Nov 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone -

I just wanted to upload a video of Ben's first Thanksgiving for you all to take a gander at. Yes, even though I live in Chicago, I use words like "gander".

Aunt Maggie came by on Wednesday and stayed through Friday. The three adults cooked up a storm while Ben played/napped. We had the traditional thanksgiving fare: Turkey (brined and stuffed), mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, cranberries, rolls and the uber-traditional asparagus casserole. Just writing that list made me a little hungry.

Ben's favorite? Pumpkin pie... just check out the video is you're not convinced.

We're packing up to head out to the cottage for Thanksgiving 2: the Turkey Strikes Back. Wish us (and our stomachs) luck.

- Brian

PS - For you're viewing pleasure: Ben's new favorite game!

Nov 22, 2009


The reason I titled it this way is because EVERYTHING is "Hi" right now! He enters a room its "Hi!" You enter the room, he says "Hi!" Abby walks in, the tv turns on, Ben says "Hi!" Pretty cute actually. He also continues to say touchdown every time he throws a ball, or anything for that matter. Getting video of all this is getting trickier and trickier. I included the one video of Ben having a little bit of a fit because every time the video camera comes out he stops what he's doing, crawls over to the person holding the camera and screams out! He just wants the camera. So there is my excuse for having fewer video these days. All I get is Ben crawling to me then crying out. I try turning it on the other room and sneaking up on him, but his hearing is so keen that he can hear that thing jingle on from anywhere!

He continues to try to walk all the time. He still hasn't gotten more than two steps from anything, but he's trying so hard! You can tell that he is so proud of himself everytime. He just smiles and smiles! Again, hard to get it on camera because as soon as the camera comes out he just wants to get to it as fast as possible and that is by crawling. We'll continue to work on it.

Other Ben news: He's working on tooth #8, and tooth #9 right now. You can see them bursting through the seams on the bottom. He's a little crankier but overall handling these better than any of the others. He has also discovered how to turn the tv on and off. This is a lot of fun for everyone in the room. I try to find him something else that clicks when you push on it, but the tv is the most fun. He has really started working with his toys. He prefers things that can be stacked, things that can be opened and have other toys put within it, things like that. He's so serious about it. Very mechanical about everything. And, as you'll see from the videos, everything is a phone. Absolutely everything gets put up to his ear and he talks in it starting with "Hi." Unless of course there is actually someone on the phone, then he just stares at it and generally ends up hanging up on them.

I think that's it for now. We're just getting ready for Thanksgiving. I went out and did all my shopping today. We're having Maggie here on Thursday, then leaving Friday for the cottage to be with my parents, Grandpa, Uncle Rick, Julie, and my sister Lenore and her family. Stephanie and crew can't make it this year as my bother-in-law is having yet another back surgery on Monday (prayers please). We're hoping third time's a charm for his low back.

I also decided to finally put the final pictures of our new front door (notice there are no holes in it!)! I think we're done painting and Brian did the grout last weekend and this weekend. We decided to keep the actual door white, as well as the inside trim white. It really brightens up the inside of the entry way. Then went brown outside but kept the door white which really stands out. It's so nice not to feel a breeze come through your closed front door anymore! Not that I'm asking for colder weather but it does figure that last winter we were sub zero from like November through March. So far this year, we've been 20 degrees above average! It's been beautiful, 61degrees today! Does not feel like Thanksgiving time at all! Well, I went and jinxed it! Sorry midwest, my fault!

Nov 15, 2009

I climbed the Willis Tower!

I did it! After weeks of fear and hydrating I climbed the steps of the Willis Tower this morning. It was 103 floors, and they say 2,109 steps (although I would dispute that, but not be the one to go back and count it). I finished with what I considered to be an AMAZING time of 32 minutes and 20 seconds. Here's a little rundown of how the climb went for me:

