Monday, December 3, 2012

Inching forward - literally!

In Gus's last 2 clusters of ABM lessons - 1 cluster with Marcy in Chicago and the last one with Jon in Fort Wayne, IN, he has made huge strides during and since.

Marcy worked mostly on helping Gus get himself into sitting. I asked him this morning if he wanted to sit up and he rolled to the side first without me reminding him and had a lot of momentum for sitting up. I barely touched him!

Check out this video of his lessons with Jon, who worked a lot on loosening his hips and crawling. He has actually started to inch forward on his belly! Look at how well he is using his elbows to lean. You can see in this video he still has trouble getting his left arm out from under him but that has been getting better and better. Things are taking shape for crawling now!

It's a Christmas miracle!

And, even though we left Gus at home for this amazing adventure, I can't help but bubble over about our amazing time yesterday going to work with our friend, Alicia, who works with cheetahs, other cats, and some other animals. We adored meeting and touching their African Porcupine, who is one sweet boy. And how many people can say they've played with a cheetah?

Alicia who made it all possible and gets to do this every day at work!

Savannah's "More, please!" look
Adrienne and Savannah

Christi and Savannah

Maria and Savannah

There's not much left to ask for for Christmas! How blessed we are!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

ABM progress and some cuteness

Gus is making some great progress in his ABM lessons lately. We've been seeing lots of Jon up in Fort Wayne, IN, and also recently saw Marcy in Chicago. He is getting closer and closer to being able to get himself into a sitting position from the floor. He's doing pretty well prop sitting once he's in the sitting position, too. It takes some gentle guidance and verbal reminders for Gus to get himself into sitting but he's doing so well pushing himself up with his right hand and arm. This video is dark but I'm just barely touching him. He's doing all the work on this. 

We think he's just teasing us with how close to crawling he is. He'll get on his belly and push way up on his arms with his head nice and high. Then he'll partly roll to one side to get his right leg bent up under him and he'll rub his toes on the carpet. Sometimes he even pushes himself forward half an inch or so.

His language is blossoming. While he was in Chicago doing lessons with Marcy they worked for 4 lessons trying to get him to say, "I want Elmo" instead of just, "Elmo" and pointing. No luck. At the end of the 4th lesson he set Elmo down and got involved playing with something else so Patti picked Elmo up to disinfect him and put him away. All of the sudden Gus noticed Elmo was gone and said, clear as day, "Where'd Elmo go?" The whole room just busted up laughing. So the next morning in his lesson when the adults were talking and he wanted the attention back on him he said it again with a huge grin on his face. He's quite a character.

Grandma Carol and Gus are already thick as thieves co-conspirators. Maria noticed Gus's fingers were orange one day and she asked him, "Did Grandma give you a cheese ball?"

Gus shook his head and avoided Maria's eyes with a big, "No!"

Then he had been downstairs with Grandma and she'd been feeding him more cheese balls. When Maria came downstairs and sat down at the table then Grandma handed him another cheese ball. He looked at Maria and threw the cheese ball across the room really quickly like he'd never seen one in his life and certainly wasn't interested in eating them! I guess deception starts young. It's a good thing he has such obvious "tells" so we know when he's fibbing. With a name like Fergus O'Brien I guess we should have expected him to be full o' the blarney.

I wish I could say we were all healthier than my last frustrated post but we are really still struggling. Gus has been healthy. Maria is a bit better but then sometimes not. She just recently had another infection and the doctor thought she should be in the hospital but it was her birthday 2 days later and she said she wasn't spending it in the hospital. Fortunately her antibiotics seem to be clearing that up and I do think she's on an upswing.

I have no idea what is wrong with me. I have been fatigued beyond relief and then most afternoons I go from fine to feeling awful in no time flat. I'll have a good day or even several in a row and think, "Oh, I'm finally over this" and then I'm right back to having bad days again. It's getting to be my new normal now, I guess. My doctor just started me on antibiotics and a steroid pack on Friday so fingers crossed the worst is behind me. He thinks maybe I have acute or chronic sinusitis. This is going on 2 months of not feeling good for me and I'm over it! I'm supposed to be the "healthy" one in this house! There really should be at least one, right?

