Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hide & Seek

Zachary is playing hide & seek with Aunt Candy (his Grand-Aunt). He "hides" by standing against the wall, regardless of whether anyone can see him.



Video taken 12/26/08; Zachary is 15 months old.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Morning

Here they are! The Christmas videos are back and should be viewable this time :)

Stocking


Songbook


Glockenspiel

Videos taken 12/25/08; Zachary is 15 months old.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Shoulder Rides

My dad always carried us on his shoulders. It's kindof a special memory. So I really enjoy it when Curtis carries Zachary on his shoulders :)


Video taken 12/23/08; Zachary is 15 months

Computer

We don't let Zachary play with our computers at home - they're completely blocked by a gate (along with the cat food), but when we're visiting, all the rules change :)



Video taken 12/21/08; Zachary is 15 months

YouTube Videos

As you know, I've been having trouble uploading videos lately. We think it's because of space limitations, so I'm going to be uploading them to YouTube and then embedding them here.

What this means is that nothing will change except a little bit of formatting on the video - see the previous post Cars. Now that the videos are on YouTube, they are slightly bigger on the screen, and if you click one of the buttons on the video (bottom, second from right) it will make the video full screen (albeit fuzzy because of the resolution.)

I will be going back to previous posts and adding the missing videos. They're on my computer at home in Nashville, so it won't be until after the New Year - I'll let you know when they're up.

As always, feel free to leave comments, even just to say hi!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cars

Zachary received Christmas gifts from some folks at church. One of the packages contained five little die-cast cars. I think he likes them :)


Video taken 12/17/08; Zachary is 15 months.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Basketball

Zachary was SO excited when they let him have one of the basketballs! (This was at the church after caroling.)


Video taken 12/7/08; Zachary is 15 months.

Again, there's another video, but it won't upload :( So frustrating!!

Update (01/09/2009): I still don't know why the video never uploaded to Blogger, but here it is on YouTube:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blocks

Zachary's Christmas gift from the Wheelers this year is his first set of building blocks. It was the last one at the store (we took advantage of post-Thanksgiving sales) and he was very excited, as Curtis explains in this first video:


Video taken 11/28/08


What other toy appeals to kids almost 20 years apart?? Notice how they're not only playing with the blocks, but they're inside the playpen too :)


Video taken 11/28/08


Playing at home (This is a pre-haircut video)


Video taken 12/1/08

I have another video, but it won't upload :(

Update (01/09/2009): Another "long lost" video - found!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nightmare

Zachary had his first nightmare/night terror last night. I woke up to his screaming a little after midnight. And I mean screaming. When I first gained consciousness my reaction was to look at Curtis to see if he was awake so he could deal with it (bad mommy!) but the next moment I realized that Zachary wasn't just crying and I jumped out of bed. He calmed down right away and laid his head on my shoulder and put his arm around my neck (melt my heart!) He settled down with his music on, holding his blankie and sucking on his binky, so all's well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Doctor Appt.

Zachary's 15-month check up went well today. Dr. Lavin said he "passed with flying colors!" (Not that it's a test or anything, but it's always good to know that things are going well.) He got three vaccines, including a flu shot, and they took a finger prick to check his iron levels, which came back fine. We talked to her about kid's vitamins and she said the gummy ones would probably be fine, though we may need to cut them into smaller pieces (or not. Have you seen him eat? Makes very effective use of those 7 teeth, he does.) She said the ones with fish oil (DHA) would be very beneficial (thanks Ben for the info you sent on that!) Here are the newest stats:

  • Weight: 24lbs 12oz; 55th percentile
  • Height: 32 inches; 76th percentile
  • Head: 47 cm; 45th percentile

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Haircut

Zachary got his first haircut on December 4th. Curtis had been wanting to cut it for a while but I had been resisting. How could anyone contemplate cutting off all those curls?? But the long hair in the front and over the ears finally got to me. So I cut the bangs and the hair over the ears and left the hair in the back long so he would still have curls. Curtis and I looked at the result and decided it looked too much like a mullet! I didn't cut off all the curls (I just couldn't!) but most of the long hair is gone.

Before:



After:


He looks so grown up!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mac n Cheese


Video taken 11/13/08

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get up Daddy!


Video taken 11/22/08

Singalong

Zachary was trying to grab the ball that was bouncing across the screen - just like the cats!


Video taken 11/20/08

Friday, November 21, 2008

House for Sale

So we've put our house on the market. The reasoning is that Curtis is scheduled to finish his degree this summer and he's unlikely to find a job here, so we'll be moving this year. We don't want to get stuck having to sell the house, so we'd rather sell it now, at our leisure. Although we haven't gotten any interest yet, I've been looking at apartments and houses for rent, and I'm curious what some of you think we should do. I've created a poll and I'd appreciate your vote. If you have more to say, please leave a comment on this post.

Here are a couple links to the house, if you're curious :)
Zillow
The Daily Classifieds

Neurologist

The first thing everyone wants to know is how did Zachary's EEG turn out? Normal. Perfectly, absolutely, beautifully, normal. We got a copy of the report, and the doctor said we can get a CD of his whole EEG, so I'll be looking into that.

The next item of interest is what did the doctor say? He says that it wasn't a seizure. When Zachary shook, he trembled all over, whereas a seizure will produce more jerky motions. I tried asking if postictal symptoms often follow a breath holding spell, and he had me describe Zachary's behavior after the event over and over, but he never really answered my question. He kept talking about an experiment that was performed by a group of German students where they induced themselves to lose consciousness (faint) and it was shown that losing consciousness can cause a person to twitch and shake. Something about syncope. I was a little irritated at the doctor because he was rather dismissive in his behavior. Curtis says he was trying to be reassuring. I also told him about the possible connection between the hemangioma on Zachary's chest, lipomas (which my dad has) and seizures. He looked Zachary all over (looking for other discolorations) and determined that Zachary absolutely does not have whatever that condition is. Then Dr. Reyes examined Zachary, checked his reflexes, checked his muscle tone, looked in his eyes, and asked about my pregnancy and Zachary's development. Everything was normal. When he went to check Zachary's reflexes, he tapped his right knee with the rubber thingy and Zachary's leg kicked (like it's supposed to). When Dr. Reyes tapped the other knee, his leg didn't kick. My first reaction was, "How weird! Zachary doesn't have a reflex in his left knee!" But then the doctor tapped the right knee again and the leg didn't kick and we all laughed that Zachary was purposely holding his legs still. Silly boy! Throughout the whole exam Zachary sat very cooperatively on Curtis' lap and watched everything the doctor did. He didn't even try to grab the instruments. Most of the things the doctor did Zachary thought were funny, he was smiling almost the whole time. The doctor kept commenting how social he is, how happy he is, etc.

