Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Nerd Test

We took the nerd test for Stephen. Here is his result.

I am nerdier than 4% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

(Ryan's score was 55 and mine was 42.)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Going through Ryan's old stuff

Could someone please tell Ryan that we don't need to keep his master's of the universe belt? Or the photocopy from a murder mystery dinner he attended in high school? We have found some interesting notes from old friends, and some old papers and badges. (Don't worry; we really aren't keeping that much; he just likes to tease me.)

We have been in Des Moines since the 25th and have been able to see some friends and family. Today we met Kevin and Kathy's new baby, Tessa. She is smaller than Stephen ever was - she just cleared 6 pounds!

Stephen is doing great and is feeling much better than last week when all three of us were sick. Yesterday he decided that walking around in circles by pivoting on one foot is really fun. He has also taken to prompting us to leave the house whenever he wants a little bit of air. He will go right to the closet and let us know that he wants his coat on!

We'll be back in Champaign for New Years' and Heidi will be staying there with us so she can see friends while on her semester break from teaching.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Helpful? Or not?

Here's a snapshot of Stephen "helping" me to prepare dinner last night. He thought this was great fun, and it kept him content during one of his least favorite times of the day: mommy has to cook.

Then this morning Ryan took him to the bank. All was fine and dandy until we tried to get back in the house after our sonogram. Ryan didn't have the house key! He went back to the bank, where Stephen had been playing with them. And found them. In the garbage can.

In other news, our sonogram went well. All the parts are there, including the parts we don't know about yet. We just had to turn our heads during parts of it to avoid accidental discovery. The baby is at 50% for 22 weeks. (That is a good thing!) They estimate it weighing about 1 lb 2 oz right now.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

An Idea

Heather posted about inventions, but I just have an idea. How about having special parking spaces for pregnant cellists when it's really icy and cold outside? That would have helped last night as I faced a full parking ramp at Krannert and had to park outside for the performance of The Messiah.

Speaking of the performance, it was downright exhausting!! I thought today that I don't know which was harder and required more endurance: running the half marathon in Des Moines a few years back or playing the entire Messiah with the CU Symphony last night. The half marathon took me exactly 2 hours. The Messiah was almost 3. And I felt it! I just don't play my cello enough to have the stamina for that.

Ryan finished up with his classes and finals on Friday, so he's been around more this weekend. It's been really nice, and I know he is enjoying being home more. He loves getting Stephen to say "I am ..." which doesn't really come out like sounding quite right. But his mouth opens really wide and it's hilarious. We are trying to get it on video but he always just reaches for the camera when we get it out. He can't quite call it quits for the semester yet as he still has some assistantship work to do. He's planning to get back on the subbing list for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully he'll get some decent classes! I don't wish too many days of kindergarten on him.

Friday, December 07, 2007


We just found out this morning that Stephen's iron levels are back up where they are supposed to be (11.3). I am so relieved about that! We went to celebrate with some cheesebread at Penn Station and then we went to Meijer.

This is also a big day for Ryan, as he is currently about an hour away from being done with the semester! He has had such a busy couple of weeks and we'll both be relieved when it's all done. It's hard for me to watch him go to bed late and get up early day after day. I know he's worn out.

I'm performing Handel's Messiah with the C-U Symphony this weekend. We needed to get friends to watch Stephen both last night and tonight because Ryan also has concerts. He did great last night with our friend, Joyce. I think she enjoyed him, too.

I was watching Stephen this morning as he played with other kids in the waiting room. He was very gentle but at the same time kind of bossy. If another kid started playing with a toy he wanted, he would just go up to them and lift their hand up and move it away. I didn't let him get away with it because even gentle selfishness is still selfishness.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Whirlwind of a Week

I just checked and I guess it's been a week since we've posted. We've had a chance to see lots of friends and family while in the Chicago area and also in Des Moines, where we still are staying until tomorrow afternoon.

Stephen did absolutely wonderfully with my parents when we left him there in order to go to see Wicked in the city. The show was enjoyable, as was our dinner at Reza's. We stayed at a nice hotel in Burr Ridge - about halfway between the city and my parents' place. Stephen has only recently been sleeping through the night, and it was a relief that he slept all night - 11.5 hours - while we were gone. It made for a much happier little boy and some well-rested grandparents.

We went back to Champaign for Monday and Tuesday because Ryan needed to get a few hours of recording done. He also had a limo meeting on Tuesday evening that necessitated us staying in town until 9 p.m. We also had a friend who we wanted to see and he was only available for breakfast in Des Moines on Wednesday morning. We got into grandma and grandpa Leatherman's at 2:45 a.m. and were up again at 6 for breakfast. Thankfully, the grandparents were eager and able to take care of Stephen a little more so we could snooze some more.

We had a great Thanksgiving meal at Dan and Sheila's in Knoxville. Stephen got along just fine with our cousins Claire and Anna. He didn't like not being able to eat the pumpkin pie, but with his fussy eating habits of late, we really didn't have a choice.

Yesterday we left him with the grandparents and aunt Care for much of the day. Though he still doesn't appreciate me leaving, he did very well for all of them. Ryan and I got to enjoy a nice lunch with John and then saw some friends at Rock Bottom in the evening.

