News 2003

11.19.03 - Cruising with Owen and the 'rents - Day 626

For Halloween this year Owen was dressed as THE DEVIL!! We didn't go trick or treating as he wouldn't be eating any of the candy and I think the neighbors would have known the goods were really for me. Next year. He had his first Halloween Party, at the Little Gym. He screamed his head off at The Clown. Is that really a surprise?

Vacation time this month and we and the rest of the clan were treated to a Mexican cruise by Grampa Gutierrez. Not a lot to do with a 20 month old on a cruise ship but Owen got to spend time getting to know his grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. When at a loss for a time killer, tho, all we had to do was catch the glass elevator and ride up and down a few times, or take him to the fountain to throw rocks.

He missed Monty, though, and would kiss the picture we brought with us. He had no problem unwrapping the chocolate mints left with the turndown service and we had to race him to get to them before he saw them!

Small advances this month. Mostly just getting better at everything. We have a picture dictionary and on certain pages he can identify nearly every object as ask him to. He has perfected jumping and will do this repeatedly if asked. We also discovered, with much surprise, that he can climb into his highchair by himself. He has become obsessed with clips -- the clips of his highchair, on his strollers, car seat, etc. He will frequently be found standing in front of his highchair trying to put the clips together.

He can now locate his Real Wheels DVDs from the wall rack and pull it out to demand we play it for him. It's now his official job to open the garage door before and after walks.

He's mastering using utensils when eating -- for example all we need to do is open a cup of yogurt and hand him a spoon.

- Added new pics


10.16.03 - Day 592

Sadly I must begin this update with the news that Owen's Uncle Kevin has passed away.

Uncle Kevin was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after Owen was born and had undergone a variety of treatments. He passed away in his sleep on October 2nd.

We are thankful that we had a few opportunities to allow Uncle Kevin to spend time with Owen, both in a visit to Wisconsin last summer, and earlier this year when we went to visit him at his home in Finland. We will cherish the photos and videos we took of the two of them together.

He will be missed.

* * *

Owen had his first proper haircut this month. Previously Yvonne trimmed his bangs when they got too long, or snipped the back when his hair curled up. My stylist was doing my hair while Owen sat quietly in his stroller taking in the sights. When she finished I asked if she had time for him. She sat him on my lap. He refused the bib, but allowed a towel to be wrapped around him.

I expected him to start screaming at any time but he sat there quietly the whole time, allowing her to comb and tug at his hair. He put his head down when I told him to and allowed her to buzz trim his "sideburns." The only time he protested was when she stopped!

Last update I mentioned a video Owen enjoys watching. He is now obsessed with it. He stands and points at the VCR making his "yes" sound until we start the video. Sometimes he'll walk up to it and presses the Play button then looks at the TV. When it ends he gets upset and fusses until we rewind and start it up again. The series came out on DVD now so I picked up a different one for him. He loves this stuff. Unusual in that he was never really interested in TV before this. We try to limit this, of course. He'd watch it all day if we let him.

In general he has a good understanding of where things are and how they go. Yvonne, for instance, will hold him when she makes her morning coffee and he will point out the next step. He gets upset if she goes out of sequence.

His speech is getting a little better. He will say "banana" on demand, but that's about it. We got him to say "again!" when I was tossing him up in the air, and he'll run up to me when I come home and say "hi!" before running away.

He is getting very good at the parts of the body, pointing out head, ears, tongue, nose, eyes, belly, and toes when asked. If he wants to.

We have been blowing on his belly ever since we realized he wasn't made of glass. And he loves it. The other day I was laying on the carpet with Monty and Owen walks up, lifts up my shirt, and pressed his mouth against my belly and blows out a tiny little raspberry.

- Added new video ("pacifier")
- Added new photos


09.09.03 - Let the bruising begin - Day 555

First he drops his xylophone on his foot resulting in his first proper cut, then he trips while chasing after Monty and smacks his ear against the doorframe resulting in a nasty bruise (on his EAR!), then while scrambling onto the couch he tries to crawl off it and slams his head into the coffee table and gets a nice bump in the center of his forehead. And all he wants is to have some fun.

Owen had his first trip to the zoo. The San Diego Zoo, no less. He was very excited watching the polar bear swimming in it's pool and playing with a ball, and took great interest in the monkeys. Other than that, couldn't have cared less. We had fun, tho.

He has progressed to the next level at The Little Gym - for 19-30 month olds. He was the oldest in his previous class and was beyond what everyone else was doing. Now he is the youngest in his class and we hope this will greatly enhance his physical and other abilities. It seems, however, that he can do some tasks better than the older children.

