Friday, July 31, 2009

Great Friends

Our friends the O'Neills are moving soon, so we had dinner at their house last night to squeeze in a little more time with them before they move so far away (yes, they are only moving to Lowell, but considering that we can walk to each other's houses now, it feels like a long ways away).

The kids seemed to have a great time together, especially Anna and Little B - Jessica basically slept the entire time and kept to herself. Anna showed B where the neighbors live.

And my little guy was fascinated by the bunny cages they have.

Anna had her dad build a fort out of moving boxes and a blanket. Ahh, the joys of being a kid!

And Little B enjoyed Anna's Dora couch.

Shaun and the little guy had a great time banging on the arm of the sofa together!

And my guys did a little dance for everyone before we left.

All in all, it was a really great evening spent with really great friends. We'll surely see them after they move, but it'll suck not to have them so close to us. Such is life. We all have to move on at some point, right?

Makin' a Run to Birch Run

On Tuesday we decided to head on over to the other side of the mitten for a little outlet shopping at Birch Run. The weather was supposed to be crappy, but it turned out to be a lovely day! Thanks, Michigan and Mother Nature! You two never seem to work together, but when you get it right, you get it right.

My little guy was, of course, a champ. He spent most of the day in his stroller and was a total angel. We did our best to make it a fun day for him by showing him every mirror possible, and the like.

If you've never been to Birch Run, and I suspect that some of you haven't, the buildings aren't all connected like at some other outlet malls, so we had to do some improvising on the way to Restoration Hardware. Here is my mom schlepping the little guy across the parking lot so we wouldn't have to strap him in the car seat (not his favorite thing) one more time.

Later on, my son and his Oma had a lovely time trying on scarves.

And pulling size tags off of the sale clothes.

Since most of his day was spent confined to either his car seat or his stroller, we decided to let him roam around when we got home. He decided to show off his skills for us, stacking some cups (a first!) ...

... and his new favorite, tossing and catching the baby from his toy minivan in a cup.

We had a great day, and I am so proud of Little B for being so patient with all the shopping and driving and whatnot. I have such a cool kiddo!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finally! A Beautiful Summer Day!

We finally had a day in July nice enough to even consider going for a swim at Oma's house, so Little B and I decided we'd head on over there after he finished his nap and lunch. He woke up from a nearly two hour nap (!!!), all snuggly with Mr. Bear and not really wanting to let him go. So we brought the fuzzy friend downstairs with us; the little man wanted me to give his bear some kisses, so I did.

Then he took his turn ... and gnawed on Mr. Bear a little bit.

Once it was time for lunch, he plopped Mr. Bear on the counter so he could watch. (Seriously, he did this ... not me.)

I gave Little B some puffs while I got his lunch all prepared and decided that his stuffed little buddy should have some, too. Once my son finished his puffs, though, he started to steal them from Mr. Bear.

We finally made it over to my parents' house and went for a swim! The water was brisk at first, but as long as the wind stayed away it was exceedingly pleasant. Little B seemed to enjoy sucking on his octopus squirty toy.

And he most definitely enjoyed it when we got out the little pitcher and started pouring water for him to stick his hands in!

Then he decided he needed to check out the railing, so shiny in the afternoon sun.

He seemed to like being bobbed in and out of the water, so we did that for as long as my arms would hold up.

Eventually, our feet reached maximum pruney-ness, signaling that it was time to get out of the pool. After swimming, it is always a good idea to replenish one's resources, so we took a little snack break. During that time, my son figured out how to get the lid off his container of puffs and stick his arm in there to retrieve his puffers. No more using that as a distraction/rattle, I guess!

The little man started showing signs of tiredness after a while ... so much fun in the sun.

So we went inside and played with his sports center. He's still trying to get the hang of it.

Isn't he super duper cute? (Yes, I know I am biased. No need to remind me.)

Then he needed to get in some play time with his beloved chair before we headed home to see Daddy. So excited!

After dinner it was snuggle time with Daddy.

They took turns patting the tie-dyed lap pad for a while. Simple things can be so much fun!

