Cuddles has no use for flowers.  He's a candy type of guy.
Niklas will tell Zoe the names of all of these buildings, even if he has to make them up.

  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • Octember 2011
  • September 2011
  • 2010-2011
  • 2009-2010
  • 2008-2009
  • 2007-2008
  • 2006-2007

  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • 2010-2011
  • 2009-2010
  • 2008-2009
  • 2007-2008
  • 2006-2007

  • 2012-02-01: So, today was Wednesday (if you didn't know, now you know). On Wednesday, Niklas has school and Zoe has her music class. As Andrya is still working insane hours in far off locales (today: scenic Madison, WI), the kids and I are wearing out our CTA card. To get to school, we take the brown line to the red line and then walk a few blocks. We could take the bus, but it's just as crowded and there are infinite stops involved instead of just two. Also, Niklas loves the train and just really likes the bus. After we drop Niklas off, Zoe and I head up to her music class. We can grab a bus to get there, but if it's nice (ish) out, we usually walk. Today, Zoe insisted upon walking the whole way, which is 0.8 miles according to Google maps, whose estimate I'm willing to accept. This is quite a long way for one and a half year old, but the adverse affects (yelling, screeching, general disagreement) didn't manifest themselves until late this afternoon. Anyway, after music class, Zoe and I will grab the brown line home so as to have some snacks and watch Elmo on Sesame Street. Then, we'll take the bus (which isn't crowded at this point) down to pick Niklas up from school. Upon successfully completing that task, the three of us will take the red line back to the brown line to the house. To sum up, I'm glad we didn't buy a bigger house that required you to take a bus just to get to the train.
    Zoe's bangs have been out of control for the last week or so.

    Also, I don't care for that hat. Probably won't see that again. Anyway, we successfully addressed the bangs today:

    Face scrapes? First I've heard of it. It might be some sort of weird digital photo artifact. I suppose if I were to engage in hypotheticals, one might speculate that after a successful trip to the hair cutting place, Lady von Ruckus insisted on walking back to the train by herself and managed to face plant herself with an impressive "thunk" which yielded a forehead lump/scrape, a nick on the side of her nose and some yelling. I don't know why you would think that, though. The vast majority of the time, I manage to bring my children home without any blood loss. 80%, at least.
    Apologies for the lack of update yesterday, but I was nigh incapacitated by Super Bowl jambalaya. The kids had a good weekend, though. Niklas had his swimming class and Zoe ruckused it up as is her wont. Also, they had some pizza, which was popular. Did we do anything else? The grocery store, maybe? Children melt your brain, it would seem. Anyway, here are those pictures that I owe you.
    2012-02-07: Phrases I said repeatedly today:

    "Zoe, get down off of the table."
    "Zoe, stuff on the counter is not for you to play with."
    "Zoe, stop it or it's a time out."
    "Time out, Zoe."

    Other than that, though, it was an alright day. Niklas had a good day at school and Zoe got all of her good behavior out of her system at the playroom at the gym.
    No one got tossed into time out today. I don't remember the last time that happened, so apparently it's been a while (or maybe by brain's been melted by toddler shrieks, but either way: enjoyable). Niklas learned about... something, probably at school. I guess I didn't ask today. His teachers seemed pleased with him when we picked him up, so I assume he learned whatever it was he was supposed to. He had tacos for lunch, if you find that interesting. No? Fine, that's fine. Zoe had a good time at her music class. At the end, they sing a goodbye song, so I suggested to Zoe that she should take that opportunity to "say goodbye to everyone." She took that to mean saying goodbye to all of the parents while ingoring the other children. I need to work on being more specific.
    So I took the kids out to lunch today. We went to Uncle Julio's on account of how Zoe and I often walk past it after dropping Niklas off at school and she gets excited every time she sees the sign. "The guy! The guy!" she yells for some reason. Uncle Julio certainly does appear to be a guy, so she's dead on, there. Anyway, the last couple times we've taken Lady von Z out to eat, she has ruckused it up something fierce, but today, she behaved herself remarkably well. That may be because she loves chips and salsa and you get chips and salsa pretty much as soon as you sit down so Zoe was able to start shotgunning salsa before the ruckus could build up. Regardless. I also let her walk down the sidewalk quite a bit (as opposed to carrying her) which is one of her favorite things these days. "I walk too," says Zoe. This is in marked contrast to the "Daddy carry you" I got from Niklas when he was that age. In his defense, we did live at the top of a giant hill.

