2015-11-01: Well, the kids are back to school and have already looted several pounds of candy from the neighbors, so I guess it's nigh time for a photo update. Here, therefore, is that update.
This is either the back cover shot of a 90s band or Zoe and Niklas waiting for the bus.
Here's Zoe with a bunch of toilet paper.
Here's Niklas laughing because Zoe is carrying a bunch of toilet paper.
Modern playgrounds provide many options for jailing your children.
Niklas makes it clear who indeed is number one. I'm curious how this shot would have played out had Zoe been with us.
On the issue of who has a big head, though, there can be no debate.
The dark shape sprawled out on the middle of the slide there is Niklas.
This swing is right in Niklas's wheelhouse as it requires someone else to do all of the pushing.
I'm pretty sure both kids are in this picture, but my camera's starting to get a bit wonky, so who knows.
These fools: *weird face*
This is pretty much the ur-photo of Zoe.
This might also be the ur-photo of Zoe.
Nobody reps the Pirates in Chicago like these two.
Here's Niklas as he gets ready to rock the third grade.
Per Zoe's first day of kindergarten worksheet, she was "excited" for school.
The kids were almost as hyped as I was for them to start school.
Here's Niklas with the Ghostbuster Legos he got from Josh for his birthday.
Niklas is amused by flashing lights.
I'm not sure if I know what's happening here.
Zoe and some of the other Room 109ers constructed this masterpiece.
Niklas used some of his birthday loot to load up on new Star Wars gear.
Niklas was the original model for Mr Yuk.
These guys are quick with the goof face when they see the camera.
Our house has been overrun by the first order.
Here's Niklas in disguise as bobblehead Niklas.
Zoe shows off the 2015 Winter Collection.
Here's Zoe using a chair incredibly wrongly to eat ice cream outside.
Zoe has no fear of higher altitudes.
The fall fest at the Zoo had a big slide. This is Zoe on that slide.
Here's Niklas on the super happy fun slide (not its official name).
Niklas put up a pretty good time on the obstacle course.
Zoe's lack of reluctance to run over other kids helped her to get through the course first, though.
Here's are the kids either celebrating their successful completion of the corn maze or being crazily confident before hitting the corn maze.
Niklas and Zoe scaled the heights of Mt. Straw at the zoo.
I gave Niklas my phone so he and Zoe could take pictures when they were on the ferris wheel. They took this one... and this one.
Here are Niklas and Zoe looking good as is their wont.
Here are the kids enjoying some hay ride action.
Churros generally win the day, even when pitted against carnival rides and monkeys.
I'm pretty sure I took like five better pictures of the kids on the merry-go-round, but here we are.
Happy Fun Slide!
I guess Niklas can use this face to dissuade crazy people from sitting next to him on the train.
This is what Zoe thinks of Niklas's crazy face.
Here are me and Zoe demonstrating hydraulics to her class. I was much more with it than I look here, I assure you.
Here's Zoe going for a gargoyle-ish thing, I think.
Who will win this epic battle between a first order stormtrooper and Pikachu? Or, will they join forces to loot the neighborhood of candy?
Here are the kids testing out the structural integrity of some public art.
Niklas's ability to convey annoyance even when wearing a full face helmet is impressive.
Me: Stop being goofy.
These guys: Ha ha ha no.
Here are the kids with this year's jack o'lanterns (jacks o'lantern?).
"Make a face like your pumpkin."
This Zoe's scary witch jack o' lantern.
Niklas made this Pac Man ghost.
This regular looking face was on the back of Zoe's witch.
Niklas and his friend Ben represented the Empire at the Alcott Halloween parade.
And here they are again.
Here's Zoe Pikachu-ing it up with room 109.
Nobody gets excited for a picture like Zoe.
Zoe's had more of a taste for blood than usual lately.
This is a good picture of Andrya and her babies.
2015-08-23: This is normally the point of the summer where I'd bemoan the neverending heat and the awfulness of existence, but we had to postpone a trip to the beach by a couple of days this week on account of how it was sixty degrees. Anyway, here are some pictures featuring moderate temperatures.
This is Zoe and her friend Charlie swinging it up at the park.
Zoe saw some dolphins when we were in Delaware in June but she wasn't able to catch one until now.
This is Zoe sending love to her Godmother.
Niklas's skating continues to progress. Once he learns not to worry about high speed crashes, he'll be set.
These guys are happy because I let them take the bus home as opposed to walking.
Zoe usually plays hard, but sometimes... you know.
I'm not sure if this is intentional or if things have gone wrong.
The kids and I went to the Lego Store downtown. It was popular.
This part was only popular with Zoe.
We spent a fun morning at water playground. Somehow, Niklas managed to wash the sunblock off of his shoulders.
Not real sure how that happened.
