Friday, October 31, 2008

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!!!

Happy Halloween!! Kenny LOVES Charlie Brown and waits each year as it nears a holiday to see when the Charlie Brown special will be on TV. He loves this so much, I bought him the DVDs, but he still lives for watching it on live TV. Tuesday night this week, was THE night. Our Charlie Friedrich wasn't having any of it though and I know Kenny dreamed of watching it with Charlie this year. Our Charlie was still dealing with those stinkin' 4 month shots. Enter the DVDs that Mommy bought years ago. So tonight, Kenny and Charlie got to cuddle on the couch during It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! No carving pumpkins it this house...just good old TV watchin'!

Sweet Charlie, all smiles today!

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Charlie, on the floor staring at the TV, waiting for Daddy to join him.

So exciting he threw his arms up in the air and cooed alot!

Charlie and Daddy...have their Charlie Brown moment!


Kind of appropriate that this week of trick or treating, brought our Charlie boy a TREAT --- Rice Cereal. Oh, what a treat it is!! The little guy passed his 4 month check up with flying colors and an OK to start enjoying the finer things in life, yummy baby food. (Note: Check out his eyes in most of these pictures...poor baby had a rough week dealing with his 4 month shots!)

I'm not sure what Mommy is doing, but she is really excited about giving this to me!

Let me think about this...I'm not sure what to make of it.

Ok, it's not so bad.

In fact, I think I like it...can I have some more???

Rice Cereal: Day 3. We think he likes it. :)

Rice Cereal: Day 4. Charlie shows Mommy his trick...I like to eat cereal, chew on my hand and then grab my feet. Yummy!

All Done.

Overall, Charlie has really liked his first try at cereal. Most nights he gobbles down the whole bowl of it, on top of his normal bottles. Tomorrow...on to Oatmeal!

Monday, October 27, 2008

4 Months Old!!

Sweet Charlie flipped over on his belly, head held up high!

Our little man...and we mean little man now...has turned 4 months old. Yesterday was such a fun filled day, I was just too tired to do this post last night! More pictures to come on that another time.

Kenny especially, has loved being home and getting to spend a lot of quality time with Charlie, even though he can't care for him, he still can read to him, sing and do other sorts of fun things!

In the last month, Charlie has again amazed us with new things:

** He rolled over from back to tummy and continues to get quicker at it each day.

**Rolling over means that his neck/head control while on his tummy has improved GREATLY (see photo above) and he's looking like a little boy now!

**Yesterday, he rolled over in a crib and scared Mommy because he was sleeping on his she flipped him. And yes...he was in Gwen's crib when he did it!

**He loves to smile at people, as long as he's not overwhelmed by the activity going on around him.

**He's very alert and loves to take in everything around him.

**Mommy thinks he's ready for cereal because he has such a big appetite and we HOPE the doctor gives us the ok today for that!

**He is much better at going down for a nap on his own, in his crib or packnplay. Naps aren't on a schedule yet...but generally he naps anywhere from 3-5 hours a day.

**LOVES to get a story read to him. He looks at the pictures and tries to turn the pages and play with the book.

**Started daycare, 3 days a week. So far, he loves Ms. Jeanne's house and his new friends. He smiles each morning when we get there and he sees her.

**Seems to be growing out of 3-6 month clothes pretty quickly...I see 6-9 month clothing in his future soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Big News

I don't know how it's taken me so long to share our big news...well, Kenny's big news...but it has. I guess that's life with a baby and a temporarily medically challenged husband.

We saw Kenny's neurosurgeon on Thursday last week and he gave Kenny the go ahead to do many things.

1. No therapy required! He thought Kenny was getting around fine on his own.

2. He can start driving. He was supposed to try it out with me first, a short trip somewhere to make sure he was comfortable. BUT Friday when I got home from work, Kenny was smiling. I asked what he was up to and he said he took a ride to Walgreens (literally in our neighborhood -- no driving on major roads required). I scolded him, but he swore he didn't get over 25 mph and he said he did fine...."it's like riding a bike." I was concerned since it had been 7 weeks since he had driven, but I've since let him drive more and haven't been with him. I guess he's ok.

3. He gets to go back to work in 3 weeks. Light duty for the first 3 weeks of work...but by the beginning of December he will be fully back without restrictions! Hooray!!

4. Don't come back for 6 months for an MRI and follow up with the neurosurgeon!

And probably the best part of the appointment was the effect that Charlie had on Dr. Chandler. See, he's a very serious guy...a quality you WANT in the guy that's working on your brain. As I've spent much time with him in the last 7 weeks, I've seen him smile, but typically, he is all business. That doesn't bother me, because we've had our moments where we've connected on a doctor to family member basis when he looks at me and kind of smiles like "you are understanding all this neurosurgery stuff" after I've asked a question or commented on something he has asked.