    Speaking of Niklas, I let him watch the third (or sixth, whatever) Star Wars movie today. The Sith one. It's the best of the crap ones, I guess. He thought it was awesome, which I guess is alright. The plan is to take him to see the re-release of the Phantom Menace next week. That one's the crappiest of the crap ones, so we'll see how that goes. I'm afraid he's going to like it, although there is, as I recollect, a twelve hour or so scene set on Tatooine and he has told me that his least favorite part of the real Star Wars is "the desert planet". Really, though, Niklas makes up superior dialogue when playing with his Star Wars guys than George Lucas wrote for those prequels.
    2012-02-12: Things actually happened this weekend! On Friday, Niklas's school had a 100 Day party which celebrates the 100th day of the school year. Given that Niklas only goes three days a week, it's more like 60 day party for him, but he's not doing that level of math yet. So, 100 Day party! To celebrate, all the kids were supposed to bring in 100 of something. Last year, Niklas took some (one hundred, I suppose) hockey cards. This year, he took the Star Wars mini-figures that used to belong to his Uncle Eric. He also wore a Star Wars shirt and sang the Star Wars theme song over and over again in the car on the way to school. So now this paragraph has become all about Star Wars which is how things go with Niklas these days. Anyway, a good time was had by all.

    While Niklas was partying the party of 100 Days, Zoe and I went to the gym. The brave, brave lady in charge of the playroom there trusted Zoe with some paint, so Lady von Z favored everyone with this piece:

    On Saturday, Jared brought his boys over. Niklas and Aaron played Star Wars and Super Heroes and Loud, Loud Punks Who Make Way Too Much Noise While Their Fathers Are Trying To Watch College Basketball while Zoe pointed at Zack and said "Baby! Baby!" excitedly. She likes babies. Today, Andrya took Niklas over to his friend Mason's house where there was apparently much playing and good behavior. I tried to show Zoe how to take a nap in a sunny spot on the floor like a cat, but she wouldn't stay put so she had to take her nap in her crib while I slept in a sunny spot on the floor like a cat. Meow. Also, (very few)
    2012-02-13: So I took the kids into the office today on account of how I needed a software update for some important engineering related tasks that I should be doing right this second, but am not. Anyway, they were reasonably well behaved. Niklas thought it was pretty boring until I let him watch Star Wars on the iPhone. Zoe had access to a white board and some markers, so she had a blast. I had to confiscate the white board cleaner whose label prominently featured the word "combustible". Zoe can destroy things with the utmost efficiency as it is. On the down side, it took forever to load a year's worth of updates, so lunch got pushed back which made both kids uber-loopy. This manifested itself with Zoe throwing my sandwich on the ground at the Potbelly's. Did I mention that the wanton destruction of my sandwich was accompanied by maniacal laughter? Well, it was.
    Here's a Valentine's Day message of love from Zoe:

    Niklas concurs.
    Niklas learned about shapes at school today. He's already pretty solid on those, so I guess it's like the retraining courses his Grandpap Smith would take every once in a while. Mining equipment and rectangles are similar, it would seem. Zoe had a good time at her music class, as is per usual. This time, I was quite specific in saying "go say hi to the other kids", but she still went around high fiving all of the other kids' moms instead. We also narrowly avoided having to climb through a dumpster looking for keys, so success!
    I took the kids to the Children's Museum yesterday. A good time was had by all. Well, not me, but the kids had fun. For some reason, I don't find hordes of screaming, rioting children to be overly awesome. But yeah, Zoe and Niklas tore it up something fierce. Zoe seemed to enjoy throwing bits of fake dirt at Niklas at the fake dinosaur dig the most. Niklas didn't think that was so great, but he did spend nigh forever delivering fake mail in the Kid's Town play area. Then we had lunch at McDonald's, which is to children as bar with fried things and high end beer is to me, so, a good day, then.

    And now, here are things going terribly wrong for Luke Skywalker:

    Well, Zoe's been sick for the last couple of days. Zoe is remarkably tolerant of illness, so that makes things a lot easier. Yesterday, when she threw up a bunch of juice all over herself, she said (in her saddest sad voice) "spilled juice! spilled juice!". Other than the occasional bout of puking, she's been either napping (in her crib, on the couch or on me on the couch) or acting healthy for stretches wherein she tries to cram a whole day's worth of destructivity into one or two hours. Niklas has been behaving himself extra well and has helped get blankets and stuffed animals and whatnot as required. "I hope Zoe gets better soon," says Niklas.