Now, on to some general cuteness of our wonderful little man.

We dog sat for Kona back in October. Kona wasn't quite 1 year old at the time and she and Gus were great playmates. He giggled through the whole several days. If you listen to this video you can hear him saying, "Ready, Go!" to encourage her on.


He's getting to be such a big boy and is very proud of himself, too. He can take his PBJ in his hand, take bites from it, and is drinking milk from his sippy cup.

Maria, Gingerbread Man, Christi, and Gus at Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo
Gus bundled from the cold

Wearing his new Thomas and Friends engineer hat while passed out in a milk coma

Would you like to play "Find the baby"?

Before you holler, "Child Abuse!" he willingly continued to put the lemon in his mouth and he asks for them!

We were all so sick at Halloween this was the only pic we got of the 3 of us. Gus was his favorite, Elmo. So we were Elmo's Goldfish, Dorothy, and Elmo's Crayon. 

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I'm withholding all the pics with Santa for now until we select the Christmas card shot. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A rough October

I'm ready to leave October behind! At least one of us, and often all 3 of us, have been sick this entire month. It's pushed me just about past my breaking point.

Gus was sick as soon as we got home from Corn Festival. I didn't feel well but thought I'd kicked it by going to bed early and getting some extra sleep. About the time I felt I had outsmarted that one, Maria was sick. We thought Gus was feeling better and then Maria got even sicker and I started to get sick. Then the last couple of weeks all of us have been sick. We took Maria to the Emergency Dept at Christ Hospital a week ago today and they admitted her. She stayed there until Thursday.

In the meantime, I just feel like I get more over my head every single day and it's really wearing on me.

On top of that work has gotten super busy and we're down by 2 team members out of 5 recruiters. We've been down more like 3 out of 5 with me sick and trying to hold down the fort here for everyone else, too. I hate not pulling my weight and I certainly haven't been.

Now I'm so far behind in absolutely everything that I wonder if makes any difference to keep one foot in front of the other and soldiering on.

Yes, I know we're extremely blessed. I shudder to think where we'd be without Maria's mom helping out so much with the baby. My sister and niece came up one evening this week to watch Gus so I could work more. Lots of people have been lending their moral support. My employer continues to be patient as I have personal issues to handle.

Please keep praying for us and sending us good energy so we can see our way to healthier times! As my best friend tells me, "The darkest hour is just before the dawn."

And while I'm complaining, thank God there are only 9 more days until the election. I can't stand living in the premier battleground state!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Corn Festival 2012

We've been beyond busy and are just now barely getting ourselves caught up to this crazy life!
On Saturday, Sept 22, we had our Building Blocks Walk and it was a lot of fun plus a huge success in adding money to Gus’s fund. By the way, Gus’s fund is now over 100% complete! They are taking it down from the Building Blocks site any day now so their other kids can get their funds going, too.

We cheered on the folks for the 5K

Gus was happy in his wagon

 Then on Sunday we loaded up the truck, trailer, and van to head for the 64th Annual Grundy County Corn Festival! Corn Fest is a pilgrimage we look forward to attending every year. I grew up in Morris, IL, now a town of population 12,000. Now, let’s get one thing straight. Corn Festival is NOT about eating corn. It’s a harvest festival where we celebrate the crops being harvested and put up for the year. The entire town and many members of the surrounding communities all get into it. Every pole in the downtown area is wrapped with stalks of corn. You couldn't possibly attend every single event involved.

We were the first family to descend upon my parents’ house. Maria and Gus went out to Goose Lake Prairie State Park for some walks while Christi was working.

Red tail hawk

Alligator snapping turtle baby

 As the week went on we were joined by 2 of my 3 brothers, all 4 of my sisters, a brother-in-law, and a nephew. My youngest sister, Brenda, and my family each put our RV’s in the driveway to make room for the others in the house.

The real start of Corn Fest is Wednesday. Our adventure began listening to the Madrigals under the Taste Tent. I sang in the Madrigals group in high school and it has to be my favorite singing experience.  

