When Your Kid Really Likes to Pray

Eric and I have always prayed before meals, just a quick little prayer of thanks.  So when Tyler started joining us at the table (over a year ago now) we of course included him by holding his hands.  He likes to smack his hands together for a big AAAA-MEN at the end.

Lately he’s been watching us close our eyes while we pray and he *tries* to do that, too. These photos are from Sunday afternoon–we weren’t even eating dinner.  I think he was having a snack and maybe I was, too.  But, he insisted we pray by holding out his hands and grabbing our fingers.  Simply adorable.

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Also a shout out to Patagonia for making baby clothes with ridiculous sizing.  The green striped long underwear he’s sporting (snow on May 1!) is sized 6 Months.  Tyler will be 21 months on Saturday!

Spring Break 2016: Nebraska

I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Nebraska on vacation, right?

Eric’s sister, Laura, and her family moved to Lincoln a couple of years ago, and although we visited once for Thanksgiving when Tyler was just a tiny baboo, we hadn’t been back to see the Stumpf’s new house.  So we packed up the truck and headed out after work for the 7-hour drive.  We stopped once, in Kearney, so Tyler could visit his 72nd brewery, Thunderhead Brewing.  A brewery in the middle of rural Nebraska is exactly what you would expect:  the pizza wasn’t bad and the girls were drinking some kind of purple cocktail instead of beer and there wasn’t a diaper changing station.  We made it to Lincoln before midnight.

Saturday we woke up to much chillier weather than we had anticipated and headed to the Lincoln Zoo.  Wow!  We were amazed at how thoughtfully this tiny zoo was put together and marveled at all of the fun attractions for kids.

Tyler rode a pony like a pint-sized cowboy.
Tyler rode a pony like a pint-sized cowboy.

Side note:  when did our child grow big enough to ride a horse?

Ethan showed off his tricks on the slide.
Ethan showed off his tricks on the slide.
Tyler signing "bird" at the peacock. No fear--I had to hold him so he wouldn't touch.
Tyler signing “bird” at the peacock. No fear–I had to hold him so he wouldn’t touch.
Ethan measuring his wingspan.
Ethan measuring his wingspan.
Eric measuring his wingspan which wasn't even a little awkward.
Eric measuring his wingspan which wasn’t even a little awkward.
We rode the train all the way around the zoo. Yes, I'm wearing Tyler's hat because a. he had a hood, b. I was freezing, and c. my head is that tiny.
We rode the train all the way around the zoo. Yes, I’m wearing Tyler’s hat because a. he had a hood, b. I was freezing, and c. my head is that tiny.
Tyler's "I love this" face while riding the train.
Tyler’s “I love this” face while riding the train.
Loving the public art.
Loving the public art.
Emma, Ethan, & Tyler
Emma, Ethan, & Tyler

We ate some yummy sandwiches for lunch and headed home for naptime.  We had a big afternoon planned at a local winery, James Arthur Vineyards.

On the beautiful deck.
The setting was beautiful.  The wine was not.

If you can imagine a brewery in rural Nebraska, now picture a winery outside of Lincoln. Did you conjure images of bedazzled aprons sporting catchy sayings like “Wine not?”  Can you just see the animal figurines made of wine corks?  Have you ever tasted Carlo Rossi? Yep, that about sums it up.  But the weather warmed up, the kids were having fun, and they gave us cheese, so we actually had a great time.

The grounds were lovely and we even went for a toddler "hike."
The grounds were lovely and we even went for a toddler “hike.”

Sunday morning we went to the church that Andy works for, Christ Lutheran.  It was fun to see what a vibrant service they have, and Tyler loves going to church daycares.  When we got home, Laura declared it was time for an Easter Egg Hunt!  Even though Easter had been the week before, we wanted the kids to have fun together so we went out in the backyard and let them run wild in the sunshine.

Emma found one!
Emma found one!
Ethan found most of them...
Ethan found most of them…
Sibling love.
Sibling love.
Three cute cousins!
Three cute cousins!

Tyler hammed it up for awhile.  Apparently wearing his plumber’s one-piece outfit makes him feel extra silly, but I think it’s so adorable I can’t stand it so I make him wear it for special occasions.

Then we hit the amazing playground in an attempt to get the kids tired.  It didn’t work.

Happy girl!
Happy girl!
My only niece!
My only niece!