After the exam, the doctor reaffirmed what he had said before: it wasn't a seizure. He explained that a child that is perfectly normal in every other aspect has no reason to have a seizure. Children with seizures usually have symptoms in other areas (their development, primarily). Then he brought in the doctor we thought we were going to see, Dr. Garza. I had to go through the whole explanation again (some parts of it more than once), and Dr. Garza agreed with Dr. Reyes that it was a breath holding spell, not a seizure. He told us the story of the German students too. I still felt like they were dismissing Zachary's behavior after the event. I tried explaning it better, and Curtis tried to help, but the doctors never explained whether Zachary had really experienced postictal symptoms or not and whether postictal symptoms can follow a breath holding spell. I asked if seizures can be caused by a combination of factors and I explained that Zachary's blood sugar and sodium had been low. I can't actually remember how the doctor answered, but it wasn't very satisfactory. Something about how all seizures are caused by a combination of factors, and then the same thing that the ER doctor has said about how the glucose and sodium levels weren't low enough. I get so frustrated! These people don't listen and they don't try to understand what was going on. At the time of the event, we don't know what Zachary's glucose and sodium levels were. It is entirely possible that, in combination, they were low enough to cause a seizure. When the ambulance personnel tested Zachary's blood sugar on the way to the hospital, he said it was low, but not outside the range of normal. This makes sense, as Curtis explained, because the body is able to bring glucose levels up in an emergency. Finally, when Zachary's blood was taken at the hospital, he had eaten some cheerios, thus skewing the results. But all the doctors look at is the results, and they say, "Nope, levels aren't low enough, that couldn't have caused it."

So I looked up "breath holding spell" on the internet. The following paragraphs are taken from different webpages.

Breath-holding spells are brief periods when young children stop breathing for up to 1 minute. These spells often cause a child to pass out (lose consciousness). Breath-holding spells usually occur when a young child is angry, frustrated, in pain, or afraid.

Breath-holding spells are categorized as either cyanotic or pallid.

  • Cyanotic breath-holding spells, the most common type, usually occur in response to anger or frustration. A child's skin typically turns red or blue-purple.
  • Pallid breath-holding spells produce a pale appearance to a child's skin. These spells usually occur in response to fear, pain, or injury, especially after an unexpected blow to the head.
The pallid form typically follows a painful experience, such as falling and banging the head or being suddenly startled. The brain sends out a signal (via the vagus nerve) that severely slows the heart rate, producing loss of consciousness. Thus, in this form, the loss of consciousness and stoppage of breathing (which are both temporary) result from a nerve response to being startled that leads to slowing of the heart.

The child stops breathing, rapidly loses consciousness, and becomes pale and limp. A seizure may occur. The heart typically beats very slowly during an attack. After the attack, the heart speeds up again, breathing restarts, and consciousness returns without any treatment. Because this type is rare, if the attacks occur often, further diagnostic evaluation and treatment may be needed.

http://www.drgreene.com/21_557.html
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/tc/breath-holding-spells-topic-overview
http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec23/ch269/ch269g.html
Also, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breath-holding_spells - this article lists four, rather than two types, and considers one followed by seizure activity to be a "Complicated" one.

So, Zachary didn't turn blue or purple, and his experience followed a painful event (bumping his mouth on the deck). Also, his blood pressure was really, really low in the ambulance. So, if he experienced a breath holding spell, I think it would be the pallid form. And, oh look! A seizure may occur. Wait, but I thought the doctor said it wasn't a seizure. He made it sound like if a child experiences a breath holding spell, it's not a seizure. Now I'm thoroughly confused. Was it, or was it not a seizure? Is Zachary now at a higher risk for experiencing another seizure? Or are breath-holding-spell-induced seizures not that same as other seizures? A neurologist should be able to answer these questions! I think part of the problem is that most of the seizure patients that neurologists see are suffering from epilepsy, or some other seizure condition. So when a patient comes in with no seizure condition, they're hesitant to say it was a seizure. There's no wiggle room. I realize as I'm writing this that it may sound like I want it to have been a seizure. This is not at all the case! I want to know what happened, what made Zachary shake, what caused it, and how to prevent it. Or at least know how to predict it. Ugh. Anyway.

The good news is that Zachary is perfectly normal, all the way to his brain waves (of course, we already knew that :) ). Whether he experienced a seizure is in doubt, but whatever it was is not due to a condition, and he's extremely unlikely to have an experience like that again. Thanks for reading my "book", and please feel free to leave comments - I'd love to know what you think! (And that goes for all my posts, by the way.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

EEG

Zachary's EEG went really well last Friday. He stayed up two hours later than usual and just played with his books while we watched Jane Austen's Persuasion. Then he and I got up two hours earlier than usual. He was a little grumpy at being woken up, but no fussies. The hardest part was keeping him awake until it was time to go to the appointment - he kept trying to fall asleep on the floor!

While getting set up for the EEG, Zachary just laid on the bed and watched cartoons while the technician attached 23 nodes to his little head. She went on and on at how well behaved he was. There were two steps to attaching the nodes: the gal scrubbed the spot first and then used electrical paste to attach the node, then she covered the node with a bit of gauze. Zachary did not have to get his head shaved. After all the nodes were attached, she wrapped his head with more gauze to hold everything in place.



During the test, I had to hold Zachary's eyes closed for 10 seconds a couple times, but he never fussed - he thought it was funny! Then we did a strobe test where a strobe light flashes at several different frequencies (to see if the flashing light induces a seizure). Not only did the flashing light not bother Zachary, he thought it was a camera and kept smiling at it!

For the last part of the test the technician turned the lights down and left the room, hoping Zachary would sleep. This is why we had had to keep him up late and get him up early. But everything was too interesting - he was wide awake. The gal said that often happens. They still got good measurements though.

What was really neat, though, was to watch the computer screen. It showed four bands of brain waves and then a little screen of Zachary (there was a video camera trained on him.) So while watching the screen we could see what he was doing and what his brain waves were doing at the same time. For the most part they were evenly spaced, but when he laughed, some of them became denser and then when he tried to roll over, the brain waves were all over the place!!

We'll see the doctor (a pediatric neurologist) on Thursday to interpret the measurements for us.

Removing the nodes didn't take nearly as long, of course, as putting them on, but getting the paste out of his hair took forever! There was a sink in the room and the technician attached a spray nozzle to the faucet. It took at least twenty minutes of scrubbing his hair with shampoo and using lots of water to get all the stuff out. Fortunately I had Curtis' help holding him still!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mario Kart Wii

We're a MarioKart family - even Zachary plays :)


(Video taken 11/6/08)


(Video taken 11/8/08)

Slippers

Zachary continues exploring his shoe fetish.


(Video taken 11/6/08)

Wallet

Curtis was keeping an eye on Zachary. When I came downstairs, this is what I found:


(Video taken 11/5/08)

Morning 'Toons

Zachary got ahold of the DVD remote this morning - one of his favorite toys. Within five minutes he had turned the player on to DVD mode (it also has tuner and audio input modes), his VeggieTales DVD started playing, and he pulled himself onto the couch, all ready to watch!! I turned the TV on for him and then had to take a picture. Too cute!!

We try to put the remotes away, ever since he reprogrammed the DVD player to only show black and white. It took us a while to get it back! We've tried giving him a remote that doesn't work, but he knows better. He only likes the ones that do something, and he knows the DVD remote is better than the TV remote.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Zachary-in-the-Box

Shoes

Zachary's been fascinated with shoes for the last couple weeks. Before I grabbed the camera, he was trying to put his foot into one of Curtis' shoes.

Peek-A-Boo

We rented a two-bedroom condo in Gatlinburg for two nights. Zachary loved exploring a new place. His favorite part was opening and closing doors (as long as he was on one side and we were on the other!)




(Videos taken 10/24/08)

The Petting Zoo

"Zachary, you're supposed to look at the goat!"


He was a little unsure, but got the idea after a while. He kept getting distracted by a goat bleating somewhere behind him. By the end of the video, I think he's imitating the goat!

(Videos taken 10/22/08)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doctor Appt.