    I hope to have some new pictures up tomorrow. I also hope to have an immense amount of work done by tomorrow night, so we'll see how that goes.
    Zoe's not quite operating at 100%, but she's much closer than she was yesterday. She was feeling well enough that we took Niklas to t-ball (he did pretty well today) but not so great that she ran about quite as much as usual. Other than that, we pretty much laid low today. Niklas talked about Star Wars a lot and Zoe laughed an unreasonable amount when I took her teddy bear's shirt off. (It's in need of repairs.) There are some new pictures up, so there's that.
    2012-02-21: Niklas had pajama day at school today. You wouldn't think that not having to make Niklas get dressed (which he does, by himself, in a reasonable amount of time) would make my day any better, but I am lazy at a much higher level than most people. One less thing is one less thing, so Huzzah! Pajama day also included a pizza party, so Niklas had a good day. Meanwhile, Battlestation Z is once again full operational. I took her to the playroom at the gym (where she is quite popular with the staff due to her charming personality and lack of screeching that is prevalent among many of the other children) and she pretty much ran herself into exhaustion. This resulted in a very good Zoe nap, which combined with the one less thing in the morning made today pretty much the best ever for me. Wooooooo!
    We didn't have school or anything today, so I took the kids to the coffee shop with the playroom attached. Niklas has been there a couple of times, but this was Zoe's first trip. She had a very good time which works out well for me as they have some sort of Coke/espresso combo drink there that is caffeine shake inducingly awesome. Anyway, Niklas spent most of his time hanging out with some kid his age. They had a demolition derby with trains, went on a safari and made some snake sandwiches, as five year old boys are wont to do. Zoe dunked a basketball, but I question whether the ball or the hoop met the regulations of the state of Illinois. She also prepared a bunch of fake food in the fake kitchen and delivered to all of the other parents in the place. She's outgoing, apparently.
    I took Niklas to see Star Wars Episode I in 3D yesterday. The 3D did little to allay my dislike of the film (1999 me was pretty much right on), but Niklas loved it which bumped the whole experience up to a solid "eh". "Daddy, I like Star Wars a lot more than you do," said Niklas. His favorite part was the pod race, during which he was literally on the edge of his seat. He also at half of a giant bag of popcorn and most of a large box of M&Ms, so yeah, thumbs up from Niklas.

    Pictures of a new variety can be found
    2012-02-27: One of the big differences between Zoe at 20 months and Niklas at that age is where they live. (The biggest difference, obviously, is their hair color). In Bermuda (where it's 61 degrees right now at midnight local time), we didn't really put any sort of effort into making sure Niklas stayed covered up at night. Zoe, meanwhile, lives in Chicago where the fact that we haven't seen a week straight of single digit temperatures means that it's been a mild winter. This has led to her being in a sleep sack for eight months longer than her brother. An interesting developmental note: somewhere in those extra eight months children figure out how a zipper works, so now we're dealing with Zoe taking her sleep sack off and freezing her feet at night on account of how she refuses to keep her socks on. To combat this, we tried putting her in footy pajamas. The downside to that is that the footy pajamas are, like the sleep sack, secured by a zipper. To sum up, when I went in to get Zoe this morning, she was laughing hysterically and completely naked.
    2012-02-28: Zoe's cadre of crib dwelling stuffed animals has now expanded to nine (Baby, Dolly, Lolly, Snuggles, Mickey, Penny, Elmo, Bunny and Pooh). This is an inconvenience for me as her nap time song involves me saying good night to all of them. On the plus side, she's been pretty good about taking her naps of late, so singing to a bunch of bears and baby dolls and whatnot is a small price to pay.

    Niklas is supposed to bring something that starts with W to school for show and tell this Friday. The smart money right now is on minor Cars character
    Wingo, but there's still plenty of time for a wild card (perhaps literally) to make a move. Place your bets! Please note that the house takes 5% of all show and tell related wagers.
    2012-02-29: Zoe refuses to call Niklas "Niklas". Instead she calls him "brother". "Where brother?" asks Zoe whenever Niklas is out of sight. "Brother's nose" she says whenever she points at his nose which happens much more than I ever would have anticipated. "Brother's shoes!" she screams as she's running down the hall with Niklas's shoes thereby delaying our departure for wherever it is we're going. She also says "hey, brother" quite a bit, so that's what we'll be working on in the near future, lest we end up here.