Floor 1: "I can do this."
Floor 5: My legs burn a little and fear sets in.
Floor 10: My legs really burn and I want to quit.
Floor 20: Never mind! I can no longer feel my legs so I keep going!
Floor 35: I feel a little dizzy. I'm a bit disoriented and start yelling random obscenities to the volunteers.
Floor 52: A euphoria sets in as I realize I am more than half way there!
Floor 70: I start to hurt a little and begin to blame various volunteers for "getting me into this mess!"
Floor 75: I start singing Stairway to Heaven. Another climber tells me to pull it together and I forge on.
Floor 80: I feel pretty good! I'm excited to have only 20 more floors. Then the **censored** volunteer yells "Only 23 more floors to go!!!" I want to punch her but instead take the water from her hand, hold back from throwing it into her face and continue up.
Floor 87: I ask the volunteer where the elevators are. He laughed at me. I again wanted to smack him, but instead keep climbing.
Floor 90: For the next 12 floors I get sick of hearing "You're almost there!!" They just kept saying that!! No, it was nice to hear. I felt like I was climbing up in sand at this point!
Floor 100: I hear the cheering crowd at the top!
Floor 103: I MADE IT! 32:20 they tell me!

I enjoyed the view from the top for a while. I stepped out onto the ledge which didn't seem that high anymore considering I just walked up to it. Brian and Ben made the trip with me and waited down in the lobby. It was fun to call Brian and pretend like I was quitting. He thought I was serious at first thinking there was no way I finished that quickly! I did keep a nice steady pace, just a quick walk, no running, never really needing to stop, just a pause here and there. There were those that ran past me in the first 40 floors. Those were the people I was passing at around floor 70! It was truly a case of the Tortoise and the Hare!

I came back down to meet my family. The three of us walked around a bit. Went and got a bite to eat and then home to recuperate. Once home, Ben was in such a good mood! He was laughing and playing and that's when the next miracle happened! I believe I saw Ben's first 2 steps! He was holding onto the bouncy chair thinking about going over to the window sill. He let go, took 2 small steps and grabbed onto the window sill! It was amazing to see! He's putting it all together so quick! Next year, he'll be climbing the Willis Tower with me!

Enjoy the pictures. Some of them are a bit rough, but I'd like to see how you all looked while climbing the tallest building in the country! But seriously, I really feel good. Very proud of myself. It's something I would like to do again and I know Brian wants to do with me. Thanks again to everyone who supported me and helped raise money and awareness for this great cause! I'm going to go stretch now!

Nov 14, 2009

Just going to climb a few stairs.

I thought I would quickly put up my final post. You see, tomorrow morning, just about eight hours from now, I will be climbing the stairs of the Sear's (I mean Willis) Tower. I'm hoping to survive, but preparing for the worst. I had a nice last full day on earth. Brian got up with Ben so I slept in a little. Then got up, had my coffee, did some housework (I'd hate to leave my house in shambles, how embarrassing when people come to pack my stuff up). Then played with Ben. All of us went for a walk on this lovely day. We went to the park and threw the ball for Abby, Ben took his first ride in the swing and first solo trip down the slide! He loved it! Took a little getting used to but he's pretty adventurous!

Can you believe that Ben is 11months old today! He's getting so funny! He's mimicking everything we do. The best part is that everything is phone. He holds everything up to his ear and acts like he's talking into it. He's even said "hello" into the phone! Not 100% clear, but close.

Other words he's trying hard to get out include Abby, and Touchdown! It sounds sort of like "aye yown" but we can tell that's what he's saying. He holds his arms up over his head and everything. We've tried to get it on tape but not with much luck.

He's REALLY thinking about walking. He's getting very daring and letting go of things while standing. Today he let go of Brian and looked and me (I was about a foot away), he acted like he was going to take a step then just flung himself forward to me. Brian and I looked at each other like "Oh crap!" That was so close to his first step.

So, here's some cute video of Ben trying to say touchdown and then walking behind his car! Hope you enjoy. WISH ME LUCK TOMORROW! I've been sort of praying for a minor injury all day to get me out of it. Like a sprained ankle, or a minor broken leg, something like that. Don't worry, I'll let you know how it goes!

Nov 8, 2009

Halloween (FINALLY) and New Door

Ok, here's some video, finally! Sorry it's been a while! We are finally settling down here. Dad is still here and we just finished our work for the weekend. We have been SO productive! The front door is basically finished which includes all the painting. We just have to re grout the inside a little bit next weekend and it's a done deal! I can't believe we did it. We could not have done it without Dad! We'd be paying someone big bucks for the amount of work he put in this weekend. He just asked for a place to relax sometimes and to be fed. So, I fed him and he relaxed in the evening (sometimes). Other times we played lots of games and had a great time! He also helped with fixing our stupid garage door and cleaning our yard. We had perfect weather for all this. It was nearly 70 degrees the last couple of days. It was very nice considering we have had to keep the front door open throughout the day for painting, installing the storm door (oh yeah, Dad did that too with Brian's help), and other various projects. I can't believe we finished it all.

