Sunday, November 29, 2009

Henry Has Mad Skills

When the kids were first sitting up, I noticed that we didn't have any balls in the house of an acceptable size for a baby. Babies need balls. That's Baby Raising 101.

I went to the sporting goods store and bought three tike size soccer balls: red for Henry and pink ones for Piper and Rosemary. We rolled the balls, when the kids got bigger we carried the balls, and we always take them outside with us. Mostly, I dribble the balls around while watching the kids, but the kids play with them some. Piper has kicked them a little. Rosemary not so much. Henry mainly carries the balls and tries to eat them.

Yesterday, the weather was pretty decent and we wanted to get outside. We were still gun-shy from the Thanksgiving trip, so we didn't want to drive a long way in the car. We decided to just go over to our neighborhood soccer fields and let the kids run loose. Of course, we took the balls.

I kicked the balls around with the kids, and then we put the kids out in the middle with some balls. First, Henry picked up the ball and walked around with it like he always does.

Then he just started dribbling it.

Heather tried to get me to grab the video camera, but I was just watching. While I was looking on, Heather got a good sequence of shots. For some reason, it didn't seem like that big of a deal that my 17 month old kid was controlling a soccer ball 2 months after he started walking. After I had a chance to process what I saw, it did seem pretty cool.

Maybe it was random kid behavior. He did it again after those shots, but for just a few kicks at a time. It could be that he is dribbling well just because he can't kick it out of his control yet. We'll see. I can still hope that the appearance of aptitude at 17 months will translate into skills in the 2012 Under 4 Tikes League - not that I'm counting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Trip

Yesterday, we took a trip to my folks' house in Pensacola for Thanksgiving dinner. Before that, the furthest we had been from home is two hours to Heather's parents' house. We've made that trip a few times, and it's been fine.

My parents live about four hours from us. I figured it would be a little harder, but the kids are pretty laid back, so I didn't think it would be that bad. I was mistaken. We left home after an early lunch, and at the two hour mark the kids woke up and flipped out. They didn't stop for the rest of the ride. If they would have started yelling before the half-way mark, I think we may have been eating take-out turkey from the Cracker Barrel at home.

We braved the storm of rage and made it to Pensacola to have some quality time with my parents and my sister's family. Then dinner and off to our hotel. My parents had a house full with my sisters' family, and I like my own space.

The space I chose on this trip was the Residence Inn. I picked it because it had a kitchen if we needed it and it was a suite. The other option close to my parents was the Crowne Plaza, which I think is nicer, but it's just one room. What I didn't know when I made our reservation is that Heather would want to put the kids in the bedroom with us, and because the Residence Inn has to cram in a kitchen and a living room, the bedroom was really small. That information would have come in handy when we passed up the other hotel for a suite.

Once you put three of these little tents around a bed in a smallish hotel room, it doesn't leave a lot of space.

The pea-pod tents are new adds to the baby gear portfolio. The good part about them is that they pack up to the size of a small pillow - including the little self-inflating mattress. The bad part is that when you put a toddler in there for the first time, they don't know they are in a cute little tent called a "pea-pod," and think they're in a cage. It took a little time to warm up to the tents, but once they settled in, the kids slept fine.

I slept horribly. Those kids are loud. I don't know how they sleep with each other. At home, they have a volume knob through the baby monitor. I should have argued the "put the kids in the other room" point a little bit. I was just worn down; I would have agreed to just about anything last night.

After we woke up this morning, we headed to the beach so the kids could see it for the first time. (Heather took some pictures). The weather was perfect for it. After the beach, we hit my parents' house again and then ate at McGuire's Irish Pub on the way out of town.

McGuire's has always been one of my favorite places to eat back home. It's pretty touristy, but I think I've been gone from Pensacola long enough to fall into that category anyway.

The poor light in the restaurant makes for poor quality pictures, but it's good for hiding the mess we can leave behind.

The drive back today was pretty much the same as the drive down. The first two hours were fine; then they let us have it. At least the group freak-outs are rare enough that we aren't used to them. We are very fortunate in that. We have easy kids - just as long as they aren't in a car seat for over 120 minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Big Girl Seat and a New Do

After seeing Rosemary in her infant seat last week while Piper and Henry were enjoying big kid seats, I broke out the instruction manual on the big seat to see how to install it rear-facing for Rosemary. It was really easy. Now I feel like a crappy dad for not thinking of that in the first place.

Rosemary was loving her big kid seat on the way up to Heather's parents' house for Cousin Laramy's baptism.

This weekend, I also tried to fix Henry's hair to make him look less like Monster Tweety Bird. It's been a while since I used anything on my hair/head, but I found a jar of pomade in the back of my bathroom drawer. I figure if it's going to stick up, it should stick up right.

I gave him a fauxhawk for our Sunday afternoon walk. I would have taken a better pre-walk photo, but Piper was encouraging me to get the stroller moving.

