Sunday, November 29, 2009
Charlie turned 17 months old on Thanksgiving Day. We couldn't be more thankful for our little buddy and all that he has accomplished and all of the joy that he brings to us. Thanksgiving will always be a special holiday for us because two years ago, that's when we announced to our parents and families that we were expecting Charlie.
Charlie has been a busy little guy these last few months. Some of the fun things he is up to are:
* WALKING!! Everywhere! He started taking a few independent steps at the end of September and that progressed for about 3 weeks and all of a sudden, at a car show, he took off across the parking lot towards a dog. And then he did it again, this time aimed at a Rolls Royce. He's never really looked back.
* Talking. He has a lot to say. Some favorite words are: "tuck" (truck), "dog", "oof" (woof), "dat" (that), "duck" (any bird), "vroom" (when pushing cars around), "ba" (when asked what a sheep says), "all" (all done), "mama" (Mommy, Daddy or Grammy), "dada" (Sometimes he calls Daddy by his proper name), "ish" (fish), "shh" (shoes), "bya" (bye bye) and "uice" (juice).
* He can sign "more" and "all done." He won't say more while signing it, but when he signs all done he does say "all."
* More and more we find him trying to mimic what we are saying.
* He UNDERSTANDS ALOT! If you ask him if he's tired and wants a nap, he will go to his crib. If you ask if he's hungry and ready for lunch, he will go to his high chair. He can also respond by shaking his head yes or no.
* He LOVES going outside. Especially now that he's walking. He wants to be free to walk around so the new battle is to "hold hands" which doesn't always go so well for our independent little guy.
* He can stack legos very high -- maybe 6-8 pieces high.
* He tries to put his shirt on each morning while getting dressed, but only wraps it around his neck.
* He knows where his coat and hat are and tries to get them on when we are getting ready to go.
* He gives WONDERFUL hugs and kisses.
* His giggle is the best sound in the world.
* He loves fruits and veggies and sometimes that's all he will eat.
* He can pack away the food. The kid can seriously eat. I'm ready to start buying two bunches of bananas at a time so that they last a week.
* He loves to watch Elmo and Bob the Builder.
* At least once a day, he takes many of his books off the shelf in the living room and "reads" them.
* He is an expert at picking out a book for Daddy to read him his bedtime story.
* He is getting more and more new teeth. Since September, he's gotten at five new teeth that you can see and I'm sure there is another one in there about to show itself based on the amount of time he has his fingers in his mouth.
* He loves to dance...and his moves get funnier by the day. He's recently added spinning in a circle and trying to stand on his head to his list of moves. And when we laugh, he just does it more.
And the picture below...that's how alot of them look now. He's too busy for mommy and her picture taking!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Our favorite word to hear come out of the neurosurgon's mouth.
I cried this time.
We are just so thankful for his medical knowledge and grateful to have connected with him for Kenny's care.
Kenny told him so.
He acts like it's nothing, so humble.
But, really, it's something.
He recently co-founded the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (http://www.braintumorinstitute.org/).
He really is great.
And so is Kenny...because of him.
Kenny on his way in to get an MRI.
They put these signs up around Northwestern and I couldn't help but take a picture...the words are so true and exactly what this place provides and what so many others forget.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Kenny scheduled a doctor appointment to find out the results of his latest MRI the day after our 4th wedding anniversary. I thought it was a great excuse to stay in the city the night before and enjoy a nice dinner out and some time without Charlie. We don't do things like this normally, but hey, I think we deserved it after the last 14 months we've had!
We couldn't decide where to eat, asked several people and then a few nights before we went down there, I was searching restaurants near our hotel and nothing look interesting. Then I found the restaurant at the top of the John Hancock Building...and the menu looked good, but on the side, they had a note that said if you order off the Chef's Selection Menu for the month, 10% of the meal cost will go to a charity of their choice. I clicked on a link to see the list of charity's and November was The American Brain Tumor Association. Well, I guess God was trying to tell us where to have dinner and of course that's where we went.
We got there early to have a drink and watch the sunset...beautiful. Kenny was a little freaked out at the height at first, but soon got over it. He said it was just weird to be so close to glass so far in the air. I love it!
And of course in looking at the traffic on Michigan Avenue below and picking out buildings, we found our beloved Northwestern, just blocks away. We love that place and the doctors and nurses so much for all of the wonderful care we got. It makes you realize, how lucky we are to live so close to amazing places like that.
