Two Weeks and Counting

Our scheduled trip to Pennsylvania is less than two weeks away. There's a lot left for us to do to prepare. We've got the plane tickets (have had them for a couple of months, actually), and I reserved our rental car yesterday.

I guess Dollar was having some kind of special, because the weekly rate for minivans was a tad higher than the weekly rate for a compact car. The way I see it, the extra capacity (and space) of a minivan isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially since we'll be driving to Gettysburg while we're there.

We went over luggage restrictions the other day, trying to decide what we should ship ahead (supplies, mostly, like diapers), and what we should check as luggage (the Pack & Play, which will act as a crib for the boy while we're out of state). Each of us (including the boy) can check two pieces of luggage, which is more than we'll need. We travel pretty light.

I've also got some freelance work to do between then and now, work which is already overdue but which I plan to have done by the time we board the plane.

Speaking of planes: how do we handle our energetic, precocious little boy on a four hour flight? It's one of the questions that is haunting both Amy and I. He's a good kid, but four hours is a long time for anyone to sit in the same spot. We'll be bringing along some crayons and books and other things to try and keep him busy, and there's always the chance he'll sleep (though I seriously doubt it).

Not only that, but Stephen's internal clock will be set to PST. I don't know how we'll manage to get him to go to bed at a decent hour. All this, and more, will be answered in less than two weeks.

Our gracious hosts, Helen and Paul, are really looking forward to seeing the boy (and us, too, I gather). We'll all have a chance to experience Fort Ligonier Days, which is a local festival that includes French/Indian War reenactments at a genuine restored FIW fort. It should be a lot of fun. I don't know what the weather will be like. After living in California, the land of drought, I could do with a little rain, but I'm more interested in seeing autumn leaves.

We've got some errands to run today: grocery shopping, mostly, and then I'm off to the coffee shop for umpteen hours to squeeze several thousand words out of my brainpan.


What Stephen Likes (and What He Doesn't)

Stephen has become very opinionated. His preferences are ever-evolving. Some of the more recent discoveries include:

Stephen Likes:

"Drawing" with crayons. Though it consists of scribbles, it can entertain him for hours at a time.

M&Ms. I suspect that he will feign injury in order to trick his mother or I into giving him a couple of M&Ms.

Plugging in the XBox controllers. Over, and over, and over again. For hours.

Chasing the cats. They, however, are none too fond of the attention.

Water, as in, baths and swimming pools.

Balls. Bouncing ones.

Stephen Hates:

Violence on television. Unless it's on the XBox, in which case, he approves.

Skeletons and skulls. Blame this on a door ornament he saw at Target that told crummy jokes and stuck out its tongue and eyeballs.

Diaper changes. That is, unless he's the one taking his diaper off. In his crib. Right before he decides he has to pee.

The word "No" is not popular with Stephen, especially when it is directed at him and his desire for M&Ms.

Naps are also unpopular with the boy, especially when he needs one.


Recent Photos

As promised, here are some new pictures of the boy, with short hair.

The Artist at Work


The Messy Eater

So, as you can see, he's getting big, even as his hair has gotten shorter. The short hair does tend to get less sweaty, it dries much faster after a bath, and it certainly makes him look like a little boy. Not that he didn't look like a little boy before the hair cut, but...well, I'm sure you know what I mean.


His Ticker is A-Okay

Some of you may know that Stephen was diagnosed with a heart murmur last year. We went through a waltz of medical tests and the like, after which we were told to treat him like a normal kid, but to bring him back in a year for a follow-up exam.

That follow-up exam was today, and Stephen came through it with flying colors. After an EKG, the specialist listened to his heart, examined the latest round of x-rays, and took his blood pressure. Stephen was calm and well-behaved the whole time.

When all was said and done, the doctor said that the boy is fine. Nothing to worry about here. Move along.

This is a relief. It's a constant worry that we've been living with since we found out about it. Now that it's behind us, we can focus on other things.

In other news, Stephen had his first haircut on Monday. I'll try and get some new photos of the lad up this week.