Thursday, July 29, 2010

Loon Watching

Last week, Zander cheered Daddy's team on in their last softball game of the season (already!??).  Before the game, we met 'Auntie' Jodi and her girls Zoe and Gabrielle for a tasty pizza dinner, then they joined us for the game (along with Nana Pat) at Wayzata High School.  Here is a shot of Daddy pitching for the Loons (for those unfamiliar, the loon is Minnesota's state bird - and a fiercely intimidating mascot):
Here are the boys together during a break for Daddy when the Loons were up to bat:
Unfortunately, when the Loons were in the field, Zander screamed and cried uncontrollably - he wanted Daddy to be holding him instead of pitching!  This was probably Zander's biggest public meltdown since our time in the Seoul airport, so we can't complain, although Mommy's self esteem took a little blow - smile.  Here is 'Uncle' Tim trying to console Zander from first base with a game of Peek-A-Boo:
Great effort Tim, but no luck.  Even our standard go-to, Cheerios, provided no comfort. Zander finally quieted down a bit when offered some Yogurt Melts - an ingenious snack which he loves.  We learned about Yogurt Melts from Amy's boss - great advice Jan!  Zander was all smiles after the game (despite the loss) and enjoyed over an hour of playtime on the playground with Gabrielle and Zoe - woo hoo!

Zander followed up his Loon Watching outing with a Deck Party the next night - our friends Kim and Dave were celebrating the construction of their brand new deck - so new that we weren't even sure midday if the party was on because the railings had yet to be built!  Zander enjoyed the view, chasing bubbles, playing Frisbee with Kim, and staying up past his bedtime:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Play Time!

Zander's appetite for play continues to grow!  Daddy says that his three-day weekends (he has taken Fridays off for the summer) leave him as physically exhausted (and with a sore back) as he remembers his high school "three-a-day" practices for sports did!  We hope Daddy can continue to keep up with young Zander!

Play comes in all shapes and sizes - here are some of the toys Zander played with last week:  His new Scooby Doo Dune Buggy from Grandma Marie:
Any blankie that can be used to play Peek-A-Boo:
Any cell phone - here he is dialing on our friend Sonya's after she dropped by a wonderful Korean dinner for us - a delicious marinaded beef with kimchi cucumbers and some savory coconut chocolate chip cookies.  We are still trying to figure out how Sonya (with two boys - one a newborn) had time to prepare us dinner!  We are grateful for her generosity and - yes, Sonya, the meal definitely brought us back memories of being in Seoul:
His new frisbee (from Maple Grove Days festival):
The dishwasher:
Any of Daddy's hats:
His new Play Hut from our friend Mary (Amy and Mary met during junior year of college at an internship in Washington DC) - Zander loves the hut!
Hmmm, perhaps it is all the heavy diapers that are wearing Daddy out...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fifteen Months!

Zander hit his 15 month milestone last Saturday!  We celebrated with Nana Pat by attending the Maple Grove Days Festival (   Upon arrival, Zander missed most of the outdoor games and rides due to a quick catnap:
We then explored several indoor activities which were lots of fun - Zander collected some souvenirs (e.g. Frisbee, bouncy ball, etc.)  Then we went to see the 'Big Truck' display - here are the boys on a big digger:
Did we mention yet what a Daddy's Boy Zander is?  You may have noticed that the little guy is frequently photographed with Daddy (Mommy is okay if she is the only one available, but if Daddy is around, he is always Zander's top pick).  Zander often cries when separated from Jim - here is an example of him crying and pointing for Daddy:
Fortunately, Nana Pat came to the rescue and was able to snap a photo of all three of us to reunite the boys:
(for those of you on the East Coast - yes, Jim is wearing a "TastyKake" T-shirt!)

