Friday, March 05, 2010

Times They Are A-Changing

As Egan begins his 10th month, the Boals/Krasnow household is undergoing some changes. Waist-high objects have become Egan's Disneyland. Dive into mom's knitting bag to tangle myself in the yarn? Absolutely. Hang from the kitchen table? No problem! Need a magazine off the couch? Got it! Attempt to hoist myself out of the pack-n-plan by throwing a leg over the side? Don't mind if I do.

Playing games with Morgan remains his favorite past time and she's able to always find just the thing to make him squeal in delight.

Egan loves to move and explore and is extremely curious and fearless. At any given moment, he can be found kissing himself in the mirror, chasing the dog around the house, or playing hide-and-go-seek with one of us, wrapped in a sleeping bag. While out buying chocolates on Valentine's Day, Egan discovered a helium balloon in the shop and was fascinated by it. We bought one and he spent much of the afternoon exploring its mysterious behaviors.

We've found that showers are even more fun then baths. Egan will crawl right into the shower with one of us, so now morning showers have become routine before I head off to work. He'll sit on the ground, splashing around in the water run-off and filling his bath toys with the warm water. He loves to curl around our chest like a koala bear while we take him under the stream of shower water and isn't phased at all by the water raining down on him. Tangling himself in the big towels after his shower isn't so bad either!

At the moment, he's definitely most interested in activities which involve movement. He won't sit still for long with a single toy, but he loves banging things together, and learning how to make different types of objects move.

And for those of you wondering about teeth...he has 6! The two bottom ones have been joined by 4 on the top and yes, he definitely knows how to use them.

This spring, we've been spending a lot of time working in our garden. Inspired by the film Food Inc., we have tried to change our eating habits to consume as much organic, locally produced food as possible. In addition to the raised beds which we have behind our garage, we converted about 1/3 of our back yard into vegetable garden plots. The yard is currently covered in cardboard and newspaper to kill off the grass and weeds, and will soon be turned into mulch and ready for a summer planting. Additionally, we planted 3 fruit trees to mark Egan's first year and Morgan's teen years. This fig tree (bare root, between Egan and me) is for Egan, and on the other side of our yard is a persimmon tree for Morgan and an apple tree. Additionally, we purchased a chest-freezer for our garage and purchased half a pig and entire steer from a local, Marin farm which we are sharing with a group of friends.

When not growing our own food and brewing our own beer, we still love our great local bars, and so does Egan.
French fries are a welcome treat and Egan can hang at a bar as long as the fries are good for mushing on the table.

We're all pretty convinced that Egan has said his first "word." His inspiration to crawl was to chase the dog around the house, and it has also been his inspiration to climb. From this photo, it's only a matter of seconds before Egan climbs onto Clover's back, and that never seems to have a graceful ending. And this love for Clover has inspired a word of sorts. Whenever Egan sees Clover, or a dog on the street, or a dog in a book, he starts panting, just like she does. We like to insert the 'woof-woof' after the panting, but Egan like's his dog sounds just so.

It's hard to believe that Egan's first birthday is coming in less then 2 months. The days at my school seem to tick away endlessly sometimes (spring with 8th graders definitely isn't my favorite time of year), and yet, those same days simultaneously move so incredibly fast in Egan's life. It's funny how that works.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Man on the Run

The Little Man is mobile! After 8 months of stationary viewing, Egan is officially on the move. He'll happily show off his crawling technique to anyone who waves a crisp newspaper or a box of cheerios in front of him. Although he prefers the commando crawl for its stealth and speed, he'll get up on his hands and knees for the right price, namely some large object that he can lift up and dump out on his head. But his favorite place to crawl is right into Clover's warm embrace.

Those of you who know Clover, our Bernese Mountain dog, may not believe that she is quite gentile and mellow with Egan (she's a huge spaz when guests come over), but she takes his 'abuse' in stride. When she gets tired of him grabbing handfuls of her hair or poking her in the eye, she calmly gets up and moves to the other side of the room. You can guess where Egan goes next.

