Friday, March 31, 2006
(What Liam had for lunch today at daycare, as per Cindy's notes: Potatoes, carrots, asparagus, penne pasta with spaghetti sauce, cheese, bread, milk, and pineapple. We are really getting our money's worth...)
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Monday, March 27, 2006
Megan asked about the requisite trip to IKEA I made while in Hamilton. Liam went to bed early, and Chad wanted to rest up for his race, so I travelled ten minutes down the road to spend my Saturday night in The Land Of All Things Cheap And Swedish. Every time I go there, I want one of everything, regardless of the fact that modern is really not my style. I had my eye on a wooden children's craft table and chairs, something with which Liam can continue exploring his artistic side at home. As it turned out, they looked better on the web than they did in person. But then I found this adorable little set that followed me home. They're loud, obnoxious, plastic furniture pieces, and I love them. In hindsight, they're a much better choice than the wood; the walls are already tan, the floors already a neutral hardwood - I love how the colour kicks things up a notch in this room. Not to mention the fact that they match the Curious George prints already hanging on the wall. I envision us (yes, us - the chairs are big and strong enough to seat an adult) spending many happy hours drawing and colouring away at this table. Unfortunately, I only picked up 4 chairs, not realizing that the table fits 5. I see another trip to IKEA is in my future.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
We left early Saturday morning, in order to truly make a getaway of things. We stayed at the Jackson Square Sheraton, the official race hotel, which was cool because (a) the starting line was right outside, (b) the finishing line was next door inside Copps Coliseum and (c) the hotel is attached to Jackson Square and the Eaton Centre, meaning we could get around indoors between locations without fussing with coats. Upon arriving we had a quick food court lunch, which Liam loved: Then we strolled around for a while, checking things out. Chad went to school in Hamilton and I used to go visit him there all the time, so it was cool revisiting some of our old haunts. Liam enjoyed the sights too: you can always tell he's having fun taking things in when he refuses to sit back in his seat...
After a tour of the mall, farmer's market, runner's expo and general vicinity, we went for a swim...
...and a hot tub (mind you, the water wasn't that hot; not too hot for Liam, anyway):
Dinner at a local restaurant - Liam checks out the menu. On this trip Liam ate mostly the same restaurant food that we ate - a huge stride forward in terms of convenience...
Sunday morning, bright and early, Chad and Liam check out the race course from our room on the 14th floor...
We had a pretty good view of the entire bay area and could even see the CN Tower in the distance... Race start (oh yeah, that's why we went in the first place, right? :P) Seven thousand people trying to line up at the same time. Mass hysteria. Liam and I whiled away the time until Chad completed the circuit - here Liam is, trying to catch a glimpse of dad coming into the finish... The cutest part of the trip - when the crowd started cheering the runners on, Liam started clapping his hands, too... Do you think I got a good photo of Chad finishing? Of course not. Might need to buy one from The Official Race Photographer. Suffice it to say that he did extremely well though, finishing in 2:50. We had an enjoyable drive home, Liam sleeping most of the way... here he is waking up as the vehicle came to a stop: Huh? Are we there yet?
Friday, March 24, 2006
The historic downtown clock
The Kent County sculpture that’s by the clock
The cannon in Tecumseh Park
Somewhere around the side entrance to the Cultural Centre (the doors there would be nice if it weren’t for the decals on them advertising the hours of business and handicap access and security system)
The bench in Dana and Bruce’s back yard (you guys aren’t planning on moving in the next 18 years, are you?)
The tree in our front yard (provided that, if we move in a couple of years, we include in the terms of sale permission to come back once a year for this photo, and an agreement that the new owners not do anything to the tree until 2023)
Put your thinking caps on, folks… any more ideas??
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Besides, I will be needing all the fun time I can get. Work is not going so well. Let me rephrase that; parts of work are not going so well. Sometimes I feel like I am totally back in my routine, and starting to be productive. And sometimes, I feel like such an idiot. Like things are way over my head, and I will never be able to catch them. Like I'm not making a good first impression with my (new) boss. I felt like this the first few weeks I was in my new job prior to going on leave, and I know it will pass, sooner or later; but that first impression thing is only valid once, right? I hope I'm not blowing it.
Finally, I am thinking that something is going to have to change, routine-wise. I have been having a lot of back trouble for the past few weeks, which I've never had before. But I'm pretty sure I know why. Liam is getting to be hefty; his mattress is at the lowest level in the crib, and I never drop the rail to put him in or take him out. And, let's face it, since dropping my classes at the gym, I've been good about running and doing cardio, but I'm missing all the core strengthening from yoga and Bodypump. Do you think I've popped in my pilates or exercise ball dvds, which was my plan... nooooo... I keep thinking I will after dinner, and then inevitably I only have an hour and a half after Liam falls asleep to get the house tidied up and things ready for the next day before bed. Don't even ask me how I'm going to study for my exam (three weeks away now). Looks like my time management skills need a workout, too. (I know Chad will read this and tell me to quit spending so much time on the computer... but I think he also knows that it's kind of like me watching Lost: nonnegotiable.)