Today we've run around town to see more friends - even Stephen sure enjoyed Max, Ian, Joshua, Luke, Porter, Foster, Rede, and Laurie. :)

I really hope our return trip goes well. It's risky since Stephen will be awake for about 80% of it. I'm sure we can all tough it out but I sure appreciate it when he isn't crying a lot!

Friday, November 16, 2007

For the Non-Iowa Fans

I am taking a break, eating chips and my leftover Qdoba salsa, and decided to "fix" the photo of Stephen that I thought turned out really well. Some of our friends and family aren't University of Iowa fans (like my dad)!

Here are the two side by side.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oops! I'm 30!

The day was originally going to be pretty low-key. Then we decided to meet mom, dad, grandma, Evelyn, and Bridget for lunch in Bloomington. I'd been wanting to take Stephen to the Children's Museum there because I had heard good things about it, so we went to that in the morning. WOW! He loved it! He could have spent the entire time in 1/4 of the first floor. Ten minutes before we had to leave I picked him up and took him through the other floors so I could see what was there.

We enjoyed a nice lunch at Avanti's and walked around the mall for a little while. Then we went to a Thai restaurant to get takeout to eat with Ryan at his office at the music building. Stephen and Ryan's gift was tickets to see Wicked this weekend in Chicago. Stephen doesn't know it yet, but his part of the bargain is to give his mommy a break for a night by staying at grandma and grandpa's house. They'll all do just fine ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Post of Photos, not in chronological order

Having a great time with grandma and grandpa. They were in town along with Aunt Carolyn and my parents to hear the C-U Symphony perform with Ryan's jazz band.
With daddy ("da") and Aunt Care.
Family photo. Should have combed my hair :).
My friend Linda posts photos of food. So I figured I could, too. Here is my first and not-entirely-disastrous attempt at making Thai Spring Rolls.
When Stephen wasn't 100% better yet, I took advantage of his lack of cheesy camera grins to get some nice fall photos.

Take-out Chinese dinner before the concert on Saturday.
A friend of mine made this chocolate cake for my birthday and we celebrated with family this weekend. And, yes, it does taste as good as it looks!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thanks, Stephen!

When Stephen knocked our alarm clock radio to the floor today, he managed to break the clock mechanism. The radio still works, though.

The funny part is that I am not upset about this in the least. I have had this alarm clock since I was in jr. high and have kept hoping it would stop working.

And we have Ryan's that we can use now. So no need to run out tomorrow for another.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Man does not live by bread alone ...

... but a toddler can survive on cheerios, applesauce, and breastmilk. (Warning: this post is not for the weak stomach.)

This last week has been rather eventful (or uneventful, depending on how you look at it) for the Leathermans. It started out on Monday night when I lost my dinner. Chalking it up to a nasty chicken salad sandwich, I thought that was the end of it and was glad to have it out of my system.

Then Stephen woke up around 11:30 with some strange-sounding coughing. Upon careful inspection of his bed, we found partially mushed up macaroni and cheese. Poor guy. He had never experienced throwing up before. As Ryan pointed out, now we know the answer to the question: "Does Stephen chew his macaroni before swallowing?"

My parents (lucky them!) happened to be in town that night on their way back from Virginia, and they came over Tuesday morning to take care of both me and Stephen so Ryan could go about his day at school. I was really thankful for the help. Even though my stomach had settled down, I had not the energy to do more than just sit around. Stephen ate some dinner and then lost it an hour later that evening.

Yesterday I was back to normal, but Stephen was still very listless. His temp was a degree or two above normal, and he slept much of the day. After I put him to sleep, I was praying that he would be better today; I really wanted to avoid a trip to the dr. and so far he had seemed to be fighting it fine on his own.

Then at ten till six this morning, Ryan got up. His turn. He's been in bed most of the day, but he did have to drag himself to campus to play a half hour gig over the noon hour. Stephen and I went to watch him perform with his quartet. He played fine, but he sure did look pale.

Good news, though, for Stephen. He woke up relatively happy. He's still not at 100% but he is playing with his toys, walking, eating cheerios and applesauce ... that's the little boy I'm used to hangin' out with!

As of 10:21 this evening, the only other person who has caught it is my mother. As Stephen's grandma, she just couldn't stay away from her sweet little grandson when he wanted to play.

Here are some things I am making a mental note of:
- There is a difference between lethargy and listlessness. Apparently, in medical terminology, listlessness is perfectly normal for a sick child. They want to cuddle all day, sleep more than normal, don't play or talk much. But they do make eye contact. They are physically able to sit up and make simple requests. A lethargic child just lies on the floor, totally unable to let their needs be known - and this is when they likely need more attention. They stare right past you when you try to talk to them. Since I never ended up calling a doctor, I didn't need to know this distinction this time. But for future reference ...
- I am SO SO SO glad that I haven't weaned Stephen yet. Nursing during the first trimester was difficult at times, since I was so tired already. I had cut back significantly on the amount of nursing I let him do, and we had night-weaned him. But with the stomach virus, he really needed hydration. He does drink water, but not very much at a time. We got some pedialyte, and he reacted with hives. Nursing was what kept him hydrated and I am so thankful for that!
- Even though his colds don't take the toll that they do on adults, the stomach virus took him longer to overcome than it took for me. A friend told me that her daughter was the same way! I was starting to worry yesterday when I was feeling better and he was still fighting it.
Tonight Ryan started to feel better and had a bowl of soup for dinner. He's planning to go to school tomorrow, but to take it easy. He also has a performance tomorrow night.