Ben's doing ok. He has a little tummy bug (thanks Daycare). He has felt ok other than his first diaper rash that he got as a consequence of the repeated diapers. He's handled it well. He has been very curious of all the construction going on and it barely seemed to slow him down.

Ok, Ben update time! He is REALLY mimicking everything we do. He's trying to use his own spoon and holds the phone up to his ear just to name a couple. I am including some cute video of Ben using the phone. About 30seconds in he does it really well (and that's my Dad's dog Madie in the back, Abby's off sleeping on the bed more than likely). He loves going through the mail with me. He has also gotten in the habit of taking a toy out of his box and then puts it back. He will carry a pale around and gather other toys into it, and loves putting his basketball into any bucket! He's crawling faster and faster. He's cruising along furniture and has let go from time to time holding himself up like a champ. Yesterday, he even let go and tried to take a step. It wasn't successfull but I'm sure that's right around the corner.

We're holding steady at 7 teeth but he's acting like another one is well on the way. He's sleeping ok, too. We're having about one bad night a week where he wakes up once and needs some TLC. Other than that he's still sleeping about 10 hours a night. Those hours are just from like 7pm to 5am which makes for an interesting morning! I can't complain, I know people who have it way worse.

I'm finally getting around to posting Halloween video! He LOVED riding around in that wagon with Jackson! Again, he was Woody from Toy Story. Such a good cowboy! We were in Detroit for Jackson's Baptism and took the boys over to Jen's parents house for a while (which is within walking distance). The whole ride there and back he just talked to Jackson and laughed out loud (which I never really caught on tape). Note Max the dog in his Superdog costume in the back!

Jackson's baptism went really well. Yes, you can call me Godmother! Ben did great in church. The service lasted almost 2 hours so I was a little nervous. But with all the singing and music he just clapped and danced. We were sitting in front and at one point the pastor's were laughing and pointing at him during one hymn because he was so into it! It was great!

So, hopefully I'm making up for neglecting the blog over the past couple of weeks with several cute videos.

Next weekend we will be home getting some rest. And by that I mean me climbing the steps of the Willis (Sear's) Tower Sunday morning! Everyone pray for me! You can still support me in donations to research and developement through Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at

Of you can just search it out through, click on the Tower Up Chicago Link, then on the left click on Sponsor a Participant and enter my name. All proceeds go the the Rehab Institute of Chicago (my employer) for their amazing work in research and developement in rehabilitative medicine. I may only bug you one more time. I have until Thursday!

Enjoy the videos!
Love ya'll!

Nov 6, 2009

The other reason I'm not blogging!

Real quick! Things here are a little chaotic! As you can see we had a hole in the front of our house yesterday! It was fun. I was nervous, but the new one fit in real well and today we're setting up to paint it.

Busy! Let's see in the last 48hours we have:
1. Dad arrived, tried to fix garage door,
2. Dad get's hand caught and requires 10stitches.
3. You know my Dad, he fixed garage door anyway.
4. Tore hole in my house.
5. Put new door in.
6. Raked entire yard.
7. Gave 2 dogs 2 bathes due to rolling in ca ca.
8.Walked bad dogs.
9. Been to Home Depot twice and Menards once (Dad's at Ace Hardware right now).
10. Yelled at the neighbors for blowing their leaves into our yard.
11.Slept a little

Oh yeah, there's also that little issue of caring for Ben in all that! He's done great. Intrigued with all the goings on! Now that he's napping I'm heading out to finish the leaves.

I'll hopefully get some video up soon.

Nov 4, 2009

We're back online!

We have not forgotten about our blogging duties! We just have not had internet since last week. But Brian got us back on late last night and we're ready to roll. Real quick (since it's 6am), here are a couple of taste tests of Ben on Halloween. He was Woody from Toy Story! So cute! I also have some video of Ben and Jackson "Trick or Treating." And by that I mean riding around in a wagon for a while in costume.

Off to work. Full story to follow!

Hailey Slideshow

Slideshow for you!