Monday, November 30, 2009

Too Dark, Too Early

As we approach the shortest day of the year, it is dark as we pick Gilbert up from school. Often, he is still wired from his day and needs to burn off some energy. When the sun was still up, we would go to the park before dinner. We soon stopped after daylights savings time, but then asked why?
So, one night last week after picking up Little Man from school we bundled up and went to the park. It was only 5:30pm, yet the park was empty! Gilbert had the run of the place!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful For...

Kristen wanted to start a tradition with the family for Thanksgiving. She came up with the great idea of creating a tree with leaves in the shape of hands. All of us traced our hands, she cut them out and then we wrote on the leave hands what we are thankful for. Gilbert's first answer? "Peanuts!" Followed by "Yellow Blankie!"

Post-Thanksgiving Pump It Up

Friday after Thanksgiving, we needed to get out and burn off all that great food! The local Pump It Up had an open family time. We got their shortly after the place opened, and the place was already pumping!

Gilbert loves the 'indoor gym'. He was everywhere! We switched between the junior and full-sized as Little Man wanted to go back and forth. The full-sized equipment had just been waxed/cleaned and it was slippery for even us. The result? We sped down the slides. It was awesome!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving was fantastic. We hosted family and friends in our cozy condo. I got to cook (and keep the leftovers!), Gilbert was able to stay in familiar surroundings and Kristen was able to flex her party hosting muscles.

Little Man got to see and play 'choo-choos' with Grma/Granpa and Aunt Katee. He loved it! After a great dinner, we decided to burn a few calories and Wii! Boxing was a big hit for the newbies to the game and Gilbert enjoyed watching everyone play.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Whether you are traveling to or hosting Thanksgiving with family, friends and perhaps strangers, give pause and consider what you are thankful for. In the spirit of the holiday, Kristen has been attempting to explain to Gilbert what Thanksgiving is all about.

Upon asking Gilbert what he is thankful for, his initial response was "Peanuts." Followed by "my yellow blankie." I love to revel in the simplicity of a child's mental process.

Perhaps not peanuts nor your favorite blanket, I'm sure you can quickly identify what you give thanks for!

From all of us to you and your families...


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DVD Solution

I posted earlier about my DVD debacle. Thanks to Gershwin Drive on her post. After some research, her comments were confirmed and I decided to purchase a standard DVD player and use a HDMI cord. That was the plan...

A little more research and I discovered a better option. Surprisingly, Sony's BluRay players have been panned (and they created the darn technology!). BestBuy has a house brand (Insignia) and gets high marks for value for money. A little more research discovered strong reviews by customers.

This week Best Buy is advertising a sale on the player ($129 - normally $199). The player is wifi enabled and also streams Netfix! Sold!

Within 15 minutes, I had the player set up, configured to my network, downloaded the firmware, registered it with Netflix and began to stream a movie! Sweet. All this enabled technology freaks Kristen out at times. A good example...

I had the Netflix screen up on the television and as I added movies to the queue on the computer, the screen on the television updated nearly simultaneously showing the new movies.

It gets better.

Best Buy was also offering a sale on Logitech's Harmony One remote. I'm tired of having five remotes. This touch screen remote is truly universal. One button activates all the necessary components. For example, want to watch a movie, hit the Watch a Movie button and my DVD, stereo receiver and tv turn on. The remote is being sold ($100 off!) at the same price as the lesser model as part of a promotion.

With all the remotes gone, Little Man now has an arsenal of "my remotes" to play with while not touching "mama, dada's remote".

Christmas has come a little early to Team Johnson.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pump It Up

Gilbert attended a birthday party for a classmate on Sunday. He was soo excited! In the days leading up, all he would say, was "Indoor Park. Party!"

I stayed home and Kristen attempted to capture photos, but he was in constant motion. In particular wanting to wrestle with his best buddy, Sam!

Monday, November 23, 2009

20 + 21 = Chaos!

Saturday was the 15th anniversary of Turkey Bash! Originally started by a good friend of mine in college after winning a turkey at a raffle, the event has evolved dramatically. The concept is the weekend before Thanksgiving friends gathered to celebrate and kickoff the holiday season. At its pinnacle, we'd have a bunch of guys gather on Friday night, drink, go bowling or play poker, make a midnight run to the grocery store for the foodstuff and then in a hangover stupor prepare the turkey. And a big turkey at that. This year was 28 pounds (the record, I believe, is 30!).

Well, we have gone from single to married to married with kids. As a result, the evening has changed dramatically. This year the adults were outnumbered by the kids (20 to 21). You can imagine the atmosphere! Sanctuary was in the garage with the beer fridge. Next year, organized arts and crafts!

