Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Book #2 Is Done

I shipped the 2nd math book I've done back to Perfection Learning today. It felt good to be done. I really do enjoy doing them, but it's so hard to squeeze that 2 hours a day into the schedule. Stephen either needs something or it's time to make dinner, or go to a meeting ... I'm sure I'll do more but not until after we get back from Germany.

Stephen was "dressed up" as a baseball player today. It was actually just a sleeper, but it was a good answer to what he was for Halloween. We didn't pass out candy. I think it was a combination of the fact that for the past two years I have been ready for trick-or-treaters but then none showed up, I wouldn't be able to predict what Stephen would be needing when the doorbell rang, and the lack of children in our neighborhood.

So with this book done I have lined up a pretty full social calendar for this week. And then Dave, Susan, and John come for the weekend. Plenty to keep us busy. Ryan is planning a trip to Chicago on Thursday to see a sax concert and get some work done on his horn.

Here's the latest video:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Beautiful Day for a Break and a Walk

This morning I set out for a coffee shop to read and think. Ryan was so sweet to take care of Stephen for a few hours so I could get out of the house. It was refreshing. I also did some grocery shopping while I was out.

Stephen has been doing so well. Many of you know that a few months back I had to cut dairy out of my diet, and I had had to COMPLETELY get it out of my system, avoiding even margarines and breads with the slightest amount of whey or casein. Often babies outgrow their allergies, so I decided to see if 4 months old was old enough to handle it. I had some yogurt on Friday and he seemed to be able to handle it just fine. He wasn't fussy and in pain yesterday. Now on to cheese and milk to see how he does ... it would be very nice for the Germany trip to be able to eat more!

I've realized a few things about Des Moines that I didn't know were so great - until I don't have them any more! Don't get me wrong - this is a great place to live, but I'm compiling a list of the little things that were nice to have there ...
1. I-235; even though Champaign isn't very big, it takes just as long to get everywhere since there are a number of stoplights any direction you go.
2. Graziano Bros. Italian Sausage; I didn't even eat it very much but there doesn't seem to be an equivalent here. Just the mass-marketed national brands.
3. On-sale lunch meat; We usually ate whatever Hy-Vee had on sale that particular week. Here it seems I just pay full price all the time for all the lunch meats.
4. A gubernatorial candidate that I actually want to vote for!

I'll be back with a list of things that have been nice discoveries here that would also be nice in Des Moines ...

You can see a full selection of recent photos at stephenleatherman.snapfish.com. Password 062806.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

It reminds me a little of one of my favorite books as a child: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But it is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a book that anyone who has read extensively to babies in the recent years would be familiar with! And Stephen does like it! I can't tell if it's the rhythmic talking or the colorful pages but he seems to follow along pretty intently. Here he is pictured with another of his favorite books. It's a bunch of baby words. So far he doesn't really chew on the books because he isn't really holding onto things and putting them in his mouth yet.

I've begun reading another book—Peace Child. Heather lent it to me and said it was pretty similar to Bruchko. So far I am just finding out about this cannibalistic culture in Papua New Guinea. Such a different life than anything we have experienced here in the Western World!

I have heard from Heather and she is doing well in Germany. Heidi will soon be en route to visit Anthony on the East Coast. Emily's wedding plans are still in the works for July 14 and she is busy reserving locations. Mom and dad are taking grandma to Florida for the weekend.

Stephen is now on YouTube with a hello to grandmas and grandpas. I decided to see if we could upload the movies we take with our camera and it worked without any problems!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Much Ado About Something

In a nutshell, Emily got engaged and Heather left for Europe! Stephen and I headed up to Plainfield with Heidi, while Ryan stayed back for a rehearsal and performance on campus.

We all knew the question was going to be popped at some point on Friday night. Spencer took Emily out for dinner and then on a horse-drawn carriage ride, and asked her partway through that. Of course Emily was VERY excited ... see her blog for more pictures.

We enjoyed Sandi's company on Friday evening for dinner and playing with the baby. He was pretty good for everyone, though Emily got the biggest smiles and giggles!

Saturday was bittersweet as we saw Heather and Marc-André off to the airport to go to Germany. They are excited - their wedding is less than a month away - but now Heather has moved out of the Midwest.

We headed over to grandma's (great-grandma to Stephen) and planted a redbud tree in her backyard. It was a special tree, since we put Stephen's placenta in the hole below the tree. It's an excellent fertilizer!

Today we have had a nice and relaxing day at home. After watching the Tigers lose last night we were excited that they came back to win tonight. Heidi was over for dinner and Ryan had rehearsal and quartet coaching tonight.

Pictures: Stephen doing his favorite: AIRPLANE! Me with Heather and Marc-André. Next to the redbud tree with Emily and fiancé Spencer, grandma, and great-grandma. My cousin Jonathan holding Stephen - who does look a little nervous!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What We Do When Ryan Isn't Home

This morning Stephen and I got up and went to the La Leche League meeting. Lots of women there as well as their kids. Stephen gets a little overwhelmed; we spent some of the time in an adjoining room--just the two of us. I really enjoy the conversations, though. Some share struggles with breastfeeding and others encourage them. And then there is plenty of time for just chatting about what we've all been up to.

Ryan had several rehearsals tonight and Stephen and I bummed around the house. He is enjoying pretty much any interaction we have with him - as long as he isn't tired. I even did "airplane" and he was thrilled! He is holding on to objects for a little while, sometimes pulling them to his mouth.

