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.

Friday, July 03, 2009

8 weeks of love

It's hard to believe that Egan turned 8 weeks old this week. He's no longer the floppy newborn which he was a few weeks ago. He almost holding his head up which is really fun to see. Many of his friends of the same age can already hold theirs up, but we figure that he will take a bit longer as he's just so much bigger than they are! He's in the 95th percentile in height and weight. At 6 weeks he weighed 12 pounds 15 ounces and was 23.5 inches long. We figure he now weighs about 14 pounds.

The great news about him being a big baby is that he's a great sleeper. We give him a bath each night before bed and he often conks out right there in the bathroom. For the past 2 weeks he has slept 6 or 7 hours straight. Just our luck, he'll start waking up more now that I wrote this, but as far as I can tell, he can't read yet, so I'm hoping he won't catch wind of this post.

Our favorite weekly activity is post-natal yoga. It's really a baby spa, disguised in a yoga studio. We do 'yoga' together for 30 minutes, followed by baby massage. Being in a room with 15 naked babies is really something else. It feels so Berkeley and I love it! For the last hour of class, there are baby holders who whisk your baby away and bounce him to sleep while you do yoga. The whole experience is pure heaven.

Although neither Mike nor I are bike racing right now, we have gone to watch a few races. One of our teammates gave Egan his own Metromint dots to wear and he wears them proudly at each race he attends.

In other news, we have a bassinet which originally belonged to my grandmother (Eleanor, after whom Egan is named). She used it with her 3 children, including my mother, and it was later used for some of the grandchildren of my generation. We had hoped to use it for Egan, but learned that it was painted with lead paint. So, Mike, Morgan and I are restoring it for this generation of great grandchildren. We repainted it and are now working on sewing a cover for it. Morgan plans to embroider the cover and we're making a photo album of the restoration to send keep with it for future generations. Unfortunately, Egan is already too long to sleep in it, but we plan to have him play in it before we pass it onto whomever is the next family member to have a baby.

Morgan is an amazing big sister. She absolutely adores Egan and has become quite confident with him. Watching he fall in love with him has been such a joy for Mike and me. If you need an amazing babysitter for your infant, she's ready!

We'll try to post photos and updates on Egan more frequently throughout the summer. Until then, Egan says, "Rock On!"

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Quick Peek Back

Now that a few months have passed and I can turn my head without pain I thought I would take a quick look back at my crash. I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this for a while and thought I should record my thoughts before life moves too far down the road.

Here is what I know about what happened. On March 1 I was involved in an accident during a bike race in the Central Valley. Two of my competitors became entangled and caused a chain reaction crash that, from what I hear, took down half the group. I don’t remember any of the crash itself. I’ve learned since that I went over the handle bars at 30 mph and landed on the left side of my face. I’m told I was unconscious for 30-45 seconds. My first memory after the crash is of another competitor leaning over me asking me “Who is the president?” I couldn’t answer. I remember thinking “I know we just changed but I can’t remember who won”. I knew where I was, the name of the race and maybe even the date. I also knew I had been in a crash. At the time I knew I had gone down hard but didn’t think I was too badly injured.

If you’ve never crashed your bike while riding fast you’re lucky. My favorite description comes from local cycling guru Michael Hernandez in
this post

"well, it's like this ~ get in your car and find yourself a nice quite country road. Bring the speed up to around 30mph. Keep it steady at 30, maybe click on the 'cruise control' if you've got it, ok?

now, roll down your window, peep your head out the car and look down at the passing pavement. Look at all those jagged little crushed rocks and sand-papery surfaces. Ok, got used to the speed? Then open up your door ... don't be afraid. Open up your door and lean out a bit (keep that speed up!). Now slowly reach a hand down toward the road zipping by underneath. Think about it, just for an instant ... reach out and touch that road. Go ahead, try it. Reach out and touch it.

and just when you're about to touch the road? in that moment of concentration where your fingers are dangling between the edge of safety and dangerous contact ...

have somebody push your ass out of the car."

So there I was, lying on the pavement after ‘having my ass pushed out of the car’. While I wasn’t too concerned about my injuries, those who were treating me were. I was strapped to a back board, shuttled by ambulance to an open space, loaded into a helicopter and flown to the trauma center at Mercy Medical Center in Merced. There I was scanned, stitched, braced and sent home with my slightly traumatized but heroic pregnant wife.

At the hospital they told me I had broken a bone at the base of my skull called the occipital condyle. Over the next three days I would learn that I also broke my cheek bone (zygomatic arch) and had compressed my T8 vertebra. The following few months were an exercise in pain management.

I happy to say now that I’m mostly recovered. My back still gets tired but it’s getting stronger every day. I’m able to ride my bike again and enjoy getting out on the road.