So, to see him meet Charlie for the first time and GRIN at him and baby talk to him was priceless! As he was walking us to another room in the office, he even stopped, turned around to look at Charlie in the stroller and talk to him more! It was so fun to see a great, smart, fantastic doctor that we have SO MUCH respect for interact with our son. It was kind of like he saw, in person, what Kenny was fighting so much to get home for...and helped him see how worth it is was that he worked so hard to make Kenny well again.

How could you not smile at this cutie??

And this is what Kenny and Charlie say to the doctor's report...HOORAY!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fun Filled Family Weekend AND a Big Accomplishment

This was a family filled, busy weekend for us. I didn't end up taking as many pictures as I thought I would...but here are a few that I got. Charlie...also has some exciting news...if you scroll through these pictures.
Hanging out in the bumbo.

So cute in a hoodie!

Loves to grab at his hanging toys.

Bedtime story on Friday night ended up being a Muscle Car Magazine article with Daddy. Charlie was very talkative during the article.

Thinking about the engine Daddy is reading about.

With his favorite links.

Saturday we went down to have breakfast with Cousin Megan, Uncle Jim and Grandma. We also got to see Cousin Lauren before she left for work and went back to Grandma and Grandpa's later to see Grandpa. Grandma had a nice blanket on the floor for Charlie and a great toy for him to play with.

Charlie playing with the toy. He was starting to ROLL OVER in this picture...but he's got this close many times...

But this time he DID IT!!! Look at our big boy!

After another roll over...

And Sunday, we had Grammy and Pops and Uncle Ted over for lunch and a mini celebration of Grammy's birthday. We tried and tried to get Charlie to perform his rolling over trick...but he couldn't quite make it.

So he took a break on the couch with Pops.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Charlie's ready for Daycare.

Well, I forgot to take a picture of him yesterday ready for daycare, when he officially started, but this is from this morning. So cute!! He loved it yesterday, shared lots of smiles with Ms. Jeanne and met the other kids and Riley the dog.

Note --- the adorable sweater he is wearing is a baby gift from my coworker Liz and I'm so excited he can wear it now! He looks so cute in it!

Charlie and the Bumbo

Charlie hanging out in the Bumbo...Thanks to the Fergusons for letting us borrow it!

He's been really liking these links lately!

Touch a Truck

Last Saturday, we took Charlie to another motorized vehicle event...Touch a Truck. It was a great way to get out of the house on a Saturday morning, get some fresh air, go for a little walk and Kenny LOVES to share truck/car, etc. information with Charlie.
Daddy and Charlie with the Wauconda Fire Truck.

Mommy and Charlie petting Rex the Standard Poodle...Rex was at the mobile grooming van station.

Mommy and Charlie on a snow plow!

Charlie with a sign

Thinking about everything he's seen today!

Of course, Charlie had to wear a "car" shirt.

Touching Trucks can wear a kid out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Giving Thanks

