Saturday, November 13, 2010

Playing in the leaves

One of the things I haven't missed about living in our own home is raking leaves. In our old house, we only had one small tree, but millions of leaves from all the neighbors trees. In our new house, we'll have millions of leaves from our own forest of trees. That's why Marty has a $500 leaf blower on his Christmas Wish List!! We both hate raking leaves. However, I have been a little sad that Oliver doesn't get that experience of playing in piles of leaves, running and jumping and kicking them around. Just one of the many negatives about apartment living. Well, we were able to make up for it with a visit to Boothe Park in Stratford when my mom was visiting. It was a gorgeous fall day, and we really just went to walk around the unique buildings and the park, and then go to the playground. Then we saw this tree with tons of leaves under it. It must be some kind of instinct, because Oliver just started running toward it and kicking and throwing up the leaves and jumping in piles. It was wonderful to see him enjoying them so much . . . and even better because I didn't have to rake them up afterwards!!

 Peeking through the mill stone.

 Hanging out with Nee-Nee

 Checking out the chickens



 Out of focus, but love the face: uncontrollable laughter

 This is so fun!

 Gathering leaves

 Giving sweet kisses

 Checking out his collection


 In the 4 seater outhouse. So, did 4 people all go at once, or did they have assigned seats??

 Peeking out the tunnel at the playground.

On the slide

Beautiful fall day.

 The next day, making art with the leaves.

 Nee-Nee showing Oliver how to press down to make the leaves stick

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photo Friday: Haircut time!

I was trying to get a photo of his badly  needed new haircut. He hates posing.

 Ok, I'll humor her with one pose.

 That's enough! Stop!

 Maybe if I ignore her by reading this book she'll go away.

 But I wasn't anticipating a Tickle Attack!

Can't stop laughing!

Can't stop laughing!!

The Zoo that wasn't really a zoo

When we were in Springfield, we also went to this place called the Lupa Zoo. I knew from reading online that it wasn't really a zoo, but a private wildlife preservation farm. They claim to have 500 species, though I know we didn't see that any. I thought it would be a good place to visit, without all the trappings (read: merry go round) of a normal zoo, so Oliver could see lots of animals. It was, uhm, interesting, and a little sad. I might be naive, but I like to think of zoos in general as promoting wildlife awareness, and not as using animals to make a buck. I think the intentions of this place were probably good, but the execution just came off wrong. It didn't help that the day had turned cold and windy, but when we first arrived, we were the only people there. Quite different from our other crowded zoo experiences this summer! A bit later, we did see one other family, but that's it. So imagine cold, windy day, deserted zoo . . . I just had images of When Animals Attack running through my head the whole time. The part that made me saddest was that they had feeding stations at many of the pens. Where you could buy a bag of snacks for $2 and pour it through this pvc pipe shoot that ended up in the animals bowls on the other side of the fence. Great way to get to see the animal up close, but you'd have to have a fortune in dollar bills with you to buy snacks for the whole place, and choosing one animal over another felt wrong. Apparently, the place used to be free, and they raised all their money this way, but now they charge entry as well. Anyway, it felt sad and pathetic, seeing all the animals begging for food as you walked by.

 Nee-Nee and Oliver staring down the giraffe. Nee-Nee gave Oliver her headband, because his horrible mother didn't bring a coat or hat (the forecast said sunny and he had layers on!!). 

 Marty got this close-up of the Zebra's stripes

 Don't we look cold? An example of one of the feeding tubes.


 Some bulls and a rooster. Oliver freaked out when they mooed.

 Pretty turkey! Gobble gobble gobble.

 Me and Oliver

Family photo

Friday, November 5, 2010

Visiting Dr. Seuss

My mom (Nee-Nee to Oliver) came for an all too short visit last week, and it was a whirlwind of activity. Sorry, I didn't take any photos of our visit to Ikea, though it was a lot of fun! We will definitely be making a return trip to buy stuff shortly before we move home next year! But I do have a bunch from everything else we did. I'm starting today with a visit to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture in the Museum Quad in Springfield, Massachusetts. Springfield is very close to the airport near Hartford, so we decided to do an overnight in Springfield to see the sights. I'll spare you the painful story of our dinner out at a highly rated German restaurant, where we were never served any food (after over an hour), and ended up leaving with our very cranky toddler. Let's just say that if you're ever in Springfield, don't go to The Fort (The Student Prince). Any restaurant with two names is stupid anyway. And really, what restaurant manager thinks it's wise to attempt to argue with an unhappy customer? Isn't the customer always right?? Wait, I'm sparing you the story. Ok, onward to the pics. I had high hopes for the Seuss sculpture garden, figuring it would be a great place for some potential holiday photos. Unfortunately, my camera was being cranky, which made me cranky, which made for not such great shots. Wow, I'm full of complaints today, aren't I? I'll shut up now. What I lacked in quality, I made up for with quantity. I got some better pictures later that I'll share in another post.