After the pain meds wore off and I had time to reflect, I was initially curious about the crash itself. I wondered what I could have done to avoid it. I wondered why this time I hadn’t been able to ‘roll with the punches’ when I had avoided serious injury in the past.

After my curiosity about the actual event was satisfied I began to think about what might have been. I thought about other riders who hadn’t been so lucky. I thought about track fixture Joe Fineman who is still in the hospital after crashing only a week or two after my accident. I thought about our friend Pat Currant who was killed by a car one summer day after a series of crashes during spring races. While my neck and back were painful I consider myself lucky to be walking and breathing.

Ultimately I had to consider why I was willing to take such risks as part of my hobby. I ride and race my bike to stay physically fit. It seems counter productive to participate in a hobby that could easily result in critical injury. Since my crash I’ve found myself paying more attention to local race accidents. It seems almost weekly I hear a story of serious injury. It has definitely made me pause. Bike racing is fun but it isn’t worth missing a single day with a daughter or son. Cycling brought my wife and I together but racing isn’t worth missing a future with her. So my crash has lead to a great deal of soul searching about the future of bike racing in this family. I will race again. I have already raced two time trials since my crash. I love bike racing and I would hate for my last race to be the one which I can’t remember ending. But rest assured that my future in bike racing will have a different look than it has in the past.

Be safe out there.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cherry Pie

I headed up to Napa yesterday morning to watch a few of the early races. I was planning to come back for the afternoon's Star Studded Extravaganza but homework help got in the way. Turns out all the EuroStars stayed home leaving our local heroes to slug it out.

There are a few pics from the day here.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sleeping through the night

I am at week 28 of my pregnancy.

For several weeks, I had horrible calf, shin and foot cramps which woke me up throughout the night, in addition to nerve pain in my heel. All of this seemed due to circulation issues related to the dramatic increase in blood volume one has at this stage of pregnancy.

I experimented with all sorts of things, from regular midnight trips to the foam roller, to compression socks, to calcium/magnesium pills, to Mike's fabulous foot and calve massages, to sleeping with my feel elevated. Each helped in its own unique way, but no combination of these treatments seemed to completely alleviate the problem.

Having biked all 7 days of the past week (130 miles this week!) and not once waking up in the middle of the night, I am now convinced that biking is the miracle cure.

Ok, you doubt me. You're thinking placebo effect. But I swear, it's the cure. This weekend was the minty team camp at the Kloverdale KOA. In addition to karaoke, Jay's super-pro photo shoot, and lots of laughs, I hung in on a 50 mile ride today, which included a whole lot more time in zones 3-4 than I had done in many moons. By "a whole lot more" I mean only that my 10min. max power was in zone 3/4, not that any significant among of time was there. But the little guy and I did hit 670 watts at some point hanging on to a city-line sprint which, at +30pounds and +6.5 months if of pregnancy felt pretty damn good.

Once constant question which comes up again and again is whether it's safe to have my HR rise above 140 beats per minute which seems to be the internet's conventional wisdom. This article is the most comprehensive one I've found yet which responds to this issue and encourages women to use the Borg rating for perceived exertion over a flat HR number.

My HR did hit 189 for a brief moment today (I swear I sat up after that!), and the little guy is kicking like crazy at the moment, so I'm assuming that all is well and both he and mom just need a good night's sleep! Luckily, the sleeping seems to be going well this week.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Not in my backyard...

From Monday's SF Chronicle:
" Emotions are running high in usually placid Piedmont over where hundreds of children should attend classes while an elementary school undergoes seismic reconstruction.
When school administrators proposed busing kids a few miles down the hill, out of the tony enclave and into Emeryville, you'd have thought they had committed treason.
A group of "concerned Piedmont parents" took out a half-page ad in the town paper railing against the move and noting that 24 registered sex offenders live within a mile of the Emeryville school.
"If a Piedmont student or teacher is assaulted (or worse) at the Emeryville campus and the Piedmont School District is sued...what additional liability does the school's legal counsel thing that Piedmont's taxpayers would bear?" the ad in the Piedmont Post asked."

As a public school teacher myself, nothing gets my blood boiling more than the assumption that safety issues are more important for your own kids, than other families children. If the Emeryville schools aren't safe enough for Piedmont kids, then why aren't Piedmont parents up in arms about the Emeryville kids who have no choice but to attend these schools?

Chew on that one.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

near the close of my 2nd trimester

25 = number of weeks pregnant

30 = number of pounds gained

1= number of times I fell while cross country skiing last weekend and wondered if a fall on icy snow was a very good idea

1= number of times I've woken up in the morning with a pulled muscle as the result of a midnight charlie-horses

4=number of east bay pregnant bike racers i currently have to bike with

1,713= number of miles i've biked with our little Buddah