Tuesday, May 26, 2009

11 Month Birthday Video

Here's a link to Charlie's 11 month birthday video, highlighting his clapping skills. So cute, little man!


11 Months

Our sweet Charlie, clapping because Mommy is singing The Wheels on the Bus

This may be my last monthly update on our Charlie, as he is 11 MONTHS old!! No, really, we can't believe it either. Next update, he will be 1! Where have these last 11 months gone? We have been so blessed by this little man.

This last month he has been busy perfecting some important skills:

** He is an expert at crawling now, at very high rates of speed...like it's a game of chase me sometimes.

** He loves to pull up to kneel at tables, shelves, etc. He has just begun to get interested in pulling up to stand, but hasn't done it on his own yet. He is definately moving in that direction though.

** Clapping...loves it. Knows what it is now. I just got it on video today, so that will have to get posted soon.

** We are awaiting results of allergy tests. Poor kid has been to the doc so much lately for "stuffiness" and coughing the wonderful doc thought it best to test him now. His ezcema is also flaring up so that adds to the allergy thought pattern. So that means, he's now had his first blood draw. As much as he seems to be taking after me in allergies, his "good vein" is in the exact same spot as his Daddy's.

** Eats ALOT! Still drinking at least 24 oz. a day plus eating three meals and starting to eat snacks now too. Loves just about anything you put in front of him. Fruits and veggies seem to be a favorite now.

** Working on sippy cup use in an attempt to loose the bottle habit in the next three weeks or so. Not going well.

** Loves to crawl to you and pull up on your pants/legs.

** Still loves a good story each night. He also enjoys going to his shelf under the coffee table and taking out the books to "read."

** Has 7 teeth! These last 5 one after another have been VERY difficult at times!

** Gives the best hugs lately. Nice, tight bear hug style.

** Is solidly into clothes 12 months and up, mostly 18 months. Tall, big boy.

** Enjoyed a nice couple of tunes from Daddy tonight -- the same ones he sang him in the hospital, when he was just hours old and we needed him to sleep.

** Really, truly is an angel sent here to make his parents lives wonderful. I'm so happy to see him growing up into a wonderful little boy, but so sad that my baby is growing up, all at the same time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Recent Videos of THE Boy

Here's links to a few videos of Charlie boy in action...

This one is the most recent of him dancing...


This one isn't very exciting...just him crawling around.


This is the oldest one, maybe from March, but it's the belly button dance.


Public Works Open House

Wauconda Public Works had an Open House this past Saturday for the public to check out what they do and some of the equipment they use. It's a great event. I think that it was the 3rd Annual this year and I've been twice. It's filled with people and fun for the kids. Next year, Charlie will really be the perfect age to enjoy it to the max and we will be inviting many of our friends for a great event. This year, both sets of our parents joined us.

I just really think it's nice to see events like this still happening given the current economy. Government positions are effected just like private companies and this sort of event is so great for the community. Kenny and I love taking Charlie to events like this. I guess I probably feel even more strongly about it as a third generation public servant to promote the local community and encourage children to learn about their town because one day, they may want to work there!

Charlie sitting in the wing plow truck Kenny was stationed at.

Kenny and Charlie.

Charlie with the "hard hat" they gave him.

He doesn't like to wear hats sometimes, he'd prefer to eat them.

Grammy and Charlie in front of a plant display.

So cute!

Our little Mixing Machine.

What does this lever do?

Pops and Charlie by the vac truck.

This was great! A cardboard cut out of an employee. Does he look like Kenny in this??

This one was a bear named PW Paws.
Thanks Wauconda for a great afternoon!

Charlie's First Haircut!!!

Kenny and I enjoyed a nice family day on Friday as we both took the day off of work. It has made for a wonderful weekend so far.

We started the day with a double haircut -- one for Daddy and one for Charlie. Mommy and Charlie watched Daddy get his haircut to see what it was like. I think that really helped Charlie be comfortable with sitting on Kenny's lap for his haircut.

