Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Doral Experience

I lugged my sticks down to Miami determined to play at Doral and the Blue Monster. With my meetings complete, I moved over to Doral on Friday night in order to be ready for my 7am tee time on Saturday. Doral has four courses. I decided to play the much easier Red Course as a warm up. I haven’t played a round of golf since mid-July as part of my annual Crony Cup. I hit balls once last week just confirm I still knew how to hold the club. Well, to my pleasant surprise I shot 73 (par 70). Hit fairways, greens, and made some putts. Registered four birdies. Again, the course was easy and short (only 6300 yards), but I still played well.

Expecting a tougher challenge on the BM, I shot 75 (par 72). The course was in good shape, but I must admit it was not a tough course. I know the rough is at its thinnest in the summer heat, however I was in the fairway most of the day. Made four birdies again. The course gets its name from all the water on the course. I didn’t see it. Then again, I wasn’t looking. I was so focused on just making a good swing, all I saw was the fairway and then the green. Ignorance is bliss, I guess. Probably should play that way more often! My back didn't act up either, but it has tightened up since finishing, as I'm still recovering from being t-boned by a car while riding my big wheel.

The staff at Doral was amazing. Owned by Marriott, whatever the training program is it works. From the registration desk and the bell hops to the maids and the grounds crew, everybody was courteous and friendly. First class. Definitely worth the trip. Oh yeah, the greens fees were reduced dramatically for the summer and then again for the Labor Day weekend so I stayed and played both rounds for the same price of what the BM typically costs!

The Face Of A Little Man Sick

Even sick, he's still - of course - adorable!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav Is No Friend Of Mine

As I write this post, I’m sitting in the refuge camp that is the Miami International Airport. At least I’m in the new terminal. The weather is ominous. Hurricane Gustav is cycloning through the Gulf on what is currently a direct course with New Orleans. Unfortunately, we know who wins a game of chicken with a hurricane.

I experienced what it is like to be affected by the hurricane. As the storm advances by spiraling along, I was repeatedly pelted with rain from its outer bands as it whipped across southern Florida. In fact, I could see it coming. Miles to the west, the wall of rain would grow darker as it grew close. The wind would appear and then grow stronger, then came the rain. In the same time it took to arrive, it would then disappear. An hour or so later, the same routine would repeat. I was rained on five times during my 36 holes today ( I played my rounds quickly!).

Arriving at the airport early clinging to the thin line of hope to secure an earlier seat, my hopes were quickly dashed as all flights are full. Miami’s airport is the jumping off point for all flights South American and by reading the faces of all the passengers looking to head south their concern and frustration was evident. They are going nowhere

Headed north, I’m not overly concerned. Then again, this is air travel, I am leaving from Miami, and bad weather blankets the region.

The Croup

Little Man has the croup. Poor guy. Of course, it arrived the day after I traveled to Miami. We’ve been fortunately. 10 months young, all that has ailed Gilbert is a cold in his third week of life.

Reports from the homestead have detailed Gilbert’s struggles, apparently he can sling some snot when he sneezes. With germs aflyin’ Kristen stressed the need to sanitize the house. My response was, “How”? Call the CDC?

I feel for him and her (not much sleep) and it royally blows because I can do nothing as I sit on my butt in Miami waiting for my plane. I’ll be home around midnight and I’ve already told Kristen I get Gilbert duty (so she can sleep and I can get some time with Gilbert, even though he’s not feeling well). I can’t wait just to hold him, hug him, and comfort him. When he’s sleeping or very sleepy Gilbert likes to rest his head on our shoulder as we rub his back. I can’t wait!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rusty Crane

No, this is not the name of a past-his-prime porn star. Instead it is a description of the Miami skyline. We've all read how the Miami residential market was the first to overheat from the recent bust of the real estate bubble.

It is hard to understand the gravity of the situation until you are in here in person. From the balcony of my hotel room I can see across the bay into the downtown. The skyline is dotted with building cranes that are stationary. At night, is is even worse as all you see are dark silouettes of the high-rise buildings.