Our last stop was Ploughshare Brewing Co. in downtown Lincoln.  Very cool place with excellent beer, and they even gave us a broom so we could clean up our giant child-mess.

I think we tried all the beers.
I think we tried all the beers.
These two!
These two!

All in all we had a fantastic trip and can’t wait to see these characters again in June. Thanks, Stumpfs!

Snow Day!

We had heard a storm was blowing in, but we had no idea what Mother Nature was doing out there.  And then I got the only call you want to get at 5am–SNOW DAY!

This was 5:00am.  Not too much accumulation, but the wind was fierce.

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While Eric worked from home, I introduced a new obsession to Tyler: trains!  He had a blast helping build the track and carries Thomas and Rusty around with him everywhere. (Thanks, Michelle, for passing on the train set!)  And he’s not yet saying “train” but for weeks has said “WOOO WOOO” when he sees them in books.

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The snow continued until later in the afternoon; then, it was still and not too cold.  Perfect for playing outside!  Daddy went to help Tim shovel out Boulder County, so he missed this fun. I laid out Tyler’s snowsuit on the couch with his hat, mittens, and boots.  He climbed up and eagerly spread himself out trying to get it on, patiently waiting for the zipping and velcroing.  He couldn’t wait to get out there (like his mommy) but wanted to be prepared (like his daddy).

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Snow Selfie!
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What is all this?!
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Postholing up to his armpits.
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Snow angels!
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Catching (and eating) snowballs.
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OOOHHH!
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New favorite snack: snow.

We ended up with 21″ of snow.  It was 72 degrees and sunny yesterday.  So glad we had this blizzard and could spend the day together!

 

Visiting CLE–Just me and Mr. T

In January I had a long weekend, so Tyler and I flew to Cleveland to see Nana & Grandpa. When asked if he would like to go, Eric replied, “Cleveland in January?  No thanks, I’m good.”  So off we went, Baboo and I.

CLE from the air
CLE from the air…stadium and downtown. Love this view and this city.

Tyler LOVED seeing Nana & Grandpa.  He played constantly with them and relished the attention.  He played pool and watched golf on TV with Grandpa and colored and investigated battery-operated candles with Nana.  He read books with all of us.  And he went to bed like a champ after all that activity.

Coloring in the highchair that was my cousin Mark's...it's over 40 years old!
Coloring in the highchair that was my cousin Mark’s…it’s over 40 years old!

Oooh!

We got to meet Annie & Andy’s baby boy, Oscar.  They’re almost exactly a year apart, but Tyler only weighs 3 more pounds than Oscar!  Seriously–what a cutie he is!

Future ski buddies.
Future ski buddies.

We checked out a burger bar in Tremont.  Tyler patiently colored at the bar while we waited for a table and had fun feeding Grandpa his burger.

coloring at the bar

feeding Grandpa

On Sunday, we took Tyler to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.  I knew he would like it because he’s into animals and a pretty mellow kid.  And he’d been saying/signing “fish” for months.  But WOW I had no idea he’d enjoy it as much as he did.  At 17 months old he was entertained for TWO HOURS and we probably could have stayed even longer.

aquarium seeing fish
Already excited at the first tank. “Fish!”

 

 

He wasn't shy at all about putting his hands in the water to touch the rays as they swam by.
He wasn’t shy at all about putting his hands in the water to touch the rays as they swam by.
Sharks!
Sharks!
It took us forever to get this shot...priceless!
It took us forever to get this shot…priceless!

On the way back to Westlake we stopped in Lakewood to visit our “old house”–the house I was born in.  My parents planted that big tree out front on the treelawn thirtysomething years ago.  And yes it’s snowing in Cleveland in January…no surprise there.

Emerson Drive
Emerson Drive

One last thing I wanted to do was take Tyler to Malley’s for ice cream.  We grew up going there for good report cards and birthdays, in all its pink and green splendor.  Nana had fun sharing her ice cream cone with Tyler!

malleys open mouth

malleys cuteface with nana

eating ice cream at malleys

All in all, a quick trip but an amazing trip.  Tyler sure is loved.

number 1 at the airport

One more thing–Nana & Grandpa when do I get to see you again?!

 

Parenting Fail

So I remembered to slather the sunscreen on Tyler’s face today when we went out for a run in the 70 degree sunshine.

But I didn’t anticipate his little pants riding up in the stroller.  Hence, this.

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Nothing like a little mid-calf sunburn on February 27.  Oops!