The Horton Court

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

 Pssst, Oliver! Watch out for the Grinch!

Peek a Boo under Horton the Elephant

I like Green Eggs and Ham! I do! I like them Sam-I-Am!

My little Who, talking to Horton (using his hand as a trunk)

Thing 1 and Thing 2 leap off as Oliver turns the pages.

Trying to get the Cat in the Hat's attention, but he was busing posing with Dr. Seuss himself (Theodor Geisel).

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

A ten-turtle-tall tower from Yertle the Turtle

Playing peek a boo with Mommy

No, this is not a Seuss character! But the art historian in me couldn't resist. In the gardens near the Yertle the Turtle sculpture, was this replica of the head of Michelangelo's David. Complete with potted plants growing out of his head, of course. I think Oliver is contemplating the Goliath as seriously as David is!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas Lists

Halloween's over, so it must be time to talk about Christmas, right? Target had their decorations out weeks ago, isnt' that crazy?! It's a cliche, but I just can't believe it's that time of year again already! But it must be, because even Oliver knows what a Christmas list is, and points out Santa every time he sees him on TV or in the stores. How he remembers who Santa is, I have no idea. Amazing memory, considering he was 20 months old last Christmas! He knows about Christmas lists now, because he became obsessed with the ToysRUs ad from the paper a few weeks ago, specifically, the Thomas trains. I mean obsessed. He was trying to pick them off the page with his fingers. So finally, Marty said, "Let's make a Christmas list!" and whipped out his handy Crackberry, er, I mean Blackberry to type one up. Now when Oliver sees something he wants, he either says, "This one!" or "Christmas list." It starts so early, huh?

Usual disclaimer: our Christmas lists are not requests or demands, but merely suggestions. This is purely for convenience. Surprises are great too! As usual, we are keeping our lists on Amazon, which is especially handy now that you can add things to your Amazon list from other stores! Oliver's list is under my name, just click on "Oliver's List" on the left side. I separated them this year, because honestly, his was overtaking mine! Marty has his own. Mind you, he also has a sense of humor, so really, you don't have to buy him the $500 leaf blower. Anyone think he's as daunted by our new yard as I am?! I don't want to put the direct link on here because I'm not putting any personal info (like last names) on this blog. But if you are having problems finding it, email me and I'll send you back the direct link.

I should emphasize that you don't have to buy any of the items off the Amazon list, especially if you find a better deal elsewhere. You can just let Marty or I know, and we'll take it off to prevent doubles.

Some extra info for all of us:

Clothes sizes: Shirts and Sweaters: 2T fits him just right, and 3T is a little big (depending on the brand), so I would recommend erring on the side of too big and getting 3T.
Pants: 24 month. That's right, not even 2T yet. They are miles too long. 24 month pants fit him pretty well, and even some of those are a little big. He's a shorty! Adjustable waist is a bonus.
If it's something in a set, like pajamas, get 2T, because there's no way he can wear 3T pants.
Shoes: 7.5 wide, and growing fast, so 8 wide would also be ok. I'm sure he'll fit in them soon!

Marty and I have already bought him his "big" present from us (or Santa?). We got him this Wooden Railway set. It is by Melissa and Doug, but the good thing about it is that it is compatible with all the other wooden train sets, including Thomas. This is kind of a base set to keep him happy until we move home where we have more room, but it is endlessly expandable. Because he has begun the Thomas obsession, as mentioned above, I've put a few of the key "character trains" on the Amazon list that would work with the set we got. He'd love to have any of them, plus other accessories I haven't listed, I'm sure. Just note if you buy them elsewhere that there are several types of Thomas trains/railway systems, so make sure you get the ones for the "wooden railway."

Aside from that, his likes are typical for a boy his age: trains, blocks, construction vehicles, tools, and of course, his beloved alphabet. He loves books. Marty's mom saved all his old books, so we're all set for the oldies but goodies like Dr. Seuss. But any age appropriate contemporary books would be great!

Clothes sizes: Shirts and sweaters: Medium. Pants: 32/30.  
Otherwise, he says everything he wants is on his Amazon list.

Clothes sizes: Not going there. How about a nice book instead?
Everything I can think of is on my Amazon list. I'll try to think of more, because I'll admit, my list is not very exciting. It's hard to want things when you live in a tiny temporary apartment.

Let me know if you have any questions! I'll be looking for your lists too!