is so cute.

Speaking of Sesame Street, I was so surprised to see so many original cast members still on in the 31st season. Maria looks amazing! Seeing her made me swear to myself that I'll start getting more sleep and drinking more water. Of course this is the same week that I also discovered my first real wrinkles. Ick.

Victor is still sick but I really think he's bound to turn a corner this weekend. I sure hope so because the diarrhea has not been fun to deal with the past few days. And I really hope that we can make his buddy Alex's first birthday party tomorrow!

La-la, la-la
La-la, la-la
Victor's World
La-la, la-la
La-la, la-la
Victor's World!
Victor loves his Kitty
His hairbrush too
It's Victor's World!

9/23/2006 2:10:14 PM  
[James here]
OK. I'm calling it as of 7:00 p.m. Central Time on September 22. It's official. Victor can walk/is walking. Yes, this is subjective; the criteria were and are a bit vague. I was rejecting the final classification on the basis that he is not yet able to stand up without pulling up on something, but the boy is just running around too much to not call him a walker. Probably the most important walking criteria he meets is the ability to do a little jig and regain his balance. This allows him to walk any inside distance. Yes, he still falls and about half the time he prefers to crawl or crab-crawl, but he can walk!

As the single entrant in the pool with a guess of Sep 8 for an official walking date, Jamie wins the prize (to be determined). Jamie had estimated on July 22 that Victor would be walking in 6 weeks. Not bad, Jamie.

[And now Dawn here]
Victor has been walking since mid-September. Walking. Not competitive walking. Not adept walking. Not long range walking. Taking steps. You know.......um, walking!

[And now James here]
My post. Last word.

9/24/2006 7:51:11 AM  
Alex's birthday party was a real hoot! Alex was running around like a little linebacker (and felt like one too when picked up).

Here are some pics from the big event:

9/24/2006 8:30:21 PM  
[James here]
Victor has two cute tricks that he does right now. First, he has started to shake his head from side to side. He doesn't know what it means ("No"); he does it just to amuse himself or to imitate us. When he first starting shaking his head, we were perplexed: "Where did he learn that?" "Maybe it's inborn." Dawn turned to me and said with a furrowed brow, "I don't shake my head when I'm saying 'no.'" As she finished that sentence, Dawn realized that she was shaking her head even as she was saying she doesn't do that. Classic!

Victor will also fake cough on command. It's really the first thing he will do pretty much every time you do it. It may not be the best thing to imitate, but I'm hoping it will be a gateway to other more important apings.

9/25/2006 8:50:10 PM  

Dare I say it? I think Victor is well. And after 4 days of spooning endless amounts of applesauce and banana into him, he even had a finger food breakthrough tonight. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that Victor really does not self-feed at all. Until now! He still got some baby food too but I think he may have actually fed himself more table food tonight than I did. As you may have guessed, there was thunderous applause from Mommy & Daddy!

In other news, I am apparently destined to never sleep 8 hours at a stretch again. Saturday night I got to bed really early because I was feeling so achy and rundown. Ended up sick all night with either food poisoning or Victor's tummy bug. Then last night, I got to bed at a respectable hour to try to catch up from the night before. At midnight, Victor's alarm starting going off.

I should explain that we don't use an alarm in Victor's room. We only have the clock radio/CD player/sound machine there to play his CDs on. He turned it on himself. I don't even know how to turn it on but his random and frantic button pushing managed to set an alarm to go off at midnight and play the static between radio stations, complete with occasional guitar riffs. He contined to sleep peacefully but the sound coming from his little stereo is quite loud coming through the monitor in our room because the stereo and the monitor sit on the same shelf.

Well, trying to turn that thing off in the dark was a real joy. I tried to just turn the volume all the way down but it wouldn't stay that way because apparently it was programmed to play at a certain inappropriate level of volume and attempts at manual changes were futile. This happened once before and I just gave up and unplugged it. Finally at 12:27, after whispering profanities at the thing through 3 snooze cycles, I hit the right button and it turned off. Today I got out the manual and figured it out! I may know more about the clock radio than Victor does now but he still has me completely beat with regard to his electronic keyboard. I have no idea how he sets off half of the things he does with that thing.

9/29/2006 9:06:20 PM  

Wow, what an action-packed week. We went to music class twice this week since we had to make up from last week. Both times, Victor demonstrated his walking by refusing to ever sit down for more than 10 seconds and by tackling everyone in the room. We also went to a free preview class at Gymboree and Victor basically hated that. Something about that environment was just not pleasing. So I decided to try taking him to this Radijazz place (it's an "indoor playnasium"!) to let him try out some physical stuff on his own.

Well, we did that today with Ruth & John and Victor LOVED it! That was the most I'd really seen him respond to that kind of stuff. He had so much fun stumbling and rolling and diving into everything in a totally safe and padded space. I forgot my camera but I think Ruth got some good shots that I'll share soon.

Victor has been beyond fickle about eating for most of this week so on the way home from Radijazz, I actually broke down and got some chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A as a last ditch effort. Success! He gobbled up a decent amount of that and then chased it with some applesauce. Yep, Miss Organic fed Victor fast food. It was the best I'd seen him eat for days and days though. His pants are falling off as it is.

The Radijazz joy and the Chick-Fil-A buzz did not come without a price though. Soon after dinner, Victor was strutting around and plowed into the corner of a wall with his face. James had the misfortune of actually seeing it happen from across the room. I fear that he got a little too cocky after he was able to just bounce right off all of that foam today and he forgot that walls are hard. James also speculated that he was reaching out for the wall and missed.

At any rate, there was much bleeding and crying. And Victor cried too! ;) He looks a little like a boxer at the moment with his lopsided nose and lip. All of the swelling is on one side. The bleeding stopped pretty quickly and after some Tylenol, he was happy to sit with me and watch his show (Classical Baby). He was subdued but not at all fussy during his bath and bed routine and went right down. I think he's tired from playing so hard and then crying so hard.

Oh yeah, and he's doing just great with the childcare at yoga. Doesn't cry when I drop him off and isn't crying when I pick him up. I think he actually has some fun there. He sure does nap well afterwards! I might have to see if the college students that provide the childcare are available to babysit at night because he really seems to like them.

10/2/2006 12:01:59 PM  

I remember when having a day at home with no plans was a really relaxing thing. Oh, how that has changed! I am trapped in the house with a wild animal who runs and climbs and growls non-stop. And just when I started to accept and embrace this whole 11:00 to 2:00 nap thing (even though I was resistant to such a late lunch), now Victor will fall asleep nursing at 11:00 but then wake up the moment his butt touches the crib and will refuse to nap until he has had lunch. I don't see how I will ever get the house clean again.

Victor's booboo has been healing quite nicely and he hasn't seemed bothered by it in the slightest. He got yet another cold over the weekend though and his constant nose rubbing has made the cut between his nose and lip start bleeding again. Earlier he looked like Hannibal Lecter. So it's back to the Benadryl routine. That used to guarantee a nap but apparently not now that I'm dealing with an enraged hyena boy! On the bright side, walking sure does make him happy.

10/4/2006 11:56:24 AM  

Too sick for music today. Bummer, bummer, bummer. I think Victor would have really liked to go today but he is just so snotty that I really can't have him playing with his friends. So I guess we'll be doing yet another make-up class in the next few weeks. We're only 2 for 4 on music classes so far this session. :( At least there are tons of classes to choose from for make-ups. There are 400 kids taking classes at his music school!

I'm currently going through the agonizing process of letting Victor cry it out in the hopes that he'll nap. I really hate to hear him so sad when I know that he's sick and probably wants to be held but he needs sleep more than anything right now so I'm trying to stay strong. It sounds like maybe he's starting to wear down. If it would act like fall outside, I'd throw him in the stroller and let him nap while I got a nice, long walk in but it isn't acting like fall. It's acting like July.

10/4/2006 5:35:34 PM  

Two things I underestimated today (three, if you include my underestimation of Victor's propensity to take off his pants and wave them around over his head as he is doing right this moment). Anyway, two things. The brutality of the sun and the soothing power of gravel.

Victor is really, really fighting the naps these past few days and I'm not sure whether it's due to his newfound love for sprinting back and forth through the upstairs hallway or if it's because he doesn't breathe through his nose all that comfortably while lying down. So this afternoon I told him that if he didn't fall asleep in 15 minutes we were going to the park for a run. Needless to say, we went to the park for a run.

I've been running 3 miles 3 times a week consistently in preparation for the Cedar Perk 5-Miler (which is a mere 11 days away) but I grossly understimated how much harder it would be to run while pushing Victor in the jogger stroller in the sun. I wanted to lie down and cry at 2 miles, at which point the run turned into a walk. Have fun pushing the stroller in the race, Dada. I'll relieve you at mile 3 if you can't take anymore. ;) My endorphins will make me invincible by then.

The pleasant surprise, however, was that the gravel trail still holds its magical powers over Victor. He was out within the first 4 minutes out there. I have no doubt that he would have kept sleeping if I hadn't wimped out at 3 1/2 miles. I thought I could sit down with him in the shade and he'd keep sleeping. Nope. As soon as we stopped bouncing on the gravel, Victor woke up. Sorry gravel. Maybe next time I'll estimate you. ("The Office", anyone?).

10/6/2006 8:55:39 AM  
[James here]
Books! Books! Books! Victor is constantly taking books off of shelves. He seems especially fond of my recent edition of the Fellowship of the Ring and my old spiral bound notebooks (he thinks he'd like to chew on the metal spiral). This is but one of several indications that his mind is becoming more active. He's pulling open drawers and cabinets and opening and closing doors. He tries to mimic us more and even figured out that he has to turn on his electronic drum for it to count when he pounds on it.

Victor is practicing his walking diligently. As I write this he is walking to and fro in the upstairs hallway. And, yay, he can now bend his knees (lift with your legs not your back!), pick something up, and then straighten and resume walking.

10/6/2006 9:22:24 AM  

Snot! Snot! Snot! Victor has had a horrible cold for the past 5 days and it was determined yesterday that he also has a double ear infection. The antibiotics seem to be helping considerably already though. He certainly looks better today than he did yesterday. He's only partially covered in snot now and his eyes are at least no longer as swollen and crusty. Sounds like it's moved into his chest a bit more now though. Unfortunately, and yet quite expectedly, James & I have both gotten sick as well.

Bless his heart though, Victor is still sleeping through the night like a champ even with the worst cold he's had yet, a double ear infection and upper molars pushing through.

10/8/2006 3:42:39 PM  

Well, thank goodness we didn't have much going on this weekend. I've felt really awful these past few days and a trip to urgent care today revealed strep throat. It's pretty ouchy. Of course now I'm wondering if Victor has/had it and gave it to me. The pediatrician said his throat looked OK on Thursday though. At any rate, he'd get Amoxicillin for it anyway and that's what he's already taking for the ear infections.

It's been trying to say the least, especially since Victor has had a few major nursing strikes. He's eating better again but he's pretty much on baby food again since it slides right down. Everything is trial and error right now. James seems to have perhaps been spared the strep but it won't surprise me if he gets hit hard again in a day or so. Hmmm, and one week until the family 5-miler. We might be crawling across the finish line.

10/9/2006 7:33:02 AM  
[James here]
Victor drank out of a bottle in his own hands for the first time last night. While this might not normally be cause for celebration, it is in this household. He wouldn't nurse and we were desperate to get some fluids in him, so I was called into service. I sat with him (like I used to do many months ago), but he steadfastly refused to drink from the bottle. As a last resort, I set it down in his lap. He picked it up and after a while put it up to his mouth and began chewing it. Of course, as usual, he didn't have it tilted, so he wasn't getting anything out of it. Since I had nothing to lose, I started tilting it up for him. He got mad and arched his back but kept the bottle in his mouth. He stayed in that position and actually began drinking from the bottle! A light bulb went on in his head because after that he understood the trick and was happy to drink a little bit at a time and rest in between. We surmise that his throat was really sore and so it was important to him to only drink a little at a time. But, hallelujah! The boy understands how to use a bottle now!

10/9/2006 3:51:09 PM  

Golly. It's been two steps forward and two (if not three) steps back around here. On the bright side, I think that my strep throat is starting to respond to the Amoxicillin. Of course it's easy to say that during the day. Nighttime is always the worst with sore throats.

Victor has really been seesawing with his willingness to nurse and eat. He's gone 24 hours without nursing 3 times now. He's had just enough wet diapers not to completely terrify us but it has been trying nevertheless. Not only have we been concerned about how well he could get over all of this without sufficient fluids, but it has also added a particularly ouchy element for Mommy.

All of this prompted yet another trip to the pediatrician this morning. Good thing we went in because while the left ear is clear and happy, the right ear is rebelling against the Amoxicillin with angry pus. Yuck. So now Victor's on Suprax. He certainly liked the taste of it OK. Now let's just hope it obliterates the nasty little bugs in his system. Oh yeah, and he also has very unhappy tonsils (to match Mommy's!) but the doc didn't even do a throat culture since the treatment for strep would just be the Suprax.

He did nurse once earlier and then ate a nice big lunch. I don't know whether to attribute that to the Maalox & Benadryl throat coat cocktail or to sheerly desperate hunger. Either way, it brightened his mood and he went down for a nap rather happily. I think that maybe he's starting to believe me when I tell him that things are going to get better soon.

So I'm hopeful that things are turning around. Now we just need to keep James unscathed. In the meantime, Victor & I are both getting some pretty severe cabin fever. He looked so pleased about getting into the car earlier that we accused him once again of faking it all to go for a ride in the car. I guess he can't fake an ear and throat infection though. That or he's far more talented than even we ever imagined. And that seems impossible.

10/12/2006 9:46:05 PM  

Well, we made a triumphant return to music class yesterday and Victor was pretty darned pleased about it. I think he has really missed socializing and getting some outside stimulation. Unfortunately, we didn't make yoga today. I just didn't feel up to it due to lack of sleep. I felt remorseful about it later when I remembered that Victor didn't get to go last week either. I think that he really enjoys playing with the other kids and certainly enjoys playing with other toys!

We're on the mend though. We even resumed the family wagon ride tonight after dinner. It was a delighfully cool night for it too. Victor, as usual, enjoyed looking around and greeting the neighborhood cats. After his bath tonight, I put him in a footed sleeper for the first time since probably February (it's going to be a "cold" night). It was so strange to see him walking around in jammies that we associate with him as a little baby. He seemed like he liked his little snuggle suit though.

I actually had to force him into participating in a little fashion show for me this afternoon so that we could try to determine what pants fit. It's almost time for pants again! Outfitting him is as challenging as ever. Shirts are easy - he wears 18-24 months and some 2Ts. Pants are an eternal struggle, both in getting them to fit and getting Victor to keep them on. Too bad I can't sew. I guess I could knit him a bunch of belts, huh? ;)

10/14/2006 10:45:03 PM  

Happy Birthday Bernie & Jack! Can't wait to see you guys in J'ville and can't believe that you are 2 already. How can that be?!?!?!

Must scurry off to bed so that we'll be rested for the race tomorrow. Victor woke up at 6:30 instead of 7:30 today (much to our chagrin!) but naturally, he'll want to sleep late tomorrow and we'll have to wake him up to leave the house.

We went to a Fall Fest today and Victor got to hang out with his girlfriend Linnea but unfortunately, the pumpkin patch was a total non-event. I've seen better pumpkin patches at the grocery store. We'll just have to go back to last year's patch. That might wait a few days though because we've got lots of rain in the forecast. No complaints there!

10/15/2006 4:58:36 PM  

We survived the 5-miler! I'm actually fairly pleased because I finished with a better pace than I've had in all of my training this go-around. A paltry 12:49! It's still an accomplishment. Never mind that James hasn't been training but he still blew me out of the water while pushing the jogger stroller. And never mind that the race took me about 12 minutes longer than it did when I ran it 2 years ago. I ran 5 miles and I'm still in a decent mood tonight! :)

Victor did fine with the race. Didn't sleep as we expected but that was actually a good thing because he took a 3-hour nap after breakfast which meant that we got to take naps as well. I was glad that I had purchased a mesh cover for the stroller because it protected Victor from the light rain we ran in for the whole race. The rain got much harder later today but it was just tame enough for the race. He wasn't overly thrilled with the whole experience but he wasn't fussy either. Good thing because we've got 3 more races this season.

[James here]
Dawn can, however, take solace in the fact that I am a cripple tonight. Both knees are extremely sore to the point that I can barely walk down the stairs. I've had this before (Iliotibial Band Syndrome), but not nearly this bad. Yay, old age!

10/17/2006 4:18:03 PM  

Victor did the most wonderful thing this morning. He slept until 8:45! He did wake up at 6:30 but we didn't hear the aquarium (his usual announcement of "I'm standing up in my crib now, people!") so we left him be. Went back to sleep and gave me a little catch up snoozing of my own. I was worried because we had 3 mornings in a row of 6:30 wake ups. And after some erratic napping as of late, he's taking a solid nap at the moment too.

We've determined that one source of his restlessness is likely the cuspids that are popping through the gum this week. He's got 16 chompers now and he's putting them to diabolical use at times. He's become a bit of a biter. Only does it to me too but it's on a nearly daily basis and it hurts quite a lot. I have many bruises on my arms! I'm glad he's not biting his friends but he could at least bite his dad once or twice for good measure. It's quite random too. Sometimes it's when he's frustrated or hungry or tired but it's often just out of nowhere so I think it's got a whole lot to do with teething. I'm ready for this phase to end fairly quickly.

10/19/2006 8:06:58 AM  
[James here]
Our little Doodle is now a pretty steady walker and can stand up from a squat without grabbing something. Also, today I noticed his first collateral damage to the house. I have been steeling myself to the reality that Victor is going to break things. Well, as his first act as a boy he has put a good sized divet in the wall outside the office. No one knows how he did it, but it is suspiciously the size of one of the wooden blocks he carries around. Forensics is still working on the case.

[Dawn here]
I believe that testing will show some slight Benjamin Moore residue on the wooden giraffe puzzle piece that Victor considers his favorite talisman (or maybe second to his hairbrush).

10/21/2006 11:30:54 AM  

It finally feels like fall! We had another race this morning (the Hairy Man 5K) and it was a lot of fun. What's even more fun though is coming home and showering and then enjoying a quiet, napping house. True bliss.

Victor went to the doctor yesterday to get his ears re-checked. He's healthy as can be and cleared for air travel just in the nick of time for our Illinois visit next weekend. I'm already dreading how quickly our trip will feel like it goes by but we'll just have to enjoy every moment. This is my very favorite time to go back for a visit and I am greatly looking forward to it. I can't wait to see Victor playing in leaves. That is, until he starts trying to eat them.

We're on a quest this weekend to get the yearly pumpkin patch pictures. Sounds like we'll have a couple of gorgeous days for it so now we just have to make it fit in between tennis and yoga and naps and meals!

10/22/2006 11:37:22 AM  

Victor (whose newest nickname is the well-earned moniker Der Mess Macher) was not a very good photography subject during yesterday's pumpkin patch shoot but we were fairly underwhelmed by the locale anyway. Hoping to get out yet today for another shot at it, especially since it's sunny and yet cool and breezy. He's catching up on some sleep right now though. Pretty restless night for V. The aquarium came on probably 8 times, enough to prompt James to announce early this morning that "that thing is getting removed!". Poor little guy is snotty yet again today though so I think he had an uncomfy night. Napping away now though.

So last night I was looking at last year's pumpkin patch pics to try to determine if it's really worth going down to South Austin today to go to the same church again (and I determined that yes, it most definitely is). I look at old pictures of the Veeg all the time but it still really took me by surprise just how drastically he has changed. Take a gander at this side-by-side comparison of last year and yesterday:

10/22/2006 8:52:09 PM  

Pumpkin patch pic success! Actually, looking at yesterday's pics, perhaps I was too harsh about the locale. I guess I just wanted to stick with tradition and go back to our very first pumpkin patch. Good thing because Victor loved it. He loved it, however, for the straw on the ground. Got some good shots though and enjoyed a beautiful day out there while managing to wear out a little boy who didn't really want to sleep soundly last night.

In more exciting news (now that the official e-mail has gone out and it's public knowledge)....................

Auntie Leener is having a girl! Victor's first out-of-state girlfriend. Yay, yay and yay some more. Hey, between Eileen, Heather and I, someone eventually had to have a girl! Congrats Nordmeyers and also, happy 2nd anniversary tomorrow. Enjoy the peace and tranquility while you can.

10/24/2006 7:11:10 PM  

Victor just can't catch a break this cold season. I ended up hauling him into the pediatrician yet again today because his eyes have been swollen and oozing. As expected, he's got yet another cold with accompanying pinkeye and also has fluid in his right ear again. Luckily the doc was really cool about it and gave us a prescription for Augmentin in case the ear ends up infected again. The good thing is that he's in a really great mood in spite of it all.

This ought to be the most fun flight ever. Eye ointment, nose drops and ear drops, oh my! I think I'll make a sign that says "Please just sit as far away from us as you can!" Thank goodness we're flying Southwest instead of the grossly family un-friendly American Airlines (whom we have sworn we will now thumb our noses at).

10/29/2006 8:46:19 PM  

Well, I am definitely a very devoted blogger because my latest malady is a rash on my hands (and feet and trunk) that makes typing a bit painful. There is just too much excitement not to blog though. That and it has been 5 days since the last blog and the Earth might spin off its axis if I do not promptly update.

The weekend in Illinois was far, far too short but lots of fun. Victor and I took turns being whiny and sickly but we all managed to enjoy every single waking moment of our time there. As usual though, we failed to see everyone we wanted to see and were practically running out the door at the last minute for the airport.

Victor loved going up to see his Gaga at her house and then also tromping around at the "house in the hollow". He had never seen so much wide open space to run around in. Even got some nice sunshine and fall color action. He also made a visit to Great Grandpa Pressler and turned on the charm there too. We took more pictures than anyone would ever possibly want to see. Hopefully those will be narrowed down and posted tomorrow.

I guess tomorrow is yet another convalescence day in the hopes that we can be healthy and happy for Halloween and music and yoga.

10/29/2006 9:14:33 PM  

Oh yeah, duh. Forgot a few far from minor details and I felt that they merit their own entry. First of all, it was really way cool to be in the St. Louis area for the big win but we were completely annoyed to find that they did not sell tiny Cards t-shirts at the airport. More importantly, Victor ate some pancakes and bacon today for the very first time. Most appropriate that he did that with his Grandpa!

10/30/2006 4:48:22 PM  

I've got a recurrence of strep, hence the rash. Unfortunately, I didn't find this out until an hour ago and now it's too late to get Victor in to get him checked out. He's going back to the pediatrician tomorrow to see if he's got it (and if he does, Halloween is pretty much ruined because he'll be contagious for the first 24 hours!). This really, really stinks.

On the bright side, I got a shot of penicillin so hopefully I'll wipe it out quickly. The doctor was so apologetic about how big the needle was and I had to laugh because it was pretty small and harmless looking to me. She's obviously never had progesterone in oil through a 22 gauge!

This poor kid has been sick for most of the last month and a half. They don't even have to ask our last name when we check-in at the pediatrician's office now. They greet him by his first name now. So my apologies to everyone that got licked by Victor over the weekend. Brace yourselves.

10/31/2006 5:25:15 PM  

Looks like Victor does not have strep. That's good news. So, he got the all clear to trick or treat and to go to music and yoga this week. We actually went to NI today to go see Daddy and then to hang out with other NI kiddos. Victor & John almost bonded over an attempt to break into the women's restroom but then they resorted to their usual standoffish ways.

I think Victor is going to go trick or treat at a few neighbors' houses tonight but that's about it. Luckily it's already begun to cool off some. The 80s were a bit stifling today for monkey suit sporting.

11/1/2006 7:57:27 PM  

Victor got to enjoy one last hurrah in the monkey costume today at music class. He's gotten to where he really likes putting his suit on so maybe it will have to be his Christmas snowsuit too! He did do a little bit of trick or treating last night at several neighbors' houses. He enjoyed the attention and walking in other yards but was not amused by the polite chatting that followed. He wanted to keep moving.

Here are some pictures of Vic and his music class friends in costume today, including Vic fixating on Linnea's bead necklace. As always, click on any pic to enlarge it for better viewing.

11/3/2006 8:32:45 PM  

Our monkey is 15 months old. He certainly acted like he had attained a new level of maturity today. He's really into walking very, very quickly while carrying increasingly large objects. Pretty cocky about it too.

I had to laugh earlier because once we got home from grocery shopping, I had one of my e-mail updates from www.babycenter.com. Today's update read:

"Doing errands around town is harder than ever with a pint-sized explorer in tow. Being strapped down in a car seat or stroller is the last place your toddler wants to be: Expect an earful — usually accompanied by an arched back and flailing arms and legs — when it's time to buckle up."

And how!

11/5/2006 9:35:47 PM  

Victor has decided that he's ready to eat like a big person which has been pretty cool. A bit messy at times, but cool. Last night he ate bronzed catfish, mashed potatoes and black beans! We barely even had to give him any runny food reinforcements. It really does seem like he just had to finally decide that he wants to eat what we eat.

Then today we went to brunch with Victor's buddy Katie and her parents and he ate quite a bit of omelet and pancake off our plates. He really does well at restaurants. I don't know why we don't go out to eat more often because it's really quite enjoyable, especially since someone else has to clean up the table when we're done!

Tonight he went for three splendid meals in a row and ate quite a bit of homemade beef vegetable soup (since unlike his whiny daddy, he will eat peas!) and fed himself grilled cheese. He sure does make a mess but it's worth it to be able to all eat our meals together like an actual human family!

11/6/2006 12:36:52 PM  

Well, Victor found a way to avoid getting his 15 month vaccines today. The right ear (the one that has had fluid for weeks on end) is officially infected again. So we're headed back in two weeks to hopefully get those shots once the ear is clear again. Dr. Mirrop even used the dreaded t-word (as in tubes) for the first time but he's hopeful that it won't come to that since Victor seemingly got over the last infection. Air travel strikes again!

So now we've graduated to Augmentin. According to V's bud A-Ed (Alex, that is, by the way of his mom), there may be some rather undesirable and explosive side effects. I'm bracing myself for that. Luckily he's at least really good about taking medicines.

And just to further worry Victor's fretful mother, he's only at 22 pounds and 8 ounces today. I expected the weight to drop off considerably now that he's sprinting everywhere but that is a pretty big drop. Dr. Mirrop isn't worried yet and thinks that once he just gets well again, he'll pack some more weight on. So this makes him just below 25th percentile for weight, not even in the 25-50th anymore. He's still hovering in the 75-90th for melon head circumference and height though. He's 32 1/2 inches now!

11/9/2006 4:10:01 PM  

Antibiotics seem to be working. Victor has been sleeping a lot better now that he's not coughing as much. He's been in much better spirits as a result. So it came as a surprise today when I went to pick him up after yoga and he was crying in the babysitter's arms. Apparently they almost came to get me because he was crying on and off for the whole hour and a half and was actually yelling "mamama". I don't know whether to attribute that to separation anxiety or teething because they also said that he was chomping on everything in sight.

He was all smiles as soon as we got in the car to come home though and he's napped like a champ this afternoon. I guess I'll just have to see how he does next week. I'm hoping it was an isolated event but I'm trying to prepare for the possibility that we're going to have problems with me leaving him. I might have to buy him a portable DVD player so he can be soothed by Elmo no matter where he goes! Just kidding. Mostly.

Crying and napping aside, it's a happy week for the Humphreys. Alison & Tandyn welcomed Lillian, Ann had a successful surgery (sending you all much love!) and.....well, without delving into political territory that could alienate Republican PP readers, we're pretty happy about the Dem coup. It was a great civics lesson for Victor. He even assisted by helping me push the "Cast Ballot" button.

11/12/2006 12:38:44 AM  

Dairy, dairy, quite contrary? Victor's still having congestion problems and is still on medication for the ear infection. Meanwhile, my compulsive Googling has turned up a lot of info about links between dairy sensitivities and ear infections. I wish I'd thought to address this with Dr. Mirrop during one of our past 7 weekly visits! I'm not sure that the ear infections are actually caused by dairy but I sure don't think the morning yogurt fest is helping. Victor puts away a good 6-8 ounces of yogurt every single morning and he seems to nearly always be rattling and coughing for a bit afterwards. It's another duh duh moment. So we might be trying soy yogurt for a few days as an experiment. Of course I also have concerns about feeding him that much soy on a daily basis given the phytoestrogen levels but it's worth a try to see if it improves the congestion situation.

Yeah, yeah....why am I up? I'm back to my nasty old habit of going on my run too late at night and then getting all keyed up again. That and I'm waiting for my cranberry mud mask to dry thoroughly. It's a good excuse to enjoy the silence and dark in the living room. Never mind that I can hear both James and Victor snoring (but luckily Victor's is temporary!).

It was a fantabulous night for a run though. I never wanted to stop. We are experiencing fall again for at least 2 or 3 days. We felt badly that we haven't gotten many weeknight wagon rides in since daylight savings so we packed Victor into the wagon this afternoon after lunch and headed over to the grade school across the street. He had so much fun but you sure wouldn't know it from the pictures we got. He befriended a really cute dog (looked like some beagle mix) and they chased each other around for a while. It was pretty amusing because we thought he might be afraid of dogs since he so rarely sees them. Nope. He continued to work through his fear of slides a bit and especially liked tromping around and getting very dirty. Good times!

11/13/2006 4:45:18 PM  

Here's a new physical milestone for you - furniture moving. I've been vacuuming away in the living room and looked into the dining room to check on Victor only to see him carrying his wooden toy piano. It's not a light piece of "furniture"! Now he seems to have gotten it all the way across the room. It probably involved a great deal of scooting but naturally the mental image I have is of him triumphantly lifting it over his head and strutting across the room with his tummy jutting out, like he does with his ball. I guess I should be happy he's entertaining himself so well.

Vacuuming is taking forever because it is more furry than ever around here. I just remind myself that it is so worth it to have our first baby as part of our family. I've been really sentimental about Miss Pru lately because she needs to get her teeth cleaned very badly and I'm nervous about the anesthesia. I nearly lost her about 10 years ago to a really bad kidney infection and I still really struggle with her medical stuff (and her mortality). I've already had 10 years of practice at being a fretful and adoring mother thanks to Prudence (or Jurisprudence as she is known to my law school buddies).

11/20/2006 7:21:17 PM  

Victor was not really any more impressed with Santa this year than he was last year. We went to get photos with the jolly old guy today and it took a while. We had to go "walk it off" because Victor was so disgusted initially. We got a cute shot but the expression on Victor's face is definitely one of impatience. Not coincidentally, he looks very, very much like his daddy in it.

11/21/2006 11:23:07 AM  

Victor's ears are clear and healthy again! As a result, he was able to get his 15 month shots today which was a relief because I really wanted him to have his first flu shot soon. Hopefully we won't be back at the pediatrician's until next month when he gets the second flu shot. He just crashed hard after some Tylenol and milk so I think I'll do the same.

11/21/2006 4:02:19 PM  

That whole nap thing? It didn't go so well. Victor slept for maybe close to an hour and then proceeded to sleep for a few minutes and then whimper and whine for a few minutes. Then the cycle repeated over and over and over. He hasn't really been any happier being up and playing either so I finally took his temp and he's got a 103 fever. The poor little monkey is a little more peaceful after this last dose of Motrin but he doesn't seem to want me out of his sight. I'm trying to get him to deal more with the whole separation thing but I can't really force that issue with him when he's clearly so uncomfortable. I sure needed that nap today though!

11/23/2006 9:53:17 PM  

Happy Thanksgiving! We had a great holiday when it was all said and done. We started the day off with the 5 mile Turkey Trot and really the best thing I can say about it was that we really enjoyed it being over. The course is hilly, the sun was brutal and it really wasn't much fun for a slow runner like me because once we got past mile 3 and the majority of the back of the heat started walking, it was really rather difficult to run around them. There were 9,000 people there so go figure.

