Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Captions, Please!

*Photography by Amanda Wiatr

Monday, September 27, 2010

Diaper Jeans: Cool or Just Silly?

So have you heard of those new Huggies Jeans Diapers? I cannot decide whether they're cute or just weird. If nothing else, they certainly made me laugh. Nick's Grandma Toni brought him some last week so he could be trendy. Nick said he'd be happy to model them for us. Here's the view from the back. Check out those pockets.

If nothing else, the Huggies commercial made me laugh. Especially the part about "the coolest you'll ever look pooping your pants."  So does he look cool? Or just silly?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Books About Airplanes

Yesterday I took Nick to the library to get some new books to read. He saw a plane out the window while we were at the library, and that gave me the idea to get him some books about planes. We checked out two: The Jet Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and Rob Bolster, and Airplanes by Lola M. Schaefer. Since we got home with these books, he can't stop looking at them.

Even though this book is clearly for big kids, Nick still likes to have me read it to him. He points when I ask him where the wings, cockpit, and tail are on each plane. Nick can also count to two, as in "One, two planes." (After two, he gets confused and shouts out random numbers. Seven is his favorite.) Mostly, though, Nick just likes to look at the different planes, and announce, "Plane!" as he sees each one.

Nick easily spent an hour this morning reading his "plane stories." Then, he went out to the screened-in porch to read with his daddy. They read out there for awhile, and Nick listened for every plane that passed overhead. You can even see some of them from our porch.

Greg and I both read a lot, and it seems like Nick is taking after us in that regard. I think I'm going to have to make more frequent trips to the library. I may also buy Nick his own books about planes. Here he is discussing his book with me. Do they have book clubs for babies?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just Another Saturday

He looks so innocent, right? Such a nice little boy, he could never do anything. . . . like this:

This is our bathroom door, which, by the way, has to be kept closed so that Nick doesn't flush valuable things down the toilet. Or eat makeup. Or pull the toilet paper off of the roll and drag it all over the house. Or take a q-tip and try to poke it into a place on our cat that the cat didn't like very much. Now we'll have to figure out a way to clean the crayon off. Not sure if they were washable crayons. I could only laugh and grab my camera. He's a toddler, after all.

Nick was driving me just a little bit crazy this morning, and I figured it'd do us both good to get out of the house for awhile. He gets bored if I don't keep him entertained. So I took him to Panera for lunch. It's the only fast food place that doesn't make me sick, and the only place where I'll order Nick a kid's meal. He got an organic roast beef and cheddar on wheat bread.

He actually ended up eating the whole thing. Do you see that empty bowl? That's what they used to give me cheese for my soup. The cheese is piled next to his sandwich. Nick also ate all the cheese that was supposed to be for my soup. Then he found another use for the bowl.

I actually like taking Nick out to eat by myself, but I usually pick sit down places because they'll get everything for you. Today was a challenge, but the food was good and Nick and I had quite a conversation. It went something like this:
"Mmm. Bread. Eat."
"Yes, that is good bread."
"Mama, cheese!" (pointing)
"Yup honey, that's good cheese on your sandwich. Oh,w ait, you want this bowl of cheese?"
"Cheese! Want cheese!"
"Okay, here you go. Oh no, don't dump it! Argh."
"Mmmm." (Eating shredded cheese by the handful)
"No throwing napkins! No!"
"No throw! Ha-ha!"

Pause for chewing.

"Tea! Tea!"
"Nope, you have to drink your milk. The tea is for mommy."
"Hat. I hat."
"Yes, that bowl does look like a hat." (Getting out my camera)
"Bowl hat! Bowl hat!"

After our lunch, we took a little trip to the library. Nick has been wanting lots of stories lately, and I figured we could use some new ones to read. Also, I wanted some new books for myself. I've been feeling really bad since the weather turned cold on Friday. I have nothing against fall, it's just that something went crazy with my sinuses and my head Friday night, and I feel like I'm in a nasty fog. I figured that a weekend of lying around reading would help me adjust to fall.

Anyhow, Nick was up to his usual tricks at the library. He ran around pointing at all the stuffed animals perched on the shelves, shouting out their names. "Tiger! Tiger up there!" then he decided to scream, "Stories!" while furiously yanking stories off of the shelves. When we wandered into adult nonfiction, Nick kept announcing, "Stories!" over and over again. "Yup, Nick, there are lots and lots of stories here."

A helpful four year old stood next to me, saying, "You know, we're not supposed to throw books." Nick went right to her and plopped in her lap, ready for a story. When she got up to leave, Nick grabbed her hand and tried to follow her. How come he'll hold a stranger's hand but not mine? Whenever I picked him up or tried to hold his hand, he screamed and then shouted, "Down! I down!"