Zachary saw his doctor yesterday (Wednesday) (she doesn't work in that clinic on Mondays and Tuesdays). She's great, by the way. She listened to everything I had to say and asked questions. She didn't dismiss anything, but didn't jump to conclusions either. After looking at the lab results from the blood work on Saturday, she wants to make sure Zachary isn't having trouble with his sodium levels. So they took more blood samples and a urine sample. Again, Zachary did very well while they drew blood. He didn't like it, but he didn't scream and cry. The urine sample was a little more difficult. Since he's not potty trained, how do you get a urine sample from a baby? Well, you attach a bag not unlike a vacuum cleaner bag. Then you put the diaper back on and hope he fills the bag. Without going into too much detail, it took all day and three bags to get the urine sample.

Later today, the doctor called me and told me that all the lab results came back normal. She still wants to go ahead with the EEG and neurology appointments though. As Curtis explained, she's looking for one single cause that might point to an underlying condition. It's a situation where we're all relieved as long as we don't know what caused the seizure! If we can't find a smoking gun, then it was probably due to a combination of factors that are highly unlikely to be repeated, meaning that he'll probably never have another one. By the way, I read that 2% of the population will experience a seizure event in their life. That's a higher number than I would have thought!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seizure

Last Saturday, Zachary had a non-epileptic seizure. He's perfectly okay and back to normal. Seizures, though extremely scary, are harmless (unless someone has one that doesn't stop.)

We were in Gatlinburg with my folks. Zachary had thrown up earlier in the day, but we don't know why. The morning had been spent in a driving tour of Cade's Cove. After the driving tour we were at a restaurant for lunch and Zachary was enjoying exploring the deck. He got to crawling a little too fast and tripped over his hands and bumped his mouth. He looked up and decided that it did indeed hurt and starting crying. I walked over and picked him up. He did that thing that kids do when they're crying where they breathe all the way out and then you wait and wait and wait and then they finally breathe in. (If you aren't around kids much you may not know what I'm talking about). (When I told the doctor about this later, she called it apnea.) Then I realized something was wrong. He went stiff and then started shaking. I kept repeating, "He's not right, something's wrong." Mom came over and took him from me. I stood rooted to the spot, trying not to cry. We didn't know what was wrong and all we could think about was whether he was breathing. People starting pouring out of the restaurant, all wanting to know if he was choking. He hadn't been eating anything, so that wasn't the problem. Someone handed me the phone with a 911 operator on the line. She was wonderfully calm, but irritated at all the people. She wanted everyone to leave us alone and at one point she asked me to tell some lady talking to me to be quiet. She had me take Zachary back from my mom and stayed on the line with me until help arrived.

The first people to arrive were two paramedics in a fire truck. They were very calm and didn't seem worried. At this point, Zachary had become very lethargic, was still non-responsive, and his eyes, although no longer rolled back, were not straight (the right one was turned in a bit while the left one wasn't). We answered the guys' questions and Curtis told me later it wasn't until he heard my explanation to the paramedics that he realized Zachary had had a seizure. They asked if I wanted Zachary to go the hospital to get checked out. I said I did. I was sitting on the ground and realized that more people had arrived. The first guy I had been talking to was relaying my descriptions to someone else. He said that I had described a tonic-clonic seizure and Zachary was now displaying postictal symptoms. I'll explain all that in a little bit.

It turned out that the second pair of people were the ambulance personnel. They had me get on a gurney with Zachary on my lap and loaded us into the ambulance. Mom was invited to sit in the front of the ambulance. Once Zachary and I were inside, they spent a little bit of time getting Zachary attached to some sensors and an oxygen mask. They also checked his blood pressure. I don't know what normal is for a 13-month old, but they said it was really low at 78 over 20. While they were doing all this, Curtis and Dad pulled up behind us. The guy in the back of the ambulance with Zachary and me said that the hospital was about 20 minutes away and we'd be taking back roads or we'd never get there! (we had already discovered how bad the traffic in Gatlinburg can be.) Unfortunately, the gurney faced the back of the ambulance. Althought this meant that I could see Curtis and Dad following, it is the very worst direction to face for someone prone to motion sickness! I spent most of the ride with my head back and my eyes closed. I did have to open my eyes to help the guy as he tried to insert an IV into Zachary's hand. Up until that point, Zachary had been sleeping. The guy said that after a seizure, even adults will sleep and that it was nothing to worry about. When he inserted that needle, however, Zachary woke up and wasn't happy. On the bright side, when he saw me, he recognized me and calmed down a little bit. The guy wasn't able to find the vein, so he eventually gave up on the IV. He took a finger prick and tested Zachary's blood sugar. He said it was within normal, but it was low. Shortly after, we arrived at the hospital.

By now, Zachary was quite awake and very fussy. The nurse asked us some questions and took Zachary's temperature (rectally, of course. He did not like that.) After a little bit the doctor came in and talked to us. He examined Zachary briefly and gave us some information on seizures. Dad and Curtis ran to Taco Bell. While they were gone, two technicians came in and took some blood samples. Zachary had never had blood drawn from his arm, so that was a new experience. He handled it relatively well. It wasn't as bad as getting four vaccinations in his thighs. The results didn't show anything conclusive, though his sodium was a little low. He had had some cheerios before they drew blood, so the results didn't show low blood sugar. The doctor decided it wasn't necessary to do a CAT scan, since they'd have to sedate Zachary to do it. So they sent us home with instructions to follow up with Zachary's doctor on Monday.

We spent Sunday at home, getting Zachary back into his routine. I spent a lot of time online, reading about seizures. There are many different types of seizures, the two main categories being provoked and non-provoked. Non-provoked seizures are associated with epilepsy. Zachary had a provoked seizure, probably brought on by metabolic disturbances, such as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), hyponatremia (low sodium levels) or hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). According to one article, everyone has a genetically determined seizure threshold, which can be altered by fatigue, malnutrition, lack of sleep or rest, hypertension, stress, diabetes, the presence of neon or laser flashes or lights, rapid motion or flight, blood sugar imbalances, anxiety and other factors. Zachary's threshold had probably been lowered by one or more of these things as we explored Gatlinburg, and then apnea while crying was the straw that broke the camel's back. From different descriptions I read, Zachary experienced a tonic-clonic seizure, which is a full body seizure that consists of two stages. In the tonic stage, the body goes stiff and the arms and legs are either pulled into the body or stretched out straight. In the clonic stage, the body goes into convulsions. After the seizure ended, Zachary was lethargic and non-responsive, which is consistent with a postictal state.

For follow-up posts, click on the "Seizure" category

Friday, October 3, 2008

Zachary & Beau

The string-on-a-stick suddenly reappeared one day and Zachary remembered exactly what it was for! Click here for a video of the first time Zachary played with a string-on-a-stick, although that one still had its mouse attached ;)


(Video taken 9/24/08)

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Feel Accomplished

I'm not sure whether I should be embarrassed or proud. I mean, it doesn't reflect too well on my housekeeping skills, but at the same time, how many green thumbs do you know who can grow something in their sink drain??



I think it's a tomato. We often wash Zachary's hands and face in the bathroom sink downstairs and he likes tomatoes, so lots of tomato seeds have washed down that drain. Tomatoes are fairly easy to grow (at least, they rarely fail to sprout), so that's my guess. We'll never know, though. After taking the picture I pulled it out and threw it away.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Snake Update

We learned from some friends at church that the black snakes are very territorial and will eat other snakes, including venomous ones. I did some research online, and I'm pretty sure our little "friend" is a Black Racer. There are more pictures here. Nothing I've read online says that they'll eat venomous snakes, so I don't know if it's true or not. I haven't seen it since yesterday morning.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Newest Resident

Our newest resident is an unwanted one.