I have been wanting to make spring rolls (the kind you don't cook) for a long time. I also knew that they are pretty tricky to get the hang of. So tonight I took the plunge. Yes, they were messy, but they still tasted great! Maybe after a few more trials I'll be ready to serve them to company.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My husband, the fix-it man

Here is Ryan finishing up the fixing of the dryer. He and a friend took it apart last night and found the offending belt. This morning Ryan tracked one down at a parts shop in town and then began the task of putting the belt on and the dryer back together. We had the drum on and off several times before finally getting it to spin. Apparently you can't just put the belt on the pulley - it has to go on in a very specific way!

Stephen is up now from his nap. What should we have for dinner?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Great Pumpkin Patch

Stephen and I got to enjoy the Great Pumpkin Patch yesterday morning in Arthur. We met some friends there and explored the exhibits showcasing many types of squash as well as animals. We even got to navigate a maze made of hay bales! It was a little chilly out but we did pretty well all bundled up - him in his Iowa sweatshirt and me in Ryan's Illinois hoodie.

Last night our dryer broke. I don't consider this a huge crisis, because I do like to hang clothes on the line. But many days I would put them in the dryer for a little touch-up. We also wash diapers every other day, so several rainy days in a row could prove to be a problem. Or just less-than-ideal conditions. Take today, for example. There was no rain. Yet the clothes still weren't entirely dry. We are not well-prepared for such a situation, considering we don't have a drying rack and our kitchen chairs can't weather dampness. Here is what our living room looks like right now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Quick Bedtime Note

I'm ready to call it a night, but I wanted to put an update about our appointment today. We heard the heartbeat again (160 bpm) and we found out that my thyroid labs came back perfectly normal. That's a relief.

Ryan was supposed to have 2 jazz tests today, but one of the classes was cancelled, so that test is postponed until Wednesday.

Next time you see Stephen, ask him what a horse says ...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Worthless Outlet Covers

This morning I went to see what Stephen was so excited about in the hallway; he had managed to get one of the plastic outlet covers off. Thinking it was a fluke, or that it had been loose, I put it back on and watched what he did. Sure enough, he felt around the cover until he got to the part that has a little bit of room for a fingernail and stuck his tiny little finger in there and yanked the whole piece out. I wonder if the covers are more of a hazard than safety feature at this point because it's enticing to pull them out. I think we'll take a trip to the hardware store tonight and get the (much more expensive and complicated) full outlet covers. I'll let you know when he figures those out ...

He took his first steps last Sunday!!! It was so exciting to watch as he took off from Ryan to me without holding on to anything. He took 5 steps and did very well. Yesterday I think was a turning point for him; I saw him walking several times without me there coaching and coaxing him. I'll try to get some video on YouTube soon.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cookies, Potstickers, and Chicken Nuggets

Ryan thinks this pregnancy is characterized by food. According to him, last time I was much more emotional and this time I have lots of cravings. He would know. He lives with me. Last week I had to talk myself out of ordering pizza; after I saw a pizza hut commercial on TV it was hard not to pick up the phone and order ... Stephen was in bed so going to the store to get a frozen one was out of the question and Ryan was gone. Then the next day I saw a Home Improvement rerun and Tim Allen said "fajita chimichunga" and I had the most wonderful memories of going to Chi-Chi's for lunch on a Sunday afternoon with my family and ordering a chimichunga. Wow, were they good and did I know how to eat them! I thought that this post that is titled with some of the things we ate today could include a photo of Stephen after eating part of his sunbutter and jelly sandwich. He loved it! (And we got to slip in the Iowa bib, hereby congratulating them on their win over Illinois today. Yes, I know where we live. But I also know who Stephen's grandpa is.)

I had a C-U Symphony concert tonight, and my friend Sumin was able to come and see it. It was the very first time she left her 3-month-old baby with her husband for the evening! The two of them hung out with Ryan and Stephen. And when we got back from the concert, both babies were sleeping and neither husband was! Looks like success to me!

Ryan is currently out finishing a limo job. We've had this gigantic stretch hummer limousine in our driveway much of the day since he had it earlier to pick the party up from the wedding. I'm eating some Korean cookies that Sumin brought and putting off the dishes I created when baking a banana bread earlier.

We're going to attempt a much-needed haircut on the little man tomorrow morning. It's not gonna be pretty. We'll probably spare our neighbors from doing it too early in the day.

Pregnancy update: I've begun to feel the slightest little movements. I remember feeling them when I was pregnant with Stephen, even really early on, but this time I know what it is - that it's not just indigestion. It's pretty cool to know that a 3-inch-long person is performing in a solo gymnastics show in there.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

To the Cubs fans: We tried. We really did.

My mom got this t-shirt for Stephen, and even though Ryan is a Tigers fan, I put this shirt on Stephen. I guess it didn't do much, but he has another shirt that will probably still fit next summer!