Nobody enjoys waiting for the bus (and hence, not walking) like Zoe
Nets are good for keeping children occupied.
Here's Niklas riding his bike on the 606 (the elevated rail line that was converted into a park). He made the whole five and half mile round trip.
Here's Zoe making her super concentration face while trying to balance a bat on here hand.
Here's Niklas at the observation deck of the Willis (Sears) Tower.
After risking a 103 story fall, it was doughnut time.
Most pictures of trip to Foster Ave beach are actually on the beach as the water was 55 degrees which sounds pretty cold but is really way, way too cold.
Niklas insisted upon this. Usually, I only plan on burying the children if they're not behaving, but everyone was pretty good on this trip.
Niklas, Aaron, Zoe and Zack collaborated on a hole. Here they are sitting in it.
Here's Niklas and his crew from school.
2015-08-10: Well. School's out, the kids have been baseballing to the utmost and they've been to Disney World. Also, Zoe is 5 now. Photographic evidence to follow.
Here's Zoe working on her tire changing skills.
Niklas had his first communion. Since you can't trust eight year olds to do anything right the first time, here he is practicing.
This is Zoe in a tree, but you probably knew that already.
I assure you that I was owed this.
Here's Niklas managing to look classy and shady at the same time.
Zoe was over Niklas's first communion before it even got started.
Here's Niklas in his suit again. We paid a lot of money for that suit, so you better believe there are going to be pictures of it.
Everything's coming up aces for Dr. Butt.
Here are the children in close proximity to each other and not brawling, so that's cool.
This pose looks like Zoe should be selling something.
Here's Princess Zoe. Her kingdom is a semi-benevolent dictatorship.
This is what Zoe thinks of what the state of Montana has chosen to spend their tax dollars on.
Zoe C Happy Face is happy.
There was a time when I could ask Zoe to pose for a picture and she would stand up straight and smile. Those days are gone, now.
Here's Zoe after sliding down a big slide at the Maggie Daley Park Slide Crater O' Slides.
Here are Niklas and the rest of the 8U Giants displaying the fundamental skills that helped them finish in third place this year.
Here's Zoe at her friend's birthday party. It was a cooking party which may or may not explain the bag on her head.
Rocks are meant to be strode upon by Zoe.
This is the Ur-Zoe Face.
Here's a picture of someone; try to guess who.
Here are Zoe's climbing skills being put to use in an approved venue for a change.
Here's Zoe eating sushi a full 20 years earlier in her life than I did.
Niklas did his final science project of the second grade on Nikola Tesla. (That's Niklas dressed as Tesla).
Here's Niklas schooling it up at the old school.
Here are the kids hiding from the rain and also about to be devoured by a whale.
Here's Zoe and some horses.
Here's some more schooling.
Andrya took Niklas to see the new Avengers movie. He dressed appropriately.
This is a picture Zoe took of her crew.
After defeating this gorilla, Zoe became Queen of the Monkeys And Other Primates.
Here's Niklas at his class's ancestor presentation. They sang "We Are Family" and square danced. I failed to get video of those things, so I'll have to find something else to embarrass Niklas with in the future.
Here are the top two players on the 4U Dodgers. The lesson here is that girls are better than boys at everything.
Here's Niklas treeing it up in the ol' tree.
Niklas displayed excellent catching form when the Giants played a game at UIC.
He also had a couple of hits.
Here's Zoe climbing about at a new playground that was funded by the Cubs.
She doesn't care for the Cubs.
Zoe even reps the Pirates when whupping me at Pretty Pretty Princess.
This was Zoe's outfit for opposite day.
Here's Zoe opening some birthday presents from Grandma Vennard.
Behold! The Ninja Turtle Scooter!
That's the face of a girl happy with her birthday present.
Here's Zoe running the bases as opposed to sitting down on second base like a stupid boy. As an aside, when Zoe says "stupid" it sounds like "stupidt".
As always, the best part of the baseball game is playing at the playground afterwards.
Here's Zoe opening presents under the threat of Nerf fire from Niklas.
Zoe thanks Niklas for getting her a nerf gun of her own. There are so many darts just everywhere in my house right now.
Here's Zoe with the Frozen cake Andrya made for her.
Zoe will act like asking her to walk two blocks is child abuse, but she'll run up and down hills like they're nothing.
Here's Zoe using the sun to get the drop on me.
This is Zoe's "I'm on my way to Disney World" face.
This is the same face from the other side of the seat.
Here's Zoe in front of a wall that provided blessed shade. Also pictured: Niklas's head.
TEA CUP FACE!
Here's Zoe getting ready for Mad Tea Party action, action, action!
Zoe paid a visit to Pooh's house while waiting for the Pooh ride.
Dr. Birthday birthday'd it up but good on her birthday.
Here are Andrya, Niklas and Grandma on the magic carpet. Not pictured: the camel who spit on us.