Over the holidays, Egan had his first sleepover with Granny Lu and Grandpa Ry. They stayed with him while Mike and I went to Half Moon Bay (alone) for the night. Egan took it all in stride, never crying, and after sorting out who's who with a few hard stares at Granny Lu when he woke up in the morning, he decided that all was well. Meanwhile, Mike and I did some fabulous mountain biking, ate too many desserts, and saw elephant seals and sea otters on the beach across the road from our hotel. Morgan spent Christmas with her mom this year, but when she returned to our house, we traveled south to San Diego for a visit with Grandma Jo, Aunt Jenny, and cousins Wyatt and Troy. We had plenty of laughs and Egan jealously watched his sister and cousins playing laser tag, thinking that it looked like a pretty cool place to show off his commando crawl.

Mike has rekindled an old love for beer brewing and Egan has tagged along for several batches. Under Egan's watchful eye, he's made a Trappist Ale, an Amber, and a Stout. In a matter of days they'll be bottling the next batch: an IPA. We plan to have a Paris-Roubaix party in April with more than enough of Mike's beer to go around, so mark the date on your calendars.

Our first trip with Egan on the bike had to be aborted when we tried on his helmet and found it to be quite big. We've since found an infant helmet and we'll be taking him out on the bike any day now. How to cart the 30 pound trailer and the 20 pound boy up the steep east bay hills is an enigma we still haven't solved, but by our next blog post we'll be filled with stories, I'm sure. In the meantime, we'll leave you with one final video, uncut, unedited, just raw crawling footage.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's gonna be a Green Christmas...

Would you believe me if I told you that Egan really loves kale? This boy can eat! Each new food that Egan eats allows us a chance to see what tremendous expressions he'll come up with.

Actually, kale has become a regular part of his afternoon meal, and he no longer needs it mixed with yogurt in order to enjoy it. In fact, he likes it a lot more than his big sister does! Egan now eats two meals of solid food a day and all 3 of us, Morgan, Mike and I love feeding him as his expressions continue to be priceless. For breakfast, he eats a combination of brown rice and millet with yogurt and fruit and for his afternoon meal he eats a meat with two veggies. Not to be outdone by his sister, he tried tri-tip for the first time earlier this week and it was a hit. Now if we could just figure out how to get him clean once he no longer fits in the washing machine:

I missed the 6 month post, so this post marks Egan's 7 month birthday. A lot has happened in the past two months. Egan got to meet his Grandpa Fred (Mike's dad) who came out from Texas and had great fun entertaining him. We learned that Grandpa Fred has a knack for getting Egan to fall asleep and we loved watching him sooth Egan to sleep on his shoulder. Grandpa Fred also loves to bake bread and he experimented with using the leftover barley from beer Mike had brewed to make barley bread.

We have also had two visits from the Krasnow clan over these past two months. In October, my parents, brother, and sister-in-law came out to celebrate my mom's 65th birthday. We rented a house in Healdsburg which was quite idyllic. The house was on a vineyard, with grape vines, pear and olive trees, and incredible sunrises all outside our yard. We were all in heaven, especially Mike and I who took early morning bike rides up steep hills while the rest of the family vied for Egan's attention. After watching Austin Powers, Morgan was eager to watch the original James Bond movies so we spent each evening curled up on the couch together laughing at the 1960s stagecraft. For my mom's birthday celebration, we hired a chef to cook for us at the house. So, after putting Egan to bed, we had an amazing meal, beginning out on the deck overlooking the vineyards, and ending with incredible dessert wine and chocolate souffle. What a treat!

And there's even one more family visit to share (yes, it has been a busy two months)! Morgan invited my grandmother, Granny, out to her school for grandparents day. Granny (Eleanor after whom Little E is named) graduated from Mills College in 1936. Morgan's new middle school is located on the Mills campus and Morgan invited Granny so that she could come see how Mills has changed and to speak to her classmates about what Mills was like in the 1930s. Granny got to speak to the entire 6th grade class about her time at Mills and attended school with Morgan for grandparents day the following day. It was an incredibly special event for us all and something we will always cherish.

