Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good News

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and learned the results of my most recent bloodwork. Praise God the antibody levels have remained exactly the same and are very low. I go for another ultrasound with the specialists next week, but it would appear at this point that the baby is not being affected adversely by my anti-e antibodies. If all continues well and she doesn't make an early appearance (unlikely given my track record), she will arrive the first week of March thanks to my obliging doctor's willingness to induce. I would like to avoid another precipitous labor and delivery, and after birthing two large babies without one, I would very much like an epidural that lasts to the very end this time. Although I have slowed down considerably and have had to curtail many of my household activities, I generally feel pretty good, better than I remember feeling at this point with Davis, and am still sleeping quite comfortably. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. I'll continue to keep you posted on the situation as things progress.

Snow Day

One of the most surprising aspects of life in northeast Scotland for me was the decided lack of snow. I expected and was informed on numerous occasions by locals that the area received a good bit of snow during the winter given its northerly longitude, but as with many things, I discovered that "a good bit of snow" is a totally relative appellation. For my fellow countrymen hailing from California any snow was a lot. For my other friends who called places such as Michigan home the snow we received in Aberdeen was barely above notice. I fell somewhere in the middle, but was mostly disappointed that we never received more than an inch or two at each go. Despite her northern clime, Aberdeen's temperatures remain fairly fixed and moderate throughout the year rarely deviating 20 degrees from summer to winter and receiving helpful shelter from the excessive precipitation experienced in Glasgow because of the Cairngorm Mountains. The result was little snow in winter. When we returned home, I had high hopes for lots of snow, but this winter has been disappointing in that department as well. Of course, February and March are notoriously harsh months in the Philadelphia area, so the jury is still out. The heaviest storm in recent memory, the President's Day Storm of 2003, buried us under 22" in one fell swoop. I'm still holding out hope for something substantial, something worthy of the Flexible Flyer just as long as it doesn't occur when the baby is due. My luck it will and I'll have another one at home.

Yesterday we received the most snow so far, which amounted to about 1.5". Regardless of how meager, we had to get the boys out in it and some of the video is truly hilarious.

Davis flatly refused to keep his mittens on, a completely self-defeating decision typical of early childhood.

With what little snow there was, Trey attempted to construct the world's smallest snowman. Addison looked on with skepticism, but took great pleasure in knocking the tiny snowman over.

This is the first winter that Davis has really taken notice of the snow. He points with great enthusiasm and delight at the big flakes as they fall from the sky and shouts, "Noning!" These little moments of childhood pass far too quickly. As each discovery is assimilated into our web of experiences, a piece of the magic is sadly lost. One of the beauties of parenting is rediscovering the simple wonder of God's creation with your children.

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In this video Addison tries to help Davis put on one of his mittens to no avail. Davis will have no part of it and obstinately chucks it in the other direction.

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Here the boys engage Trey in a little snowball fight.

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Davis samples snow and determines that even when it isn't the forbidden yellow kind it really leaves a lot to be desired.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bishop Elphinstone Would Be Proud

And for my 700th post, I am proud to draw your attention to a piece of news just released by the University of Aberdeen. The results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise have confirmed that The Department of Theology, Divinity, and Religious Studies, of which Trey is a part, has been ranked #1 in Scotland and #2 in the entire UK in the Times Higher Education Tables, nudging past such pesky competitors as Oxford and Cambridge. The University's other departments did remarkably well, including Health Services Research also ranked at #1. Well done! Bishop Elphinstone would, indeed, be proud.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Slow News Week

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then 4 would count as a senior thesis. Not much going on these days, or rather I've caught a temporary case of blogger's block, probably connected to a significant, gestationally-induced personal slow down. I've been meaning to post this video of the boys goofing around right before bed from when we were down in Atlanta visiting Trey's family, and now seemed as good a time as any.



This picture reminded us so much of the one below taken when Davis was just 4 months old.