After the race we assumed that Victor would gobble up lunch and take a good nap before heading out for dinner. Not so! He wouldn't eat at lunch, wouldn't breastfeed for long and napped for all of 45 minutes. He had a low grade fever as well so it's probably either teething or more vaccine side effects. The problems with nursing point pretty directly to teething though. So we headed to dinner at Jamie, Yvette & Katie's with low expectations about his mood.

Well, as usual, Katie works some kind of magic over Victor and always puts him in a sunshiney mood. Then he proceeded to eat like a total champ at dinner. He scarfed down turkey with cranberry sauce, a yeast roll, mashed potatoes and stuffing. The real kicker was the pumpkin cheesecake though. He probably would have eaten much, much more of it if I'd shared it. He had lots of fun playing with Katie too. It was truly a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for all three of us. He's just now finally sleeping it all off and I think James and I are both ready to do some of that too. We are going to be ambling around pitifully tomorrow.

11/25/2006 12:39:43 AM  

Do you know what my hugest pet peeve of all pet peeves is? Finding dog poop in our yard. We don't have a dog. So why do we have dog poop? It has always greatly annoyed me but now that I have a toddler that walks around that yard and wants to see and touch everything in it, I become fairly violently angry about it. The crazy thing is that we have the biggest yard on our block so the offending dog has to really be given explicit permission by his or her owner to violate the involved area of our yard. The first time I have to scrub dog doo off one of Victor's Stride Rites, the claws are finally coming out.

And as long as I'm being ranty, I also got to deal with one of my other all-time major pet peeves yesterday at the Turkey Trot. These people that finish the race and then just start strolling back in the opposite direction on the race course? Were they raised by wolves? It drives me completely batty and it always has. Just because I'm slow doesn't mean I'm not still RACING seeing as how I am participating in a RACE. Oh, don't get me started!

Contrary to the above though, I'm getting into the holiday spirit and trying to clue Victor in on doing the same. So far that has consisted of playing Christmas music and saying "hohoho" alot. He's dealing with a pet peeve of his own though -- cutting teeth. I've been assuming that the top eye teeth came in shortly after the bottoms since seeing the buds more than a month ago. I finally got a really good peek tonight during the nightly brushing torture though and they are just now angrily poking completely through some sore looking gums. That hopefully explains the unpredictable swings in appetite and mood. Seether the Teether went to bed quite early tonight (oh geez, it's already last night at this point, isn't it?) and seems to be doing OK though.

We'll see how we all feel about the Chuy's Christmas Parade tomorrow/today. Yes, you heard me right. Chuy's. The boycott has been lifted since it's a charity event. Plus, I really do love their salsa. And the boy will really have to be introduced to queso sometime fairly soon.

11/25/2006 1:55:41 PM  

The parade was fun! Next year we'll know to go early though because we got to the start point 10 minutes before 11:00 and we already had missed the Santas on motorcycles. Granted, the sound of all of that would have probably scared the bejeezus out of Victor. That was what I most wanted to see though. And either the giant inflatable Elmo was a no-show this year or we missed him too. It was a really nice parade though and definitely worth the effort. And thus a tradition is begun.

I got lots of pics of V enjoying his prime vantage point (Daddy's shoulders) and they will soon be in the usual pics section. Also, here are some pics of the parade itself, including a few shots of The Biscuit Brothers as they went by on their float. And yes, I was more excited than Victor. I just love Dusty and Buford!

11/27/2006 10:11:22 PM  

How do you know someone is a true friend for life? Answer: When she shakes down the deadbeat mall elves for failing to give you your picture disk, all while wrangling her own angry monkey into sitting on Santa's lap. Lia, you're the best. In fact, you totally rock!

Speaking of most excellent friends who we owe one (or two or three or so by now).....a big huge thank you also to Uncle Rich Yavo for taking the annual Humphrey Christmas pics yesterday at Zilker. Much as it is hard to restrain myself, I believe that we'll abstain from posting them on here until Christmas cards have gone out. No point in ruining all element of surprise!

11/29/2006 1:40:35 PM  

I keep swearing that I'm done with Christmas gifts for Victor but I just had to get one more. Hey, it was only $10. This book was just too irresistable to pass up......"Why Mommy is a Democrat". If anyone wants one, it's at www.littledemocrats.net. I swear that's really it, especially since he's got super deluxe mega trike on its way here courtesy of his grandparents. And I just had to order the bell and basket to complete the whole stylin' package! He's also getting a helmet with baby dinosaurs on it. I cannot wait to try to get him to wear that thing.

It's time to get some lunch and sleep into this kid but he's having so much fun right now, it's hard to make him stop. He's saying lots of "E-I-E-I-E-I" lately which I attribute entirely to his Biscuit Brothers viewing. The "O" never quite seems to come though. He will however make a cool tiny wolf howl if I try to get him to say "O" on its own. I think those ears are doing a lot better!

11/29/2006 6:08:45 PM  

So I lied. I will share one of the pics from the Christmas photo shoot after all. Here is Victor doing his best imitation of Zoolander. To illustrate, I have included a pic of Stiller himself doing "Blue Steel". I did verify that this is, in fact, "Blue Steel" rather than "Le Tigre" or "Magnum". He's working on those others in his free time though. For better viewing, just point and click but I must warn you that the Zoolander jpeg doesn't get much bigger. Enjoy!

12/3/2006 6:10:13 PM  

Victor is 16 months! He celebrated by sleeping until almost 9:00 which pretty much made it into a huge celebration for everyone. Then he gobbled up some French toast and sausage. It's funny because Pru has always seemed to know when it's Sunday (Fancy Feast day) and now Victor acts like he knows that it's yummy breakfast day too.

He had a great day though. Seemed as though he benefited from some extra rest. James & Chuck (our neighbor) installed a bunch of insulation yesterday while I baked cookies and the house has certainly felt cozier as a result. I actually pulled the cover off the fireplace so that we could maybe have a fire tonight. We'll have to clear away all of the toys that decorate our hearth though.

So the big Victor brag for this week is that he'll say "hi" back to us fairly consistently. And then today, he completely boggled my mind by imitating what I was doing in another room without even seeing me. He was still in his crib but about to get up from his nap when I heard the evil woodpecker pecking at the front of our house again. So I ran into our bedroom and beat on the wall to get him to stop (hey, it works!). When I walked back into Victor's room, he was beating on the wall over his crib in the same way. That's really not something he does routinely so it definitely seemed like he recognized the sound and imitated it without seeing me. Yep, he's brilliant. Not that my perception is at all skewed by my love for him. Nope, not one bit.

12/4/2006 4:07:13 PM  

Wow, I forgot to mention the doors, didn't I? I'm not sure how it's possible to to forget the doors. Victor's newest obsession is - you guessed it - doors and drawers. Opening and shutting and opening and shutting is the name of the game. He usually (but not always) has very little interest in what's actually inside closets and cabinets but the doors are too cool to be ignored. His very, very favorite thing to do though is to shut himself up in his room. He giggles like he's really pulled one over one me until he realizes that I am able to reach that doorknob and turn it. The other diabolical little antic is to sneak up on me while I'm in my closet and shut me in there. That one's really nifty.

Victor's actually been having a little fever on and off for the past few days. He seems reasonably chipper otherwise. Of course, as I say that I hear him whining up in his crib and he's only been down for a nap for about 30 minutes. Yes, it's one of THOSE days. And oh my, it sounds like it's escalating. Sadly, it's the discomfort cry and not the too-tired-to function cry. Might be time for Tylenol and a smile. I was so wishing that it might be time for a hot shower and a cup of tea but alas..........not.

12/5/2006 8:52:11 PM  

We managed to get into the holiday spirit reasonably early this year and even have our tree up. Our tree seems to shrink every year and we're now down to a 3 footer. We went fake this year which we really kinda hated to do but it was necessary to avoid Victor eating pieces of tree and the poor tree drying up while we were traveling. So we have a little tabletop tree in the room formerly known as the dining room (and now known as the playroom with the really nice furniture). Here are some pics. I'm including the china cabinet because it is decked out, including our most cherished ornaments: ornaments for Victor's first and second Christmases, Pru's cat ornament, and most especially, Ronan & James Thomas's engraved snowflakes.

This is my first time adding the pictures to the blog myself and for the record, I find it to be a giant pain. I'll get better at it though. I guess it's still easier than nagging James all the time.

12/5/2006 9:12:44 PM  

Hindsight is 20/20, right? Victor gave me several indications that he was getting sick and yet the fact that the fever was gone today allowed me to delude myself into thinking he was on the mend. Tonight he would barely eat and was clearly uncomfortable so tomorrow he's going in no matter how "better" he seems in the morning.

As part of the maternal delusion today, we went to Radijazz with Ruth & John. Victor really wasn't himself but he did still enjoy burning off some steam in the foam jungle that is Radijazz. We even had a major breakthrough today when Victor and John had meaningful interaction. Seriously, we've been striving for this for close to a year now. They sat in the same foam canoe together, looking at each and smiled. Then they briefly touched each other's hands in a non-menacing way. I nearly wept tears of joy. Did I have the camera on the ready?

Nope. That shot was taken immediately after the magical moment we have dreamt of for so long.

And the two dudes going solo, for good measure. Victor liked hanging around Ruth today (much better than hanging around boring old Mommy), so much so that he played his "guess who is behind your back??!!" game with her.

12/6/2006 8:57:04 PM  

We did manage to go to music class today. Thank goodness because it was the absolute high point of the day. That's usually true even on an otherwise wonderful day but today even more so.

The good news is that Victor's ears are surprisingly clear. He does have a throat infection though. The rapid strep test was negative but since I had strep not long ago and he has the recent history of recurrent ear infections, he's on Zithromax "just in case". So I don't know what to think. It's quite possibly just viral but it certainly is brutal. He has been unwilling to eat anything today except for his yogurt at breakfast and some pancakes (with a lot of syrup) at dinner. It's just heartbreaking to see him so miserable.

I'm feeling pretty icky myself at this point. Part of it is surely the exhaustion from wrestling with Victor in the doctor's waiting room for so long today. Yeah, and then there was the actual exam room. While we were in there waiting for the lab work to come back, Victor tore the giant roll of paper off the exam table. I don't just mean the paper itself. I mean the entire metal apparatus holding it to the table. Then he started swinging it around. I am not kidding. I was just about to put him in a wrestle hold when the doctor came back.

12/8/2006 11:57:24 AM  

There has been significant improvement. Victor was exponentially better yesterday than the day before so either the Zithromax was just the ticket or he had some bug that got much better overnight. James & I determined that the constant screaming and crying before was due to extreme hunger. Yesterday he ate ravenously because his throat was just too sore to get much down the day before.

He's been a little cranky today but is now napping away. He's woken up around 6:30 these past two mornings. I don't like that one bit. I like the 7:30 or 8:00 wake-up that is typical of my monkey. Yesterday we chalked it up to hunger and he seemed pretty violently hungry today too. I hope that as he starts getting some normal meals again, this will all even back out. I'm just happy to be seeing a lot more smiles and hearing a lot more giggles and growls out of him again.

Aside from the crankiness that has come with being sick, Victor has gotten rather strong-willed lately. He's definitely at the point where he screams and flails when you take anything away from him, be it a toy or a tiny scrap of paper. The other night I had the Fisher Price Giggle Vacuum sitting out so that I could wrap it up for Christmas. I didn't think he'd notice it from across the room but he made a beeline for it and James said that when he led Victor away from it, he doubled back and sprinted toward it, while pushing James out of the way. Times like these we call him "The Bull". At least we know he'll like the vacuum because he sure wanted to get to it. I knew it would be a hit because he loves Elmo and Cookie Monster (they and Oscar the Grouch are on the vacuum) and he loves vacuums.

12/9/2006 11:25:08 PM  

We survived the Trail of Lights 5K. It was Victor's first night race and he was really quite unimpressed. Ironically, he was glassy eyed the whole way through the actual Trail of Lights but got giddy immediately afterwards. Maybe it's a commentary on the commercialization of Christmas? I kid. I think he was just happy to be in the dark again.

We were feeling all bold and adventurous after the race and went for dinner at Kerbey Lane. That did not go so well. We waited a while for a table and then the service was also slow. Victor barely managed to eat any pancake before the fatigue became too much to bear and the meltdown was imminent. Poor guy got to bed more than 2 hours late. He's not as resilient about that as he used to be. Live and learn.

We only took a few pics tonight before the race but they're on the pics page. Oh, and they're really cute. Naturally.

12/13/2006 9:22:11 PM  

Just a quick plug for our WalkAmerica 2007 fundraising page. It is up and running. I won't bombard everyone with e-mails for a few more months (the walk isn't until May) but our page is up and we are gearing up for the annual event. This year we're going to have cool family team t-shirts, darn it. And even cooler - this year Victor gets to walk across the finish line himself! Who knows how long it might take to get him to walk in a specific direction but eventually he'll cross that line.

There's a link to our MOD fundraising on the homepage here at Piglet's Page but the address is

12/14/2006 7:54:31 AM  
[James here]
We have been waiting for Victor to start labelling things - an important developmental milestone. We have seen what looks like labelling with "dada/djidji" but he seems to use that word anytime he gets excited. We finally have a confirmed label or at least an association. Mommy has been working with Victor on his S's independently, and I noticed yesterday that when I got out the snake that we always make hiss at Victor, he began essing. I thought maybe it was a fluke, but this morning when I got the snake out (silently of course), he did the same thing. Yay! I guess his first word is "S" for snake. [Dawn interjecting: that would be his first independent "word" but not his actual first word.] Even as I finish this he has picked up the snake and begun hissing at it. Good boy!

Quick note from Dawn:
The Christmas pictures have been added. Thanks again, Uncle Rich!

12/17/2006 11:55:29 AM  

So we ran a little experiment yesterday. I went to yoga right before naptime and then James tried to give Victor a bottle to get him down for his nap. Well, the good news is that Victor will in fact go down for a nap without me here to nurse him. The bad news is that he still won't consider taking a bottle. Not only did he nap without putting up a fight though. He napped for over 3 hours. And then of course needed milk immediately upon waking up. We'll keep at it. Maybe one of these times, he'll decide that Mommy isn't the only source for milk.

In other sleep-related news, Victor has been waking up around 5:00 and "talking" in his crib these past few mornings. He's really, really trying to talk here lately and I think he probably just automatically starts up even when he's barely awake. We've left him alone and stuck with the usual 7:30 routine for getting him up and he's been fine with that - no crying or anything. He's definitely been yawning a lot more during the day from that sporadic morning sleeping though. Maybe when he finally sorts out how to start saying some of the things he's wanted to tell us, he'll sleep straight through again.

12/17/2006 9:16:43 PM  

We've been having unseasonably warm temps (even for Texas) so there was absolutely no excuse not to take Victor to the park today. We headed out to Brushy Creek for a nice long walk/wagon ride, some scampering around in the fields and a bit of swinging (and a few botched slide attempts). Good times. Victor seemed awfully pleased to be out in the fresh air with lots of space to roam. I keep hoping he'll get some snow to frolic in come next weekend but it's not looking promising.

Here are pics from today at Brushy Creek. Click on any pic to enlarge it in a new window.

[Edited later to add: That umbrella on the wagon? It didn't survive. It got broken by a silly boy. And I'll give you a hint - it wasn't Victor.]

Here is also a picture of some cows along the Brushy Creek trail (including a few longhorns). James made enough photographic effort that I felt I should include it. It's a cool, scenic trail!

12/20/2006 12:18:49 PM  

Ah, nothing says Christmastime like the steady hum of the air conditioning and the irises in full bloom. It is so hard to believe that winter starts tomorrow. Actually, and quite ironically, we're supposed to start cooling off today and may even have a few flurries this weekend. I am going to be so annoyed if there ends up being snow in Austin but not in Illinois.

I think I've spent as long packing as the flight takes to get to St. Louis. I've packed so many more clothes for Victor than I have for myself but he has cuter outfits and also, I don't need as many since I don't have the tendency to pee on my outfits. I'm evolved like that.

I wish I had a more eloquent blog entry for heading into the holidays but I'm too far into my travel prep mode to be much of a wordsmith. But since our internet access during the next week is questionable, let me just go ahead and wish a hearty Merry Christmas to everyone! I have no doubt that this will be our most fun holiday yet and trust me, there will be LOTS of pictures. I think this will be much more fun than Victor's first, even. Hard to believe that this is already our second Christmas with the little monkey (and our -gasp!- 16th Christmas together). Safe travels and peace to one and all.......

Ho ho ho! (Wow, did I really just say that?)

12/27/2006 8:42:15 PM  

We're back and Victor is in bed pre-9:00 for the first time in a week. He did well with the travel and excitement but the lack of napping certainly did take a toll. Naptime was usually spent in the car and V pretty much imposed a 45 minute limit there. The flight back today was a glorious achievement, however. Victor napped for the whole flight from STL to Dallas and then ate the whole way from Dallas to Austin. Now that's good toddler time management!

Had a wonderful time but it's still good to be back to the comforts of home and the companionship of Pru. Victor certainly loved having a captive audience and lots of new stuff to explore. One of the high points of the trip was on our very first morning in J'ville when we got to go visit with the Dohrns. I wished I had more time to visit with Heather but Victor got all kinds of ideas of new mischief to get into during our short visit. Here's some pics of our visit with Bernie & Jack.

I'm working on getting the pics of the Midwestern festivities loaded and captioned. Didn't get as many pics with family members as I would have liked but darn if that kid just would not hold still long enough. And here are also some pics of Austin Christmas tonight. As you can see, Victor hates his helmet but the bell on the trike almost saves the day!

12/28/2006 12:25:49 PM  

He's finally gaining weight! Victor went to the pediatrician today for his second flu shot and so he got his ears and throat checked first to be sure his cold is really just a cold. It's really just a cold. He does have fluid in both ears (and as always, the right is worse than the left) but then he always seems to have fluid and this time there was at least less than in the past. So hopefully this congestion will improve with a renewal of the sleep schedule. I only really notice it at night, mainly due to his snoring.

Anyway, on to the good news, eh? He did just great with his flu shot. Screamed when it went in and then calmed right back down. The outstanding news of the day though was that he is now up to 23 pounds and 10 ounces. He gained more than a pound in a little over a month and a half which is a drastic improvement over his 8 ounce gain in the period from his 12 month visit to his 15 month visit. Let's hear it for keeping those ears and throat clear!

12/28/2006 2:11:53 PM  
[James here]
I would like to record some things about Victor as of Christmas 2006 while I'm thinking about it.

Favorite Characters: Cookie Monster (growls at him), Slimy (little worm that says "Read, read" in a tiny voice), Elmo (likes the end of his song).

Favorite Activities: opening and closing cabinets, doors, and drawers; walking and running to different gates in the airport (or any new big space).

Fun games: Where's Victor (stands behind you while you sit on the floor and turn your head to see him - "There he is!"), Daddy Fell Over (Daddy lies on the floor and makes a croaking sound that incites Victor to tackle - flipping and rolling ensue), Mommy Pets (he takes Mommy's hand and puts it on his head so she will rub and scratch), Mommy or Daddy Claps (if you put your hands in front of him in clapping position, he will make you clap your hands repeatedly), Daddy Scratches the Couch (if he's on the couch, he will grab Daddy's hand and carry it over to the arm of the couch so that Daddy will make loud scratching noises), Daddy Says No! (he pushes the framed Woman's Declaration of Independence that is hanging on the wall and Daddy sternly says "No!" Then he smiles, pretends to move away and does it again.)

Newest Skills: walking backwards, crawling up stairs, spinning in a circle around one foot (can do either direction), turning light switches on or off, opening or closing anything (can't quite turn knobs yet), standing on tip toes (calf raises), pulling cord on Frog block, putting balls into rainspout (chute) of FP Learning Home, eating a lot (three meals of 14+ ounces and three breastfeedings per day - tiny silo).

Favoritie Solid Foods: pancakes with (or sometimes without) syrup, bread or rolls (self feeds these easily), pork, anything with gravy on it, yogurt, bananas.

Cute Sounds: He growls at Cookie monster and Daddy and will growl with you; he will sometimes laugh with others and knows when to laugh during the Jack and Jill song; he is pretending to talk by forming very high pitched and gentle sounding sentences in a non-human language; He says "Sssssss." to the snake when he picks it up; He likes to sing "Ah, ah, ah" if you sing it with him. Will imitate Mommy saying "e-i-e-i-o" and will sometimes howl when Mommy models the "O" sound.

Personality: Victor is very independent and does not generally like to imitate Mommy or Daddy; Victor does seem to imitate other children and at times seems to be competitive with them. You can take his hand and show him how to do something but only have about 5 seconds before he yanks his hand away violently. He walks on his own in his own direction and does not let you hold his hand while walking nor does he like to be directed in general. If you are holding him back from something he is surprisingly adept at pulling your hands off of him. Victor does not like to be held for more than a couple seconds unless he is upset and then he likes to be held and cling to Mommy with his monkey paws. Victor will tolerate being carried if you are moving and generally likes to ride on Daddy's shoulders. Victor is generally unafraid of strangers and will walk around a new environment stopping occassionally to smile at someone new; he seems to like an audience and will be happy to play in a room for hours surrounded by people, visiting each one from time to time. Victor likes to have Mommy or Daddy around and will cry if they leave the room (whether or not there is someone else there); however, he gets over the separation within a few seconds; Victor will throw a mini-tantrum if you take something away that he was playing with but usually finds something else quickly. He seems to understand "no" and will generally avoid things that he has been guided away from consistently; however, often times he will keep revisting something even after being scolded numerous times in a short span. Victor laughs and smiles a lot especially when you are doing the same; he likes to play games with Mommy or Daddy where they tickle or kiss him; he likes to be tossed in the air or thrown onto a soft bed or couch ("One, two, three!").

12/28/2006 6:19:59 PM  
[Now Dawn with some additions]

Favorite books: Llama Llama Red Pajama, When Sheep Sleep, Miss Spider's ABCs.

Favorite music: Almost any classical, Biscuit Brothers, some of his Music Together CD songs (but he does dislike some of them), Beatles. Oh, and he still seems to like Coldplay even though I really don't.

Favorite shows: Sesame Street, Sesame Street, Sesame Street. He also still likes Classical Baby and he likes Biscuit Brothers. Enjoys Signing Time if he's in the right mood and Mommy is animated enough. Sometimes likes Curious George, sometimes not. Starting to like They Might Be Giants - Here Come the ABCs but still doesn't like it nearly as much as Mommy and Daddy do.

Favorite animals: Monkeys, of course. He also really likes his stuffed lion and camel and thinks it's fun to imitate Daddy making the camel sound. Seems to respond to cows on TV.

Favorite pajamas: his red fleece Christmas pajamas that Daddy made fun of for looking too much like a smoking jacket.

Favorite toys (currently, that is): Sesame Street Pop-up Singing Pals, Fisher Price Learning Home, electronic keyboard, electronic maracas that count and say colors in Spanish, his new hammer. Notice that TMX Elmo is not a favorite.

Favorite rituals: naked time after his bath, getting "vacuumed" after he eats, sneak splashing Mommy at the end of his bath, getting thrown on the bed after he gets pajamas on, Vicks rubdowns from Mommy (especially when he gets to inhale the fumes off Mommy's hands), playing the guitar at the end of music class.

12/30/2006 12:35:57 AM  

Happy 57th Birthday Grandpa! Hope you have a fun birthday. Your present is on top of the CD player. ;) And these pics were taken just for you..........

12/30/2006 12:47:00 PM  

Victor just went on his first chaperoned date to his first real concert. It was awesome! We went to the Biscuit Brothers' New Year's Eve Eve Countdown to Noon at the Scottish Rite with the Bieris (Linnea and her parents Tammy & Eric) and it was a really cool event. It just long enough to feel like a big fun thing without going too long. Victor passed out in the car from all of the excitement. He's snoozing away, still covered in confetti.

Here's some pics from the concert. There are more close-ups of Victor in the regular gallery, as well.

1/6/2007 12:04:25 AM  

Wow. It was a pretty busy week considering that we are still on break from music and yoga. We capped off the whirlwind of a week with a nap strike today which resulted in Victor literally passing out during dinner. I guess the fresh air during our park date with Ruth & John finally knocked him out. He actually slumped over in his booster chair and didn't even wake up when I removed him. Changed his diaper and put some jammies on him and he still snoozed away so I put him into bed sans bedtime nursing. I thought he'd probably sleep for a few hours or so. Nope, he slept for almost an hour and then woke up screaming in agony. Nursed for 45 minutes before he finally succumbed to slumber. Mommy is tired.

The little guy is headed to the ENT this next week to get his ears checked out and to get his hearing screened since we're concerned about what seems to be a speech delay. No idea quite what to expect. It is possible that he needs tubes and we're to the point now of being OK with that idea if it comes to it. I don't want him to miss swim class in February but it will be a small price to pay if that turns out to be the case.

And in non-Victor news, I got bangs. It was an impulsive decision and one that I was happy about until this morning when I suddenly was reminded of how bangs look in the morning when you get out of bed. So yeah, I'm having some slight bang remorse. Victor was completely flummoxed by the change and stared at my forehead in disbelief.

1/8/2007 12:42:21 PM  

I can't believe James didn't beat me to this because he was so excited about it. Victor was nice to the cat last night for the first time ever. He was actually petting her gently all on his own and he snuggled his face against her fur in a non-tackling fashion. It was a major event!

Mommy got a little carried away with this whole "making time for myself" in the new year thing. I signed up for Mommies' Choir on Tuesday nights at Heartsong (Victor's music school) and that lasts all the way through May. I hope that James & Victor will survive bedtime without me once a week. I know for certain that one or both of them will be very happy to see me come home! I also signed up for an Ashtanga series at yoga that meets every Sunday for 2 hours for the next month. I must have lost my mind. The good thing about leaving for a while though is that I'm so happy to see the guys when I get back. They always look like they had so much fun without me too!

1/9/2007 12:12:07 PM  

Victor has started doing a happy dance. It just really caught on yesterday. He runs in place, stomping his feet wildly and sometimes even works it into a spin. It's definitely an indication of happiness and/or excitement. It's probably the cutest thing he's ever done and it came just at the right time because it mitigates the sleep issues.

Yeah, sleep issues. Our perfect sleeper didn't sleep very perfectly last night. He refused his usual nap time yesterday and then napped late in the afternoon so that may or may not have something to do with it. At any rate, he woke up at 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00. At 4:00, it was obvious that he was not going to settle down so I went in there to find him happy dancing in his crib when he saw me. He was squinting and keeping his head down to shield his tired little eyes but he was happy dancing all the while. Luckily some milk and rocking convinced him to sleep for several more hours. I have every hope that it was an isolated incident but something is definitely brewing, whether it's teething or a growth spurt or something else entirely.

1/11/2007 10:13:56 AM  

Where to begin? I had hoped to get some pics at music class yesterday, especially since Victor was wearing his cute train outfit that his Gaga got him for Christmas. He was just too wild for that though. He probably sat down with me for all of 2 minutes during class. He seemed pretty excited about seeing so many other kids again. I guess that's further proof that we need to stay on the preschool search. The next 6 months will fly by, sadly.

We've discovered that Mommy is really not a necessary part of the bedtime equation after all. On Tuesday night, the guys were on their own without me for bedtime and while Victor refused the bottle (as expected), he went down for the night without needing to nurse and he slept through the night.

We figured a repeat sleep performance would be too much to hope for last night when we left him with his babysitter Angela for the first time. Once again though, while he still refused the bottle, he went right down and slept all night. She even put him down at 7:45. Unheard of! So it's nice to see that he can function with a babysitter. We just need to work on this whole alternative sources of fluids thing. I have no intention of forcing him to wean before he's ready but it's time to have some more "variety" for his own sake! That and it would be good if he could drink out of a cup before kindergarten.

1/12/2007 9:20:47 PM  

Only 17 months old and already headed for therapy! ;) Well, the good news today was that Victor's hearing is really quite stellar and his ears actually look healthy finally. Barely even any fluid this time. He did really, really well all through the testing too. To celebrate his excellent hearing and to reward him for being such a big boy about it, we went to Kerbey Lane afterwards for -you guessed it- pancakes. Needless to say, a long nap followed.

Since there seems to be no hearing loss, the ENT concurred with what we already thought and encouraged us to get Victor evaluated by a speech therapist ASAP. That's already on the calendar for mid-February. I've talked to this SLP quite a bit on the phone too and I am really impressed with her and excited about working with her to help Victor start talking. In the meantime, we're trying to be really consistent about signing to Victor when we talk to him. We're also trying to motivate him to communicate more by making him "ask" to get some of his needs met even though we anticipate and know pretty much everything he wants. It's hard to make that change but we're already seeing a little progress with it.

I sure wish Auntie Leener was closer so we could work with her. She's not doing much travelling these days though. Speaking of which, woo hoo for 32 weeks! Little Laverne (my nickname for Eileen's unborn daughter) will be here just in time for March Madness. Here's hoping the Illini don't let us all down too early in the tournament.

[Back again an hour later]

And oh yeah, Victor has started actually coloring a little. As one might expect, he tries to eat the crayons when he's not "coloring" with them but he is getting the concept. And I found these really cool coloring printouts at http://www.haringkids.com/master_act_color.htm
to use. OK, so I got the idea from Parenting magazine but it's pretty cool. Plus, it reminded me that I want to get to AMOA while the "Radical NY" exhibit is still there! That might be a good yucky day activity this weekend.

1/15/2007 12:19:14 PM  

Happy Birthday to Grandmother! Hope you're having a good day and staying warm. We are enjoying a Daddy ice day here. Everything is pretty much shut down for today and possibly tomorrow. And we've discovered that Victor and Prudence have even more in common than we thought because they both become shameless cuddle seekers when it's this cold. That is not typical for either of them on a normal Texas day!

1/16/2007 11:03:05 PM  

We had a decent amount of snow today. It was very pretty and we enjoyed watching it come down from the front window. However, I want this ice storm thing to end right now! Getting more than a little stir crazy around here. My first instinct when I saw the snow was to bundle Victor up and take him outside but I thought it was probably still too slick even in the yard since it never warmed up much at all today. I guess I really should have just tested it out because it was really pretty snow. It was those big flakes that almost hang in the air as they come down. Tonight it's just plain ol' ugly freezing rain again.

Yeah, so we missed storytime today and I missed choir tonight and tomorrow we'll miss Music Together. Luckily our awesome teacher is extending classes for an extra week this term to make up for it. We'll still miss seeing our friends at class though. That and we might lose our minds being trapped inside for yet another day. And while it's fun (usually) having Daddy at home, the longer he works from home, the more buried he'll be when he goes back.

Tomorrow looks bleaker than ever though. School is already called off and they're still advising that everyone stay off the roads. I guess we'll try to just enjoy another day of playing in our pajamas. Even I'm sick of all of V's toys though.

And hey, the strangest thing happened tonight while I was curled up in my chair yet again, trying to tune in our DVR'd coverage of the Australian Open. UT has officially made me care about college basketball again. A triple OT nail biter will do that. And yes, I fear that I am more interested in UT than my beloved Illini. If the Illini could maybe start winning, I could be persuaded to get my priorities straight again. But wow, what a game against OSU. Durant is way too cool and only a freshman. He's really fun to watch. Is it time to change up my shade of orange (unflattering bright orange for putrid burnt orange)? Oh Eileen, I kid. Oskee-mostly-wow-wow.

1/19/2007 2:40:49 PM  

Huh. Well, James was back to work on Wednesday just in time for me to get hit with a rather unpleasant stomach virus. That kept me functioning at a very low level for about 24 hours. Yesterday though, I woke up feeling so much better and the roads were clear enough for errands. So naturally Victor napped for more than 3 hours right smack dab in the middle of the day! And now today, I had grand plans of a big, exciting trip to Target and Victor woke up with a very, very violently poopy diaper and has gone through about one diaper per hour since then. Why couldn't we have gotten this out of the way when we were trapped inside anyway?!?!?!?

