Monday, August 25, 2008

Popping Wheelies

So now that Frank's an international man of of accounting and all, he has a leg up on the "competition" and can score bit in the "toys that no other kids on the block has" department.

In our neighborhood that is pretty international to begin with, that can be quite a feat.

(Although, I'll readily admit it's really not the 17mo in the house that cares about these things, but I digress!)

Feast your eyes on the MOPI. From Hungary via a friend of a friend of Frank's from work.

Within ten minutes of getting on it, I decided Z needed to be wearing a helmet. Good thing too b/c he started popping wheelies up and down the hall.

Needless to say, he loves it.
He got the helmet so he could go bike ridding w/ Daddy.
And this is just a shot to show you how helpful and cute he is. He loves the vacuum cleaner, when it's off.
Have a great day.
The Rev.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the dangers of watching the oylmpics

Ok, so you knew it would happen--why didn't you all WARN me?

Z is now able to climb into any chair--he's even attempting to scale into our super tall bar stools, he'll manage that by Wednesday. Someone this morning said that from the time they walk until they have some kind of self-preservation skills developed is called “baby prison” for the parents.

No surface is out of his reach. He's been scooting furniture around for months. He's an amazing problem solver. I give him a week to figure out that he has the ability to get to every surface in our house. By pushing a chair up to it and climbing.

A trip to the emergency room is just around the corner.

Now, on to why it is not safe to watch the Olympics in our house.

We caught a bit of the men's gymnastics last night and Frank joked, "We probably shouldn't let Zane see this, it will give him too many ideas."

I agree.

Example number one:

This was the day after we watched the opening ceremonies. Like 38% of the households (some stat I saw in today's paper) in the US we were DVRing it at the same time. I mean really, if you can zoom through commercials, you do. Then if you see a cute one you can go back and watch it, like the Coke one w/ the colorful birds--watch it closely and see what the red one is standing in front of when he picks up his straw.


During one of the commercial breaks we went back to see the awesome drums.
picture 1
picture 2
picture 3
Then in our own little living room our 16mo son crawled up on the couch turned his back to the TV and used the side table as his drum, mimicking the slow but deliberate moves of that he's previously seen.

Smart little twerp. Seriously, it was pretty awesome so watch him, and a lesson in how he is soaking up EVERYTHING around him and more often than not giving it a whirl.

He also LOVES the "wawa". He and I were at the lake for a while when we visited my parents. He's a beast in the pool, jumping in w/ abandon, never thinking that he might *NOT* be caught. Even when he'd go under the water he came up smiling.

My sister suggested today that with is loves of all things "ball" and now "wawa" that perhaps we have a future water polo player in our midst.

Now off to search for a toddler gym in our area that will teach him how to do all this stuff safely, so that I don't deplete the oxygen level of every room I’m in as I watch him tumble off his latest height.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Flying solo - a day in the life

The Rev and Zane have gone on an extended trip to Missouri to visit friends and family, leaving yours truly to fend for myself (without a car). I started off the day by heading over to church to pick up our weekly share from our CSA. Drop-off is around 7:40 AM, and the buses don't run too frequently at that time of day on the weekends, so I had to leave the house around 6:45 to make it in time, even though it meant arriving 15 minutes early. Fortunately, a bus arrived a few minutes after I picked up the groceries, and I was able to make it back home fairly quickly.

Next I decided that our bicycle, which has barely seen the light of day in the past 5 years, needed to be cleaned up and put to use. Unfortunately, the tires were flat and we didn't have a bicycle pump. I figured I could pick one up at Home Depot (which is probably the closest hardware store to us if you're using the CTA), so I decided on a plan. I would go to Agent Orange (because it makes your green disappear) and buy a pump, then head to the Roscoe Village neighborhood where the annual "Retro on Roscoe" street festival was taking place, figuring I could have lunch and also find a bike shop (there aren't any in our neighborhood that I know of). Then I could head home, pump up the tires, and take the bike in to get tuned up and buy other necessities (helmet, lock, cable, spare tubes).

Well, it's always wise to have backup plans when public transport is involved, and when the southbound bus I wanted didn't show up for 10 minutes, I saw a bus heading westbound so I hopped on and went to Jefferson Park. As the bus was nearing the end of its route, I spied a bike shop on the left, so after I got off I walked over to check it out. It didn't open for another 30 minutes, so I walked to the library, checked e-mail and read for a while, then walked back to the shop.

The guy behind the counter (I believe it's the owner) doesn't win any points for congeniality, but he did help me find a combination pump set (one for home - a floor pump - and a portable one to mount to the bike) as well as some tubes and I headed back home on the bus. I was able to pump up the tires and ride back to the shop without incident. I left the bike for a tune-up and was promised it would be done by the late afternoon, which meant I had about four hours to kill.

So I decided to head to the Near West Side, which I've never been to before (that I remember). I knew that the original Al's #1 Italian Beef was in the 1000 block of West Taylor Street, but that's about it. I took the train through downtown (avoiding the crowds heading to Lollapalooza) and got off near Union Station, then walked south to Taylor Street and headed west.

As I walked down Taylor I saw the street blocked off with lots of fire engines and other equipment. Turns out it was the Chicago Fire Department's 150th anniversary celebration at the Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy. I stopped in and got a "junior firefighter" hat for Zane, but didn't stay around, although there was free food and other cool stuff, which in retrospect could have kept me fed and entertained until I was ready to head back. Incidentally, I learned in my readings at the library that the Fire Academy was built in the 1950s on the site of the former home of Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, where the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 started in a barn behind the house. (The O'Learys' cow was probably NOT responsible for starting the fire, by the way.)

I continued west through the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, had a Polish sausage at Al's, then headed north to catch the train back to Jefferson Park. I had more time to kill, so I went back to the library, then found a local coffee shop and got an iced coffee, then back to the bike shop, where I bought a lock and a helmet and biked home (but based on my experience and comments from others, I'll be looking for another bike shop next time). A good day of exercise. Maybe I'll hit Roscoe Village tomorrow - now I can bike there instead of navigate by train and bus.