They grow up way too fast.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Knitting in Pink

At long last I can knit in this cotton candy color. A couple of weeks ago Knitty Knotty held their annual 40% off yarn sale, which allowed me to justify purchasing one skein of this 100% Australian wool threaded with beautiful glass beads whose price ordinarily is not in my buying range. I was so excited at the prospect of knitting something pink that I whipped this hat out in one day. We'll bring our little baby girl home from the hospital in it.

The hat topper is the most whimsical part. It makes me think of a birthday package with a big bow on top.

Roll brim.

A close-up of the glass beads.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life Lessons from Knitting

Little did this perfectionist know when she took up knitting that it would have such broader application to life as a whole. It is teaching me patience and the ability to accept the mistakes I make even when it means discarding an entire project. The Christmas vests for Addison and Davis are a case in point. I knit Addison's without incident, but after knitting the entire back piece of Davis's, I absentmindedly proceeded to re-knit the back piece instead of knitting the v-neck front. Upon realizing my mistake and with just days until Christmas itself, I decided to convert this v-neck vest into a crew-neck. I checked to make sure it would still fit over his large head but did not account for the fact that once I added the red-white-and-green border to the neck the head opening would shrink considerably. Once it was finished it no longer fit over his head. Returning to the drawing board, I decided to cut along the shoulder seam and add a button, but that proved my undoing. Once I cut and tried to seam the shoulder, it began to unravel before my eyes.

There I sat with tens of hours of handiwork seemingly destroyed before me and no idea what to do, and then in the most liberating act of defiance and in the face of all my perfectionist tendencies to expend countless more hours trying to repair what I had wrecked, I threw the vest in the trash. Even now as I recount the story there is a place inside me which winces and wonders where that now tattered garment is and could it somehow be salvaged. What have I learned? Sometimes "fixing" things makes them worse (there is definite life application here) and knowing when to say enough-is-enough is actually quite brave.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't quite end there, however. Addison wore his vest on Christmas Day and Davis wore a festive red sweater instead, and then somehow, without my knowledge, the vest was thrown in the regular wash cycle and tumble dried. I shudder even now as I think about it. As you can imagine for a cashmere-cotton blend vest, it shrunk and ironically now fits Davis, not Addison. Furthermore, the dryer all but destroyed the exquisite moss-stitch detailing by fuzzing it up with lint, and to top it all off, the border along the bottom was cut and began to unravel. This time, however, I felt that something could at least be done to prevent the whole piece from falling apart due to the cut yarn. I took it to one of our local knit shops, Knitty Knotty, and the kind owner with her magical hands fixed the tear in a matter of mere minutes, which is why I continue to knit and persevere through these trials. Because one day I, too, want to have those magical hands that can fix anything and create garments of tremendous beauty and joy that will be treasured for generations by those I love, and in the meantime I humbly accept these life lessons which I fondly think of as knitting to learn while I learn to knit.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Addison-isms

Because this blog functions something as my digital baby book and since Addison seems to be on a roll these days with funny lines, I have to share his latest.

Two days ago...
Addison: Daddy, did you get my new bed at Bruno's? (fabulous local Italian restaurant)

Yesterday morning after our breakfast at Cracker Barrel Addison tries to sneak out the peg board game without us seeing. When Trey caught him and made him put it back on the table, he retorted: "But I don't have one of those!"

This morning...
Trey: Addison, shake Daddy's hand.
Addison: No, you have a booboo on it.
Trey: You think that's bad. Look at this one on my thumb. (proffering said finger)
Addison: I don't want to look at that!