Victor does remain in a relatively good mood in spite of his tummy troubles and only has a very slight fever. He even had a reasonable appetite this morning. So let's just hope that this too passes quickly. But hey, somehow it's the weekend again already. What a truly strange week it has been. I went to Whole Foods by myself last night and it was like an exotic paradise! Bring on February and that Texan spring we get to gloat about.

1/22/2007 2:58:31 PM  

Yesterday was finally lovely outside. It's over though. We did manage to take Victor out on his trike for the maiden street voyage (he had only gone around the living room and the driveway before) and he really enjoyed it. He was even good about keeping his helmet on and was fairly good about keeping his feet from dragging on the ground while Daddy pushed him (with the handy pushbar). I took the camera along to capture the big moment but I got so busy admiring my big boy that I spaced out on taking any pics. When we got back from that little jaunt around the neighborhood, Victor ran right to his wagon and tried to climb in so there ended up also being a wagon ride. The fresh air really did him some good!

Back to cloudy and "cold" (by Texan standards) today so we've stayed in so far. Victor didn't take a very long nap even though I told him that I really wanted to take a nice, long nap myself. He just ate a good lunch though. His new favorite is fresh tamales. The beef in these is even pretty spicy but he just can't shovel it in quickly enough. He also really likes my pot roast so he definitely favors that kind of shredded meat texture. We've had some slight - albeit erratic - continued progress with the sippy as well. What else? Oh yeah, and he's an official Dora the Explorer fan now. If I'm being really honest though, he's really only happy when Boots the Monkey is talking.

1/28/2007 9:11:38 PM  

We've been busy and sick. Actually, Victor has had cold symptoms far longer than I have but I am doing far worse at this point, at least based upon sheer volume of nasal drippage. Is it a cold or is it cedar fever? It's the age old Austin January - March question and brings with it pure misery. Runny noses haven't dampened our spirits though. It's been a cool week!

We got to socialize quite a bit more than usual this week for one thing. Two lunches out in the same week, each time with a favorite buddy. I got pics of Linnea & Victor lunching together but unfortunately Alex & Victor proved to be a slightly wilder combo. No pics were captured, in spite of Lia & I both having cameras along. Good fun though. And I dropped the photographic ball once again last night when Victor got to make a new friend - Lauren. It was a fun night and a reunion of sorts with old friends. Victor stayed up 2 hours late and while he danced with joy to get into his carseat to go home, he hung in there like far more of party animal than either of his parents.

He's been doing some really cool stuff this week. I think he got a glance at the 18 month development checklist and decided to try to knock some of this stuff out. He's suddenly totally into grabbing our hands to make us do what he wants or go where he wants us to go. This includes making us open doors, rub his head, put buckets on our heads, put buckets on his head. He also will finally follow some directions. He will hand us an object when we ask for it (not always the correct object but hey, baby steps!) and seems to enjoy being thanked for sharing stuff. He's also focusing on things for longer. For instance, he ran across the room earlier to pet "keeeee" and she ran upstairs so he scampered up the stairs after her and followed her around upstairs until he finally cornered her. This is all pretty major for us at this point!

We're really, really excited about the language development though. Bear in mind that what might not sound all that exciting to some people is groundbreaking for us because Victor is still a man of very few words ("dada" and "keeeeee" specifically). He seems to recognize the letter "E" in his Fridge Phonics and says it now. He also will sometimes say "doh" when I sing "Do-Re-Mi" to him. The cutest thing though is that he really wants to imitate Dada saying the animal sounds for all of his stuffed animals. Now when we hold an animal up, he will every once in a while start to make the sound but even when he doesn't actually make the sound, we can see him starting to form it with his mouth! The wheels are a-turnin' in there. And now today he did what I considered the coolest thing yet (as musical education coordinator of the household). Victor has been imitating me saying "e-i-e-i-_____" (sometimes "o", sometimes not) for a while now. Today though, he was listening to his Fridge DJ and when it got to the instrumental version of "Old MacDonald", he waited until it got to the part where you would sing "e-i-e-i-o" and then he SANG "e-i-e-i-o" very nearly on pitch. After my shrieks of delight scared him nearly out of his pants, he realized how happy it made me and he kept hitting the button to get that song to come around again so that he could do a repeat performance. Best. Boy. Ever.

1/30/2007 3:25:33 PM  

It never fails. If I had tried to take a nap myself this afternoon, Victor would have woken up an hour or so ago. Instead, I'm sitting here ready and waiting to give him his "lunch" (which is a snack at this point) so we can get out of this house together for just a little bit before I get an early dinner ready. A walk to the library maybe. Or a quick trip to Whole Foods. Nope, he's just snoozing away up there. I do know he needs it though. Hopefully this extra rest will get him well enough for music and playgroup. I get to go out and about tonight because it's choir night anyway but I thought that maybe Victor might like to see the light of day!

Oh, and James is now sick too. I'm just waiting to hear Pru start coughing next.

2/1/2007 1:41:15 PM  

We went to playgroup this morning but Victor was not quite himself. The nose is running quite excessively again as well. Not a coincidence. He's screaming for food instead of napping so without further blabber, here are some pics from today of Victor with his music buddies: Eli, Linnea and Gwendolyn. Good times!

EDITED at 10:00 to add:

Well thanks Dr. Mirrop. Now all I have stuck in my head is "The solution to pollution is dilution". That's Dr. M's saline drops slogan. So yeah, Victor just has a cold. So the goal for tomorrow is to get some rest and get well. Both of us. For real this time!

2/4/2007 12:46:43 PM  

Well, Victor marked 18 months by officially growing out of his 12-18 month pants. I've been still putting him in some of his 12-18 month pants when we're just here at home so that he isn't constantly doing his Chippendale's routine. They were way too short but at least staying on. Too tight now! So he's officially into 18-24 pants across the board. He's wearing 2Ts and even some 3Ts in shirts and jackets though due to the torso issue. Some of his t-shirts look like mumus but it's that or crop tops. Why isn't there a Toddler Thin & Tall store?!?!?!?!

We celebrated yesterday with some fun at the park and a dinner out. Victor really had fun. We've been cooped up too much lately, obviously. He's feeling quite a bit better but is still somewhat congested and snotty. We've got a big week ahead of us so I hope that his cold lets up soon. Like tonight.

Tomorrow, health permitting, is Victor's first day as a Kipper. He and his buddy John start swim class at the Y again. It's every Monday and Wednesday afternoon all through February. That ought to get tiring very quickly! I wish it was just once a week like Shrimp level was last year but I guess we just have to rise to the Kipper challenge.

Tuesday we have Victor's initial evaluation with the speech therapist. I'm actually really looking forward to that. It will be great to get some real feedback on how he's communicating, both verbally and nonverbally. I am anxious about how "on" he'll be though. He's taking direction a little better all the time but he can still be pretty headstrong about who chooses his activities. Luckily Daddy has picked up a few tricks in that regard lately. At least we go at a good time of morning for him, energy-wise. That should help. I noticed that there is a park close to the speech therapist's office so I'm thinking there will definitely be some swinging as a reward when we're done!

Wednesday we've got music in the morning and then we have to make the mad dash home to eat lunch as quickly as humanly possible so V can nap enough that I don't have to wake him up to go to swimming. I predict that Victor is going to go to bed pretty early on Wednesday nights this month! Then Thursday we have playgroup and Friday is his 18 month appointment with Dr. Mirrop. We'll cap off the week with shots. Oh, and then Saturday, we get to go to brunch at Victor's buddy/mentor Katie's house. That will be a good consolation for the shots!

I'm tired thinking about all of this. Almost time to head off to yoga and Victor is napping. Zen all around. Oh yeah, and speaking of cute, little zenmasters, happy 20 months today to Victor's girlfriend Linnea!

2/5/2007 10:44:19 PM  

We did go to swim class and boy was it a good thing! Victor loved, loved, loved being back. He was pretty apprehensive when we first walked into the Y's pool area but once we got into the water, he got into the spirit of Kipperdom. And wow, logistically speaking, this is so much easier this year. I don't have to juggle Victor and all of our stuff as much because he can stand still for me instead of being held. Ahhh. On the other hand, the class itself was far more exhausting than before. He's a lot longer, heavier and stronger and that all proves to be much more of a workout for the arms. We were both tired.

The highlight of class today was Victor & John doing synchronized "jumps" into the pool over and over and over (and over and over). They just sat on the edge instead of standing - Ruth & I aren't completely mad! They were having a blast though. I think all of us will be sleeping soundly tonight.

2/7/2007 9:31:30 PM  

Our first Mega-Wednesday went quite swimmingly. Hardy-har-har. There must be no dawdling after music class in order to make Wednesdays work but it is doable. It was kind of good to make myself stay on task enough to get Victor fed and down for a nap ASAP. I have the tendency to let him meander too much en route to naptime. I was afraid that I'd have to wake him up to get him to swim class on time but he woke up right at 3:30 and I marched into his room, changed him into his swim diaper and trunks, and then we sped off to the Y.

Our swim teacher though? A wee bit of a louse. She's nice enough but she's not very inspired which is rather an unfortunate flaw when dealing with toddlers. Ruth & I both have felt like the Y just let us pay money to come splash around periodically. Seriously, the teacher adds nothing to the experience. The boys do like jumping in though so it's not without value. I should also mention that Victor had a really cute moment with John today after class. He was frustrated with me because I wouldn't open one of the locker doors at the Y for him (so that he could shut it again) so he grabbed John's hand and tried to direct it toward the locker. I guess he thought that since John is 3 months older, he can help him out with these things!

On the opposite end of the professionalism spectrum, we had our visit with the speech therapist yesterday and it went really well. Victor responded well and played happily so I feel comfortable that he'd be receptive to therapy if we need to do it. For now though, the therapist is encouraging us to do a home program called "It Takes Two To Talk" and then we'll go back to her to re-evaluate in a few months. In just the time that we were at her office, we saw some encouraging signs from Victor as a result of implementing some of the tactics she encouraged. She seemed to think that it was good that we're being proactive this early but she also didn't seem alarmed at his level of delay. Looking forward to getting going with the program once our ridiculously expensive home teaching materials arrive.

2/7/2007 8:42:07 PM  
[James here]
The last month has been exhilirating. Victor has gone from seeming to not listen at all to a child who knows what the "nos" are and can nearly be left alone in the "wild" downstairs. Victor now communicates quite proficiently by grabbing our hands and taking us to what he wants us to do. The typical request is to open something - the front door, the refrigerator, the file cabinet, etc. He will bring us things to see what we'll do with them. Using an exchange system (Daddy will open the door if Victor...), we've taught him to stack blocks and find his cousin Sean's picture, Koalie, or Elmo. He will hand over any object he is holding if we ask "Can I see that?" even if it means walking across the room to hand it to us (what a good boy). He has a favorite book (Llama, Llama Red Pajama) and he will pull it out of a shelf of books inerrantly. Tonight he ran from the office into his bedroom and brought it back to us - what a cutie! From just one session, he has almost learned to give me five (again through the exchange system). Our big challenge now is to get him to give us verbal cues along with the hand grabbing.

2/10/2007 2:36:18 PM  

Yesterday Victor had his 18 month well check and it went great. He's staying consistently long and lean and is fit as a fiddle. He faced the shots like a real champ this time too. Got over it pretty quickly so that he could sprint down the hall to leave! Dr. Mirrop isn't overly concerned about the talking thing (or lack thereof) and seems to think that it will all come before we're back for his 2 year. I sure hope so.

We had a fun morning today. Went to Victor's friend Katie's for a Valentine's brunch. He really likes his friend Katie and tries to chase her around. She's very sweet to play with him so much even though she's almost 3. Victor even identified Katie today. When Daddy would ask "Where's Katie?", Victor would drag Daddy's hand over to where Katie was. She should be pretty flattered.

I managed to snap a few shots this morning. The lighting is awful in these but the subjects are too adorable not to get some screen time. Here's Victor and Katie and Eric!

2/13/2007 12:30:57 AM  

The Good?..................
There's a lot. So much that I'll be abrupt for the sake of brevity. Victor likes chasing bubbles around the yard. He also likes jumping into the pool at swim class. He's been doing lots of interpretative dancing when he thinks I'm not looking which is truly precious. Really experimenting with his movements lately. Tonight we discovered that he likes to pinch his daddy's dimples. Also, he now has a little patch of lighter blonde hair on the back of his head that we call his "skunk spot". When Victor smashed his finger in a drawer at bedtime tonight, as he was trying to calm himself, he grabbed my hand and pulled me over to the rocker so that he could snuggle and nurse to make himself feel better. That's a pretty significant communication attempt in our house. So there is much good. Much, much good. Enough good to outweigh the following.

The Bad?.........................
Well, Victor is fighting going to bed these days. He doesn't want to stop playing and clings and cries when I go to put him down. He did NOT used to do this. It's not overly concerning because he calms himself very well once I tuck him in and leave the room. It's just really sad sometimes. On the other hand, he is not fighting the naps much lately at all. Go figure.

The Ugly?............................
Yeah, so I was commenting to Ruth last week as we changed the boys after swim class that Victor had never pooped in a swim diaper. In fact, it is extremely rare that he ever even poops out in public to necessitate a diaper range on the fly. So today after class, I go to do our usual routine where I rip off the wet swim diaper and quickly slap a dry diaper on. There was poop. Poop that was in a strange and terrifying form I had never encountered and it was flying everywhere as a result of my - as James calls it - jerky movement. I cannot even venture a guess as to how many wipes I used in that little misadventure. Victor? Undaunted by the whole thing.

2/15/2007 3:45:20 PM  

Two more weeks until March 1! And what is the big deal about March 1, you say? Well, not only is it Cousin Sean's 2nd birthday (Victor continues to be the president of Sean's fanclub, by the way) but it is also the day that one Claire Nordmeyer is scheduled to make her debut. Cannot wait to make a trip up that way to see her once she gets big enough to be exposed to toddler germs and shenanigans. And don't you worry - we'll be posting pics of her ASAP, as long as her parents approve. So lots of excitement in store very soon.

Speaking of excitement, we hosted playgroup today. Turns out that Victor is not the most adept sharer on his home turf but it was a fun time nonetheless. Unfortunately, Victor seemed a lot more interesting in showing off all of the bad stuff to do than he was in demonstrating his toys. It was more along the lines of "Hey, look at this space I squeeze into to get behind the couch!" and "Hmmm, let's go open the fridge a few hundred times." and "Have you seen me scurry up the stairs? It's breathtaking!". Normally this is where I'd insert some pictures of V and his friends frolicking and I wish that today was no different since the house is pretty clean and photogenic. However, I had an incident with the camera yesterday and it did not survive. New camera is on its way to us from Amazon and should arrive on Monday. I guess that makes it my belated birthday present from James.

2/19/2007 8:39:53 PM  

I have a sick boy. The day started without major incident and we thought he seemed a little hot but his temp was just below 100 and we shrugged it off as "not even officially a fever". So off Victor & I went to the Children's Museum for our date with Lia & Alex. He was a bit moody but still had energy at that point. He was certainly able to enjoy playing with plastic bugs! Once we got to his usual witching hour (11:30) though, he began to fall apart. That's when he started getting really clingy. When Victor wants to sit with me and hold onto me for more than 30 seconds, he is clearly not feeling well.

Once we got home, I took his temp again and it was 102 so once I got him down for a nap, I called the doctor's office yet again. After all, it HAS been 10 days since we were there last. By the time I got him up to make a 4:00 appointment, temp had shot to 104.5 and he was glazed and moaning. I still didn't cry. Never did I cry. I came close though.

As soon as Dr. Boes saw him, she said "looks like flu" because he was obviously so achy and very, very hot. Then she looked at his throat and said "and I think he might even have strep too". So we waited for that labwork to come back and naturally, he has neither of those things. Further discussion led to speculation that maybe this cold he & I have shared for going on 6 weeks had led to a sinus infection. Bloodwork came back totally normal there as well. So it seems that he has this respiratory virus that has been going around that is flu-like but not actually the flu. This means no medicine. Just the continuation of the Tylenol-Motrin Shuffle (thanks for the new term, Ruth).

The bright spot in all of this? I haven't felt so loved by Victor like probably ever. It was like a year worth of snuggles packed into about 3 hours. Not really the way I'd like to get the snuggles but I'll take them wherever I can. So I was feeling pretty cocky about my status in Victor's world even though I hadn't managed to make him crack a real, full-on dimpled smile in many hours. Then it was revealed to me just how outranked I am in that regard. Since he had also refused food all day, I decided to give him pancakes and let him watch a little TV to see if that coaxed him into a little nourishment. So yeah, Dora (the Explorer, that is) and Aunt Jemima were able to make the clouds lift enough for Victor to chatter and gnaw away for a bit. And then, adding insult to injury, he chased Kitty up the stairs and gave her a hug. I got a kiss goodnight though. Take that Dora, Jemima & Pru!

2/22/2007 2:44:05 PM  

We went to playgroup this morning and Victor had a total meltdown so I assumed he'd pass out in the car. I think he may have just been hot and bothered from the sun outside (it is delightfully sunny and warm today) because he perked right back up in the AC so we went to his favorite store of all time - Whole Foods - on the way home.

He fought the nap tooth and nail today but sounds like he's finally snoozing in there. I think I may need to take him back in to the doctor again. He still won't eat and he's still whiny to the extreme. Something is not right and I don't want to head into the weekend with such an unhappy boy. I'll just have to live with being permanently affixed on the "crazy mom" list at Pediatric Associates.

On a much brighter note though, here are pics from today. I love the group shots but I'm also especially fond of the pic of Gwen strolling with the "mowmow". Behold the cuteness of our musicmakers.

2/23/2007 5:04:14 PM  

The good news is that Victor hasn't run a fever for a few days and he just had clean labwork at the doc today so there's nothing horribly wrong. Just still working through this viral nonsense. The bad news is that he has lost more than a pound in the last two weeks and I feel like I've been bludgeoned. He napped for almost 4 hours today though so at least I got some decent rest for a change. Now I understand why he's been so lethargic.

He is most definitely on a hunger strike but seems to be improving slightly. Trying to get Pediasure into a boy who doesn't like anything about cups is proving to be a challenge. We did lure him into drinking out of a cup with pure, undiluted juice yesterday though. He just doesn't seem to be as fond of Pediasure. So apparently at this rate Victor will be lucky to get over 25 pounds by the time he's 2, thanks to his regimen of stair aerobics/hallway sprints and a yogurt diet.

2/26/2007 2:17:11 PM  

So here I go again overscheduling us. Just as swim class is about to end, I've got us all signed up for new and exciting schedule commitments. We do get a few weeks of slacking off first though, thank goodness. Later this month though, we start going to art classes on Monday mornings (Abrakadoodle Twoosy Doodlers!) and toddler/mommy yoga on Friday mornings. So this officially gives us a planned out-of-the-house activity for every weekday. Which is good, right? I mean really it is. I just want to make sure that we still make some time to just go play at the park and stuff like that. Plus, pool season isn't all that far off either! Would it be really irresponsible to prioritize the water playscape at Brushy Creek over storytime at the library?

I just can't believe that it's really time to think about getting ready for preschool. How can that be? I'm excited about it and I think that he'll really enjoy himself, assuming that we even get him in anywhere by September. He's certainly a social little guy and I think that he'll really benefit from being around other kiddos without me around. Boy am I going to miss him for those 6 hours a week though!

And is it wrong that I cannot wait until he's old enough to bowl? I do not know why but that is the big thing that I cannot wait to do. Granted, it might have something to do with desperately wanting to have some Dart Bowl enchiladas. Also, I can't wait to see James teaching Victor about spot bowling in the style of Great Grandpa Humphrey. In good time, in good time.

2/28/2007 1:00:41 AM  

Shouldn't be up. Shouldn't be up. I sure am glad that Victor has his father's trait of sleeping like a rock. He'll probably end up being a night owl like me though. You know, right about the time that I get old enough that I can't hack this late night stuff anymore. Anyway, things are good here. There are quite a few newish pictures (the new camera gets an overall thumbs-up) and some new video that I'll coerce James into uploading. Video is still too advanced for me.

I had wanted to post a little update on Victor's progress here lately but it's hard to even know where to begin. I'm sure James could better break it down into levels of excitement-worthiness. I'm just so thankful that he's finally feeling more like himself because now that he's back to pretty much full strength, he is doing and saying new things constantly. The look on his face when he realizes that he is actually communicating with us is absolutely priceless.

Some highlights lately have been Victor identifying his body parts, pointing to things that he wants, leading us to things that we ask him to identify (Cousin Sean's picture, kitty, Koalie, Mommy, etc.), identifying some of his Fridge Phonics letters and -gasp- saying a few of them. Consistent words lately are comb, cat and dog. Mama even gets an occasional mention once again. The cutest thing though is that he makes his version of the appropriate animal sounds (as modelled by Daddy, whose version of a camel sound is questionable) when greeted by his stuffed animals. And perhaps the most important thing of all for me is that Victor is starting to communicate when he wants to eat, nurse, nap, go to sleep, etc., by leading me to the proper area or "starting the routine" himself. We are officially communicating!

2/28/2007 2:50:04 PM  

We've got our little boy back. Victor is at full strength again. Actually, it feels like he's capable of more shenanigans than ever, almost as though he's making up for lost time. I'm just so pleased to see so many smiles and so little snot. He's eating pretty well again although he's being a little stubborn about eating anything other than pancakes and Yobaby. Here's where we pay the price for doing anything to just get him to get some calories during this past week.

He was happy as a clam at music today. Ran around the room greeting everyone and even walked up to Gwen and said "hey!" and then proceeded to have some cryptic and apparently very humorous conversation. Here are a few pics from class today. Probably not all that exciting to anyone except for V's grandmother so I hope she enjoys them!

Oh yeah, and he's also saying "yumyumyum" on a regular basis. Strangely, this can be attributed entirely to Daddy rather than to Backpack on Dora the Explorer. Speaking of yum, this boy still needs to have some lunch. And thus another Yobaby battle begins!

3/1/2007 2:34:54 PM  

Happy 2nd Birthday Cousin Sean! How in the world are you two already? Hope you're feeling better and having lots of fun. Wish you were down here with us today because it was a great day to go to the park for playgroup! Fun was had but the camera ran out of juice 10 minutes in. Whoops.

Anxiously awaiting word from Little Miss Nordmeyer, who should have debuted by now. I'm betting 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 19 3/4 inches.

3/1/2007 7:32:48 PM  

Update received, update received! Claire Lillie Nordmeyer was born at 8:22 this morning. My bet was quite off. She was 7 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. She apparently has dark hair and is described by her mother as "perfect" and I don't doubt that description for a moment. Good job, Leener! I cannot wait to hold her. How am I supposed to wait 3 more months to see her? Wah!

3/2/2007 12:04:44 PM  

Another gorgeous day called for a trip to the park with John & Ruth. I cannot wait to reap the rewards of the fresh air when Victor takes a good, hard nap. Got a few shots of the boys swinging together. These pics may not seem especially dazzling but it is truly just remarkable enough that these little guys were caught together in the same frame. I wish I'd gotten a pic or two of them together on the tire swing. Once Victor stopped being positively terrified, he kept trying to hold John's hand. As to be expected, John was having none of that!

Also, just got these pics of Claire and her mommy!

3/6/2007 12:18:48 PM  

Here's a few new Claire pics. I'm a sucker for those extreme close-ups and I certainly can't resist seeing Auntie Leener looking so blissful and glowing! Hmmm, they don't seem to be enlarging when clicked upon. My apologies there.

Not much is up here. We're having a recovery day from yesterday's nap-striking, food refusing, house dismantling extravanganza. It's another gorgeous day out there but the cedar count is high and the energy level in the house is low. Hard to miss such a pretty day though because before we know it, it's going to be hot out there.

We've got our tour of the preschool that we're hoping send V to tomorrow. Also, his language development materials finally arrived. I'm glad to have them but it was gratifying to see that we're already doing a lot of what they suggest. We do need to work at letting him lead more though. That will be the real challenge. Other than that, nothing horribly exciting going on around here except that we're gearing up for our first 5K of the season this Saturday. I'll be walking with the stroller. James can be the speedster of the family.

3/10/2007 1:35:03 PM  

Victor has had a long-standing record of being a perfect - absolutely angelically perfect - jogger stroller occupant during each race so far. Until today. He wriggled his arms out of the harness repeatedly (even though it was as tight as we could get it), he kicked his sun/windscreen cover off - again repeatedly, he screamed about the sun being in his eyes once he had removed the cover, he grabbed at the cover and got it trapped on his head. Oh, and he had to have a whole cup of water at each water stop. Finally, he fell asleep briefly after the Mile 2 marker. I wanted to do the same.

It was a pretty day for it though and we enjoyed taking the drive out to Bastrop and back. He was happy as a clam in the car. He is just not digging that jogger stroller at the moment. I don't think he likes the angle it reclines him at. So some tweaking may be in order before the next race, which may or may not be next weekend. I didn't manage to get any pictures this morning given my lack of an extra arm or two.

Oh, but I should mention that Victor woke up today at 4:45. Not crying at all...just a bunch of excited jibberish. I had the alarm set for 5:30 to get up and get us out of the house by 7:15 and somehow it was like he knew. He went back to sleep around 5:45, of course, so I had to wake him up to get him ready. So yeah, I'd very much like a nap. I'm currently waiting him out to see if that occurs. The kicking is slowing down up there which is encouraging (but then I've fallen for that before). Surely he isn't going to consider a one mile snooze his nap for the day. That way lies madness.

3/13/2007 11:45:15 AM  

Rain, rain, go away. Little Victor wants to go outside and run around in circles and then pick up and examine every tiny stick in a one block radius. We're having another rain day and Victor is just on the cusp of getting impatient about being inside. He did do some coloring this morning while he watched Dora (and his new fave "Wonder Pets") and that provided some smiles. I got some video of it but some editing will be in order. I need to edit out some dull moments and a particularly gassy moment. Only Granddad would enjoy that part of the video. There are some pics of him sitting and coloring on the pics page. It's a new and exciting phase for us - sitting at a table and quietly entertaining oneself!

Here are also some candids from breakfast this morning. He's getting better and better at the spoon thing but he's still not really willing to take his eyes off of Curious George. And breakfast without Curious George is a dour affair.

Update: The video I mentioned? It's gone. I shift-deleted it before it was really fully transferred so it's just plain gone. I'm trying not to cry about it.

3/13/2007 2:09:00 PM  

Well, it's done. The Board of Trustees has voted to retire Chief Illiniwek's name and likeness. I mean no offense to anyone who wanted to see the Chief go and honestly, I do see SOME of the arguments on the other side. It makes me really sad though because I have so many fond memories that include that image. Luckily I still have a few sweatshirts that include that image too. I'll miss seeing his dance. Gave me goosebumps every time. Oskeewowwow, Old Timer. You won't be forgotten in this house. Here's hoping the Illini step it up Friday as a proper send-off for you.

3/15/2007 1:19:19 PM  

Below is the sole picture I managed to capture at playgroup today and I'm only posting it because it proves that Victor left his hat on at least long enough for me to get one picture. Still not a fan of the hats. We had a fun time at Zilker again. The Zephyr was perhaps not quite as magical as last time but the Spring Break "Lord of the Flies" feel of the playscape may or may not have had something to do with that. It stands to reason that there were a gazilliion kids at the park today though because it's not only Spring Break but also the first sunny day after 2.5 days of rain. The bluebonnets are doing their thing and it looks like it will be a stellar year for them! Yeah, so here's hat-hater.

Major indepedent streak going on around here. Victor didn't want ANY help at the park, including with the stairs and being carried around was insulting and uncool to the point that he'd go totally limp to evade me. Oh, the fun we're about to have with the tumultuous twos! That trend continued back at home when he refused to eat any of the chicken that I had shredded up for him but preferred to chomp on a full-sized strip. He's becoming firmly convinced that Mommy is not really all that necessary. You know, not until he wants milk. Then Mommy is the best.

3/17/2007 2:30:20 PM  

We got up early today and headed out for the Shamrock Shuffle 5K. It was hilly and rocky and muddy and fun. So it was a pretty authentic Irish experience! Did I mention the mud though? Wow. There were people losing their shoes in it. I had to wash down the jogger stroller out on the driveway a little while ago too.

It was a fun time though. Victor liked the bagpipers best of all and the moonwalk least of all. I wish we could have seen a little more of the Irish dancing but we needed to get home so that Victor could nap. Still napping........and napping....and napping. We're headed out again soon for Daddy's tennis match so I might have to wake our little leprechaun up.

Here are some pics but there are a few more on the actual pics page too. I love this one of the bagpipers that James took!

3/20/2007 2:19:30 PM  
Today's excitement was.....well.....exciting! We went to see the Biscuit Brothers put on a free concert in the Capitol Rotunda after they received their commendation from the Texas Legislature. I cannot say with any degree of confidence just how much fun Victor had since it was right at naptime and it was HOT in there (as evidenced by the red faces in the pics below). I for one thought that it was totally and completely awesome though! I just love these guys and it was well worth postponing nap and lunch to go represent for the bros. They are such a fun live show.

Here are some pics from the show. Victor didn't look that mad the whole time, really. He smiled at a banjo once for 5 whole seconds. Really.

3/22/2007 2:51:31 PM  
We made a trip to the Austin Zoo today with our usual Thursday playgang. It rained off and on the whole time but it kept everyone else away and it seemed to make the animals happy so we gladly suffered some sogginess. I didn't really get any pics of the kids today because when they were out of their strollers, they were off in every direction. Here are some of the animal highlights from today though and there are also some shots of Victor on the regular pics page as well.

3/23/2007 1:54:58 PM  
Yikes. First day of toddler yoga was not exactly a smashing success. Victor was just fine when I left him to go next door to my class (which was a delightful class, by the way). He was running around and waving at everyone. I guess it took a turn fairly quickly though. Several kids started to cry after the mommy exodus and Victor got fed up and wanted to get out of the room.

Apparently he continued to try to escape the entire time. I knew it wasn't a good sign when I walked out of my class to find him outside in Maggie's arms. Thank goodness he had a familiar face there though (she helped with the classes we did last fall too). I'm really hoping that the situation improves next week. He's got to get used to this sometime and at least I'm just a room away right now. He doesn't realize that though, I suppose! He nervously chewed on his Crocs all the way home.

So to brighten things up, here are some pics from a happier day last month. These are from our trip to the Austin Children's Museum with Lia & Alex. I had just broken our old camera and Lia was kind enough to assume photography duties that day. Here's Alex & Victor:

Even more pics are probably coming soon. Uncle John is here for the weekend and Sunday is the Cap 10 so I'm sure we'll be snapping away. Loving the new camera.

3/24/2007 1:40:20 PM  
Well, Daddy didn't play in the match today due to his bum foot (resting it for the Cap 10 tomorrow) but we went to hang out at the courts for a little bit anyway. Turns out that Victor has more of a clue what to do with his racquet than we really imagined he might.

I must say that I'm quite relieved that tomorrow's race is the last for a while. We have our WalkAmerica event in May as well but it's later in the morning and it's not an actual race. This waking Victor up early and packing a bunch of supplies into the stroller routine has gotten old after 3 weekends in a row!

3/25/2007 6:25:28 AM  
Happy Birthday to Ronan Woods Humphrey! We still miss him so much every day but we see so much of him in his brother, especially in some of the wilder moments, and it makes our enjoyment of Victor's antics that much more special. We're set for a busy, wacky day but this day is above all else about our Ro.

3/25/2007 9:11:37 PM  

Another action-packed weekend has passed and boy, are we tired. A big, big thank you goes out to Uncle John for flying in and being a huge part of Ro & JT's birthday weekend festivities. James had an outstanding but draining performance (draining enough to necessitate a trip to the medical tent) in the Cap 10. Uncle John, Victor & myself? We just tried to have fun and survive the six miles. Here are a few pics of us pre-race.