He is no longer interested in crawling up the stairs and is determined to walk up and down them properly. He does this fairly well but we still need to hold his hand as he does so.

Owen never fails to amaze us with things he just does on his own. For instance, the other day he saw a hot pad sitting on the coffee table where I left it after a hot lunch. He picked it up, carried it back to the kitchen, opened a drawer (the wrong drawer but he was only one off), dropped in the hot pad and closed it.

Real honest to goodness words have begun seeping out of his mouth as well. Words like Hello and OK and Bye. He'll just be gurgling along like he normally does then all of a sudden HELLO and back to gurgling.

He gets very excited when he sees airplanes and trucks and feels it's important we are aware of their presence as well. Lately, tho, he has become obsessed with buses since he and Yvonne ride one occasionally to go shopping. I picked up a children's video called There Goes the Bus! and I can safely say this was the first program he sat and watched without moving for the entire 30 minutes!

He has decided on his own that he no longer needs a morning nap, period. This actually works fairly well, tho, as he now passes out after lunch for about three hours giving me a chance to go to bed early.

- Added new photos
- Added new video ("tantrum")
- Updated growth chart


07.22.03 - That's not what I meant when I asked for a pool, Dad - Day 506

Owen has started sessions at The Little Gym. Think grade school gym class but more for toddlers. Lots of mats of different sizes to run and tumble on. Balance beams and parallel bars. Big and small rubber balls and beach balls. Lots of little colorful objects to play with. He has two sessions a week - a structured class on Saturday mornings which Yvonne takes him to, then an open session on Monday's which I take him to. He enjoys it very much, running here and there and climbing over everything.

We took him to see the fireworks for the 4th of July. He didn't have any problems at all; completely mesmerized by them, but soon lost interest to all the people lining the streets. Occasionally he'd cling a little harder to Yvonne or reach for me or Monty for a hug.

He points at airplanes in the sky, dances to the Kohl's commercial, spins himself in circles occasionally, and runs up and latches onto our backs to try and coax us into a piggy back ride.

He climbs up to the top of the bed and we yell "DIVE DIVE DIVE!" and he lets go and falls to the bed. He does this to the pile of pillows on the floor in his room as well. Sometimes we think he even says it himself. He's actually been doing this for a few months but keep forgetting to mention it. It's still a favorite game.

His big thing that he loves to do is sort his books. He has this little box set of 10 Pooh card books. He'll sit there for ages putting them in the box (correctly), dumping them out, then putting them back in. I picked up a set of Duplo Legos for him. Right now he only really just moves them around, making noise and looking at the colors, but there have been a few times he's gotten a couple of them stacked together. Balancing is a new thing. He'll put one thing on top of another and try to carry it around.

I've dug out some of my old keyboards and he enjoys pressing the buttons then pressing the keys to see what types of sounds it makes. Sometimes he'll trigger the drum machine and start dancing.

He STILL doesn't talk, really, at least not proper words. About the only thing he says with regularity is "dada" when he sees me when I come home from work, and "dog". Sometimes, tho, he does seem to be making an attempt at saying things. For instance, if I go "One... Twooo... THREEEE!" he'll say "EEEEEEE!" with me on "three." When sorting his books we count them as he puts them away. We catch him frequently counting to himself ("uuuuhhHH uuuuhhhHHH uuuuhhhHHH uuu-uhhHHH...") But he has his way of communicating, like he'll go and pat the door of the 'fridge if he wants his water.

He loves pizza, sort of. Whenever I have some I eat a piece until the cheese slides off and all there's left is crust. I bite this down a little bit and give it to him. He just loves it and eats as much as he can and leaves the edge of the crust where it's hard to bite off. In fact, as soon as he sees the pizza box hit the table he whines until he gets his piece.

Owen has proper friends with the boy across the street (who is five and insists Owen is his best friend) and the little girl next door (2.5). He enjoys going over to see them when they are playing outside. (Monty REALLY likes the little girl next door and she REALLY likes Monty, to the point where she insists he's HER dog).

- Added new photos


06.17.03 - Did you go poopies? - Day 470

Walking is now Owen's preferred method of travel, at least in the house. He still insists on being carried when we're out. He loves to walk laps around the dining room table, and squeals with glee when one of us (including Monty) chase him around, or he gets to chase us around. He also likes to walk up and grab our backs for a piggy back ride. He now gets Monty treats whenever he feels like it (unfortunately) and will sometimes make Monty chase him for it until Monty gets fed up and pushes him over.

