Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Unproductive But Relaxing Weekend




















I love weekends. . . especially weekend mornings. Greg lets me sleep in, so I don't get up until 8 or later. I get to feed Nick his breakfast, and there's no hurry. Nick loved it when I stuck Cheerios on his nose. He is easily amused. The only thing that could make a weekend like this better is if it was warm outside. I'm looking forward to March, because there's usually at least one warm day. I am so ready for that one warm day. This time of year I feel like hibernating. I only left the house once, to run to the grocery store. I read Nick the same four books at least seventeen times. We stayed in our pajamas most of the weekend.

























We played blocks, cars, catch, and peekaboo. Nick threw balls at our heads and laughed loudly when we shouted, "Ouch!" Greg made a delicious Carne Asada and homemade guacamole that was to die for. Nick was eating the guacamole by the handful.




















Then today, I made Pasta e Fagioli in the crockpot. It was delicious and made a ton of leftovers. Truly, I got almost nothing done this weekend. But I don't mind. . . unproductive also means relaxing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

He Can Stomp Like an Elephant!

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Lately I've been reading Nicholas lots of books with elephants. He has the "Waddle" book (by Rufus Butler Seder) that asks, "Can you stomp like an elephant?" We read the "Wacky, Wild Peekaboo" book (by Tim Bugbird) where the elephant stomps in anger because even though he has ears "like wings that flip and flap," he could "never, ever fly." So is it any surprise that he's been stomping around a lot lately? The stomping elephants, plus the shoes that make a satisfying "squeak!" when he stomps, plus the hardwood floors, all ensure that plenty of footwork will be going on at my house.




Friday, February 26, 2010

Bouncy Time!

One of Nick's favorite games is "Bouncy Time." That is when Greg or I take him and sit him on one of our big bouncy exercise balls (pilates balance balls). He gets so excited and giggles uncontrollably.






















Pardon my poor-quality pictures. It's the camera. But note the look of concentration on Nick's face, and the way he balls his hands into fists as he helps his daddy bounce him on the ball. If Greg stops for a minute to rest, Nick will keep trying to make the ball bounce.
























Our only problem comes when bouncy time is over. Nicholas simply cannot accept that the bouncing must end. I think he wants it to continue forever. This is the sad face he gives us every single time we stop the bouncing.






















The only thing wrong with this boy is that Greg stopped bouncing him. Sigh. See the shiny tear trickling down his disappointed little face? Nick has learned a valuable lesson--all fun must end sometime. I think I didn't learn that lesson until after college.  ;)

I didn't post all week this week, which is weird for me. It was a crazy week. I was one of the presenters for teacher institute day today, and I was planning all week. I stayed after school for a presenters meeting Monday, and Tuesday through Thursday I stayed late to teach extended day. Plus, on Thursday, I had to stay for the Dr. Seuss parent night I'd volunteered for. Then, I spent two nights up until almost midnight working on my powerpoint presentation. The institute day went okay, but we were short on time, and I felt like I rushed too much through my part. I'm always better at teaching when I can focus on depth over breadth. But overall it wasn't a bad day. I feel like I did the best I could under the circumstances.

I can tell you, though, that I'm very grateful that the weekend is here. I want to rest a lot and drink plenty of earl grey tea and play with Nick. I feel like this week I was too preoccupied with school work to sit down on the floor with him very much. So I tried today to spend at least an hour straight playing blocks and cars with him. I think it's so adorable when he drives the little cars around. Then we read stories. I love Fridays.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Little Stinker



Do you know that look that a little boy gets when he's about to do something naughty? That determined, focused look that boys get while causing mischief?

I secretly think that look is very cute. Check out the naughty grin in the next two pictures. Nick is very aware of the mess he's making.


I could get mad, or I could get my camera. I chose to smile and take pictures. I can teach him about what not to do with the toilet paper later on. I can be the mommy and chastise him later. For now, I'll just enjoy his joyful dancing. . .   : )




























. . . because sometimes naughty is adorable, and I love my little stinker.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

He cracks himself up!


Nick was in a weird mood yesterday and today, alternating between giggly joy and unadulterated rage. On Sunday, he missed his morning nap entirely (refused to sleep), and had a short afternoon nap, so I'm pretty sure that's the reason he was on an emotional roller coaster. He would be laughing and shrieking with delight, and then, for no apparant reason, his happiness would evaporate and become extreme anger. Soon he would be on the floor, throwing an all-out temper tantrum. It was like having two completely different babies. . . that or a roommate with PMS.
























