Cuddles is ready for some trick or treating.  He's going as a bear this year.
Niklas will tell Zoe the names of all of these buildings, even if he has to make them up.

  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
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  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • 2011-2012
  • 2010-2011
  • 2009-2010
  • 2008-2009
  • 2007-2008
  • 2006-2007

  • 2012-10-02: So yesterday, Niklas had school as is per usual for a Monday. He had a good time. While Niklas was getting educated, Zoe tore it up at t-ball. After school, we went to the playground where Niklas played with his playground buddy Sam (who goes to some other school) and Zoe practiced her headfirst sliding technique. Zoe also had a spectacular wipeout on the big slide:

    She emerged unscathed, but she made up for that by running her face into the corner of the table today. She was somewhat scathed by that. Otherwise, though, today was cool. Niklas got to go to the library at school and Zoe had her music class which gets more popular with her by the week.
    So it rained today, afflicting both kids with cabin fever despite the fact that one of them was outside of the house for a solid seven hours. I have nothing further to report.
    It's been a few days since the last update. I don't think we've missed too much. It was pretty nice out on Thursday afternoon, so I took the kids to the playground after school. Zoe rode the swing for nigh ever and Niklas ran about like a crazy man. On Friday, Zoe and I met Andrya downtown for lunch so Zoe was able to take her recent "I'm not eating much for lunch" phase on the road. She was quite successful with that.

    Yesterday was Alcot-Toberfest at Niklas's school. The kids had a fabulous time with that. There was an inflatable obstacle course, mini-golf, a thing where you stomp on a lever and try to launch a fish into a penguins mouth and a bunch of other stuff. I ate a bunch of Asian tacos from a food truck, so that was awesome, too. Niklas spent most of his time hanging out with his friend Eli while Zoe took advantage of not being forced to leave the playground after maybe ten minutes as is the case when we pick Niklas up during the week. Also, there was a "play until you win" cupcake walk, so both kids spent a fair amount of time there.

    Today, Niklas and I walked over to Clark Street to check out five minutes or so of the Chicago Marathon. Actually, we were out to pick up some milk, but the marathon course was pretty much right there, so we took advantage of that. Other than that, the kids mostly followed Andrya around insisting that she play games with them, so that was pretty relaxing (for me, not Andrya, but she was cool with it).

    There is a pittance of new pictures up
    2012-10-08: So today was supposed to be a day off from school for Professor von Ruckus, but there are seven strike days to make up, so Niklas was off to Alcott for the third consecutive Monday. Zoe and I played "Winnie the Pooh game" which involves putting together a bunch of two piece puzzles featuring Winnie the Pooh and his known associates. This is probably Zoe's favorite game, though "Eric Carle game" (which features the performance of various activities as depicted by the art of Very Hungry Caterpillar guy Eric Carle) is right up there. Zoe also had t-ball today which went well. It was particularly good when you take into account that when I was her age I was still a couple of years away from the big red bat and giant ball.
    Alcott had half-day today. As part of my efforts to make sure that Niklas loves school, we celebrated half-day by going to get flu shots. It was also a pretty long walk from the bus to the doctor's office, so I guess school's looking pretty good now, eh Niklas? Zoe was pretty excited when we went to pick Niklas up from school because she thought that she had managed to ditched nap time. She was so confused when it actually was nap time that she didn't kick and scream with her usual intensity, so double success.

    Yesterday, Zoe had her music class. She had a great time as is per usual. The kids played with a giant parachute which doesn't sound that exciting but is apparently the GREATEST THING OF ALL TIME. Parachute goes up? HILARITY! Parachute comes down and hits you in head? THE BEST! Kids are weird.
    Sorry for the slacking of late. I've actually had some work to do over the past week, so that's wrecking things up. Speaking of unstoppable forces of destruction, Zoe has skipped her nap two days in a row. Yesterday, Grandma and Papa Meeker were up which provides a valid excuse. I don't know what her deal was today. Probably some long term plan to drive me insane.

