Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sometimes he still looks little…

Already, we look at Mike and are absolutely AMAZED at how much he has grown!  He is so incredibly different – even from day to day - not to mention week to week.  And month to month?  That’s like comparing apples and oranges…

But there are times – when he’s not on rolling around on his mat or bossing his toys around.  Times when the “big” Mike starts to shrink back down.  It’s usually at night when he is getting his last bottle.  Or we’ll see it when we sneak into his room and watch him sleeping. 

We’ll see that “little” Mike.  That baby who is growing up so fast.  The really little one that we get to see less and less.  But he’s still there if you look hard enough…

 

Big Mike

Here’s “Big” Mike…

 

Little Mike eating 

Here’s “Little” Mike getting his last bottle of the day…

 

 

Little Mike Sleeping

…and heading off to dreamland

Monday, June 28, 2010

The pictures are in!

At long last.  The wait is over!  We received our call from Megan that our pictures were ready to be picked up! 

We rushed over to her studio where she was photographing a newborn baby.  The little baby looked so small and tiny next to Mike (our little “Chunky Monkey”).  The parents of the newborn looked over and said “Wow – he sure is a big boy”!  A little chuckle followed by “yep – but the doctors say he’s only in the 10th percentile”.

“Really”, they asked?

“Yep – really”, we answered.

“How big was he when he was born?”

“Only 6 pounds, 12 ounces.”

“Really?  Our baby is bigger than that!”

“Yep – wait until you are getting the 6 month pictures taken!”

And so it is with parents.  I’m beginning to see that parents don’t really know what’s coming down the pike.  And I’m guessing that it’s that way forever and ever.  But we can look at those parents who haven’t made it as far down the path as we have and we can smile and think “…just wait…”

So, back to the pictures.  We have uploaded them to Kodak Gallery where you can take a gander at them.  And again, the photographer was Megan Parker (just off of Callahan in north Knoxville).  No – we don’t get anything for sending people her way.  And you (nor we) won’t get any sort of discount by mentioning that we are clients (although I’ve always wanted to be on that end of the name dropping!).  But we really do think she does great work.  And the way she works with babies is amazing.

Here’s a few to look at – there are many many more!  You can view the rest by clicking http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/sharing/shareRedirectSwitchBoard.jsp?token=992438401408%3A1046498243&sourceId=533754321803&cm_mmc=eMail-_-Share-_-Photos-_-Sharee

 

Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics Mike 6mo Pics

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sentimental? Yeah, probably… (or – Mike is 7 months old today!)

We talk a lot lately about how lucky we are with Mike. Sure, he (and we) had a rough start. Casts, surgeries, braces, and doctors galore. We think of those as the “dark days” when all Mike did was cry (and I’m sure I would too if I had to go through half of what he did).

But all of that seems like oh so long ago, almost like it was in a dream (or in another life). His feet were corrected which meant no more casts. His tenotomy was a success which meant no more pain while wearing the brace. Shortly after, he started sleeping through the night – and everybody felt better!

So our conversations now are less about clubbed feet (except when we talk about ways of sharing our “lessons learned” with other club feet parents) and more about how great Mike is. He started sleeping through the night months before other babies his age. We can count on two hands the number of times se has “spit up” in the last 7 months He will be independent and play by himself when you need him to. Or he will snuggle up next to you with his little hand on your cheek. He laughs all the time and will great anyone with a big toothless smile. He’s a big flirt, both with other babies and older women (just ask the babies at daycare or the ladies at church!). He eats his food and rarely makes a mess – most times you could do without the bib (although we always use it just in case).

And really – there is nothing better than walking in to a room, watching Mike turn his head, recognize who it is, and give you that “I’m so glad to see you” smile!

So – happy 7 month’s, Mike! Here’s hoping you don’t wrap us up to tightly around your finger! You’re right… It’s too late…

And now for some gratuitous "proud parents of a smiling baby" pictures!

Smiling in the tub

Smiling in the tub.



Smiling with mommy

Smiling with mommy!



Smiling at YOU!

Smiling at YOU!



I can stick out my tongue

I learned how to stick out my tongue…



...and I can smile while I do it!

…and I can smile while I do it!



smiling in the car seat

Smiling in the car seat.



Smiling and driving

Smilin’ and drivin’



Smiling in the recliner

Smiling on daddy’s recliner.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A trip to the National Air Force Museum!

First a little preface.  Mike’s dad took a temporary work assignment in Cincinnati OH.  Yes – it’s hard to be away from Mike and his mommy during the week, but knowing that it’s temporary helps.  And we have been burning up the internet with the webcams so we all get to see each other every evening!

