Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sixteen Months... Already!

Daddy recently had his second business trip since Zander came home - this time (3 days) was a little easier on Mommy - yeah!!  Nana Pat helped out one night, and a busy schedule helped provide distractions during Daddy's absence.

August 11th marked two months since Zander joined our family - where has the summer gone?!  It has already been such an amazing journey... we were excited to hear that a family we recently met at a Korean Independence Day festival just received their travel call and will be heading to Seoul next week to meet their son - we wish them the best!  We celebrated two months with a  visit to the Minnesota Children's Museum with our friend Allison and her 4-year-old daughter Elara.  The Wizard of Oz exhibit was great - here is Elara riding the 'Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch' bicycle:
Zander loved the 'Habitot' area for toddlers - a series of stairs/ramps/walkways made for creeping/exploring.  Here he is 'fishing':
Elara was great with Zander - at lunch she (and Allison) had him giggling up a storm - so cute! 
Both kids loved  exploring the "Our World" community - basically a kid-sized small town.  Highlights revolved around food - first was a junior-size grocery store (sponsored by General Mills!) - Elara and Zander loved filling up their shopping carts with some healthy choices!
Continuing to explore, Zander wandered over to the community restaurant where we encountered an unexpected sighting of the Korean flag!!
Turns out it is a Korean restaurant named "Saemot" (city/region in South Korea). The menu looked delicious and it was fun to see all the Korean ingredients that have become more familiar to us between our trip to Seoul and visits to local Korean grocery stores:
Zander passed the 16 month milestone in mid-August - he continues to learn new things and now uses a few signs to communicate.  He is becoming much more comfortable with close family members which has been wonderful - he's now a veteran at riding in Uncle Bob & Aunt Heather's minivan.  And we've seen his reach grow - he can now close our doors using the swivel handle - wow!  We hear the occasional "Mama" and "Dada", but they are still pretty intermittent at this point.  He still loves to fist bump, play peek-a-boo, and is starting to blow kisses more frequently. 

Summer is quickly winding down - Zander is a busy guy at the moment with Amy's Dad visiting (Grandpa Duc) at the same time he is preparing for his transition to school/daycare - Mommy goes back to work tomorrow!!  Although his blog posting rate will certainly decrease, Zander is going to keep at is as much as he can!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fun with Food

Zander loves food!  We knew this even before we met him - our 1/4/10 post mentions that Zander's eight month status report highlighted that "he likes it when the table is set with food."

Last week Zander had lunch with Amy's team at Medtronic.  Before the meal, he was delighted to receive his first food-themed toy from Amy's boss Jan - a talking toy pot complete with five healthy ingredients and a fun mixing spoon:
"Potsy," as he is called, has a great sense of humor - Mommy and Daddy find his witty sayings quite entertaining (e.g. "I like it healthy, I like it green, I'm a broccoli machine!").  At first, Zander was a little shy about playing with his new toy after opening it in Jan's office:
After a yummy lunch in the cafeteria, however, Zander was ready to show Potsy off to Sara, Becky and Jean (photographer):
Another highlight of Zander's office visit was getting his first autograph!  He brought in his August issue of Shape magazine to have it autographed by Amy's teammate Jennifer who had a full-page feature published about her accomplishments related to healthy eating and fitness.  She also was featured in a very inspiring interview with our local WCCO TV network - congratulations Jennifer!!!

Zander has enjoyed exploring our vegetable garden this summer - at times, he even helped harvest.  Here he is showing off one of the first zucchinis of the season:
Zander always enjoys the challenge of carrying large objects - this big cantaloupe was no match for him!
Daddy recently underestimated Zander's manual dexterity when he gave him a sealed box of noodles to play with:
Zander had a blast attending our neighborhood National Night Out party earlier this month.  On the walk home, he enjoyed his first slice of watermelon (vs. a bite-size piece).  The juice soaked his outfit in no time as he giggled happily in his wagon.  Near  home, Mommy and Daddy noticed Zander had become very quiet... sure enough, we found that he had the full watermelon rind in his mouth!  Daddy, didn't you tell him not to eat the rind??!!  Here is Zander shortly before the watermelon incident:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Splish Splash

