Niklas and Zoe would like to wish everyone a happy new year.
See? Both of them have been pretty much wiped out by the holiday season. This manifested itself by a two hour Niklas meltdown (it was a joy, let me tell you) and, much less horribly, by Zoe quietly declining dinner, saying "night night" and going to sleep.
2012-01-02: Well, yesterday's meltdowns are apparently behind us. High fives all around. Speaking of high fives (segue!), at the PwC Children's Holiday Party For Children And Those Who Look After Them a couple of weeks ago, Zoe took a quick break from running around the (thankfully) large room where the event was held to chat with another little girl who was about her age. I suggested to Zoe that she should give the other girl a high five. "High Five!", said Zoe, raising her hand in the air. Unfortunately, the other little girl apparently either is unfamiliar with the high five process or just doesn't care for it, as she failed to return Sluggo McZ's enthusiam and stood there with her hands at her sides. Zoe was of the opinion that once started, a high five cannot be stopped and thus gave the unreceptive girl a high five across the chest. That was when I scooped Zoe up and we ran away.
Niklas is off to spend a couple of days with Grandma and Papa in Bloomington leaving Zoe and I to entertain ourselves for a few days. Will this be the week that Zoe learns that napping all day is awesome? I will certainly be doing my best to make sure that such is the case.
2012-01-03: So Andrya was in Indianapolis for work today and Niklas is down in Bloomington. This left Zoe and I free to read Elmo's ABC book five times, build and smash several block towers and do a lot of screeching. I took a pass on that last one. I think there might be some incoming teeth driving all the yelling, but it's not unheard of for women to complain loudly when left alone with me.
We did venture outside today as we were out of milk and out of milk is not a good situation to be in with Zoe "I really hope for your sake we're not out of milk" C. This was the first really cold day (single digit wind chill) we've had this winter, so I loaded Zoe's cheeks up with Face Destruction Prevention Ointment. Apparently, I used a bit too much as Zoe's hair ended up glued to her face. Next time, maybe we'll go with the bandit hat. No hair issues, plus we'd save on milk.
I'm working on undoing a year's worth of neglect on the website, so I haven't had a chance to add any new pictures. They're coming soon, I assure. Also, a bunch of links probably don't work right now. You know what they say, you gotta break some eggs to spend money.
2012-01-04: Zoe knows that she has to say "please" to get things that she wants. She never says "please", though. Instead, I hear "pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease" (accompanied with a crazy grin) whenever she wants to color or dump some milk on the floor. Officially, dumping the milk is not the policy, but that's how it usually plays out.
2012-01-05: There was quite a bit of yelling in the house today. The culprit? This lady:
Niklas made his triumphant return to the city today after having tons o' fun with his grandparents over the past few days. Grandma and Papa Meeker were kind enough to drive him up as opposed to tossing him on a train or strapping him to the roof of a delivery truck or something. They arrived around lunch time, so we headed out to grab the appropriate meal. A fine time was had by all (Niklas and Papa collaborated on some high end placemat art) until Zoe went from reasonable to done over the course of a few seconds. She decided that she wasn't so much about eating, preferring instead to yell and fuss a lot, pausing occasionally to consume some barbecue sauce. Things deteriorated to the point where she and I left early so she could scream all the way home and then pass out nigh immediately upon being put to bed.
I'm working on undoing a year's worth of neglect on the website, which should be wrapped up this weekend or so. I haven't had a chance to add any new pictures, but they should be up by next Monday. A bunch of links probably don't work right now, but that's usually the case anyway.
2012-01-08: There are new pictures up here (scroll down a bit), here and here, so there's that. I've added some scans of pictures of the kids at Kendra and Deric's wedding here. I've also fixed (allegedly) all of the dead links and added some (very brief) stuff to fill in gaps in ye olde news, so poke around there if your so inclined.
Earlier today, I was watching football (the Giants/Falcons game, not the rage inducing Steelers/Broncos game) and I noticed Zoe was pooping in her diaper. This process can take a few minutes, so I didn't rush to change her. This turns out to have been a mistake, as as soon as she was done (three uses of "as" in four words!), she stuck her hand down the back of her pants and brought out a huge handful of poop. The lesson: do not hesitate when a diaper needs changing. Or maybe it's pass Zoe off to Andrya when there's a poopy diaper. Both are good.
Niklas has been really into Star Wars of late. I'm very excited about that on account of how I was all about Star Wars when I was a kid. On the downside, he's aware of the existence of the prequels, so I'm going to have to dedicate a good deal of my time to hunting those down and destroying them lest my son be massively, massively disappointed. Any help would be appreciated.