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Tyler is at that stage where he will copy most anything you do, and wants you to copy what’s he’s doing, too. Here are some selfies from the other night when we were snuggling and reading books on the couch too close to bedtime.

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Now he’s just being a monkey.

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He gets funnier every day!

 

Happy Holledays 2015

As with every family, the holidays were a blur for us this year.  Here are a few photos of Tyler enjoying his second Christmas, at home in Colorado.

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I think I’ve mentioned before how many hand-me-downs I have …including amazing holiday wear.
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Mommy, I don’t really like this embroidery.
Not my gumdrop buttons!!!
Not my gumdrop buttons!!!
Ok seriously can this vest and turtleneck be my last Ugly Christmas Outfit?
Ok seriously can this vest and turtleneck be my last Ugly Christmas Outfit?

Tyler was being so stinkin’ cute this day.  Our church celebrates Christmas Eve on the Sunday before, so we attended, saw Santa (around the corner from our house on a firetruck!), and opened presents from my side of the family.

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Not yet impressed by the big guy.
The basketball hoop from Nana & Grandpa was an instant hit.
The basketball hoop from Nana & Grandpa was an instant hit.

Tyler was an angel around the Christmas tree–we didn’t have any broken ornaments or swimming-in-the-reservoir episodes.  He had fun opening gifts, playing of course with the paper and ribbons.  Thanks for the new toys, books, and clothes Aunt Heidi & Uncle David and Nana & Grandpa!  The Wedgits and Richard Scarry books are some of my faves!

Thanksgiving in Chicagoland

Eric and I are fortunate to have very flexible schedules with our jobs.  My school district gives us the whole week at Thanksgiving and Eric can take days off/work from home as needed.  So, we flew to Chicago on the redeye Monday night.

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Redeye bedhead

We enjoyed time with my brother and Heidi and our nephews, Everett and Judd.  The adults imbibed, the children frolicked, and Nana & Grandpa were exhausted.

On Tuesday, we visited a local indoor play area.  The boys LOVED it and it was so fun to see Tyler seem all grown up running around with older kids and showing no fear on slides and ladders.

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Judd and Tyler gettin’ crazy in the toddler area.
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Judd practicing face-smashing.
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Uncle Dave with Tyler.
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Family dinner out in Barrington.

Nighttime is a hoot with 3 wound-up boys.

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Rub a dub dub how many more years can we fit in this tub?!
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Nana reads bedtime stories.
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Grandpa wrestles and makes babies laugh (and stay up late).
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These bottles ain’t for no baby.

Wednesday we celebrated an unorthodox Thanksgiving!  Our flight was leaving Thursday afternoon (literally no cheaper time to fly–$59).  So, we cooked our dinner on Wednesday!  Heidi and I spent most of our time drinking wine in the kitchen slaving over side dishes while Nana & Grandpa and the daddies played with the boys.

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Old school art project: Indian headbands!
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Two little Indian boys.
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Before-dinner family walk on the shores of frigid Lake Zurich.
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After-dinner family nap.

We had so much fun chasing after Everett, Judd, and Tyler.  Fortunately we didn’t get too tired, because we had a Turkey Trot to do on Thanksgiving morning!

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Thanks, Long Grove, for the fun race and for letting us finish seconds before the rain started.

So glad we were able to all be together for the holiday.  Tyler is a mere 5 1/2 weeks older than Judd and we all look forward to them growing up together!

 

Autumn in Vermont

“How do I exchange my dollars for Vermont Money?”–Joey Tribbiani

Way back last year sometime, Eric decided he needed to take a class for work.  A 3-day workshop kind of class, offered by a private vendor at a variety of locations around the country.  When he told me that Vermont was on the list–in OCTOBER!–I knew all 3 of us would be going.  I have ALWAYS wanted to go to the Northeast in the fall.  I wanted to experience the whole deal:  leaf-peeping, cider donuts, and maple syrup tapping.  Ok, I was bummed to learn that the syrup thing doesn’t happen in the fall…but I still wanted Tyler and I to tag along on this trip.  So, we went for four days of family vacation before Eric stayed to take his class.

In true Hollewood vacation style, we didn’t waste a minute.  From the moment we landed in Burlington, we were on the go.  Tyler was a superb traveler and slept all night long in our airbnb–the house had a nursery with a crib, a diaper genie, bath toys, and even a stroller for us to use.  Amazing.