Beau was quite eager to be let inside the house and when I opened the door I realized why: there's a snake in our yard! It's about 3 feet long and 1/2 inch in diameter. After a little while the snake slithered away and went down a hole in the ground next to our patio. Curtis tried flooding the hole with water, hoping it would drive the snake away.

This morning I went out to get the ladder to return (from trying to get the cat out of the tree). Since the ladder was in the backyard, I decided to go around that way instead of back through the house. When I got to the edge of the patio, there was the snake! He was warming himself in the sun on the grass. He saw me at the same time, which weirded me out a little. I came back in and got Curtis' attention just in time for us to watch the snake go back down "his" hole. Great. It looks like the water didn't drive him away.

I'm pretty sure it's not venomous, since it doesn't have the triangular-shaped head. Of course, that doesn't change our caution level! It just makes us feel better about letting the cat out this morning (Beau, not Riselle. She's grounded. We did let Beau out the front, not the back. We know that he knows how to get around to the back, but it made us feel a little better.)

I wonder if Beau caught it and brought it to the yard? I'm not sure why else it would be here. We're not the closest yard to the wilderness to our north. He has brought us animals before. Remember the chipmunk?

So I've found a couple options after surfing online: We could call a wildlife service to come take care of it, or we could buy a snake trap and remove it ourselves.

So I called Lowe's, to see if they have a snake trap (instead of paying $30 to have one shipped to us.) The gal said they didn't. Then she paused. She asked where the snake was. I told her that one had taken up residence in our backyard. She gave me the following recommendation: Take the yolk out of an egg and insert a fish hook with some line tied on. Tie the line to a tree or something and leave the egg out for the snake to eat. When the snake swallows the egg, it'll be caught on the hook. That's how they used to get snakes out of the chicken coop.

Living in Tennessee is great :) I wouldn't get that kind of service if I called a home improvement store in California!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Never Again

Well, I met my objective: the cat is no longer in the tree and we didn't have to pay anybody to do it! Yesterday morning, during Zachary's nap, I went to see if I could coax her down. I had borrowed a neighbor's ladder, but when I got there, I realized that the ladder was nowhere near tall enough to do any good. I also met the guy whose property the tree is actually on. He had to go to work, so he didn't stick around for very long.

I tried using the hose to spray the cat, thinking it might force her down, but the water didn't reach. While I was out there, a neighbor came out to play with his dog. I went over to talk to him and ask if he had a tall ladder. After a little while he admitted that he did. He brought it out and set it up. It was a really tall, extension ladder. Perfect! I climbed up and continued calling to the cat. She didn't move. I climbed back down. After some time of calling to her from the ground, she got up the courage to move closer to the trunk of the tree. Then she actually got to the branch below the one she'd been on. I was really encouraged! I climbed back up the ladder and kept calling to her. She was now sitting in a fork of the tree quite close, but I couldn't reach her. She showed no inclination to try to move down further. The guy was holding the ladder and suggested I come down and he try going up. Maybe he thought he could grab her, being taller? So he went up the ladder, and he didn't stop on the 4th or 5th rung from the top, like I did. He went all the way to the top, and Riselle was almost within his reach! Unfortunately, she was so scared, she lost bladder control, and then retreated back up the branch. He came down off the ladder and I went up again. This time, I went all the way to the top too. But she had retreated too far, and then she jumped back to the branch she had been on. Silly cat.

So with the cat exactly where she had been when she started, we gave up for the time being. Zachary's nap wasn't going to last much longer, so I had to go in.

After lunch, Zachary went down for his afternoon nap, and I again headed to the tree. I brought a can of food with me, since she was panting and was hungry and thirsty. I thought it might help lure her down. Nope. It didn't do any good. She hardly even looked at me. Her eyes were half closed and she was hardly meowing anymore. I knocked on the guy's door, to see if he could set the ladder back up, but he didn't come to the door. So I just stood in the yard under the tree, holding the open food can, calling to the cat.

After a little while, the guy came out to play with his dog (I wonder if he thought I had gone away again. I didn't hear a car drive up and I don't think he could see me from his house). I asked if he could set up his ladder again, since I had food to try to coax her with. I was afraid for a moment that he wasn't going to, but then he went into his house to get it.

I went up the ladder and held up the food can, calling to her, but she wouldn't look at me. She just sat there, panting. I was rather frustrated! For one thing, why did she go up the tree? Didn't she learn her lesson last time? Secondly, why was she so high? There were lots of branches, why did she think she needed to be on such a high one? And why wasn't she trying harder to get down? I didn't like spending all my Zachary-free time standing in someone else's yard, trying to coax my cat out of a tree!

From the ground, looking at the tree, I started to analyze how close the branches were to each other and how feasible it might be for me to get a little closer to the cat, maybe convince her to try to climb down again. I said something to the guy about, "I wonder if I can get closer to her." He responded, "I don't see how!" So I climbed up the ladder again, but instead of stopping on the top rung, I began to climb the tree. The ladder just reached the lowest branches, so getting into the tree wasn't very hard at all. I got to the branch she had climbed down to and positioned myself so I had one arm free. I began calling to the cat and reaching for her. She moved closer to me, yay!! I continued coaxing and she continued her slow progress until she could sniff my fingers and then I could pet her head. Soon she was close enough that I managed to pick up her.

So there I was, way up in the tree, holding on with one hand and holding a cat with the other. Let me make sure the picture is clear in your head. This is a very tall tree. I'm easily 50 feet in the air. The tree has several branches, but it's not very dense. If I fell, not much would break my fall. It's not a very large tree, however, and it was a windy day. Every time the wind blew, the tree swayed, significantly. When I thought about it, I completely understood why she didn't want to move! It was really scary! I found myself breathing hard and actually panting! There was a moment of panic when I didn't know how I got up there and I didn't know how I was going to get down. But I, unlike the cat, realized that since I had gotten up, I would be able to get down. The moment passed.

I started to think through my descent and realized that I could not do it with a cat in my arms. I needed both hands free to get down. I said something to that effect to the guy on the ground. His advice was, "Well you gotta. You gotta get down." I considered dropping the cat. I was afraid she would be hurt by the bushes, though, and abandoned that thought. I also realized that someone had come out of the one of the houses, so I had two onlookers. She was a little more helpful and suggested I put the cat on the branch that I was sitting on. After a little maneuvering, I got her to hang onto that branch and then I repositioned myself below, intending to pick her up and repeat the process. As I picked her up, she kinda grabbed onto me and climbed on my shoulders, but didn't seem to want to jump to any branch. "Hmm," I thought, "this could work."

With the cat sitting on my shoulders, leaving both hands free, I climbed back down to the ladder. A couple times the cat tried to sink her claws into the tree, but I managed to keep her on my shoulders. I got to the ladder and climbed down. When I was almost at the bottom she jumped off of me and headed straight for the dense bushes. I was not the least bit concerned. The guy was holding the ladder for me and didn't say much. I don't think he knew what to say. It's not every day you see a cat so well-behaved!