Yesterday was my day to take the stage. I gave my presentation and all went well. Lots of questions, lots of head nodding (not to fend off sleep!) and in the end a lot of agreement with what I was saying. Hopefully action will follow.

So far this trip to Me-aammi is shaping up to the be the best one. The days worth of meetings went well. The weather is hot, but there is a breeze. Went for another run last night on the beach and it felt like I could have run all night! And thankfully so as our dinner was a group event at China Grill and the portions were huge!

And of course the people in my meeting are great. For those of you with Latin friends or do work in central or South America, the culture is one of friendship and trust. They want to know you personally and trust you before they let you in or do business. Well, I must be earning their trust because I felt increasing more included as the day wore on and by nighttime, I was just another attendee. Not that guy from Chee-kago.

But damn, I need to learn Spanish.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I arrived in Miami yesterday so the next few days will be posts from the road. I have been to Miami a few times prior and never had an enjoyable experience. I'm hoping this time will be different.

My trip did not get off to a good start. After waiting an hour for my luggage among the other thousands of people (the baggage area looked like a refugee camp with people splayed out all over the place and derelict luggage strewn every wear), I was deposited at the wrong hotel. Something never felt right and I asked the bellhop and the reservation clerk if I was at the right place and they all said yes! Turns out the name of the hotel I was suppose to be staying was once used at a different hotel. They kept telling me, yes, used to be. Considering hotels are turned over quickly, I thought maybe it was recent, but no! So, another cab ride later to the other end of South Beach I finally checked in.

Unpacking I realized I forgot to pack my black belt (no not my karate belt, then again, I think yellow was the highest belt obtained!) so I put on my jogging gear and went out in search of a men's store.

Jogging on the beach. Good exercise, great scenery! However, seeing all the tan bodies on the beach I realized I must look translucent and compared to all the hard bodies I felt quite soft (and I thought I was in good shape)!

My meeting started off with an icebreaker and that was fun. However, I knew coming in I was the only native English speaking guest and quickly those in attendance fell back into either Spanish and Portuguese. I was the gringo. I just smiled and nodded my head having no idea what they were talking about. Same thing occured at dinner.

Now, I must preface that the group is a good group of people. Genuine and incredibly nice. For many, this was the first time all from South America have been in the same place so they spent the evening catching up. Nonetheless, I askee a lot of questions as I'm genuinely curious about other cultures and as a result we had great conversations. Ryan - unless you learn Spanish this will be you in your own home if Kerry teaches Tommy Spanish!

As the evening wore on, the conversations did change and I was able to participate as lots of talk around politics (our election), the war, and economy, and what is taking place at Global (our equivalent of corporate) as that is where I work.

At the close of the day, it was the best start of my trip despite the early missteps. More notes from the road later...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sit And Spin

Remember that toy as a kid growing up? You sit on this disc-like toy, grab the wheel and sping yourself around. Well, Gilbert has proven no toy is needed!

Unfortunately, the camera was turned when filming so tilt your head 90 degrees to watch!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gilbert's World

I've talked about what Gilbert sees outside his window, in essence, his world. Easy to see how he looks out his window and can just stare. I'd lose a blinking contest with him every time!

We've watched the building rise from the beginning. You can barely see the crane operator car in the upper right hand and the crane cabling on the left. Gilbert will watch the crane lower to pick up its cargo and then follow its rise up to the top.

He even will notice people walking around on the floors!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What A Mess!

Kristen bought those teething biscuits that seem to be so popular. All I've ever seen is a big mess. I was not witness to Gilbert's first experience with the biscuit, but as the pictures demostrate, it looked to be quite an experience in culinary? delight!

What Do I Do Now?

How to I stave off depression now that the Olympics are over? I watched more of this Olympiad than any other. And it was AWESOME!