Then it was time for bed. After a long day of fun, my little man was ready for a good night's sleep! Yahoo! Happiness for us all.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beautiful People

I just read an article on The Huffington Post about an amazing little girl named Phoebe who raised money to donate to the San Francisco Food Bank. After seeing a hungry, homeless man on the street holding a sign asking for money, she decided that she wanted to help this man and others like him who were hungry. She sent out 150 letters to friends and family, asking for pop can donations to help her meet her goal of raising $1000 in two months. Only 50 people responded initially, but as more and more people heard about her efforts the donations started flooding in. By the end of her two months she raised a whopping $3,736.30 - enough for the SF Food Bank to feed 17,800 people! To read the full article and see a video put together about 5 year-old Phoebe and her project, click here.

The article, and the little girl in it, made me feel hopeful - hopeful that there are good things happening out there today. Today's news is so often filled with sad, dismal information, that it is refreshing to hear about people who are doing good things, being good to one another.

Another site I came upon through the Huffington Post article was As they put it on their website: "We value the sharing of ideas, talents, and resources with others to create a community filled with compassion and respect." I love this. Though it is a fledgling website and project, I see a lot of potential in this cause and its creator Toan Lam. He plans to publish inspirational stories of people helping one another in hopes of inspiring others to be kind to their fellow man.

Then, of course, there is one of my favorite sites that I know I have mentioned previously: Operation Nice. Melissa, the creator of the Operation Nice blog, wants to encourage people to be nice to one another. In her words: "I believe that kindness can change the world, so it's my mission to spread the concept of being nice, as simple as that may sound." Simply by being nice to someone else, we can make the world a better, happier place to be. How great is that?!

I hope you guys enjoy the article and the websites I've included on this post! Have a beautiful day!

The Many Faces of Mr. Jacques

And on a side note, we fed the little man some kalamata olives last night and he actually seemed to like them. Unfortunately, he ended up with a mouthful of them, unsure of how to swallow them; I think the skins were giving him fits.

And this is how my husband came downstairs last evening dressed for a family evening out ...

Just like he did in high school. Ah, memories!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Junior Safari Master

My son wore his Sesame Street safari outfit yesterday and looked absolutely adorable! Here he is boning up on his wild animal knowledge.

Taking time out of his explorations to smile for Mommy.

I found an elephant (bowling pin)! Can you believe it?!

Hanging out with Grandma! Little explorers still need some hugging every now and then.

Showing Aunt Christine how I can hang on the rim like a real basketball player. Not really safari related but still a lot of fun!

Taking some time out of exploring to give Oma some love.

Ah, the little-seen species ... shoeus maximus.

Double-duty exploring: the stove knobs and Aunt Christine's popsicle treat!

He looked so cute in his little safari outfit! All day we were calling him "Brian Fellow" after this classic SNL skit. To be fair, though, we call anyone wearing anything remotely safari-related "Brian Fellow".
Anyhow, I digress. It was a great day with a little explorer!

New Toys and Strength-Testing Grandpa E

Upon realizing that my son was a little too old for some of the toys at their house, my mom promptly put those toys away and got some new toys for him to play with. He spent Friday afternoon testing out those new toys.

She bought him this little turtle because lately he has been all about pushing things across the floor, and the turtle's wheels move very well. He seemed to like it well enough, and hopefully he'll soon want to play catch with it, pushing it back and forth to someone else.

The other toy she got him is the Little Tykes Little Champs 3-in-1 Sports Center. It features a baseball station, where you can hit a ball on a tee; a basketball station, where you can make baskets, score points, and enjoy some cheering and music; and a football station, where you can spin a football filled with colorful plastic beads. He liked the spinning football pretty well, but putting the basketballs into the hoop escaped him from the start. It turns out, my son is a bit of a cheater; here he is padding his score after discovering the button that gives you points when you make a basket.

He loved the sports music this center plays and spent the majority of his time dancing to it!

He eventually gained interest in the basketballs, but he didn't quite get that they were supposed to go in the basket; he mostly wanted to dance with them in his hand and push them onto the hardwood floor to watch them roll around.

My dad came home from work a little early and got some quality time in with his favorite little guy! As my son has been all about light switches lately, they spent some time working on his switching skills ... and seeing just how much squatting my dad's knees can take!

They quickly moved to a decidedly more stable kneeling position and took some time out to enjoy the fruits of their switching labor.

"See, the lights are on!" "Ooh!"

Eventually, my dad pulled up a chair so they could really enjoy the light switches. He was quick to remind my son, however, that those paddles only have so many switches before they'll break ... aaaand flashback to my childhood. (I love you, Dad!)

Admiring their handiwork once again.

I'm sure my son will enjoy his new toys even more the older he gets, and we'll have many more fun afternoons like this was!