At least we got some great books to read. Now, onto my busy weekend of lying around and waiting for my headache to go away. I think I can handle that.  :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Roundhouse in Aurora

After Nick's haircut Saturday, we took him to the Roundhouse  in Aurora for lunch. The interior of this restaurant is pretty cool, and there are bears in several places (Chicago Bears theme). I liked the big chandelier and the dancing bears tapestry. (I borrowed the picture below from here.) Nick liked the bear holding the dessert tray.

The calamari was delicious, and Nick devoured more than you'd think a kid his size would be able to consume.

While the calamari was delicious, and the cheesecake perfect, I found my pizza soggy. So the food wasn't my favorite, but the ambiance was really cool. Check out the view from our table.


After dinner, Nick enjoyed running up and down the hallways of the Roundhouse. Man, can that boy run.

This is a short post, but my week has been crazy so far. I guess a short post is better than no post.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nick's First Haircut

It was time. I couldn't put it off any longer. Nick needed a haircut. As much as I love the curls, Nicholas has thick hair like mine that was growing more than a little wild. See Exhibit A.

See what I mean? My boy had wild, riotous curls that refused to be tamed. Greg has been asking me to have it cut for a few months now, because people have occasionally mistaken him for a little girl. But I waited, because I really loved those baby curls. Lately, however, Nick's hair has been getting stuck in the snaps on his shirts and in the velcro of his bibs. He's also had some pretty nasty knots.

So this morning, I called and made an appointment at a place called Fun Kuts 4 Kids in Oswego. Their website said that they had cars for the kids to sit in, and I figured Nick would like that. He did.

Nicholas picked the red car to sit in, and he didn't even seem to mind when the stylist put the cape around him. I warned her that Nick had lots of relatives who'd asked for a curl, so they gave me little bags for the beloved blond curls. The stylist was very nice, and she alternately talked to Nick and let him watch cartoons on the tv.

In preparation for his first haircut, I'd had Nick watch a Sesame Street episode about Baby Bear and his haircut. The whole episode is about hair, and Nick watched intently.

I'm not sure if it helped or not, but Nicholas did not appear to be nervous at all. We went with the ubiquitous "boy cut," and the stylist even used a razor on the back. I can't get over how different he looks.

He looks a little dubious about his new look, but I like it. He looks so much older, though, and very much a little man. I miss my baby.

I would say it was a pretty good experience. :)

It was a little expensive for a boy's haircut ($15 for the haircut and $5 for the special certificate) but Nick really liked sitting in the car, so it was worth it. Here's the certificate.

Actually, the only time that Nick got upset and started to cry was when we took him out of the car. He was mad, and he tried to climb back up.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tapas for a Nearly Two Year Old

Yup, we went to Meson Sabika again last weekend. Here's the breakdown:

-Two sangrias and one milk
-Crayons and paper for Nick to color
-Platter of Spanish cheeses and grapes (Nick loved them!)
-Pork, beef, and seafood tapas

and. . .

. . . one of the most delicious desserts I've ever had in my life. It was two frozen dark chocolate truffles, lightly infused with creme de menth and served with a berry compote and fresh whipped cream. We all shared it because it was so rich, but this dessert was so memorable I do believe I'll remember it for the rest of my life. Perhaps Nick will remember it as well.  :)

This was truly a memorable evening, and not just because of the dessert. Greg and I were celebrating, because he recently was promoted to supervisor at his work. Also, we've been so busy lately that it was nice to just go out as a family. I love when it's nice enough outside to sit on the patio. There was a breeze, good company, and delightful food. I'm not sure if it was the sangria, the company, or the good food, but that was the most relaxed I've been in a long time.

This is my all-time favorite restaurant, both because of the beautiful grounds, the amazing food, and the tasty sangria. Nick seems to like it, too, although he sure made a mess of his shirt.

And finally. . . the fountain was truly a wonder to Nick. He loves to point at it and say, (wait for it) "Water!" Only now, his language has developed to the point where he can say: "Water in there!" (and then, after touching the water) "Water cold!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Trip Up North: Part Two

Today I'll talk about our Sunday up in Gleason, Wisconsin, and our trip back to Illinois. After we woke up at the hotel, we checked out and went back to the farm. Nick sure loved being outdoors. I'm glad we brought our jeans and long sleeved shirts, because it was a little bit chilly. We walked all over the property, and Nick picked up sticks and followed his Great Uncle Bob around like a little puppy.

Nick really liked the rocks on the gravel path, and he picked up a bunch and put them into a plastic cup. He brought them inside to show his Great Grandma Marie, and then he threw them on the floor. I guess he liked the noise they made.

