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Friday, August 25, 2006

Working For The Weekend

These past two weeks have been like a volley of Aunts and Grandparents around here! Everybody just wants to come and visit Jeffrey, and how can you blame them? He gets bigger, longer and cuter everyday!

The first visitors this month were Grandma Jeanne and Grandpa Bill. Along for the ride, my sister Kelly and her daughter Tory joined them. The four of them packed into my Mom’s new Toyota Yaris. It was worth them driving all the way out here just to see my Dad packed into that little car! Tory’s grown so much since our last visit, and she’s almost walking on her own now, just using tables and furniture around the room for balance. She’s still got a bit of baby fat to shed – she’s the only 1 year old I know that shops at the Big & Tall baby’s shop. She and Jeffrey played so well together. Tory liked rubbing his head, kissing him and offering him toys. At one point she picked up a coil of Cat 5 Ethernet cable I had laying in the living room, stuck one end in her mouth and offered the other end to Jeffrey. Hey, she’s got the concept down! Social networking?

My parents and I had a good visit together over the long weekend. They were excited to go to our Rochester favorite, the Dinosaur BBQ. Dad helped me around the house with some projects I needed advice on – leaky toilet, kitchen remodeling and a new storm door. In addition to being a firefighter, he’s also got years of experience in electrical, plumbing and carpentry. He and my Mom helped us renovate our family room in our old house, and they also built their own log cabin in the Adirondacks (it’s really nice). Of course, he’s a bit of a workhorse, so it was nice for Dad to have a weekend where he didn’t have to build anything.

Grandma Lelah and Grandpap Jim came up the following weekend. They had some serious drive in them! Their goal was to help us finish off the checklist of things we needed to fix in the house over the summer. In my naivety, I made a checklist of things I thought I could get done being home with the baby over the summer. He sleeps a lot, shouldn’t that afford me plenty of time to get some projects done at home? No, not really, as I learned. He’s pretty all-consuming.

On Sunday we visited the Upstate Watercraft Promotions Jetski race at Charlotte Beach in Rochester. It’s been almost a year since we’ve talked to AJ & Jennifer, the owners. I’ve worked the races as a course marshal for 8 years, and I brought Danielle on the first Summer we dated. This summer, we decided that the racing circuit (as far as Wildwood, NJ) was just too much travel for us with a newborn. So instead we visited and saw all of our old pals, racers and staff alike. Grandma and Grandpap got to see what we did, and learned that (in their eyes) it was just as horrible as they imagined. It’s a labor of love, I suppose.

Monday morning came swiftly. Jim and I started with a trip to Lowes for a new storm door. We re-framed the front door on the porch to fit our purchase, and Lee painted the trim when we were done. While we were banging nails and installing storm doors, Lelah and her sister Marilyn were furiously ripping out the overgrown shrubs and bushes around our yard. It was like the team from “While You Were Out” descended upon our home. The next day, Jim and I installed the trim in the kitchen from the flooring project I started last Summer. We also fixed the concrete steps out back which were wobbly and mis-aligned, cleaned out the garage, chopped up and threw out all the scrap wood in the yard and organized the workshop in the basement. I can actually find my tools now! And of course, what would a visit from Grandma be without her bringing more outfits for Jeffrey that she got “such a good deal on!”?

It’s always sad to see your loved ones go home after a nice visit. It’s doubly tough for us, with our parents living so far away in completely opposite directions from each Rochester. How does retirement near Rochester sound, everyone?

We can’t wait for their next visit!

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Travelin’ Man

Welcome to our first post in quite some time! It’s been a busy summer for Jeffrey & Co. He’s been quite the little traveler. In July we made a trip to visit Grandma & Grandpa Sheppard for an extended weekend. During the trip, we celebrated Great-Grandpa Jack’s 80th Birthday, and bid “Bon Voyage” to Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Roger who just moved to Colorado for a new job with Seagate. Of course, everyone was excited to meet Jeffrey, as it was the first time he’d traveled to Pittsburgh. In general, he’s a really well-behaved car baby. He made the trip with relatively little fussiness and only one quick stop in Zellienople (not Istanbul) for a snack.

Just before we headed home, Grandma & Grandpap (and Aunt Marilyn) spent the day with us at Ohio Pyle State Park. Danielle and I took advantage of the babysitting to go for a bike ride on the rails-to-trails paths. The 11.6 miles along the scenic Youghiogheny (yak-uh-GAY-nee) river was a new record for the Mrs., and the canopy of trees to shade us from the summer sun while we rode was a nice touch.

On the 31st of July, Monica (Jeffrey’s physical therapist) visited us and was blown away by his progress. He’s making great strides at sitting up and following objects. We hope that by her next visit, he’ll be able to sit up on his own. The next day was a check-up with Dr. Smith-Burke and our little chunk tipped the scales at 13.8 lbs! She encouraged us to increase his intake of baby food and decrease his dependency on breast milk. As you may remember, we started rice cereal (not so successful) and oatmeal (wildly successful) after the last visit. Since we had no other indications, we kept giving him just the oatmeal… for nearly a month. We now have official word that he can move on to other fruits and veggies. Her recommendations included: breakfast of oatmeal cereal + 1 veggie/fruit; lunch of 1 veggie or fruit; dinner of oatmeal cereal plus puree’d form of whatever we’re eating. Try to include meats, hard cheeses, yogurt or ice cream.

Wasn’t Jeffrey pleased when Kurt & Steph came to visit in August? We all went together to Six Flags Darien Lake as part of the Gates Ambulance annual appreciation picnic. There were many firsts, including his first time in a pool (didn’t enjoy), first Ferris Wheel ride (didn’t care), first Merry-Go-Round (Whoa!) and first ice cream (enjoyed immensely).

After weeks of trying to make a date of it, we finally made it to Mark & Angela’s house for dinner. They’re one of the virtual authors of our imaginary guide to parenting (along with Marc & Heidi and Adam & Joanne). Mark had a fun time playing with Jeffrey on the floor, and their two children, Zöe & Luke, were amazed by his ability to roll over. Luke (5) got rather concerned while Dani was discreetly nursing Jeffrey in the living room. Not understanding the concept of nursing or the relationship between Danielle and I, he informed me, “your baby is eating your Mom’s boob.” Kids say the funniest things!

On August 9th, we got a visit from the early intervention program’s vision specialist. Her job is to evaluate his visual acuity and determine whether he needs services from early intervention, and what type. Jeanie worked with Jeffrey for nearly an hour, using all manner and sizes of shiny toys and rattles. She told us that most of his vision seemed age-appropriate for his adjusted dates – with the exception of things directly in front of him. Although his MRI in June came back with results that claimed “no PVL” and a clean bill of health, his initial grade II intra-ventricular hemorrhage and subsequent PVL have been shown to lead to Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), she explained. Jeanie recommended a few visits by a teacher of the visually-impaired, just as a safeguard. We should be having our first visit with them in September.

For all of you anxious Grandparents out there... we've posted new pictures!

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