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Spring is the season of birthdays in our house. Chad's is coming up in just a couple of weeks, but you know the real excitement (sorry Chad!) will be ten days after that, when Liam turns one. The invitations to his party went out last week. We are keeping things pretty low-key - sadly, there will be no ponies or magicians - but I so excited about it nonetheless.
We're currently discussing what to get Liam for his birthday. Far from this being a daunting task, I have a list of things a mile long that I would like to get him, and the task is going to be narrowing it down to something reasonable. First up is a little kiddie craft table and chairs for the playroom - looking forward to making construction paper chains and handprint turkeys with him...
Summer is coming up - I think a kiddie pool would be fun. I was thinking more along the lines of Turtle Pool, but Chad wants a pool big enough for himself to lie down in. Sounds like Chad might be using this pool more than Liam!! This pool is at Canadian Tire and I think the people must be superimposed into the picture, because from the dimensions listed on the website, there's no way you're fitting eight people into this thing. We're also still looking into a bike seat... a lifejacket, so we can go canoeing in Algonquin this summer... maybe some sort of play set for the back yard... a wagon (we don't know how much we would use it this summer, but definitely at some point we will)... don't even get me near a Toys R Us; the problem here is not a lack of ideas, but too many of them, and the need to edit them down.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Liam and I just got home from a few days spent in Toronto visiting Aunty Steph and Uncle Monkey. I could tell you all about the cute noises Liam made to drown Steph out whenever she spoke, or about how Uncle Monkey had this weird hypnotic effect on Liam, but that was in the post that got eaten and it's really not interesting enough fodder to justify explaining all over again. We had thought of maybe taking Liam to the zoo or something exciting like that on this trip, but when the time came, it seemed like too much effort, too cold, too expensive and too crowded, thanks to March Break. In the end we just faked him out with the python and the crocodile at the Rain Forest Cafe. He also got a kick out of the remote-controlled dinosaurs at Pottery Barn Kids. I almost bought him a cool Easter bucket there, but I want my kids to have matching items of that sort, and who knows if they will still carry them in a few years' time when I'm ready to complete the collection? Sorry dude, you'll have to make do with a dollar-store cheapie for the time being.
Despite getting screwed out of the zoo excursion, Liam found other ways to have fun... like this toy train that Steph and Mike keep handy for entertaining little kids (unfortunately, it wasn't engrossing enough to prevent their stainless coffee table and glass doors from being completely covered in sticky fingerprints by trip's end. Sorry!!)
I did pick up a couple of clothing items for Liam, including a pair of splash pants that he needs for daycare, and some suction-cupped toys that go on the bottom of the tub to keep his bum from scooting around so much.
Today we are resting up; Liam doesn't sleep so well away from home. There's a big week ahead of us - Liam goes back to Cindy's tomorrow.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Liam's Robinson-side ancestors go back to Samuel Johnston and Jane Seymour, who emigrated to the Listowel area from Ireland around 1830, and Arthur Robinson and Margaret McDonald, who emigrated around the same time to the same area from Northern Ireland. So there is a wee bit of Irish in him, even if you have to go back six generations (give or take a few) to find it. I suspect that the vast majority of people can lay similar claim to some Irish ancestry, but nonetheless it satisfies me immensely that although we didn't choose his name for ethnic reasons, at least it's in keeping with our background. Much better than having named him Julio and trying to make sense of that.
I hoped to have a red-headed kid and have to admit I was a lil' disappointed when he came out with dark brown hair. Luckily that all fell out within a couple of months, and after a longish spell as a bald man, it grew back much redder than before. I suppose I had sort of taken it for granted that he would be a copper-top and it only occurred to me after he was born that Liam is the only Cook kid of his generation to have red hair; there are five biological cousins, whose parents are all redheads (even more so than Chad these days), and he's the only one who got the gene.
We are off on another road trip now, and leaving Chad to his own devices, which may mean some green beer drinking on his part tonight... we shall see when we get home tomorrow.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I have the rest of the week off, so this morning I took Liam into the office so that he could properly thank his grandma for keeping him happy & healthy with some flowers. Not the best angle on them here, but I think he did a good job of picking out something pretty. Dana told me she went to bed early last night. Glad to know that I am not the only one the little guy wears out!!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
You started daycare this month, and it’s been a real mixed bag. I am back to work now on Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and will be back full time in April. You went to Cindy’s for just one hour on the first day. I cried my eyes out; you haven’t cried at all. You took to that first hour just fine, as you did to the two-hour stint on your next visit, the half-day after that and the full day when I started back to work. You seem to love it there. You like Cindy and you enjoy the new toys, the cats who will actually let you pet them (!!) and most of all, the camaraderie with the other kids. Cindy says you especially love lunchtime, when she pulls you up to her table in your highchair, and you are able to eat right alongside all the other kids (even happily munching on the same ham and potatoes that they eat). (We all know that if there’s food involved, you’re bound to be happy, right?? J) It’s kind of a mixed blessing for me. On the one hand, I love that you are so happy and comfortable there right off the bat. On the other, purely selfish hand, don’t you miss me even a little bit?