It also provides an opportunity to do things that we normally would not have done.  One such thing is visiting the National Air Force Museum in Dayton.  The museum, appropriately situated on Wright Patterson Air Force Base contains the largest collection of USAF planes in the United States.  And while that does indeed sound impressive, our expectations were not excessively high.  We were expecting a couple of hangers with a few F-16’s and maybe a stealth bomber – and we knew that they had a small collection of “Air Force One’s”.

So, a couple of weeks ago, Mike and mommy make the trip up to Ohio for a week long visit.  On the Saturday, we drove up to Dayton to take a gander at these planes.  And boy howdy – what a collection it is…

I won’t even begin to describe the number of planes.  but I will mention a few of “daddy’s” favorites.  They had a really beautiful P-47 thunderbolt – and this one was a little extra special because it was a P-47D-RA.  The”-RA” designation means it was built in daddy’s hometown of Evansville Indiana!  They also had the actual “Bocks Car” plane – the B-29 that dropped the “Fat Man” over Nagasaki (that was a rather solemn area of the museum…), an actual B-52 (I still don’t know how they got something that big off of the ground), an F-117A stealth bomber, they even had an SR71 Blackbird – daddy’s favorite plane when he was a little boy (and still the fastest plane ever built!).  The favorite of all was the “T-41A Mescalero” – most of you probably haven’t heard it called by that name.  But Mike’s dad has over 100 hours piloting this exact model!  It’s better known as a Cessna 172!!!!

And that is only an insanely small sample of the hundreds of aircraft (yes – they even had a few F-16’s!).  In the end, the museum turned out to be so big that we didn’t have time to see it all before it closed.  Mom’s favorite was all of the “nose art” on the WWII planes.  Dad’s favorite was everything (much like a kid in a candy factory – we expected the Oompa Loompa’s to come out any minute and wisk him away).  And Mike’s favorite was “Iron Mike” – an actual suit of armor (yep – like the Knights of King Arthurs Court) that was the mascot of the 317th fighter squadron.  What price would you pay to see such an amazing display of American air superiority?  Thanks to the USAF, the price is free.  We will certainly be making the trip back to finish the tour!

 

P-47 Thunderbot 

This Thunderbolt was made in Evansville Indiana!

B-29 "Bockscar"

“Bockscar” – the B-29 that carried the “Fat Man” atomic bomb…

SR71 Blackbird

SR71 – still holds the speed and altitude records at 2070MPH and 80,257 feet (and that’s just what the USAF releases!).  It once flew from London to Los Angeles in 3 hours 47 minutes…

F-117 

The F-117A.  Stealth ALWAYS looks cool!

F-16 cockpit

Mike and Daddy take a seat in an F-16 cockpit!

T-41A

The “T-41A” – better known as a Cessna 172!

  "Iron Mike" 

“Iron Mike” – the mascot for the 317 fighter squadron!  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The diversity of food…

We’ve alluded to this in a couple of previous posts.  Now it’s time to tell the whole story about Mike and his journey towards food diversity…

In the beginning, it was all easy.  Breast milk from the breast.  And there is variety here as the flavor changes according to what mom eats.  Or at least that’s what the lactation folks say – we never actually ran that experiment.  For us, it was simply breast milk from the breast.

Then there was the time of Mike’s surgery.  Because of the general anesthesia, the doctors wanted to make sure he was hydrated enough and told us to give him some pedialyte before the surgery.  We were worried – after all, he had only had breast milk.  But Mike had no worries.  He gulped the pedialyte down like a cold glass of lemonade  on a hot summer day!

Then came the time when Mike’s appetite increased more than mom’s milk supply.  Time to supplement with some formula.  Again – we were worried.  After all, he had only had breast milk and the one “dose” of pedialyte.  But Mike had no worries.  He gulped it down like a glass of cold water after mowing the lawn.

Switching from Similac to Enfamil?  Nope – no big deal there either…

Time for rice cereal?  Mike says “YUM”!

Add some Oatmeal?  Mike says “Get in my BELLY”!

So how about adding in some vegetables?  Maybe we’ll start with Mom’s favorite – carrots!

Carrots? Carrots?  Are you sure?

Now, we are fairly sure that starting Mike on a new food won’t be a big deal.  After all, he has had a variety of foods (even if the variety was small) and he has loved each new food.  So why would carrots be any different?