Later today after Sunday School Addison hands me his "craft". It is a card listing things he is thankful for and reads as follows: "Thank you God for...grilled cheese, eggs, and for my brother!" Interesting selection and order.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Bunk Beds

The long-awaited bunk beds finally arrived early this morning. Ironically, I think it took us longer to make the beds up with their new linens than it did for the men to assemble them. Note to self: making a bunk bed at 31 1/2 weeks pregnant should be avoided at all cost. Nevertheless, the finished product was well worth the effort. For now, Addison, who has slept in a crib for nearly four years, will be sleeping on the bottom bunk, and sometime in the near future we'll move him up to the top and Davis will take over the bottom. I'm hoping all this can be accomplished by the summer once our lives settle down a little. We purchased a full-over-full, which did not exist when I was a kid and shared a bunk with my sister. It's totally luxurious and roomy and, better yet, they can be disassembled and used as regular full beds when the boys decide to move out or no longer wish to sleep in a stacked position. The bedding theme is nautical. We purchased quilts, the decorative pillows, and pillow cases from The Land of Nod. Although their current room is only temporary, I love the wall color, a deep navy blue, which I think I will mimic wherever we make our final destination.

A close-up of the bedding.

Two little rapscallions playing hide-and-seek.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Alma Newton Davis

I have let far more time elapse in posting about our trip to my grandmother's grave site than what I had intended. The Monday before Christmas my mom, grandfather (White Papa), Addison, Davis, and I took a ride to Chester, PA, to visit Chester Rural Cemetery where she is buried. She passed away April 7, 2004, just shy of us finding out Addison was on the way. It is one of those things I've played over and over again in my mind. If only she could have known him. He is exactly the kind of person who would have made her already merry heart filled to overflowing.

My grandmother, Alma Newton Davis, was an amazing, resilient woman who lived through troubled times and emerged a stronger person for it. She was born on January 29, 1922 and would have been 87 this month. She lived her early years during the Great Depression and lost her father in a work-site accident when she was just a baby. At the tender age of 10, her mother passed away from what today is a treatable pregnancy complication. Her step-father never officially adopted her, and although she loved him dearly, he had no legal claim to her guardianship. Instead, she went to live with her aunt and uncle on the original Wawa dairy farm. Her time there was very unhappy, and she left when she was just 16. She entered the Women's Army Corps (WACs) during World War II and was stationed in Paris for some time during that conflict. She married my grandfather after the war and was adamant that as an orphaned only child she would have a big family. True to her word, she gave birth to three children, my Uncle Mike, Uncle Ray, and my mom. They went on to give her 7 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, 2 of whom she knew in her lifetime.

She had a hearty laugh you'd never forget and loved shoes more than any woman I know. She was partial to Betty Crocker scalloped potatoes, cherry pie, and Beringer white zinfandel. When my sister and I would spend the night at her house, she'd always fix us grilled cheese sandwhiches and chocolate milk for lunch and take us to the mall for an afternoon outing. She kept a generous supply of white TicTacs in her purse, and when she'd come to visit us, which she did almost every weekday afternoon, she was never empty-handed, usually bringing chocolate Tastykake cupcakes much to my mother's chagrin.

Her passing marked a milestone in my life, my first real encounter with death. I remember my mom calling me at work the morning she'd died and I left right away to be with her. I will never forget those serene moments standing by her bedside in the hospital room, the curtain respectfully drawn for privacy, looking at her body which was now just a shell, a shadow of what she once was, holding her cold, still hand. There was something heartbreaking about witnessing the ravages of life in a sinful world on our bodies at such close proximity and simultaneously comforting knowing that her previously pain-ridden body was now at rest in the arms of her Savior. Mom-mom is dearly missed, an absence even more keenly felt during the big moments which punctuate our year like holidays, but I find great joy in knowing that, although she never met my boys this side of eternity, she will on the other.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jolly and Impish

Two words to describe two very different boys. As Trey and I perused the portraits we had taken earlier this month, vainly attempting to narrow down dozens of shots to just a handful for purchase, we were both struck by how much Davis's and Addison's personalities came through each photograph. Addison was quick to engage the photographer, laughing heartily at her silly antics, his enthusiasm and exuberance for life fairly radiating out each pore. Davis took more time to warm up. He was cautious and uncertain who this crazy woman was, but once he relaxed the wry smile and devilish twinkle in his eye belied his own restrained brand of joie de vivre. I love these differences, and the photograph above completely captures it.