We headed straight for the ferry to Essex, NY--Eric can now add it to his list! It was windy but beautiful out on Lake Champlain.
We headed straight for the ferry to Essex, NY–Eric can now add it to his list! It was windy but beautiful out on Lake Champlain.
It rained all day on Friday, but that didnt stop us from visiting Shelburne Farms.
It rained all day on Friday, but that didn’t stop us from visiting Shelburne Farms.
Tyler loved chasing still
Tyler loved chasing (still holding our hands) the chickens roaming around the property.
Tyler pet his first goat.
Tyler pet his first goat.
We all milked a cow!
We all milked a cow!
And I perfected my woodworking skills.
And I perfected my woodworking skills.
Obviously, we visited breweries. #57-63 for Tyler. He did his usual thing and conked out.
Obviously, we visited breweries. #57-63 for Tyler. He did his usual thing and conked out.
Did you know Burlington is home to the world's tallest tower made of filing cabinets?
Did you know Burlington is home to the world’s tallest tower made of filing cabinets?
Saturday was beautiful and we set out for a long day in the mountains. We planned to hike the Long Trail from the top of the toll road to the summit of Mt Mansfield.
Saturday was beautiful and we set out for a long day in the mountains. We planned to hike the Long Trail from the top of the toll road to the summit of Mt Mansfield.
But it was windy. Oh, so windy. And SO much colder than in town. This was the most upset we have ever seen Tyler.
But it was windy. Oh, so windy. And SO much colder than in town. This was the most upset we have ever seen Tyler.
So Tyler and I headed back to the car while Eric made the quick summit!
So Tyler and I headed back to the car while Eric made the quick summit!
It's always neat to see other ski areas. We'd love to ski Stowe in the winter!
It’s always neat to see other ski areas. We’d love to ski Stowe in the winter!
Leaf-peeping--check!
Leaf-peeping–check!
Covered bridges are very Vermont.
Covered bridges are very Vermont.
Gorgeous scenery!
Gorgeous scenery!
Tyler really was such a trooper with all the getting in-and-out of the car.
Tyler really was such a trooper with all the getting in-and-out of the car and picture-taking.
We enjoyed both Heady Topper and Focal Banger by The Alchemist. WOW.
We enjoyed both Heady Topper and Focal Banger by The Alchemist. WOW.
We visited Ben & Jerry's!
We visited Ben & Jerry’s!
Picture-perfect Vermont.
Picture-perfect Vermont.
Sunday we visited Shelburne Orchards. Tyler had his first hayride and picked his first apple!
Sunday we visited Shelburne Orchards. Tyler had his first hayride and picked his first apple!

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Cider donuts!
Oooh! Cider donuts!
Enjoying an afternoon in the sunshine on the shores of Lake Champlain.
Enjoying an afternoon in the sunshine on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Many thanks to our friends who gave us recommendations and suggestions of all the things to see, do, eat, and drink in and around Burlington.  We ate at Penny Cluse, American Flatbread, and Vergennes Laundry.  We drank at Magic Hat, Fiddlehead, Switchback, Queen City, Zero Gravity, Crop, and Prohibition Pig.  We saw Stowe, Ben & Jerry’s, Shelburne Farms, Shelburne Orchards, and rode the ferry to Essex, NY.  We ate maple ice cream and bought Tyler a little dinosaur we call his Vermontasaurus.

It was so fun to have Tyler there and see him experience things for the first time.  Thinking back now, although it was only 4 months ago, I can hardly believe how much he has changed since then.  He was barely starting to walk–wobbly and holding our hands.  At 14 months old, he was swimming in size 12 months clothes.  And he was still nursing.  I miss that baby!

 

 

The Evolution of Walking

Tyler crawled at 10 1/2 months, which depending on who you ask, is on the later side.  So it was no surprise that he wasn’t yet on two feet on his 1st birthday.  I didn’t realize what a long process it was until I looked back at videos of him learning to walk and noticed they spanned over three months.

Congratulations, Tyler!  I particularly love the “WOW” in the 3rd video.  He’s even more exhausted now at the end of the day than he was when he was a crawler.  And he’s obsessed with shoes.  He loves wearing them and pointing at them and saying “sh”…it’s adorable.  Playing at the park is so much more fun for him now, too.  He has no fear–running up slides and sliding down, crossing bridges, and scooting through tunnels.

Parting shot:

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