When not hanging out with Boals and Krasnow families, Egan loves playing with his friends. He's fascinated by older kids (you know, those grown-up 9-month-olds), and although he still can't crawl, he has recently realized that other babies can. He intently watches older babies, trying to imitate them. Actually, Egan intently watches most everything and we love how curious he is. His temperament remains extremely mellow and he has become a fascinated observer whenever he hears a new sound or discovers a new toy to play with. Recently, he has discovered that he can move himself from one place to another. Although he can't yet crawl, he can rotate himself 180 degrees, scoot backwards on the floor, and lean over in any direction while sitting up to grab a toy and then steady himself again while sitting.

And, as of one week ago, he has a tooth! Morgan, Mike and I bet on whether or not he'd have a tooth before we left for Chicago for Thanksgiving. Morgan was the only one who thought he would. Egan, never missing an opportunity to please his sister, sprouted his first tooth just in time and Morgan discovered it while we waited in the Oakland airport for our flight.As the holidays approach, Morgan is eager to celebrate Egan's first Christmas and Hanukkah with him. Egan will be attending many holiday parties and eagerly awaits his New Years trip to San Diego to visit with his Grandma Jo, Aunt Jenny, and cousins Wyatt and Troy.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goat Milk Yogurt Facial

Today's post marks Egan's 5 month birthday and his introduction to solid food. If you're up for the minutia of this past month, keep reading, because I feel like I can go on and on about how our little man has grown up this month.

This month has brought a lot of firsts.

First time going running with mom:

First wedding:

First wedding reception and getting passed around the dinner table:

And, before divulging Egan's first foods, I must divulge his best kept secret: his uncontrollable giggles. Normally, these giggles come only for Morgan, Egan's big sissy, but every once in a while, he'll let loose for mom or dad.

The big day came about a week ago when Egan got to eat sweet potatoes as his first solid food. Although serving rice cereal seems to be customary, our pediatrician recommended starting with vegetables and fruits as they provide more nutrients and can be mixed with yogurt to give a protein source. Why now? Well...after a few weeks of very restless sleeping (on Egan's part), where he went from sleeping 6-8 hours without eating to only 2-3 hours, we decided that his increased night-time hunger could possibly be met by additional meals during the day. He was 5 months old, right in the middle of the 4-6 month range which all doctors seem to recommend.

Egan has been eating solid food for a week and a half and has already had sweet potatoes, avocado, bananas, goat milk yogurt, poached apples, and poached pears. Again, we seem to have swayed from the conventional wisdom of serving 1 food for several days to check for allergies before introducing a new food. Neither Mike nor I have any allergies and I guess we're eager to turn Egan into a foodie, just like Morgan and us.

We're making all of our own food and have high hopes of growing much of it ourselves as we're planting fruit trees this fall and nearly doubling the size of our current vegetable plots. We also wash our own diapers which I think firmly upends us from our Midwestern roots and establishes us as true Berkeley parents.

Egan is now an avid roller-overer, easily turning from his back to his belly. Unfortunately, he then gets stuck on his belly and after 2-3 minutes, hates it as he can't figure out how to get back into his back. Mastering a few yoga poses on his belly, like cobra, has been fun to watch, but once he pushes himself up onto his hands, he's not sure where to go from there and that trick usually ends with him smashing his face back onto the rug and crying out for someone to flip him over. Although crawling still feels a ways away, we're excited for him to be a bit more mobile as it will allow him more independence in getting to the things he wants. What he really wants is Clover, our dog, and he flails his arms in front of him so we'll pick him up and let him 'chase' Clover around the house. This game usually ends with Egan getting a fistful of Clover's fur, but every one in a while, he times his reach just right and grabs at Clover's outstretched tongue. Now that's a sight to see!