I'll tell you though, I never want to do that again!! Don't get me wrong, I used to love to climb trees! There's something exhilerating about getting up there all by yourself and being so high up. But I never want to climb down with a cat clinging to me. Not only was I concerned with getting down without falling, but I was constantly worried about her (a) jumping back up into the tree, (b) losing her balance and digging her claws in worse than she already was, or (c) causing me to lose my balance and both of us fall out of the tree. It was absolutely nerve-wracking. Climbing down a tree requires looking around to find the best place to put your foot, but with a cat, you don't have the same freedom of movement because you don't want her to jump or fall. A couple times, I was blindly reach with my foot, uncertain of where the branch was, and hoping my foot would find it!

So, the cat is out of the tree. She came right home and filled her belly. We haven't let her outside since. She obviously didn't learn her lesson, but we've learned ours. She can't be trusted! Time to dig out her harness and leash!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Cat Saga Begins Again

Our little kitty cat didn't come running home for her dinner this evening. Can you guess why not? If you've been a semi-regular visitor I bet you know the answer. That's right, she's stuck in a tree again!! Aargh! Obviously somebody didn't learn their lesson. Either she didn't learn her lesson about trees or we didn't learn our lesson about letting her outside unsupervised. You can read about the previous incident here and here.

At least it's a different tree. She's about as high up as she was last time, but this one has lots of branches. It doesn't look like it would be nearly as difficult to get down. She may be a little traumatized from the last time, because she didn't even try to crawl down when I tried coaxing her down.

The tree is in someone else's backyard. I knocked on the door, introduced myself, explained that my cat is stuck in their tree, and asked if they had a ladder. The guy was on the phone and couldn't be bothered. He just sorta shrugged and pointed at his neighbor's house, I guess suggesting that I ask them for a ladder. As I left the porch to ask the neighbor, he closed and locked the door again. I wonder if he realized that my cat is stuck in HIS tree. He certainly couldn't have cared any less. Fortunately his yard doesn't have a fence, so I don't have to bother him again.

Tomorrow afternoon, if she hasn't come down on her own, I'll try to borrow a ladder from one of our neighbors and see if I can coax her down. The objective this time is to get her down without having to pay someone to do it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fire-truck

Sometimes Zachary practices walking with his fire-truck and sometimes he likes to sit on it. More often he'll face backwards on it; I think it's easier for him to get on that way.


Video taken 09/22/08; Zachary is 12 months

Monday, September 22, 2008

Out of Gas

Have you ever watched the movie The Mummy? Remember the scene where the flesh-eating scarabs clean a human body down to the bones? I was reminded of that scene while driving around Nashville this weekend, except instead of bones being sucked dry, it was gas stations. By Sunday afternoon, there was not a gas station in the entire city with any gasoline.

Here's what happened: Nashville is at the end of a pipeline coming from Houston, TX. When the hurricane came through Texas, Houston lost power. So the refinery wasn't sending any gas through the pipeline. It took a while to affect us, but this weekend, Nashville ran out of gas. Now, normally, when the demand far exceeds the supply, the price should go up. That's basic economics. However, because of "price gauging" laws and fear of public outrage, the gas stations didn't dare raise their prices. So instead of everyone being able to get a few gallons in their cars to make it another couple of days (albeit at a higher price) some people filled their tanks completely while others are out of luck. Absurd.

By the way, if anyone's a Firefly fan, did you catch the reference in the title?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Walking!

Zachary's first steps! In the first video we try to help him stand some more. In the second he takes two steps!





Videos taken 09/14/08; Zachary is 12 months

Friday, September 19, 2008

Standing

Zachary's learning how to stand on his own, with Daddy's help. (By the way, notice our new gate blocking off the kitchen area. It's a "Super Play Yard" we got off of Craigslist for 1/3 of the retail price!!)

By the end of this video, Zachary decides it's more fun to NOT stand.


He stands for a couple seconds in this one! After that we have "gumby legs"

Videos taken 09/11/08; Zachary is 12 months

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's The Coffee

Last week (I think it was Thursday) my coffee made me really dizzy. So I didn't have any for the next few days. I was plagued with headaches (withdrawals) and didn't get very much accomplished. This morning I had a cup (or two) and I'm so full of energy! I feel like I can accomplish anything today. Everywhere I look, instead of being overwhelmed by the clutter, I feel empowered to take it on! The headaches and lack of energy aren't worth it, and I don't care that I'm addicted - coffee helps me get things done! (I did try black tea in the morning and it did not have the effect that coffee does.) Besides, aren't there health benefits to drinking a cup or two of coffee every day?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet Kitties

I went in to check on Zachary (who was supposed to be napping but was quite wide awake) and there were two kitties in the room with him! Neither one usually hangs out in there, whether Zachary's in there or not. One was on the changing table (and is still there) and the other was on the rug. So sweet of them to keep Zachary company while he naps!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Vroom vroom

Zachary will tip a stool over and sit in it to play with something. I pointed it out to Curtis while I was making dinner and he made a comment that Zachary thinks it's his little car. This gave him an idea....


Video taken 09/11/08; Zachary is 12 months

Do you see the orange thing in Zachary's mouth? That's his favorite "people". He got a whole bunch of old-style Fisher Price people for his birthday. His favorite one is the wooden, orange one. I guess the wooden ones taste better? As a Cutco rep who educates customers on how porous wood is, I can guess why.... I also find it fascinating that it's the only orange one. We call it a "spigot" because when it's in his mouth, he drools uncontrollably! As you can see in the video, he doesn't give it up easily.

Beau Cat

Beau was feeling in a friendly mood! He doesn't usually hang around (unless we're watching a movie, then he MIGHT curl up with us). But I guess the lure of chewing on baby toys was too much for him. I couldn't believe he actually let Zachary "pet" him! And he let him do it long enough that I was able to film it!!

No Title

Curtis is blowing in Zachary's face and making him laugh. I don't know why Zachary thought it was so funny!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Birthday Toys

Just show the boy once how to do something....


Video taken 09/08/08; Zachary is 1 year old! (as of 09/09/08)

Silly Boys

I love how Zachary mimics Curtis! Too cute.

Utensils

Zachary's about had it with letting us feed him. Either he feeds himself with his hands, or he plays with his fork.


Video taken 08/26/08; Zachary is 11 months

Water Baby

Zachary found a puddle of rainwater and was just too happy to splash in it! His t-shirt was soaked. (and if you think the diaper looks funny, you're right. The velcro on the diaper cover wasn't holding well.)


Video taken 08/26/08; Zachary is 11 months

New Toy

Zachary got a new toy to help him learn to walk.




Videos taken 08/25/08; Zachary is 11 months

Petting Zoo

Zachary loved the petting zoo at the Wilson County Fair. The high pitched squeals in the video are from him!


Video taken 08/16/08; Zachary is 11 months
Our 5 year Anniversary!

Pianist


Video taken 08/15/08; Zachary is 11 months

Saturday, September 6, 2008

First Birthday Party

Zachary's first birthday party was a success! We broadcasted live via ustream.tv and had 10 computers watching the stream! We even had a microphone set up so everyone could hear what was going on, although it's not a very high quality mic. We recorded the whole thing. It should start playing automatically at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/all-about-zachary If it doesn't, it's the most recent clip. I'll get pictures up at shutterfly soon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Live video

Okay, we're trying something new. Since we have a webcam, I thought we'd try streaming live video. I found a website and got everything hooked up. The URL is http://www.ustream.tv/channel/all-about-zachary. If there's nothing live being broadcast when you go to the link, there are a couple video clips from earlier today. I don't have a microphone, so no audio at the moment. We might have one around here somewhere. What do you think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The mouth is for putting things in...