Like every year, the tradition continues and each year is always a good time to see friends, enjoy an early Thanksgiving dinner and prepare for the onslaught of the holiday season!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Double Whammy

Gilbert started to develop a cold over the weekend and soon his eyes were crusting over. Fearing pink eye, we learned it was just good old-fashioned conjunctivitis. While being checked out, the doctor informed us Little Man had a double ear infection. No idea!

Again, Gilbert baffles us by showing no signs. No tugging of the ears, no fever, no pain. What a trooper!
He did stay home Monday and Tuesday and was a bit ragged the entire time. Kudos to Kristen for being able to handle him. Now she's not feeling well!

I'm pleased to report he is feeling much better and after an extended night of sleep, he woke up quite happy informing us he wish to play Wii. Welcome back Little Man! Now Kristen needs to get better. I'm considering sleeping in a bubble.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Working the Wii

Gilbert enjoys watching me play Wii Fit. We created a Mii for him and he enjoys standing on the Wii board. Little Man does enjoy some of the games, but prefers to watch daddy instructing me along the way as to which games I should play.

However, what Gilbert enjoys the most is to hold the Wii controller. I've taught him the value of the 'A' button. As you can imagine, that is all he pushes. I've had a few games altered as he pushes the button mid-game!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things Fall Apart, Part II

And the list continues. Latest casualty? My DVD player.

Funny story. Kristen always accuses me of being full of shit and that I bluff on what I'm talking about. She buys it because I say it with such confidence, she says (for the record, I am right almost all the time!).

Anyway, last week we watched Duplicity. The movie had a blue and yellow hue to everything. She immediately insisted something was wrong (she is an interior designer after all so color is her thang!). I questioned it and said the movie must have been filmed that way. My theory was based on the fact the opening scenes were in Dubai and look back (you know how in movies the lookbacks seem to be filmed differently to give the effect of not being in present time?). She still insisted it was wrong. So, I turned off the DVD player and switched to TV. Color was fine. Must be the filming or a bad DVD we surmised.

Well, over the weekend I watched another movie. Same thing, but worse. The DVD no longer is working properly. No R, in the R G B color wheel! Kristen saw this and jumped all over me for it!

So, now it is time for a new DVD. At first I was upset, then realized the DVD was seven years old and I bought it as a floor model for $99. Good value in return.

Time to upgrade to BlueRay, I say! So the research begins. Any readers out there have a BluRay DVD player? Would welcome your thoughts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Little Helper

I was working on the vacuum cleaner (another home electronic seemingly on the fritz!) and Little Man decided he needed to get a closer look. Nothing like putting his head right on top of mine to achieve the same vantage point!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nice Story

Gilbert was such a good boy tonight that after he was all ready for bed, we watched a few minutes of football (Bears had a Thursday night game).

Off to bed and what I thought to be fast asleep, he emerged from his room twenty minutes later (with blanket in tow) and said, "watch football". How could I refuse! Kristen was out getting her haircut, so father and son shared a few moments watching football. He curled up on my lap under his blanket and quietly watched a few more minutes before I walked him back into his room for sleep.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shake Maker Fix

That's right, the blender has been fixed re a new purchase! Hearing, "Shake broken" for a full week wore me down so we bought a sleek new blender over the weekend. The old blender is being repaired so it is back to two (perhaps three if I can get the other one fixed too)!

Gilbert was calling the blender 'shake' so to break him of that it is now the 'Shake Maker'. He is so happy to have a shake maker operational! come Sunday night when we fired it up, he proclaimed, "Shake maker fix." Sweet.

The video is from this morning. I've taught him how to work the blender so I no longer need to stand over it and him. I just tell him what number to push and away we go.

Our new blender is sleek. And quiet. The two now broken were loud. Airplane buzzing the building loud. The Black and Decker model was awesome, but I think they put in a drill motor. Ear plugs required. When Little Man was really little, the sound of the blender scared him to tears!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pre-Game Warm Up

With an hour to spare before Bears kick-off, it was off to the park to burn some energy. Little Man had a blast now that he can play with his cars at the park!

Caught In the Act!

A new Sunday ritual might be emerging. This past Sunday, Little Man and I snuck out (to let mommy sleep) to pick up the paper, coffee for mommy, and some 'baked goods' aka Dunkin Doughnuts.

It was cool out and the streets were quite so I was able to relax a bit with Gilbert and let him explore the sidewalks and storefronts. Once back home, we unpacked our collection and this is what I caught him doing!

The little thief snuck into the bag and began eating his chocolate munchkin!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Not So Friendly Twos Have Arrived!