Kristen is glad it is over as she says she "needs her beauty sleep" and staying up late to watch the events serious cut into her night therapy.

But what do I do? Sleep? Nah. Ooh, I know. I'll remain riveted to the tele by watching the Democratic National Convention. Yeah, right! Boooorinnnng!

And for all those Obama lovers, don't fear I'm non-partisan. Watching the Republican National Convention is about as exciting as well, watching the Democratic National Convention.

There are so many things I'd rather do than watch that. But, no, I still will not watch Titanic. I already know the story. Boat hits rock. Boat sinks. Three plus hours. Really?
Gilbert is on the move. Still obstinent about actually crawling, he is now working on his 'belly skitter'. Almost looks like he hovers. Had to watch the video a few times myself to figure out how he's moving forward!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today was a bittersweet day. We attending the going away party for some good friends as they are relocating to Dubai for a few years. We will miss them terribly, but the opportunity awaiting them is incredibly exciting!

The party was up north at a family lake house and the day could not have been better! All our friends gathered - a great testament to Jon and Suzanne! - to give them a proper sendoff. We spent the day eating, drinking, playing games, cruising the lake, and just relaxing. How refreshing. A lot of photos were snapped, but I was a bit anemic with my camera as I preferred to play! The photo above is of Kristen with Gilbert, friend Emily (with daughter and very prego with #3!) and Suzanne - the soon to be departed.

Here's a failed attempt to get a picture of Gilbert with Jon and Suzanne's daughter, but as you can see neither child was in the mood for photos!

Gilbert was fantastic. He enjoyed seeing all the kids playing and was a delight all day. Tuckered out in the afternoon, he took a powernap on Kristen's shoulder.

We will miss them, but are already planning a visit come next spring. Can't wait!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Urban Oasis

The park has finally opened! 1 block away a high-rise residential tower was constructed over the past year. As part of its deal with the City, the developer promised to build a 1 acre park. I've been watching the construction progress closely jonesing for its opening. Mysteriously, the park has remained shut off with fences restricting access for the past month despite the park being completed.

(Gilbert was focused on the seagull flying overhead. Yes, I'm sure he was wondering what a seagull is doing so far away from the water too!)

Well, the the fences were removed and now the park is open! We headed over this afternoon for a short visit just prior to Gilbert's dinner. The park was well done. The gym equipment has all the latest features - e.g. recycled cork matting instead of concrete or bark mulch for the flooring - and all the apparatuses are extra wide and ADA friendly. Nice touch.

As we pushed Gilbert in the swing, I quickly realized this little nugget of a park was indeed a gem of an urban oasis. To one side was the towering residential high-rise. Across the street is a chocolate factory (with a walk-in store!). And the park is bounded is also bounded by another twin high-rise tower by the same developer. I'm sure the park will become very popular with the dense residential surroundings, but I wonder how many people actually know the park exists!

With Gilbert's affinity for construction - he likes to watch the crane across building another high-rise across thee street from his room - he would stare at the two cranes working on the twin towers while we played on the equipment. And to add to his amusement, a Metra commuter train passed by overhead. Truly a lot is going on! In this picture you can see the construction across the street, the Metra train passing, and in the background two high-rises going up along the Chicago River. How awesome!

With the park only a short walk, I'm sure we'll be taking advantage of its facilities. And come winter, we'll be in the park building snowmen or pushing Gilbert down the hills in his sled! Here he enjoys a ride on Dada's shoulders up the hill.

Scooter. With A Twist

Gilbert continues to expand his repotoire of dance moves. He's now incorporated the "butt twist". Witness.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gilbert's Latest Stats

Gilbert had his routine 'well visit' today. Just shy of 10 months (the 26th), he is doing awesome! We had a friendly bet as to what his weight would be. I said 22'ish, Kristen thought 23'ish, and our nanny said 21'ish.

Surprisingly, Gilbert was only 21 pounds on the dot! The Little Man is soooo solid! But his weight registers him only at the 50th percentile, again.

