Monday, December 28, 2009

Ho ho ho!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

More pictures will be posted soon. To whet your appetite, here's a link to a video card that Rob put together for Anna and Mark.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It wasn't just hype

I'm always skeptical when the local weather people forecast lots of snow, mostly because (1) people get way too worked up about things down here (e.g. one of the local weathermen, Topper Shut, has developed a loaf scale of how severe storms will be, as in how many loaves of bread you should buy beforehand. Enough said) and (2) they're usually absolutely wrong and we get an inch or two at most. But by Friday afternoon the National Weather Service was predicting 10-20 inches, so I was at least thinking we'd get 5 or 6 inches.


Perhaps they knew what they were talking about. It snowed for more than 24 hours and we got a lot of snow.

Our poor neighbor's Mini Cooper this morning.

I took a walk yesterday morning before too much had accumulated (about the 5-6 inches I'd originally anticipated). Wasn't the stream beautiful?

And this little guy? He's a trooper. Here he is yesterday before we ventured out, and then after we'd been out for awhile. He was really excited about the snow, but couldn't walk in it very well--it was up past his knees yesterday and up to his waist today. But he still wanted to explore. And he's been having lots of fun watching the birds and squirrels at the bird feeder.

We made soup and Zack brought his stool over so he could supervise.

This afternoon I walked into the kitchen and found that the stool had been repurposed as a part of this installation piece.

Rob went out this afternoon and said the main roads are fine. Our street used to get plowed pretty quickly, but whatever important person used to live on our street seems to have moved because we only got plowed late this morning. We should be all set for getting out tomorrow and going about business as usual. It's going to stay cold, though, so i think we'll be stuck with this snow for awhile.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1 year, 43 weeks (or whatever week we're at now)

What a fabulous weekend we just had!

I had left my umbrella and Mark and Judy's house over Thanksgiving and they wanted to return it. Thankfully, they don't believe in the US Postal Service, and they wanted to deliver it in person, instead. We had no plans for their visit, other than that we wanted to get our Christmas tree and that it would be nice to get together with our other friends, Joan and Mel, as well. (By way of a little history, Joan, Mark, and Rob are friends that go way back.)


They arrived Friday night with their dog, Gus, in tow. Zack was so excited to see his partner in crime again! One thing led to another and we decided that Saturday would be a day for cooking and getting a tree and drinking some lovely wine with friends.

After a good breakfast on a beautiful Saturday morning, the guys went grocery shopping and Judy and I took Gus for a long and chilly walk on the trail. We had a delicious warm lunch of soup and grilled cheese (yeah, food is going to feature prominently in this post), after which we set about getting the tree, baking and starting some short ribs roasting in the oven for dinner.

Once Mark and Rob got the tree situated (which went MUCH more smoothly than whenever I help Rob with this job), they started working on the rest of dinner while Judy and I decorated the tree. Sadly, all of my Grandma's old Christmas ornaments will be staying in storage for another couple years until a certain small person gets over his fascination with pulling glass balls off the tree, but I think we still ended up with a fine looking tree.

All of the tree decoration happened while Zack was napping. I didn't get many pictures of the weekend because I was enjoying it so much, but I do wish I'd captured his reaction to seeing the tree for the first time. I brought him down from his nap, and right about the time we walked by the kitchen, he saw the tree. His whole face lit up, he pointed and he yelled "LIGHTS!!!!!" and looked at us as if to say "You people clearly don't appreciate this situation to its fullest. There is a TREE. With LIGHTS. Right over THERE." He has been absolutely fascinated by the tree, pointing out all the things he knows words for. I've had to do a little redecorating by moving the balls to the top because he's figured out how to take off the caps to the glass balls which he then proceeds to run around with.

Joan and Mel ended up coming over for dinner. Zack took a shining to Mel and wanted to show him Gus and the tree and all sorts of things. I'd never seen him do that before. After Zack went to bed, we had quite a feast. It was really fun to catch up with old friends.

Mark and Judy and Gus left Sunday morning, but not before we shared another yummy breakfast. All in all, it was a great weekend, just what we needed to relax and take a breath and get in the Christmas spirit. I'll have to remember to leave my umbrella at their house again next year so that they'll have to come down to return it.


And just in case you needed a little comic relief:

Monday, December 07, 2009

1 year, 42 weeks: Snow!