Next Zander had the chance to (help) operate a real fire hose and to douse the flames of a burning house.  Here he is getting his grip on the big hose with a friendly firefighter:
Here you can see the flames that Zander is extinguishing to save the burning house - all in a day's work:
Next we walked through the Classic Cars display on our way to the art fair and then lunch.  Here is Zander enjoying the sights from his carrier:
Happy 15 months pumpkin!  We have enjoyed every day of our time together!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lunch with Daddy

Last Thursday, Zander had a lunch date with Daddy at General Mills.  He enjoyed spending some more time at Daddy's desk as well as trying out his new 'fist bump' with several people he met.  He loved wearing his new outfit which was a thoughtful gift from Aunt Heather's parents who were visiting from Indianapolis for the week.  Here Zander is playing with Jim's Snacks Bear and a metal Nature Valley water bottle (which we learned can be very noisy when banged against things):
Daddy then had him do some quick filing before lunch:
Zander was amazed by the huge cafeteria at Daddy's office - he enjoyed a 'Turkey Dinner' meal which included lots of yummy turkey, corn, peas, carrots, and mashed potatoes - delicious!  After lunch, Daddy let Zander pick out a toy at the company store - here was his choice:
(Zander actually chose five doughboys, but Daddy was able to negotiate him down to one.)  We speculate that Doughboy's big belly was a draw to Zander since it is something he can relate to.  Doughboy has already spent some time hanging out with Zander's new puppy dog Indy (also from Aunt Heather's parents - thank you!):
Here is Zander demonstrating his new love for fist bumping during a hot afternoon playing with his Splash Table:
Also new last week was a 'squint face' that now tends to appear at the end of mealtime (when mealtime transitions into playtime).  Here Zander is finishing up some rice porridge with a piece of seaweed on his chin:
Zander also had two follow-up doctors appointments last week - fortunately all is well and we received confirmation that the many vaccinations he had in Korea took properly.  He still needed to get three additional vaccination shots, but we found these to be much easier than both his recent blood draw and his first haircut!  Here is Zander taking a snooze in his crib (with monkey Singe and dinosaur Dooly) after all the excitement - Sweet Dreams!:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tee Ball Fun

Last week Zander enjoyed cheering at his Cousin Luke's T-Ball game.  He was excited to wear his most recent Twins outfit, a gift from Amy's college roommate (another) Amy who lives in Philadelphia.  Here is Zander watching the action intently with Daddy, Nana Pat, as well as Amy's Auntie KK and Uncle Randy. 
Luke had a great game and Zander loved watching him in action.  Here is Luke at bat - if you enlarge the picture (by clicking on it), you can see Zander (red hat) trying to run onto the field to join the fun - good thing Daddy had a good grip on his shorts waistband!
Here Zander is cheering with Mommy (my, that red hat looks a little small for her) - you can also see Aunt Heather in the background with Cousin Brady.
Here is Cousin Luke cooling off after rounding the bases - you can also see his Daddy (Zander's Uncle Bob) in the background pitching - Bob is an assistant coach for the team:
After the game, Zander couldn't wait to climb the big hill at the ballpark.  Here he is climbing and then descending with Daddy - such fun!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Celebrating One Month

Hard to believe - Sunday, July 11th marked one month since our return from Seoul.  How the time has flown by - it is becoming hard to remember life 'before Zander'.  He has been such a blessing in our lives and we continue to be amazed by him!

We celebrated the day by attending the Dragon Festival at Phalen Lake in St. Paul ( - an annual celebration of Asian cultures in the Twin Cities.  Zander had his first bus ride on a big yellow school bus that served as a shuttle - he loved it after an uncertain first few minutes:
One of the major events at the festival is the competitive Dragon Boat Races.  Nearly 30 boats competed - we were excited to see that Medtronic's team, (Amy's employer, "Earl's Dragons"), finished 9th and that General Mill's team (Jim's employer, "Dragon Generals") finished 11th - great rowing!
We enjoyed some delicious Vietnamese cuisine for lunch.  Zander loved the eggrolls and parts of the Vietnamese sandwiches - he is a pretty good eater so far - definitely taking after his Daddy.  Next we visited the main performance stage and saw two different Filipino performances:
Here are Daddy, Nana Pat and Zander enjoying the performances:
As we were leaving, we also caught a fun Dragon Dance:
We left the festivities just in time - it started pouring while we were back on the school bus.  Zander was delighted because the windows were open, allowing him to feel the wind and rain on his face. 