Ornery. Defiant. Difficult. Three words to describe Little Man's moods as of late. This morning was no exception. All was going well. He accompanied me downstairs to drop off the dry cleaning. As much as I protest to the 'Mr. Dry Cleaning Man', he insists on offering Gilbert a sucker.

Well, I removed it (what I thought to be in a very deft manner) only for him to melt down. We asked Gilbert to put away his shoes and hang up his jacket (a common request) and his response was to turn on the tear and snot factory and just sit (and then lay) on the floor sobbing. All while calling for his "Suuuckker. Suuuccckeer." We alternated comforting and ignoring him in the attempt to get him to complete his chore. Eventually it works, but was exhausting in the process.

Oh yeah, he doesn't want to walk anymore. Wants to ride on Dad's "shouldees" or just be carried. It comes in spurts and with no particular pattern. Some times he wants to walk to the park, other times not. But if he doesn't want to walk and you do not accommodate, oh boy! Stomps the feet, tears come. Good times!

How long does this phase last?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Well, we did it. Just booked flights to visit our friends over at Adventures in Dubai!

We've been talking about wanting to visit and once my friends (I mean that loosely!) at United informed me that my unexpirable miles will be expiring in August, that was the final push to get us to book the trip.

Gilbert seemed excited about the trip as it means he gets to stay with his grandparents! All of them were gracious enough to take a shift in watching and caring for Little Man!

The Last Birthay Post...I Promise!

This is the last birthday post. I promise. I mentioned we spent last weekend in MI with Kristen's family. Well, here are the pictures to prove it!

Gram (Kristen's mom and an ER nurse) arrange for a visit to the airport in South Bend to check out the helicopter used for emergencies and while there we ventured out onto South Bend's airport.

As you can see it is cold out, so our train engineer had to layer with his coat, but was always in contact with his crew through his two-way talkie! Then there was the push car from grandma and grandpa along with cake. That made three for his birthday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Things Fall Apart

I read a book in college with the same title. Good book, but has nothing to do with this post.

Where do I begin. Hmmm. First, Kristen's coffee pot started to malfunction and now only consumes 1/2 the water she puts in it. Having never drank coffee in my life, I didn't see this as an inconvenience, but being around a non-caffeinated wife, not good.

Then the remote control to the stereo receiver stopped emitting a signal. Trust me, I've changed the batteries multiple times. I've lost count how often Kristen has chided me for the volume being too loud. I keep explaining too her, "It is just the commercials!"

Then my blender broke. No problem. I have two (one for protein shakes, the other for food). It lasted about a week. Now Gilbert goes into the kitchen every morning and proclaims, "Shake broken!"

I've already posted on the DirecTV debacle, so add a broken DVR to the list. What's next? My electric toothbrush head basically disintegrated (easy fix, but disintegrated, really?). Oh yeah, then there is the closest door in the master bedroom. It was a crappy developer-grade door. Note the tense...was. After countless repairs and patch jobs, it came off track permanently last night.

And to top it off, Kristen is convinced the clothes dryer is not heating at the same temp it was, say, last week. Okay, I took off the panel looking for the fuses, but couldn't find them. Yeah, they are probably on the back of the stackable unit wedged into the fitted space. How the hell am I suppose to get back there? The install guy had to climb out over the top just to get it in.


Okay. Okay. Just small stuff, I know. But it all adds up! I now expect on a daily basis something I own to snap, break, tear, rip, leak, crumble in my bare hands, explode, or just be non-response (not counting the wife!).

I think I just need a hug. Any offers?

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Hungry Caterpillar

A favorite book for all, right? Well, maybe if you have kids! While in TX, Gilbert was the recipient of Gram's latest quilt design. Both he and Maddie received quilts (and matching pillow cases).

Gilbert loves it. I laid it on the floor this morning to take a few photos and you see what Gilbert decided to do!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Were you ghoulish this Halloween? Did you trick or treat?
We were excited this year as Gilbert now is beginning to 'get' a lot of the holidays. I posted how he knew it was his birthday and it was a special day for him. Same goes for Halloween. We taught him to say 'trick or treat'.

For Halloween, we were in MI with Kristen's family. It was cold and windy and with Gilbert under the weather we deferred on walking house to house and instead resorted to having stay dressed in his costume and just help Grandpa hand out candy at the door. He loved it! Very intrigued by all the costumes he would venture to the glass front door so he could get a closer look, but I believe it was that door and Grandpa that gave him the comfort and not to be scared by all the strangeness!

However, with the weather so cold it was difficult to get a good picture as Gilbert had his coat on while outside for a short time. We did snap some pics while in Houston as he got dressed up along with his cousin.