It's no set of birthday ears, but this R2-D2 hat is pretty awesome.
Anybody complaining about the heat was punished accordingly.
Niklas has his fight face on as he's getting ready to battle the evil space emperor Zurg.
Here's everyone but me in front a statue of Gaston that was donated by Gaston in honor of Gaston.
Even the bathrooms at the Magic Kingdom are pretty cool.
Here's Zoe after she liberated my sunglasses.
You can tell who's running low on gas in this carousel shot.
Here's Niklas at Epcot in front of the monorail track. Niklas loves the monorail.
This is Norway in the world showcase which is as close as they have to Sweden. Niklas looks vaguely irritated as we were late to meet up for lunch and I kept making him stop in front of things to get his picture taken.
Here's Zoe with Tinkerbell, presumably killing time waiting for me and Niklas to show up for lunch.
This is Niklas (well) in front of the Tower of Terror which he thought was awesome.
Niklas found time to outrun some imperial troops on a stolen speeder.
Niklas's boat face is similar to his crazy face.
Here's Niklas and a rainbow as we waited for the Epcot fireworks.
Andrya and Niklas prepare for a trip into the Seven Drawf mine.
Zoe, as is her birthright, was all about the mine train.
Mining and cabbage, those are her passions.
Here's a duck who was unsuccessful in getting Niklas to share his funnel cake.
Zoe catches some air while waiting in line for Dumbo.
Me (to Zoe, who was on my shoulders): Go get in the picture with those guys
Zoe demonstrates proper roller coaster form.
It's important to stay hydrated in central Florida heat.
Here's Zoe hugging Pooh, though Tigger is more of her spirit guide.
Niklas shows off the awesome mug he got in Sleepy Hollow.
Cheers to a successful day in the park.
Here's Zoe with Elsa, which was the highlight of her trip except for the other time she saw Elsa and possibly the 7D mine train.
Speaking of, here's the 7D mine train. Zoe and I waited in line for it for almost two hours. Totally worth it.
So the trip to Disney World was pre-tay, pre-tay, pretty good.
Niklas's forced smile looks even more forced when you zoom in on it.
Fake smile with me but legit smile with Zoe? I see you, Niklas.
Here's Zoe with Princess Anna.
Zoe's laughing, so I assume these ladies are plotting a terrible demise for Prince Hans.
For some reason, The Rock-N-Roller Coaster made Niklas look like he was two.
Here are Niklas and I enjoying some terror.
Andrya and Zoe met Rapunzel, but I don't think they got to hit anyone with a frying pan.
Here we all are on the 7D Mine Train. Niklas is really leaning into the curve.
Zoe enjoyed some tandem princess twirling with Cinderella.
Here are Niklas and Zoe with Adventuring Mickey and Minnie. Zoe looks pretty good for just having thrown up.
This looks like she just threw up.
This is me and Niklas on our way to search for a Yeti.
Here's a good look at Niklas's "you're making me late" face.
Niklas, Grandma Meeker and I designed a car that's speed was only matched by its inefficiency on the test track.
You can tell that the mine train was Zoe's favorite ride as here is yet another picture of us on it.
Here are Niklas and I on Space Mountain.
Zoe looks furious here because she really, really had to pee at this point.
Zoe met Pluto on her birthday.
Here we are on an adventure through time to hunt a dinosaur or some such.
All vacations must come to an end. Here we are at the airport just before our flight to Chicago was cancelled and we had to fly into St. Louis and drive home.
Here's Zoe showing the boys in her baseball class how bad they all are at baseball.
Niklas's Lil Sluggers league had a five to one girl to boy ratio. Niklas was cool with it.
Zoe shows off her midwestern bona fides by dominating at cornhole. She also showed off her western PA bona fides by saying "boo Cardinals" the whole time.
Deleware: Party Capital of the East Coast (South of Philly, North of Baltimore division)
So here's Zoe at Rehoboth Beach in Deleware.
The kids played a game where they would run out into the water and run from the
waves when they came in.
About half the time, Niklas got knocked over by a wave. He was cool with it.
I've never seen so much sand fall out of a swimsuit as Niklas dropped out of his trunks after being pounded into the ground by the surf for a couple of hours.
This is Zoe's home run trot.
Wooo! Spinny thing!
Here's Niklas showing off his rollerblading skills.
Zoe didn't feel like having her picture taken at the Cubs/Cardinals game.
I appreciated both kids showing out for the Pirates.
Here's Zoe with a sunflower she planted (from a seed) in school. It's taller than me now. Quality gardening, Zoe!
This is Zoe with a wine bottle that is wearing sunglasses. I have nothing further to report.
Here's Niklas showing off the Steelers logo he got painted on his face, and also a sumo stance.
Zoe's butterfly face kind of looks like the Ultimate Warrior's face paint.