His head size is still near the top of the charts in the 90th percentile and his length (when do "they" switch to start calling it height?) is now 30 inches which vaults Gilbert in to the 90th percentile.

Comparing to his past visits his weight and noggin size continue to be constant when compared by percentile, by his height, er, length, has shot up. What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Week From Today

I'll be in Miami. Specifically, South Beach. No, for work!

I'm excited as I've been chained to my desk for some time now. I miss traveling, but have enjoyed the routine of being home every night in order to spend time with Gilbert (and yes, my fantastic wife!).

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the trip. I'm presenting to other marketing/business development constituents in from all over South America. I'll be the only native in the room and at dinner I'll just sit and smile as I don't understand a word being said as the attendees slip into Spanish and Portuguese.

Looking to take advantage of my trip, I'm staying over an extra day to play the Blue Monster at Doral. Never thought I'd get the opportunity to play, but since I'm so close to the course how can I pass it up!

I always tell people traveling with golf clubs is a pain in the ass and not worth it unless you get at least two rounds in. Since I'm only staying an extra day, I'm going to play 36! Crazy, maybe. Fanatical, absolutely.

I'm just thankful the hurricane/tropical storm that is blowing through Florida hasn't ruined my trip!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Gilbert is going mobile. Well, kind of. Not crawling, but rather scooting. Using the best carrot we can dangle, my BlackBerry, we were able to capture him move his greatest distance. He is getting so close!

I had to separate the video in to two files due to the time it took Gilbert to reach his goal!

The musical background was provided by Barenaked Ladies. They make kids songs. This CD is titled Snack Time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Corrupting Gilbert

We spent the afternoon of our 5th anniversary what we like to do best...being outside as a family.

Gilbert loaded up, we went north into Lincoln Park. Specifically to Oz Park. It was late afternoon and Gilbert was showing signs of slowing down, but the day was so nice we just had to get outside. The Air & Water Show was in progress so planes were constantly buzzing around and Gilbert would immediate shoot his gaze to the sky to attach this odd sound with something visual.

After some halfhearted playing on the swing, we laid out a blanket to chill with Gil. I quickly realized why Kristen selected the park. DQ recently opened up around the corner and not a moment after the blanket was touching grass she 'volunteered' to go get us something.

Orange Julius for me, a chocolate-dipped soft serve cone for her we sat and played with Gilbert. Needless to say, Gilbert likes ice cream as the pictures demonstrate!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Anniversary Evening

So, the 5th has come...and gone. The evening was pleasant. We grabbed a drink across the street from our condo at Carnivale. We had another restaurant in mind to start our evening, but after walking to the establishment learned it was closed for the evening! Not wanting to walk back, we took a cab for the three blocks!

From Carnivale we went to dinner at the May Street Market. The restaurant prides itself on using local ingredients as much as possible. The restaurant had a laid-back vibe and the clientele was diverse with walls covered with art done by a local artist.

The menu turns over often reflecting the seasons and availability of local ingredients. For a starter we had the special - fried green tomato over a heirloom tomato on spinach and a zucchini relish and some other ingredients I could not identify. Quite tasty. Kristen proclaimed the bread was the best ever. Direct from the oven and crusted in rough sea salt, the multi-grain bread was indeed good. Best ever? Not sure. What was intriguing was the red wine truffle oil spread that accompanied the butter for the bread. I did enjoy the taste and texture.

For entrees, Kristen selected a horseradish crusted halibut and I went with organic pork chops. The chops came with a red beet potato puree, sauteed spinach and pineapple. The fruit was an obvious selection to offset the zesty ancho chili glaze on the chops. I was able to talk the kitchen to do the chops medium rare as organic meat does cook faster. Luckily they acquiesced to my request because much longer and the juicy chop would have gone rubber. We were both pleased with our meals.