We had a great time, slept for longer than we knew possible and can't wait to do it again sometime!
Kenny had an MRI at the beginning of November, so we tried out a Saturday appointment for it to see if it was faster or slower than during the week. He just didn't have to have any other doctors appointments around that time and we usually have those other appointments to fill the day that he needs the MRI. But, what a refreshing statement that is because it means that medically, life is slowing down and becoming more normal.
It was a beautiful day in Chicago that day and Uncle Ted met us at the hospital and we took Charlie for a walk while Kenny got his MRI. We loved doing the Saturday MRI and look forward to doing them then in the future as it gives us a chance to take Charlie into the city and do some fun activity down there...and get to see all of his uncles and aunt since they all live down there.
Now, I've always thought Uncle Ted and Charlie look alike...and some of these pictures will confirm it. I love the one of them walking together. So sweet!
We walked along Michigan Avenue, watched the cars, went to the old Water Tower and played on the steps and then found a park! Charlie was in heaven and so was I because Uncle Ted could chase him up and down the equipment and I could take pictures!
We can't wait to do it again!
We had a great time celebrating Halloween with our book group friends this year and all of the kids. And there are ALOT of kids now. Marci and Pete have a great neighborhood to wander through and the kids had a great time. Charlie was our little blue monster and really did well showing off his walking skills. Once we ate dinner and the kids were playing, he really didn't know what to do -- play with the big kids or play with the babies. Oh, and he and Gwen refused the Halloween picture of all the kids -- 1 year olds!
My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Kevin celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary about a month ago. It was a great party and we loved getting out for the evening (thanks Cousin Lauren!).
The silly sisters -- Carol, Donna, Nancy
Aunt Nancy and Uncle Kevin
Getting Halloween mail and WALKING around with it.
Practicing wearing the Halloween costume.
Learning to use a spoon because he's gotten pretty good at using a fork.
Playing in the bouncy houses at Ava's birthday party.
October is such a busy month in our house!! Touch a Truck is a great event put on locally and they had some pretty awesome stuff there this year. Flight for Life arrived and Charlie loves this helicopter he got for his birthday, so seeing one live left him in awe. Again, he spent a lot of time pointing and saying "tuck." He's definately got the car gene in him.
A favorite event in the Friedrich house.
Something about it is just fun and makes it feel like fall, regardless of the weather we may or may not be having.
And this year...it's extra fun because Charlie is a wee bit older and not that he understands it yet, but he's getting closer to understanding it.
We found a great place near us to go last year and decide to revisit it this year.
Last year, pumpking picking was a great event for the three of us, as it was one of the first outings we took with Kenny post surgeries and he had the energy to get around for the few hours we were there.
This year, it brought back lots of memories, but we made them good ones because Kenny is here this year, able to carry little Charlie around.
We are sure next year will be even better!!
Early this fall, we met some of our favorite friends (that we don't always see as often as we would like) at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It was a great day and a great place for the kids to play and the adults to talk and enjoy the beautiful grounds. Whenever I go there, I think I should get membership...maybe one of these times I will.
Charlie learned the word duck there and now all birds are ducks. He loved watching them though.
The kids even let us sit through the majority of a 30 minute talk on food. I was impressed Gwen and Charlie did so well...but they had fun entertaining each other...taking Charlie's hat on and off, putting it on Gwen's head, playing with leaves.
Probably the best part was we got to meet baby Claire and boy is she a cutie. So little and light to hold...I miss those days. :)
At the end of September, one of our local forest preserves hosts the Lake County Farm Show. Of course, it's one of Kenny's favorite events of the year because he gets to go and look at tractors. We've been in years past, but this was the first time we got to take Charlie. And he LOVED it as much as his Daddy. He got to say "tuck" (truck) alot that day.
They also have a cool sheep herding show that we knew Charlie would love because he loves "do" (dogs) so much and knows they say "ooff" (woof). Sure enough, he loved it! In one of his profile pictures, you can see his lips puckered up -- he's saying "ooff." :)
The day we went there also happened to be Charlie's 15 month birthday. We are so proud of this little guy and so happy to call him ours. Below are some of the shots I took in and just outside of the Lake County Museum (on the forest preserve property). I wanted a great one for his 15 month birthday picture...and I got one.