Yesterday Stephen and I took our friends Sumin and Jeongwoo to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch. We had a great time looking at the animals in the petting zoo, sipping cider, and walking out to the pumpkin patch.

Today we got together with Eric and Bethany for a Bible discussion at their place, which is something we will hopefully make a regular part of our week. Stephen can be a little distracting, but we managed to discuss a few things today. Later in the day, they took Stephen to the park while Ryan was working at school and I was practicing for symphony rehearsals, which start tomorrow.

Right now I am excited because all of the dishes are done. This has not happened since Heather was here last week. Who is to blame for fewer dishes? None other than Papa George. Thanks, Heidi, for the gift certificate.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Miss Dana

I had my first real appointment today with the midwife that we're using. She is very nice, and has been highly recommended by several friends. So I truly don't regret that we are going this route. It seems to be the best option, given our location and financial situation.

But I do really miss Dana. The appointments with her were so relaxed and non-clinical. I'm pregnant - not sick! Oh well. At least we were able to use her for our first pregnancy while we were living in Des Moines.

We did get to hear the baby's heartbeat today, which was pretty exciting. 170 beats per minute. Right on target. Praise God!

AND Heather was here to keep Stephen occupied at home, which was great since I was at the office for over 2 hours.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

There and Back in Twelve Hours

And this is what Stephen looked like after we got back from a busy day in Chicago . . .

We had a blast with Katie while my parents were sailing with Ryan, Margaret, Nathan, and Jen. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and there was so much to do in a small area of town. We went to Millenium Park (see the fountains and the giant jelly bean mirror); we took a break at Jamba Juice; we let Stephen play in the sand at a beach (he was sure sad to leave!). We also got to enjoy dinner with my parents on Michigan Avenue.

I've included some photos from the day below. There are more on our snapfish page.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dinner at the Farm

Our friends Eric and Bethany invited us to go to a dinner with them at Triple S Farms, which is about an hour south of here. So we piled in their car (grandma, too) and headed for farm country. We had a blast looking at the animals. Here you can see chickens, which weren't really afraid of the people visiting them. There were also cows, turkeys, dogs, kittens, and ducks. The food was awesome - and Susan even got to eat the chicken since it hadn't aged like most meat we get at the grocery store.

It was so nice to have Susan here. She and Stephen played and played and played ... at the park, so I could go to an open house (gasp!) by myself ... at the mall this morning, so I could get some work done ... and also just here at the house with Stephen's toys. He cried when she left!

I'm wrapping up work for the night, planning a menu for the week, and waiting for Ryan to get home with the jalepeno poppers I want from Arby's.

On the schedule for the week: testing at the Language Aquisition Lab on campus (if they have food, he'll say "more more more more"); another fun-filled day with grandparents on Tuesday; a birthday part for a slightly younger friend ... and a possible trip to Chicago on Sunday for Ryan to go sailing with my parents.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I am waiting for Grandma Leatherman to get here. She is driving in from Des Moines.

Ryan is in Mt. Vernon playing a gig and will stay there overnight.

Stephen has woken up 3 times in the last half hour. I think he has gas.

My baby is the size of a grape.

I'm anticipating hearing about my friend's baby who should have been born today!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Lorimor!

My parents went to Detroit a couple of weeks ago, and since Ryan is a Tigers fan they wanted to get some clothes for us. We even got a couple onesies for the baby!

Here we are at a friends' house tonight.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Big Announcement: We're Expecting!

Yes, it looks like we'll be bringing Leatherman baby #2 into the world sometime next April. So far I've been doing alright - feeling some nausea and fatigue, but nothing that severe.

This past weekend we drove to Kansas City for a reunion with some college friends. Thanks to Nate and Dana for hosting so many people all at once - including 4 children! Ryan and the guys went camping and the girls and kids stayed in Shawnee, KS.

I also got to spend an evening with Brian and Niki Kihm and met their daughter, Anneke, who is a little younger than Stephen.

We stopped near Kirksville yesterday on our way back to have lunch with Michelle Maki. It was a very social time; it was just too bad we couldn't be there and at Lake Geneva at the same time (for the family reunion).

This photo is of Ryan, Stephen, and Nathan, taken in Ryan and Nathan's office at the music building.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What We're Talking About Around Here

I know it's been a long time since I posted. I was working on a math book, and that took any time I had to sit at the computer - and I am typically pretty tired by the end of the day! But now my book is back in the hands of Perfection Learning, and once again I can update you all on what we are doing.

Stephen has been chatty. Very chatty. And sometime he actually seems to be telling you a story. Other times he just repeats the same syllables over and over. He can say "quack quack" (tho it sounds more like kak kak) so we've been asking him what a duck says.

He also started saying "wee wee wee wee wee" yesterday. I wondered if it was the end of "This Little Piggy" but I doubted it because I've only done that with him about 10 times ever.

Then this morning I was singing "Old McDonald" and I sang "with a quack quack here ..." He looked at me and said "kak kak eer wee wee wee wee wee!"

We're heading to Kansas City tomorrow and will see some college friends. It will be fun to get away now that we're back into the school schedule again!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2 years down; Many to go!

We celebrated our 2nd anniversary today. It started out with a limo job from 5 - 10 a.m. Then we celebrated with Heidi that she completed her thesis and now holds the title of PhD! Congrats, Heidi.