This week Cindy is away for March Break, and you have been staying at home with Grandma Dee, behaving just as well for her as you do for Cindy and me. You are Mr. Even Keel, never getting worked up about anything. Your grandma is loving this time with you, and I’m glad that you’re getting to know her better, too.
Our daytime routine has shifted a bit now because of my start back to work and your start to daycare. I get up early to go for a run or go to the gym, and I try to be home and ready for the day by the time you wake up at 7 a.m. The problem is that you have started waking up early now too… it’s the rare day that you actually sleep until then, and Chad has to try to keep you entertained until I come home to relieve him. You usually go to bed between 7:30 – 8 p.m. these days, and I try to leave the office as close to 4:30 as possible so that we can be home by 5 and have some playtime together.
This month you have been learning to do new things at a phenomenal rate. One month ago, on February 13th, you began to crawl. Ten days later, you started climbing the stairs when we went to visit my mom and dad. Both of these activities have kept you occupied for much of the month as you practise them over and over again. You are super speedy quick at getting into trouble, and we are slowly getting accustomed to being kept on our toes. In the last couple of weeks you have also learned how to wave bye-bye and how to clap your hands, both things that we have been trying to teach you for months – success at last! You have figured out that putting your Roll Arounds through the hole on the Jungle Treehouse will send them down the ramp and start the music. You know to pat the bunny in Pat the Bunny. You carry things around the house in your mouth as you crawl (did that one come from Captain??) And then there is the category of things you’ve learned how to do without any coaching from us at all, including some things we wish you had never discovered. Like taking a huge mouthful of milk from your sippy cup, holding it for a moment, and then letting it all dribble down your neck. Like throwing things from your highchair, and dropping things from it to feed Captain when you notice him below you. Like sticking your hands in the toilet. Arrgh.
This month we finally stopped squashing you into the baby tub, and started bathing you in the big tub. You love to be in there as it fills so you can play with the stream of water. Unfortunately, you also love the extra room to scoot around and try to stand up, both of which make me nervous! Another change I have noticed in you is that you seem much more confident than you used to be. You were never particularly clingy, but when we go out now you are much more likely to venture off on your own to investigate when something interests you; strangers don’t faze you as much; you interact more with other kids, rather than hanging back. You are also increasingly opinionated. Remember the trouble I had taking your picture with your teddy bear last month?… it was that much worse this time around, especially now that you’re crawling. I have tons of blurry snaps of you tossing the bear aside and high-tailing it out of the frame. This is how I wound up getting the shot: giving you something else to do (who’d have thought that having an extension cord to examine would help calm you down?) and sneaking the bear in when you weren’t looking.
One more month and we will have a one-year old. I am not as much in denial about that as I used to be. I may still get misty eyed when the day finally arrives, but not just out of sadness (and not just because I’m in tears of frustration trying to get one final photo of you and the bear); we’ll have one full, wonderful year under our belts. That’s definitely reason to celebrate.
Monday, March 13, 2006
He is also finally waving hello and goodbye in a recognizable manner. I find it really difficult to nail down an exact date for some of these firsts, because for weeks or even months he has given maybe a single movement of the arm when we have been headed out the door, and who knows whether that means he's trying to wave or whether he's just jerking around. Anyway, it's definite now, which is fun to see. Right along with the waving he has started clapping, which I have been trying to get him to do for months and still can't, but Chad can get him clapping at the drop of a hat. Go figure.
A few days ago he finally started using his Roll Around Treehouse the way it was meant to be used. Since its introduction at Christmas, he has enjoyed chasing the Roll Arounds around, but he only just figured out how to drop them in the opening intended for them in order to get them to roll down the ramps and start the music. Once again, major cause for cheering from Chad and I. Liam gets a real kick out of the cheering.
Alongside the good skills Liam is picking up, there are of course bound to be some bad ones. So far these are not our fault - it's not like he is running around cussing after hearing one of us drop the f-bomb at home. Rather, he comes up with these ridiculous ways to entertain himself all on his own. The latest is this: taking a big swig of milk from his sippy cup, holding it in his mouth for a moment, and then letting it all dribble down his chin and soak his clothes (a bib does nothing to stop milk running down the chin and neck). If you don't catch him when he first starts doing it, then he soon needs a change of clothes. Hopefully the novelty of it wears off quickly.