    In positive (for me) news, Niklas can never make fun of the stuff I played with as a kid as the most popular thing (by far) in his class right now is a game that involves tops based on Japanese cartoon. Tops! They spin around and literally do nothing else. If you see a bunch of kindergarteners gathered in a circle like they're shooting dice, they're most likely playing with
    these. If tops are back in, I'm guessing an investment in some sort of jacks based product wouldn't be that outlandish. In fact, just send me a bunch of cash and I'll invest it in some such product on your behalf.
    2012-10-16: Well, two days of nap avoidance finally caught up with Lady von Zo. As a result, I got to lug her around the Loop today as our quest for size 4 Overnight Huggies expanded beyond Lakeview. She slept through me finally finding the diapers, paying for them, buying a burrito, waiting for the train and then riding the train home. She finally woke up when we got to our stop. "Daddy, where are we?" she asked, giving me her I just woke up/I find you highly suspect face. "We're almost home," I told her. She looked around suspiciously and then said "I want a snack."
    Zoe and I were feeling quite ambitious today (by our, which is to say my, standards of minimal ambition). After dropping Niklas off at school (an event which itself occurred after a trip to Walgreens to pick up some juice for his lunch box because I've apparently neglected to buy any juice), we jumped on the train with eight million or so commuters and headed down to the gym. Zoe is pretty awesome on the train, so what could have been an horrific nightmare of a screaming toddler/packed train scenario was just a regular nightmare featuring a packed train. Zoe had a good time at the playroom from what I saw. She wasn't beating on any other children, at least, so hooray. We followed that up with a trip to the zoo, which always get the thumbs up from Zoe or would if she were familiar with the custom of giving a thumbs up to indicate approval. We saw the monkeys, the zebras, the giraffes and the Zoe's favorite thing of the day award winning tiger. She also climbed on the big climbing thing in the children's zoo which is always popular with her. This afternoon, Niklas won a big bey-blade battle after school, so there was that.
    On Thursday, I took the kids out to dinner at Michael Diversey's. The bar is decorated for Halloween, so the kids would alternate taking a bite of dinner and then pointing and yelling "a scary ghost!" or "a scary spider!" or "a scary beer menu!" or whatever. So, they thought that was pretty cool. Earlier in the day, Zoe and I went to the Target. That was less exciting, although Zoe did get a chance to mangle a package of hot dog buns I was buying, so she liked that.

    On Friday, Niklas got the results of his first (of, one would assume, many) state issued standardized tests. He did well. He was excited when we told him how proud we were of him but he was perhaps a bit less thrilled to learn how high expectations will now be and how hard he will have to work to meet them. Should have brought the sandbags out, Niklas!

    Yesterday was the Zoo Spooktackular (or some such name meant to invoke both the Zoo and Halloweenish-activity), so the kids got costumed up but good and took them down for that. The line for candy stretched all the way back to Terre Haute (he said two months early), so we skipped that, but we did see a Chimpanzee eating a pumpkin, so that was cool. The kids also had a great time riding the carousel which I photographed at length even though I can't prove it right this second. Hopefully I'll have pictures up tomorrow. After that, we took them to Walgreens to get some candy. As there were less than a thousand people in line, it was clearly the right decision. The candy eating highlight was Zoe absolutely freaking out in horror over the prospect of eating the green goo inside of the Cadbury Screme Egg (it's the same one you get at Easter, but scary, apparently). She got over it when I tried to eat it.

    Today, Niklas had Sunday School and his swimming lesson and Zoe was moderately successful at avoiding a nap and not eating dinner. I'm sure one or both of them said something funny at some point as well.
    So my plan to post pictures yesterday was derailed by my taking an eleven hour nap after the kids went to bed. Much better now, though. Anyway, Zoe had t-ball yesterday. She swung the bat really well but she continues to struggle somewhat with the point and step aspects of the point-step-throw approach prescribed by Lil' Sluggers. She also apparently has no interest in sliding, which I found surprising. Meanwhile, Niklas made a bat in art class at school.