The other big activity for the day was planting a new tree for the twins. James & John did a fabulous job and even seemed to have fun breaking apart all of the rock that lurks just inches under the soil in our yard. Here's a pic of the new tree (a red maple) and also a pic of it side by side with the original trees we planted for Ro & JT in 2004 (a bald cyprus and a Chinese pistache). And of course there is a pic of Victor admiring the foliage on his brothers' new tree. It's turning out to be a nice family tradition.

We are all officially exhausted and are looking forward to getting up at a normal time tomorrow after today's 7:15 departure. James may be a morning person but Victor & I just really aren't.

3/26/2007 9:49:23 AM  
And Happy Birthday to James Thomas Humphrey! Victor is marking the occasion today by actually taking completely voluntary sips out of his sippy cup. I give James Thomas full credit for that one. He was going to be such a persistent and diligent llittle do-er and I have little doubt that he has inspired his brother to consider drinking like a big boy. Thanks Sweet Baby James. :) Happy birthday.

3/28/2007 5:09:57 PM  
I love music class for many, many reasons but right now I am loving it because Victor has been napping for 3 hours. Playing instruments and sprinting around the room while shouting jibberish is very hard work. Here are a few pics of us with Lori and Eli from class today:

3/29/2007 1:03:20 PM  
Playgroup had to convene indoors today due to rain so we headed off to the mall play area. Fun was had and we somehow managed to (mostly) beat the crowds. Here are a few pics. Love the one of Eli hugging Linnea. See, being friends with Victor means that you get to be prominently featured on his website!

While we were at the mall, we got Victor's feet measured again at Stride Rite. The woman estimated him at a 5 1/2 wide and I just moved him up to 6 1/2 mediums recently. This caused me tremendous consternation. He did not hold even remotely still for the measuring though so I can still hope for user error (or would that be usee error). And speaking of unwillingness to hold still, don't miss the pic of Victor visiting the Easter Bunny on the pics page. Classic. I don't think he'll be wanting to go back to the mall for a while.

3/30/2007 9:30:22 PM  
Yoga was an utter disaster today, so much so that we cut and ran 20 minutes in. For real. It didn't help matters that we got there right at 10:00 due to the rain traffic so I had to literally hand him off in the air as I went in to my class. He started crying immediately and never really stopped. So next week I'll be making a full-out effort to make this work. We both need it - I need the relaxation time and he needs the socialization. So next time we'll go really early so that I can play with him in the kids' classroom for a while and get him interested in all of the fun that can happen in there before I break away.

I have to say that I'm finding this level of separation anxiety to be just a little surprising (and uncharacteristic). I was telling James tonight that I'm pretty sure that if I just got up and walked out of music class, he'd just carry on and have a blast. Then again, he's known most of the people in music class for more than a year and he's so comfortable with that room that he claps as soon as he sees it. So I guess this will just take time. It makes me really glad that we're trying this now though so that he'll be gradually eased into being separated from me prior to preschool. In the meantime, it is a heartwrenching and ongoing effort.

4/1/2007 2:28:36 PM  
Spectacularly beautiful day here so we headed off to Brushy Creek this morning to let Victor run wild in the big grassy field. He had little interest in that, which was actually fine with us when we saw all of the fireant hills (they apparently have loved the rain too). We did get to try out the Kelty backpack that has been sitting in the closet in waiting since last fall. Victor seemed to enjoy the ride and Daddy didn't moan about it too much so hopefully we'll get out for some more ambitious hiking adventures soon.

Here are some of the photo "outtakes" from this morning. There are several others in the regular photo gallery as well but these were too cute not to share, even if they weren't completely gallery-worthy:

The bad news was that the Brushy Creek water playscape was very definitely not functioning yet (thanks for the misleading info on your website, Cedar Park!). Too bad because the sun is scorching out there. Might be time to break out the kiddie pool.

4/2/2007 1:21:57 PM  
I now present Victor's first ever painting. We had our first Abrakadoodle class this morning and it was fun. The teacher was somewhat surprised that he hadn't ever painted before. I didn't want to tell a person who believes that all human potential hinges upon finger painting that I'd rather him make that kind of mess there than at home. Maybe we'll both get braver about it now though. He is getting some paints in his Easter basket.

This work was described by the teacher as minimalist. It's unfortunate that I didn't get a picture of Victor at class. If you'd seen the paint on his face, you'd understand why he only managed to paint one quandrant of his page.

4/5/2007 3:02:21 PM  
Playgroup met at an Easter egg hunt today. It was a perfect day for it but the hunt itself was pretty fruitless for the Humphreys. Victor couldn't wait to bust through the tape but then once they officially started the hunt, he just froze while a pack of preschoolers scooped up everything in sight. We came away with a pretty barren basket. Eli was very nice and shared a few eggs with Victor. Apparently Eli had a good hunt strategy.

Here are some pics of the festivities, including the Easter Bunny, who was apparently wearing his contacts today.

4/7/2007 11:37:19 AM  
Yesterday's yoga experience was even worse than last week, so much so that I don't even want to talk about it except to say that we are THISCLOSE to quitting. So I'm heading off to yoga today to attempt to reclaim some calm.

Before I go though, here are some pics from this morning. Here's Victor "eating" one of his Easter cookies sent to him by his Grandmother and his Gaga. He saw it more as a toy than something edible for a while but then did nibble off the lamb's legs one by one. I can vouch for the yumminess of the cookies. Homemade sugar cookies. Mmmmmm.

I keep meaning to post more of a general update and will do so later. It's rainy and cold so I'm sure I'll have a good opportunity to do so. More pics to come too - the Easter basket awaits!

4/7/2007 9:35:14 PM  
First of all, thank you dearly to our friends and family who have sponsored us in our local WalkAmerica event. With a little over a month to go, we're 75% of the way to our goal of $1,000. Hoping we still get there but even if not, we have been so touched by everyone's generosity as we continue this family tradition.

On to Victor business. I have been meaning to give kind of a "what's that guy up to?" update for several weeks and just haven't ever managed to sit down to do it, mostly because he keeps doing more and more stuff that scares/dazzles/interests me. I'm going to try to jot down some of the cooler recent developments. Physically speaking, we definitely feel like he's putting on some weight. He's shockingly strong and his legs and arms seem much meatier than they have been. Also, his feet are growing more quickly now. Needless to say, he's still tall. It's sometimes frustrating because people wonder why he doesn't say more since he looks like he's older than 2. I'll get to that more later.

Let's talk about fun stuff. These are some of the really endearing things he has started doing lately:

- leading me by the hand to the rocker when he's tired
- handing me his shoes (and my shoes) when he wants to go outside
- saying his own name when I point to him
- putting toys away (never thought this day would come)
- smiling bashfully at Dora the Explorer
- clapping and saying "yay!" at the end of each song at music class
- imitating Daddy's dragon (stuffed animal) flapping its wings sound
- giving lots of hugs and kisses
- holding his cheek out to get a kiss
- running everywhere with little arms pumping
- coloring/painting
- dancing when he gets excited
- sitting on our laps sweetly to do activities
- feeding us bites of his food
- stacking anything and everything he can
- playing with his shape sorter
- talking to his stuffed animals
- terrorizing his cat

Verbally, he's really made some progress. We are still proceeding with the EI evaluations in a few weeks but we are certainly encouraged by what he's had to say recently and feel like he's gaining some ground with his language development. Here are his really consistent words:

- dada
- mama
- cat
- kitty
- shoes
- comb
- Sean (Victor loves his cousin!)
- aaaah ("open" or sometimes "up")
- e-e-e (means "open" to Victor)
- Victor (pronounced "ditter")
- uh-oh
- hi
- lion (usually pronounced "lala")

And here are words he has been overheard saying lately but that are not what I consider consistent yet:

- go
- ball
- dog
- car
- cow
- yeah
- OK
- backpack
- do (in do-re-mi)
- ti (in do-re-mi)
- cup
- open (as opposed to "ah" or "e-e-e")

Emotionally speaking, he's displaying a wide range of responses. He's definitely got some major separation anxiety going on (see yoga gripes) and even has brief periods at home when he flips out if one of us is out of his sight, particularly Mommy. He cries every day when Daddy leaves for work and is overjoyed when he comes back home. He also displays some naughty emotional behavior. In the past, we could say "can I see that?" (which has always bothered me from a grammatical standpoint) and he would hand over whatever he had. Now if I ask, he will run away from me to keep from giving up the coveted item. Sometimes when Daddy asks, he will throw the item at him or throw it in the opposite direction. We keep trying to teach him that this is bad but we often have to avoid making eye contact with each other because Victor's so funny when he's trying to be tough. Overall though, he's sweet as pie and loves to be doted upon.

Other than the fact that he's totally entranced by toy trucks now, that's pretty much the short version of what's up with Victor. Trust me, I could come up with a far longer version. He's just that cool.

4/12/2007 3:31:05 PM  
OK, I know I'm always saying that we're having the most beautiful day but today is really THE most beautiful. Well, so far. We went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center this morning for our usual Thursday playgroup and a blast was had by all. Victor is napping quite hard as a result. There are Vic pics in the main gallery but here are also some group shots and outtakes:

I have issued myself the challenge of learning Photoshop Elements 5.0 in the very near future and the icky lighting in some of those shots is really motivating me. The kiddos are cute enough to make up for less-than-stellar photography though.

Oh, and Victor's new trick for the day (practiced and perfected at playgroup) is to dive headfirst back into his stroller and then wriggle his way properly into his seat. He even tries to buckle himself back up. The boy likes to ride around looking at things.

4/15/2007 5:03:23 PM  
Well, we had the NI company picnic yesterday and what was supposed to be a perfect day for it ended up being cold and windy. The highlight for us was getting to sit with V's buddy Katie and her parents to watch most of Joe McDermott's performance.

James has proclaimed Joe to be much cooler than the Biscuit Brothers. I enjoyed it quite a lot too and am even more of a fan of Joe now but I won't tolerate Biscuit dissing. Aside from Joe's performance though, it was pretty much a lot of shivering and chasing and wrangling. Victor only napped for about 45 minutes yesterday due to the noise around here from the siding installation so he was delirious by the time we left Reunion Ranch for home.

Very few pics got snapped but here are just a few, including one in which Victor resembles a ventriloquist's dummy:

Today was a far nicer day so we packed up and headed off to the Austin Science & Nature Center. We were not disasppointed. Victor is still a bit young to get into the spirit of the Dino Pit but James & I jumped in and did a little digging demo for him. He did enjoy seeing the birds of prey exhibits and taking in the fresh air and sunshine. Here are just a few shots from today:

4/20/2007 2:16:44 PM  
It's been one wacky week, to say the least. The house is in substantial disarray due to the ongoing siding and window installation. It's really starting to look nice and the guys are plugging away at it (having to add a whole lot of insulation along the way) but man, am I ever ready to have some quiet in this house. I'm also ready to stop vacuuming twice a day every day. Add in James' all day training at work this week and I'm feeling very, very frazzled. Victor has been a peach through it all though. He's really a resilient little guy and I'm so proud of him for being such a big boy about enduring the chaos.

We've stayed busy with all of our usual stuff and thrown in some extra park trips this week to stay out of the house a bit more. Yesterday, amidst the noise and clutter, the Early Childhood Intervention people came (an EI specialist and a speech language pathologist) to do Victor's developmental evaluation and assessment. It took 3 hours. 3 hours. He never whined or cried or fussed once through the whole thing. He really likes the EI specialist a lot and he'd only met her once before. We have what James considers the ideal situation - Victor is eligible for the therapy services but just barely. Free speech therapy! He wasn't assessed as being quite as far behind as he was back in February which wasn't a big surprise. They really had to manipulate the non-language areas to get him covered under the program but I'm thankful they did. He'd most likely catch up just fine without any therapy but he really enjoys and responds to his EI specialist and she can hopefully help us to work with him on his speaking and his cup/drinking issues. So it's a very positive outcome.

As expected, Victor was ahead of the game in gross motor skills and social skills. He's definitely physical and outgoing. He was just slightly behind in fine motor skills and that once again wasn't a big shock once I thought about it because he's been on the go so much until recently that he's really only starting to sit down to focus on more detailed tasks. Expressive and receptive language skills were both right in the 15-18 month range so he's reallly not all that far behind. I think that once we really work at employing a lot of the communication tactics they've already suggested, we'll start getting some more meaningful communication out of him. So far most of his words revolve around the things that he is interested in or thinks are fun but I'm really hoping to get more words out of him to help meet his needs and preferences with regard to our routine. I feel like we've got some guidance to do that. They reminded me that we should focus on one thing at a time as not to overwhelm ourselves or Victor. That's definitely something I have to be reminded about.

Today was a little less successful. We've been expelled from yoga for the rest of the session. OK, it's really a self-imposed exile. Basically, we can continue to go every week but with the knowledge that we'll probably only get to be there for the first 20 minutes. I don't want to do that anymore. While he needs to adjust, this is stressful for both of us and it's supposed to be quite the opposite. So we're quitting and trying again in a few months. After our ouster though, we headed straight for the park and met up with Ruth & John. Life has been so busy for everyone lately and we've missed our friends! It was brief but it was nice to touch base with some buddies.

Tomorrow we have a date with Lia & Alex and I am really looking forward to driving many miles down Mopac away from this house for a bit. Plus, we haven't seen them for probably a few months and I can't wait to catch up and see what a big boy Alex is now. Count on pictures of the reunion! You cannot count on them ever smiling together in the same picture though. Beggars can't be choosers.

4/24/2007 1:15:00 AM  
I'm up way too late. Since I'm up working on pics anyway, here are a few outtakes from Saturday's bluebonnet adventure with Alex & Lia. There are also more in the pics gallery. The boys were not the most cooperative subjects but they did have fun throwing rocks. Then we went to storytime and no more pictures were taken because they sprinted all over Barnes and Noble. But yeah anyway, here are a few more bluebonnet pics before I pass out:

4/24/2007 5:19:26 PM  
Two important milestones before I forget! First of all, Victor outgrew a pair of jeans in the waist last week. That may not sound like a huge deal but it kinda is. Granted, now I'm starting to wonder if I just shrunk the darn jeans but never mind that. In the past though, Victor's pants and jeans have always gotten too short before they ever got remotely tight in the waist. In contrast, this pair of jeans is still OK length-wise but just so tight in the waist that Victor refuses to wear them without unsnapping and unzipping them for comfort. Yay for a little belly to fill out those pants!

The other item of huge import is that Victor had his first ever ride in a race car shopping cart at Home Depot this morning. I have been in fear of those carts (due mainly to Ruth's HEB horror stories) but thought that this would be a good trial run since we didn't have too many items to get, just in case he tried to escape or anything. No attempts to escape whatsoever. He truly thought that he was the coolest guy there (which he was, of course) and he kept his hands on the steering wheel -except to wave at passersby- and a grin on his face. Those carts are a bear to try to steer around though. I guess he won't forget about the race cars next time we go to HEB, huh?

4/26/2007 2:25:46 PM  
It's a perfect spring day - cooler and drier than it has been - and luckily it happened to be playgroup day. V's therapist had to cancel yesterday and wanted to reschedule for this morning and boy am I ever glad that I stood firm on not blowing off playgroup. It was definitely a day not to be missed! We are really feeling the absence of Miss Gwen who is currently playing in sandboxes in Japan. We had fun nevertheless. Here's a picture of Victor with Eli & Linnea during the bubble frenzy. There are more solo pics of Victor over in the gallery.

Wish I'd gotten more pics of the group but they are hard to "group" for long. And luckily, after a rough night Victor fell asleep in the car and is still napping away. We definitely have 2-year molars poking through (I think that the uppers are in and these are the lowers but can't swear to it) and it's making for some impressive mood swings. Bedtime is pretty much of a brawl this week.

Speaking of bedtime, V is suddenly too long in the torso for all of his pajamas so I had to order some last night. It was very bittersweet because now he's officially into the toddler boy sizes across the board. And his sweet white onesies are now a thing of the past. Sniff.

And right on cue, I hear a very hungry monkey!

4/27/2007 8:12:01 PM  
First of all, happy 2nd birthday to Mr. John Daniel Connell! I just cannot believe that our little gang of playmates is already starting to turn into -gasp- preschoolers. Hope you had a fun day today, little buddy. See you soon.

Not much Victor news to report but wanted to give an update on WalkAmerica. We have obliterated last year's fundraising record and surpassed our goal. Thank you so much to all of you who have donated! The walk is still 2 weeks away so there's still plenty of time to donate or join us on the course. We are especially looking forward to seeing the boys' memorial towers this year. Just this week they were offered to us through the generosity of local corporate sponsors. We gave a lot of thought to the passages we included on Ro & JT's posters and we will be so touched and honored to see their names in writing as we stroll along Congress Avenue.

We're going to Waco tomorrow. No seriously, we really are. We're making a journey to the Cameron Park Zoo. Just enough distance to feel like a getaway. I'm sure there will be pictures.

4/28/2007 11:02:24 PM  
Well, we went to Waco. The zoo was really cool, actually, but there really wasn't anything else very cool about Waco. Well, aside from the Dr. Pepper Museum. We were too tired to justify forking out the $13 for us to all get into the DP Museum though. However, we'll definitely go back to that zoo. My only complaint was the complete lack of monkeys. In spite of that, It was a very pleasant and attractive zoo.

There are pics of Vic in the gallery and here are some zoological highlights of the day, including a shot of my good luck monkey charm in the car during the drive there. I took that shot on a whim and it's a good thing because he's really the only monkey we saw today. I'll get over it.

4/30/2007 1:04:42 PM  
Here's Victor's fabulous Abrakadoodle creation from today. Yes, I'll admit that there was a little too much "help" from me but he really was not grasping the gluing part of collaging (just the tearing, tearing, and more tearing part). Since I have the artistic skills of a 6 or 7 year old, it averages out about right as a combined effort. Here is "The Critter".

Also, congrats to the Varbles out there on the arrival of the Calvinator (thanks for saying hi, Tanya!). Cannot wait to see him in person soon, hopefully on our next visit. Not long from now, actually!

5/3/2007 1:22:23 PM  
Well, I kinda irretrievably dropped the ball on WalkAmerica Family Team t-shirts, I think. Even if I could get it all together tonight or tomorrow, I'd be hard pressed to get anything shipped soon enough to get to us for the walk (without paying out the nose). Maybe I'll surprise myself but I'm officially lowering my expectations. There's just not enough time in the day.

Speaking of dropping the ball, I don't think Victor will be going to preschool/Mother's Day Out this fall either. We're pretty far down the waiting lists at the few affordable places I felt enthusiastic about. I don't feel like he's ready to start at 2 anyway, to be honest. If something opens up, we'll try it but I am starting to feel extremely comfortable with waiting until closer to 3. With no offense to anyone out there, I really think that pushing true academics at 2-4 is a lot of hooey anyway. My only pre-K concern is to get him socialized and comfortable with a school-like schedule. His music, art and playgroup are definitely helping him to start to take instruction from other adults and to begin to grasp sharing, taking turns and dealing with conflicts. He can use more of that though and when the time comes, I think preschool/MDO will really help with that. Just probably not this fall.

Oh, and one thing I keep meaning to ask my fellow toddler parents (Ruth? Heather?): On Curious George, is the Man in the Yellow Hat dating Professor Wiseman? If so, why is he so formal in the way he talks to her? I'm not sure why this is the detail that perplexes me so much about a show revolving around a monkey who walks around the city of his own free will.

5/3/2007 8:50:03 PM  
I stand corrected. I guilted myself into whipping together a t-shirt. It's not even 1/8 as fancy as what I had envisioned but it will work.

Also, Victor's favorite new word is "seersee" (seriously) and he just moments ago said "sock" for the first time. I think we're making some progress. I still need to progress him right into bed though!

5/4/2007 1:49:10 PM  
We playgrouped at Brushy Creek Lake Park today, in spite of some drizzle. Hey, we were going to get wet anyway! Victor was not very sure about running out into those sprinklers but he started to get into the spirit of things toward the end. His friend Linnea was thrilled by the "wawa" the moment she got there and ran about fearlessly. Once again, I think the need to impress her might have kicked in for Victor.

We'll be back there again tomorrow for V's buddy John's birthday party so I'm hopeful that today broke him in somewhat. Plus, it will be exponentially more fun with Daddy there to frolic. I'm not the best frolicker.

Here are a few pics of Victor and Linnea from today:

5/6/2007 5:25:10 PM  
Another action-packed Saturday yesterday. First we had John's 2nd birthday party out at Brushy Creek. We had lots of fun but, as evidenced by the below photos, the water was still a bit cold. Then we rushed home for a quick nap before heading back out for Family Fun Night at Heartsong where I performed with the women's choir. We have one more performance this Tuesday and then we're done until fall. I'll miss all of my new friends and I'll miss the night out each week!

Today has been a recovery and organization day around Chez Humphrey. Just got a new computer and it has entailed much reshuffling. First order of business was to get pics uploaded, of course. Note that John the fearless birthday boy was scampering around happily while Victor shivered with his daddy. And so without further ado, here they are:

I swear I'm going to make the time for my Photoshop tutorials this week. I really mean it this time. Need to be ready to really enhance our WalkAmerica pics next weekend!

5/6/2007 8:45:12 PM  
I forgot to mention the Victor milestones for the weekend. First of all, he is consistently saying "Victor!" and it is often interspersed in his counting. He likes to imitate counting a lot and until today, he didn't seem to ever say actual English numbers. Today however, when we'd count to ten while pausing between each number, he would say "nine" and 'ten" at the appropriate points. A few times he even did 6 & 7. This was such a good reminder for us that he really is taking in more than we realize and that it's all going to start coming out.

We removed batteries from almost all of his talking or musical toys (except for the Fridge Phonics, of course) upon the advice of V's EI coordinator and sure enough, he is really starting to enjoy the sound of his own voice more than the sound of Fisher Price voice-over lady. Just 5 days of more quiet play has made a big, big difference. I don't think it's coincidence that he made such progress in the same week we made that change.

In general cuteness news, Victor has had a habit for a while of grabbing my hand and putting it on his head to signal me to give him a little head rub. Tonight he did this as usual but then pushed my hand away and started scratching his own head before grabbing my hand back again. It seems that he loves to get his head scratched just as much as his daddy does! I mostly loved the look on his face when he realized that he could just show me what he wanted. The look on his face when he got what he wanted was even better though.

5/7/2007 9:54:05 PM  
James and I are developing an idea for a new children's book called "Headbutts Are Not Hugs". Victor loves to give hugs but he also loves to show his affection in other rougher (and less than desirable) ways. Just ask poor Pru. As she would tell you "Kidney kicks are not kisses" and "Hairpulling is not humane". Also, "tackling is not tender" and "pulling tails is not pally". If only Pru could type, I'm sure she'd come up with more.

5/10/2007 8:28:23 PM  
Here's a picture of a very determined Victor playing on one of the springy toys at the park earlier this week.

Apparently I should not have had him outside so much this week because a trip to see Dr. Mirrop today may or may not have revealed that all of his congestion problems as of late are most likely due to allergies. The good news is that his ears were clear and his lungs sounded good. The spectacular news is that he gained 2 pounds in the last 2 months. He's almost 27 pounds now and is finally trending upward again after a long weight gain rate plateau.

After the good report, we felt cocky enough to go ahead and do playgroup today. Here Victor is enjoying his trike and Curious George (with a very James-like expression) right before leaving for playgroup:

And here is he at the end of playgroup:

Unfortunately, that was the beginning of a 20 minute nap that Victor decided would just be it for his napping today. Not a sound decision on his part because he was tired and stumbling and had massive amounts of pus oozing out of his swollen right eye by late afternoon.

Yep. The eye was fine when we were at Dr. Mirrop's. Hoping it's allergy-related and not the dreaded pinkeye. Tomorrow will tell. He is sleeping extremely well at the moment though. I sure hope the little monkey feels better in the morning.

5/12/2007 5:17:42 PM  
WalkAmerica 2007 was a very hot, very brutally sunny, very successful adventure. We ended up raising over $1,500 between the three of us and we are so grateful for all of you out there who sponsored us. It meant so much to us and it felt as though you were walking with us, except that you didn't have to bake in the sun. Thank you for making Mother's Day that much more special again.

We took lots and lots of pictures and 14 of them are over in the picture gallery. Here in the post though, I just wanted to share the proofs for the boys' memorial tower posters. After all, they are what today is all about. They are more loved than ever.

5/15/2007 1:17:58 PM  
Mother's Day was perhaps slightly less than stellar. I greeted the official day with a surprise puke mess in Victor's crib when I went to check on him right at midnight. Had to get him up and strip the bed, change his clothes, wipe his head down (since he was just rolling around in the mess) convince him that it's really still time to be sleeping, etc. He just plain coughed so hard that he threw up and he's done it a few times since then but thankfully, none of those incidents have been nearly as messy.

Once he got up for the day, a bath made him feel good as new so we still went to brunch. Unfortunately, that was kind of a botched operation as well. By the time we got downtown to go to Moonshine, there was a line down the block just to walk in the front door. Seersee. Then we tried Magnolia and it was similarly chaotic so we ended up at Z'Tejas. It was only a little better than mediocre. Quality there has gone WAY down.

Have I mentioned that Sunday was my last day as a free eater? I started South Beach yesterday so this has a lot to do with why I was so deflated by the brunch snafu. Victor was undaunted by the subpar Z'Tejas though and he ate pretty much everything he could get his hands on and then wanted more. I guess that's what happens when we have to drive around for an hour looking for food! Here's a pic of him giving us the "where's the rest of my breakfast?" stare.

5/16/2007 8:19:32 AM  
Cousin Nick has arrived! More details to come..............

5/16/2007 9:34:35 PM  
I don't have many more details about little Nicholas Patrick Martin (that's what happens when James takes the call, I suppose) but I do know that he's healthy and he looks sorta like his mommy. Behold the Nick:

He came a bit unexpectedly but luckily only a few weeks ahead of schedule. Sounds to me like he is going to be very different from his big bro Sean who kept us all waiting on pins and needles for weeks (literally) and then came out looking just like his dad (not that that is a bad thing). Nick is smaller too. We are so excited that we'll get to meet him in a month. Many congrats and lots of love to Deb, Pat, Sean, and Nicolas!

So what's up around here? Well, Victor was a bit of a wild man at music class today. Lately he has been participating so much more but today he was just a bit nuts. Then we got home and he threw tantrum after tantrum and then napped for an unheard of 3 hours. So I guess he needed to sleep, eh? Here are a few pics of him being a maniac at music class:

Tonight we went for one of our long family wagon ride/walks and we let Victor run around at the park for a while. It definitely tired him out because he is sleeping well now and has finally stopped coughing and saying "owwwww!". I'm finally starting to believe that this is allergies because going outside does seem to exacerbate the congestion and coughing. Much to James' chagrin, medications are becoming very necessary.

Here are a few pics of Victor running at the park. I've taken pics several of the times we've gone there and I don't ever post them because they always turn out so blurry but I just like them so you'll have to humor me. Obviously I still haven't gotten around to mastering Photoshop (Lia, I'm pulling a total Missy!). Here they are though, in all of their authentically blurry glory:

5/19/2007 3:40:33 PM  
We went to see our favorite children's performer dude Joe McDermott at his CD release concert this morning and Victor displayed yet more evidence of becoming civilized enough to sit and enjoy a performance. I'm still beaming! It was a fun show though and better yet, it was at a really cool toy store that we will have to go back to again soon. Daddy even fell for Victor's sad act and bought the toy he had been playing with the whole time. He's a sucker for magnetic toys. Here are a few pictures of my sweet boys this morning:

I'm now waiting not very patiently for Victor to wake up so that we can speed off to today's tennis match. It's not really important that we go but I did go to the trouble of packing up snacks and drinks so I don't want that effort wasted! Plus, it's a beautiful day and Ruth & John might be there. Time to start stomping around and making some noise.

5/21/2007 12:17:37 AM  
With no offense to Victor's other loyal chums, he is showing that he has a clear favorite buddy and her name is Katie. What I wouldn't have given for pics of the two of them together today - neurotic Victor stressing about getting wet while an effervescent Katie gave him hugs and told him "It's OK, Baby Victor" (I so hope she still calls him that in 10 years). Victor even called Katie by name and that is not something he has ever done for anyone except himself, Dada, Mumummum, Kitty and Cousin Sean (well, Sean's picture anyway). I had the camera along, of course, but it turns out that keeping a toddler happy and getting pictures of said happiness at the same time can be nearly impossible at times, even with Mommy & Daddy double-teaming.

We had a really fun swimdate with Miss Katie and her parents Jamie & Yvette this morning out at their country club. Once Victor got past the terror of being put into a pool (not sure why it was so traumatic), he enjoyed walking all over the toddler pool and seeing how deep he could go before the water got into his mouth. Turns out it's right at the point that the water goes to 3 foot depth. Can he really be that tall?!?!??! He also enjoyed watching Katie go down the whale water slide about 150 times and he clapped and said "Yay!" for her. He even got brave enough to go down the slide himself (with parental assistance) and he quickly figured out that the best way to avoid the splash at the end is to use his feet to stop himself halfway down so that he can inch down at his own careful pace. Hmmmmm. He could actually have gotten this from either parent. I think it's slightly more James though.

The only blemish on an otherwise delightful Sunday was the small detail of me forgetting to put sunscreen on myself. I am rather crispy tonight. By the time I slather Victor up, I have a hard time remembering to put it on myself. I guess I won't be sleeping on my back tonight.

5/21/2007 9:24:57 AM  
Is this not unbearably cute?

I called Victor over to the computer to look at this picture and as soon as I said "Sean", he started craning his neck to see his framed pics of Sean here in the office. I wonder if he'll say his name when he sees him in person or if he'll get performance anxiety. We're working on "Nick" too. He repeated it a few times but I don't think he can come up with it on his own.

I just cannot wait to see these two little guys in person soon. We are going to have so much fun on the Great Midwestern Jaunt! Look out Martin boys, here comes your furniture-climbing monkey cousin.

5/23/2007 3:46:41 PM  
I just put a few music class pics in the gallery since it's been a while. Victor has really been getting into doing his do-re-mi this past week but as I suspected might be the case, he got distracted at class and didn't really do it like he does at home. He really loves music class more and more and he definitely feels so comfortable exploring and socializing there. It's really fun to see.

This summer we're getting wild and switching to Fridays instead of Wednesdays for class and that may not sound like a big deal but it just feels so strange since we've gone on Wednesdays for the past 16 months. I wanted to free up Wednesday mornings though so that we could go to the cool Children's Day Art in the Park that the Austin Symphony has every Wednesday morning in June and July. There is a concert by a featured local performer each week and they have an "instrument petting zoo" where the kiddos can look at and touch and even play real instruments. I think Victor's right at the age that he might really enjoy that.

We're also going to try (key word being "try") doing Mom & Tot Yoga on Monday mornings. This is different from what we did before. With this, we'll be in class together the whole time. I'm not putting any pressure on either of us to make this work but it might be a good step to get him used to going to the studio so that maybe he can try going it on his own come fall. Or maybe he'll totally hate it and we'll have Monday mornings free after all!

On Monday, Victor had his first speech therapy since his ECI evaluation. We've had previous visits with the developmental therapist (she basically just plays with him to see how he's progressing with those skills) but this was our first real speech therapy since the eval. It went really well. She was impressed with his progress and he really responded to her and enjoyed talking to her. Can't ask for more than that!

I strongly suspect that he was just waiting until now to really start talking. That's not to disparage ECI in the least. It's been great to have them checking in with us about strategies for helping his language skills blossom. They've given us some great pointers that have really helped a lot.