After the last update Owen had figured out how to turn around at the top of the stairs to go down backwards entirely on his own. Unfortunately one of these times he stopped to look back at us a couple steps from the bottom, lost his balance and fell down. Apparently this was more traumatic for him than such minor spills usually are because now he refuses to go downstairs at all on his own.

Owen can follow simple commands and understands more and more each day. "Bring me your shoes" (and he'll hold his foot out for you), "Get Monty a cookie", "Come here", "Want to eat lunch?" etc. Although he'll nod to nearly everything, whether true or not. He'll also dance on command. He still doesn't say any proper words, tho' he clearly said "Monty" once. Mostly he'll mock-talk to us. He has recently taken to screaming for no apparent reason. "google-doogle-yak-tak-YYEEAAAAAAGGGHHHH!"

He's beginning to get fussy in his eating. Previously he'd eat whatever we gave him but now he'll refuse, or take one bite and throw everything to the floor. He loves Mac and Cheese.

We have only just signed him up at the Little Gym. Classes start next week.

- Added new photos


05.11.03 - He WALKS!!! - Day 434

Sorry, no update last month. Way too busy.

Big news is that Owen has finally leaned how to walk and gets a little better each day. He loves to hold our hand and do laps around the first floor... over and over and over and over...

He also, just yesterday, learned how to crawl down stairs by himself. We still need to point him in the right direction as he tries to go down headfirst, but as soon as we turn him around he cruises down the stairs.

He and Monty continue to bond. Owen is now the official treat giver for Monty. We ask Owen if he wants to give Monty a treat and he crawls into the kitchen and (sometimes) gets the Liver Snaps box out of the cabinet. He picks out a cookie and gives it to Monty. They often chase each other around the dining room table and Owen will sometimes hold a toy for Monty to tug on.

He has so many teeth now we've lost count. His eye-teeth have just started to come in.

Not many words yet but we swear he sometimes says "I love you" and "thank you".

Our new room is finally almost done! They just need to repair the broken countertop and extend the chimney, but we had the carpet installed recently and have begun moving stuff in -- and moving Owen to his own room! We were concerned that he wouldn't adjust well to this -- possibly waking in the middle of the night and not seeing us, but he's adjusted without a problem. No big deal for him.

The new room has turned out nicer than we expected - very bright and sunny in there all day, and is bigger than I had envisioned.

- Added three pages of new photos
- Added two new video clips - Owen feeding Monty, and taking his first steps (well, 9th and 10th, really).
- Updated Renovation web page with work in progress pics. Completed, moved in pics hopefully next month


03.05.03 - One down, 17 to go...

Sunday marked Owen's first birthday and he continues to develop steadily. His eighth tooth has come in and he is feeding more often on regular food. He loves Mac and Cheese, ham, carrots, pasta (especially with spaghetti sauce stuck to it) goldfish, and popcorn. He'll eat pretty much anything we give him, but he doesn't seem to care much for juice. He'll drink plain water, tho.

He can crawl like lightining! Put him down in the living room then run to the kitchen and he can be pulling on your legs before you can open the 'fridge! He's just starting to stand on his own. He has no problem standing when puling himself up but sometimes he'll let go and not realize. If he holds our fingers he can walk back and forth across the house and can walk with his walker unattended (but is a little wobbly on it - we only just regained enough space to use it when the temp wall in our construction came down recently - but he took to the walker immediately.) We've graduated him from a stroller to a little car we push him around in, which he enjoys.

Speaking is still gibberish, but he clearly said something that sounded like "Hey Doggie!" when we referred to Monty. He says dog-dog a lot. At least it sounds like dog-dog.

I don't think I've mentioned it in the past but he'll dance to any music, especially if there is some beat to it. We have this activity table full of things to spin and twist and turn and he will spend ages making it play songs and bopping to the music. He likes Pet Shop Boys and the music in the Kohl's commercial.

Owen and Monty get along very well. Monty doesn't mind Owen pulling on him a bit (tho we try to stop it when we can) and he frequently gives Monty kisses. (we have a toy which says "(smack!) I Love You" and Owen will always kiss it when it says this.)

- Added new photos
- Moved News to new Year One page
- Updated growth chart


02.11.03 - Owen Goes to Europe - Week 50, Day 345

A bit earlier than originally planned, we took Owen to Europe this month.

This wasn't Owen's first airplane ride, but he is significantly older now than his last one. What has us worried was that we'd be making no less than SIX flights over ten days and we weren't sure how it'd go. We needn't have worried as he was amazing every time. Nearly.