The portrait studio we used had a special going on, one pose for $9.99 which came with a boatload of prints. We chose this photo for the special.

The block pictures begged for black and white, a little tribute to their upcoming birthdays in February. I love how Davis's feet dangle and don't quite reach the floor.

I've framed the two photos side-by-side in a single frame with a double 5x7 matte, which hangs proudly over my dresser.

Again, you can just see Addison's penchant for infectious laughter. He is, indeed, a merry child.

Don't let the angelic pose fool you. He is definitely trouble.

When I first saw this photo, it took my breath away. My little baby has completely disappeared and left a toddler in his place.

We loved this shot because it showed their height difference so dramatically.

A little brotherly love. The rest of the photos are in the Holloway Boys Portraits 2009.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Little Virtuoso

I can't think of a better way to start off Monday than with a funny video from the weekend. Davis has recently taken up singing, a past time which thus far he seemed to ignore. We have always sung a great deal to the boys, Addison enjoying it most especially. My brother and soon-to-be-sister-in-law, the music experts in the family, have assured us that even more important than formal classes or pricey music programs for young children, singing and making music with your kids is the key to a lifelong love of music and increased aptitude for it, much the way regular reading with your children fosters literacy.

It warmed my heart to its very depth when Davis seemed to prove this advice true over the weekend. Oblivious to us, he grabbed a small book, a comfy seat on the couch, and broke into song while Trey and I were left to pick our jaws up off the floor. Our little car-and-truck boy was turning into a musical genius before our very eyes. OK, I'm taking it a tad far, but still, totally out of character, Davis has not stopped singing since. The book, by the way, not a pious collection of hymns, but a copy of the US Constitution. I know there's a joke in there somewhere.

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And as a little aside, I dare you not to laugh during the totally affected coughing fit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Varsity

New Year's Eve the entire Holloway contingent trekked to downtown Atlanta for dinner at the famed Varsity across the street from Georgia Tech. Part of our group had tickets to the Peach Bowl later that evening, and we thought it would be fun to take the kids on MARTA (the local rail line) to experience a staple of the city.

The original Varsity, which we went to, boasts the distinction of being the largest drive-in fast food restaurant in the world with 5 other locations in the metro Atlanta area. Not surprisingly in the heartland of Coca-Cola, it also sells more of that frosty beverage per year than any other retailer in the world. It was started by a Tech dropout 83 years ago, and I guess you could say the decision not to continue his schooling worked out all right in the end for him. A visit to the Varsity is always an experience, something akin to Pat's or Gino's on South Street in Philly for a cheesesteak. With jargon all its own, cries of "what'll ya have, what'll ya have" ring loudly through the air as clerks try to keep the lines moving. Probably most famous for their naked dogs (a hot dog with no condiments), my favorite are the onion rings or Ring One as they're called there. The seating area is full of school desks and the whole eatery echoes with a soda shop vibe from a day gone by, a definite must see and eat there if you ever find yourself in The Big Peach.

Five of the seven cousins waiting for the train.

The King and Queen, two high rise buildings which dominate the sky of Trey's hometown, Dunwoody.

Part of the Atlanta skyline from the Varsity.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Baby Girl Update

Yesterday Trey and I met with the specialist regarding my blood antibody condition and I had an ultrasound to confirm that the baby is doing well. She is, indeed, growing and developing properly and all signs point to a healthy child. We received good news that my anti-e antibodies are at a very low level and therefore are not a threat or concern right now. However, they will continue to regularly monitor the situation in case anything were to change. I will have blood drawn again next week at my regular pre-natal appointment to see if the antibody levels have increased any in the past month since the last draw, and I will have another ultrasound in a month's time. When they do the ultrasound, they will use Doppler to detect the rate of blood flow in the baby's body to determine if she is anemic as well as look for any possible swelling anemia might cause. This can indicate whether my antibodies have attacked the baby's red blood cells and caused them to break down. Thin blood will flow faster than thick (think water versus maple syrup).

