Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adventures with Fruits…

We have traveled far on the baby food trail.  After a couple false starts, we have successfully navigated our way through the village of vegetables and are now deep in the heart of the land of fruit.

Fruitland is such a different place than vegetable village.  Everything has a wonderful smell that makes you want to inhale deeply.  And oh my – how sweet the taste!

But there are certain things in Fruitland (you could call them “apples”).  They have something else mixed in with the sweetness.    Some call it “sour” but I like to call it “tart”.  There is an instant sweet sensation in every bite – but right on the heels is a wave of tartness.  It causes my eyes to squeeze shut, my nose to wrinkle, and my lips pucker.  Sometimes it makes me shake and shiver.  As quick as it comes, it goes away and I open my mouth waiting for more!


First bite of apples

The first bite of apples – down the hatch!


Ahhh – the sweetness…

...but wait...

But wait – what is this mixing with my sweet flavor?



…then the “tart” hits…

...makes me shiver...

…and makes me shiver…

Ready for more!

…and then I’m ready for more!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Fun with Family and Friends

It’s not often that we get to see our friends from Evansville.  It’s even less often that we get to see our friends from Detroit.  So it is a rare occasion indeed when all three families can get together in the same place at the same time.

But that’s exactly what happened this past weekend!  The Detroit clan and the Evansville clan made plans to go camping.  They decided that a good “half way” meeting point was Heuston Woods Stat Park – a short 35 minute drive north of Cincinnati!  So Mike’s mom and dad decided on some “role reversal” – instead of dad driving back to Knoxville, mom loaded up Mike and the dogs and headed to Cincinnati…

We all met up at the campground and spent the better part of the day together.  All of the “big” kids (Sara, Nathan, and Edison) swam in the lake and built sand castles.  Even Franklin splashed around in the water with his mom!  And the two boys – Edison and Nathan – were close enough in age that they had a blast playing with each other!  Afterwards, we headed back to the campsite for some burgers, brats, and chicken – all topped off with a slice of watermelon.  Nothing brings back those childhood memories of summer vacation like watermelon juice running down your arms and dripping off of your elbows!

It was such a fabulous time.  We really do need to do it more often!!!


Mike eating supper

Mike eating supper at the campground.

Matt cooking chicken

Matt cooks up some chicken over the fire.


Karen smiles (while trying to get Sara and Nathan to eat!)


Sara deciding how much she “really” has to eat.


Nathan plays with some of Edison’s Matchbox cars…


The nearly world famous “Sharpie”.

Rachael and Franklin

Rachael and Franklin enjoy some peas and grapes.


Edison planning his next move…

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pay it forward…

We often talk amongst the two of us (Mike’s mom and dad) about how lucky we really are.  Bi-lateral clubbed feet caused us a few weeks of stress in the beginning.  But as far as clubbed feet go, Mike responded phenomenally well to the treatment.  Considering what other parents and children have gone through (or are going through) makes us appreciate how well it’s gone.

And it’s not just the feet either.  Good, happy, healthy, eats anything (without being messy), and on and on and on – it really has been smooth sailing.  And again, we reflect on how well it’s been.

And then sometimes, you hear a story that hits close to home.  And you say to each other “that poor child and her parents – my heart goes out to them”.  This is one of those times…

A little girl from Mike’s daycare was recently (an unexpectedly) diagnosed with a brain tumor.  She had to have brain surgery just a few days before her fourth birthday.  She was allowed a couple of weeks to recover in Knoxville (if you can call two weeks of fairly intensive physical therapy “recovery”) before being sent to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for radiation treatments (which began today…).  The treatments are 5 days a week, Monday through Friday for eight full weeks – and she has to be put to sleep for each one.  And to top it all, she’s young enough that she doesn’t understand how far away Houston is from Knoxville – so she doesn’t understand why her friends can’t come to visit her. 

I think about this little girl often.  And what she and her parents must be going through is absolutely beyond my ability to comprehend. 

I would be surprised if anyone reading this actually knows Madison Haynes.  Even though – you can still appreciate how much it would mean to her to know that people are thinking about her.  So the next time you are out and about, buy a “get well soon” card and a $0.44 stamp .  You certainly won’t have to go out of your way – you can pick one up for $1.00 anywhere from the grocery to Wal-Mart).  Write a short little message on the inside (something like “you might not know who I am, but I thought you would like to know that someone from Knoxville (or Indiana, or Kentucky, or California, or wherever you are) is thinking about you”).  Send it to Miss Madison Haynes, Homewood Suites, 2950 Sage Road, Houston, TX  77056.  For less than a buck and a half, you just put a smile on this little girl’s face.

I can’t think of a better way to “pay it forward” than that…

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spending time with friends…

Not that long ago, we got to spend a couple of days watching Mike’s buddy Giada.  Giada was born just a couple weeks after Mike, and they’ve had several social visits.  But this was the first time that they would get to play all day for two days!

And we were excited about it too!  Our neighbor (Mrs. Maureen) came over in the afternoons after VBS to lend a hand – just in case taking care of two babies turned out to be too much.  After all, we are not nearly as good at taking care of multiple babies as our friends the “quad-mom and quad-dad” (by the way, the quads just recently turned four!).

It turned out to be two very nice days!  There was lots of playing, very little napping, and some pretty good eating.  All followed by more playing and even less napping.  We all had so much fun!  And we were glad to see Giada has made a full recovery and is now fully mobile after her spinal surgery!  Perhaps I’ll post the details of that some other day…

Until then, we are certainly looking forward to the next “play date”!


