Sunday, September 27, 2009

First Sign of Fall

Every fall as soon as the weather starts to get crisp and the leaves begin to turn, C and I go apple picking. This year we think we may go twice because it is too early to get pumpkins for Halloween, and I think it would be criminal to pass up an opportunity to get pictures of Wiggle in a pumpkin patch.
On Saturday, we drove to Michigan to enjoy the scenery and pick some apples. Normally we go to a place in Indiana, County Line Orchard, but it is always super-crowded, and although I adore the petting zoo, all of the extra frills make it feel a little like an amusement park - which is not what I am looking for when I go to a farm. Driving the extra 30-45 minutes to Michigan was well worth it - the weather was warm and sunny, the orchard wasn't too crowded, and of course the apples were/are delicious.

We spent a wonderful afternoon walking around the orchard, picking, tasting, and snapping photos of Wiggle. He tried all of the apples and seemed to like the slightly tart ones the best, just like his mom and dad. We were on our way back to the barn to pay for our spoils when we saw a couple of rows of peach trees. I love a good peach, but the last one one I really enjoyed was in 1997, eaten on the walk home from the produce store. I had juices running all over my face and down my arms, but it didn't matter because it was that good. Now when I taste a peach, it generally tastes like cardboard compared to Peach Exemplar. I know you are all hoping that the orchard peaches were equally outstanding, but alas they were only ok. Much better than most supermarket peaches I have had - the texture was perfect, but the taste was rather mild. Or should I say that this was my impression as a person who has eaten bushels of peaches in my thirty-three years. To someone who was tasting peaches for the first time, it was an entirely different experience.

We, of course, gave Wiggle a taste of the peach after we tasted it, afterward I was ready to toss it on the ground, when Wiggle reached, or rather lurched from the Bjorn, to have some more. I gave it to him for what I thought was another taste, but he took the whole thing from me and cupped it in both hands, sucking and gumming the flesh. He continued to hold it by himself as we walked around, and after the first few bites/slurps, he threw his head back, closed his eyes, and made noises that one does not typically associate with eating. He normally only looks that blissed out when he is nursing, and I have to say there was a part of me that felt a little jealous - supplanted by a peach. Even though my ego was a little bruised by the experience, I love watching him have new experiences, especially when he enjoys himself so much. A peach does taste pretty amazing when you think of it, even when it isn't the "best peach you've ever eaten." We picked a few more to give him at home, paid for our bounty, and drove home. It was really a wonderful day.

As for the apples, we have been eating them on their own, and C makes a mean German apple pancake, but no pies or cakes yet. This weekend some will bring some more baking, I think.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dinner and the Park

Today we let Wiggle try out the "Flinstone" car at the park. His legs didn't get anywhere close to the ground, but he appeared to like being pushed around by his dad.

Dreaming of the open road...

Now that the boy has four teeth, he has really been enjoying apple slices. He obviously still can't chew properly, but he likes to either shave pieces off by pulling the slice over his teeth, or bite off chunks and squish them to pulp between his gums. Now that we have reached apple season we will have to go apple picking soon. Normally we go to a fairly tacky place in Indiana, but this year I'm thinking we might make the trek to Michigan.
Here are some shots from tonight's apple eating extravaganza. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Could You Come Back a Little Later, Mr. De Mille?

Yesterday, they finally finished work on our new back porch. It's totally awesome to walk out the back door and not feel the porch move under you each time you take a step. This morning we decided to try an impromptu photo session with Wiggle on the porch. Unfortunately, he got so excited being outside and exploring the new space, most of the photos are blurry smudges of crawling, climbing, wriggling, head turning boyo.
Here are a few that did turn out.
I think Wiggle is channeling a little of the Rum Tum Tugger here.

Here he is coming to eat the camera.

He leaned in for a snuggle at one point, but insisted on squishing my nose the whole time.

Faking me out for a kiss.

It's clear here how I feel about the shoot... and how he feels.

Telling his dad all about how he managed to evade the camera when he was with Mom.

On Saturday night C and I went out to dinner at West Town Tavern. Although we had heard great things about the place beforehand, I have to say to food was truly underwhelming. This is the curse of knowing how to cook fairly well. Either you think you can make the same thing for much, much cheaper, or you have a sense of how you want something to taste and you know how to get it there, so what arrives on your plate is hardly ever satisfying. We are thinking of sticking to ethnic food for our dates from now on because we don't cook a lot of non-American food very well. We still had a nice time being out without the boyo. I enjoyed having a glass of wine with dinner. The evening very enjoyably served its purpose - to relax and reconnect a little.

Oh and Wiggle has started saying "mama." All last week he was going around saying "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma," but on Friday he said it intentionally as "ma-ma." He's still getting the hang of what it means. In the meantime, he's very proud of himself when he talks, as he should be, it's quite an accomplishment. Now to work on "da-da."