2012-01-09: So I took the kids to the dentist today. Things went very well... for Zoe. Niklas, on the other hand, is continuing his two year quest to spend more time in the dentist's chair than any other preschooler in Chicago. He'll be getting his second crown next Thursday, which I guess will add some needed symmetry to his molars. Since these are his baby teeth, they don't bother with "attractive" or "not horrifying" crowns and instead just roll with some stainless steel. Niklas doesn't seem to mind, though, so that's cool. He calls them Wolverine Teeth since he learned about Wolverine's adamantium skeleton.
2012-01-10: I didn't mention this yesterday, but Zoe is up to 60% of her chomping capacity now. She should have her canines in soon (per reputable dental professionals, not my idle speculation) and that will just leave her second set of molars. The point of this story is don't put your fingers near Zoe's mouth. Three of her teeth just came in recently. While that was going on, she didn't have much of an appetite. She made up for that today by eating pretty much nonstop from 10:30 until noon. "More bites", says Zoe.
Niklas made his triumphant return to school today after what seemed like and endless winter break. Niklas obviously gets his school going genes from Andrya as he was excited to go. The made a list of words that start with "P" today, if you want to follow along with the preschool curriculum.
2012-01-11: Zoe started a new music class today. This one is in the same place that Niklas went when he was three, so I don't have to worry about her busting up some friend of a friend's house. This is much more relaxing for me. She had a great time dancing around, making noise with some maracas and chatting up the other kids' moms. The teacher knew who Clutch was, so he's reputable.
2012-01-12: So to make up for all of the nice weather we've had lately, we got a ton of snow today. Literally, I'm sure; Chicago is a big place and snow is heavy. Anyway, Niklas was all about going out to play, so he, Zoe and I headed up to the roof this afternoon for some snowball tossing and general snow merriment. This was Zoe's first time out in the snow. I set her down and she sank about four inches, which she apparently did not expect. Then she refused to walk around in the snow, which was odd because she's usually all about running around in even the most inappropriate of places. I tried holding her hand, but she was as rooted as twenty odd pounds can be on a slippery surface. She did pick some snow up, but she got mad when she couldn't figure out how to make a snowball like Niklas was doing. She also got a bit upset when Niklas (inadvertently, allegedly) hit her in the face with a snowball. Still, it seemed like she had a tolerably good time. She laughed quite a bit at Niklas's antics until the aforementioned snowball to the face. Niklas had a fabulous time making snow angels and throwing snowballs at my butt.
2012-01-15: So the kids had pretty good weekends. Niklas had his swimming lesson today. He was a bit rusty (and hence a bit sinky) after four weeks off, but he didn't drown or anything, so success. Zoe's been working on her singing. She's got E through P down in the alphabet song and she'll sing Elmo's "Bye, Bye Binky" song until you really just want that binky to get out of here, already. Anyway, here are some new pictures.
2012-01-16: Niklas had his first t-ball class of the year today. He's shown some remarkable improvement over the last couple of months. He didn't spike the ball into the ground when throwing and he did a decent job of hitting pitched balls, which I don't think I was even introduced to until I was seven. Also, once the coaches told him to move his arms, he ran pretty well. He was apparently going for a robot thing, but it turns out that robots aren't particularly fast, at least as envisioned by Niklas. Zoe, as is per usual, had a great time running around the t-ball hosting building. We climbed up and down some stairs a few billion times (possibly an exaggeration), played in the water fountain and made a dozen or so attempts at running into the ladies room (not really and exaggeration).
2012-01-17: Zoe C was rolling with a significant case of the sniffles today. "I need Kleenex", said Zoe, repeatedly. This led to the first case that I can remember of one of my children just laying down somewhere (the couch, in this case) and going to sleep. She chose to do that about ten minutes before we had to go pick Niklas up from school, so I had the pleasure of waking a sleepy, sick child from her chosen nap leading to the yelling at of me. She coughed until she threw up at one point which is how I learned that Zoe is not phased by puke. Good to know.
Niklas had a good day at school, so there was that.
2012-01-18: Niklas, Zoe and I have been taking the train a lot of late as Andrya's been working out in Schaumburg. Both kids already know more train etiquette than your average tourist, so that's a plus. They're very good when the train is very crowded or when it's empty, but when it's kind of full and we can't take up two rows, there's a battle royale over who gets to sit next to the window. I've seen worse on the train, so I'm not terribly concerned.
Today In Weird Things Niklas Said:
Niklas: Daddy, sometimes I have dreams about Star Wars.
Me (knowing Niklas loves Star Wars): That sounds fun.
2012-01-19: So, Niklas got his second metal tooth installed today. He'll be terrorizing James Bond in no time, I'm sure. He's really good about his seemingly endless visits to the dentist for which raisins and the lack of fluoridated water in Bermuda and in no way shoddy parenting are to blame.