It was dessert that I enjoyed the most. Kristen selected a S'more type dessert. The presentation was unique. A thin, long rectangular slice, the dessert was a perfect balance of graham crust, thick chocolate mousse, and a topping of meringue that was blow torched to resemble a melted marshmallow. Kristen usually prefers desserts more than I do, but I by far had the majority!
As for wood, we decided to purchase a home furnishing that was made from reclaimed or environmentally friendly wood. Still looking, but will let you know what we find.

I Can Feed Myself

They grow up so fast. Gilbert told us he no longer needs our assistance for feeding. As these pictures demonstrate, he is quite capable of getting the food into his mouth. Sometimes with spoon, sometimes not!

Yeah, right! Kristen was just having fun with him after he was fed. He still is like a baby chick opening his mouth wide waiting for us to deposit the food into it. He has no desire to pick up his food (unless it is dry like puffs or cheerios), hold his bottle or grab the spoon. In fact, he holds his arms as a signal to say, "I will not interfere. Feed me!"

However, once the feeding is complete. He likes to play, thus these pictures.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Clap Your Hands High In The Air

Gilbert's expanding his repertoire of moves. You've seen him clap in prior videos, but now he's discovered that he can clap and produce sound. The past week he's done it constantly.

Mastering the clap, he's begun to swing his arms in the air. First it was the single arm raise. Maybe it is from trying to get him to give us 'five'. When either of us returns home, he likes to give us five or clap his hand into ours.

Quickly mastered, he goes 'hands free', now. Not sure where that move came from. Perhaps from swinging. When he swings up to us, we'll put our hands out for him to touch. Watching him throw both arms up resembles going hands free on a roller coaster. Quite amusing.

The only unsettling part is when he goes one hand, it looks a bit like a salute to the Fuhrer!

Friday, August 15, 2008

How Time Goes By

Last night I participated in a 5k run called Race Judicata. The Race Judicata is a 5K Run/Walk, benefiting Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation in our mission to ensure that the law works for everyone. My law firm is a primary sponsor of the event and I thought it would be fun to run in an event somewhat competitive. And the fact I might be able to meet some new people (I've only been at the firm for 1 1/2 years and we have 10,000 employees).

I quickly realized that I had not run in a race in almost five years! The last competitive race was the Chicago Triathlon. I was shocked how long it had been! I can trace it back to when we moved to the suburbs. Followed by knee surgery last year and the accident this year, time has escaped me.

Not from this race, but rather my last triathlon is this picture. Kristen insists pictures are needed in my blog posts, thus the photo!

This was going to be a good test for me. First, I hate running. The only reason I ever ran was because it is part of a triathlon. Second, I had run maybe, maybe, five times this summer. And that was usually 1 mile to, 1 mile from the physical therapy office.

I set a modest goal of 25 minutes.

Last night could not have been better. The weather was awesome - cool, but warm, low humidity - and we ran along the lakefront. Always great views. In the end, I missed by goal with a run time of 25:25. Oh well!

Like most of my events, I always seem to leave a little something in the tank that should have been used up. I had a little left, but not much. The legs were heavy, my back was tightening, and the right hip was getting sloppy from fatigue so I don't think I could have squeezed much more out. Maybe enough to reach my goal, but not much more.

The post race was a blast. Kudos to law firms. They know how to run an event. Each tent was loaded with food and the beer tent was stocked with Goose Island. Double-fisting was encouraged. I had Jimmy John's, Krispy Kremes, beer, cookies, bananas, etc. So much for all those calories I burned during the race!

Another First

Our ritual each night is to sneak a kiss on Gilbert before we go to bed. His typical slepping position is on his side with his blanket bundled up between his arms and leg, much like an adult body pillow.

Last night we were surprised when this is what we saw...

This is the first time we have seen him sleeping on his belly. He was in that position again this morning when we woke up. Seems that all the tummy time and practice crawling has got him comfortable on his belly. Oh yeah!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anniversary Pressure

This Sunday, er, Saturday, is my 5th anniversary. Being married to Kristen, that is. I guess it is her anniversary as well. In total, we've been together for eight. Still don't, and probably never will, understand why I don't get credit for the other three.