Video taken 08/09/08; Zachary is 11 months

Is it a kiss or a bite?

Zachary and his Daddy.


Video taken 08/08/08; Zachary is 11 months (as of 08/09/08)

Practice makes perfect....

(Actually, practice makes permanent...) Zachary was fascinated by the back door, and practiced going in and out. He must have done it half a dozen times before I grabbed the camera!

Good Morning!

Before I went to get the camera, Zachary was sitting in his crib, playing with his taggie, and staring, mesmerized, at the fan. I didn't catch it on camera, but I did catch the way he greets me everytime I walk in his room :)

Marmot

I don't know what it is about cute, little, furry creatures, but there were so many pictures and videos taken of this rodent!

Diaper Houdini

It's been a while since I posted! I guess I got out of the habit. So, first I have a funny story for you, then I have some great new videos of Little Bug (Zachary) I can't wait to share :)

So, Diaper Houdini: I was sitting on the computer and Zachary was playing on the floor in the area. I heard some Velcro-like sounds and then Zachary was standing (holding onto my chair) next to me, in just a diaper and t-shirt - the diaper cover was a yard away. Great. I told him that wasn't allowed, and he actually looked at me, looked at the cover on the floor, and then looked down at his diaper! It was as if he understood me!

That night or the next night, I'm not sure, I woke up to crying before 6. Zachary was standing up in his crib (not unusual) and reached for me. As I picked him up I realized several things at once: his bottom half was naked, there was a diaper and cover in the crib with no baby in them, and my foot was in a puddle of something wet. Curtis and I deducted what must have happened: The Velcro on his diaper cover was too tempting and he pulled off the whole cover. For some reason he also took off the diaper (which took some effort because it's held on with a Snappi). Now wide awake, he stood up and then probably got cold, which caused him to urinate. With no diaper to absorb it, he piddled all over the floor (and I mean all over. He must have turned because it was everywhere!)

The moral is twofold: 1) he needs bottoms over the diaper cover. No more t-shirt only, as cute as it is. 2) The covers we've been using since he was born are truly too small and we need to get serious about sewing together a few more using the bigger pattern.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Eww yuck

Here in Bakersfield we normally have a gate up between the family room and the kitchen to keep Zachary out of the kitchen. The gate wasn't up and Zachary made a beeline for the cat food. He decided it was tasty. He was very reluctant to give up the little crunchies in his fists. We decided it was probably time to feed him dinner.

After dinner, I had had the kitten on my lap and put him on the floor. I turned to look at Zachary as he crawled toward me when I realized that the cat had thrown up and Zachary was trying to eat it. Ewww!!!

(He didn't actually eat any, but it was all over his hands. We got him cleaned up just fine. It looked like three-bean salad, which explains why the cat's tummy was upset. The next question is, who fed three-bean salad to a cat??)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kitty Cat

This is the stray kitten that Will and his girlfriend, Stephinie, found. I was playing with him with the cat toy. I put the cat toy down and Zachary picked it up and started playing with the cat with it! Too cute.


Video taken 7/11/08

Friday, July 11, 2008

Slide


Video taken 7/10/08

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Swimming Bug

Zachary loves the water!!


Video taken 7/10/08

Hands & Toes

Zachary doesn't like the prickly grass on his knees, so he has to "crawl" on hands and toes.


Video taken 7/10/08

Mimicking

Zachary and his Grandpa


Video taken 7/7/08

Lemon

I guess it was sour...


Video taken 7/7/08

Bath Time

He was so excited to get in the water! With all the traveling and the mini-baths in the sink (see older post), he hadn't been in a bathtub or swimming pool for quite a while, so he couldn't wait to get in!


Video taken 7/4/08

More Yummy Corn

It wouldn't be Fourth of July without barbecued corn on the cob. (I forgot about the rotating problem, sorry.)


Video taken 7/4/08

Dewar's

This isn't Zachary's first taste of ice cream, but it is his first taste of milk shake. Mom and I split a Susanne's Special at Dewar's. For those of you familiar with Dewar's, you know what I'm talking about. At the end of the video is a quick panorama to give you a glimpse of the changes they've made.


Video taken 7/2/08

Baby in the Sink

He was messy after dinner.




Videos taken 7/2/08

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vercingetorix

This is my tortoise, Vercingetorix. He lives in Bakersfield. Isn't it interesting to watch him eat?


Video taken 7/1/08

Playing with Grandpa


Video taken 6/30/08

Music

He likes to have music playing. Almost as soon as he saw this toy he figured out how to get it to play music, and, as you can see, when the music stops, he wastes no time in turning it on again!



Doesn't it look like he's playing with his toy to the beat of the music??

Video taken 6/30/08

Center of Attention

Zachary loves being the center of attention - just look at the grin on his face! We were at Grandma Humphrey's new place visiting with her before Zachary and I left with Mom and Dad to go to Bakersfield.


Video taken 6/29/08

Wine Corks

Finished with the corn cob, he's moved on to wine corks - one in each hand.


Video taken 6/28/08

Corn Cob

Zachary's first corn cob. Also notice the remains of three-bean salad on his tray. He loved it! He picked out all the kidney beans.


Video taken 6/28/08

Playing


Video taken 6/28/08

Cruising

There's no doubt about it: that boy is cruising!


Video taken 6/28/08

Fisher Price

So many Fisher Price toys, so little time.


Video taken 6/26/08

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Little Boy

Isn't he cute?


Video taken 6/21/08

Mobile Baby

The title says it all.


Video taken 6/18/08

Feeding the Baby

Elizabeth is feeding Zachary fruit from Jessica's graduation party. I think it was watermelon. He sure likes it!


Video taken 6/15/08

Stairs

The first time he encountered stairs he knew exactly what to do to go up. He hasn't gotten to the top yet; the most I've seen is 4 before he backs down again, but it's really fun to watch.


Video taken 6/15/08

Driving

Zachary's got it all figured out - even how to turn on the windshield wipers!


Video taken 6/13/09

Cantaloupe

Zachary loves cantaloupe! He makes "yummy noises" as he eats too.


Video taken 6/7/08

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Caught Himself

Our water heater had turned itself off, so I was in the utility closet changing the settings and turning it back on when Zachary discovered me. The door was closed, so he couldn't get in, but he could see me (the door isn't solid, it's one of those ones with slats.) When I finished and was ready to come out, Zachary was standing outside the door leaning against it. I was trapped! I turned the knob and started applying gentle pressure. The door was open about 3 inches when Zachary lost his balance. I pulled the door quickly closed to get it out of his way, and he made a slow fall, twisting to try to land on his hands (!!). I thought for sure he was going to fall straight backwards, but he didn't! He fussed for a moment or two and then all was well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Potential Energy 2

Ooh, I'm having one of those "potential energy" moments again (see April post.) I'm full of caffeine (coffee) and all hyped up about everything that needs to get done today. It's probably a good thing, too, since we're hitting the road before dawn tomorrow and my to-do list of things that MUST get done before we leave is rather long....and I didn't do much on it yesterday....

lol, so I just reread the post from April, and half the stuff I listed out I still haven't done!! *Sigh*

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mighty Hunter

Beau caught a chipmunk! He wanted to bring it in the house, but we wouldn't open the door wide enough. He started to head off, so I chased after him and got him to drop it. It was still alive! I grabbed him to give it a chance to get away. Beau had to stay in the house the rest of the evening and he was NOT happy about it.