It snowed on Saturday, Zack's first snow. On Sunday it was nice enough to go check it all out.

Rob and I were taking too long, as always.

We walked all the way around the block...

...and then took a breather when we got back home.

He thought it was pretty cool and didn't want to go back inside. A fact that he broadcast to the entire neighborhood.

On the other hand, I was freezing and headed inside before the guys, so that I could start the hot chocolate, another first for Zack.

I think he enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

1 year, 41 weeks

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

We had a really nice time visiting our friends Mark and Judy. Zack had such a good time that he absolutely refused to take a nap on Thursday. Energizer bunny, that kid!

You may recall that he hasn't been much of a meat eater. Maybe a little dark meat chicken, but it mostly gets spit out. We discovered that we've been offering the wrong kind of meat. What he's wanted is ham. Ham. Who knew? He didn't eat much all day, then later on Rob couldn't give it to him fast enough!

This picture pretty much sums up his day--constant motion!

This was his partner in crime--Gus. Gus is really the perfect dog for kids, and Zack was really good with him. Zack gave him many hugs, and offered to share his juice and his grapes with Gus. Gus politely declined, though he did help himself to one of Zack's crackers.

They saw things nose-to-nose.

The words just keep coming! Upstairs, downstairs, trash, mess (this one is used a lot), stuck, rain, cold, hot, warm, books, oh no!, spoon, pepper, fox, socks, bag, birdie, squirrel.

And what a little snuggler he's becoming! Especially when he wants a book read to him. He'll climb up in bed, arrange the pillows the way he wants them, then look at me and pat the pillow next to him so that I'll come and read to him. A heart-melter, that one!

We've started all sitting in bed and reading to Zack before he goes to bed. Tonight Rob was reading him a book and it was apparently going on a little too long. Zack got Green Eggs and Ham, handed it to me, and said "me." He kept pushing it towards me, but I tried to get him to finish listening to Rob's book. Finally, he took matters into his own hands--he took the book from Rob, handed me Green Eggs and Ham, and said "me" again. Point taken.

Like the bag that Rob brought back from London for me?

Yeah, me, too.

You'll never guess...
...who else does, too.

He is now a pretty much self-sufficient eater. There is much protesting if we try to help (and will gently but firmly remove our hand from the bowl we're preventing from falling on the floor). He uses both a fork and a spoon (the former a bit better than the latter). I'm still not sure about his handedness--the fork goes in his right hand and the spoon goes in his left.

He has also discovered the water dispenser on the fridge. He is surprisingly good at filling a cup and (usually) not spilling too much. But he's not 100% accurate yet, and the look on his face when he gets doused with ice cold water is precious!

How embarrassing!

I've got a strawberry stuck to my shoe!


....can I get a little help here?

Another indicator of how active and curious he is.

He also climbed on the dining room table the other night and Rob caught him just as he was about to put his hand in the flame of the candle that was lit on the table. Sigh. Never a dull moment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1 year, 39 weeks: Randomness


Caught red (chocolate?)-handed!!!!

Mommy made chocolate chip cookies for me!

He likes to help Daddy.

We were sitting at a table waiting for our pizza at Mia's Pizza on Saturday. Zack had been playing with his "meow meow" (stuffed cat) while we were sitting there, but I lost sight of it. I asked him where it was. He looks straight at me, gleam in his eye, slowly lifts the cat from his lap to above the table, and says, "Peekaboo!""

What, don't you like fried trucks?

This was the conversation at dinner the other night:

Rob: Do you want more pasta?
Zack: Nooooo. (what I can't quite capture here is the way he grins and makes fish lips at the same time)
R: Do you want some juice?
Z: Nooooo.
R: Do you want some fruit?
Z: Nooooo.
R: Are you cute?
Z: Noooooo.
R: Is that your Mommy? (pointing to me)
Z: Noooooo.
R: (pause)
Z: Nooooooo.

Sunday night before dinner, this little guy crawled up on the couch with me, stole my water bottle, and made himself comfy.

Then he snuggled up next to me.