Notice the wild, excited gleam in his eyes. He was very happy to have stolen the camera case from me. Right after I snapped this picture, he picked up a plastic cooking pan from his play stove and conked me over the head with it. I must've done something to make him angry. "No hitting," I told him firmly and took the pan away. Then I got this look:



Yeah, he was a roller coaster of moods, all right. We're torn between giving him the binky (at which point he instantly becomes an angel) and trying to break him of the binky habit, at least during non-sleeping hours. The screams are making us lean towards the binky.


I took the video below during one of his happy times, when he was playing with his shape sorter and talking to me. I can't figure out how to edit video yet, so I had to download the whole thing (45 seconds). The adorable giggles come in about halfway through.


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If nothing else, Nick was a great distraction this weekend. I didn't have the best week, but a couple of hours of playing with a baby is good for the soul. Even if he did have multiple personalities.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Night out for Valentine's Day


















We celebrated our Valentine's Day on Saturday, because that's when we could get a babysitter. I was impressed: Greg brought me roses and took me out to a really nice restaurant. We went to Catch 35 in Naperville, but because it was Valentine's Day we had a 4:30 reservation. Actually, the timing was really great, because they weren't too crowded and we could linger over our food. Oh, and the food. . . it was amazing, and not too expensive, either. We had calamari, which was divine, and Greg had their salmon, which he said was excellent. I had crab bisque and the Valentine's Day weekend special of lobster and filet with a mushroom sauce over blue cheese risotto. (My mouth is watering as I remember.) But my favorite thing was their key lime pie. It was a true key lime pie, not green and fakey like at some places. My only regret is that Greg and I split dessert. I wish I'd have ordered my own to take home.

















Going out early had its advantages, too. Not only did we get to linger over our food in a fairly uncrowded room, we also didn't have to wait to be seated, and we were awake to truly enjoy our food. Last year we had 8 p.m. reservations at a place up in Rosemont, and they didn't seat us until 9:30 because they were so crowded.

After our wonderful dinner, we went out to the movies, which we haven't done in months. Picking a movie to see is always a challenge, but we finally decided on the Sherlock Holmes movie. (Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, both looking sexy? Count me in!) I liked what they did with it, actually. I loved the Sherlock Holmes books when I was in high school, and some people criticized this movie because they took it in a different direction. I didn't mind, though. . . I thought it was well done.

We both enjoyed the movie, but it's getting weird how much action there is in movies nowadays. I'm not necessarily talking about chase scenes and whatnot. Rather, the movement doesn't stop, almost as if the filmmakers think we all have ADD and can't concentrate on one thing for more than a few seconds. I'm afraid all movies are going to be like that from now on. I have a very good attention span, but there's not much chance to use it in movies nowadays.
























My sister made this little cupid from a picture of Nick she took a few weeks ago. I thought it was appropriate for Valentine's Day. Oh, and yes, I'm aware that she's missing an apostrophe. I still think it's adorable. Especially his hair--it gets all curly and cute when he comes out of the tub.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sleepytime



















Lately Nick has been sleeping with a blankie. He grabs it and snuggles up to bed. We have not, however, been able to break him of the binkie. Greg and I are far too weak. Either that, or Nick's will is just too strong.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Greg's Birthday Celebration

Today was Greg's 36th Birthday. It was a great day. We started out by having brunch at Meson Sabika this morning with Greg's dad and stepmom. It's funny how families have different birthday traditions. In Greg's family, there are cards but no actual presents, just a very nice meal. I like that tradition, especially when it involves tapas. Ever since I stayed in Spain for a month back in 2004, I've jumped at any chance to eat my favorite foods, like gambas al ajillo, and calamari a ala plancha, and champinones. (shrimp with garlic, grilled calamari, and stuffed mushrooms). We ate until we burst, and everything was delicious. Nick especially loved the fresh fruit, the shrimp, and the rice pudding. Oh, and he got a real kick out of the cup they gave him with the straw.



