Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cincinnati zoo

On Labor Day weekend we went to Cincinnati for the wedding of Cordt and Carolyn, met Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Sara, and some more of Erin's side of the extended family. We got to stay in a hotel, and since our room was right next to Grandpa's, Will got to hang out with him a lot.

This was Hallie's first stay in a hotel, and since we had learned our lesson with the boy, she got to sleep in the bathroom. This made for some interesting middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom in Grandpa & Grandma's room, but not this interesting. Another first, Will got to sleep in his own hotel bed, since he's a big boy now. One night Erin, who was sleeping on the side of our bed closest to Will, was awoken by a strange sound. Will was awake and had reached over to the phone on the table between our two beds, had picked up the receiver, and was pushing random buttons. He told us he was calling Grandpa. Fortunately there were no strange phone charges on our bill when we checked out.

Anyway, we all went a day early for the long weekend so we could hang out for a day in Cincinnati. We did a number of fun things - the guys got to go play disc golf at a local course, and the girls went shopping. But then a bunch of us all went to the Cincinnati zoo together. Our friend Neal and his girlfriend Susan are from Cincinnati, and were in town for the weekend as well - they actually stayed with the kids while we went to the wedding on Sunday. Neal joined us for a couple of these outings and served as a Cincinnattah guide, but also had a great time himself at the zoo, where he hadn't been since he was much younger.

It was a beautiful day to go to the zoo. Will sang the song "we going to the zoo" over and over, it was great.

We saw tigers and bears and gorillas (see the one below sitting with his back to everyone in the middle of the clearing)...


Will even got to feed a giraffe!

Don't worry the pictures below are not of a real alligator. But Will still hurt his head on the sharp teeth when he was posing with his head in its mouth.

There was also a choo-choo! Grandpa and Will and I got to ride on it, it was a really neat ride through the zoo, which also boasts an impressive botanical garden. We took pictures of these silly tourists we saw.

Hallie got to ride too - in the Baby Bjorn carrier. She really liked being able to see everything.

No trip to the zoo is complete without Will getting a ride on the carousel. And the several pictures it takes to get one of him actually looking/waving at the camera.

I had forgotten - the time we were at the zoo was also the first Saturday of college football season. So we had Will dressed in his University of Wisconsin "Jump Around" shirt since we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sara. Hallie dressed a little more appropriately...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Andy and Maggie's wedding

Andy and Maggie have been good friends of ours for years, and Andy asked me to be a groomsman in his wedding, which I was honored to be. He was a groomsman in our wedding as well. So last month we flew home to Nebraska for a long weekend for the wedding, which had the extra benefit of getting to hang out with the fam for a few days. The wedding was beautiful and all around a very happy affair. But most of the pictures that turned out well were taken before the ceremony or at the reception, so forgive me if this is the last I mention of the wedding itself.

It is now apparent to me in looking at these pictures that Will was all revved up with sillies after several days of grandpa/grandma/uncle/aunt spoiling, and was probably operating on a heavy dose of grandma's raspberries. It didn't help that we had those jokers egging him on. Here Will and Grandpa are screwing around in the church:

And here at the reception, well I have no idea what's going here since I was at the head table. But this appears to be silliness.

Then grandma takes it up a notch by identifying the feather in the table centerpiece as a sword.

Fortunately we had a dance floor to burn off Will's dinner of cake.

It was a great all-around trip, really special to be present for Andy & Maggie's celebration, and saw a lot of good friends who we don't see all that often anymore. Here's my good friend Avin (the Hav-man and Andy and I grew up together as a threesome of neighborhood hooligans) and his parents Mona and Pratap. They got Hallie the pretty outfit she is wearing as a gift, isn't it cute?

Finally, a couple very nice pictures we took with the family members who were present. First, just the chicks, then we added the dudes:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Milestone: Hallie (and Will) can roll over

Last week Hallie rolled over for the first time by herself. Erin saw it, grabbed the camera, and for once she was able to get Hallie to repeat the action so it could be documented. So the video below officially captured the second time in Hallie's life she intentionally moved herself to a new location under her own power. We have also started noticing evidence of sleep scooting when we get her up in the morning or after a nap. If she follows Will's locomotion pattern, next month we should see some belly scooting, and around Christmas she might be froggy crawling.

Oh, of course the funniest thing about this video is Will's insistence that we watch him roll over instead of Hallie. It is definitely an impressive sight when he finally gets the camera's attention. For those of you who know what I'm talking about, this reminds me of Erin's "cartwheel video" from when she was a little girl.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cereal and swords at Grandpa's house

Last month when we went to Lincoln for Andy and Maggie's wedding, we flew so we could have a few extra days to hang out with Grandma & Grandpa, Unky Grant & AJ. There were several fun things we did before and after the wedding.

Hallie got to meet her uncle.

And she tried rice cereal for the first time.

This is her first non-bottle food, and like her brother, she didn't like it all that much...

Then there's this boy... what's this that he and Grandpa made? A THORD!

Grandpa survived their last battle, and was ready for a swordfight rematch.

After the swordfight, Will and Grandpa raided Grandma's raspberry patch. Will helped collect some to share but he ate about 10 berries for every 1 that went in the bucket. Actually, Will and others did this every day - it was the height of berry season and they were so plentiful there was enough to feast on each day.

There are other fun things to do at Grandma & Grandpa's house too - like play legos and take naps in the big-boy beds. Since there are two beds in Will's room, he got to take killer naps like this one with his Grandpa, and then AJ got to sleep in the other bed at night. What fun!

Next... Andy & Maggie's wedding

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hallie's bath pictures: 5 months

Well, these are the sweetest smiles yet. Hallie's ahead of the curve with her smiling I think, at least compared to her brother, who at this point in his life had only just begun smiling regularly. She is also very chatty and slobbery. She's kind of a flirt - I'm convinced she uses her smiles and chats to get kisses. Slobbery kisses.

Here she's giving her model look/pose. She doesn't realize that the hand-on-the-chest look has been done.

Since last month, she has grown into the 'stein, took a couple trips to see grandmas & grandpas, aunts & uncles (including one on an airplane), learned to appreciate music, and hung out a lot with her big brother. Speaking of whom, Will stopped by to make a cameo in Hallie's bath picture below.

And here it is - the sweetest picture of smiling Hallie to date:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

frequent flyers

A few weeks ago we went home to Lincoln for the wedding of our good friends Andy and Maggie. It was Will's second trip on a rocket ship and Hallie's first. With two children, Erin and I were each occupied throughout more or less the entire flight as entertainers/comforters. It went much better than our last flight together, at least there were 3 fewer mile-high poopy diapers.

Good thinking on mom's part - she brought some movies for Will to watch. He was set with his Little Einsteins movie, his Roar, and his sucking fingers.

Look at this guy sitting next to Hallie and I - he was very polite but you know what he's thinking... that slobber machine better not keep me awake! Fortunately Hallie was very sweet - she drank a bottle as we took off and fell asleep in my arms right afterward. Over both flights, she probably was only upset for 20 minutes or so, otherwise was very cheerful or asleep. She even chatted with the woman sitting next to us on the way home.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chats with the Hal-gal

Nothing special here, just a montage of Hallie having coo-conversations with me. She's very chatty, especially when she wakes up in the morning or from a nap.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

return of the stein

Hallie is now big enough to stand in the Baby Einstein exersaucer and, like the boy with the cheesy smile standing behind her, she is very entertained trying to suck on the various brightly-colored attachments.

The three rolling wheels were especially interesting to her. Look how hard she concentrates on figuring them out. They make noise when you slap them... how puzzling.

She looked away from her puzzle long enough to smile for the camera a few times.