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Busy Weekend

This weekend has come and gone with much fun being had with very little rest. On Friday night, we went to Millennium Park for the Stars of the Lyric Opera concert. We took the bus and arrived shortly before the 7:30 pm start time. Normally we would still be able to find a seat in the Pavilion, but there were not only no seats in the lawn, there were people four deep standing around the edge. We were able to find a seat on some grass outside the park-proper, but we had to re-cork our wine as it is only allowed inside the pavilion.
Then on the way home, the bus was so crowded that I had to stand up while holding Wiggle for the entire ride. Were there two able-bodied teenage girls sitting in the seats directly in front of me who could have given up their seats? Why yes, there were. Did they? Of course not. They instead texted mean and meaner things to some poor "friend" of theirs and occasionally shot me and C dirty looks when we lurched with each bump in the road into their space. Thirty minutes and one neck cramp later, we arrived back in the HP. We all tumbled into bed around midnight and zonked out.
Bright and early Saturday morning, we walked Wiggle over to 57th street for a demo class of Marsha's Music Together. Although the demo class was super full, we had a great time singing, banging instruments, and dancing around. I think Wiggle enjoyed the class too, but he seemed more interested in the little girl sitting next to him than the music. He's a total flirt and charmed everyone when he climbed up the girl (she was quite a bit bigger than he was) and layed his head on her shoulder to snuggle. After class, we made a quick stop at the park for swinging and then walked home to eat a quick lunch.
After lunch, we picked up our friend K and went to the Renegade Craft Fair. It was hotter and more unrelentingly sunny than expected, so I bought some sunscreen at a corner store and slathered us all in it. Then we walked around for a couple of hours, people watching and admiring the various wares. While there were some cute things that I definitely want look at again online (many of the artists sell stuff on etsy too), I was left cold by many of the items. When we finally made it back to the car, we decided to make a quick trip to Peet's for some caffe freddos.
Once adequately chilled and caffeinated, we realized we were hungry and decided to go for broke (figuratively not monetarily) and try our luck at Rick Bayless's newsest venture Xoco. The place is billed as his take on street food, so we thought we could do take out, but it turns out lunch and dinner are eat-in only. K and I got in line, and miracuously C found parking less than a block away. A mere 45 minutes later, we were seated, eating fabulous sandwiches, gourmet churros, and gazing upon the Master himself. That's right Rick Bayless was there at the pass, putting the finishing touches on all the dishes. I shouldn't say this like it is unusual as I have been to Frontera Grill several times over the years and Bayless was always there at some point during the meal. The sandwiches were outstanding and I plan on going back sometime when the hype and hopefully the lines die down a little.
Wiggle's face after trying his first bite of Xoco guacamole. I think he liked it actually, but first bites are tough since he doesn't know what's coming at him.

A shortrib sandwich. C dubbed it a Mexican Philly Cheesesteak.

A blurry picture of the churros.

Pork deliciousness in sandwich form.

C and Wiggle at Xoco. Wait, is that? Could it be? Why, yes, that is Rick Bayless in the background (between their heads).

Yesterday morning, Wiggle and I went to swim class. Poor Wiggle was so tired he almost fell asleep on me in the water, but I think he still had a good time. After a brief nap (Wiggle's not ours unfortunately) and some lunch, we headed out to the 57th Street Children's Book Fair. We walked around, bought a few books, and listened to some storytellers. I think Wiggle was generally bored since he can't enjoy browsing for books yet, but the balloon he got there probably made the trip worth it.
Wiggle in the great green room where there is a telephone and a red balloon, and a picture of...

Wiggle playing with his very own gold balloon.

The reaction C got to bonking Wiggle on the head with his balloon.

Lander joining in on the balloon fun.

Here is a pic of the very over-tired boyo before bed last night, but not before bedtime, in his new pajamas (a gift from his grandparents).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Little Information

This past Sunday, Wiggle and I had our first swim class at the South Side YMCA. There were four other kids in the class - all older. We had a great time splashing, kicking, going fast and slow in the water, almost blowing bubbles, and interacting with the other kids and parents. I can't wait for next week's class. While the class is great, I totally get waiting to start swim classes until your kid can walk because trying to change out of a swimsuit and into clothes in a locker room with a baby is not easy. Luckily, Wiggle can stand well, so I just threw a towel under his feet and propped him against a bench while I changed. I didn't take any pictures since I was by myself, but I will have C come with me one week to document Wiggle's amazing water feats.

In food news, Wiggle has expanded his repertoire considerably. He's started eating meat - turkeys with sweet potatoes, chicken with gravy mixed with prunes and apples, and some ham he stole from my sandwich today. He also has started eating breakfast - yogurt mixed with oatmeal and bananas or peaches. He also likes to eat pieces of banana, as well as the perennial favorite - cheerios. Feeding him has also become more fun since he seems to enjoy it more now. It's still super messy, but hey that's part of the fun, right? His spoon skills are getting pretty good; I load it with food, hand it off to him, and it goes straight into the mouth. He doesn't, however, drink from a sippy cup. He will drink from a regular glass, which I have to hold, but he just doesn't like to try to suck from the cup. In his defense, the new no-spill cups do require a pretty powerful pucker to get anything out. I'm hoping to work up to three meals a day once he cuts his two top teeth, which should be any day now.

I downloaded my first children's album this weekend, They Might Be Giants No! Wiggle has responded to it very well, but more importantly I like it, which means we can listen to it again, and again, and again, and again. I've been looking for more music, but I haven't pulled the trigger on anything else yet.

Well, that's the update for now.

Cat toys - not just for cats anymore.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Little Sumpin' Sumpin'

I know I'm his mom and am biased and all that, but come on, just look at him.

I'm pretty sure he's the most handsome boy in the world. Don't you agree?