Monday, June 2, 2008

Apple

Curtis and I were eating apple pieces and Zachary insisted we share with him. He loved it! He ended up eating just about the whole thing. Of course, he was a sticky, gicky mess.


Video taken 5/31/2008

Little Helper

Zachary was quite the helper while we were putting groceries away: he headed straight for the bag with his food in it!


Video taken 5/31/2008

Swim Lessons 3

Zachary's third swim lesson went very well. He's so comfortable in the water! Shortly after we got in (and he had a toy), he tried to swim off without me!




We continued practicing kicking and reaching out with arms to grab a toy.




He really doesn't like being on his back, as you can see in the first part of this video, but his favorite thing to do is swim towards his Daddy! He did it over and over.


Videos taken 5/31/2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Reading

I was reading a book to Zachary, but he was more interested in playing with it by himself, so I got up and grabbed the camera. The noises he makes are so cute! It almost sounds like he's telling stories.


Video taken 5/28/2008

Cheerios

Zachary loves his Cheerios! We left the diaper bag out and upzipped. Next thing we knew, he had pulled out his Cheerios. He continued to carry them around and play with the container for just about the rest of the evening.


Video taken 5/25/2008

Swim Lessons 2

Zachary's second swim lesson went well. He's very comfortable in the water (1st video) and was really excited to get in the pool. He likes kicking (2nd video), but he isn't so fond of being on his back (3rd video). He eventually let me lean him against me, on his back, but he wasn't thrilled (4th video).









Videos taken 5/24/2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cat Saga Part 2

Riselle spent Tuesday night stuck in the tree. Several times during the day on Wednesday I went out and talked to her. All of our neighbors were so concerned and helpful! One idea that came up was to hoist up a basket with tuna in it and try to coax her into the basket and then lower her down.

We finally got the rope over the branch and the basket up in the tree. Look how far the cat has gotten herself!


Here's a view of the whole scene. You can see where food and water were put out for her.


Here's the neighbor cat that hung around and seemed to try to help.


The "elevator" we constructed wasn't enticing enough, however. Riselle would not budge. By this time she'd been in the tree for 24 hours. Someone recommended a tree service to us, so we called Tom's Tree Service for help. (Tom actually lives farther down our street!) Tom had his son John come out and climb the tree to try to get the cat. Look how easily John just walks up that tree! From now on, if the FD can't rescue a cat, I'm calling a tree service next. (I remembered after I started filming that it's not as easy to rotate video as it is pictures)




The branch Riselle was sitting on is dead, so John couldn't go out on it very far. He tried to grab her, but she kept out of his reach. The voices you hear on this video are Tom and his wife (notice they keep referring to the cat as "he.")




Since grabbing the cat wasn't working, Tom sent up a net for John to try to catch her with it. Watch the video to see the result (notice Tom now refers to the cat as "she" I don't know why he switched!)



The camera went all funny at the end because I was on my way to see if she was okay. We quickly found that she had a soft landing on some rotten wood and plastic containers (better than hard ground and rocks!) But the cat was nowhere to be seen. Tom assured us that she'd be home soon (if not already) especially since she'd gone so long without food.

We spent a few more hours looking for her that night and left porch lights on and food and water out, but she didn't come home and we had to go to bed. So she spent Wednesday night who knows where. The next morning Curtis had to go to work. The food we left out was gone (but there are other animals in the area.) When Zachary went down for his morning nap I went through the bushes near the tree again, but no sign. I walked back home and thought maybe I'd try the woods at the end of the street (opposite end of the street from the tree that she was stuck in.)

Beau came with me, and you can't imagine how my heart leaped when I heard a cat meow! I hurried into the woods and called for her and held my breath. After a few minutes of this I finally saw her coming very slowly towards us. Beau growled and even hissed, and Riselle refused to come any closer. I was so afraid she'd run off! But she stood still while we got closer. When Beau was able to sniff her he recognized her and stopped growling. I finally got close enough to touch and pet her, then pick her up and carry her back to the house.

So the silly cat was stuck in a tree for 24 hours and it was another 14 before we got her home. (I can only call her silly and laugh about the whole thing because she's home. I was just sick with grief and worry earlier this morning.) But she's safe now and perhaps a little wiser!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Silly Cat

Our silly cat got herself stuck in a tree. I don't know if she was chasing a bird, got chased by a dog, or was just exploring, but now she's stuck.

Can you see the cat butt?


This picture is taken from the same place as the previous one, but obviously I used the zoom.


Did you know the fire department WILL come to help? It's called "animal rescue" (original, huh?) Here's Curtis talking to the firemen. You can see the cat butt in the background.



Unfortunately, they didn't have a ladder tall enough to get to the cat. So, at this moment, she's still up there. We've tried coaxing her down, and she's attempted it twice, but both times she panicked and climbed back up to her perch in the fork. We brought out food and she's definitely hungry, but no success. Now we're just waiting. Her hunger or something else has to get strong enough to overcome her fear of slipping.

Does anybody have any suggestions? As you can see from the pictures, no ladder is going to get us close enough.

While I was typing the above, Curtis called me to come outside. A neighbor cat is very concerned that Riselle is stuck and has actually climbed halfway up the tree twice and backed down again, apparently in an attempt to show Riselle how to do it. However, she's too scared to try it.

Here's the neighbor cat trying to help.


She's now backed herself higher in the tree by about 6 feet. Great. It's just about dark. Well, I have to put Zachary to bed. I'll post again if there are any improvements in the situation.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

One of THOSE evenings

We had one of THOSE evenings earlier this week. I thought I should document it. The menu was fish fillets and artichokes. Curtis got the fish fillets started (they were to bake in the oven) and I got the water on for the artichokes. Curtis continued in the kitchen making baby food for Zachary while I got out of his way. Curtis had finished pureéing squash for Zachary and was ready to pureé some mango when I realized he had not cut the skin away. So he started pureéing pears while I salvaged the mango. The water started boiling as a timer went off. I put the artichokes in the boiling water and reset the timer, noting how convenient it was that the timer went off just as I needed it.

Curtis continuing pureéing food while I continued working with the mango. 10 minutes went by and the timer went off. “Oh good,” said Curtis, “the fish are done.” “The fish?” I said, “No, that’s the timer for the artichokes.” That was the first oops: why I didn’t think about that first timer going off I’ll never know.

As Curtis was getting the burnt fish out of the oven, he lost a bit of control (because the hot pad wasn’t thick enough and he was getting burned) and some of the burning hot juice dripped onto my leg. That was the second oops: why didn’t I get out of his way when he was getting stuff out of the oven?

Okay, dinner gets on the table (after running water on my leg to prevent a burn), and we start eating our artichokes (which are big, huge, giants, by the way.) It doesn’t take long to realize that they’re not fully cooked. There’s the third oops: why did I think big, huge, giant artichokes wouldn’t take longer to cook?

Sigh. The artichokes went back in the water and we ate our burned fish.

The rest of the evening passed relatively uneventfully, and we consoled ourselves by playing videogames until bed time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Swim Lessons

Zachary had his first swim lesson on Saturday! There are only three in the class, so it's nice and small. The other two are 2 and 3 years old. We started out just getting them used to the water and using a toy to get them comfortable reaching out into the water (1st video). Then we used a noodle for floating and getting them used to not having to cling to Mommy or Daddy (video won't upload). Then we put the noodles up and walked backwards to help them learn to kick (3rd video). The whole time we were teaching them to blow bubbles in the water (again, in the video that won't upload) and how to spit the water back out if they got it in their mouths. Zachary didn't really blow bubbles, but he got water in his mouth a couple times and only tried to choke on it once. We'll have 5 more lessons over the next 5 weeks.