I got a half-way decent mid-walk picture before it started getting dark.

. . . and some upside down pictures of the other ones:

I like Henry's look, but I think I need some product that isn't goopy wax. My hair was short when I used the pomade and Henry's is longer and very fine. It was really hard to wash out and it looks a little too wet. I need to find out what product all the cool toddlers are using and get some for my little man.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Weekend in Pictures

I haven’t updated the blog in over a week. Maybe it’s because I got used to updating it only when someone was injured. Maybe it’s because I’ve been especially busy with work at night during my “TV / play on the computer time.” Equally as likely, it’s because the kids have been running us ragged.

This time last year we keep the kids on lockdown so they didn’t get RSV or some other respiratory illness. Last year it was easy to keep the babies cooped up when they didn’t know what was out there in the real world. Up until this past spring, they had only been at the hospital, the doctor’s office, and church, once, to get baptized. Now they know there’s a real world out there and they don’t care too much for not seeing it on a regular basis. We’ve decided to be as safe as we can, but still get out of the house. We've been busy keeping the kids busy.

Last weekend, I took a bunch of pictures of our outings, but didn't get a chance to upload them or put them in any sort of context. Now I have a ton of pictures. So this is the nearly context-free (belated) weekend in pictures:

Our pediatrician got in 100 doses of preservative free H1N1 last Thursday, so we reserved our three doses and hit the doctor first thing Friday morning.

Here are Piper and Henry in their new big kid cow print seats on the way to the doctor.

And Sweet Little Rosemary still in her infant seat.

Poor little Rosemary. I'm going to put a rear-facing big girl seat in for her, so at least she'll have a nice comfy seat until she weighs enough to go forward facing when she's 14.

. . . and the kids tearing apart the waiting room while waiting for the shot:

Fortunately, we didn't pick up swine flu waiting to get the shots to prevent swine flu.

On the way home from the doctor, we remembered that we needed milk for the day. Neither Heather nor I wanted to go home, then go to the store, bring back the milk, and then go to work. So we just took the kids the new Super Target for some milk. That place is so Super, they even have a cart built for three little kids.

In addition to being out of milk, we were dangerously low on glow worms.

Here's Henry riding in the cart:

Henry looks like a little kid, as opposed to a big baby, riding in the cart. He gives these little boy expressions too. My little buddy's growing up.

His large head and irregular hair growth look a bit odd. It makes him look a little like Tweety Bird in the episode where Tweety drank the Mr. Hyde juice that turned him into a monster.

But way way cuter than monster Tweety, in my opinion. I think Henry needs a little trim and some Rogaine. That would put him back to regular Tweety.

We hit Aldridge Gardens for some fresh air and sun on Saturday morning, followed by my favorite burger place, Baha Burger.

The kids loved the burgers and sweet potato fries. Rosemary even grabbed a to-go sweet potato fry for the road.

After Baha, we napped, watched football, and then had some friends over Saturday night.

Sunday we did a Costco run in the morning.

The most well behaved kid got to ride inside the cart, which turned out to be none of them. We just rotated kids who couldn't stay sitting.

We capped off the weekend with a pictureless walk around the neighborhood in the afternoon - followed by an evening of work on Sunday. Woo-hoo.

Time to do it all over again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Most Dangerous Toy Ever

The Step 2 Kangaroo Climber.

Wow. Those two kids on the box sure are having a good time. Our kids are certain to enjoy hours of injury free play on this bad boy.

What could go wrong? They certainly wouldn't fall off the deceptively narrow ledge. Nor would they take a header down the slide. The fine folks at Step 2, who make toys for little kids, would know better than to build something like that.

We set it up yesterday. I was so excited about the impending glee that I broke out the video camera to capture the moment.

First, Piper gave it a shot.

Henry made it up next - this time with a spotter nearby.

Lastly, the ever-conservative Rosemary conquered the Kangaroo Climber.

Maybe I was exaggerating about it being the most dangerous toy ever. In their effort to position the little blue door perfectly to catch the head or neck of a child falling from the platform, the designers at Step 2 neglected to line the bottom of the Kangaroo Climber in broken glass. That would be the only way to make it more dangerous.

The kids climbed up and fell off a couple more times and it became more than apparent that they weren't going somehow "get it" and stop tumbling off.

We decided to remove the slide and the platform before someone got hurt. The Kangaroo Climber is now just a box with a door.

Not quite what I had in mind. Maybe we'll give the kids a go with the slide and platform re-attached in a couple months, but I have a feeling that, by the time the kids are sure-footed enough not to fall off, they're going to be too big for the toy.

**The preceding videos feature stunts performed by professional stunt children; accordingly, no one should attempt to re-create or re-enact any activity performed herein. No children were harmed in the making of these videos - at least not badly.