Madrigal Group of 2012 singing at Corn Fest in their Corn Fest garb

Madrigals in December 1991 about to perform for one of the annual Madrigal Dinners. I'm to the left in the green dress with the gold bodice

We went on from there for the pork chop dinner under the Farm Fair tent, played on the tractors, then walked around downtown briefly before having to head home and put Gus to bed. 

Pork Chop Dinner under the Farm Fair Tent

BFF and Gus's Godmother, Adrienne

Gus wore his green shirt with a tractor on it for Corn Fest outfit #1

Thursday we volunteered to go fetch my brother Dan from the airport, enjoyed visiting with family, took a huge walk to and through Gebhard Woods State Park, and returned to the Farm Fair tent for pork chops and chicken because it’s THAT good! Gus insisted on playing on the tractors again. We just got a quick walk around town again before having to get our tired boy to bed. 

Gus's Day 2 Corn Fest outfit

Friday we went south of town to the Log Home Festival. There are all kinds of vendors out there selling a little of everything from antiques to handcrafted items to baked goods and pumpkins. Do you see a pumpkin you like in the patch? 

Corn Fest Day #3 Outfit

Gus took a 4 or 5 hour nap that afternoon before we headed downtown for the Corn Festival Queen Parade and Coronation, some of the live music on a couple of the stages, and watching the Magic Show where my mom was one of the volunteers.

 After putting Gus to bed, we handed off his monitor and went out to play cards with friends. Gus gave his Grandma and Uncle Pat a rough night while we were out killing each other in a wild game of Crazy Uno.

Hi Dave, Danielle, and Brady - We missed you guys!

Saturday started bright and early as we went to watch the Josefik boys run the toddler trot and to cheer my dad and sister on in the 5K. Dad won 2nd place in the “Over 70” age group! Not bad for a guy who turns 83 in November!

My dad is in the Cardinals hat and my sister is rockin her plaid sneakers

 The flea market North of town is our traditional Saturday morning venture. Again, there’s a mixed bag of stuff at a gazillion vendors. We picked up some books and toys for Gus on the cheap plus Gus and Damon Sloan’s son, Philip, got to play in the dirt together for a while. Lunch was steak sandwiches from Mr Ribeye. To my Cincinnati friends, this is a REAL steak sandwich! Imagine my excitement to see that so many places in Cinti sell steak sandwiches only to crash and burn in horror upon discovering the Cinti steak sandwich is just a ground beef patty.

Mr Ribeye's Steak Sandwiches!

While Gus napped I joined some of my family downtown to see my mom’s prize winning quilt on display at the hobby and handicraft show, and to tour the art show. Then it was home to have a family dinner including my parents’ homemade spaghetti sauce from their garden ingredients.

Saturday night we headed into town for a train ride, to get Gus away from the scary fireworks that were down by the river, and then we took an awesome stagecoach ride. Gus squealed with delight through the entire ride. It had to be his favorite Corn Fest thing to do.

Weeee! Driving the train!

Sitting on the tractors is still his favorite thing to do

Day 4 Outfit is his John Deere shirt so we had to get a pic on the Deere tractor!

Maria stayed behind to pacify Gus for bedtime while I went out and joined friends for more card playing. My BFF and I may have been up until 5 AM!

Sunday we bid adieu to all my siblings and headed downtown for the big parade. Mommy Maria toured the photo show while Grandma and Mommy Christi walked Gus into town so he could catch a quick nap. The petting zoo was fun and a calf sucked on Gus’s toes!

Lion’s chicken dinner is a must for the meal before the parade. Then on to the 2+ hour parade with friends and my parents. Gus did great and made it all the way through without freaking out over the noise.

Oh, and this was supposed to be his "save the best for last" fabulous Final Day 5 outfit but it was too hot to put him in long sleeves and long pants! 

We wrapped up Corn Festival 2012 with one last stagecoach ride.

Even with all that fun there were many events we missed such as the big carnival, most of the bands, the 4-H meat auction, and we did very little walking around downtown which meant we missed seeing a lot of the folks we had hoped to run into. We’re looking forward to next year already!