Zander loves to play in the water!  Whether it be the hose, watering can, bathtub, pool, sink, splash table, or even a puddle, he is so curious and excited about his interactions with water.  So... we visited a local pool with Grandma Marie, Cousin Paige, and Nana Pat.  Zander loved exploring the fountains at the pool:
He made several laps around the lazy river loop with Paige and Mommy - if you look closely (click to enlarge), you can see both Grandmothers watching from the deck:
Then we moved to the indoor pool - Daddy and Paige rode the big water slide - it went so fast that at one point Daddy was worried he was going to fly out!  Zander went down a very small water slide - then more splashing made him giggle:
We had a yummy post-swim meal at Panera, and later ventured out to Punch Pizza for dinner.  While Mommy was ordering, Daddy got his first experience with an 'emergency' diaper change in the car - such good practice!  We finished the evening with a visit to Ben & Jerry's where Zander got to share both Grandma and Daddy's ice cream - mmmm!!!

Zander is delighted that Grandma and Paige came to visit!  He learned a few expressions and mannerisms from them which have endured - so fun.  When it was time for one last photo - Zander turned on the charm with his pose:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Grandma & Paige Visit

Last Thursday, Jim's mother Marie and niece Paige flew in from Texas - Zander had sooooo much fun during their visit!  He got to stay up late Thursday night to welcome and play with them... and all the toys they brought him! 

Cousin Paige is very strong for a nine-year-old - she held Zander with no problem (Mommy tried to take some notes):
Friday we went on an exciting excursion to the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul.  Zander's favorite animal was a small monkey with a big white mustache - it made him giggle:
The big gorilla stroked his chin as we walked by, as if to say "Hmmmm...".  Perhaps the gorilla was reacting to Zander's 'scrunch face'?
Everyone enjoyed observing all the flying creatures inside the Butterfly Garden:
This butterfly was especially striking when it opened its wings to show a brilliant blue color:
A definite highlight was riding the carousel at the end of the day - Zander loved the horses, the motion, and the lights & music.  Daddy was amused to see that the carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in German town, PA - a fun East Coast connection.  Zander spent some time trying to figure out what makes the horsey go up and down:
Zander was wiped out after all of the zoo excitement and started his afternoon nap as soon as we were back in the car.  Later that evening, Daddy grilled up some of his scrumptious Korean BBQ ribs for dinner - what a treat!

Friday, August 13, 2010

At The Playground

Zander loves the playground!  He often stops to play at one of two park playgrounds on his morning walk.  Last week he had a playdate with neighbor Raquel (and her mom Stacey) - both toddlers had a fun time playing in the sand together.

Later in the week, Zander had a picnic playdate with Aunt Heather, Cousins Luke & Brady, Nana Pat, and Great Aunt KK.  It was a beautiful day and there was plenty of playtime before a yummy picnic lunch.  Here are Brady and Zander digging:
Zander enjoys watching and learning from his older cousins:
Aunt Heather and Cousin Brady rode the big T-Rex:
 Swinging - Whheeeeeeeeeee!
Luke and Brady even climbed a tree:
Zander had so much fun spending time with his Cousins, Aunties, and Nana!

Here are a few other recent playground photos of Zander:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fete des Lacs Parade

Last weekend, we attended the City of Centerville's 20th Annual Fete des Lacs Parade.  Amy's Uncle Randy was part of the parade - he is Battalion Chief of one of the Centiennial Fire District's fire stations located on the parade route (Main Street).  The outing was Zander's longest excursion from home yet (~9 hours!).  The day began with a big family breakfast at Perkins.  Next was the parade itself, followed by a tour of the fire station.  Then we all had lunch and enjoyed playtime at Amy's Aunt KK and Uncle Randy's home.  Finally, of course, was a monster nap for Zander!