The Dragon Festival was a special way for us to celebrate our first month as a family - we are so thankful that Zander is home!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mall of America - Korean Style

Last Tuesday-Thursday, Zander didn't sleep as well as he had been the week before - reminding us how critical sleep is for him, and for Mommy & Daddy.  We've been slow to recover and are behind on our postings - let's see if we can get caught up!  Thursday night, Zander was Daddy's biggest fan at his softball game (Nana Pat and Mommy were close seconds) - Go Loons!!  Zander wore one of his Phillies outfits - Mommy tried to snap a photo of Zander cheering when Daddy was batting, but realized she left the memory card at home - it was definitely one of those days (e.g. also had to wash Phillies outfit prior to the game since Mommy forgot to put the Sippy Cup "plug" into place before giving Zander his milk at lunch - what a mess)!!

Friday we had our one-month post-adoption progress report meeting with our social worker.  She visited us at our home for a meeting that lasted about an hour.  We had to complete some paperwork prior to the appointment (questionnaire on Zander since joining our family, medical report, survey on our trip to Korea, recent photos of Zander, etc. - this also cut into our blog posting time).  Our social worker asked us many questions and observed Zander playing and interacting with us.  She agreed that he is doing really well and offered some great perspectives, thoughts and insights based on her experience.  She also coached us on the required next steps for finalizing the adoption (more paperwork/fees - should be complete ~January 2011). 

Saturday, we visited the Mall of America to attend part of a Korean Cultural Day ("Passport to Korea") - it was Zander's first time at the mall and he seemed to enjoy all the activity.  Nana Pat joined us and we started with a DELICIOUS lunch at Hoban Korean restauarant ( in Eagan - we look forward to going back sometime!  Then we headed to MOA:
We saw Chef Emily Kim making a popular Korean dish called gimbap (or kimbap) - it is similar to sushi role without the fish (rice, veggies, spices, rolled in dried laver seaweed)...  We tried this in Seoul and were happy to get another chance to sample it at MOA.  You can see the sushi-looking pieces on the video monitor at the top of the photo:
Next we watched a performance of the MuGungHwa & Shinparam drummers:
Here is Nana Pat watching the boys watch the drums:
While the Taekwondo team was warming up, we ventured into the amusement park area - Zander was so excited, and a little overwhelmed by everything going on.  He was wearing a shirt we bought in Seoul (Insadong) that says "Smile" in Korean (at least that's what they told us!).  Here Zander kindly posed for a photo with Blues Clues Dog:
Zander then enjoyed some warm Toll House chocolate chip cookies - yummy!  We returned to the event stage to enjoy an entertaining Taekwondo performance:
What fun!  It was a wonderful day and a great way for us all to learn more about the Korean culture.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Play Date with the Edwards

Zander had another busy week of exploring, playing, and bonding.  On Monday he had his first restaurant outing - Punch Pizza in Wayzata with the Edwards Clan - he was excited to see 'Auntie Jodi' and Gabrielle & Zoe again, and enjoyed meeting 'Uncle Glenn' who had been working in Germany during our previous play dates.  Zander did well at the restaurant and enjoyed trying several types of wood-fired pizza.

After lunch, we all  headed to Wayzata Beach.  Zander loved wading in Lake Minnetonka!  He warmed up to the lake in no time in comparison to the swimming pool.
He splashed and played until we were asked to clear the water due to a lightning sighting. After a quick change of clothes (we hadn't planned for the beach), we were off  to the playground. Zander was delighted to get the chance to ride on the tire swing with Zoe and Gabrielle - he had a blast!
Zander also enjoyed some solo swinging.  First Gabrielle pushed him, and then Zoe took a turn:
It started to rain pretty hard, so we transitioned from the playground to another favorite: Ben & Jerry's!  Here are Amy and Jodi expressing their happiness of getting out of the rain (and possibly their anticipation of B & J's ice cream).
Zander shared some Strawberry Kiwi with Mommy which he loved.  Gabrielle, Glenn and Zoe were all very satisfied after their frozen treats!
What a fun play date! Zander took a big nap after all the excitement.  Later that night, he supervised as Jim prepared fajitas on the grill - yummy!