Mike and Giada

Giada and Mike play on their mats



   Giada driving the car

Giada takes a turn driving the car



 The two posers The two “posers”!




 Mike, Giada, and Mrs. Maureen Mike, Giada, and Mrs. Maureen – Mike has on his best “Hey Baby – you’re looking good!” pose…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Veggie Tales

We’ve had a few posts now concerning our “vegetable saga” with Mike.  Remember that we tried carrots (mom’s favorite!) first and we reduced our son to tears three days in a row.  We tried squash next with the same results.  Then we altered our method and gave him a bite of cereal followed by a bite of vegetables and that seemed to do the trick!  In the end, he would eat a whole jar of squash in one sitting!

So me moved on the sweet potatoes.  No problem with those – he REALLY liked them!  So much that he would bang his tray wanting more!  We got a little adventurous and tried them without the cereal and he ate them like they were going out of style!  Perhaps he was getting used to this vegetable routine.

Next came green beans.  Not as good as sweet potatoes, but he still ate them all up!

That was when we decided it was time.  We had a feeding method that seemed to work.  And Mike also seemed to be getting used to these new, strange flavors.  So, with much apprehension from mom (she REALLY wanted Mike to like carrots!), we decided to try carrots again.

First, we primed Mike with a little cereal. 

Some cereal first...

Alright!  Cereal!!!

Then we told him it was time to try carrots again…

Are you sure?Ok mom and dad.  If you say they are good, I’ll try carrots again… 


And the result?  He liked them!  So much, that he ate the whole jar!

Carrots are good!

Hey!  Carrots really ARE good!!!

Success!  We officially checked carrots off of the vegetable “to do” list!

Next were sweet peas.  We saved them for “next to last” (we saved corn for last because it is always mixed with something else).  We were a little worried about the sweet peas.  Mike’s cousin (who is a few months older than him) hated sweet peas.  And his buddy (who is two weeks younger than him) was allergic to them.  But we decided that it was time to be brave and give them a try.

We used our same old method (which had become ‘tried and true’ by this point).  We primed him up with some cereal and then he got his first spoonful of peas…

the first spoonful

…the first spoonful goes down the hatch…

down the hatch!

…and Mike comes back wanting more!!!

  peas are good too!

So we have added sweet peas to the “success” list!  The last thing remaining was corn.  And we opted for the “corn and rice” mix.  And since all of the other vegetables have turned in to successes (even those that started out as failures) – you might be able to guess how this experiment ended up.  It was indeed a resounding success.  And while I don’t have any pictures (sorry, they are still on the camera and the camera is 290 miles away!) – you can look at any of the pictures above and imagine “yellow goo” on the spoon instead of “orange goo” or “green goo”.  Mike ate it up and came back with a smile on his face wanting more!

So, that ends our vegetable saga.  Next on the list?  Fruit!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More “firsts”

One thing we’ve realized now that we are parents is that during the first year of “parenthood” – nearly everything is a “first”. And every day seems to bring about the beginning of some milestone in your baby’s life.

Some are just silly – born from the fairytale notion of parenthood (or more likely – sleep deprivation of the parents!). Things like “the first poopy diaper” (for all of you Bill Cosby ‘Himself’ fans…). Or other things – like his first bath, the first time he peed on you. For goodness sakes – it’s no wonder all parents aren’t prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs when they are sent home with their new baby

Some are more monumental on the development scale – like the first time he slept through the night, the first time he rolled over, the first time he sat up.

Some are more directly related to clubbed feet – like his first casts (at 16 days old), the first night he could sleep without casts, his first brace, the first day he could have the brace off for more than a few minutes.

And then there are the really special ones. The ones that peel back the hardened exterior of adulthood and allow you to see the true wonders of the world through a child’s eye. And we were lucky enough to have TWO of those this past weekend!

They both happened while we were spending our 4th of July weekend camping at Indian Mountain State Park. The first “first” happened on the spur of the moment. We had decided to take Mike and the dogs walking down the little path that winds through a field, along a lake, then past a playground. We stopped at the playground and played! Mike’s dad even took him down the “slicky slide” (and provided some comic relief to mom!). We were almost ready to go when Mike’s mom stopped and looked at the swings. Mike’s dad said “Hmmm – I wonder if he would sit in there”? So we plopped him in and gave him a push. And there it was – that look on his face. The absolute joy of being a kid swinging on a swing at the playground. It made me want to hop in a swing too!

The second “first” happened later that same night. The little town of Jellico (which is where the Indian Mountain State Park is located) was having their 4th of July fireworks! The campground is close enough to be able to see the fireworks, but far enough away to mute the loud “BANG” to a more baby friendly level. We set out in the lawn chairs and watched the display. Mike sat upright and straight as a board on his dad’s lap and watched each firework with absolute wonder and amazement. He sat perfectly still and watched the entire 20 minute display. When it was over, he turned and looked at his mom with eyes as big as pie pans. What he was trying to say was unmistakable - “Did you see THAT? Did you SEE that? Holy cow – did you SEE THAT????”

And what a better way to say “Happy 234th birthday, America”! Watching a small fireworks display in a small town in the hills of Appalachia with your son looking up in the sky at the most amazing spectacle he has ever seen.

Going for a walk...

Mike on the walking path…

Mike and Dad on the slide

Mike and Dad going down the slide.


Mike LOVES to swing!

Worn out...

All that playing makes a fella awfully tired!


Mike’s first bite of sweet peas – were they a camping favorite or camping flop? Stay tuned to find out!