There's an old Estonian Church on the property, from the 1800s, and it's all boarded up. It's kind of neat, actually, and the road is named after the church. Nick looked at it for a minute, then found an interesting stick to play with. Toddlers have short attention spans. My impressions of the farm? It's lovely and peaceful and chilly. I like the stars and the quiet and the smell of the woods. But I hate the mosquitoes. I believe I got over six bites just in two days. Nasty, big mosquito welts. At least the peacefulness of the woods makes up for the hours of scratching.

We had a delicious brunch with Nick's Great Grandma Marie, Great Uncle Bob, and Great Aunt Mary. Nick ate more bacon than any boy who's not even two should be able to eat! Then he asked for his "colors," and Nick and his grandma colored pictures together.

After we left Gleason, we drove for hours and hours while Nick (thankfully) napped peacefully in the car. He started to stir right around Madison, which is where we'd decided to stop for dinner and to walk around. Can you tell from the picture that I was glad to be finally out of the car? Madison is pretty cool for a college town, and I think I would've liked going to school there.

We really liked Madison, but at some point Greg and I realized that not only were we way too old to be mistaken for college students, but also . . . The kids who are freshman at this college right now? Were in diapers when Greg started college. Freaky. They were probably just in kindergarten when I started college. Sigh. Anyhow, it was an awesome college campus. Nick was glad to be out of the car, and he especially liked pushing the stroller up and down the sidewalk.

We stopped at a Brazilian Steakhouse for dinner. It was super-expensive, but very yummy. I like the places where the costumed men keep bringing you different cuts of meat. Nick just liked playing with the meat tongs. He did eat a ton of beef, though.

After dinner, it was just a few more hours in the car to get home. Thankfully, Nick was tired and slept through most of the trip, with not too much screeching. We were so glad to be home and out of the car.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Trip Up North: Part One

Last weekend, Greg and I took Nick up north to his family's farm in Gleason, Wisconsin. We go every year. It was quite a long trip to make for just two days, but it was for a special occasion. Greg's Grandma Marie (that would be Nick's great grandmother) just turned 96 years old. We usually go up there every year for her birthday, to see her and Greg's Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary, who live at the farm, too.

It was a very long car trip (over 6 hours one way), because we were way up, north of Wausau. We left Friday night right after work, and drove all the way to Rockford before we stopped for dinner. It's a good thing we stopped there, because at that point, Nick had been screaming nonstop for a good 45 minutes. It was time to get him out of the car before we all sustained hearing loss. We stopped at a place called Thunder Bay Grille, and the food was pretty good. Nick sure liked it.

After dinner, we changed Nick into his pajamas because we knew we would be travelling long into the night. It was funny because the changing table at this restaurant was really high off the ground, and Nick got really scared. He was clingy and sobbing and truly scared. I haven't seen that side of Nick very often. Apparently, he's afraid of heights. That doesn't seem to apply when he is climbing on the furniture, though.

We didn't get to our hotel (in Merril, Wisconsin) until about 11:30 p.m. Nick had been sleeping for hours by that point, which is why we had decided to travel at night. Containing a screaming child in the car for six hours when he'd rather be running is a nightmare, and we wanted to avoid the trouble. It wasn't a bad plan, even though Greg was extremely tired by the time we arrived.

First thing Saturday morning, we headed straight for the farm. Well, after stopping for coffee at McDonald's. You know you're in the middle of nowhere when the nearest Starbucks is an hour away. Sigh. But we persevered, and Nick loved running around outside on the farm.

It's funny how the weather just one state up can be so very different. We went from 90 degree heat on Thursday in Illinois, to Friday night in the mid-40s at our hotel room in Merril, WI. Good thing we brought our sweaters and jeans!

Everything is so beautiful in this part of Wisconsin--and quiet! You can hear each individual car even if it's a couple of miles away. Nick loved watching the sky for birds and airplanes.

Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob took us all out to dinner at a golf club nearby. I was very glad I'd brought some crayons and some little animals for Nick to play with. He's been getting more snuggly with his toys lately, and he kept hugging and kissing the little zebras.

Great-Grandma Marie watched him play and laughed when he threw his toys.

Nick enjoyed lobster, beef tenderloin, and fried chicken. He also ate salad, french fries, mushrooms, and green beans. Then he had ice cream for dessert. I cannot believe how skinny this child is compared to how much he eats. Here's a picture of Nick with his Great Uncle Bob, Great Aunt Mary, and Great-Grandma Marie. This was after dessert, thus the giant smile on Nick's face.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel for a swim. This was Nick's first time staying in a hotel, and he seemed to like it. He was especially interested in climbing into the drawers, so we had watch him pretty carefully. Stealing things out of our suitcases, screeching randomly, and climbing everything in sight, Nick thought hotel rooms were pretty cool. I don't know what our neighbors thought of all the noise. Nick loved opening the refrigerator. . .

. . . and stealing my sunglasses.

Tomorrow I'll write about Sunday with Great Grandma and our trip through Madison and back to Illinois.  :)