So, in a build up of excitement and anticipation, we put the carrots in a small bowl (Mike’s favorite “blue” bowl), set Mike in his favorite eating chair, gather up the camera and camcorder.  Dip the spoon in the bowl and bring out some carrots.  Mike’s mouth is already open with great anticipation.  Dump the carrots over the gums and……

Here is the best way to describe this.  Close your eyes – well maybe you should keep them open so you can keep reading.  But try and visualize.  Remeber the last time you accidentally swallowed a bug?  The horrible gagging, coughing sound you made - “ack…  uck uck… ACK”!  Yep – that’s the sound.  Now, imagine a facial expression that flows smoothly from “what is this” to absolute disgust, horror, pain, and pleading “why – oh why???”.  Now, imagine that face with carrots running out of your mouth.  It would look something like this…

 

Ummm - this is gross.

Wait a minute – this isn’t oatmeal…

Yuck!

Whoa – this is DISGUSTING!

Double YUCK!

Get it out.  GET IT OUT!!!

Wow – that wasn’t the response we were expecting.  But we are fairly determined folks, so we tried it again the next day…

Not again!

Please mommy – not again!

and again for a third day…

Are you kidding??!?!?!

You’ve got to be kidding me…

Yes indeed.  Three evenings in a row.  We brought our son to tears (literally) with a tablespoon of carrots.

So we took the rest of the week off and reverted back to cereal and all was right with the world again.  But we can’t just ignore vegetables!  So, what should we try next?  We didn’t want to skip to fruits – we were afraid that his reaction to the carrots combined with the sweetness of the fruits and he may never ever eat his vegetables.  And we thought we should probably try something a little less intense in the flavor department.

What we decided on was squash.  And the result?  Some excited anticipation (“maybe it’s oatmeal again!”)…

Maybe it's oatmeal again!

…followed by shock and horror…

This isn't oatmeal!

…followed by squash on the chin (and a few “sympathy” tears just for good measure).

Bring back the oatmeal PLEASE!

 

 

Two new foods in a row.  We need to try a different approach!  So we talked it over (it actually dominated our conversation) until the next evening.  We eventually decided to try giving him a few bites of oatmeal and then slip him a spoon full of squash.  Then repeat and repeat and repeat.  The result?  After a few rounds – Mike starting acting as if he liked the squash!  We decided to give him two spoonfuls in a row.  And he ate them both!  Then a bite of oatmeal – and THREE spoonfuls of squash!  He likes it!  Mikey likes it! (perhaps we should try “Life” cereal next – for those of you who are old enough to remember the commercials…).

Now we have a system.  Cereal or oatmeal with the veggies.  Next on the list?  Sweet potatoes!  Our method was again successful.  As it turns out, sweet potatoes are at the top of Mike’s “favorites” list!  After a couple of days with the cereal / sweet potatoes combination, we decided to try sweet potatoes alone.  And he gobbled them down followed by a satisfying “BURP”!

This week has been green beans.  Not as good as the sweet potatoes, but he will eat them until the bowl is empty.

So what’s on the menu for next week?  We are going to try carrots again.  But we are going to use the “spoonful of cereal – spoonful of veggies” trick.  Stay tuned, we will let you know how it turns out…

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mike’s six month checkup…

Ahhhh – the pediatrician “well baby” check-ups.  Always a mixed bag of emotions with those!  The parents are more than ready to find out those “vital stats” and find out what the doctor has up her sleeve as far as his development goes.  But, on the other hand, you know that the shots are coming.  And somewhere, maybe not so far back in your mind, you start to think that the baby is going to somehow blame it on you.  “Why did you let that doctor poke me!!!!   WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

So, first we’ll talk about the shots.  There was all of the usual poking and prodding and temperature taking.  Then it’s time.  Out come the needles.  “I’m sorry Mike!  It’s for your own good!”  He looks longingly in to your eyes.  Then comes the first stick.  Then the second.  Then the third.  Then the crying begins…

But only for about five seconds!  No – I’m not exaggerating.  Just minutes after the shots, and he’s rolling around and playing in the exam room while we are waiting to make sure there is no allergic reaction!  I guess that after those two weeks when he wore his brace before his tenotomy, three little shots must seem like nothing…  He’s such a trooper!!!

And what about those “vital stats”?  Well – he is officially 15 pounds, 8 ounces and he grew an inch and a half in 6 weeks!  He’s up to 25 inches long.  He’s still small for his age (10th percentile in weight, 4th percentile in length, but 21st percentile in head circumference – he takes after his dad in that department!).  He is packing on the pounds and getting longer at the perfect pace and the doctor is absolutely pleased with his progress!

The doctor was impressed with his “consonant sounds” which currently consist of “ba ba ba ba ba ba” (Mike’s favorite) along with the occasional “ma ma ma” (mom’s favorite) and the occasional “da da da” (dad’s favorite).  She officially wants him to spend some time in his “car” to bounce along and build leg strength – and more time in his bumbo sit to build his core strength.  An exercise program for a 6 month old!  We’ll be getting him a gym membership next.  Or maybe a bike!!!