We enjoyed a nice dinner while Stephen played over at our friends' house. He did great and hardly missed us! They have a cat that he likes to chase around.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My Favorite Limo Driver and His Favorite Passenger

No, we didn't actually let Stephen ride with him but the car was here during a break and we went out to take a look.

Major victory today! Stephen drank from his own sippie cup! I know he has been able to do it since he was about 8 months but he just wouldn't do it. He thought that holding it was my job. I would try to show him how to do it by moving his hands but he would get very upset and push the cup away. The past couple days I've been drinking from it, hoping that he would finally learn by imitation. It worked! Now I just have to show him how far he has to tip his head back to get what's at the bottom of the cup.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

An anniversary of sorts

We've now lived in Champaign for a year! Last August 7 was cooler than today was, and that was a very good thing for our moving crew.

Also, please vote on the right-hand side of the page for the best mapping site. We've been trying to figure out what works more accurately. They all seem to have flaws.

Some people like this sort of thing ...

... other people groan. If you are the nongroaning sort, then enjoy. If you like to groan, just make sure my mom doesn't find out about it.

This photo was taken when we were in Des Moines last weekend. The doll is Ryan's Raggedy Andy doll. Now that I look at it, I realize that Stephen and Andy match!

The photo below is from my childhood, taken with my Raggedy Ann doll, whose name was Barbara.

Barbara was very well loved. I even remember having to package Barbara up and send her to the doll hospital because she was so tattered! She came back much better looking but now once again her arms and legs hang by a thread and there are some interesting marker drawings on her.

I looked through the photos of Ryan that we have and I didn't find any of him with Raggedy Andy. (That might explain why Andy is still so intact after all these years!)

Monday, August 06, 2007


Our phone # is working again.

One car is just fine with a schedule like this!

Most of you know that we are living with just one car here in Champaign. The bus system is great, and we just make sure we communicate about our schedules so that we don't both need the car at the same time. Now that Ryan has started the limo job he does need to use the car quite often since the limo company's office isn't anywhere near a bus route. This can leave me carless for 8 hours sometimes.

Last night he left the house at 1 a.m. and got back at 8 a.m., just as Stephen was waking up. I had no interest in going anywhere (except maybe to the bathroom) the whole time he was gone!

I'm glad he made it back alright. He slept before he went from about 8 till midnight. Then he went to bed after he got home and we'll go get him up around noon.

Stephen and I went to the babies' storytime this morning at the library. We hadn't been there since he started crawling, so I saw a big difference in his reaction to it. He liked the singing, but he mostly wanted to move around and look at all the different people. When we first got there, he took off on the colorful mat that lies in the middle of the chairs. Then I picked him up and put him on my lap. Not willing to just sit there and pay attention, he tried to captivate anyone he could by shaking his head wildly. He's a ham. He also really liked one of the library workers who said hello to him when we got there. She left about halfway through and he kept looking over to where she'd been standing to see if she had come back.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Odds and Ends

So as I take care of things around the house and go around town I keep thinking, "I should blog about that!" and then the topic just never makes it to the computer ... it's rare to have the equipment to write or to not have my hands full of my little Stephen! So while I have the evening to myself while Ryan is off working (more on that later) I'll try to fill everyone in on the little details of life!

We've had a busy week, even without Thomas here! One of the things I realized that I'm thankful for is the flexibility that Stephen and I have to go to stores, to the park, to see friends, etc. With another little one here (and no carseat for him) we were homebound most of the time. We were glad to have Thomas with us for three weeks, but I wouldn't have wanted it to be a permanent situation.

Our friends Susan and Ercan moved from being about 3 minutes away from us to being about 2 minutes away ... tho it's about a 10 minute walk. We have been over there several times already and today Ryan was Mr. Assembly Man as he and Ercan puzzled over a very complicated weight machine. I tried to go to garage sales but they just weren't happening like it seemed they were when I looked at the paper this morning. I might try again tomorrow - I'll see how the night and morning go.

Ryan started his limo job a few weeks ago and he's been pretty busy transporting families to airports in St. Louis and Chicago. The company he works with, Z's Entertainment, has an agreement with the Make-a-Wish Foundation in which they get a break on normal fees and the drivers agree to drive without receiving tips (but they still get their hourly pay). Once he gets his CDL, he'll be able to drive the larger, SUV-type limos and be the chauffeur for weddings and such.

Speaking of transportation, Stephen and I have really enjoyed the bus this summer. He likes riding in the stroller, and I like not having to fill the car with gas as much. The system is set up pretty well to get us anywhere in the central areas of Urbana and Champaign, as long as we have the patience to take the time to get there! Once the summer is over, we won't take it as much. The passes for a semester aren't as good of a bargain and once the weather is colder I won't want Stephen to be sitting out in the cold waiting for a bus to come.

He is doing so well getting up on his feet now! He isn't walking without our help yet (or at least without the furniture - that is his favorite crutch), but I think he's starting to realize that it would be a good way to get around. If he takes his cue from his other little friends, he'll be running in no time :). Thanks Will and Nathaniel.