Next month at therapy, we're going to press the feeding issues more. Victor still has major texture issues with any vegetable or fruit that isn't pureed nearly beyond recognition (even the beloved bananas). So our assignment is to force him to get really messy. This is a challenge because he is appalled by the thought of finger painting (but will happily paint with a brush) and still often recoils from playdough. We had a pretty significant breakthrough today though.

This is the part of the blog where I have to admit to everyone out there that yes, I do let my precious son have fast food once a week. I know. At any rate, he loves Chick-Fil-A nuggets (but not as much as he loves their cheesecake - oh good God, did I just say that out loud?). I got him some today and I let him have free reign with the dipping sauce, whereas I usually ration very small amounts. He got that stuff all over his hands and face and shirt and was not the slightest bit concerned. I'm trying to celebrate that part of it instead of focusing on the brutal reality that he probably loves high fructose corn syrup. That's a battle for another day.

5/24/2007 3:34:32 PM  
[James here] Yesterday Victor entered the "Hi" phase of childhood. He began saying "Hi" and "H-H-Hi" (a daddy thing) over and over and over... well you get the picture. I cannot wait until the first time he annoys the hell out of some stranger by saying "Hi" to him or her 10 times.

5/27/2007 1:45:42 AM  
My throat hurts so much that I can't sleep right now so thought I'd go ahead and post pics from today/yesterday. We had a very busy Saturday. We started the day with a barbecue field trip to Lockhart. Luckily the rain held off for the most part because it's a good 45 minute drive away. Here's Victor at our first stop (and by far the highlight of the tour), Kreuz Market. Best prime rib ever. Seriously (seersee!), ever.

From there we went on to Smitty's Market and it was there that Victor finally really caught the Q wave, due in no small part to the great sauce on the ribs (which constituted a slight South Beach transgression on my part). Here he is starting to really get into it.

The rain was continuing to hold off so we stopped by McKinney Falls State Park on the way back to Austin. Victor had fallen asleep and was not at all pleased about getting back out of the car again but he played along, especially once he found his sunscreen in the diaper bag and started putting it on himself. The park? Just alright.

We were very tired at this point and came home to clean up and get the boy a nap. Sadly, we had to wake him up yet again to head off to our dear friend Steven's birthday dinner. He was understandably moody throughout the evening but he had moments of giddiness and none were more intense than when Steven passed him the gooey remains of the cake plate to clean up. Here he is enjoying some chocolate icing.

I think we'll try to relax a little more for the rest of the weekend. If the sun comes out in earnest though, I reserve the right to eat those words. Pool season is beginning, after all!

Sleepy sleepy time.

5/27/2007 8:33:27 PM  
We DID have a more relaxing day today. James & I even painted shuttters during naptime. Wait, I guess that's not relaxing, is it? Well, it is to the people that just want this project done already! Anyhoo, our only outing today was to Springwoods Park (our very fave park and the location of V's birthday party this year). It was a truly smashing success. Somewhat literally.

Victor has been working on summoning the courage to walk across the playscape foot bridge that leads to the big slide for probably 3 weeks now. He's wanted to do it but just wouldn't quite execute. Usually this would manifest itself in Victor walking to the very edge and then stomping in frustration, turning back and going down the littler slide. Today he finally made the breakthrough (and Ruth, as I planned, I captured it on film!). Here are the pics of him walking across the bridge like it's no biggie and then him at the top of the slide.

We were very proud of Victor for his newfound playscape bravery but what came next filled us with even more pride. And terror. And some anger too. There was another little boy there with his mother and his mother was completely ignoring him and leaving him to fend for himself. He planted himself at the end of the slide and then tried to climb up it. For a while, we dissuaded Victor from sliding down and told him VERY loudly to wait until the other boy was off the slide. The mother continued to do nothing. So eventually we decided to let Victor go up on his own and go ahead and slide, collision or no.

Victor excitedly ran across the bridge to the slide but when he got there the other boy had gotten to the top of the slide and was just sitting there. Victor started yelling "hey!" and clapping his hands and the other kid just yelled back. This is when it took a turn for the worse. Victor freaked. He stepped away in fear and started to go over toward one side of the platform. We told him "no!" when he went to step off and he hesitated but then proceeded to step off the platform and tried to step onto the chain ladder there. Not good. He immediately slipped and racked himself but good and then just kind of dangled there (only a few feet off the ground).

I scooped him up and he cried bloody murder for about a minute while James and I thanked our lucky stars that he's not pottytrained and thus had some good crotch padding from his diaper. Dusted him off and he went right back to the bridge, strutted across and went down that slide! I was just so proud of him that he didn't let it scare him. Hopefully he's a little scared of that stupid chain ladder now though.

So a forehead bruise, two leg bruises and some slightly scraped-up nether regions later, Victor is sleeping very soundly up there. He's probably dreaming of bridges and slides. Life with a little boy.

5/30/2007 3:54:49 PM  
OK, so it was kind of a glorious, fantabulous day. Victor had a really great music class today. When we got there, he seemed like he was going to be Mr. Cling but he quickly got in the spirit of things. And then some! We've been working on singing "do-re-mi" a lot at home lately and he really enjoys it but he usually clams up about it in class.

Today was a whole new Victor though. He ran right up to the front of the class and watched Carey like a hawk when it was time and then he proceeded to do almost all of it, very loudly and very confidently. He was so proud and excited and it just filled my heart with so much joy. I know that sounds corny but I just felt so happy for him that he's enjoying having his voice heard.

The other major positives of the day were that Victor did not put anything in his mouth today (it was the first time we have EVER had no contributions to the slobber bucket) and once we were home and had lunch, he went down for a nap without nursing. He was pretty peeved about it for a few minutes and even angrily shouted "Uh, seersee!" down the hall at me but it has now been established that he does not need to nurse to take a good nap. That nap just ended however so I best go reward good behavior by letting him get out to play.

Lest you think that Victor has abandoned his duties as chief door closer and camera monitor during his newfound love of singing, here is some evidence otherwise.

Oh, and word has it that Victor's big boy site might really be coming soon. Big changes around here.

6/2/2007 3:31:33 PM  
I took Victor to Linnea's birthday party on my own without James this morning (James had to go into work last night and ended up staying for about 15 hours). There are ample pics over in the gallery, by the way. We certainly proved that we don't need Daddy to have fun - though it does often help - but that boy ran me ragged. Literally. He ran and I was ragged. He had SO much fun though, especially splashing in the baby pool. He is definitely turning into a water baby.

I should qualify that, I suppose. He's not into even trying to do anything resembling swimming and going underwater is something to be avoided but he loves walking around in the water and splashing. We actually went swimming on Thursday with Ruth & John and while he took a while to get comfy in the water, he took a little less time than at our previous swim. Then I took him to yet another pool yesterday morning and he was giddy. It is the biggest kiddie pool I've seen by far. Nothing fancy, no playscape or sprinklers or slides.....just a whole bunch of territory to cover. And cover it he did! He did not want to leave.

So I guess we'll be hitting the pools a lot this summer. It's a great way to get him used to being around other kids and being in new places though. Most importantly, Mommy gets to stay cool. I think our park days are about to enter a hiatus. It's pool and museum season.

6/4/2007 12:57:15 PM  
We went swimming yet again yesterday morning (with Daddy, yay!) and Victor had a blast. He definitely has an hour limit though. At about an hour, he walked back down to the 1 foot end and climbed right out. Then we came home for some lunch and things took a turn for the worse.

Victor ate his scrambled eggs like a champ and then I gave him some of the drinkable yogurt that he loves so much so that I could get him down for a nap. (He's been drinking a 6-oz bottle of that instead of nursing pre-nap for the past 5 days). He was so enthusiastically thirsty that I put some cow's milk in his cup with his drinkable yogurt and for the first time, he did not turn his nose up at the milk (we've tried this before, trust me). Then he went down for his nap and slept for 3 hours. Swimming will wear you out.

He woke up from that nap rather unhappy though. He was immediately crying and rubbing at his eyes and ears and acting just generally agitated. Once he was up for a while, he got a little perkier and I commenced with trying to get us both ready for the Austin Symphony Concert in the Park that I had looked forward to all week.

When I put V in his chair for dinner, I asked him to please be neat about eating so that his shirt would still look nice to go to the concert. That was apparently asking for trouble. And this is when I turned into the most stupid mom ever. I decided that he could have a little PB&J sandwich for the first time ever. Dr. Mirrop had said to wait until 2 but I figured "Hey, what's two months?".

He poked at it and appeared to nibble a little as I got the rest of our food heated. Then the projectile vomiting began. Thinking it was perhaps a fluke, James & I wiped off his very cute (and now puke soaked) concert-going outfit and put him back in the chair to see if he at least wanted some yogurt. Then he began to frantically rub at his eyes and jab violently at his ears and I realized that perhaps nourishment was the least of his concerns.

Got him out and realized that he was even more covered in vomit than previously though and that he also had diarrhea (which interestingly was black from all of the cake icing at Linnea's party the day before) so I hauled him upstairs. Once I put him on the changing table, reality kinda set in. His face was swelling very quickly and he was covered in hives. His eyes had become little slits in his puffy face. I actually said "I don't know if we'll be able to go to the concert, Doodle". Um, seersee.

So yeah, I called the nurse on-call. She came close to sending us to the ER given the amount of facial swelling but since his breathing was still normal, a consultation with the doc on-call assured us that we were fine to stay home and adminster Benadryl. Luckily that worked pretty darned well.

He slept through the night very well. I didn't do the same since I was in his room numerous times to check on him and listen to his breathing. He's acting pretty normal today, aside from being a little clumsy and lethargic from the Benadryl that he is still getting every 4 hours in order to keep the swelling down.

A trip to the doc today was not horribly enlightening. We are going to do allergy testing at his 2 year appointment so that we can get a clearer picture of what all we should avoid. Can't test very accurately right now, unfortunately. In the meantime, we are almost certain that he is allergic to peanuts so we have to avoid any contact with all nuts. We are also supposed to avoid straight cow's milk until after the RAST panel when we will see if he's allergic to milk protein at all. He's OK to still have his yogurt as long as it doesn't affect him. Given that he eats about 12 ounces of it a day, I think it's OK but I'll be watching closely for changes. Weaning him from breastfeeding just became far less of a priority.

Most importantly, we will now be toting an epipen around in the diaper bag. We have to do this until he is 10. Yes, 10. Given the extreme reaction he had from such a miniscule amount of peanut butter, he could go into anaphylactic shock from future exposures. That includes just touching a stray peanut. So our flight next week will certainly have an element of difficulty we haven't had before - getting through security with a spring-loaded syringe and dodging stray peanuts on a plane.

Just to complicate things, Victor did have a rather raw throat today at the pediatrician's and we were informed that there is a virus going around that entails a sore throat and tummy cramps and vomiting. So yeah, that may have been what had him already upset pre-peanut butter. But we're not taking our chances with the milk until after we see what testing reveals. Peanuts are banished forever though. I might throw our jar of Jif off a cliff.

In spite of how worrisome this adventure has been though, I am infinitely thankful that this all happened THIS week and here at home instead of next week during our travels. I guess it was good that we found out the relatively easy way. Now I just can't wait for his swelling to go down so I can see the twinkle in his eyes again. He's been such a little trouper.

6/4/2007 12:57:31 PM  
We went swimming yet again yesterday morning (with Daddy, yay!) and Victor had a blast. He definitely has an hour limit though. At about an hour, he walked back down to the 1 foot end and climbed right out. Then we came home for some lunch and things took a turn for the worse.

Victor ate his scrambled eggs like a champ and then I gave him some of the drinkable yogurt that he loves so much so that I could get him down for a nap. (He's been drinking a 6-oz bottle of that instead of nursing pre-nap for the past 5 days). He was so enthusiastically thirsty that I put some cow's milk in his cup with his drinkable yogurt and for the first time, he did not turn his nose up at the milk (we've tried this before, trust me). Then he went down for his nap and slept for 3 hours. Swimming will wear you out.

He woke up from that nap rather unhappy though. He was immediately crying and rubbing at his eyes and ears and acting just generally agitated. Once he was up for a while, he got a little perkier and I commenced with trying to get us both ready for the Austin Symphony Concert in the Park that I had looked forward to all week.

When I put V in his chair for dinner, I asked him to please be neat about eating so that his shirt would still look nice to go to the concert. That was apparently asking for trouble. And this is when I turned into the most stupid mom ever. I decided that he could have a little PB&J sandwich for the first time ever.

He poked at it and appeared to nibble a little as I got the rest of our food heated. Then the projectile vomiting began. Thinking it was perhaps a fluke, James & I wiped off his very cute (and now puke soaked) concert-going outfit and put him back in the chair to see if he at least wanted some yogurt. Then he began to frantically rub at his eyes and jab violently at his ears and I realized that perhaps nourishment was the least of his concerns.

Got him out and realized that he was even more covered in vomit than previously though and that he also had diarrhea so I hauled him upstairs.

Once I put him on the changing table, reality kinda set in. His face was swelling very quickly and he was covered in hives. His eyes had become little slits in his puffy face. I actually said "I don't know if we'll be able to go to the concert, Doodle". Um, seersee.

So yeah, I called the nurse on-call. She came close to sending us to the ER given the amount of facial swelling but since his breathing was still normal, a consultation with the doc on-call assured us that we were fine to stay home and adminster Benadryl. Luckily that worked pretty darned well.

He slept through the night very well. I didn't do the same since I was in his room numerous times to check on his and listen to his breathing. He's acting pretty normal today, aside from being a little clumsy and lethargic from the Benadryl that he is still getting every 4 hours in order to keep the swelling down.

A trip to the doc today was not horribly enlightening. We are going to do allergy testing at his 2 year appointment so that we can get a clearer picture of what all we should avoid. Can't test very accurately right now, unfortunately. In the meantime, we are almost certain that he is allergic to peanuts so we have to avoid any contact with all nuts. We are also supposed to avoid straight cow's milk until after the RASP panel so we can see if he's allergic to milk protein at all. He's OK to still have his yogurt as long as it doesn't affect him. Given that he eats about 12 ounces of it a day, I think it's OK but I'll be watching closely for changes.

Most importantly, we will now be toting an epipen around in the diaper bag. We have to do this until he is 10. Yes, 10. Given the extreme reaction he had from such a miniscule amount of peanut butter, he could go into anaphylactic shock from future exposures. That includes just touching a stray peanut. So our flight next week will certainly have an element of difficulty we haven't had before - getting through security with a spring-loaded syringe and dodging stray peanuts on a plane.

In spite of how worrisome this adventure has been, I am infinitely thankful that this all happened THIS week and here at home instead of during our travels. I guess it was good that we found out the relatively easy way. Now I just can't wait for his swelling to go down so I can see the twinkle in his eyes again.

6/5/2007 6:25:31 PM  
[James here] Yesterday Victor counted all the way to ten. It was quite nerve racking after he said one-two-three (none, oo, and eee) because it is so rare for him to say the early numbers. But somehow, he was motivated to say them all! None, oo, ee, oh, ive, iex, enen, aight, nine, tehn.

6/6/2007 2:05:36 PM  
Victor is feeling much better now, thank you. He's still got some skin irritation but I think he's finally close to working this all out of his system. We don't ever want to go through that again. I just called Southwest a little while ago to be the peanut killjoy (why don't they just stop serving them at all?). Did you know that you can request that they not serve peanuts if you have an allergy to them? Yeah. So that ought to be at least slightly less stressful than it could have been.

Victor & I went to the art museum this morning before music class and he enjoyed looking at the photography exhibit. It was all photos of people swimming at Barton Springs. We had planned to go to the Austin Symphony's Art Day in the Park event but once we pulled up and saw the crowd, we opted for the museum instead.

It was the last day of music until summer session starts up in a few weeks. Victor was back in his element, as you can see:

Oh yeah, and Victor now brings me his bottle of bubbles and requests that they be deployed by saying "bupple!". Then he quickly loses interest.

p.s. Happy Anniversary to Doodle's Dad! You are loved and not just because you're Doodle's Dad. But it helps.

p.p.s. Right back at ya Doodle's Mom! Little Doodle impressed the table next to us at our anniversary dinner tonight by going through his numbers again. I think colors will be the next big thing.

6/8/2007 3:00:35 PM  
Victor will be going for allergy testing in 3 weeks. We sure wish we didn't have to wait that long but it just wasn't possible to get him in before the trip. Even if I could have gotten him off Benadryl for the required 3 days, there just weren't any openings with the allergist due to his own vacation. So we're just going to have to be super duper, overly careful during our travels. The good news is that he's so close to being totally back to normal. There's a little lingering eczema but that's it. He does still seem a bit skittish about drinking which makes me continue to be extremely suspicious of cow's milk. I hate not knowing what's really safe.

I'm finally getting used to carrying the Epipen with me everywhere I go. I really struggled for a few days with the detail of not leaving it in the heat. I always leave the diaper bag in the car so that it's there and ready to go but the Epipen cannot be left in the hot garage. Then the big duh-duh moment came when I realized that I should just keep it in my purse because I always bring my purse in the house and I never leave home without it. I constantly obsessively check to make sure it's still there though.

We're in trip prep mode at this point. Today while Victor naps I'm trying to burn copies of his favorite CDs so that we'll have music for the car that will keep him in a good mood. It's hard to narrow down the music choices and still pick things that won't drive James and I crazy (you know, I actually just typed the word "nuts" instead of "crazy" and I went back and changed it because I'm so bitter toward nuts). James is going to have to make a concession on the Biscuit Brothers though. Victor & I outvote him. It's basically going to end up being a Dan Zanes festival with a skosh of Amy Winehouse thrown in. We know who's in charge.

I had planned to take Victor swimming yet again today since he loves it so much but he naps for so long afterwards and I need him up and alert for therapy at 4:00. Speaking of which, I better finish up my projects so that I'll be ready myself.

No huge plans for the weekend except to get rested, grab some yoga classes while I still can and get Victor out to the pool at some point. He's really going to miss his swimming outings come next week but I think that seeing so many loved ones who will give him lots of attention will make up for it.

6/11/2007 2:05:08 PM  
Well, we got to do a few of the things that we missed last week due to the peanut debacle. There were varying degress of success. Last night we went to the Austin Symphony's Concert in the Park. I would say that it went fairly well though I'm not sure that James would agree. It kept Victor up a little later than bedtime but he rolled with it and was no worse for wear this morning.

Yeah, so this morning. Not so great. We went to Mom & Tot Yoga and we ended up - yes, you guessed it! - leaving early. Victor kept opening the door to the studio and running out into the lobby to see Maggie (forever known as "the baby whisperer"). That and he spent a lot of time poking at everyone else's yoga mats. It turns out that preschoolers can be extremely territorial about their yoga mats. As can their parents. I continue to be amazed at how snide people can be to other people's kids when they're doing something completely harmless (also encounter this at music with a few select people). If they loathe other people's children so much, why do they take their kids to public classes? It's mind-boggling. I can genuinely say that I look forward to seeing the other kids at music class and I love getting to hang out with them and interact with them. And if they touch my shoes or tap me on the shoulder, I'm not going to have a conniption over it. Sheesh.

So now we're in full-on packing mode and I'm swearing that our outings will be minimal pre-trip. Victor has to get his hair cut tomorrow and we need to go for a few more visits to see John's lonely kittty, Franklin. One last swim may or may not be in the cards because Victor is experiencing some gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea and lack of appetite) and I blame our trip to the pool on Saturday. Um, it's a little bit different crowd on the weekends than during the week. It was wild and dirty and unnerving. I'm just glad that Victor has at least gotten in his first HepA shot. Yuck.

6/13/2007 11:46:21 AM  
Victor & I are attempting to have a lowkey and restful day but I am quickly being reminded why we have so many activities out of the house - he is dismantling anything and everything. He's really starting to show an affinity for mechanics. It was bound to happen, right?

He's also showing some pretty strong desires for independence. Read: he's having some wicked tantrums. He's really good at going limp and wriggling out of just about any hold. He also has gotten good at kicking and screaming and running out of reach. He ought to be a real blast in the airport. We'll definitely have to let him walk off some steam.

Victor has really gotten into his letters and numbers more and more in the past week. He's got this great DVD that teaches the letters and it seems like it really is working. It's mighty tempting to bring it along on our trip but I fear that no one would ever want to see us again. The DVD is extremely repetitive. That's why it works but it can be rather maddening for adults. So we'll just have to keep working on letters and numbers the old-fashioned way - by annoying everyone with our own sing-songy voices!

Two random thoughts before I wean myself from blogging for a while:
1. I think I might be addicted to the smell of Play Doh.
2. I still can't get "Don't Stop Believing" out of my head.

6/17/2007 9:55:01 AM  
[James here]
We went to the zoo on Friday. It was quite a bit of fun because Grandmother, Heather, Chris, Bernie, and Jack were all there as well. The highlight for Victor was the Hippoquarium - not for the hippo but the fish. The highlight for those of us who've had to endure Dawn's grammar policing was when the train conductor corrected her: "Don't you mean 'He and I'?" Priceless.

[Dawn here]
In a show of sportsmanship, I'll leave James' above post unaltered.

6/17/2007 10:15:19 PM  
It's been a very action-packed trip so far and Victor has had lots and lots of fun. In addition to the zoo trip, he's gotten to play at the pool here in J'ville and then got to frolic in all of Gaga's garden fountains. He even rolled around in the mulch while he was all wet. Today was the first day so far that he didn't require a change of clothes at some point. He also got to visit Great Grandpa and tonight he charmed Auntie Ginger & Uncle Joe with his coy act. Along the way, he got his first official skinned knee.

He's enjoyed stroller rides around the neighborhood with Grandmother and has developed a special growl language with Grandpa. And he even said "Hi Gaga!" while he was at Gaga's house. It's going to be hard to leave tomorrow but there are many more adventures to be had in the Great Midwest.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! It was a special treat today to get to say that in person to my own daddy.

6/25/2007 1:52:52 PM  
We're home. I don't even know where to begin recapping. Allow me to first share that Victor seems to be very happy to be home. After a 48 hour nursing strike and some seriously (seersee!) bad bedtime behavior for a few nights, he's nursed just fine at home and he slept last night for 13 hours without so much as a whimper. He's even napping well today! He had so much fun seeing everybody and exploring so much new territory but I think he's relieved to be back to his crib full of monkeys and his kitty.

The flight to St. Louis was completely without incident and while Victor refused to nap on the plane, he was really good and even acclimated quickly to his new flight harness. We pretty much hit the ground running in St. Louis. Got up early the next day and went to the zoo with V's grandmother and the Dohrn clan.

Victor liked the zoo train, just as expected, but the wait in line for the zoo train was not so fun. It was so unfun as to result in Victor's first ever spanking. And yep, I'm the one who gave it out. He got antsy about waiting in line and took off running under several chains into the carousel area. He was not looking back either. So I swooped him up and gave him a solid swat on the butt. He cried and cried and then stayed mad at me for quite a while. I can honestly say that I really didn't feel bad though. That's exactly the situation in which I've always figured I'd feel compelled to employ corporal punishment in order to impress upon him what a huge NO-NO that kind of behavior really is.

There was a lot of fun to be had at the zoo though. Victor especially loved playing in the sprinklers at the Children's Zoo with Bernie & Jack. He was completely and totally soaked but with a huge smile on his face. Later that night we even went swimming in J'ville so he certainly got his fill of water fun. Good thing because it was brutally hot. And here we thought we'd get a break from the heat on vacation!

On Saturday, we went to Gaga's to hang out and have lunch uptown. He impressed everyone with his ability to pack away a lot of hamburger. And yet again, a change of clothes was needed because he splashed and played in the garden fountains at Gaga's (and then rolled around in mulch - nice!). We managed to visit Great Grandpa at the nursing home on the way back to J'ville and luckily V stayed in a good mood for it. He even put up with us going to Grandpa's house for a bit. It was very bittersweet because it was probably the last time I'll ever be there in the house. I'm glad V got to be there for a bit. I wish I'd swung in the porch swing with him though. I swung a little but it felt so strange without Grandpa.

Father's Day was spent mostly relaxing (as much as it's possible to relax while trying to keep a toddler from destroying your parents' house). We had a nice lunch with Gaga and Great Aunt Brownie and then we also had dinner with Ginger & Joe. Needless to say, Victor really amped up the charm. He even said "Gaga" numerous times and then gave Ginger his impossibly precious "loveelovee" farewell. It was really fun to see Victor hanging out and getting more comfortable with his grandparents. His separation anxiety is still very much at play but he does seem like he's starting to understand that other people love him too!

It was really hard to leave Monday but we had many more stops on the agenda so we headed northward to Peoria. We had a short but really fun visit with G there. We even got to go see Aunt Ilo for a bit. This is when napping started to slip a lot though. I wish Victor had been in a better mood but he hung in there pretty well. Tuesday morning we had breakfast and then played with G for a while before hitting the road for the drive to Milwaukee. The drive started pretty and then got really boring but we made good time and then the excitement really began.

It took a little while for Victor & Sean to really warm up to each other but once they did, it was pure joyful pandemonium. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never heard Victor squeal with such glee as he did playing with Sean. Aunt Deb even thought she heard Victor say "chase". It would make sense because there were hours of chasing. And wrestling. And poking. And giggling. Poor Cousin Nick didn't get nearly so much attention from Victor (but that's probably just as well given the way that he shows affection). James & I couldn't get enough of Nick though. Such a cutie. And we even got to see Grandpa Humphrey!

By the time we left Milwaukee on Thursday, we were already exhausted and that's even with Victor napping pretty well while there. He just got so wound up. Once again, it was hard to tear him away but we had more stops to make. From there we made our way to La Grange Park to visit Eileen, Geoff and Claire. It was so awesome to get to hold my best friend's baby but it made me almost sad how big she's already gotten, especially after just seeing tiny Nick. That is one healthy, strong little girl! I just wish I got see everybody more than this. While visiting in LGP, we went to the Brookfield Zoo and walked around in some spectacular weather. Victor really enjoyed the dolphin show. Unfortunately, we got tired and lazy at this point in the trip and so there are far less pics. I would love to have video of V's reaction to the dolphin show finale though. He was clapping so excitedly!

We got to enjoy even more of the great weather with dinner outside (Heather, it was at Palmer's - remember "can you phrase that in the form of a question, Leener?!?!?"?). Then we got ice cream (South Beach be damned) and sat outside for a bit before going home and turning in fairly early. My, how times have changed! Friday we got up and lounged with the Nordmeyers a bit before heading off yet again, this time to LaSalle-Peru for a visit with Ben & Vanidia.

he Lyleses rolled out the red carpet as always and there were toys waiting for Victor upon his arrival so he got right down to business. Perhaps even better than the toys though was the livestock on hand. Victor was quite smitten with Nacho the chihuahua and Mimi the kitty. Once again, I'm kicking myself for not getting video. Victor spent most of our two days there barking at Nacho in a dog sound we hadn't heard him make before (and which really didn't sound all that much like Nacho - it was kind of a waaaaf, waaaaaf!). Just trust me - it was super cute.

At this point in the journey, the weather was delightfully cool. We got lots of fresh air and rest and we ate like kings. The only disappointment was that it was raining too much to go hike at Starved Rock on Saturday. We did get to go see the park a little but no tromping around for us. I even bought shoes at the Gurnee Bass Pro for the occasion. We'll just have to go back again. And that's the theme of the whole trip, I guess - we'll just have to find a way to get back and see these people more often. It was so much fun for all 3 of us and it was definitely worth the fatigue and soreness that we are feeling now. Right?

The flight out of Chicago-Midway was pretty much good. We were just so tired and frazzled that it was awful to drag our stuff around at that point. We had a very brief scare on the last leg though (Nashville to Austin). Southwest had honored our peanut allergy alert quite satisfactorily but there were still peanuts on the floor on each flight we took (we might be flying early in the morning from now on). I noticed a peanut very near where Victor had been standing on the floor playing with the tray table and then right afterwards he started crying and yanking at his ears. This is exactly what he did when he had his reaction. I was pretty panicky at this point because we were on our descent but still a good 15 minutes from Austin. I asked James "but his eyes would be itchy if it were a peanut reaction, right?". Cue Victor rubbing at his eyes. Turns out that his ears hurt from the depressurization and he was wiping the tears away. He bucked up as soon as he saw how concerned we were which I was especially thankful for.

Today we recover. I'm actually quite glad for the rain keeping us inside today but eventually it will be time to procure supplies for life back here in reality. Until then, we rest and enjoy space and creature comforts. It's good to be home, even though we now have the clingiest cat ever. And no food.

6/26/2007 8:51:32 AM  
Oh yeah, forgot to mention (although it's pretty obvious) that there are a ton of new pics from the trip uploaded now. I posted about 65 of them that I narrowed down from 140 and I still don't feel like there are enough! Once again though, it's hard to get pics while still managing to keep V out of trouble.

Getting a little more back to normal here. We might even venture out for some fun today. The fact that Victor put his Crocs on and is now saying "Out!" repeatedly indicates that I may not have much choice, as long as the rain holds off for a bit.

6/26/2007 12:31:18 PM  
OK, it's never going to stop raining. At least the floors are clean again.

There are a lot of new things to report but I'm so tired and everything's a blur so I'll probably need Daddy's help to remember it all. I can tell you that Victor is walking up the stairs (instead of crawling) now and he is saying a bunch more words. We're hearing lots of these:

water (wawa)

Also, he counts to 5 in Spanish now. Sort of. He does uno, cuatro & cinco and then he'll say "bravo!". He picked that all up from Vanidia during a short driving tour. He'll sometimes do "dos" but it's more like "toes!".

[James here]
"Go-go-go!" is big and quite cute. I've been trying to get him to say that as a command for me to spin a top or send a train across the room. He imitates me when he says it which means that he gets very excited, stomps his little feet and says "go!" about 5 times. His "out" is important too. I'm starting to get him to say it to me from a distance when he wants out of his booster seat (i.e. is done eating). Before, it was combined with his old way of communicating it which involved grabbing my hand and throwing it toward his tray. I'm also really working on getting him to say "Daddy" in combination with any other word. That seems close. Mommy, he did use two words recently; what did he say again?

[Dawn back]
That would be "mama wawa".

6/28/2007 12:30:46 PM  
OK, so here's the good news. Victor is not allergic to cat hair or mold spores. Good thing because we have ample amounts of both right now. He's also in the clear for cow's milk and miraculously doesn't even react to cedar pollen. The "bad news" is bad but not really news since there was little doubt about these results. Victor is definitely very allergic to peanuts. During the scratch test, his peanut site puffed up almost immediately from even the extremely diluted serum they used (they start weak and then go stronger if it's nonreactive).

Ever since I learned that Dr Mirrop had seen our blog (which is not a problem since we adore him and would never have a bad word to say about him), I'm leery of saying much about doctors here. I'll make an exception today. The allergist, who shall remain nameless, was not very nice. I would even go so far as to describe him as cranky. He got us the info we need for now but I'm far from dazzled with him. He didn't want to do the RAST panel since we basically got what we needed from the skin testing so we'll probably do the RAST at Victor's 2 year. They're far nicer there anyway!

So yeah, must avoid peanuts just as we have been. Also have to treat tree nuts like poison as well. He won't be tested for tree nuts until age 4 though because "he shouldn't have them until then anyway". The bright spot in the conference was the tidbit that Victor can have ChickFilA even though they use peanut oil since it's refined (and it makes sense given that he's never reacted to anything from there).

The real challenge is that Victor can't really have any bakery treats or chocolate because of the danger of cross-contamination. So it sounds like I'll be making him his own cake for his birthday again and he won't get to eat any of the bakery cake. At least he won't know any better for now.

Oh, and the Epipen instructions continue to perplex us a bit. The allergist said that if he reacts like he did last time, we can give Benadryl and watch for any signs of labored breathing or throat discomfort before giving the adrenaline shot. The nurse gave us a demo and she made it sound like if he reacts at all we should just give him the shot to be safe. The original prescription (we got a new prescription for even more pens) says to "administer if exposed to peanut butter" which seems grossly vague. I believe in my heart that we'll know if we need to do it at some point but I just wish we had a better handle on it for now.