Ever since Nick was born, I've been using pictures of him to make my own cards for people. Basically, I take a picture of Nick and stick a hat and some props on him. It only takes a few minutes, and my family and friends really seem to appreciate a personalized card with a special message from Nick. There will come a point when he's old enough to forbid me to use his pictures in such a way. Not yet, though.  :)























Nick and I got Greg some new jeans, several very nice bottles of wine (A nice Pinot Noir and a few bottles of Australian Chardonnay), a new watch, and an ice cream cake. Can you see the excitement on both of their faces when they saw the ice cream cake?























I think Greg ended up with a pretty good birthday weekend. Friday, we went out with his mom and sister to Hugo's Frog Bar in Naperville. The food was superb, but they didn't seat us until 7:30 for a 7 pm reservation. Also, they didn't have a changing table. Of course, Nick had a dirty diaper. That's just Murphy's Law. Nick's Aunt Sarah and I were going to walk down to the Border's to change him, but Greg grabbed Nick and said he'd take care of it. I'm not sure what kind of miracle he finagled, but Nick got a clean diaper.





















I think the funniest part of the day was when Nick got to demolish the ice cream cake. It was only a tiny piece, but boy, did he make a mess. Then daddy gave Nick a nice bubble bath, to get the chocolate out of his ears. Nice way to end a birthday celebration.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Here, Kitty-Kitty. . .

This is Molly. She is a 9-year old mixed-breed cat, and she has a thing for Nick. Our other cats are afraid of him, but she actively seeks him out. The feeling is mutual, as you can see above.


I got Molly in 2001 when she was a tiny little thing. She's always been the most vocal cat, and her personality is more human than cat. Molly makes all kinds of noises, and is especially attached to men, although she tolerates me. With four males in the house (two human and two feline), Molly and I are the only girls around. She genuinely believes she is in charge, and it is seldom that anyone argues with that. Our two other cats know that she's the one in charge, and they accept her dominance.

When Nicholas starts crying, Molly will go to him and yowl at us as if to say, "Do something about it!" I'm not sure if she does this out of love or because she can't stand the sound of his crying. She'll try to comfort him, too, by nuzzling him with her chin. A couple of days ago she sat under his high chair and he threw her pieces of roast beef. I was thinking maybe he didn't like roast beef, but then I fed it to him today and he liked it just fine. Babies are fickle, I guess.

Nick likes to show his affection for Molly with big hugs. Unfortunately, he often tackles her to the ground with these hugs. Other cats would run away, but Molly stands her ground and refuses to leave, even after having her ears pulled or her fur yanked. Molly's patience has increased in recent months, and she mostly just growls until Greg or I come and peel him off of her. It's not surprising that one of his first words is "Kitty." When I gave Nick a bath this morning, Molly sat on the toilet lid and watched, intrigued as to why someone would want to be sitting in all that water.


There was lots of time for cat-human interaction this weekend. Today we stayed home and relaxed, and the cats got plenty of exercise while running from Nick. It must be something about winter, but I never feel like doing much around this time of year. I'd rather just stay inside and dream of warmer days.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Squeaky Shoes

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I bought some cool new shoes for Nick last week on Ebay. Yes, they really do squeak. The cats weren't sure what to think of him. Nicholas has been stomping around all afternoon, showing off his new toy. He was doing some dancing, too, earlier today. These shoes are too big for him, so I think I'll have to get another pair in a smaller size. He really loves them, and I sure can't lose him with these shoes.

Lately Nick's been into kitchen implements. Spoons, tupperware, bowls. . . he's fascinated with all of them. I guess the little girls at his babysitter's house like to have play picnics with their mini dishes. He must be picking up on that. I gave him a spoon and a piece of tupperware, and he was in heaven.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

An upside down, mildly fuzzy picture that I really like, for some odd reason


I really like this picture. I know it's kind of blurry, and Nick's hanging upside down. I was hitting his favorite tickle spot. He loves to play "upside-down baby."

Blurry is also how I felt today. Funny how Mondays can be that way. I was reading some stories to Nick this evening and I suddenly realized how little I remembered about what I had done all day. I know that I went to work, had a meeting, and tested a bunch of kids. But most of it was slightly out of focus, at least until I bought a latte at the grocery store around 4:30. Then everything became crystal clear. Funny how caffeine can do that. I swear, if Starbucks delivered to my school, I would spend $20 per week, at least.