I think I've mentioned before how much our neighbors, Ed and Cecelia (Cessy), love having Zack next door. The feeling is mutual. Whenever the doorbell rings, Zack says "Cessy!". Whenever the telephone rings, he says "Cessy?" When we go for walks, he likes to stop by and see Cessy. Now that it's dark by the time we get home, we don't see Cessy outside as much as we used to. We'll occassionally walk over and knock on the door and visit for awhile. Zack has not hesitated to make himself right at home and kind of has a routine when he visits. He needs to hear the cow cookie jar Mooooo, he needs a Ritz cracker, he has to play with the gourds on the coffee table. He is no longer allowed to play with the phone.

Since Sunday was the first day the sun had come out in quite some time, Zack and I went to the playground after his nap, returning just as the sun was setting. He, however, was not finished outside and wanted to take a walk over to see Cessy. I knew they had company, so I told him not tonight. Well, he was persistent and started climbing the fence to get into her yard!

One morning this past weekend we all woke up a bit late and were slow to get going. I was puttering around in the kitchen getting the morning started, waiting for Rob to come down to cook eggs. Zack was a little cranky so I gave him some juice and Cheerios to tide him over. He quietly took them over to the couch, climbed up, and sat there groggily (as groggily as he looks) eating and drinking.

And finally, a glimpse of his after-dinner behavior--spinning and dancing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

1 year, 37 weeks

Zack thought Halloween was pretty cool. Rob carved a jack-o-lantern for him, and we decorated a bit with some lights and gourds and a ceramic jack-o-lantern that was given to me when I was a little girl. He did a little trick or treating and was fascinated by the kids coming to our house. He got so excited whenever the doorbell rang! And somehow, even though we haven't really given him candy, he definitely knew what was in the bowl of candy and wanted some! We had to hide it because he got a little too into it. I brought the carved pumpkin in the house so that we could enjoy it more. Now it's very important to Zack that Rob and I appropriately Oooooh and Aaaaaaah over it and the ceramic one.

He was chasing his tail--really.

Dogs get hungry, too.

Over all, it was all a big hit. I really can't wait until Christmas now--he's just going to be blown away! He was looking at a catalog with me yesterday and was already getting excited at pictures of ornaments to put on the tree. Lights and balls and stars! What more could a little boy want!

Speaking of which, he's learned his first shape--a star. He picks them out everywhere--in books, on toys, on front doors. I can't help but wonder why stars? Why not circles or squares or rhombuses (rhombii?)? I'm sure those shapes will have their turn, but right now, stars are where it's at.

He had his first swimming lesson last Saturday. The instructor was pretty impressed with how comfortable he was in the water. He had a blast and took a VERY good nap that afternoon.

It seems like he's learning new words every day. "Truck-trucks" are big now and he points them out as we drive. This term seems to apply mostly to trucks and busses, but cars and vans also fall into this category at times. He knows "cookie", which means anything from graham crackers to Halloween candy. He loves to sit on the couch and look through his books, picking out things that he knows--bananas, ducks, trucks, apples, dogs, cats, rabbits, stars, monkeys. He's also taken to getting up on the bed, lying on his back and looking at books that way--pretty darned cute! He likes to say the word "apple," but is more interested in throwing them on the floor than actually eating them.

We started filling the bird feeder (though only on the weekend because the birds are PIGS. But that's another story) which is right outside our dining room table. Zack has been so excited to watch the birds and squirrels. Now if only he could figure out that banging on the window is not, in fact, a welcoming gesture to the birds.

In the scatological department: he's started asking for a new diaper, especially early in the morning; he sits on his potty and says "pee-pee"; he's said "poo-poo" after passing gas (ok, so we've got to work on the nuances, but he's got the right idea!).

He continues to be his charming self. It's so hard to capture this in pictures and in words. He has lots of funny little expressions and noises and starts walking in these goofy ways that just crack us up and make our hearts melt. Like last Sunday we went for a walk, even though it was raining. Zack was snug as a bug with the rain cover on his stroller. For nearly the entire walk, he sat in there eating Cheerios and singing. Yesterday we went for a walk around the block after getting home. A new phone book had been delivered on the front walk, which he decided needed to go along with us. So he dragged it along behind him. And was then perplexed when the book fell out of the plastic bag that had been worn through from being dragged. He pulls the container of spices out of the cabinet, carries it all the way over to the couch, and then sorts them and is thoroughly amused by the jar full of "balls" (more commonly known as peppercorns).