Teething continues to be a challenge. He did fairly well with his 8 front teeth, just needing teething gel a handful of times to comfortably sleep. But these molars are really getting to him! He is cutting his 4th molar and I'm hoping that is all that will be coming for a little while. We've given him Motrin a few times today and at the time I'm writing this he's been asleep for 2 hours with just a few moans.

Food has become so much less of a challenge with Stephen, and I'm really thankful for that! He still refuses it sometimes, but overall he'll eat just about everything! Beans are among his favorite, which is great as far as I'm concerned since we need to get his iron intake up. I've been enjoying cooking (when I have the time) and we also have dined with guests a few times. On Wednesday, we served Indian Spiced Rice, though I didn't follow the directions to a T. I made the lentils, potatoes, and rice all separately and mixed together at the end. It's been really fun to use the bread machine, too. Though I'm sold on making the dough in the machine and then baking it in my own oven ... this allows for shaping it the way I want ... hamburger buns are awesome this way! I have gotten some good ideas from The Hillbilly Housewife, though I have found her recipes to be a bit bland. Tomorrow I'm planning to make some gazpacho ... I'll be sure to post if it turns out pretty good!

I read a book in the past couple weeks called Natural Causes. I had no idea of some of the things that have gone on in the herbal/natural supplement world! Though I don't agree with the way this author presents everything, or his conclusions (I think he had an agenda), it was good to read. And the premise makes sense ... just because something is herbal doesn't mean it's safe! It just reinforced some of my ideas that we need to be eating healthy - popping a vitamin isn't a good insurance policy for bad food habits.

I'm still in the process of reading Who Is Your Covering? As I told Ryan, if it's not a library book I just don't have the same sense of urgency to read it ... and since I have library books checked out they always take precendence!

Today is my twin sisters' birthday, as well as my parent's anniversary and my aunt's birthday. I did get to talk to Heidi and mom, even though our phone number still isn't working. We'll have to straighten that out next week.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ryan's birthday update

We are home at 4 a.m. Ryan and Dave found a place in Des Moines that said the tire couldn't be repaired so we just had to get a new one.

Happy birthday, Ryan!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ryan's birthday surprise

Someone donated a broken glass bottle to the street in front of grandma and grandpa's house, and so when we were pulling out to leave to go back to Champaign, our tire hissed. So out of the car for us, and now Ryan is busy putting the spare on. We're probably going to have to spend another night in Des Moines since we can't get service at this time on a Sunday and we don't want to drive 400 miles on a spare.

The only things we needed to do tomorrow were to go to a food coop bagging and to work on some business card designs. We'll still need to be back by 5 for Ryan to teach a saxophone lesson. So we'll probably just have to put Stephen through the misery of daytime driving.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hanging out with Maria

We were over at our friends' house today since they hosted a BBQ for Heidi. We took a picture on the same couch where we took one shortly after Maria was born. It was memorable because in this older photo Stephen appeared to be eating Maria's head. Both children were very mature today and let us just go crazy with our cameras. Here are a few snapshots.

We drove there separately from Heidi since she had been on campus, and we were coming from home. When we got there, we walked back to the porch where all Heidi's friends were hanging out, and Stephen just kind of looked around until he saw Heidi. He got so excited that she was there! It's really fun to see him react to people other than me and Ryan, who we are sure he recognizes all the time.

We got some sweet corn at the farmers' market this morning, but we think we're going to have to bring back some corn from Iowa next weekend. There's just nothing like the Grimes Peaches and Cream sweet corn!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A glimpse of the kitchen

I realized while looking through some photos tonight that I hadn't shared a classic baby picture. You see, Stephen thinks it's his job to dump - toys, Tupperware, scrapbooks, coasters - and he does a superb job. This is what my kitchen often looks like.

We survived another week with Thomas. He didn't sleep as much this week as he did last week. So I didn't really have any baby-free time during the days like I did last week. That's alright, though. Both boys have done really well at being fairly content.

Heidi is still here and is currently sitting eating a stuffed pepper, recipe courtesy Larry Lorimor. It's what we had for dinner.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

No More "Lorimor" Sisters

Well, she did it. Emily got married. It was so wonderful to see so many family and friends, and to meet Spencer's family and friends. Stephen was pretty clingy overall; but I was proud of him for not crying when he was pulled down the aisle by Johnny.

Now Emily and Spencer are in the Black Hills for a week. Heidi is staying with us in Champaign for a week and doing some work on her dissertation.

Today we learned that our phone service no longer works because the company we used went out of business. All day we'd been frustrated, resetting our modem (it's an internet-based line) and getting weird silences. So for the time being we'll just be reachable on Ryan's cell and via email.

I've read some interesting books recently. I really enjoyed Deborah Rodriguez's nonfiction Kabul Beauty School. She went to Afghanistan as a relief worker, thinking she'd work alongside drs and nurses. But instead she started cutting hair, and made friends with Afghan women. One thing led to another, and she started a school for Afghan women that is still in existence today.

I have sort of read The No Cry Sleep Solution about getting a baby to sleep through the night. My basic conclusion was this: Stephen doesn't have a sleep problem. He is a baby. Babies sometimes get up at night. I mostly wondered if there were things I could be doing to help him sleep better, and the main thing I think I'll start is just having fewer lights on in the evening. That won't hurt the electricity bill, either.