Victor has speech therapy this afternoon but I'm hopeful that we'll have time to run out after his nap to get some cow's milk! We'll both continue to cringe at the sight of all nuts.

6/29/2007 1:56:38 PM  
We started our summer session of Music Together today. This is a different day for us because we did Wednesdays for the past 17 months. I had some misgivings going in and wondered if I should have messed with a winning formula, particularly since the main reason I even switched was so that we could go to Art Day in the Park on Wednesday mornings and we have yet to ever actually go.

All fears were put to rest when Victor was reunited with his friend Saira! They seemed genuinely happy to see other. Victor was definitely pleased to be back at music class and to see Miss Carey again too. Lots of clapping and shouting "yay!" and "hola!" (which he seems to think means the same thing).

6/30/2007 2:07:19 PM  
Well, preferences are changing around here. Dora is all but passe at this point which is really fine because we're trying to really minimize TV watching these days. As usual though, I consider Signing Time and some parts of Sesame Street to be exempt from that. And luckily, Victor is really enjoying his Meet the Letters DVD and it's starting to sink in. We need to start working on Meet the Colors.

Sadly, Llama Llama Red Pajama seems to be less of a thrill these days too. Ever since we got back from vacation, Victor really hasn't wanted to participate in storytime like before. One book that has really gained his favor though is Ten Naughty Little Monkeys (a gift from his grandparents while we were visiting). That is his standard pre-nap book and it's certainly growing on him. I like that it ends with the monkey doctor saying "Put those monkeys down for a nap!".

Actually, when I read Naughty Monkeys before his nap earlier, I put him in my lap in the rocker and he held still and looked at the pages very attentively. We haven't tried it that way for a while because he has been in a phase where he didn't want to sit on laps to read but instead preferred for it to be like library storytime (where I sit with the book facing out away from me and he stands in front of me dancing and jumping and occasionally focusing on what I'm saying). Could it be that he now prefers lap snuggling for storytime again? It would be this mommy's dream come true. The closer we get to weaning, the more of a snuggle opportunist I become.

I can say with confidence that I think Victor will really like Llama Llama Mad at Mama when it comes out in a few months though (thanks again for the alert, Ruth!). That is definitely a sentiment that he identifies with more and more all the time since I'm constantly putting an end to inappropriate fun. The book is about Llama Llama being mad that his mom is taking so long at the grocery store though. We don't have that problem, thanks to the beloved racecar carts. Oh yeah, but wait, that too will probably change!

There's a new Knuffle Bunny book coming out soon too. Yep, this is what I get excited about now.

7/2/2007 1:54:41 PM  
So last night we took Victor out after bedtime for his first ever fireworks show. We went to the roof of the National Instruments parking garage to view the nearby Quarries display. Victor was very, very perplexed when I changed his diaper at 8:15 and then took him back downstairs again. He doesn't go out after bedtime very much. We packed him into the car and got some ice cream on the way to the magical show. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally at 10:15, we decided that something must be wrong and we drove over to the Quarries. They had canceled it (WHY!?!!?!?!??! It was perfect out last night.) So there are pictures of Victor at his first fireworks attempt in the main gallery. The reactions you see in the shots are probably due to fatigue and fear of the rampant crickets.

So today, we straggled out early for playgroup at the Children's Museum. Victor didn't last very long after the late night (although he is still fighting his nap as I type this). Here are a few shots from that outing. I wish I could get group shots of the whole crew but they all have their favorite parts of the museum and their paths rarely cross when we're there. For Victor today, it was all about the giant chess set and the green slide. He didn't even set foot into Austin Kiddie Limits today!

These pictures remind me of how desperately I need to figure out the rest of Photoshop. Pretty blurry, even on the Kids & Pets setting ("spazz setting").

7/4/2007 7:18:52 PM  
Victor& I braved the rain to go downtown to the Paramount Theater last night for the Biscuit Brothers' July 4 Extravaganza (known to some of you out there as "Operation Spite"). I was less than confident about my abilities to accomplish this feat sans Daddy but I decided that I had something to prove about Victor's ability to sit through a concert. Success was ours and the gloating was oh so sweet!

The pictures are about as lackluster as it gets but I had to chronicle this (best that I could while juggling a toddler and all of his accoutrements). Behold Mommy's bravest outing to date:

Here Victor sits wearily on the edge of his seat, wondering what it's all about.

Then, suddenly a familiar face appears way in the distance (cheap upper balcony seats). It's Buford Biscuit!

Before we know it, the Bros really get to jamming and the kids start going crazy.

At this point, Victor is enthralled.

He claps and yells and sings E-I-E-I-O and then just when he starts getting antsy, it is miraculously time for the intermission, at which point he prowls around the historic Paramount.

Then he lounges on Mommy for the second half and waits for the big finale.

And that's all she wrote.

7/4/2007 11:50:27 PM  
And we thought that all hopes of fireworks had washed away in this rain:

We ended up getting to make the Zilker fireworks after all. We were stunned to drive downtown, navigate the trek from parking over to the boggy park, sit through the awesome show and get back home again in just over 2 hours. It was another late night for Victor. Over in the pics gallery, you can see evidence of just how cranky and upset he was about being out late at night. He was blissful!

7/7/2007 2:41:54 PM  
Happy Birthday to CiCi! We had a blast today at her party and I even managed to capture a few shots of the music/playgroup crew (Ciera, Linnea, Victor, Eli & Saira). As usual, they evade a group shot though. Here they are in all their soggy toddler glory:

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge but don't forget to scroll down to see the whole pic or you'll miss Saira!

7/8/2007 9:50:23 PM  
We went to Kiddie Acres (a tiny amusement park for tiny people) this afternoon with Alex & his parents. Alex tried everything fearlessly while Victor only tolerated the train and the carousel. There are pics over in the gallery but as of this posting, I am unable to put titles and comments on them yet. For all I know, this blog entry will disappear into mid-air too!

(Pics are updated now.)

7/11/2007 3:12:49 PM  
I'm frazzled. Haven't had a day this hard for a long, long time. Got up this morning and was rushing to get us ready for yet another day of Swimmerama when we got a call letting us know that the teacher was "ill" (forgive me if I'm suspicious of a 20-something's "illness" but I was that young once and remember being "ill) and was rescheduling for Friday. Great. We have music on Friday mornings.

"Hey, this is OK", I thought, "this will break up our week a little better so we don't burn out on swimming". So I rushed to get us changed and to a make-up class at music this morning. We even went during our old reliable 10:45 Wednesday time slot. Let's just say it ain't like it used to be.

Victor had two separate time-outs at music today. I have NEVER had to do that with him before but he was just wild and was slapping at me when I tried to subdue him. I'm not cool with that. Turns out that getting a time-out is pretty upsetting to him, enough so that he tries to reform his behavior at least just enough to be allowed back into civilization again.

After the very prolonged ordeal at music, I just wanted lunch to be easy so I picked up some ChickFilA on the way home. Last time we had it, Victor acted just a little weird but I decided that I was just looking for something to be wrong since I'm still a little paranoid about the peanut oil. Well, he was a little weird yet again. He kept smushing his lips together and biting at them after he ate his lunch. So I gave him some Benadryl, put him down for a nap and then staked out on the other side of the door with the Epipen.

I had decided that I would wait until he quieted down and then I would sneak in and lie down for a nap in his room so that I'd be there if he was having any kind of reaction. It got quiet and I quietly tiptoed in. Victor was not asleep. He stood straight up and shouted "Mom!" and then "Cookie!" and so, not knowing what else to do, I tried to act invisible and just lie down quietly with the animal menagerie. That did not go well. He yelled at me for 10 minutes straight. So then I got up, gave him the lion he'd been asking for, kissed him on the head and begged him to please, please, please just rest for an hour.

I'm still hearing a bit of chatter in there but it's getting sparser so I guess there's hope. Tomorrow there will be swimming and when there is swimming, there is napping. I'll be repeating that over and over to myself.

7/13/2007 2:45:00 PM  
Swimming went better today as a result of lower expectations on my part and a longer break-in time for Victor. He does not respond well to being rushed into the pool and asked to perform so I got him there early enough to prowl around the perimeter for a bit and then enter on his own. I finally had to just remind myself yesterday that I loathed swim lessons when I was little (so much so that I once threw up in the pool) and while I've really been trying to make it fun for Victor, I can't really fault him for not being thrilled about it at this early stage of the game.

Today though, he screamed and cried a little bit less about being submerged and then he even jumped into the pool from standing for the first time. He's been "jumping" toward me from sitting on the side of the pool for a long time but was never cool with doing it from standing until today. He was even pretty pleased with himself so there's hope yet. Suffice it to say though, I'm extremely happy that I don't have to get us into swimsuits again for another few days.

Victor's talking a lot more about what he wants these days (cheese, fry, wawa, goga/yogurt, cookie, ball, buh-boh/bubble) and is even finally working "milk" ("wulk") and "help" ("wulp") into the repertoire which has been very encouraging. And he's using his spatial/directional words very appropriately these days (in, out, up, down, open, close) instead of just using open generically for everything. He also says "bye bye" on his own now instead of being coached as to when it's time to say it and he is throwing in his "lovee lovee" a little more often, especially when I put him down for his nap. Hearing that was well worth the wait. Much like Victor. :)

7/15/2007 2:49:42 PM  
Important lessons learned today:
1. Childproof caps aren't really childproof.
2. Dye-free liquid antihistimines, while perhaps slightly less tasty than their neon colored counterparts, are a really good idea.

We had a really lovely morning. We went out for a nice breakfast and then went to the park to let Victor run free for a bit. Unfortunately, he was very keyed up from the excitement and managed to get the cap off a bottle of bright orange Triaminic and then proceeded to shake it all over the carpet in the hallway upstairs. Good times.

On a more endearing note, Victor's newest cute-ism is that now rather than saying "OK" when he wants to get out of his chair/crib/carseat, he'll say "OKs". It's like his version of "for reals". This is far cuter than his other new habit of grinding his teeth.

Resisting the temptation to rest up for another week of swim class while Victor naps right now. I desperately need to clean the downstairs since Victor has therapy tomorrow. I seriously doubt that Stephanie would notice the dust bunnies (which are more like dust jack rabbits or perhaps even dust hyenas) that have taken up residence here but I need something to motivate me. Shame is a great motivator. Swiff on!

7/16/2007 3:03:33 PM  
Swimming got canceled today. Some evil delinquents vandalized the pool last night and it was unsafe for lessons this morning until they cleaned and checked the chemical levels better. I would really like to find these kids and force them to get a toddler ready for swim class, negotiate the post office and then arrive to "safety story" day at the pool and try to keep said toddler from entering the pool. Class lasted 10 minutes and that felt too long.

Thankfully, Victor woke up early today and was thus able to settle down for a nap without a fight. Every portion of the day leading up to that was a fight though. Every day I tell him "Nope, this is not the day that you are suddenly stronger than me" but while I won't tell him this, I can see that day coming. At least I know that he'll wake up thinking I'm fun and wonderful again. Naps are truly magical.

7/17/2007 2:31:01 PM  
Swimming was a bust again. There may have actually still been class (as in, IN the water) for all I know but it was pouring when it was time to pack and leave so I made the executive decision to opt out today. Instead, we went to Ready, Set, Play! with Ruth & John. Victor started tentative as ever but after about 30 minutes, he finally embraced the inflatable experience. Unfortunately, by that point the big kids had arrived in droves. While Victor always gets excited (and sometimes even inspired to be braver) by watching the big kids, there's nothing more irritating for a mommy trying to make sure her precious child doesn't get trampled.

Oh, and I promise this won't turn into a tirade (although it justifiably could) but there were a great deal of snack crumbs in one of the bouncies and Victor kept wanting to try to eat them. They probably weren't nutty but even aside from that, it's disgusting. Not to mention completely against the rules! We're trying to live in a society here. OK, so that treaded close to a tirade.

Much as I tried, the quaint picture of Victor & John uniting in play was still not to be today. I'll be ready and waiting, boys! Here are a few shots, nonetheless. After all, I had to prove to Daddy that the bouncy castle at Victor's birthday party won't be a complete and utter waste.

So yeah, here's Victor very boldly invading a little girl's ball pit space:

And here's John considering coming into the bouncy castle with Victor and then thinking better of it (before probably scampering off to run more football drills):

And last but not least, here is Victor finally bouncing happily of his own free will, just as it was time to pack up and head out:

7/17/2007 9:08:37 PM  
This merits a new entry. Victor drank cow's milk. He even drank some of it out of the sippy unassisted. Then he got really mad and I had to help him drink out of the open cup. The important thing is that he's motivated enough to actually try to drink it himself so we'll experiment with other cups (we certainly have enough different kinds we've tried over the last year).

Oh, and I put strawberry Quik in his milk to get him to drink it. A lot of Quik, actually. Still, it's a big step from drinkable Yobaby. My days of driving around the city trying to score the ever elusive liquid Yobaby may be just about done. At long last, we have a wulk-drinker! Sadly though, he seems to be terrified of sandwiches. I gave him a sandwich tonight and he was really upset and clearly thought that it was going to make him sick again (last time he had a sandwich was the peanut butter incident).

Also, Victor has some new interests:
-climbing onto his table and standing up
-flushing the toilets over and over again
-carrying around his cousin Nick's picture and setting up the frame where he wants to play
-"reading" his books by himself (babbling and flipping pages)

Obviously some of these things are more endearing than others.

7/23/2007 2:20:35 PM  
Victor is testing my resolve at every turn. After the wulk braggery, naturally he has gotten very wishy washy about it and has been pathetically whining "wulk!" as he sits in the rocker with me for pre-nap storytime. I'm holding firm on cutting out that nursing but it's been hard, especially since I hate to not reward him for using his words. I've been trying to explain that he just had his milk at lunch and he should have had more if he wanted it, blah blah blah. Yeah, blank stare. At least he gets over it fairly quickly and hopefully he's starting to get the idea that he better drink while he can because the mommy wulk bar isn't open 24/7 anymore.

The latest sticking point is tooth brushing. Talk about a battle royale. He has been so good about it for the last year and a half, begrudgingly holding still to let me brush away in there. Lately though, I've been trying to get him to participate more in such activities (also including washing hands). Well, the step stool is his absolute favorite new thing. He loves to be able to watch himself fake brushing in the mirror and he especially loves being able to reach everything on the sink. Too late to take that back, eh?

This is all generally good but he seems to want to take me completely out of the tooth brushing process and he is woefully negligent in his own brushing, as you would expect from a toddler. So while a week ago, he downright enjoyed me holding him and brushing his teeth (whilst singing various improvised tooth brushing anthems), now it's an infringement upon his sense of self. So yeah, potty training? We're not fast-tracking that. The potty seat can continue to be decorative for a bit. I sure am glad I got that kickin' retro green.

Oh, and as previously mentioned, Victor is really paying attention to his picture of his cousin Nick now. He likes to move the frame around and set it up in different places. When I ask him who that is, he'll answer "Meck" probably 1 out of 10 times. Unfortunately, it's never when James is around so James thinks I'm delusional. Sometimes when I ask, Victor tells me that the person in the picture is "Tunky" (monkey).

7/26/2007 5:17:08 PM  
Victor's feet grew. Like a lot, actually. I was jamming his feet into his 6s and he's a 7 wide now. Found out that little bit of info this morning in a rare trip to the mall. We also managed to catch about 20 minutes of Joe McDermott performing at Pottery Barn Kids before Victor started to lose his mind. Perked right up for Whole Foods though (I'm starting to think that his great ambition in life is going to be stocking the freezers there).

And speaking of Whole Foods, check this out:


I almost cried at the sight of a flyer for this because it just sounds so darned fun but Victor can't have ice cream shop ice cream. Would it be mean to take him anyway and then confine him to the Blue Bell vanilla (a known safe quantity)? It's really good stuff and he won't realize what he's missing, right? I guess that begs the question though - then what is the point of an ice cream festival???? Awww, nuts!

Oh, and it's still raining. I don't think it will actually ever stop for more than 3 hours at a time (which almost always manages to occur during naptime). I'm watching the forecast like a hawk at this point. Victor's party next weekend is not scheduled to include toddler mud wrestling. What it will include though is Victor's Grandmother! Yay!

7/28/2007 11:29:02 PM  
We got to go outside today. All 3 of us at the same time! It was sunny this morning so we made a mad dash for Zilker where we played on the playscape and then rode the Zephyr. Our timing was auspicious because the train stalled on the tracks right as we went back into the playground and the sun became oppressive right about then too. Victor definitely had some fun and the fresh air seemed to do wonders. No nap striking today! Yesterday was the opposite of all of the above: all rain, no play, no nap, cranky Mommy.

Didn't really get any outstanding shots today but will still post a few just because they were actually taken outdoors. Did I mention that we got to go OUTSIDE?!?!?

The only other big news to report is that Victor is finally really developing preferences and is communicating them to us. This has been most evident this past week with his constant requests for lemonade ("memonay"). Tonight however, he was asking for beer. Over and over and over.

7/30/2007 5:10:13 PM  
I'm living quite the comedy of errors. Except that none of it is particularly funny. Since none of it is truly tragic either, I guess I'll stick with comedy of errors even though "idiotic cavalcade of errors" is more on the money.

I've been cleaning in a frenzy for the past few days so the house will be at least somewhat pleasant for Victor's Grandmother. After all, she doesn't get to take many trips. As usual, cleaning has inflicted a series of injuries upon me. I look like I've been mountain climbing instead of dusting, vacuuming and mopping. Bruises everywhere. So Victor and I have that in common, at least. We both got that Pressler "jerky movement" gene.

Last night, in an act of indulgence, we packed up and headed off for the Austin Symphony's Concert in the Park downtown. We've looked forward to this one - large string ensemble. There was spotty rain but the sun was out and we proceeded with plenty of "memonay" and cookies on hand. We got the best parking space ever! Of course that was because the symphony was nowhere to be found.

Apparently musicians don't like the rain. But do you know who does? Fire ants. In the less than 5 minutes we were at the park, I managed to stand smack dab in the middle of a thriving fire ant community. I have at least 10 bites and my foot is puffed up and very unhappy. Day 2 is exponentially worse than Day 1. The itching, my God, the itching! I am so still getting that pedicure later this week though. I shall not waste babysitting services.

So yeah, fast forward to today. Still gimping around and cleaning but today I was standing ready to go to get my new tires installed (and yes, it sure would have been a good idea to do this BEFORE it rained for 2 months straight). Tire dude was supposed to call me the moment that he got my new beautiful tires into stock but by 11:00ish, Victor was getting restless. I ended up calling to reschedule the installation for tomorrow because I wanted to make sure that Victor got down for his nap early enough to be perky for therapy at 4:00.

4:00 in Casa Humphrey. Guess what happens? Therapist calls to say that she's stuck in traffic way out yonder and maybe it would just be best to reschedule. I had to agree in theory. Next week she'll come after we've had V's 2 year pediatrician appointment and we'll have height and weight info for the nutritionist (who will hopefully be participating in this little sitdown). Plus, I'll be less preoccupied with bouncy castles and forecasts and ice cream transportation strategies and keeping the floors clean. And meanwhile, Victor? Still napping. And you know what? Good for him. All I keep saying to myself though is "We could have gotten those tires today". That and "ow!".

8/1/2007 9:01:01 PM  
The birthday festivities are in full swing! Victor's Grandmother arrived this morning and we ran around a little and then I got to go get my nails done during naptime. Sweet! We spent some time working on how to answer the question "Victor, how old are you?" but he seems to think that he should keep counting on from two. He also got one of his presents early tonight - the Sand & Water Table. Here are some pics of him trying it out:

And here is a demonstration of what he thinks the purpose of the sand table actually is:

Yes, it's to remove all sand from the table and disseminate it in the yard. Clean-up required a hosedown and a bath. I can safely say it was a hit but I don't know when I can face playing with it again.

8/3/2007 9:46:00 PM  
Well, he's 2. He seems to know it too. He definitely gave us some major attitude at moments today. The trend of late napping and the resulting lateness in going to sleep continues and I don't think it will get any better until the excitement around here dies down a little. The kid is just amped up.

Thank you to all of you who sent gifts this week. He has really been having fun checking out all of his new stuff. And tonight he was enthralled by his birthday candles on his cake. Unfortunately, it took quite a while for him to trust that something that had only moments before appeared to be on fire was really something he wanted to eat.

I guess we're ready for tomorrow's party. I feel like there's something I should be doing tonight but I'm so sore from hunching over to decorate V's personal cake for tomorrow that I'm planning to opt for rest tonight and an early morning tomorrow.

Victor has been wearing me out for two whole years now. As exhausted as I am, it doesn't feel like it's been that long. This next year might be a major battle of wills but I'm pretty sure it's going to be even more fun than the first two. He is becoming the coolest little guy.

8/5/2007 12:23:31 PM  
We survived the party intact and with lots of leftovers. I think everyone had fun but it's certainly a blur, as expected. Victor did love the bouncy castle, thanks to the efforts of Cousin Susan (who climbed in there with him). I'd say it was a hit overall as evidenced by the gazillion pictures of bouncing and frolicking.

Something funky happened with my picture upload so there are two different sets and, as such, they're no longer in proper order. All 50+ pics are there though which was a remarkable feat given how tired I am.

Thank you so much to all of V's friends for making it such a special day for him and thank you especially to Victor's Grandmother for making the trip down for the occasion. Sorry he was too sleepy to say bye-bye this morning! And now, it's time for some major chilling out here. Well, that and playing with new toys.

8/6/2007 3:00:40 PM  
Victor got his 2 year portraits done this morning. Here's the official birthday shot:

It was a mildly harrowing experience. I tried to express to the photographer that attempting to get Victor to pose was futile and that he needed to just be snapping and hoping. Then he got out the dreaded blocks. That NEVER works and today was no exception. Not only did Victor knock them down every time the guy dutifully stacked them up but he also started to pelt them at the guy. Then it reached the point that Victor started throwing his snacks at him too. That's when we knew it was time to call it a sitting.

Ah, but wait.........there's more:

The last two didn't scan well due to size but there they are nonetheless and if you click on the thumbnails above, you'll get slightly less funhouse-mirrored versions. So yeah, we got some cute shots in spite of the (much-deserved) photographer pelting. Check that off the 2 year list. Next up - a visit to Dr. Mirrop!

8/7/2007 5:29:37 PM  
Victor is tall. 36 7/8 inches tall, to be exact. That's still firmly in the 95th percentile. The great news is that he is also still trending upward with the weight and is now right smack in the middle of the 50-75th percentile at 28.7 pounds. So there's a good reason that clothes are actually fitting him a little better these days. Granted, they're usually 3T clothes but at least I can get things to fit him.

Victor got a great report at his well check and he even managed to avoid getting stuck with any needles. We were there 2 days too soon to get his next HepA shot so that will have to wait until we're back in a few months for his flu shot. Also, Dr. Mirrop didn't feel like the RAST was going to add much to the allergy picture right now or at least not enough to justify putting Victor through getting a vein stuck. So we're waiting for a while on that.

Victor was in great spirits for the doc and really enjoyed using the stethoscope on himself and imitating Dr. M washing his hands. I guess I might have to get him a toy stethoscope because he thought it was the greatest thing ever.

8/8/2007 1:18:58 PM  
I've been in pre-fall cleaning mode and that has meant sorting stuff for the resale shops. I stumbled upon Victor's monkey costume from last Halloween in the process and Victor immediately started putting it on. Once he had it on, he was not entirely pleased though, as you can see:

This is the point that he started saying "wulp!" (help):

I couldn't stop laughing but this is right about when he seemed pathetic enough that I finally wulped him out of the monkey suit:

Can you tell from the fingerprints that Victor spends a lot of time looking in that mirror?

8/10/2007 2:11:51 PM  
Since playing outside is really out of the question in this heat, I set up Victor's play tent (yes, it's new!) last night after he went to bed. He was quite excited to see it this morning. Why didn't I ever think of it before?!?!? This is the perfect thing to bring out when we're having a boring day at home:

He still won't go through the tunnel though.

8/11/2007 9:17:30 PM  
Best boy ever. Victor really deserves some kind of medal for surviving today's field trip to Waco/Mommy's day as a single parent. Come to think of it, I need a medal too. Of course James is the one that played tennis in the scorching heat so I shouldn't whine. Much.

We went to Waco today to watch James play in the Little State Championships. All of the second place finishing USTA teams in the state are invited to play and it's a pretty big deal. Kind of like a state championship consolation tourney. Whatever. It's big. And last we saw, the team was doing well.

I decided that Victor & I would go up there early this morning to go to the zoo since you might as well actually enjoy what there is to enjoy of Waco if you must go there. We did. It was brutal. The animals were angry and pouty about the heat but Victor really didn't mind all that much. He had lots of fun barking at the meerkats (he thinks that they're chihuahuas) and singing "lalala kitty" to the ocelot. And as always, he loved the fish. For all we went through today, I only have this picture to show for it:

Let's just say that I don't plan to undertake such a major mission without James for quite a while and not just because of the lack of photographability. And really, Victor was just wonderful. Delightful. Tolerant. It was just that everything was so daunting in the heat. We managed to stay at the tournament for about 4 hours but that was our limit. There was a lot of dousing with water and sunscreen reapplications. I've never seen Victor drink so much.

Victor slept for most of the drive home but woke up 2 exits before IKEA. I had wanted to stop on the way home since it's a little further north than I usually go but I sure wasn't going to wake Victor up for it. I took his waking at that point as a sign that we should just go. Have you been to IKEA? It's cool. However, on a Saturday at 6:15 it's completely chaotic and maddening. Naturally, this is when Victor chose to totally lose it (maybe that 1 hour of napping all day had something to do with it). He probably wasn't all that loud but it was also the same moment when my headache reached the level of full-on splitting and I realized that I missed the back of my neck with the sunscreen. We soldiered through though. Perhaps we'll go back in a year or so.

And now, Victor and I are safely home in our 75 degree house (James isn't here to bump it up to 76). This will be my first night without James in probably about 3 years and I had big plans of watching some chick flick that he would hate. Instead, all I can think of is having my big snore-free bed and my snuggle cat to myself ASAP. My guess is that I won't be able to sleep without him though.

8/13/2007 3:29:45 PM  
First and foremost, congratulations to the Texas Little State 4.5 Champions! We're very proud of Daddy and his whole team. Here they are:

And in related weekend event news, another birthday (now belated) wish to Miss Saira. We had a grand time at her party yesterday in spite of yet more heat. Here's the birthday girl waiting patiently to dig into her cake:

Today Victor & I have tried to enjoy some relative normalcy and some massive blasts of air conditioning. This meant heading north yet again but this time only as far as Round Rock to go to Ready, Set, Play! with Ruth and John. Victor gets a little braver each time but is still not keen on the big slides, unlike his daredevil buddy John. Victor spends most of his time in the bouncies yelling or racing about wildly:

But here he is in an actual mid-bounce (I won't go so far as to call it a jump):

As usual, the photographic order of the day was attempting to capture some semblance of interaction between the boys. Here they are in Toddler Towne exploring the ball pit and entering the "oh yeah, we're friends, aren't we?" warming-up stage:

John offered an olive branch in the form of a most certainly germ-ridden ball:

Victor responded with the gentle shove that proceeded this shot (luckily John was a very good sport said shove):

And then briefly they appeared to possibly be conspiring to stage a Toddler Towne jail break:

All in all, a good start to the week, I'd say. And in closing, several random news items:

1. Big kids go back to school in 14 days! Can I get a "woo hoo!"?

2. Victor seems to be weaning in earnest. He knows he's 2.

3. Sea World is prohibitively expensive for this family. Was just looking into it again since Victor loves the fishies but we're not spending the money on that until he can write me a report about how great it was.

4. But next time we go to Chicago, we are so going to Shedd.

8/15/2007 2:39:45 PM  
Victor has historically been unbelievably good about sitting happily in his carseat but here recently it has become a bit of a struggle. Specifically, he has discovered how to loosen the harness in his seat. He doesn't unbuckle it. He just presses a lever and leeeeeeeans way forward to let all of the slack out. Then he is free to wriggle his arms out and reach everything in the backseat. I can often tell when he's started to loosen it and I can reach back and yank it tight again but he's gotten more and more stealthy about it. Something has to be done because I'm tired of pulling over to get him back in.

I do have a few allies in this ongoing battle though. I bought Victor a little roaring lion and a screeching monkey at the Waco Zoo and for brief jaunts, he is so enthralled with them that he is distracted from the escape potential. Exhibits A through C:

Also in the category of "Things were going so well and now......not!", Victor was making tremendous strides with drinking water out of an open cup unassisted last week. He still wants no part of the sippy cup so we're really trying to make this open cup thing work, especially since weaning is upon us. Last week he was really getting the concept. Then we went to Waco.

While we were out in that heat at the tennis match, I kept dousing Victor with water to cool him off. He thought that was super cool. So you see where this is going, right? Yep, now he wants to pour water on himself every chance he gets. As a result, I've been taking his shirt off at lunch so that he doesn't totally soak it. And naturally, now he also has decided that he prefers to be shirtless as much as possible. All of this goes to show that nothing good comes of going to Waco. Except for that whole Little State title thing. And the procurement of small noise-making animals.

8/16/2007 2:43:00 PM  
After a swimming excursion (which was fun but exhausting) yesterday, it was quite a relief to have playgroup inside today. Thank you rain. I snapped a few shots. I know I'm almost on a picture binge lately and probably no one wants to see this much but this blog has become my Doodle Scrapbook so I'll continue to indulge. And then some.

Just for fun, check out this little comparison study. Here is a pic from playgroup 6 months ago next to a pic from today:

[Edited to add: to view both at the same time, might have to right click and open link in new window for each.]

They've got so much more hair now! And Linnea is definitely sporting the cute big girl pigtail well these days. :)

Here are a few more just for good measure, including Victor getting some toe cleaning from Lucy:

Somehow our gracious host (Eli) managed to escape most of the pics. And lastly, here is a pic that was completely an accident but I kept it because it captured the essence of the end of playgroup. It's all a blur, basically:

Good times. Good friends. Good napping? Say it's so.

8/20/2007 1:30:14 PM  
It feels like Monday alright, in every sense of the word. After a full weekend of nap striking (as in not a single minute of napping all weekend long) and extremely picky eating, we headed off - exhausted but determined to go have fun - to the museum this morning. I should have seen which way the wind was blowing as soon as I got out of the car. I jammed the parking meter with a mangled quarter and then, after finally managing to pick it out with a safety pin I found in the bowels of the glove compartment, I promptly threw my cell phone under the car. I mean so far under that I had to actually move the car to get to it. All the while Victor was looking at me as if to say "Oh boy, it's going to be one of those days". But into the museum we went.

He did pretty well for a while. Still some pretty significant sharing and turn-taking issues but nothing meriting the looks of scorn from the mothers of infants (to whom I say "oh just you wait!"). And as always, there was a completely wild and inappropriately violent child there to bring the standards of decorum down just a bit. Whew.

Now usually Victor is really good about staying close to me in these settings. He likes to have his 4-5 foot "independence zone" but he doesn't typically like to do anything drastic without grabbing my hand and yanking me along. So I stood and chatted with our friend Kathy while Victor & Gwen played nearby. Well, I think our separation anxiety situation has changed at the least, if not abated completely. One moment he was there and the next moment he was gone.

(Ruth, this is when I thought of you.) I didn't immediately panic. Thought maybe he was just hiding behind one of the displays in the immediate area. Nope. Then I began to cry a bit. I didn't call his name because he never answers to it anyway but in hindsight that might have been worth at try. Kathy thought she saw him drifting toward the construction zone but I figured he wouldn't possibly have gone all the way upstairs all alone in a museum. Without me. So I ran frantically around the downstairs and started to have horrible visions of him running out the front entrance or of him running off with a pack of preschool ruffians. Finally, after what felt like 3 minutes but was probably more like 1 minute, I ran up the stairs to the construction block station and there he was happily sorting bolts and screws. He was completely oblivious to the fact that I might be concerned.