We also took a trip out to see Megan Parker last Saturday.  Yep – that’s right.  Megan Parker the photographer!!!  Mike really had a great time getting his picture taken.  He is really turning in to a big flirt (just ask the ladies at church – or at daycare – or next door – or at the grocery).  We’ll be getting the proofs soon and we will share them with you all as soon as we get them.  In the meantime – Megan graciously posted three pictures from our “photo shoot” on her website.  Wanna see them?  Just click here…  http://meganparkerphoto.com/photoblog/cant-get-much-cuter-knoxville-portrait-studio/

We really can’t say enough about the work that Megan does.  She is absolutely phenomenal!  The way she works with the kids is amazing enough.  But to see the photographic results – it’s truly spectacular.  If you are sitting there right now and thinking “hmmm – we should go get some pictures made too…” and you happen to live anywhere near Knoxville – I simply can’t give her a high enough recommendation.  And no, she is in no way compensating me or giving me any discounts for the high praise.  She really is “just that good”!!!

And lastly, someone recently asked if Mike still enjoyed his bath time.  Oh my goodness YES!  It makes the perfect end to a day.  He loves getting in his tub and splashing around (all while mom and/or dad try to rub a little soap on him).  After he gets out – it’s lights out and off to visit the sandman for a great nights sleep.  It is such a great routine…

Splish splash!

Man – bath time is GREAT!

Tired baby...

…but all that splashing makes me tired!  When I’m done, mom carries me off to bed…

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The new car…

There it stood.  White stripes racing down its sleek hood.  Its chrome bumper shining brightly.  With no top and the bright red paint – it just scream “FAST!”. 

Yes indeed – we are talking about the newest car in our household!

It’s not replacing any of the vehicles we already have.  Nope – this one is in addition to what we already own.  Storage (when it’s not out being enjoyed!) should be easy since it’s small enough to fit into the spare bedroom.  This particular vehicle isn’t for mom or dad…

…it’s for Mike!

Mike's new car!

Mike’s new car!

Mike has already taken this beauty around for a spin.  He needs some help to get it moving (since it comes with a genuine “Fred Flintstone” motor).  He also needs a little assistance to get the pneumatic suspension to bounce.  But he thoroughly enjoys the “melody horn” which plays 4 different tunes (no – none of them are the “Dukes of Hazard”…). 

And I almost forgot to mention the best feature of all.  The removable hood!  Which reveals the tray underneath – perfect for banging toys!

Bangin' the rattle! 

This rattle is a lot louder when I bang it on the tray!

Mike has really enjoyed his time in his convertible (thanks Elaine!).  It won’t be much longer until his feet are firmly planted and he is zipping around the house (and running over dogs and banging into walls).  Since it’s such a cool ride – maybe we should get him some sunglasses to wear while he’s cruising…

Hey ladies!

“Don’t worry ladies – there’s enough Mikey for everybody!”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bring on the food!

Ahhh – the good ol’ days.  When life was as simple as your food choices – and your only food choice was a bottle……

But no more!  A few weeks ago, Mike officially added cereal to his diet!  At the time, that only made the forth thing he has digested (the first three being breast milk, pedialyte, and formula).

So here it is.  Our big moment.  The first meal with a spoon.  Mix up a little of the rice cereal in a bowl.  Heat it up just a tad.  Sit Mike in his bumbo seat.  Have the camera armed and ready.  Everything is set.  “Are you ready Mike?”  And his reaction was…

What the ??!?!!!?!

“Hey!  Wait a minute!  I can’t gulp this stuff down!”  But we convince him that rice cereal is good and he will most certainly like it.  He decides to try the first spoon full…

Cereal is not to bad! Then the second spoon full…

 

Yummy!

And before long, he was eating like a pro!  Of course, he wants to grab the spoon (I can hear the “I can do it myself!” in my future…) and he has a strong desire to grab the cereal bowl (I’m sure to mash his hands in it – or possibly pour it over his head).  But so far, we have averted those disasters. 

Since then, we have tried a couple of other things.  Namely, carrots (which will get a post of its own!) and oatmeal.  Oatmeal may be his favorite thing so far.  Or at least it’s the only food where he bangs his hands on the tray wanting more!  And amazingly enough, he is a pretty neat eater.  We were expecting as much on his bib as what he swallowed.  But after the first few tries, he got it down pat – and all with a minimal mess!

Is there cereal on my face?  Does anybody see this cereal on my face?