The view from our front door.
Many see the beautiful fall colors like in the picture above and start to think about Thanksgiving and what they are thankful for. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what blessings we have in life and to be thankful for them. Kenny and I are so thankful for our Charlie and his entrance into the world this past summer and I think it reminded us both of how lucky we are. He's truly a little angel sent here from heaven.
After all of the medical "stuff" we have been through in the last 7 weeks, we have been forever reminded to be thankful for all of the blessings in our lives on a daily basis. We wanted to list some things that we have been and continue to be especially thankful for:
*Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Dr. Chandler and his amazing neurosurgery team and the wonderful nurses, especially in the NeuroICU. I can never repay these people for the wonderful care they gave to Kenny (and to me sometimes too!) and the hard work they did to help get to where he is today. We will always be thankful for the great medical community we have at Northwestern.
*Charlie's Grammy...she dropped everything to be with Charlie, to care for him (and our house) so that I could focus on Kenny and getting him better, understanding and learning about all of the medical stuff I never wanted to know about. I don't know what we would have done, had she not been retired. And Charlie's Pops for giving up Grammy while she lived at our house.
*Joan and Joe...and our sweet nieces. They welcomed me in their home so that I could be 15 minutes from Kenny in Chicago and have a nice place to sleep and relax late at night when I arrived after too many hours in a hospital. They were wonderful to sit up and listen to me talk about the day and then it was great to wake up in the morning and sometimes get to have a nice breakfast with our nieces. Having a wonderful home to go home to at night was THE BEST after those long days. And for taking care of our Charlie the few times he was in Chicago too.
*Grandma and Grandpa Friedrich and Cousin Lauren...for helping care for Charlie too. We have such a wonderful family who loves our Charlie soooo much.
*For all of the rest of our family and friends...we continue to receive amazing cards, emails, offers to help us with household tasks, babysitting for Charlie and care packages. Just as we think we are done with the food we have received, we get more. And it's so welcome! Kenny has so many restrictions, it's rough to run a house and take care of Charlie on my own, so having meals already made is wonderful and SO TASTY!!! We appreciate them so much and the extra time it gives us both to spend with each other and Charlie. All of the offers we have received and taken some of you up on are so appreciated!
*And for our coworkers in Wauconda and Lake Forest. They all continue to be so supportive of both of us with wonderful cards, phone calls and emails. The sick time donation that Kenny received brought tears to my eyes that there is such generosity in this world and that Kenny was lucky enough to receive it. My coworkers have been wonderful working with me to be back at work as much as I can be right now and helping to give me something "normal" to do as we try to adjust to life again.
*Last, I'm forever thankful for my Kenny and that he worked so hard to get through this and is still working hard to regain his strength. He is an amazing blessing in my life and this experience has reminded us both about what really matters in life. A kind of "milestone" birthday is coming up shortly for me and Kenny has expressed some concern about getting me an appropriate gift and I continue to tell him that I really don't need anything. Weeks ago, I might have had some grand idea for Kenny to get me for this birthday, but his continued good health and our sweet son is all the gift that I need.
I've mentioned before that Kenny and I feel overwhelmed sometimes with the wonderful things that have been done for us in the last few weeks and at times find it hard to express completely how thankful we are. We continued to be amazed at the sweet gestures that have been made and will continue to say thank to all of our friends and family and pay it forward to others we know that may have a need in the future and to those that we don't know. We will teach our Charlie to never take anything for granted and to Give Thanks for the blessings in life, not just once a year, but the whole year through.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Charlie's Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

I'm still not back at work every day each week because of Kenny's many doctor appointments, blood work and soon (we think!) therapy. The days that I'm home with Kenny and Charlie, in between going to appointments, I'm trying to plan more things to do with them, not only for the three of us to spend time together, but to help Kenny be out and moving around (call it Michelle's physical therapy). I see such a difference in Kenny, he can last longer doing trips to the store or out doing "something" without getting tired as quickly. Since he isn't in physical therapy yet, I know this will help him as he starts to go to therapy.
So, we decided that a weekday trip to pick out Pumpkins with Charlie would be much less taxing on Kenny than trying to get through a pumpkin patch on a weekend.
In the four years we have lived out here, we've never gone to the same pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins. This year, we found a great one just about 15 minutes from us in McHenry and it wasn't too big, but wasn't too small. I hope we can go back to this one each year...they had some great kids activities that Charlie would love next year.
Charlie in his stroller and ready to pick a pumpkin!

Charlie and Daddy hanging out waiting for Mommy to pull up the truck to load up our stuff.

Mommy and Charlie...this pumpkin patch was decorated sooo cute...I couldn't resist some good picture opportunities!

What's this??!! A family photo?? Charlie's not looking, but we are getting closer to a good one!

How big is Charlie?

This is Mommy's way of torturing Charlie trying to get a cute picture!

Could have been cute if he looked up and smiled!

Poor kid...has to put up with Mommy taking crazy pictures!

Charlie...probably staring at another Mommy that isn't so picture crazy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Can't Get Enough

I just can't get enough of Charlie!! He's getting such a personality now and I must have taken 50 pictures of him today...but not to worry...I didn't post them all! :)

Charlie and Daddy hanging out...watching the NASCAR race on Sunday.

Mommy and Charlie...there aren't very many of these pictures since I'm usually taking them.

Sleeping sweet!

He gets this look on his face cracks me up!

He's getting SOOOO close to rolling over...he just needs to figure out how to move his bottom arm out of the way and it really makes him mad that he can't get over!

This great blanket is from his Great Aunt Mary (Kenny's Aunt). It's wonderful...great construction vehicles on it, great colors...we love it! Thank you!!

Tummy time is NOT Charlie's thing at all. He has great neck/head control when being held, but HATES to lay on his tummy and lift his head. We make him every day, but he hates it. This is his attempt today...he CAN lift his head and hold it...he just doesn't like to!

And you can see how much of his hair he sad. And yucky cradle cap too!

The fingers go in the mouth alot now...