The physician said that this is one of those rare cases in obstetrics when a problem is encountered and there actually is something that can be done to remedy it. If the situation were to escalate, they could treat in one of two ways depending on the point in pregnancy. If I were at a safe delivery gestation, they would just induce labor and deliver our little girl. If not, they could actually transfuse her in utero to correct the anemia. I am currently 30 weeks, 4 days.

I thank you all for the outpouring of love and support over the past week and the powerful prayers which have been lifted up to our great God. Trey and I both have felt an overwhelming sense of peace about this situation knowing we are safe in the strong arms of our Savior. Please continue to pray that our little girl (they checked again and she's still a she) is in no way adversely affected by my anti-e antibodies and that she is delivered healthy and strong at the right time.

And the up side of all of this is that we're getting to see her more regularly before she's actually born. That I can't complain about.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Christmas Pudding

Last June at the NCT Nearly New Sale in Aberdeen I found this outfit for Davis. I just couldn't pass it up for Christmas. It's a proper English Christmas pudding complete with holly-topped, hard sauce-drizzled hat. With Davis sizing is always a gamble, but this time it was one which paid off. It fit him perfectly Christmas Day. He objected a bit to the hat, but has subsequently grown to love it, even prancing around in nothing but a diaper (nappy) and his Christmas pudding topper before his shower this morning. Definitely the sweetest little pud ever.



Constant Comment

I have hinted on more than one occasion that Addison has an advanced case of verbal diarrhea, which has only grown with time and become more intriguing with his ever-advancing vocabulary and reasoning process. Here is just a sampling of the questions Addison asked the lady ahead of us in line at the checkout counter at A.C. Moore yesterday, questions I had nothing to do with and would greatly liked to have halted. What are you buying? Are you going to another store? Do you have any children? Are you a teacher? No, my cheeks weren't getting redder by the minute.

The kicker though came when the lady asked him, "Where did you get those big eyes?" and without missing a beat he said loudly for all in line to hear, including the checker, "God made them." My heart swelled with pride. Out of the mouths of babes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas in Photos

Better late than never, right? I have finally uploaded and retouched all our Christmas Day photos. They are all in the new album entitled Christmas Day 2008. The photo above shows the tree Christmas morning before the presents were opened.

This is the look of sheer delight that never left Addison's face all day long. Apparently, the joys of presents are fully realized at the age of 3.

Something about this pose just makes me happy inside. Davis, propped up on his arms playing with his cars.

The bird house to Addison's left was a gift from my mom and dad. Once he paints it, we'll hang it outside our kitchen stoop and once again enjoy bird watching which we so sadly had to leave behind in Aberdeen.

Davis and vehicles are like milk and cookies.

Big brother, little brother. I love their height difference.

Trey rescued this 1979 Flexible Flyer from the trash at a job site a few weeks ago. A touch of Murphy's oil soap shined her right up, and Addison got the sleigh he had been requesting for weeks. Little does he know what a true find this actually is.

The Christmas gift theme this year was definitely cars, or in this case Cars. Here Davis follows in Addison's footsteps by lining them up. That is one contented little man.

We have started a new tradition with the boys, buying them a Christmas ornament every year to help decorate their tree when the time comes for them to have their own. This year we got Davis a Spiderman ornament because he is our Spiderman fanatic.

Addison got a Looney Tunes ornament because he loves Bugs Bunny.

The satisfied scene after presents.

No snow this year, but a beautiful, clear sky instead. And, yes, for all you folks across the pond, that is Old Glory flying proudly.

The big gift from Trey and me this year to the boys was a Black and Decker junior workbench with extra tools to minimize the squabbles. You can never have too many hammers or saws.

Can you say huge hit (sorry for the awful pun)?