Charlie -- in the bath pre-haircut on May 22, 2009. See his hair -- that's why he needed a cut!

Ready to cut!

Much too long in some areas!

Very uneven too since some of it was still his hair from birth.

Getting close!

All cut!

After haircuts, we had a family photo session that I'm really excited about seeing the results of!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Brain Tumor Awareness Month

I struggled to think of an appropriate post to do about this fact that I learned about half way through the month of May. I felt like I needed to post something about it. Something significant about this disease that Kenny has. Then I realized, it’s Brain Tumor Awareness Month and I only learned of it HALF WAY THROUGH THE MONTH OF MAY! Why is that? Why don’t we hear more about brain tumors? We hear about so many other types of diseases and we don’t hear a lot about brain tumors. Not in the every day news. Not on the radio. WHY? I don’t have an answer to that. I wish that I did.

Kenny’s brilliant doctors take such good care of him and we know are they are the best we could ask for. Kenny has an amazing attitude. He laughs, he smiles, he jokes with the doctors. We continue about our life in a pretty normal way. Sometimes we are reminded that it’s there, when we have to visit another doctor for follow up work, tests, visits. We have HOPE though, that some day our doctor will say there is a cure for this, not just treatments. A way to make sure the tumor never returns. Our doctor has HOPE and gives us a better reason to HOPE. Our doctor has never given us bad news, maybe a setback, but always news that gave us reason to HOPE and BELIEVE.

While Kenny’s type of brain tumor is serious, he is lucky because it’s benign and although it can harm him, it can also be treated pretty successfully. Malignant brain tumors and even some that are benign can be much more serious…not treatable…deadly. Sometimes it depends on when you find them, how involved they are, where they are. Those things can make benign tumors much more serious sometimes than malignant.

As I said, Kenny is lucky. His tumor was caught early and he is being treated. He will live for many, many years to come. Many people with brain tumors aren’t as lucky as Kenny. The stories are sad. They break your heart. One day a person goes from living a normal life and the next they have a brain tumor and are given a very short amount of time to live. Kenny is lucky. Charlie is lucky…he gets to have his Daddy for a long, long time. I am lucky…I get to have my husband for a long, long time.

He can live a long, healthy, normal life given the proper medical treatment and care. When people hear brain tumor, they get scared. It is scary, but educating yourself is important. Sometimes it’s easier to explain things in a simple way, rather than overwhelming people with medical facts. So, a very simple way of thinking of it is as diabetes or heart disease, something that many people are familiar with. If you take care of yourself, listen to your doctor and follow up with them regularly for tests and appointments, take your medicine, there is no reason you can’t live a long, healthy normal life. That’s our belief about Kenny’s condition. We listen closely to the directions we are given and follow up carefully and his treatment will be successful.

Of course, it’s not that simple. There is a lot more to it than that. But we learn and educate ourselves and research and ask lots of questions and we are empowered by the knowledge. I carry this big dorky binder with me to all of Kenny’s medical appointments and it comes in handy. I have almost all of his records in there and quickly can access information for the doctors or nurses. We are forever looking for more information on brain tumors.

As I considered a way to get a message out there for Brain Tumor Awareness Month, I realized I could pay some of the kindness forward to others with Brain Tumors. Finding a cure for these tumors would be an amazing thing that we could see in this lifetime. We BELIEVE that we will.

When Kenny was hospitalized and recovering last year, our family was blessed with a huge, loving support system that took care of us, made offers to help us, sent food, gifts, cards, emails and prayers. There is no way to ever pay those people back for their kindness that often moved us to tears. We pledged to pay it forward, to give back when we hear of those in need.