2012-01-22: Weekend excitement! Exciting! Wooooooo! Uh... woo. Actually, we didn't do much this weekend. The weather continues to be outdoors-prohibitive, so we laid pretty low. Yesterday, we watched Thor, Captain America and a few episodes of Sesame Street. Try to guess who picked out what. Today, we went to the Target, so, yeah. Exciting. There was, as always, plenty of cute, most of which I did not take pictures of. There are a few exceptions here.
2012-01-23: Niklas had t-ball today, so there was the usual amount of t-balling by Niklas and ruckusing by Zoe. As Niklas is too young to be horribly embarrassed by the ineptness of the Pirates, he was wearing his genuine Pittsburgh International Airport Pirates hat. That led to this when we left:
Me: It's awfully windy, buddy. Watch your hat.
Niklas: Daddy, this hat won't fall off.
(hat blows off; Niklas dives after hat, lands in mud)
Niklas: Ahhh! I'm all muddy!
Me (after mudlessly collecting hat): Yes. Yes you are.
Zoe then grabbed the mud covered hat so as to not to be excluded from the League of Muddy Children. Later, we all made ice cream. There wasn't any mud involved in that.
2012-01-24: No one fell in the mud today. Things are trending up! Other than that, the day was fairly uneventful. Please, then, enjoy this picture Niklas drew of him and Donald the snowman making ice cream:
2012-01-25: Zoe had her music class today, as is typical for a Wednesday (the last three, at least). She had a fine time dancing around, saying "hi" to pretty much everyone in the room and singing "shake, shake, shake" when shaking some shakers. I, meanwhile, was glad not to have been drinking the previous evening. She's all about singing these days. She recently added "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" to The Great Zoe Sleep Avoidance Songbook.
While Zoe and I were singing multiple songs about buses, Niklas was at school learning about the letter R. When asked about words that started with R, he rattled off a bunch of Star Wars droids like R2-D2, R5-D4 and R7-D4. This is what happens when you get a five year old a book about droids. I'm pretty sure he knows some real words that start with R, too, but they're not Star Wars related so... you know.
2012-01-26: So Thursdays are the one day of the week that's not Saturday where we don't have to do anything at all. Viva la Thursday! So, on account of how we don't have to do anything, Thursday is the day where we have to do stuff that we have to do. Clear, I think. Anyway, one thing we had to address today was Dr Shaggy's hair.
Success! While Niklas was getting his haircut, Zoe had a fabulous time trying to knock any haircare product she could find onto the floor. This helped me to get a pretty good cardio workout in. And, because Zoe's cuteness today shown through despite her constant delivery of the ruckus, here's a picture of her:
2012-01-29: Well, it was an eventful weekend of events. Yesterday, we went to the Goose Island where Zoe once again proved that she is much more of a handful in restaurants than her brother ever was. Luckily, there were plenty of noisy drunks there to distract from her occasional screams and shouts. Thanks, drunks! Today, Grandma and Papa Meeker came up for a visit. Niklas and Papa Star Warsed it up quite a bit and Grandma helped Zoe dress her baby doll Stella. Have I mentioned that one of Zoe's favorite things is to take all of Stella's clothes off? Well, consider it mentioned. I don't know if this is tied to Zoe's recent predilection for running around naked before bath time (in the grand tradition of her brother), but it's definitely her thing these days. Anyway, both kids had a great time with their grandparents today, so that was cool.
There are some new pictures here if you're so inclined.
2012-01-30: So I finally got around to fixing the door to bathroom that's off of the living area today. Since we've moved in, it hasn't actually latched when you shut it. I'm not sure if the door is warped or the frame is warped or both are warped but there's some sort of warpedness going on that's causing the door not to latch. Anyway, the point to this isn't to dazzle you with my home improvement skills (I used a file!), but to explain how this development has infuriated Zoe.
One of Zoe's favorite things to do is to stride into the bathroom and empty out the drawers under the sink. She'll do this upon occasion when the bathroom is unoccupied, but usually, she'll see someone go into the bathroom and it will dawn on her like "oh yeah, I could be tearing apart the bathroom while inconveniencing others." This makes using the facilities, such as they are, much more stressful than I would like (though apparently not so awful that I would bother to have fixed it in the last two years).
So anyway, I "fixed" the door (with a file!) and now it latches. Zoe saw me messing with the door which reminded her that she hadn't thrown any toothbrushes onto the floor in a while. After I closed the door, she immediately ran over to it and pushed on it. It didn't open. Zoe looked confused. She pushed on it with both arms. No luck. She put her head down and PUUUUUUUSSSSSHHHHHHED. Nothing. Then, she started shaking with rage and pounding on the door. This lasted for twenty seconds or so, then she went back to messing with Niklas while he tried to play with his Star Wars guys.
2012-01-31: Today, Niklas learned about penguins in school. Would a lesson on penguins be complete without a color by numbers picture of penguin wearing a hat and a scarf? Obviously not.