I couldn't even really get mad. It's a museum and there's lots of fun stuff to look at. I'm the one that looked away so it was basically a "my bad" situation, bordering on "I'm a bad mom" situation. He didn't grimace too much about the hugs and kisses upon our reunion but that didn't prevent him from trying to take off 2 more times after that. At that point, he flung himself into the stroller as though he knew that it was time to give it a rest. Lesson learned on my end. Not so sure about his. Is this really better than him being scared and whiny?

Oh, and I think he must have a cold. Probably our Friday trip to Radivirus (Radijazz Playnasium) with Lori & Livie. Oh, the fun he had there though! And it's impossible to lose him there. Apparently that's become highly key.

[Edited at 1:58 to add that the nap drought is officially ended. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.]

8/22/2007 2:31:49 PM  
We are most certainly in the throes of those last fleeting moments of summer. On the one hand (and as has been well-documented), I cannot wait for the big kids to be back in school. However, with Labor Day coming soon, life is about to change a lot. Many of Victor's friends are going to be going off to preschool. Even he will be starting up with a new and ambitious class schedule - Abrakadoodle on Mondays, Little Gym on Tuesdays and Music Together on Wednesdays. A very balanced curriculum, I must say. So playgroups, playdates, park jaunts and pool frolics are going to be much scarcer soon. As a result, we've been trying to really maximize time with our buds. Nothing can throw a wrench into that more quickly than a rampant Radivirus. The boy is irrefutably sick.

Turns out that the boy is the one that would most refute his own illness though. He is still playing hard (and happily, I might add). He's a whole lot quieter than usual though. That's always disconcerting for me. I feel like I'm not challenging or encouraging him enough when he has days like that. And lunch today was one of the more maddening parenting experiences I've had in a very long time. He's not in the mood to eat anything except baby food and yogurt and he keeps grunting and shoving instead of just telling me what he wants (and has told me he wants countless times before).

Last summer we were at the pool and I overheard a dad yelling at his son "Use your words!" and at the time I thought "what a ______". I understand now. I try my best not to lose my temper but it can be incredibly frustrating and frightening to see a perceived backslide in language development when it's something you're already very concerned about. I'm managing to only yell "Use your words!" in my head and instead say "Please tell me" or offer him choices but I get that dad now.

On a slightly perkier note, we did host playgroup this morning. The Radivirus was temporarily masking itself so we proceeded and naturally, Victor's nose started to gush forth copious amounts of discharge once his friends arrived. As usual though, fun was had and it was wonderful to visit with everyone and catch up on all of our recent adventures. Picture-taking was even less stellar than usual but I managed to get just a few of Victor and Eli actually playing together. I had to document the momentous occasion:

Sounds like we might have a nap strike in effect right now, aided in no small part by the hacking cough I keep hearing.

8/22/2007 9:03:29 PM  
Victor ate a piece of broccoli. This is huger than I can possibly describe. I think that this was actually the first time that he has ever eaten a non-potato vegetable by his own hand. There was much fanfare.

He also seems as though he is on the mend (per James, since it's hard for me to judge) so I'm hopeful that we can swim tomorrow. The end of pool season is drawing near, after all.

And once again, two random items in closing:

1. Victor will say all of his colors when goaded into it but the two that he is most willing to say all on his own? Orange and blue! Warms my Illini heart.

2. Victor is quite adept at singing the ABC song in a turn-taking mode. The very, very best part is his ultra cute pronunciation of "W". "Ubdoo". Awww.

8/24/2007 3:13:40 PM  
We are having a strange and yet delightful day. Victor slept until 10:00! That was the sweetest gift imaginable this morning. I'm not entirely sure about that as naptime churns away with silence not yet achieved though. I knew Victor wouldn't nap at his usual 1:00ish so packed him off to Kiddie Acres around noon to get him some air and to wear him out a bit.

He got braver this time. We started with the sure things: the train and the carousel. I have no pics of that part since I have to obviously ride those with him. He was giddy though. After that, I decided to let him walk around and decide what he was interested in doing next.

He went straight for the planes this time and once he checked out the structure of the plane itself and removed some of the leaves that were inside, he enjoyed the ride:

Emboldened by this breakthrough, I led him over to the jeeps. We had to stick with orange, of course. I would call it a success because there was absolutely no crying, whining or yelling. The focus seemed to be on how to unbuckle the seatbelt though (a recurring theme in our daily travels):

It stood to reason that we should go ahead and try the boats, right? V's friend Livie loves the boats and he's got to be able to hang with his friends. This is when his enthusiasm waned a bit. Still brave but now with clenched teeth and not a single smile cracked:

So needless to say, getting back to the planes was a tremendous relief. He felt much more in his element again:

We capped our adventure off with one last ride on the carousel ("horseeeee!") and then the train ("chooooo!"), ran through the refreshing misters and then got home to soak up some major AC. Seems like it should be a good time for a nap, doesn't it? I think so too. Victor, on the other hand...........

Oh, and the broccoli eating? Totally isolated incident.

8/26/2007 7:54:47 PM  
Victor has been a total monster all weekend. That's not to say that he's a bad boy or anything. He's just been a monster: wild, unpredictable, uncontrollable, loud, quick, erratic. This is why we stay so busy during the week. Stuck in the house for a few days, Victor transforms. It's not usually pretty, or at least the aftermath isn't. I hate Legos.

For this and many more reasons, I cannot wait for fall and all it has to offer. I love, love, love fall anyway. The clothes, the smells, the festivals, the cool nights, the breezy days. Bring it all on. But most of all, I cannot wait for fall and the promise of quick jaunts to the park to burn off energy (finally without humidity and mosquitoes). My boy likes to run with the breeze in his hair and I anxiously await being able to let him do just that.

The good news that I keep forgetting to share is that Victor drinks out of cup rather adeptly now. And I mean an open cup. Like a big boy! It has been a gradual process with many backslides along the way (hence me forgetting to update about it, or rather, fearing that I'll curse myself by updating about it). As James said earlier, he did this whole drinking independently thing totally backwards. He started with water bottles, then went to open cups and now he's finally using sippies (albeit tentatively). It's a tremendous relief for us. He can control his own liquid intake and that is huge. I wish I could say that eating was going so well. He's still balking at most foods that aren't pizza, burgers, fries or meatloaf. Hoping that improves once he's not so nasally compromised.

I believe that I've also forgotten to report in on Little Gym. He likes it. He really, really likes it. He doesn't do anything he's supposed to do at the time he's supposed to do it but he sure loves getting in that room and exploring all of the stuff. The first time we went, he ran straight to the balance beam and walked right across (holding on to the rails, of course). I think it's going to be a great addition to our fall line-up.

I will probably wish I hadn't committed to 3 different class activities but a busy Victor is typically a happy Victor. Plus, I think he needs the Abrakadoodle since I'm not so great at the art stuff. No really, I'm not. You'd think I might be but I'm not. And we're about to start our 8th straight Music Together session (haven't missed one yet!). It's just a no-brainer that we'll keep doing that for now. Victor loves it there and we're shameless Miss Carey groupies!

Oh, and one more thing - he has a new bunny obsession. Hadn't ever said "bunny" until this weekend but now it's all I hear. Won't he be excited when the Knuffle Bunny sequel comes out in just a few weeks?!?!?

Time to round up my little hellion for bed. I even have his "Mommy's Little Monster" pajamas picked out for tonight. He's the sweetest monster of all though. Time for that monster to dream of bunnies. And monkeys. Always monkeys.

8/30/2007 9:11:31 PM  
Victor has really had a fun week and is feeling much more like himself again. Tonight during our family walk after dinner, he was gabbing away about the trees and flowers. It's been nice to be able to get him out for a wagon ride on some of these not as stifling nights. As always, he likes to spot all of the cats and especially a favorite cat down the street named "Cookie". We called Cookie "Agassi Cat" for more than a year because she has a gimpy back but now we've finally taken to calling her by her proper name.

We've really had an action-packed week with two meetings of our playgroup (trying to live it up before everyone's classes start), Little Gym, haircuts for both Victor and myself and then today's Kiddie Acres adventure. We met Ruth & John and Lori & Livie there and it proved to be our most fun trip there yet.

Two major milestones at Kiddie Acres today. First and foremost, Victor & John acted like they knew and liked each other. Like a lot. It seriously took two years to accomplish this. And how did we do it? We threw them into a boat ride together, of course. They really did seem happy to be together at first but then once the ride started moving, they immediately went back to their usual aloof act. And then in other news, Victor rode a real live pony. He wasn't particularly excited about it but he wasn't nervous either. I'm not actually sure he realized it was a horse.

As usual, Victor's favorite part is the carousel. To an outsider, he may not look like he's having much fun on the carousel but to the person standing next to him (and holding firmly onto his pants), it's obvious. He murmurs a series of "weeeee"s and "whoooooaaaa"s that indicate his restrained jubilation. And then he pats his horsey and says bye-bye. I wish he could have held still to say bye-bye to his friends. I know we both look forward to doing it again.

There are pics of said KA adventure in the gallery, including the magical moment of friendship. I don't know what I can possibly do with Victor tomorrow to live up to today's fun. I'm thinking..........sprinklers.

9/1/2007 3:55:47 PM  
It's September now so why does it feel like July? We headed out this morning for a playdate at Zilker Park with Lia & Alex. It felt gloriously cool and breezy when we left the house and muggy and oppressive by the time we got out of the car a mere 15 minutes later. There were lots of little people down there enjoying the day though and Victor and Alex joined right in. Just not necessarily together.

Here's a pic of Victor and myself on the Zephyr:

And here are the boys playing the giant marimba side by side (ever so briefly):

Victor and Alex both did some sliding but their paths didn't cross much at that point. Here I managed to catch a shot of some spectacular mother-son sliding though:

The remainder of our time was spent trying to keep the aggressive birds away from our snacks, watching the Barton Springs swimmers and bathing in/drinking lemonade. By that point, everyone was far too tired to go to the Science Center and dig in the dino pit. Next time!

9/2/2007 9:55:00 PM  
Today we went to the First Annual Austin Kid's Day at The Backyard. It rained and then the sun blazed and then it rained and then the sun blazed pretty much for the duration of the concert. And we only survived for 2.5 out of 4 acts! Fun was had but it was certainly exhausting and we all came home in need of a shower and a nap. Speaking of naps though, Victor skipped his nap today in order to partake of the musical offerings (doors opened at 1:00) and he was quite resilient. He wasn't as exuberant as he would normally be but he was pretty chipper and even rather obedient.

The day started with the usual battle over the hat:

Yeah, we all know who won that one:

The concert kicked off with a performance by a family favorite, the one and only Joe McDermott:

Victor was pretty subdued during Joe's set and spent a lot of time flinging himself back into the stroller (thank God we could take that thing in). Soon the Biscuit Brothers went on and the energy level of the crowd lifted substantially (it had just started to rain too and that helped):

Victor got a little more feisty and outgoing at this point:

When Dusty and Buford finished up and came out into the crowd to greet the kids though, Victor got shy. He actually refused to give Buford a high five. Thankfully, Buford did not remember Victor and thus didn't realize that this marked the third time that Victor has totally ignored him in person. So that photo op came and went abruptly, to say the least.

Turned out that Victor was getting rather tired at that point:

But then out came Trout Fishing in America:

Victor isn't all that familiar with this band and has only heard a few of their songs that happen to be on compilation CDs we own. Today he seemed to join the ranks as a true fan though. He yelled "yay!" for them and suddenly began to have a lot more fun again:

Halfway through their set, however, Victor gave indications that he was feeling quite done, thank you very much:

The rain picked up at that point and so did we. Needless to say, there was napping on the car ride home. It was cool to be in on the very first of what will hopefully be an annual Austin event though. The best part? The weekend's not over yet!

9/4/2007 2:35:35 PM  
Well, our Diaper Champ is finally giving up the ghost. It served us well for a long time but its integrity seems to have been irretrievably compromised. It's not good. So I just looked into buying a new one off Amazon so that I could read the reviews and make sure there haven't been any major structural changes in the past 26 months.

As it turns out, there are some unfavorable reviews but not really anything new or earth-shattering. There are a lot of people complaining of stink leakage in the second year of service. Here's the funny part - there are some very staunch fans defending the Diaper Champ and citing to how it has never given them a problem in the 6 months they've used it. Bah. 6 months? That's a trial period. A Diaper Champ breaking-in, if you will. Just wait for solids. And don't even get me started on meat! So much stink ahead of you, sweet baby diaper changers.

So anyway, our Champ is on the driveway air drying after a very exhaustive scrubbing. After this, I'll give it a week. The light I can see peeking around the edge of the seal pretty much tells the story though. It's all stinked out.

9/7/2007 3:26:47 PM  
Last night Victor got to hang out with Cousin Susan while his folks went out for a bit. We went to the MOD WalkAmerica celebration event thingy because I was notified that I was receiving an award. I don't want to go on the public record complaining about MOD because I so value the work they do but let me just say this: my award was apparently a crab cake and a Michelob Ultra. Piece together how I feel about that, given that this was only the 3rd time we've gone out and left Victor at home in the past 25 months. Yeah. On the bright side, Victor had a blast. It was really more like his fun night. He absolutely adores Susan and she was a dear to help us out.

Victor got pretty keyed up about being up late and showing Susan all of his cool stuff (especially his tent!) so I think it was probably 10:45 before I finally heard silence over the monitor. I dared to hope that he'd sleep a little late this morning but he was ready to rumble at 7:30. Ouch. So I decided to just really wear him out this morning. And judging from the monkey calls I hear from next door, it may not have actually worked.

We went to Deep Eddy to swim bright and early today (you know, the crack of 9:30) and it was delightfully empty. The cool spring water was just what the doctor ordered and we both perked up a bit. From there we went on to the brand spankin' new Town Lake Park (which will probably be renamed since Town Lake just became Lady Bird Lake). It's a pretty snazzy little park. Literally one of those parks you can call a hidden gem because it's about the size of a gem.

They have a granite sprinkler garden there and while it's much more aesthetically pleasing than Brushy Creek, it's really not as exciting. I saw pics online of the sprinklers lit up at night though and that looks like something to write home about. We will definitely go try that sometime. It's not like Victor's up and running around in swimwear after dark very often though.

At any rate, here's Victor strutting around the sprinklers today:

And Victor splashing in a precious, tucked-away puddle:

And Victor reflecting about how to get over to the docks (I took him over there later):

And finally, here's a close-up of the granite sprinkler garden which shows Victor doing that walk he does that always reminds me of his grandpa:

This weekend? Races both mornings. That means we'll have to be out of the house by 7:15 both days. I'm not a morning person so I really don't know what makes me plan these things.

9/9/2007 4:35:38 PM  
We survived the 5K weekend extraordinaire but just barely. Victor was a peach about getting up early though and he enjoyed the varied scenery. He continues to loathe the jogger stroller but the regular stroller really hurts my arms after about 2 miles. Yesterday's race was downtown and I didn't get any pics there but I did get some today. Today's race was close to home at The Domain and while the race course was incredibly ho-hum to look at (and painfully hilly toward the end), the festivities afterwards were quite thrilling.

Here's Victor begrudgingly posing in the stroller pre-race:

And here he is inhaling some breakfast on the fly while apparently imitating the expression of Gustafer Yellowgold (the yellow dude on his shirt);

After the race, Victor got to ride and then hug a giant armadillo:

He became completely entranced by the decorative tiles (and then angry when we would not remove them for him to play with):

We extricated him from that play area and moved on to the fountain on the way to the car. Guess what happened?

Yeah, this:

Straight in with no hesitation whatsoever. The sopping wet clothes did not seem to bother him in the slightest, so much so that he did not even notice the huge crane looming overhead:

So in the end, race weekend was really rather fun. Let's not do it again for a while though. Well, except for the fountain part. We'll probably be back there again soon.

9/12/2007 1:58:17 PM  
This is the week that all of our classes are amping up. So far, mostly good. Monday was Abrakadoodle and it was not entirely disastrous. That's about as enthusiastic as I can get about it at this point. I'm hopeful that he'll settle down and be willing to produce some art while we're there at some point. It is by far the most challenging of our classes and the fact that it's on Monday mornings down close to campus just adds to that level of difficulty.

Little Gym is getting better though. Victor seems like he's starting to get with the program. There are few expectations there as to anyone's level of participation so that helps. I'm trying to approach it as an exploratory environment in which I encourage his participation but don't force it. If I can stay the course with that attitude, I think he'll come around more and more. He's starting to remember the other kids in class more now too so that helps.

And today was music. Ah, what a relief. He was apprehensive when we first got there (I think that he still sometimes suspects that I'm going to leave him there like I did for yoga) but as soon as Carey strapped her guitar on, there was a look of sheer joy on his face. Even with a lot of new faces he was right at home and sang and danced and ran and clapped and generally acted like the happy little boy I know and love. So in spite of the tuition hike this session, I'm feeling like keeping it in the line-up was a solid decision. He's still singing "do-re-mi" in his crib right now.

It's another cool (by Texas standards) day outside and while I won't announce that we're going to get out and do something fun like say, Kiddie Acres, if he doesn't sleep soon.........I'm not going to be heartbroken if the nap doesn't happen. Yesterday we got in a great park frolic after Little Gym and it did us both a world of good. It was sprinkling and about 75 the whole time we were there. Victor had to ride home in a fresh diaper sans pants due to the wet slides but it was totally worth it! Have I mentioned recently how ready I am for fall?

9/13/2007 2:26:55 PM  
Victor saw his first IMAX film this morning - African Safari. He enjoyed it for the most part but we left a bit early nonetheless. This was due to his volume level. We had a recurring conversation throughout the film that went something like this........

Victor [shrieking with glee at the sight of lions]: "Eeeeeeeeeeeee! Eeeeeeeee!"

Dawn [whispering forcefully]: Sssssshhhhhhh, Victor, quiet please."

Victor [equal parts cheerful and loud]: OK!"

This continued on a steady loop for about 10 cycles before I finally grabbed our stuff and snuck out the back. The worst part is that he never did let me get a picture of him with his 3-D glasses on. This is because they were never on for long.

9/13/2007 11:10:58 PM  
But wait, there's more!

Late this afternoon (yes, you heard me right - we were actually able to go somewhere in the afternoon, post-nap) we went to the Spicewood Springs Library for a free concert featuring the Deedle Deedle Dees. We officially LOVE them. It was a great time and Victor got so caught up in his bounce dancing that he jumped into the air with both feet cleanly off the ground for the very first time ever. He was totally impersonating the lead singer (Ulysses S. Dee). I only got one picture and it is unfortunately not of the big jumping moment:

but I got some video that is pretty cool. Actually, I edited that and a whole other slew of videos tonight so that hopefully Daddy can get them up on the site tomorrow (it's the only Piglet's Page voodoo that is still beyond my control/abilities).

We've got a pretty busy weekend on tap and I'm hoping that Victor will be up for it. He's acting just a little "off" - not eating well, more clingy than usual, producing horrific diapers.........but I suppose it's to be expected with the germy territory he's covered this week.

Seersee though, if you get a chance to see the Deedle Deedle Dees, run don't walk.

9/18/2007 2:14:48 PM  
My itchy, watery eyes are crying tears of joy because it is finally raining! It's been a rough few ragweed-laden days for both Victor and myself but while today seemed to be the worst of it for me, he seems to feel like a million bucks. James mercifully handled Little Gym duties this morning while I slept for a few extra hours. Sounds like things went pretty much as normal although I think it sounds as though he might have made some improvement on the balance beam in my absence. Showing off for Daddy?

Speaking of which, I started Mommy's Choir again last night and apparently Victor went to bed at 7:30 (truly unheard of) for Daddy. He never napped yesterday though - just sang do-re-mi for an hour and a half and then started talking in full Esperanto sentences until I went in to get him. So it was no surprise when he slept for nearly 13 hours overnight! He's napping now though so hopefully we're getting back on track.

9/18/2007 10:56:14 PM  
Victor's doing a lot more mimicry again here lately. He's especially fond of mocking my half-yawned, exasperated "Oh Monkey!". A few days ago though, he really latched on to a new one and this was something that made James positively giddy.

We were watching Excalibur on cable (a beloved movie of both James and myself) and it was toward the end when someone - is it Gawain? Perceval? - calls out repeatedly in this horribly pained voice "Arthuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrr!". Victor waited a few moments and then did his own rendition and it took James a moment to catch on to what he was doing. Frankly, his "Arthuuuuuuuurrrrrr!" can sound a lot like his "high fiiiiivvvvvve!" sometimes.

We thought it was an isolated incident but then tonight during our post-dinner wagon ride (which it was far too humid for, by the way), he sprung it on us again. He was doing all of his usual walk around the neighborhood words: tree!, flower!, wellow, orange. Then suddenly there was this guttural bellow of "Arthuuuuuurrrrrrrr! followed by a huge smile and many encores. If Cookie Monster were a Knight of the Round Table, he would sound like Victor.

[Edited after consultation with James to add: It was neither Perceval nor Gawain but Lancelot that calls out to Arthur in that final battle scene. I should know that. I blame the Clarinex.]

9/20/2007 1:31:57 PM  
Just as I was really starting to curse Austin (Live Ragweed Capital of the World?), I made a thrilling discovery today. The free neighborhood pool down the street from us is now open all year long (it's heated, not that much heating is necessary). Granted, the aesthetics leave a lot to be desired and it's pretty boring compared to some of our favorite aquatic destinations around town, but it's there. And it's open. And it doesn't involve cold spring water or algae! It's only open for a few hours right during the middle of the the day but that's just fine with me because that means no big kids. Now let's just see how long it takes us to get there.

[Note to some of our more local friends: turns out that it's $2 for adults and free for kids. It's not like the city would heat a pool all winter for free! Still a bargain. Monday through Friday, 11-1 and 5:30-7:30.]

9/20/2007 9:15:32 PM  
We're taking Victor back to his original speech therapist in a few weeks. He made some really good progress with ECI but there has been a large amount of turnover there as of late and as a result, we're not getting satisfactory services. This means we'll have to suck it up and go out of network but we at least want to be checking in periodically with Dr. D (V's SLP is a PhD - Lori, Ruth, Eileen.....yeah you know me?). He's really talking a lot now but we've still got a lot to work on.

So anyway, we got new paperwork from Dr. D to fill out prior to our appointment which included a new and rather lengthy 2 year development questionnaire. As I told her, James and I do not agree about how to answer a lot of those questions. I tend to be overly optimistic but I like to think that it is because I see him do things that other people don't get to see (and he's not big on command performances). And quite frankly, I feel like it's reflection of my job performance when he doesn't do what he's expected to do. So we had some differences about some of our responses to the questionnaire. Two big items were jumping with both feet off the ground and walking up and down steps (instead of climbing/crawling). These are apparently big 2 year milestones. Who knew?

In the end, I think we compromised and said that he was doing those things "sometimes" (James said "not yet" and I said "yes" since even though he would not do those things I knew that he could do them because I'd seen him do them). Well, the day I mailed the paperwork back he did both of those things and did them well. And now he ALWAYS walks up and down stairs and is totally fixated on practicing his jumping. Really, I still give Ulysses S. Dee credit for the jumping because it was seeing that concert that got him jumping. Seersee.

The point of all of this rambling? The best way to get a kid to do something is to proclaim in writing that he doesn't do it. The really fun part of all of this is that Victor is now a playscape scampering star! Thank goodness park weather is not far off. Until then, I'll keep grinning through the stifling humidity. I really have no choice.

9/21/2007 4:52:55 PM  
"It's alright, sweetie monkey. There are worse things that could happen." I've said this many, many times in the last half hour but I'm not sure that I've meant it. I want to mean it. Um, Victor just pulled a major doozy of an ending to an exhausting day.

We went to the zoo this morning (new post on that to come soon, complete with many pictures) and had a great time. It was hot though. Hot and ragweedy. So I fervently hoped that Victor would stay awake for the drive home and then nap for a few hours in his crib. Nope. Fell asleep 5 minutes after leaving the zoo. I drove for a bit and then sat on the driveway talking to Gaga on the phone and that got him almost a solid hour of car nap. Then I took him in for some water and cookies.

I decided to force the renap issue even though it NEVER works. I was going to enforce the "do what you want in here but you're spending the next 90 minutes in your crib" rule. Well, he really took that rule and gave it a whole new horrifying spin.

Around 4:00 James came home to change for tennis and as expected, the "Daddy sounds" riled Victor up and so I went to just get him out of bed. When I opened the door, he was standing in his crib naked. He was wearing a diaper and shorts when I put him down. For a few brief seconds, I thought this was adorably mischievous and gave my standard faux-exasperated "Oh Monkey!". Then reality hit.

Victor had taken off a very, very, very dirty diaper and thrown it onto the floor and then proceeded to roll around and kick at his crib slats. So yeah, big mess. I ran a bath and gave him a quick lower body wash. And cleaned the tub. Oh, and removed the sheets and threw them into the washer. And then, of course, scoured the crib slats. Oh, and then there was the cleaning of the bathtub. Again. Throughout all of this, Victor happily chattered next to me while patting me on the back encouragingly. Truly his saving grace.

So everything's put back together and I think we might go for a swim soon. Why, you ask? Because I can't stay in this poop-bombed house. That and I am going to wear this boy down. He WILL sleep late tomorrow morning. He will.

So yeah, zoo pics in a bit. They'd be on now but I got a little poop-tracked.

9/21/2007 8:53:17 PM  
We swam. Victor even put his newfound skills to use by learning to walk up and down the steps into and out of the pool unassisted. He practiced that a lot. A whole lot. He also jumped up and then tried to bounce on the bottom on, well, his bottom. He seemed surprised by the fact that it meant going underwater rather abruptly but he recovered quickly after some embarrassed sputtering. So all in all, it really was a fun day. I'm purging that whole poop thing from my memory now.

The zoo was definitely a hit and, much as anticipated, the train was a highlight. As usual though, no pics from there. Safety first, after all. He definitely loved feeding the goats and the axis deer as well. He hadn't done that before.

Here's the alpha goat. He was a major bully and literally knocked everyone over to get to the food source:

Like me, Victor grew to find him repugnant. We were both rather enchanted with the extremely docile axis deer though:

Victor did have some lovely gal pals along for the adventure and here he and Livie confer briefly about the animal food supply while the deer eagerly wait for the next handful:

And here he and Isabel divide and conquer:

Another major highlight was the very hammy "tigah" who put on an impromptu aquatic show for us. Here he starts the weekend off early with a feline kegger:

It was so cool to see him up so close. All I could think as I was taking these pics was "James would be so freaked out right now":

World's Most Dangerous Zoo, eh, James?

On the way back to the snack area, the girls became quite enamored with a Galapagos Turtle:

But Victor was uninterested and trudged onward toward Monkey Country:

Here we saw some disturbingly introspective capuchin monkeys (and Victor's Cozy Coupe envy was renewed):

And all good zoo visits must end with a visit to the cutest of the primates, the beloved squirrel monkeys:

We'll definitely be back soon for more deer feeding. And speaking of deer, just for kicks, here's Victor with the axis deer about six months ago, when he was a lot less brave:

p.s. Happy Birthday to Alex! Welcome to the terrific twos, old chum.

9/24/2007 2:54:22 PM  
I've developed a new Monday morning strategy of rewarding Victor for being a good boy at Abrakadoodle (good being defined as "staying in the room and not creating any major scenes") with a fun outing on the way home. Today that entailed a trip to the Mayfield Nature Preserve. And while I've determined that it is, as suspected, perhaps best with 2 parents (a herder and a photographer), it was enjoyable. We tried to go to the Laguna Gloria grounds too but parking was too daunting for a Monday morning. Maybe next week.

Mayfield is one of those places in Austin that hardly anyone knows about and that makes it all the more beautiful. Here was the tranquil scene as we arrived:

And as soon as Victor caught on that we were headed for ponds full of fishies, this was the scene:

Running, running, running..........and then this:

All efforts to explain to him that he isn't allowed to jump into the lily ponds (nor should he want to) were met with screaming and flailing so I had to lure him over to the peahen pen area, where he strolled about happily for a bit:

And then he shockingly climbed right up on a bench, as though to actually pose for pictures. Who knew? There, he beckoned to a peacock to come join him and then decided to follow said peacock away from the bench:

Then, our visit finally culminated with a face-off of sorts between the two new friends:

Literally about 3 seconds later, Victor attempted to pet his peacock friend and that was the end of their visit. We were mildly disappointed not to see any fan displays but I think that little interaction made up for it. Victor does not seem to have my fear of birds (and actually, even I can suspend that fear for peacocks).

9/26/2007 9:51:13 PM  
Rejoice! Insurance is paying for speech therapy after all. At 80%. After a $200 deductible. Still, this is HUGE boon and makes the whole scenario a little less stressful. So we can now go to the SLP that we really like (and are scheduled to see next week) without cringing.

So naturally, guess what happened? Yep, a new ECI SLP called the very day that I got our refund check from insurance. Not quite sure how this is all going to work now. Honestly, I thought that they were just going to forget about us. Guess not.

I guess Victor and I get to audition his therapist candidates at this point. Ah, the power! Who has the better toys, anyway?

9/29/2007 8:40:36 PM  
Well, we took a day trip out to Bastrop today and we are all fairly pleasantly exhausted. We started with The Dinosaur Park and this pic pretty much sums up our review of it:

It's a great concept and it's fairly well-executed but Victor's just not into it enough to make it worth the effort (or expense). He did befriend an Allosaurus toward the beginning of the excursion:

He was less enamored with the T Rex (and doesn't Daddy look thrilled as well?):

In fact, at that point he decided it was time to just get right back in the wagon and get the heck out of there:

There was some brief interest in the T Rex eggs and then we were outta there:

Next up was the Riverwalk. It is well-established that we completely scorn the San Antonio Riverwalk (deemed by James as the "Sewerwalk"). We really like the Bastrop Riverwalk. It's small and quaint and peaceful. And today, it was also very hot. No pics got taken there due to the constant whining on all of our parts.

So then we were off to the Bastrop State Park, a favorite of ours for the Lost Pines. We took what, pre-Victor, would have seemed like a very unambitious hike. With Victor in tow, a few miles was plenty for James. The air was fragrant (I think, my nose is still somewhat disabled), the trails were soft and cushy with pine needles and there was a wonderful breeze. It was good but we were very happy to see the car again.

I mean, just look how happy these guys look as we started out:

As with every other outing with "The Gremlin", a lot of time was spent beating on Daddy's head:

Victor did get set loose in the woods for the first time ever and he was suitably intimidated. That was good because he stayed nice and close, probably because he was so thirsty. I was glad he didn't stray far because he would have been hard to spot in his camo:

And finally, here are the boys in the final stretch. I thought I'd prominently feature "The Gremlin" in all its glory because it is getting retired after today:

Turns out that a non-adjustable kid pack is not something to which you can really....well......adjust. A new pack is in order! We'll need to rest a while first though.

Tomorrow? Nada!

10/1/2007 2:19:19 PM  
I don't think we should schedule activities for Monday mornings any more after this session of art class. I'm not a morning person and I'm not a Monday person. Thus, Monday mornings are a sort of purgatory and especially when they involve packing us off to Central Austin, Land of Parking Shortage. Ugh. So let's start with the bright spot of the morning. Look at this watercolor crayon resist that Victor created (with signature assistance by yours truly):

And that would be the extent of the good news to report from this fair Monday. Victor is still running wild at art class for the most part and I was accordingly running interference at class this morning. The teacher asked me to try just modeling the level of participation I wanted from Victor while I "let him explore, with the hope that he'll come join in". Approximately, one minute into the implementation of that strategy he pulled on a wooden folding screen thinking it was going to open like a door and instead it came tumbling down upon a few of his classmates. Pretty scary really. Someone really could have been hurt.