Ryan and I are both reading books by Frank Viola about the church. I'm just getting started on Who Is Your Covering? and he just began Rethinking the Wineskin. Both have some fresh ideas about how the early church looked as well as what the body of Christ should look like now.

We have still been having Thomas here for part of the day while Thomas's mom does research on campus. I am beginning to think that teaching my son to share is futile right now. He doesn't just get upset when he can't have one of his favorite toys because Thomas is playing wtih it; he has major meltdowns! Sometimes I'm just keeping them from hurting each other.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Warning! Rip off!

Now I'm not upset about this, because I did have the wisdom to check out the prices before I just blindly had some printouts made ... and I went somewhere else!

I knew Kinko's had slightly higher rates for making copies, but since they are close to where we live I though I'd print some laser copies there.

I had to get 63 laser copies from pdfs, and it was going to be 49 cents a copy, plus $2.00 per minute to use the computer. So assuming I could get it all done in 5 minutes, that would have cost me $40! I checked with the sales staff to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding, and they confirmed that that was indeed the price.

So tonight I drove up to Office Depot, where I knew they didn't pull tricks like this. Sure enough, I completed the entire job for $5.04.

Now, the thing Kinko's has going for them is that they are open 24 hours. But I would encourage people to stay away from their services when there are local copy shops and Office Depot to do the same thing for less money. Here in Champaign we have found CityBlue on Mattis to be a good source for plain black and white copies. The Copy Cat by Drake did a nice job for me when I used them, too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I took this quiz tonight. You can too!

You have 82% Iowa in you!

Nice score! Are you embarrassed or proud of being so much Iowa? I would be proud, it's great being so closely tied to the Hawkeye State.

Do you have Iowa in you?

Monday, July 09, 2007

And just how many strollers do we need?

We have a nice collapsible one that can fit in the trunk, but that isn't great for long distances, or travelling over grass. For that, we have a jogging stroller, but that one doesn't fit well in the car.

Just tonight we managed to acquire (temporarily) a double stroller. For the next three weeks I'll be watching a 14-month-old boy for about 6 hours a day, and this would enable us to more easily go to the park.

Today was the first day with Thomas, and it started out rather disastrous, in Stephen's opinion. Someone else was playing with his toys. His mommy was holding another little boy. Between Stephen being upset about toy playage, and Thomas being upset because his mom was gone and he was in a new home, there was whining going on for about an hour.

But then it was naptime. Both boys slept peacefully, and woke up happy, and played together great until Thomas's mom picked him up.

Then this evening I ate dinner with Aimee. Ryan had to be on campus for the music camp he's working for this week. I went to the evening LLL meeting, then headed to campus where Ryan was performing with his sax quartet. We watched their performance through the window at the back of the auditorium. Stephen was clapping during much of it. We'll have to work on performance etiquette :).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Mac and Cheese

I guess he had a little bit of this last week when we were at Hickory River, but tonight he ate mac and cheese with us for dinner. He thought it was great! He also has been introduced to strawberries and kiwi, and both have gone over well. As Ryan remarked, it's fun to feed a baby who actually wants to eat!

We had a lawnmower scare today. We had bought one when we first moved here for $35, used. It broke a few months back. We've been borrowing a friends and being glad that it wasn't raining much, but we had to get another one. So we got a $75 used one earlier this week. Ryan was out mowing the front lawn this afternoon, and when he stopped the mower to come inside briefly, he was then unable to get it started!!! Argh!! 10 minutes later it still didn't start. BUT, thankfully, it did when he got back from his stagecrew job on campus. He said it had something to do with the throttle ...

We are getting excited for Emily's wedding. Stephen will be the ringbearer. It'll be a chore to get him rested and cooperative for the ceremony itself but I think we can pull it off.

He stands up quite a bit on various toys and pieces of furniture. Sometimes he even scoots across the room on them :).

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Was the squirrel crazy or was I?

So Stephen and I were at the park this afternoon. When I see squirrels, it's usually them scurrying away from me, or there are two squirrels chasing each other around a tree. But today we were playing with the wood chips (yes, it is fun, according to Stephen) and a squirrel stopped in the tree above us.

Then it started quacking. I gave it a confused look. Then it meowed. Then we got in the stroller and came home.

I wonder how this will play out in "Old McDonald" ...

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I need to go wash dishes but but though I'd fill in some details from the weekend. Ryan already posted the photos of Stephen's haircut. That was the big change of the day. Though Stephen is greatly increasing the amount of time he is standing. He hasn't done it yet without holding on to something or someone but he likes the height that he gets from that position.

He had a pretty fussy night last night, but then was fine from about midmorning on. We are pretty sure it was either teeth or tummy bothered by his iron supplement. I'm introducing more foods every day. He loves crackers, but still rejects most all vegetables and meats.

I attended Jaime's baby shower today. She's having twins in September - a boy and a girl. It was nice to have Ryan be with Stephen for a few hours.

Sumin had her baby on Stephen's birthday! I went to the hospital to see her on Friday. And not only do Stephen and [unnamed son of Sumin] share a birthday - they weighed exactly the same at birth! He was sleeping when I visited but I hope to be able to hold him next time I see him.

Dave and Sue are coming for the 4th of July. Yeah - more grandma and grandpa time!