Anyway. I've been told the proper gift for the 5th is wood. I'm suppose to give my wife the gift of wood. I'm speechless. Really.

No, I'm not! The gift of wood. From my perspective that is a perpetual gift! Hope my parents don't read this.

I've been thinking what would be an appropriate gift of wood (I'm chuckling). I think back to my childhood days of flying balsa wood planes. Nope, don't think that will do it. Perhaps I could do a wood carving? Would show my creativity, knife wielding skills, and commitment to building something with my hands. Great idea, but I have two days, no wood whittling skills (or tools), and what the hell would I make anyway!

Luckily, I'm off the hook. We recently bought an entertainment center. A nice piece, I must say, and it is made of solid, real wood! Kristen suggested this should be our gift to each other. Oh yeah! I'm in on that one. Of course, I had to play it coy to uncover if it was a test and she actually expected a gift. She says no. That is why I love her so.

That is not to say, come the day of our anniversary and after a night of nice food and drink she still might receive the gift of wood. Again, I apologize. Mom. Dad.

Technology Advanced

Gilbert is. (Sorry, talking like Yoda sometimes enjoy I do)

Came out of the shower this morning and this is what I saw. Pretty amazing. In the short time frame he emailed all his grandparents, confirmed the weather for his trips to the park and had time to see the new releases at Toys'R'Us. Wow!

I don't know what his fascination is with my BlackBerry. He has his own cell phone and remote control, but it is my BB that he is drawn to. If I have it in the same room as Gilbert he fixates on it.

Being the sly cat that I am, I'm using the BB as incentive when Gilbert is on his belly. You should see him scramble on the ground in an attempt to ensnare what he must see as the holy grail of toys. He loves to rake his fingers over the keys and see the letter move across the screen. I just have to make sure he doesn't actually email anybody!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jonesing On the Olympics

I love my DVR.

We have had satellite cable for some time now and I've become the master of program recording. And it has been no more valuable than for the Olympics. With the events taking place on the other side of the world, the DVR has been vital to keeping pace with the events. I have the entire Olympics recorded (sans the basketball and soccer channels, boooring!).

I come home from work, Olympics. I wake up, Olympics. How wonderful. And I can watch it in compressed time since we can blow through the commercials and dead time (like between dives and gymnastic routines).

Kristen is hooked too. I caught her watching swimming in 1x speed. Goes a lot faster! Especially for the long races.

The only drawback. I'm a zombie this week at work. Been staying up late to watch the live broadcasts. You'd think Gilbert would realize this and cut us some slack and sleep in longer in the mornings. Uh, no!

What have I been watching? Just about everything. I'm partial to volleyball so watching the men's indoor has been a blast. Especially since NBC finally got their act together and the match is shown in its entirety. Swimming has been exciting to watch too.

I like the obscure stuff as well. Been attempting to understand handball. Looks more like grown men playing in gym class. Caught whitewater rafting last night. Those dudes are strong!

Gymnastics are over. Well, at least the team competition. Thank you! I remember listening to a sports radio station attempting to delineate between sport and non-sport. He said the determining factor was if you were judged. Gymnastics, not a sport! Not that they are not athletes, but when your performance is left to others for judging...not a sport!

And did you hear about USA Wrestling? The team brought over their own scale and it was wrong! The team has been frantically attempting to lose weight to make the weigh-in. I predict an abysmal showing. Too bad.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Kristen was playing with Gilbert this morning only to uncover the emergence of his third tooth! The first of his top teeth, we were beginning to wonde when the tops might arrive considering his bottom two came in back over Memorial Day weekend.

No need to wonder anymore!

Two nights ago Gilbert was tugging on his ears hard and had trouble sleeping. And yesterday he did not nap well. He slept hard last night, so I'm guessing the tooth broke through sometime yesterday. He was much happier this morning!

