Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Hate DirecTV!

Well, at least the customer and tech support. I do like the programming (better than Dish), but the wrap around support is abysmal. I've lost track of the volume of calls to HQ to address subscription issues, billing, tech support, etc.

Here's my latest. My DVR decided to retire, permanently! I attempted to power up the box on Wednesday only to get no response beyond a 'clicking' from within and the power light dimly blinking. After a call to the crack team that is tech support, "give it a whack was the advice given (seriously!)", I was informed that likely the motor within failed. Say goodbye to all my saved programming yet to be watched; all House episodes from this season, the entire Rescue Me season (grr!), and the most recent episodes of FlashForward, CSI, The Big Break, Project Runway (Kristen, thank you very much!), Income Property (great show!) and Lie to Me. Not to mention a bunch of watched movies I like to reference.

At Best Buy and $99 later I have a new DVR (not HD, that is also another blog post!) and what should have been a five minute install took two days! I won't go into the details, but because I live in a MDU (Multi-dwelling Unit) building, there are specific tech issues that seem to surpass DirecTV's shallow knowledge can grasp. Here's the best part, the set up at the condo is based on a 'stacked approach'. The new DVRs need to be programmed to be 'stacked'. However, to program for the stacked approach, a full signal is needed, but a signal is not possible until the box is stacked. Make sense?

It gets better. There are two models of the same DVR. The R16 - 300 does not have the stacked feature, but the R16-500 does. How the hell am I suppose to know this (or should have to worry about it!) when I'm picking it up from Best Buy.

So, the company that services the building had to come out add a temp splitter to fake the box that it is stacked then reprogram for unstacked only to actually program for stacked and then remove the splitter. What a bunch of bulls***!

I now know more about satellite programming that I thought was needed. Kudos to Vitalyi at USA Wireless for his awesome work and timely response!

Oh yeah, with a new box I had to reprogram all my favorites. I think I lost about four hours of my life that I'll never get back. I wish I could bill someone for that time!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wii Fit Plus

It has rained so much lately, I've considered building an ark. With summer past (did we actually have a summer this year?), I dusted off the Wii Fit. At Best Buy last night to pick up a new DVR (more on that debacle in another post), I noticed the new Wii Fit Plus. I had read about the upgrade. Intrigued, I bough the new program.

It is awesome! Leveraging the good start of v1, Wii Fit Plus has fixed all the shortcomings of its earlier predecessor by adding new functionality, additional exercises and games, calorie tracking, and most importantly a multi-player option! Oh yeah, now the whole family can participate in the fitness aspect as children and pets can be weighed and measured for BMI. We immediately tested Gilbert and his weight was exact to the results from his 2 year well visit! Oh yeah, all the saved data from Wii Fit transfers over. Nice!

I posted last year how I'm a fan of Wii Fit. I am definitely a big fame of the Plus. I was a sweaty mess after doing some of the new fun games such as the obstacle course and snowball fight not to mention my favorite, the hula hoop! The yoga and strength exercises always surprise me with how difficult they can be if done correctly. Especially the push up test.

So, if you have Wii Fit, spend the $19.99 and get the new program. If you don't have Wii Fit, the new Plus gives it to you all at the start.


Just too funny not to post. Gilbert was getting dressed for a dip in the hot tub. He figured out how to turn on/off the radio by the bed. The rest is pure laughter.

Pump It Up

On Gilbert's actual birthday, the weather was rainy. Unable to go outside to the park, we told Little Man we were going to an 'indoor park', aka Pump It Up. Our first foray to the place, it was open time, so we could just run around. Gilbert took his usual 15 to warm up to the place. The inflatables were quite large and a bit overwhelming to him.

Once in harmony with his surroundings, Little Man ran around with a big grin on his face. We thought the big slide was his favorite, but it was dethroned once the bounce pit cleared. Check this out! I blame Grandpa for this as he did it first!

Now at home and raining all week, everyday it is, "Go indoor park?" Oh yeah, he's jumping on our bed the same was as in the video. Great.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Year Visit

Little Man had his two year appointment yesterday. All is good!

Weight - 29 lbs (65th percentile)
Height - 36 3/4"! (95th percentile)
Head - off the charts. AGAIN! Must be the protein shake he gets each morning with his 'dada'!

We voiced our concern over his legs (collapsed arches, feet stick out, knock kneed, legs rotated in) and the doc agreed it was time to consult with a pediatric podiatrist just to see if there is anything out of the norm to be concerned with or to explore invasive options (orthotics, etc.).

He got wapped again with a new bevy of shots including H1N1. The doctor had a good point regarding H1N1. Had there been more time the vaccine for this flu would have been included in the seasonal flu shot, but because development was too late all the hoopla has ensued as to whether the vaccine is safe. Good point.

Oh yeah, the doctor mentioned his teeth are great and that the two year molars look good. Two year molars? Didn't even know those had arrived! Again, another instance where Little Man has shown no signs of what must have been some discomfort. I've been brushing his teeth for months and the teeth he had yesterday had all been there for some time! Negligent parent? I hope not!

Time For Cake!

The presents opened, it was time to celebrate. Bring on the cake! The Thomas the Train cake had been sitting out along with the decorated table while we opened presents. Little Man was acutely aware of the cake and quickly surmised all the hoopla was for him.