Monday, May 19, 2008

Rockin' Baby

He knows exactly what he's doing! He likes watching the effect he has on the table, lol.


Video taken 5/14/2008

Exploring

I love watching Zachary explore his world. His favorite thing to do recently is to pull stuff off tables and books out of the shelves. We were at Blockbuster the other day and I let him crawl a little bit while Curtis and I debated what we wanted to watch. Zachary pulled himself up to a shelf and (predictably) started pulling the DVD's off the shelf. He was able to grip three of them at once! Anyway, this is a fun video that gives a little peek at Zachary's busy-ness at home.



Video taken 5/13/2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Real Crawling

Zachary's crawling on hands and knees now. I like how he keeps his elbows straight :)


Video taken 5/12/2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yummy Cheerios

I thought this was funny. Curtis? Not so much.


Video taken 5/12/2008

Congested Baby = Unhappy Baby

Zachary has a cold :( I think he caught it at Dave & Busters on Friday night. He woke up at 5:00 this morning because he couldn't breathe through his nose. I used the bulb syringe thing, and it really works! Next time I have a congested nose I'm using that thing! So after clearing his nose he was able to suck on his pacifier and eventually calmed down enough to sleep a little longer.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Anna and Zachary

Meaghan is participating in the Vanderbilt graduation ceremonies, so she and Ben, her brother Josh and his 3-year old daughter Annabelle (Anna), parents Leslie and Larry, and grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Patten are in Nashville this weekend. We joined them for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory and thoroughly enjoyed watching Anna and Zachary interact. Anna kept "taking" Zachary's nose and ears (and putting them back, of course) while her Aunt Meaghan had her show us where Zachary's femur (thigh bone) is.


Video taken last night. Sorry it's so dark!

Avocados

Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Harper sent us some avocados after learning that they're a very good "first food", being high in nutrients and having a creamy texture. Here is Zachary's first taste of California home-grown avocados.


Video taken 5/2/08

Funny Noises

Funniest thing, ever.


Video taken 4/30/08

Feeding Himself

Auntie Beth helping Zachary learn how to feed himself.


Video taken 4/28/08

Opening Cupboards

Zachary surprised us when he learned how to open cupboards. We realized we were hearing noises from the kitchen that couldn't be the cats. Sure enough, the noises were from Zachary playing with the stuff he found. It didn't take long for him to try to explore all the cupboards in the kitchen. The next day we installed child locks. He can still pull the cupboard open, but it doesn't open more than a couple inches.


Video taken 4/25/08

Thursday, May 1, 2008

#2

The second tooth made its appearance today! I was showing Zachary's tooth to Elizabeth and she noticed the second one had poked through.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Smile

Today's the day! Zachary has cut his first tooth! It's just barely above the gum surface. That's probably why he was so upset the night before last.

While typing the above I learned that although it's barely in, that little tooth is sharp! (He bit my arm - not maliciously, just a little love bite)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Naughty Boy

Zachary was crawling on the floor in our bedroom and headed toward the hallway. We were keeping an eye on him as he passed the stairs and stopped at the bathroom (that has the cat box in it). He looked up at Curtis, almost as if he was asking a question. Curtis said , "Nooo" and Zachary immediately turned, and, with a huge grin on his face, charged for it! By the time Curtis took the three steps to get to him, he was practically all the way in! I wish I could have gotten a video of it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yummy Hair

I was blocking Zachary from playing with the glass cabinet doors under the TV. The distraction technique worked! He found my hair to be much more fun (and apparently tasty).


Video taken yesterday

At the Park

It was too nice a day yesterday to stay inside, so we all went to the park. Zachary and I played on the blanket while Curtis flew his model airplane.




Monday, April 21, 2008

Pull Ups

He's still not crawling in a traditional way (hands and knees), but he's figured out how to pull himself up to a stand! (See previous post - he pulled himself up before I took that video). I was finally able to capture him in the act:

Books!

Feel free to turn the volume down if you don't want to hear the radio in the background :)

More Dancing Baby


Video taken yesterday

Impromptu Walker

Zachary pulled himself up onto his rocking chair, I think he was trying to get up into it. He ended up pushing it against the wall, which is where this video starts. (The radio was turned up loud enough that I could hear the talk show clearly, so you may want to turn down the volume on these videos.)




After he realized he couldn't get in it, he decided it was time to get down:


Videos taken 4/17/08

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Aspiring Brass Player

What do you think? Looks like he's got some musical inclinations.


Video taken 4/7/08

Phone theme

Curtis let me install my phone software on the laptop (it won't install on the desktop), so I was able to get my photos off the phone and update my theme.

This is the new one I created:

OwnSkin Preview
Download To Mobile Phone: Zachary 7 months

Ticklish Feet

Zachary and I were sitting on the floor after his nap. I tickled his foot to make him giggle, and then he leaned over and tried to tickle my foot! Too cute.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Potential Energy

Have you ever gotten excited about the work you could be doing? I'm just sitting here, sipping tea (with sugar, of course), but I'm almost giddy about all the things I could get done today (baby laundry, preparing the new diapers that just arrived, making the kitchen sparkling, filing all the papers that've been sitting around for weeks, refilling the cat food container, changing the cat box, continue putting transactions in Quicken, checking backorder status on our games, adding more products to the ebay store, continue working on crochet dinosaur, start working on diaper cover patterns and instructions for medium size....). So many things I could accomplish!! I'm all excited! But, I'm still just sitting here, staring at the computer...

There, I think I've cured myself. Listing it all out seems to have done the trick. I can go back to mindless websurfing now. (j/k ;) )

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cats vs. Baby Gate

We got a baby gate over the weekend. When we're downstairs I set it up to block off the entry way. It's a taller gate (I can't get over it), and it had the cats stumped at first. The first time Beau decided he needed to get over it he started by leaping off the couch to get a running start. By Sunday, Riselle was able to leap over it (without touching it) from a standstill. I don't know how he did it exactly, but this morning Beau knocked it over (it's pressure-mounted). We knew they'd get used to it, but we didn't think they'd start trying to destroy the thing so quickly!





Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dancing Baby

He dances! (on cue too)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Video Card Update

It works! We took the new video card back to Best Buy and exchanged it for another of the exact same thing. Plugged it in, installed the drivers, and it works! The CD had slightly different software on it, so it was the drivers that were faulty. So now I can go back to gloating that my computer has a spiffy new video card (that does DirectX 10) for less than $60 :)

My Shadows

We have very social cats. They're very rarely in a different part of the house from us. If we're downstairs and I go upstairs (or vice versa), it won't be long before I'm joined by one or both cats. So I'm constantly being followed around.

Now that Zachary's mobile, he's picked up the habit too! I'll set him down in the living room and go into the kitchen to do dishes, and next thing I know, he's in the kitchen too! So I just have to be careful not to step on anybody!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Not so spiffy after all

So I was all excited about a new video card for less than $60. The problem is that the drivers don't work. From what we can find online it's a common problem with the company that makes the card. I'm having to run Windows in Safe Mode, which is not cool. The video card is essentially defective, so we're going to have to try to return it and get a new one (from a different manufacturer). Bummer. I hope Best Buy will take it back, since it was on clearance. But they should if it's defective, right?