Yesterday morning we went to a baby group at the library. He was the youngest kid there. Most of the others could at least crawl. The leader sings songs and reads stories. Stephen actually really enjoyed it. He just looked around the room at all the things going on. We did a song (I'm not making this up!!): "Mommy, daddy, and Uncle John went into town. Mommy fell over (lean to the right). Daddy fell over (lean to the left). But Uncle John went on and on and on and on and on (bounce baby)."

Tonight Stephen was staring at a picture of Kassy Wells. We think it's his first crush. Those Leatherman boys and their older women ...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sitting around watching TV

We've discovered while watching the baseball playoffs (go Tigers!) that Stephen really likes watching TV. Yesterday we put him in his special seat and he can hold his head up well enough for it. This photo was taken while he was watching Baby Beethoven. Those Baby Einstein people sure seem to know what babies like! He loves the music box CDs as well, and the mobile. He also chews on his hands a LOT!!

This morning I went to a church service with Heidi and then did a bit of grocery shopping (by myself!). Yesterday Ryan had a gig in Danville, and I'm getting started on the 2nd math book for Perfection Learning. Heidi had us over for lunch so I could meet a friend of hers who is having a baby next year. Heidi made some great pumpkin cookies!

Tonight I made a soup with turnips and kale; we enjoyed it (Heidi was over, too). Someone had passed along the recipe and I was eager to try it. I'm trying to venture into eating some veggies that I haven't done much with before. Although we won't be eating many mustard greens :).

Less than a week until Heather flies over to Germany. I'm glad we'll be heading up to Plainfield next weekend to be there with her. Ryan can't go, however; he has a gig on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm Not Waking the Sleeping Baby

He's sleeping very well right now and I'm excited! We actually had a day this week that he did not cry once until the evening.

We have had a very good week. Ryan's arm and hand are feeling better. Some of that is due to stretching and a sports cream he is putting on. The professor suggested that he not play really technical pieces for the time being to make sure he doesn't put too much strain on it.

We ate a meal at the mosque on Monday night. I guess I should have known this beforehand, but I didn't realize till we got there that I'd eat with the women and Ryan would eat with the men. The food was very good and I enjoyed having a few conversations with people around us. Then last night I went to a dinner for women only at someone's house. Stephen was a hit - though he didn't like being passed around and all the commotion very well.

We watched the Tigers beat the A's. Yes, Stephen was wearing his shirt. He's not wearing it today (that would be gross) so we'll see how they do.

I turned in the first book that I worked on for Perfection Learning. It was a good feeling and I'm thankful to have a couple days off. I was working every spare second that I had to get it done (which was still only a few hours every day).

Annie and I had a good talk today when we met to discuss the book Love and Respect. Although I find the book to be somewhat cheesy, I can't argue with the principles that the author is laying out for healthy marriage relationships. What really strikes me is that he has testimony after testimony of people whose lives have been transformed by the concept he outlines.

Heidi is coming over for dinner tonight. Even though she lives in town we haven't seen her for a week. I guess that's what happens when spending time with her fiancé is a priority ... which it should be :).

I'm heading to Bloomington-Normal tomorrow for lunch with our longtime friend, Evelyn Blane. She hasn't met the boy yet.

Friday, October 06, 2006

He did it again!

Stephen wears a Tigers shirt.

Tigers win!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Ha. No, I'm not pregnant expecting twins ... at least I don't think so ...

Heidi and Heather are over tonight and watched Stephen so I could go to The Iron Post to watch Ryan's band perform. It was nice to go and see him. Not too long ago I would do that at least once a week!

We have really enjoyed having Heather here for a few days. She went to hear Heidi's presentation this afternoon, and she's been getting plenty of Stephen time in before she heads to Germany later this month.

I finished reading another book, Bruchko. It was a fascinating story of how Bruce Olson (the author) felt that God wanted him to go to the South American Indians and take Jesus to them. Only he didn't try to change their culture; he let their traditions stand. He was persecuted from many sides - from the other missionaries, from the Indians who thought he was a spy - but the fruit that has been borne from his obedience to God is simply amazing!

Ryan's hand and wrist is feeling better but not entirely back to normal. He also had to get something fixed on his saxophone and the repair guy messed up his mouthpiece when he did it ... so it hasn't been the best week for him as far as his instrument is concerned.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Grace Matters

Hi everyone. Here's a photo from this weekend, when grandma and grandpa Lorimor came for a visit. They took Stephen in the stroller for about an hour, did some odd jobs for both me and Heidi, and had a wonderful lunch (steak n shake) and dinner (Chinese!).

Ryan has had a rough day, as his thumb started bothering him and he really needs it to be able to play the saxophone! He took some ibuprofen and is hoping the swelling goes down. I hope this doesn't become a recurrent problem.

I just finished reading an excellent book, Grace Matters, written by Chris Rice. It is a memoir concerning the ministry that he and Spencer Perkins had regarding racial reconciliation. Together they have written a book, More Than Equals, which I have not read. The topic was of interest to me largely because of the neighborhood in which we lived in Des Moines, but this book also had some very powerful themes of love and grace for one another. They talked of "growing up one another" in community -- spurring each other on and not remaining stagnant in our walks. Apparently he and Spencer had such intense disagreements sometimes that it's a miracle they were able to work together until Spencer's death. They had to rely much on forgiveness. Lessons like that we learn our entire lives.

We're looking forward to Heather's visit later on this week. Heidi is swamped with a presentation she is giving on Thursday but then she'll be able to hang out with us, too.

Well, I better go see if Stephen is still enthralled with the ceiling fan ...