He quickly began saying, "Mine Thomas cake." Repitition was not an issue. We heard it ALL DAY!

SIDENOTE: Back at home, he sees any giftbag and immediate says, "Birthday Cake!" Oh boy!

With the presents open, we assembled for a 'happy birthday' song. He became a bit shy not sure why everyone was singing and being so loud!

Candles blown, it was time to move onto eating some cake! And Gilbert was all smiles!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Present Opening

In the afternoon we opened presents. Sure a few days early, but what's the point if we wait until the last day, right?

Well, Gilbert likes trains. And Thomas the Train is at the top of the list. So for birthday #2, Little Man got a train set! Loved it. Played with it all weekend! And everyone helped by adding to it. Percy, Victor, Rocky, etc. all compliment Thomas now!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birthday Weekend

We flew in late, really late on Friday so we would have all of the weekend. First on the list? A trip to the local park. The weather was awesome so it was short sleeves for Little Man!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let The Celebration Begin!

We depart for "Oooston" tonight to see grmpa/grmma for Gilbert's second birthday.

Yep, Gilbert is turning 2! His official birthday is Monday, but to take advantage of his last fly for free opportunity we are leaving today and coming back on his birthday. Should be a lot of fun!

My sister, niece and brother in-law will be there as well. We've been prepping in for the trip and when we ask Little Man where we are going tonight he says, "to grmpa/grmma." I ask him how we are going to get there and he says, "Aaaplane in the sky." Too funny.

He is soo excited about the airport. He asks, "Go to airport?" He knows our ritual is to grab sandwiches at Potbelly's and sit in the viewing area where you can see about 20 planes come and go along with all the supporting equipment. He just goes nuts!

Let the celebration begin!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Day At the Shedd Aquarium

On Sunday, we got up early and went to the Shedd Aquarium. It was Community Week so the general exhibits were free. Nice! We then bought the full package so we could partake in the newly renovated facilities. First up was the exhibition titled Fantasea and it was awful! All theatre. Very little animal interaction. It appear they took the old performance of showcasing the dolphins, whales, sea lions, etc. and melded it with performance. As a result, if felt like the show as more of a theatre production and less about the mammals. Again, not worth it!

What was really funny is while we were waiting for the show to start, Gilbert was enjoying the view out to Lake Michigan where he could see boats, bikers, runners, airplanes, and even a helicopter. Once the show was in full gear, they dropped a curtain that blocked the view out the windows to create additional effect for the show. Little Man was not pleased insisting we "OPEN THE WINDOWS!" Check out the video!

Afterwards, we did walk around more and Little Man did enjoy having his picture taken with the Emperor.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday Night

Gilbert and Tommy were inseparable. It was time for bed and neither showed any interest! They were having so much fun!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend With Out-Of-Town Friends

Our Friends from Tommy Time came up for a weekend in the city. They have a son only a few weeks younger than Gilbert making for a fun weekend!

First stop was the condo for a quick lunch. Little Man enjoyed sharing his 'big boy' table with Tommy for some eats. Afterwards, we walked through the park on our way to the bus stop. Tommy eyed Gilbert's sweet hat and decided to wear it most of the day!

The boys were incredibly well-behaved and for Tommy it was his first bus ride!

At the museum, the two played together initially and then diverged to explore what was of interest to them. Gilbert immediately went to the crafts table followed by water play and then just wandering all the cool stuff the museum had to offer!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Gilbert is counting. And it is quite fun to listen and witness.

Judge Smailes

Little Man has never been warm to the idea of wearing hats. More so lately, but he does continue to be fickle about what hat dons the top of his head.

For some reason, he's become enamored with this hat. Of course, he refused to wear it when it actually fit! Now it is way too small and he loves it. Wearing it reminds me of Judge Smailes from Caddyshack. This week he refuses to leave the house without it on!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gilbert The Friendly Ghost

Just a fun video of Gilbert goofing around. He discovered that we keep our wine fridge underneath as it doubles for a table. He loves touching the glass door and saying, "Coollld."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Window Watching

Over the weekend, we watched some maintenance crews doing work on the building across the street. Gilbert was quite enamored.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Translator Needed

We need a translator to understand what Little Man is singing. Actually, I believe it is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. You be the judge...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009


Gilbert has been in a fun mood today just randoming talking and singing. I was able to coax him to flex his pipes on camera.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Go Bears!

Gilbert is getting into the football spirit! He's got his jersey and is learning to say...

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Kristen is up in MI for the weekend with family up to watch the MSU/UM game. That means it is Gilbert and me for the weekend. A buddy of mine, Eric, went to Michigan so it was off to his home to watch the game. I prepped Gilbert all morning as to where we were going for the game. Check it out!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Faux Hawk

Kristen has been enjoying putting Gilbert's hair into a fauxhawk. I am less than amused. Little Man couldn't care less!

Just some more fun videos...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Park Videos

Just happy to walk around...

The chase...

More Park Pictures

Fun At The Park

Little Man was in a particularly fun mood when we picked him up from school so we headed straight to the park. Just some photos. It was a cool afternoon so the photos were particularly clear and crisp.