The flight out was at 9pm, which was past his bedtime so he slept most of the way. We spent a night in London at an hotel near the airport. It snowed (first time I'd seen it in several years).

Then it was up to Helsinki, Finland, where my brother lives with his family. Owen was asleep for take-off and landing on both arriving and departing. He enjoyed spending time with his cousins. His cousin, Marissa, baked a chocolate cake for his 11 month birthday, which took place while we were there. This was his first experience with cake and it went EVERYWHERE.

We'd been having trouble getting him to sleep all night - he'd usually wake up in the middle of the night and would stay up for about two hours before falling back to sleep. We realized we weren't keeping him on his normal 14 hour day. Once we began keeping him up to fulfill this time span and soon he was sleeping all night.

We wondered if he would miss Monty at all or just wouldn't even realize he wasn't around until he saw him again when we got home. During one of his fussy periods I pulled out my Pocket PC where I had some photos of Monty stored. When I showed him the screen he stopped, then pointed at Monty's nose. Touching the screen causes the picture to change, so with each touch a new image appeared and he went to touch Monty's nose each time. The final picture in the series is actually a pic of Owen, but Monty was sitting next to me and his nose popped into the frame as the photo was taken. Owen again pointed at Monty's nose! It was when we put it away that he get angry again so we'd have to show him the pictures again and again until he eventually became distracted by something else. This happened every time we showed him the pictures.

Back to London, then caught a connecting flight up to Sunderland to visit with his grandparents and to introduce Owen to his 100 year old Great Grandmother! Again, Owen slept through the take off and landing of both of these flights. When he was awake he just stood up and babbled away and made eyes at all the people around him. The was another baby on one of these flights who just screamed the entire time. The mother made no attempt to feed or give the baby a pacifier. It was really annoying. I know that when people see us coming on with Owen this is what they expect to put up with, but they usually forget he's on the plane until they see him again at the end of the flight, where he's usually found strapped in his seat, sound asleep.

Sunderland was a hell of a lot colder than Finland thanks to the damper air and high winds while we were there. Owen did very well with his Great Gran and sat on her lap a number of times. By this stage he was used to waking up in a new country every other day and meeting a whole new set of people nearly every day and he handled it like it was a normal occurrence. Grandma baby sat him while Yvonne, her dad, brother, and I went to a football game (we won, not that we would have cared by the end of the match as we could no longer feel our toes).

Soon it was back to London for an overnight at an airport hotel, then back home to LA.

Owen was awake for much of the flight home - he didn't sleep as much as we would have liked him to have, and his day went for over 20 hours - longer than any other time he'd been up. Whenever he got niggly on the flight one of us just walked with him around the plane where he smiled and giggled and made eyes with the crew and the other passengers. We thought he was pretty bad on the flight - worse behavior than we're used to from him, but the poor woman who got stuck sitting next to us commented at the end of the flight, on seeing Owen passed out in his seat, that in all her travels, all the flights she's taken over the years, she had never seen such a good baby.

His staying awake so long actually worked out to our benefit as by the time we started to head home it was about his bedtime anyway and he slept most of the night and was back to normal the next day. He did wake up in the middle of the night but settled down once he saw we were home and Monty was with us. He relaxed and fell back to sleep.

As for milestones, he still hasn't said a word properly but the tone of babbling has changed. On pointing to Monty's picture he appears to say "dog dog dog" and on pointing to me it sometimes sounds like he's saying "dad". He's not walking but recently he's started in that direction: going from holding onto the coffee table while standing, then reaching out to us, turning, and taking tiny steps towards us. He reaches up more to be lifted, and is getting better at climbing stairs.

- Added LOTS of new photos.


12.26.02 - 1.22.03 - The New Year - Week 47 Day 325

Yvonne's birthday is just a few days after Christmas and we celebrate every year by going out to see the ocean. This was Owen's first exposure to the water and sand. He enjoyed picking up small handfuls of sand and sticking his finger into the ground.

He's gotten much better and kneeling and standing which means nothing on the coffee table of any importance! And crawling... he's out of sight in an instant if you turn your eyes away from him.

I can't say I've heard him say Daddy at all, tho Yvonne is pretty sure he's tried to say "Doggie" when looking at Monty.

Yet another tooth has come in, his seventh.

Not much else to report. Owen will be making his first trip to Europe soon to see his Uncle in Finland and to meet his Great Grandmother, who will be 101 later in the year.

Renovations are going better than expected and we hope to be done by our target date at the end of February.

- Added new photos.
- Remodeling section is updated weekly.