    Today, Zoe had her music class which is always popular with her. She sang The Wheels On The Bus, The Jumping ABCs and Bunny's Knocking, which I was unfamiliar with but Zoe thinks is pretty great on account of how it involves pounding, stomping and dancing. By the way, a bunch of two year olds dancing isn't really that different than a circle pit at a Pantera show. Over at Alcott, Niklas played Space Rangers at recess. It's hard to get non-recess related information out of him.

    Oh yeah,
    2012-10-25: So Zoe has been all about singing "Old MacDonald" lately. About 80% of the time, she calls it "Old McDonald's", so we apparently need to work on her excessive levels of brand awareness. Anyway, here is a list of things that she has insisted are on the farm:

    a giraffe
    some other song ("with an 'all my friends are different' here and an 'all my friends are different' there")
    two monkeys
    a dragon
    a house
    a juicebox

    So it's more like Old MacDonald's Exotic Animal And General Merchandise Emporium.
    Yesterday was the Clark Street Trick-Or-Treat Something-Or-Other (official name), so the kids geared up and we set off to shake local businesses down for candy. We also learned important lessons about Niklas's mask such as it's too small and you can't really see out of it. We've made some modifications, so we're a go for Wednesday night's Operation Get Some Candy. Other than various wardrobe malfunctions (which also included "Zoe doesn't want to wear her hat which is pretty much the only signifier on her costume" and "Niklas's shoe falls off for some reason"), a fine time was had. The State Farm Cafe Thing (official name) defended it's title as "best place to get candy", but we didn't have any complaints anywhere. Niklas ran into a bunch of kids from his class, which was cool. It's neat to see how they interact with each other. It's kind of like seeing a bunch of monkeys who are friendly with each other do a bunch of speed. It's also loud.

    Here are a few new
    2012-10-31: Well, the last few days have been Halloween-tastic 'round here. On Monday, the kids carved their jack-o-lanterns (jacks-o-lantern?). This went much better than previous year as Niklas did not act like touching pumpkin guts would kill him. It did take him five minutes or so of futilely trying to remove the guts with a spoon before he gave up and started using his hands, but once it got going, things went. Zoe, as one might expect, had absolutely no issues with grabbing big handfuls of pumpkin innards and chucking them more or less in the direction of the bag I provided her for gut containment. Both kids designed their own pumpkin faces; Niklas even cut a bit of his out by himself. They turned out pretty well:

    Yesterday, Zoe's music class had a costume party. Zoe had a great time as usual, though her hat only made it for the first five minutes or so. That didn't stop her from dancing around like a crazy person, so success. After class, she played the Mickey's Spooky Halloween app on my phone while we waited for the train and then while we were on the train. Then she yelled about having to get off the train as there's no way I trust her to not drop the phone while we're walking down the street.

    Today, Niklas had his Halloween party at school. Kindergarten through 3rd Grade had a costume parade, which was pretty fun. Andrya took off work, so she and I took Zoe over to watch Clone Trooper Commander Fox parade around with his buddies Superman, Spiderman, The Flash, Angry Bird, Mario and guy from Ninjago whose name I don't know. After school, the Niklas and Zoe had some
    pumpkin pizza (note: contains no pumpkin) and then they geared up for some trick or treating. We hit Dayton Street again this year and once again the kids ended up with more candy in forty minutes or so than I would get in two plus hours in St. Francisville. Zoe was much more about the whole thing this year; it was fun to see her run up to people and excitedly yell "Trick or treat" in her cute little girl voice. Niklas was a bit more business like ("Daddy, I have to take the big basket so I can get more candy"), but he still had a lot of fun. I've just got to teach him that when someone offers you a bowl of candy that has Heath bars and some other stuff, you always take the Heath bar. YOU'VE GOT TWELVE KIT KATS ALREADY, NIKLAS!

    There are some new pictures (mostly of costumed children) up here