The question now is when will #4 breach the surface.

Xylophone Pianist

We bought Gilbert a xylophone in an attempt to engage his eye hand coordination. Well, the outcome was successful, but his approach is a bit unorthodox as he doesn't use the wand provided to get the xylophone to make noise!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday was spent enjoying time with a good friend. Gina, a longtime friend was in town for a week with her kids (while her husband prepped their home for an upcoming move) and used the opportunity to see friends.

Staying north of the city with her Aunt, we drove up on Sunday for a full day of catching up, but also to introduce Gilbert to her kids. And get along they did!

The day was beautiful and we spend most of it outside. Catching some great photos in the process!

Adult Swim

Saturday night was an adults night out. Kristen and I attended an outdoor concert at Ravinia Park just north of Chicago. Joining two other couples (each with two kids and one with a third on the way!), we attend a concert by the band BoDeans.

The name might not be familiar, but their big claim to fame was the song used in the opening credits for the show Party of Five. My least favorite song! Anyway...the BoDeans play Ravinia every year and I think we've now seem them five of the last six years.

It is evenings like this why we moved back to the city. We rode the Metra with a cooler and bag and in 40 minutes were dropped off at the gate of the park. We all brought food and beverage and with the park opening more than two hours before the performance, adult conversation and a night away from all the kids was enjoyed thoroughly!

And hats off to our friend Emily. She was in attendance despite being eight months pregnant!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Lunge

Finally, movement. We have discovered the one item Gilbert will move for...his blanket! We just had to catch this on film, something that finally moves him off his butt!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chubby Cheeks

Check these out!

Elvis Is In The House

I have been unable to capture it on film, but ever since I posted 'Breaking the Knee' when Gilbert is standing up he's flaring his left knee. Very Elvis like. He'll grab my hands for balance, go up on his toes and flex his knee in and out. Quite funny to watch! His face has a "Ooh, didn't know my leg can do that," look on his face.

Maybe my little experiment has helped, or maybe it is just his time. Still can't imagine him skipping crawling, but he'd rather be hung upside down than lay on his belly!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gilbert was in a particularly good mood and Kristen the Nanny caught some awesome photos. I have attempted to translate.

Here Gilbert demonstrates how he prays and gives thanks to the Milk God.

Gilbert loves to read, or more appropriately be read to! If a book is in reaching distance, he's all over it. And Gilbert loves to turn the pages!

Gilbert is working on his senior picture pose..perhaps 18 years too early!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Good Nap = Happy Gilbert

Gilbert has been napping the best he has in a long while. Talking at least an hour and sometimes 1.5 - 2 hours in the morning and the same in the evening. The result? Gilbert is extremely happy and playful during his waking hours.

From smiling, talking, playing, and fantastic engagement in his activities he is just a lot of fun!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Breaking The Knee

Gilbert continues to show virtually no signs of wanting to go mobile. From watching other kids crawl or walk, I noticed the catalyst is the bent knee.

When he actually stays on his belly, the knees rarely bend nor does he make any attempt to slide the knee under his pelvis, the key to getting his butt up and crawling!

At Gymboree it is getting kind of embarrassing. Granted some of the kids crawl and others do not, but at least they will stay on their bellies, push up with their arms and attempt to crawl. All the kids are put in close proximity so they can see each other and interact and they enjoy it. But not the Little Man! He cries, er, whines, when we put him on his belly and because he rolls over immediately, Gilbert inevitably rolls into or on to the other kids attempting to get on to his back. We have to sweep in and pick him up to prevent a meltdown due to being stuck. I think the parents look at us like, "Who is this kid?", but I could be just paranoid.

It is no better for standing, granted that usually comes after crawling, but he will at least stay in a standing position. When standing, Gilbert locks his knees out. I do attempt to 'walk' him around, but he stays on his toes and keeps the legs locked.

To help him along, and maybe nothing more than to appease me, I've been attempting to bend his knees when standing. I'll hold him by one hand and use my other to 'break his knee'. He thinks it is a game. The more I attempt to push his knee in from the backside, the more he giggles. And of course, once I'm successful to put a little bend in his knee, Gilbert just collapses, laughs and smiles. Strange kid!

I know he'll begin to make his movements once he is ready and not a minute sooner. But Little Man, how about a sign! Throw your Dad a bone!

Monday, August 4, 2008

New Park

Sunday was another great day and we aimed to spend it outside. In search of a water park since we missed the designated 'open swim' time at the local pool (don't ask me to explain!), Kristen found a "hidden gem" just north in our old 'hood; Lincoln Park.

And a hidden gem it is. Nestled in a tree lined community, the park was loaded with families. With good reason. A water park, sand box, jungle gyms, swings, etc. Definitely a child playland! The park was designed well, also. The ground was that recycled rubber matting that can get wet yet will provide cushion for the rough and tumble kid.

Decked out in his swim gear, we opted for some swing time with Gilbert first then moved him over to a new experience, the Sandbox! At first, he wasn't sure what to do. What was this squishy stuff between my toes, he was thinking. I began to dig holes and pile the sand up on his feet. He grabbed for a lump of sand, much like reaching for a puff or Cheerio only to be baffled as it dissolved in his hand!

He quickly warmed up to the box and began grabbing at the toys and the sand. In Gilbert style, the litmus test for acceptance was to taste. Don't think he was fond of grit!

From there it was in to the water! This park was designed more for the mobile child. All the equipment was a bit taller than some of the other parks and the water streams were stronger.

Still not a big fan of water splashing into his face, Gilbert was often recoiling as water bounced off the ground and on to his face as the pictures will demonstrate. However, he got used to it and found a particular water stream where he enjoyed sticking his hand in to. Good fun!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Afternoon In The Park

Sad to say, but the countdown of summer days has begun. Now that we are in August, the number of nice weekends is, well, numbered!

Saturday was a beautiful day in the city. The temp has cooled into the upper 70's and I was determined to do something with the day, especially the late afternoon when we are typically relegated to being home to prepare Gilbert for bed.

We deliberated on some ideas and decided to do a picnic in a park. We packed up some goodies and Gilbert's dinner and headed out.
Our plan was to go to a different park, perhaps south of the city along Lake Michigan. What we did not count on was all the parking being taken for Lalapalooza!
After driving around the city, 45 minutes later we ended up back at our usual park! Gilbert was grumpy all day, so he was not happy about being in the car. When we did park, he looked around and had a look that said, "45 minutes in the car for this!"

In the end, we had a nice time. Gilbert enjoyed the swing (as always!) and we had fun just hanging out on the blanket.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Do Not Disturb

We all have our sleep habits. Whether it sleeping with mouth agape to catch flies, sawing logs with snoring, or in my case draping my arm over my eyes as if to shield the cruel world away, we all have our habits.

Then there is Gilbert. No matter how often we go in and fix it, he insists on pulling the blanket over his head to sleep. Whether on his back or when he sleeps on his side, that blanket spends more time covering his head than his bare feet.

And it scare the bejesus out of us! The SIDS saber rattlers out there tell you this is bad as not enough fresh O2 is getting into a babies lung. Especially for those who sleep on their belly and breath into the mattress. Thankfully, Gilbert does not sleep on his belly. But how much better can it be to have his face covered up?

But deny Gilbert his blankee? That is just cruel! So, we do what we can. We know he doesn't sleep with it over his head ALL night. Why? We have a video monitor and can hear him rolling around. A quick check reveals him at the foot of the crib one hour and then the head of it the other. And a quick 90 degree turn isn't unusual either.

The funny part is when you think he is sleeping he springs his trap! Much like those spiders who burrow underground and build a trap door over them to surprise their victims, Gilbert will lure you close with the covered head and then with both hands securely fastened on the blanket pull it down to reveal his smiling face as if to say, "Gotcha!".