I think that one way we can give back is to make others aware of some wonderful organizations that do amazing things. Organizations that publish medical information that is necessary for patients to learn more about brain tumors and that support the research to find a cure. Brain tumors don’t get the attention they deserve. They are serious. They affect so many people. If you ever feel lead to give to an organization to benefit a cause or a medical condition that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, check these out.

www.pituitary.org (Pituitary Network Association – Kenny’s specific type of brain tumor is a pituitary tumor)

www.abta.org (American Brain Tumor Association)

These organizations are fantastic tools for patients and their families. Knowledge is power and we feel powerful from information they have provided us with. We HOPE for a cure for brain tumors every day and we BELIEVE that someday, we will see that cure in action.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Last Week of Our Lives

This last week hasn't been the best for our little house. We have all, including my parents and brother, experienced some sort of illness, most of us having the stomach flu. Unfortunately, my turn with the stomach flu, started the run of it that spread to the family and that's how I spent my first Mother's Day. I have no pictures of Mother's Day with my baby boy (who won't be a baby boy in 6 weeks) but fortunately, my Mother's Day gift is a session with a photographer for family pictures (I'm so excited!). So, that will make up for it.

As my 12 hour flu ended and I started feeling better and human, Kenny came down with it and a few days later added a bit of Charlie's cold to it. Then poor Charlie, already dealing with a cold and his 5th tooth in 7 weeks, added an ear infection to the mix. As I write this, I think we are all much healthier after a week of illness and we hope for a better week to come. This was one of those weeks I just felt like nothing could go right for us and we just couldn't have a "normal" week, but maybe this IS normal sometimes when you have a VERY active little germ carrying kiddo in the house.

This weekend has been much better as I actually got to clean our house, free it of all of the germs and enjoy some deal finding shopping trips and a great day today with friends. Kristine and Danielle brought their daughters, Camryn and Reese over to play with their favorite boyfriend Charlie. After some time playing inside and lunch, we enjoyed the warm, sunny weather at our neighborhood park.

Charlie and Reese swinging!

Camryn in a swing.

The twins...not really, but they ARE only 24 hours apart.

Reese, Charlie and Camryn.

Reese staring at the swings!

Charlie and Cam

Charlie wasn't sure where to crawl to in the grass!

Here's to a healthier, happier, less hectic, good week to come! Including a day off to enjoy time as a family for once!!

Bath Time is More Fun Now

Remember back to Charlie's infant days and the SCREAMING bloody murder bath pictures?! Not so much anymore. He enjoys them now. Loves to play with the bath toys and only really wants out when the water starts to get cold.

Our cutie

Dunking the toys so they will spray water when he squeezes them.

And chewing on the toys...another favorite part of bath time.

First Swing Ride

A few weeks ago we decided to check out the park two doors down from our house. It's just some swings and a picnic table, but it works for us. This is Charlie's first ride in a swing that is sized right for him. I'm not sure what he was interested in, but it wasn't swinging at first...

Hmmm...what's going on??!

Maybe this is fun.

This is FUN!!!

A little swing drunk, maybe?!

Just chillin'

Let's do it again guys!

Meeting Sami

My cousin Sam was recently up here and she and I got to spend an afternoon together shopping. Charlie and Sami hadn't met yet, so this was a great opportunity for them to spend some time together.

A Beautiful Gift

One of the many wonderful gifts Charlie received for his baptism was from my Aunt Donna. She had this hand drawing done of Charlie from a few pictures of him. We think it captures him so well!!

Goodnight Gorilla

One night recently, Charlie decided to take reading his bedtime story into his own hands. Goodnight Gorilla was his choice and he quietly sat "reading" the story, flipping the pages and ooohhing and aaahhhing at all the good parts. We hope this means he will love to read as much as we do.

A Car Day

A few weeks ago, we enjoyed a Saturday with the Packard Club. This was the first official sort of outing we had been on together in awhile and it was nice to enjoy the day.

Charlie and Daddy ready in their car attire.

Charlie posing for Mommy on a kid sized bench.

Happy Charlie!

Checking out the animals on the bench.

On Dino the Dinosaur...going in for a kiss.

Grandma, Charlie, Daddy and Uncle Jim

Daddy and Charlie thinking about how nice Daddy's collection could look if he had this kind of space!

Kenny said this is a favorite Packard of his.

Grandpa, Daddy and Charlie.