I guess the only encouraging thing was that when I grabbed him and somewhat hysterically screaming "We don't play with that, OK?!?!??!?!?!?!", he actually said "yes" and acted like he got it. That was pretty major. He's never actually answered yes to indicate comprehension before. He's only said yes in response to "Do you want more ______?" or "Do you want to swing/slide/go outside?". So I guess that was technically another bright spot but it was overshadowed by the near maiming of his classmates. It was truly horrifying. Thank goodness the other moms understood and were merely annoyed that something so dangerous was in the classroom (which really isn't the teacher's fault - it's another organization's space that they're allowed to use).

The whole experience left Victor completely wiped out. He crashed hard and I would like to do the same, especially since I only got 3 hours of sleep. Not to be though. And get this - I chewed all of my nails off. I haven't done that in about 10 years. I so should not have skipped out on yoga yesterday.

So yeah, in the future? Mondays will be spent outdoors or in padded spaces. And that free exploration thing? Not in that room. Ever. Art shouldn't be so dangerous and I think it's also supposed to be fun. Isn't it?

10/3/2007 2:33:24 PM  
I love Wednesdays. Wednesdays are good. Victor seems to thrive in Music Together more and more with each passing week and we're having so much fun being back in class with our buddies Kathy & Gwen again. And while V&G don't exactly embrace each other giddily, they definitely know that they've been friends for a long time and they have a certain ease with each other. It's rather sweet.

Today the four of us went out for burgers and fries at Phil's after class (those fries got 8 enthusiastic thumbs up!) and then the kiddos got to play on the playscape right outside. I think we'd all love for it to be a weekly event but the massive caloric intake might prevent that from being realistic.

Victor still won't swing like a monkey from a bar (which was truly something to be thankful for in this setting) but he was sure happy to watch Gwen do it:

He was more focused on proving to me that yes, as a matter of fact, you really can climb up the big tube slide:

Luckily, there was some actual sliding too and Gwen even peeked in on the action:

But, as usual, Victor and Gwen spent most of their time criss-crossing paths with little more than the occasional glance or shoulder pat of acknowledgment:

It sure was fun and it certainly facilitated an easily achieved nap. The only thing that would have improved our Wednesday was a temperature below 90.

10/5/2007 11:41:08 PM  
We had speech therapy with our original SLP yesterday and it went very well. She wants to see him once a week for a while and based on the response we saw from him during yesterday's session, we are totally on board with that plan. For now. It was such a relief to have someone taking our concerns so seriously. Plus, Victor really likes her because she apparently shakes the water blocks better than we do. So while the last thing we really needed was yet another weekly event, this is really going to be a good thing. We'll have to miss next Thursday though because we've got Day Out with Thomas to go to!

Today the newest ECI speech therapist came out to meet with us for the first time and, in spite of my apprehension about all things ECI as of late, I actually really liked him quite a lot as well. And I think that Victor would have befriended Scott more if I hadn't had to wake him up for the appointment after a mere hour of napping. He's only going to come out once a month but I think that just those monthly sessions will make for a good complement to our weekly therapy. It certainly can't hurt and the beauty of speech therapy right now is that Victor pretty much perceives it as getting to play with interesting people and their interesting toys. Aside from the napping/scheduling issues, it doesn't feel like a chore at all.

I actually had to wake Victor up an hour into his nap yesterday afternoon too because we had to dash off to his Spanish Immersion class. I hope that we don't have that situation each Thursday. I guess I'll really have to focus on getting him fed and down for his nap ASAP once we're home from therapy. It doesn't help that lately he is taking up to an hour to fall asleep most of the time - both at nap and bedtime. He doesn't cry but he sure gets himself wound up. We often hear several rounds of "do-re-mi" being sung and sometimes even bits and pieces of Music Together songs or his favorite stories or random animal sounds and names.

He's definitely feeling the sleep deficit a little at this point though. As soon as we finished storytime tonight, he ran over to his crib and started scaling it in an attempt to get in (I guess we really do need to figure out that toddler bed conversion thing). But alas, exhausted as he was, that didn't prevent him from performing a special partial recitation of "Llama Llama Red Pajama". I think he's feeling as jazzed up about speech therapy as I am.

10/7/2007 9:19:22 PM  
Well, we learned a few new things about Victor this weekend. The good news comes first. Victor, much like his mommy, LOVES spanakopita. Like a lot. I discovered this last night when I took him to the Mediterranean Festival downtown. We met Alex & Lia there. The strangely ambivalent relationship between the two boys continues but Victor at least made a new phyllo-wrapped friend. I just can't believe that he ate that much spinach!

Here's Victor & Alex really enjoying each other's company:

The bad news is that we continue to have diaper flinging issues. We had another episode of poop flinging yesterday when Victor woke from his nap. We're trying to get through to him that this is not a zoo and while we call him a monkey, he's not really supposed to act like one. As of last night we were speculating that this is an early manifestation of potty training readiness with our thinking being that he was only removing his diaper when it was dirty and he was trapped in his room (which is why it would be so nice if he could just call to us and let us know instead of acting out). Today though, he did it again at naptime and there was no poop involved. So it might just be a boredom thing. One thing is for certain though. It's not being tolerated.

I'll be anxiously watching (and wincing) to see if this continues this week. It is very frustrating to be dealing with this and weaning at the same time (though weaning is going rather well, actually). It just feels like he's turning into such a big boy all at once and I wish he could tell me what he wants and needs and feels in a more civilized manner. So many people tell me that once he really starts talking more, I'll wish he'd shut up sometimes but I just don't see that being true. Aside from all of these issues, I love hearing his voice. Luckily, he's catching on to that and is using it more and more. I think he's on the cusp of really making some great progress. I just hope that he can keep his pants on!

[Daddy here]
For posterity, I'd like to record that today was the first time I spanked Victor punitively. I was the one who found him without his diaper. I wanted him to know that this is not acceptable behavior so I was holding the discarded diaper and saying "No!" very loudly. I gave him two stinging swats to his bare rear, and he got the message that Daddy was upset. It was heartbreaking to watch his little expression and listen to him cry, but I stayed firm and immediately put him back down to complete his nap after putting a new diaper on him. I forcefully made him lay down, so he continued to cry, but he went to sleep 2 minutes later. He slept a good long time. I went in to get him up about 2 hours later and diaper and pants were still on, so we were buddies again.

10/9/2007 1:41:39 PM  
Ssssshhh! Don't say this too loudly (for fear of the big jinx) but I think that Victor might be weaned. We're on our 5th day of no nursing whatsoever. And really, there's not going to be much of anything left if he does suddenly change his mind now. Victor's really taken to drinking his milk out of his cup now and he's also gotten really good at letting us know when he's thirsty. As a result, he's got plenty of wet diapers and that is helping to make weaning pretty stress-free for everyone. My weepiness about missing my cuddler is even abating slightly.

Meanwhile, Victor has gotten to where he seems to prefer milk to the drinkable Yobaby which is a tremendous relief from a budgetary standpoint, not to mention that the Yobaby can be hard to track down at times. He's even on 2% now instead of whole milk. The only BUT here is that he still wants his milk to be pink with Quik. Could be worse, right? He doesn't even seem to mind the conversion to lower fat yogurt (I think that Daddy will miss that whole yogurt more than anyone!).

The other good news is that we're scaling back activities very soon. Abrakadoodle is almost over and we're not doing next session. Also, we are dropping out of Spanish immersion only one week in. Both of these programs are really wonderful in and of themselves but I really had to step back and look at what Victor gets the most enjoyment out of RIGHT NOW. That's definitely Music Together and Little Gym (and obviously, speech therapy).

I'm really, really trying to change my approach so that Victor can do more things that he shows an interest in or a preference for in order to stimulate his language development more. I guess this means that we'll be doing a lot of swinging and sliding and swimming but those things make him happy and those things get him to tell me how excited he is. And they obviously help us practice esses. ;) Besides, who doesn't love going to the park? You know, as long as it's less than 85 out there.

Also, I've got pics to add but we're still having server issues.

10/11/2007 3:34:50 PM  
We survived Day Out With Thomas. As expected, Victor liked the train ride but not much else. Ditto that for Daddy. He did, however, take special interest in the Lego trains so it's clear that he'll be needing a new Duplo set for Christmas. It's already been added to his Amazon Wishlist:

My Amazon.com Wish List

[Grandparents, just in case you were wondering what Victor might want this year, there you have it!]

We took a ton of pics too (narrowed it down to 36 from 70 taken) but we're still hobbled by script issues and so they still can't be added here. Was DOWT worth all of the effort? Depends on who you ask. I think all three of us would like to ride the Austin Steam Train again though!

10/12/2007 3:52:35 PM  
"Mama Llama, run run run!" This favorite line from Victor's (also favorite) bedtime story was repeated many times during the first hour of Victor's naptime today. And yes, I was excited. I was even almost moved enough to go running into his room since he was saying it so clearly and he was obviously so pleased with himself. But no, naptime is naptime. Turns out that I probably should have run, run, run like he asked.

Yep, another poopy diaper throwing incident. On the one hand, I'm sort of used to this now so that element of shock and disgust is all but removed. I hustled him into clean clothes and changed his bed, immune to his sad tears (I was not very nice to him as I was just about to take a much-needed and much-earned shower).

After the fact though, he's sleeping peacefully and I'm left feeling truly horrible. He might have been trying to tell me that he needed a diaper change, for all I know. And I just ignored him? Oh, it's just too sad to reconcile.

This I know though. The top priority vocab word has just become "poop". If I hear that magic word, I'll run run run alright. Better an interrupted naptime than a monkey house in my precious son's room. Hmmmmm, but how long until he figures out that he can fake me out with it?

10/13/2007 9:34:19 PM  
Best Pumpkin Patching experience ever! We went waaaaaaaay out to Marble Falls today to go to the Sweet Berry Farm Fall Fun fest thingy. It was ever so much fun and we had such a beautiful day for it. Sadly, I still can't post pictures. And trust me, there are pictures. Many, many pictures. By the time I can add pics again, I'll have 100 of them. That's probably not even an exaggeration.

Victor is definitely in the spirit of this whole pumpkin patch thing this year though. He loved running around and touching and then sitting on every pumpkin within his view. He also loved petting the goats and especially going on the hayride. We will most certainly be going back to SBF for strawberry season come March. Good times.

I'm not sure if we can finagle another drive out there this month though so we'll probably be hitting a local patch or two or three in the next few weeks. Something tells me that it won't possibly measure up though. That place was just a fall wonderland. And the pumpkins really were sensationally gorgeous. Not just your standard jacks. I'll just keep reminding myself of the virtues of going to a pumpkin patch less than 20 minutes from home. Man, that place was cool though.

10/16/2007 10:28:24 PM  
Well, weaning's a done deal. Victor hasn't looked back and for that I am thankful. I am also thankful that he has transferred his cuddliness and eagerness to be with me over to storytime fairly seamlessly. I was so afraid that he wouldn't love me as much now. I think he still loves me.

Thinking about it tonight, I realized that I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding for 3 1/2 of the last four years. And that's not even taking into consideration the IVF months (which are more physically demanding than being pregnant, really)! So having some freedom over my own body at long last is admittedly somewhat liberating. More than that though, I feel a bit lost. I keep feeling like I'm doing something wrong or forgetting something. It's a very strange feeling, to say the least. I am, however, greatly enjoying getting Victor to bed a little earlier.

I feel very blessed that Victor & I had such a long and prosperous nursing partnership though. He was pretty much of a pro at it from the get-go and he was always rather low maintenance in the grand scheme of things. He's still never had a drop of formula in his life and it's been gratifying to realize that goal. And I mean no offense in the slightest to formula feeders. It's just something I needed to prove to myself that I could achieve.

I breastfed Victor for all of the reasons that La Leche and the AAP and WHO and the lactation consultants said I should and I have absolutely no doubt that he benefited immensely, although I do take issue with the "less ear infections" claims. What those organizations didn't tell me is how much I would benefit myself. Obviously, it's an incredible bonding experience and one that I dreamt of for many years. No mistake about that. The closeness that I've been able to share with Victor in his first 2 years surpassed all of my most outlandish expectations.

It's truly been an honor in every sense of the word but what I've come to understand is just how much I needed such a symbiotic experience. Being so needed was truly a godsend for me because it made me be so much more present in the moment for Victor rather than still keeping a part of myself stuck in the past, still trying to make sense of losing his brothers. That loss is still very much felt but it's defining me less and less, in no small part because giving so much of myself to Victor has healed my heart.

So yeah, this feels like the end of a somewhat prolonged chapter in my life. I can have caffeine and alcohol and cold medicine now. On a whim! Thanks for an incredible ride though, boys. And this next part? It gets more and more fun every day. Except for the diaper throwing part.

Side Note: Hoping to have picture capability again soon. Maybe later this week. Yeah, I know. It's ridiculous.

10/18/2007 9:05:41 AM  
Great job, James. You're only like the best daddy ever!

I guess I've got my naptime work cut out for me today. I've got a slew of pictures to add to Monkey Do.

10/18/2007 10:32:45 PM  
Whew! I think pictures are finally caught up. Brace yourself because there will be more to come soon, I'd guess. Victor & I are going to the Austin Family Music Festival with our friends Kathy & Gwen on Saturday. I'm pretty sure the kiddos will do some cute stuff warranting photography. Ya think?

We had speech therapy today and it went well. Victor really likes his SLP a whole lot and he says lots of things for her that he's never said for us. Then again, he doesn't have to hear her yammering at him endlessly all the time either so he doesn't tune her out. Either way, a therapy day is always a happy day for all of us because it really stimulates his speech attempts. We just need to keep it rolling all week!

Every once in a while now, Victor will call me "Mommy" instead of "mama" and it makes me cry every time. It sounds so much sweeter than the auto-pilot "mama" and it just sounds so much more specific and meaningful. I have to be careful not to get too emotional about it though because the other night when he said it and I started crying, he saw me and it made him cry. I don't want him to think it's a sad thing when it's really about the happiest moment of my life.

Oh, and also? Judging from the massive amounts of milk and bread intake and the 3 hour naps all week? Yeah, I think Victor's going through a growth spurt. His 3T Halloween costume just BARELY still fit comfortably this afternoon so we're apparently going to have to temporarily stunt his growth until November comes because his costume is really, really cute. It even roars. Major selling point there for the occupant of the costume.

10/19/2007 1:56:25 PM  
We managed to work in some playing at the park with Ruth & John today and we were so glad because they aren't going to be a party of 2 for much longer. It was kind of a last hurrah before there's officially more girls than boys on our outings!

Here's Captain Wild Hair on the blue slide:

And here's Victor with his completely non-wild helmet hair:

Victor wasn't all that into the playscape today overall and spent most of his time shoveling rocks or exploring the wilderness, as far away from Mommy as possible:

When it came time to go, John came over and waited patiently to give Victor a hug goodbye:

A moment later, Victor got up but he didn't say goodbye to his very polite friend. Instead he tried to make a break for it by scurrying up the playscape again before being retrieved and loaded up for the trip home. A wave goodbye sufficed.

Good luck this weekend, Connells. Hoping to hear some exciting news very, very soon!

10/20/2007 4:09:44 PM  
Poor tired Victor just couldn't hang in there long enough for the Biscuit Brothers' big finale set at the Family Music Fest today but he did get to do some enthusiastic dancing to Joe McD's set and he also got to go on yet another hayride. The highlight though was hanging out with his buddy Gwen.

Here they are making their way through the hay maze:

They also commandeered some unsuspecting tot's wagon:

Victor also enjoyed driving the tractor in the Pioneer Farms barn:

He barely stayed on the tractor long enough to get that picture and the real draw of the tractor was actually that there was a kitty sitting on the hood.

It was a very windy, dusty, rollicking good time. Sadly, the only nap was in the car on the way home though.

10/20/2007 9:30:31 PM  
As of 5:52 this evening, there's a new girl in town in the form of V's buddy John's new and extremely precious little sister Betsy. (Well done Ruth!). I present to you Elizabeth MacMillan Connell in all of her 7 pound, 9 ounce, 20 inch glory:

We simply cannot wait to meet Betsy and we cannot wait to see John's reaction. She's going to be even more beautiful in person, to be sure. Congratulations to the Connells. And thus it's the end of the all boys, all the time era.

10/22/2007 2:12:01 PM  
It's been a while since I recorded Victor's favorite stuff so thought I'd get some of this down (and honestly, it's mostly for my own sentimental purposes). Some favorites are favorites that never seem to waver and others are new or intensified.


No big changes here. Burgers, pizza, yogurt, cheesecake, fries, lemonade, chicken strips, Fig Newmans, cheese, pancakes.

TV Faves:

Actually, Victor doesn't watch much TV programming these days which is a good thing. He still likes to watch "The Biscuit Brothers", even though he totally snubs them every time he gets a chance to interact with them in person (Saturday being just the latest example of that). He LOVES the theme song to "Thomas and Friends" but once an episode gets going, he is ambivalent at best. Pretty much the same thing with "Curious George" these days. And "Meerkat Manor" too, come to think of it. "Sesame Street"-wise, he's happy to see Cookie Monster or Slimy but that's about it. Elmo barely warrants a second glance most of the time.


Lest you think that Victor doesn't spend any time glued to the TV, I assure you otherwise. He would happily watch his They Might Be Giants' "Here Come the ABCs" every hour on the hour. He loves every single song on the DVD but especially the robots reciting the alphabet at high speed. He also seems not to tire of his Gustafer Yellowgold DVD. Luckily I thoroughly enjoy both of these DVDs as well. And there's a new Gustafer DVD out (and in the mail to us as I type)! He has absolutely no interest whatsoever in feature-length animated movies in general. I'm sure that will change and I'll enjoy not being subjected to them while I can.


Victor's really turning into a little hipster dude without much influence from me. Granted, I try to find a lot of new stuff I think he'd like but he picks what goes into heavy rotation. Again, thankfully he has pretty good taste. He is currently obsessed with his Gustafer CD, especially "My Dragon" and "I'm Your Eel". He sings a lot of the melodies now and it's heartbreakingly cute. He's recently caught on to Recess Monkey and he really likes a few of the Deedle Deedle Dees songs ("Henry Box Brown" & "Rancher Ants").

Victor has a strange fixation on this song "Chocolate" by Snow Patrol and does a little headbanging routine in his carseat when it first comes on. Convinced that it was the drumming that he was drawn to (and I'm still convinced of that), I played him some Springsteen since I thought it had a very similar drumbeat. We were disheartened to see him unmoved by The Boss. There's still time to acquire that taste.

In general, he still really responds to classical music and he definitely likes anything with a Latin American flavor. Too bad Spanish didn't work out this semester.


Victor still wants to hear "Llama Llama Red Pajama" and "When Sheep Sleep" most nights before bed but he's hit and miss these days about telling me what's next. He can be pretty auto-piloted about storytime sometimes and then other times he can't wait to shout out the words. Same with "Ten Naughty Little Monkeys" at naptime.

He is completely and utterly obsessed with "Knuffle Bunny" as of late though. He wants to hear it many times per day and he usually says the last word of every sentence in the book. He's even actually started to request his "Awful Bunnay!" at strange and inappropriate times. We're hoping to catch Mo Willems (the author of KB) at the Texas Book Festival in a few weeks. He'll be reading from the sequel, which Victor hasn't really caught on to yet (it's a little "older" since it involves a bunny mix-up at school), but it should still be fun.

Victor likes to get every single book in his entire room off the shelves at least once a day. He'll usually select a few and jabber away while he methodically flips through the pages. He still rarely sits down for a full reading of his Seuss books but they are favorites for the flipping and jabbering routine.


Victor wants to be outside as much as humanly possible and he now expects to go for a wagon ride every night after dinner no matter what the weather. He puts on his Crocs and stands at the door saying "out" or "siiiiiiiiiddde" (but rarely both). He also likes to swing in the tree out front but it's not nearly as much fun as swinging at the park. He's also really gotten the hang of the playscapes in the past several months and likes to climb and slide and climb and slide repeatedly. Just recently, he's gravitated more toward shoveling in the rocks/mulch over playscaping though.

He's still loving Little Gym and we're seeing the results on a daily basis. Victor no longer likes to walk around now that he's discovered that you can gallop and hop/jump to get just about anywhere you want to go. He also really enjoys jumping in his crib and also on our bed. Pru just loves that, obviously.

He still usually enjoys grocery shopping if it's within a reasonable time limit and he's (a) in one of the race car carts or (b) has a balloon to entertain himself with. He pretty much has to be allowed to open and close one of the freezer doors or else the trip becomes a disaster. He also likes to help put the groceries on the conveyer belt. He's quite helpful.

And lastly, Victor still considers music class the absolute highlight of his week, especially when he gets to go out for burgers with his gal pal Gwen after class. He grins from ear to ear as soon as we turn into the parking lot and he breaks into a sprint as soon as he's released from the car. He is absolutely uninhibited at music class and loves to sing out loud for all of his friends. And as always, he adores Miss Carey and her guitar.

Whew. That's it. That's the preferences and interests of Victor in a nutshell. No wait, in summarized form. Nutshells are noxious and pernicious and we dare not speak of them.

10/23/2007 2:43:49 PM  
As is no secret to most people I've talked to recently, we've really tightened the budget lately out of fairly dire necessity. It's been painful at times but it's worth it to keep making this arrangement work. As such, I've tried to make a few substitutions in our usual grocery staples (James will undoubtedly scoff at this claim). Apparently there are some things that just can't be skimped on, however.

Fig Newmans. Have you had them? They're good. Really, really very good and tasty. But I thought "oh come on, we should just try going back to the cheapola Fig Newtons.....how bad can they be?". I found out today.

I already had assessed them and reported to James that they tasted like sugared cardboard compared to the organic figgy goodness of Newman's Own grossly overpriced numbers. Victor agrees. I packed a few Newtons for our trip to the park after Little Gym today and when I gave him one, he took one nibble and threw the rest of the cookie as far as he could. Into a grassy field full of squirrels. So it's not like it really went to waste, James. ;)

Lesson learned. There are some things that are just worth spending a little extra on. Luckily we did have fun at the park, Newmans or no. Victor was on a galloping high from Little Gym and the sun and fresh air (and glorious temps in the 60s, can I get a yeehaw?) prompted him to run laps around the big open field. And having a bottle of bubbles in the diaper bag and on the ready at all times certainly keeps me in Victor's good graces.

When it came time to go though, he refused to hold my hand and walk back to the car, instead wanting to continue his wild zigzagging in the opposite direction. So I got to carry a whiny, thrashing boy all the way back to the car. And really, I don't think that even a Fig Newman could have prevented that.

10/26/2007 4:57:03 PM  
It was a glorious fall day here in fair Austin (pollen aside). Ought to be the perfect day for a trip to the zoo to feed the deer and ride the train, right? Not so. And what could ruin an otherwise delightful zoo morning? A bunch of screaming grade schoolers on a field trip, that's what.

Luckily Victor was none the wiser about the inability to feed the deer today. Apparently the zoo officials don't allow the animals to be fed when there are such large groups of unruly kids. Victor was pretty content to pet the goats through the fence and there are a few pics of that over on the pics page. And the train was a hit as always so I shouldn't whine much.

In fact, Victor and his buddy Livie really barely even needed zoo animals to make the trip worthwhile. They seemed far more interested in trying to tackle the inflatable Pooh Dracula (truly a strange concept):

And when they weren't staring down marmosets through the fence........

Livie was happily pushing Victor around in his stroller:

And really, I think that Victor and Livie got a chance to pal around maybe even more than usual. She definitely got more giggles out of him than usual:

And after a thumbs-up from Victor..........

The silly girl even climbed into the basket of his stroller:

By the time we got to the picnic area, Victor was getting so tired that he didn't really notice or care that a peacock was scoping out his memonay (lemonade):

So it was time to come home! Next time we'll be doing everything humanly possible to avoid being there on a field trip day (I'm thinking of a Monday - there are no field trips on Mondays, right?). But hey, a pretty day is a pretty day, deer feeding or no.

10/28/2007 9:14:00 PM  
Well, I feel completely dreadful but nothing was going to hold us back from attending the Bats & Cats Ball at the Children's Museum tonight. All the kiddies met up at City Hall to parade for all of 3 blocks (which still took an amazingly long time) to the museum for a wild rumpus (and yes, I've been reading "Where the Wild Things Are" a lot lately). As soon as we got into the museum, James remarked that it was obvious that Victor has been there before. He was a man on a mission. However, there were A LOT more people there than there are on a typical busy weekday so we had to curb his enthusiasm a bit.

At any rate, it was quite a fun time until Victor's parents decided that we'd had enough of the wrangling. There's a cool new exhibit we'll have to get back to see soon though. Tonight though, it was all of the usual favorites - the train, the splish zone and the construction zone. I think he might have even gotten a very slight kick out of seeing all of the other kids in their costumes. He even hung out with another dragon for a few minutes in Splish Zone! And now, the dragon suit is dripping dry after a prompt washing once we got home. We've still got more rounds to make this week.

10/29/2007 2:34:11 PM  
I was feeling quite a bit better this morning so naturally, what did we do? Well, we went to a hayride, of course! I feel like I just lived a Claritin commercial (um yeah, maybe this IS allergies after all) but it was worth it for the amount of fun that Victor had. Nose. Won't. Stop. Running.

We went out to the Elgin Christmas Tree Farm and it was the best of all 3 hayrides we got to sample this fall. Nice long ride through the rows and rows of Christmas Trees. I wish I'd gotten video of Victor's commentary: "Weeeeeeeee. Treeeee. Weeeeeeeee. Treeee." Good stuff. He loved the goats and the haymaze ("Achooo!") too. The pumpkins were scant at best but we're probably about pumpkined out anyway.

And oh yes, there are new pics. This is shaping up to be a big picture week with all of the fun stuff on the agenda.

10/30/2007 7:37:02 PM  
Is Halloween over yet?!?!?

We went to the little kiddie Halloween shindig at NI this afternoon and I think that Victor is now reaching the point of tiring of his costume. The blaring sun may have something to do with that. Imitation dragon hide just doesn't breathe well. Doesn't bode well for tomorrow. He did have fun this afternoon but we made the mistake of letting him get into the moonwalk immediately upon arrival.

Here's our dragon in captivity:

And here he is jumping and trying to blend in with the big kids:

After this, Victor had no interest in any of the other offerings and once it was established that he had worn out his moonwalking welcome, there was nothing left to do but drink lemonade and head home. One more round and then we can pack away the dragon suit. He is awfully cute in it though.

Victor's gotten a lot of very cute Halloween cards and he has enjoyed them all (thanks friends and family!) but his very, very favorite is from his cousins Sean the Crocodile and Nick the Spider:

10/31/2007 2:01:32 PM  
Victor was one of three dragons at music class today. Who knew it was the thing to be this year? He completely refused to wear the hood today (and also refused to look at the camera, for that matter):

In fact, 15 minutes into class the molting process began:

After that shot was taken, he went over into the corner, unzipped his suit and slithered out to scamper free in the sunlight. Can't say I blamed him.

Also, just to spite James, here are the family pics from yesterday at the Spooktacular thingy:

10/31/2007 10:52:55 PM  
Two very scary things on this Halloween, in order of scariness:

1. Victor jumped out of the crib for the first time tonight. About an hour ago, actually. When I heard the thud, there was absolutely no mistaking what had occurred. He didn't seem hurt so I stuck him back in after calming him down. I'm not sure what measures will be taken tomorrow but I think we'll try tenting first. I'm not sure any of us are ready for Victor on the loose in the dark of night.

2. Um, what's the deal with black shoes for toddlers? I can only find a few available pairs of black shoes in 8W and half of them look like something I saw on a basketball referee in 1984. And that's online! And from Stride Rite (cha-ching)! Victor needs some comfy but attractive black shoes for his holiday wear and I'm having quite the time trying to procure some. First order is to get him measured again, I suppose.

Also, Victor hated trick or treating with a fervor unseen before. He screamed bloody murder when we we went up to our neighbors' doors. We're not sure if he was mad about being torn away from his wagon ride or if he was terrified of our neighbor's dogs but he did not enjoy the experience.

Just as well because he can't eat any of the candy anyway. He did enjoy rolling around the neighborhood looking at all of the spooky decorations though. So it was certainly a success on that level. I think we're all happy to retire that dragon suit though.

11/2/2007 3:33:43 PM  
Operation Monkey Net was a modest success, I'd say. Victor's OK with being zipped in for sleeping. The only drawback is that he's not quite as content to just hang out and chill out for a while when he wakes up. Still better than him flinging himself from the top rung like he's on Wrestlemania. So yeah, let's hear it for the crib tent.

I wanted Victor to end the week on a fun note and my nose couldn't tolerate the park today so we went to Ready, Set, Play for some jumping. We hadn't done that for a while and, in fact, probably hadn't been there since Victor has really mastered jumping. He had a blast:

I literally had to drag him out of there with the promise of fries.

11/7/2007 4:20:08 PM  
Our week didn't start off particularly well. Therapy did not go well on Monday (seems to be a downhill trend for the past few weeks) so we're looking at reassessing the whole situation with some experts. ECI is totally AWOL. So much for benefiting from our tax dollars, eh? To say that I'm disgusted doesn't even begin to describe it. As a result, I haven't felt much like blogging because there's been nothing good to say. About anything. Except that yes, Victor is impossibly adorable.

Today was the oasis in this otherwise dreadful week though. Sweet, sweet Wednesday. Victor had a blast at music class (have I ever NOT said that?) and then he had a date with Miss Gwen for burgers and playscaping. Once again, the dynamic duo:

However, in spite of an active day thus far, Victor is refusing to nap at the moment. I'm trying to summon the strength to just get him up since napping at this point will blow bedtime out of the water.

11/8/2007 4:25:59 PM  
Hey, who says romance is dead? We already have a blockbuster Valentine's Day lined up. Of course it involves going to see Sesame Street Live's "Elmo Grows Up!" (presale tix were released today). I'm actually rather excited about it, even though it prominently features Abby Cadabby (whom I loathe). I sure hope our little sweetheart enjoys it when the time comes. Much as he'd probably prefer to see a production featuring the Count, the Cookie Monster and Ernie on ice, I'm pretty sure that singing and laughing Elmo will delight.

It looked like we were headed for another nap strike this afternoon but he finally fell asleep not long ago. And while I know that it won't do anyone any favors come bedtime, I'm inclined to indulge and take a little nap with Pru myself. That or I might just snuggle up with her and do some knitting on Victor's cool blue scarf that he won't ever want to wear and it will be too warm to ever wear anyway. Anything to keep from Googling.

11/9/2007 3:00:59 PM  
This morning I was contemplating a pseudo-political rant about healthcare accessibility and the horrific state of our environment. It's never been a secret here on Dawn's Blog that Dawn would sooner swim with piranhas in a pool of sewage than vote Republican or enable anyone else to vote Republican so I felt I was going to totally justify a rant. It's still brewing in the back of my mind (Hillary or Barack, Barack or Hillary?) but thankfully Victor & I got out for some world class Zilker fun this morning and so I've been diverted from rant mode, perhaps for a good while. Whew!

We met up with Lori & Livie this morning to do some playscaping and Zephyr riding (which entailed a lengthy conversation with the train conductor about how overpriced Day Out With Thomas was). Victor did a whole lot of sliding today:

As did his friend Livie With the Wild, Wild Hair:

I can think of no better way to kick off the weekend. I'd just prefer that it be about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than it is at present. And hey, that reminds me of the hot temps in November 2 years ago (cue the flashback music)......................

Victor on TV

The funniest part is Lia & myself trying so hard to evade the camera. But look at tiny V & Alex! Awwwww.

11/12/2007 4:07:51 PM  
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