In addition to this wickedly exciting life with mom, dad and sissy, Egan loves to hang out with his buddies, all of whom he has been biking with since I was 3 months pregnant. They're preparing themselves for the catwalk which we're sure they'll be ready for in another month or two:

This weekend, my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, are coming out to celebrate my mom's birthday. Hopefully, between now and Friday, we can teach him to sing happy birthday, but for now, it's just babbles without any regular consonant sounds.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Real Men Wear Speedos

Although Egan officially turned 4 months 3 days ago, it seems fitting that the math teacher who authors these posts is writing on 09/09/09. What a cool date!

Over the last month, it feels like Egan has grown up a lot. Our Little Buddah is definitely developing into a curious guy and it has been so much fun. When we last spoke (at 3 months old), Egan would occasionally grab onto a toy, if you dangled it in front of him for long enough and made enough goofy noises to make it seem really attractive. Now, he'll gingerly grab at anything you put near him and will look all over the room if you move something which he was just holding onto to see if he can find where it ended up. He reaches out for objects with one hand, and steadies them into his grasp with the other. Ultimately, everything ends up in his mouth, where all tenderness ends and he has rightfully earned his new nickname of 'Piranha Boy." Morgan got an early lesson in hickies this evening as Egan demonstrated step-by-step how one is crafted on mom's arm.

About 2 weeks ago, Egan discovered his feet. While he was napping (or so we thought), Mike walked into his room to grab the laundry hamper. He discovered that Egan was awake, holding his feet, and rocking side to side in his crib. Soon thereafter, he learned how to roll from his back to his front which of course delighted his parents and sister.

For those of you who haven't seen the original rolling video, here he is about a month ago when he first rolled from his front to his back. Believe it or not, this feat has yet to be repeated, as it seems it was just a fluke, where he happened to get enough fabric in his crib from the rug to pull him over.

School started up for me and Morgan two weeks ago and it feels like we've settled into a really nice routine. I am teaching only 40% this year which comes out to 3 days a week from about 10:30-3:00. Having the mornings home with Egan is so fun as it's when he's most playful and silly. Mike is able to get out and ride in the mornings and soon, we'll be able to ride together as Egan is almost big enough to ride in the bike trailer (well, it's more that he has almost lost his bobble head and can handle the road bumps). Mike is caring for Egan while I am at school and I think they spend the entire day cracking each other up as I seem to regularly come home to two giggling boys. Today Mike put Egan on the phone while I was at work and he smiled and smiled while looking around to figure out where mom's voice was coming from. Too funny. I'm riding or running most afternoons after work and am looking forward to starting to bring Egan along. Maybe that will be the big news of next month's post...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hump Day and Egan at 3 months!

Hump day came on a Tuesday, just two weeks ago, when Mike came home from the hospital after his pituitary tumor was removed. We're officially over the hump and so thrilled to have the rest of the summer for time with our family.

Egan continues to be a very mellow baby. We're pretty convinced that he knows that with all of Mike's health hurdles this year, we really needed to catch a break somewhere. In the last month he has come to life, smiling a ton (he loves to do it at 4am when he hears me come into his room to feed him which is both a blessing and curse as it's becoming harder to get him back to sleep at that hour), laughing, and babbling. Although he has found his voice, he forgets how to use it just as quickly and cracks us up as he has all the right facial expressions for a hysterical laugh, but nothing comes out. He is enraptured by having stories read to him, especially by Mike, and equally enraptured when Morgan sticks his feet in his mouth. He still has no idea how to get them there on his own, so he is always memorized when she does it for him and then bursts out laughing at her.

Not surprisingly, Morgan is the most wonderful big sister to Egan. She is both incredibly nurturing and quite meticulous in her care of him. Egan lights up when he hears her voice as she comes into the room and she has ways of making him smile and laugh that only work for her.

In July, I went to Evanston so that Egan could meet his two great grandmothers. Here he's surrounded by 3 generations of family: his mama, his grandparents, Grandpa Ry and Granny Lu, and his great-grandmothers, Granny and Grandma Lil. One of the greatest joys of parenthood so far was watching each of them, both in their mid 90s, spring to life when he was around, enraptured by his smiles and his joyful utterances. Watching how Egan makes so many people around him so happy has been an unexpected surprise, but one which I cherish.