Shave and a haircut.......

Actually just a haircut--he's big, but not that big. It's his first one, though.

....and after!

From the back.....
No more pictures, please!

Here's the footage on YouTube!

Uncle Marc-Andre's new favorite toy!

Sorry it's a little blurry........

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Stephen seems to be enjoying his first birthday. We played at the mall this morning since it was raining and we couldn't be outside. I also know that people read this blog because he now has a fleet of trucks and also quite a few blocks. He's lovin' it. We put a bunch of the infant toys away.

We're looking forward to studying Proverbs tonight with another couple ... hopefully glean some wisdom for raising up our wonderful boys!

Monday, June 25, 2007

We Are Indeed Guilty

You know how parents try to get their kids to hold their arms up in response to the question, "How big is [insert child's name here]?" And then they excitedly recite, "SO BIG!" And in reality "so big" is arbitrary. I mean, would a small kid's parent say "How little is ...?" And why are we so excitedly prompting the smallest person in our family to proudly gesture that his hands raise a mere few inches above his head? But enough philosophizing ... here is our "big boy."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Got Cello?

I performed tonight with 10 other cellists for a benefit concert in Urbana. I think there will be pictures at some point ... I can share them here when I get them. The music was a lot of fun to play ... except Pachelbel's Canon. (See link on the right for why cellists loathe this particular work.) We performed under Maestro Diazmunoz, who I think is about the best conductor I have ever worked with. He really knew what sound he wanted to get from the ensemble, and was kind to all the performers in getting what he wanted to hear. There was quite a range of abilities represented in the group. We performed the Bachianas Brasilieros with a soprano who is a grad student at the University (and also happens to know my aunt's parents in Oregon).

Yesterday Stephen participated in the Infant Cognition Lab's testing at the University. He watched a little puppet show and they analyzed his responses to certain events. The girls working in the lab did a great job communicating with him. After that we went to the Forbes' because I wanted Stephen to watch another kid eat. Stephen is still having trouble with anything that is chunky, even if it is soft. Will is a food pro (he eats a lot of fruit and cheese). I have no idea if it made any difference--just thought it was worth giving it a shot.

The highlight of today was the visit we had from grandma and grandpa. Since Ryan also had a gig tonight (at a theatre in Sullivan, IL) we needed someone else to hang out with Stephen. From what I hear he did just great! It helps that they really like to take him for walks. We had a nice dinner of lasagne and italian bread.

We had an appointment for Stephen this week and he was weighed at 28 pounds and measured 32.5 inches. So he hasn't gained a pound since 9 months, but he has picked up 2.5 inches.

The woman I'm mentoring at the pregnancy center hasn't had her baby yet (that I know of!) but she's due in less than a week.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Heat Wave

We finally gave in last night and turned the air on. It was downright oppresive in here. And we had deduced that it was really bothering Stephen. There were a few occasions in which he was really crabby here and then instantly happy somewhere else, where the AC was turned on. And Ryan and I certainly don't mind it :).

I got this baby pool for free and tried it out today. The inexperienced parents that we are - we filled it right before he got in. And it was COLD! He SCREAMED! But then he got used to it. I think it's super-fun with all kinds of extra pieces in it. We might give it a shot tomorrow after the sun has warmed it. We also hope to go on a family bike ride after Ryan works in the morning.

Ryan was offered a job today with the limo company and he'll start training soon. It sounds like it'll be a good gig. We just hope he gets to work frequently.

Stephen's birthday is coming up in just two weeks. Wow. I'm a lot skinnier this year than I was last year. I've been getting lost of questions about what Stephen needs. In reality he doesn't really need anything. (Right, dad? "Do you need it? Or do you just want it?") And we aren't doing a party. We'll just celebrate with family and friends who happen to come around! I'm planning to make some sort of jello in lieu of the cake. But back to what Stephen would like. He discovered (and so did his parents) while in Des Moines that he LOVES trucks, cars, and balls. (I know what you're thinking: Don't most boys? May be true, but since we don't have many trucks, cars, and balls, we didn't know this.) We would ask that they be appropriate for his age. He does still put things in his mouth and could choke. As far as clothes go, we're pretty set for the summer. He is wearing 24 month clothing, and head holes need to be really stretchy or have snaps. His head is more of a 3T size.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Note from the Heartland

We have been having a wonderful visit in Des Moines. Though we'd like to see a lot more people, we have done well to be able to get together with as many as we have. This time of year works much better than Christmastime, when it seemed many of our friends were either out of town or entertaining family for the holidays.

The bummer part of the trip is that it happens to be the week that Dave is out of town. (Ryan hasn't minded driving his Mercedes, though.) We'll get to see him again on Saturday, as we aren't leaving until Sunday.

Yesterday for dinner we celebrated Susan's birthday by eating together - and having blueberry muffins for dessert. Lois brought over some homemade ice cream, which we enjoyed after a wonderful trip to the park. Wonderful for Stephen and Sissy, that is ... We watched Sissy go from being scared to go down the slide to bounding up onto the playground equipment to run down it by herself. (Don't worry - there weren't any kids on the playground when we did this.)

Emily is down in Texas now, and Heidi and Anthony are in their temporary spot in Maryland.