Here is Zander waving his flag and enjoying the fire trucks at the very beginning of the parade - he would be seeing them up close later in the day:
Here is most of the parade crew - behind Daddy and Uncle Bob are Great Aunt KK, Nana Pat, Aunt Heather, and Cousin Luke (Cousin Brady is standing behind Bob):
Zander showed off his new bead necklace to Yo-Yo the Clown:
Mommy had to include the "Friendly Fridley" float since she works in the Fridley suburb of Minneapolis.  Look at the expert technique of those parade wavers!!
Sisters - Great Aunt KK and Nana Pat enjoy the parade action:
At the fire station, Zander investigated the "Junior Firefighter" sticker that Great Uncle Randy stuck to his "Little Sprout" top:
The cousins (Luke, Zander, Brady) get an up close look at the fire trucks:
Uncle Bob helped Cousin Luke maneuver in his fire fighting garb:
Zander also wanted to suit up, but didn't get quite as far:
The three boys then 'drove' one of the trucks - Look out!!
Here Zander is giving Nana Pat a big hug at the station  (notable, since Zander hugs are still typically hard to come by!):
It was an action-packed day - Zander had a ball! He thanks Great Uncle Randy for hosting the boys at the fire station - it was sooo fun! Congratulations on 20 years of service - our family is so proud of you!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Haircut Adventure

Zander had his second haircut a week ago - another painful experience!  Again, he cried and screamed the entire time (pretty much the same scene as the photos posted on 6/29/10).  This time he even vomited, which his stylist managed expertly without missing a beat - quite impressive!

Similar to his first haircut, we planned to go for frozen yogurt afterward to calm Zander down.  We soon discovered, however, that it would not be necessary this time.  After the cut, Zander tried - and really enjoyed - the lollipop which he refused while in the barber chair.  Wow, toddlers with lollipops are MESSY!  It seemed as though everything within a three-foot radius of Zander suddenly became sticky and gooey.  Here he is enjoying his new-found treat:
Fortunately, the day of the haircut was not all doom and gloom - earlier in the day, Zander had his first dining experience at Panera where he met friends Jean and Sara (from Amy's work).  The little guy devoured most of Mommy's pumpkin muffin and then enjoyed playing with his new friends.  Jean even brought some him some fun toys - he especially loves the maracas and 'activity shoe' that has laces, Velcro, a zipper, a button, mirror, and best of all a cute face with a large nose that he can chew on (similar to Dooly's).  What a treat!  Here he is with Sara and Jean (L to R):
After having such a good time with Jean and Sara, Zander is getting very excited for his lunchtime field trip to Medtronic next Monday!  He worked so hard entertaining the ladies that as soon as we got home, he crashed on the floor for a nap (with his Elmo puppet):
Yikes, we hate to imagine the afternoon haircut if Zander hadn't had this nap!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Daddy's First Trip

Last week was Daddy's first business trip since Zander's arrival - Jim was in Colorado Springs Monday through Wednesday.  Although Mommy had a few challenges during her first time as 'single mom', overall the little guy did great!  He had a few random crying spells that we suspect may have been related to Daddy's absence (especially since Daddy tends to be the 'fun' one).  The first night Nana Pat came over to help with dinner, bath, and bedtime which was great!  The second night we planned to have dinner with cousins Luke and Brady, but unfortunately Luke was sick, so we stayed home.  Auntie Heather kindly delivered us a delicious dinner, which was a big help!  Zander also helped out a little - here he is getting ready to sweep the floor:
Here he is preparing to water the deck plants (managing both his and Mommy's watering cans):
It was also our second week on Zander's new schedule - he has moved from two naps each day down to a single nap in the early afternoon.  This transition was fairly easy, except for the fact that Zander's single nap remains on the short side - typically 60-75 minutes).

We also had a lot more fun play during the week.  On Tuesday we went swimming with our friend Julie and her new ~5 month-old son Kaiden (the 94 degree, humid weather changed our original plan which was to take a walk).  On Thursday, our friend Nancy and her most recent addition Oliver (born early July) came over to visit.  We all enjoyed a fun walk to the park followed by a yummy morning snack.  Here are Zander and Oliver together.  Zander earned his "Mommy's Little Monster" shirt by waking up 5 different times during his previous night's sleep, starting at 2:30am.  It was nice that the boys coordinated their shirts - Oliver was "Daddy's Lil Defender":
It is fascinating to watch Zander interact with other children, especially those younger than he!