He and I continue to go to baby yoga and baby massage each week (which, as you can see, he adores so much that he'll do me the favor of sleeping during the second half of class when the mamas get to do yoga without their babes), while also spending time with my mom's groups. Egan already has many suitors to choose from which must be at least partially due to all the slick outfits he has been given by friends and family.

Only a few more months until our bobble-head son is ready to ride in the bike-trailer. And then, watch out Berkeley!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Silver Lining?

If you had told me back in that first week of March that my crash would have a silver lining I would have been highly skeptical. It was hard to imagine anything good coming from the broken bones, abrasions, aches and pains. Even now as I write this, knowing all I’m about to share, I’m not sure silver is the color I would choose to describe the ‘treasure’ that March 1st cloud concealed.

The first hint that there would be more to this story came in the initial radiology report: patient appears to have an enlarged pituitary gland, follow up testing should be pursued to evaluate further (or something like that). I asked my doctor about it and he said it was a common condition which for most people didn’t cause problems and we should focus on the issues at hand. That same week a second CT scan confirmed the enlarged sella but again I was told it was probably nothing to worry about. While I didn’t worry too much I did enough research to be aware of the issues and it remained in the back of my mind.

In May, after I was moderately healed and Egan had arrived, I pursued that ‘follow up testing’. I still wasn’t concerned. I wasn’t feeling any symptoms and expected the tests to show a condition that I might have to watch in the years to come. Unfortunately, my concern took a quantum step up midway through my MRI when the radiologist asked me 'Do you get a lot of headaches?'

Tumor is not a word you ever really want to hear your doctor say. At least until they discover the ‘male sexual enhancement tumor’ or the ‘detachable fat burning tumor’. ‘Benign tumor’ is obviously a better combination of words than ‘malignant tumor or cancer’ but benign tumor inside your head is not a happy combination. So, needless to say, I was less than thrilled when I heard my doctor say I had a Macro Pituitary Adenoma (tumor).

A quick geography/physiology lesson for those of you unfamiliar with the pituitary gland. It resides in your head, almost the geometric center of your head. While it isn’t technically part of your brain this may be one of those cases that can be added to ‘horse shoes’ and ‘hand grenades’ on the list of situations where close counts. Zooming in, the pituitary gland resides at the base of your brain as a protrusion off the hypothalamus. It sits on a small bone called the sella, just below the optic chiasm and between the left and right carotid arteries. At first glance, not the easiest place to swing a scalpel. The pituitary gland is the link between the nervous system and the endocrine system and is responsible for regulating hormone production, a relatively important task in the functioning of the human body.

As it turns out, pituitary tumors are fairly common. Studies have found that as many as one in five adults have a pituitary tumor. Fortunately, most don’t cause any problems and go unnoticed. The tumors that do get noticed usually cause problems in several ways. They can interfere with hormone production which may or may not be severe enough to warrant treatment. They can put pressure on or displace the optic chiasm, causing vision loss. They can also put pressure on the carotid arteries and possibly cause a rupture and hemorrhaging in your skull (should be avoided if possible).

So, getting back to my situation, my Macro Pituitary Adenoma is about the size of a large cherry tomato. The tumor has displaced my pituitary gland and probably inhibited some hormone production. Luckily, I have not noticed any symptoms. My vision has tested fine. My hormone levels are almost normal and my carotid arteries are still intact. But the tumor has already displaced my optic nerves and is very close to the carotid artery on the left. So, if it hadn’t been for my bike accident I may not have discovered this tumor until it was much more difficult to remove. This early discovery probably warrants the designation ‘silver lining’. However, they still need to go in and get this thing out so at the moment the silver looks a bit tarnished.

Monday morning Dr. K is going to polish it up for me. Sometime around 7 I will undergo transsphenoidal surgery to resect my adenoma. Luckily for me Dr. K performs these surgeries 3 or 4 times a week with very few complications.

Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted.