Sunday, November 30, 2008

Family Photos

After returning from the tree farm, family photos were needed. As I mentioned, it was windy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Tree Farm Photos

As I mentioned, it was a beautiful day on Friday and we spent part of it outside looking for a Christmas tree. We also used the opportunity to snap some fun photos. Enjoy!

Flying At The Tree Farm

While in MI, the family went to the local tree farm to cut a tree for Kristen's mom. The day was bright, but windy. However, it was a great day for photos.

Gilbert loves to be tossed into the air. Restricted by the ceiling, it was fun to thrust him up into the air as high as I could. I must admit, it didn't seem he was going that high...until I saw these photos (sequence is left to right)!

Friday, November 28, 2008


We returned home late Friday night. Wanting to return Gilbert back to his typical routine, we bathed him and then gave him is last bottle of milk for the evening. The past few days knocked him off his eating schedule. The result? Much like his P's he grazed and drank throughout the day.

Well, apparently he had his fill. Check out his belly!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving With Family

Thanksgiving this year was spent in MI at Kristen's brother's house. Ryan and his wife Shannon bought an old farmhouse (and are doing a magnificent job updating the home) on 50 acres near Ann Arbor.

For the festivities, Kristen's mom was there along with one of her aunt/uncle and their son (Kristen's cousin) were also in attendance. Just in time, their beautiful dining table (made of reclaimed barn wood) arrived. As you can see the table and the house scream family festivities!

The dinner was fantastic! Two turkeys were prepared, three types of stuffing, and all the usual accompaniments that make this holiday by far my favorite. Wine and beer flowed freely and everyone had a wonderful times. Selfishly, we were able to relax for the meal as Gilbert was taking a late afternoon nap! He awoke shortly after we finished so he too had a Thanksgiving dinner with all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Phone Call

Continuing Gilbert's progress in cruising, he can now make the transition from one object to another. On top of that, he apparently has learned how to make a phone call!

Road Trip

By the time this post goes live, Team Johnson will be on the road (early!) heading to spend Turkey Day with family.

This promises to be a fun trip (unless the bumper complete shears off!) as we are headed to Kristen's brother's kick-ass farm house. On 50 acres, I hope to spend a lot of time outside in the snow acting like a kid!

And for Gilbert, it will be the first time he plays in snow. Fun pictures should result.

To all, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Eat too much, drink plenty, and cherish that afternoon nap!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I've always wondered if there is developmental value for Gilbert (and his P's) to learn sign language. A few weeks ago while waiting for his doctor's appointment I observed a mom and child doing sign. The child was giving the sign for 'more'.

It was an easy sign so I thought I'd experiment with Gilbert. Every morning while I'm making my protein shake I keep some banana for Gilbert. When the blender turns on he knows banana is coming. Very Pavlovian. Well, I started giving the sign and saying "more". Success was mild.

Well, last night Kristen was feeding Gilbert dinner and she noticed how when he was ready for more food he'd use the more sign. Success!

I just might have to buy a book on sign language to see what else we can use to augment his communication skills!


Gilbert is on the move! He started 'cruising' this weekend. Of course, it takes some bribery to get him moving. The best bait? Electronics. My laptop and remote controls all work, but the most effective bait? MY BLACKBERRY!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bears Win!

Gilbert was riveted by the the way the Bears played on Sunday against the Rams. He's been witness to their up and down season and was simply elated at their play today.

Here he celebrates Matt Forte's touchdown knowing that meant points for Dad's fantasy football team!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Low Tech Toys

I'm sure everyone with kids can relate to this post. We have all types of toys. Baby Einstein stuff, Playschool, Fisher-Price. Toys that light up, make noises, sing songs, etc. We have all that stuff and what are Gilbert's favorites currently?

My flip flops and belts!

We will be playing in his room and all of a sudden he scoots out, goes through the living room, through the bedroom and into the closet where he knows my belts are hanging! As for my flip flops, if not on my feet I have to hide them from Gilbert otherwise he's on a mission to find 'em.
Kristen and I need to do some stuff around the condo, so to entertain Gilbert I gave him what he wants! Apparently he watches his dada closely in the morning when he gets dressed for work as he attempted to put on a belt himself!

Sound Sleeper

When Gilbert decides to sleep, he sleeps incredibly sound! Wanting to test out the new camera, I snuck in for a nighttime pic. First, the flash on the camera is so powerful the picture looks like a day shot!

I just love how Gilbert sleeps! He starts on his back when we lay him down for the evening. Then he tucks and rolls to his side with his blanket. And then one final roll onto his belly and his blanket is snuggled tight against his body as he tucks his knees under his butt. He'll sleep like this all night!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Car Damage

The process has begun. Talking (Battling!) with the insurance company for the cab company has been a treat! The cab driver told the company it was our fault, so the company filed a claim with our insurance company! We, of course, had done the same!

Kristen has spent the last two weeks arranging visits of both companies to take pictures of the car and assess the damage.

Our insurance company told us not to get the bumper fixed until the cab company pays. Their tactic is to stall and then once the car is fixed deny payment saying it has already been fixed. They want to wait me out? Good luck! The only thing holding the bumper to the car is the dangling bungee cord you see in the picture.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Post Challenged

Hi avid readers! So sorry you have been deprived of your Little Man updates. The week has been harried for Team Johnson. Alpha Johnson has had a lot of after work meetings and Beta Johnson has not been feeling well.

The result? A lack of photos!

Don't fret. This weekend promises to deliver a plethora of photos that will be posted for all to view!

Check back on Sunday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gilbert's New Perch

Avid readers know that a few months ago the construction crane connected to the high-rise across the street was brought down, thus ending Gilbert's ongoing viewing party. You might even recall how sad he looked as if he knew the fun was coming to an end.

I'm pleased to report he has finally found a new vantage point to view the outside world. Sit him on the sofa and he makes a beeline scoot to the end and resting on his knees sits up to see as much as possible of his big wide world.

On occasion he does take a break to make sure his favorite toy is out and available...the house phone! I've lost track how many times I've heard that annoying sound that indicates the phone has been left on but no call is taking place!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back In Business

We have a new camera. Gilbert broke our camera, so it was time for a new one. The old camera is out for repairs, but there are no guarantees and we didn't want to miss capturing Gilbert in action.
He's now active in standing up and at times 'cruising'. His crib is flanked by bookshelves. Well, many of his books are at the height where if he stands up Gilbert can take the books off the shelf. I enjoy sneaking into his room and hiding behind the crib and watch his head emerge over the edge, grab a book, and then resubmerge back into his crib. I compare it to a shark breaching the water for his prey and then quitely slipping back into the water.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Acting Like Adults

Saturday night was an adult night out. Kristen and I attended a black tie optional affair. Hosted by the Montessori Academy of Chicago (where Gilbert is on the wait list), we wanted to support the school by attending. Plus it gave us an excuse to dress up!

The Gala-esque (the name of the event) was a blast! All the parents/couples we met were incredibly nice. Once they learned we were on the wait list, all they could do was talk about how awesome the school is and how their kids have developed beyond their expectations. Hopefully, Gilbert will get in the school and we can witness first hand!

The school is in its second year and despite still being in the infancy stage, it has quickly become to place to send young minds. Founded by a couple from Colorado who were shocked to see in just six months how years of Montessori schooling could be undone by typical daycare, they quit their lawyer day jobs and opened up the school. The rest, they say, is history.
We've attended a few seminars at the school and have seen - to a limited extent - the uniqueness of the school. During these sessions daycare is provided and we were able to observe Gilbert in the environment and it was amazing. What was even more amazing from the gala was the sense of community (which is a pillar of the school's mantra) that existed in the room. This was not a loose knit group of people whose only commonality was kids attending the same school. No, the tables brimmed with conversation because all these parents knew each other, knew each others kids, and were friends. Quite a community indeed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kickin' It Old School

The family is asleep and I'm working on my presentations for a few meetings next week. Sitting on the table are DVDs for Gilbert we received during his first year. Looking to clear the clutter, I opened the packages, threw away the wrapping and was in the process of filing the DVDs into the collection (by alpha of course!) when I took the time to see what the DVDs were.

Well, one of the DVDs is School House Rock!; the 30th anniversary edition. Fondly remembering these shorts while watching cartoons on Saturday morning, I decided to play the DVD.

Wow! 158 minutes of School House Rock! Because the shorts are so old, I figured functionality would be limited.


The DVD comes as a 'jukebox'. I can select only the songs I want to hear. I can loop the shorts, repeat, etc. It is awesome! I'm Just A Bill is playing right now. Next up on the jukebox is Conjunction Junction!

The memories are flooding back to childhood. I can't wait to watch and share this gem with Gilbert!

It Is Official

One look in Gilbert's ear by the doctor confirmed he indeed has an ear infection. Yes, his one year molar broke through the night he was up and chances are that was the cause, but his ear infection is prominent.

I am pleased to report as I write this post, Gilbert is sleeping soundly (and snoring loudly)!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little Man's Rough Night

Last night was a hard one for Gilbert. Everything was going as usual; good eats at dinner, fun time in the bath tub, and a nice slow down heading into bed.

However, come 8:30 he was up and crying profusely. Kristen made two separate attempts to get him to go back down, but he did not want to be in his crib let alone his room.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. We shut down the house, got it completely dark and just curled up as a family on the sofa hoping to calm down his crying and get him to fall asleep.

And tired he was, but Little Man was fighting sleep hard. Constantly rubbing his eyes, he'd refuse to lay back in our laps. However, sitting up he was gently swaying from side to side. Not making much progress, we went to bed together. Slowly he started to fall asleep, but then popped back up.

Finally, we just put him back in bed, crying, and at 10:30 Gilbert gave in to sleep. He awoke one more time, but quickly fell back into his slumber.

He woke up this morning an hour later than usual and as his typical fun self. We'll see how the day progresses.

Weird night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cost(co) Savings

Yes, Costco saves big $$$ for families. We are no exception. However, I can say that I am now saving even more money by not buying something from Costco.


That is correct. Gilbert is now off that stuff. No more powder all over the counters. No more sticky face and hands from the formula. And no more empty metal cans going into the trash (our building does not recycle!). Oh yeah!

Gilbert's a whole milk guy now. He did not notice the switch. However, he drinks the milk slower and drinks less. The real stuff is filling him up more than the watery formula.

I doubt Costco will suffer from my lost business. After all, I will buy his milk there as well.

The real test will be for me not to mix up that stuff with my skim when I make my protein shakes. Whole milk is disgusting.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The last few posts have not included pictures. The next few probably will not either. The reason?

Gilbert broke the digital camera! The first casualty in what will likley be many involving Little Man occured over the weekend. He was being a bit onry and was not responding positively to my handling. He flung and kicked to get out of my arms and in the process knocked a bunch of stuff off a nearby table. The camera was one those 'stuffs'.

Now when I attempt to turn the camera on, the lenses does not protract or retract and the camera registers an error. My guess is the cost to fix the damn thing will be equal to just buying a new camera.

I think it is only fair I use some of Gilbert's piggy bank savings to pay for it. You know, teach him a lesson. I'm sure he'll remember it!

More Car S***!

My lovely wife offered to drive me to work today (she has business in the City) and of course, I accepted. Close to my destination, a cab pulled out into our lane and sheared off the front bumper. A few good words were exchanged between me and the cab driver. He said Kristen was at fault. I told him where to go and then called 911 to bring in an objective third party...the Chicago Police Department.

It was quickly evident the cab was at fault and our female police officer told the cab driver so. He pleaded his case, but she was not amused.

Looks like the Sante Fe is getting a new bumper! That's nice, but now we have to deal with all the bs associated with getting the car repaired! Oh joy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Year Later

Gilbert had his one year 'well visit' on Friday. All went well. The usual battery of assessments took place; height, weight, head size. And of course, vaccinations. Always the pinnacle of our visit, or maybe the proper word is bane.

Regardless, all is well. Oh yeah, apparently Little Man has a minor ear infection. We were both surprised as he's shown no signs. So, we'll watch closely. I'm curious if it is a new infection on the path to becoming worse or an old infection on its way out. Either way, kudos to the Little Man for being a good trooper!

Oh yeah, the stats:

Head Size - 19 3/4. Off the charts! Literally. Apparently his head is sooo large he's got his own orbit now!
Length - 32 inches, 80th percentile
Weight - 33.4 pounds; 80th percentile

My 1 year weight record is still safe. I weighed 27 pounds my first year on this planet. And to this date, nobody I know or their kids (without any unusual circumstances) have rung the bell higher. So far...

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Last Leg

I hate spending money on cars. Especially to fix them up. Our Hyundai Sante Fe is five years old and proud to say is coming up on 100,000 miles! Anyway, the car - which has been quite reliable - has begun to show signs of slowing down. First, the horn stopped working. A few hundy to fix that. Then the driver side window stopped working. A few more hundy as well. Shocks were replaced a few months ago. Don't ask how much!

And then, the kicker! Returning from a weekend in Nashville, we returned to our car in the remote lot at Midway to find one of the tire completely deflated. Ironically, Kristen had the oil changed just the week prior and the serviceman stated how the tires needed to be replaced. Sabotage?

Regardless, the Sante Fe is now sporting four new tires. Ugh. We just hope nothing else happens to the car. We're holding out for the Spring and some new hybrids that are coming to market. Here's to any easy winter in Chicago!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Walking In The Park

Well, sort of. Okay, not really. Gilbert is going bipedal...with help! The weather has been incredible this week so we have been outside as much as possible with the realization that the end is near. End of the good weather, not the world (some would say that is debatable!).

Gilbert is beginning to show signs of wanting to walk, or at least pick up a foot forward every so often. The new park is great for such experiments. With its rubber flooring, if Gilbert falls flat on his rump, no harm.

If he is not attempting to walk, he does enjoy holding on to our hands and standing. It if entertaining as he sways side to side or thrusts his hips back and forth as his motor skills muscle memory increases. Every so often he'll throw in a knee bend only to collapse, but then thrust back up into the standing position.

With the construction site growing rapidly it provides a good distraction as we encourage Gilbert to walk even when he vocally announces his disagreement!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Kristen's Vote Counted!

Like good citizens, Kristen and I voted yesterday. Surprisingly, she had voted only one time before (the first time she was eligible after turning 18!). To remedy this wrong, I made sure she was registered when we moved back to the City.

My office shut down early due the building's proximity to the Obama rally in Grant Park. Getting out at 3pm, we all walked to our designated polling station prepared for what we had heard were long waiting lines.

Pleasantly surprised, there were no lines and we were through the entire process in less than 10 minutes! To ensure Kristen filled out her ballot correctly, Gilbert was entrusted to oversee the process! For his hard work, he was proud to hold the "I voted" flyer.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gilbert's Zookeepers

Halloween Party!

We were in Nashville for the weekend visiting long-time friends. Halloween was especially fun considering there were six kids under the age of four dressed up for a little trick or treat!

Snapping pictures of the whole group was a different story, but some were captured!
This pictures is of Gilbert and his long-distance buddy T. A monkey and a zebra. Who would have thought they could coexist!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

A popular choice for a new baby costume is always animals. And Gilbert upheld this tradition with his zebra costume. Thankfully the weather was cool in the evening because the that costume was the equivalent of being in a mascot outfit for a sports team. It was hot in that costume!

Air Trip

Team Johnson hit the road on Friday to visit friends in Nashville. Catching an early flight on Southwest, Gilbert was fantastic on the plane. Hoping he would sleep on the plane he was too intrigued by the surroundings.

However, slumber did overtake and he snuggled in with Kristen for a little nap.