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A true cartoon

AA hides in the pantry

Everything for Aaron can be turned into a game, as can be seen in this video.

I was just testing the new video capabilities of my Palm Pre, and decided to see what AA was up to in the pantry.

A bear and his horse

S’s trip back from Houston was not without its rewards.  AA received the landmark “Hiding Horse” from the conference hotel, the Four Seasons.

Here he is with his new horse:

Home Alone

Well, I’m home alone. Actually, I’m not that alone, I have a little bear with me.

S is in Houston for the Mom 2.0 Summit, where I’m happy to say she’s moderating a panel. Go, wife! The downside is that apparently at these Mom events, there is no room for children. or husbands, for that matter.

Not that there should be. People have to work, and network, and the like. It just means that for the next 4 days, I’m living the lifestyle of a single parent. Something I don’t particularly relish at all.

S being away really only adds an hour or two to my care-giving time, but that couple of hours (which I usually spend cooking dinner for S and I, and then checking email, or vegetating in front of hulu) can make a world of difference in quality of life. Even though I spend it cooking or vegetating or not being productive, (although I do sometimes spend it at the gym) that time where I don’t have to worry about the bear is very useful.

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with the bear. And I’m not complaining. Our situation is pretty good, and although I do change the bulk of the diapers (yucko), I still think I’ve got the better end of the stick (and the one most suited for me. I don’t have the skills or the opportunity to earn what S earns. She’s paying the mortgage, and earning enough to keep us in pancakes and diapers. And she’s out 11 hours a day, and barely gets to see the bear. )

But even with a part-time nanny, I spend 9-10 hours a day with him (6-9 in the morning, 1-7, or 6-2, and then 6-7. Assuming she comes on time, which is a rare occurence)

The days that S comes home late for the office, it’s another hour or so more. (And I’m not counting his frequent up at 10:30 or 2 am jots, where I have to get him so Stephanie can sleep and be refreshed for work.) Which means I’m still frequently pretty darned tired.  And I’m not doing the stuff I should be doing, like looking for more work, or exercising more, or (fill in the undone chore or responsibility here)______________________.

It’s not that I have to be constantly with him– he sometimes naps for a part of that time (although lately it’s been in the car, which lowers my productivity and options when we get to wherever we are going on errands!) And he loves to sweep, and he can play by himself for 10-15 minutes every 3 hours or so. But it’s hard. And fun. We have lots of fun together!

Here are some photos of us having fun together this morning.

An Excellent Display of Balance

Aaron is showing some fine motor skills. He also eschews his expensive toys that we buy him for simple home made ones, like this cardboard paper roll. He loves to yell into it, to look through it, and of course, to balance it.

A Bear that Snovels Show

On Wednesday it snowed about an inch or so, and I had to clear it before it got all icy.  I took out the bear to do the work also, for his first official snow time. (We finally found Snow Boots!)  I wrapped him up in his oh so warm snow suit and took him outside.

He had a fun time, and really seemed to like shoveling and the snow.   I took a bunch of pictures and then put the camera in the car so it wouldn’t get wet.  About 10 people then walked by and said “Oh how cute! You should take some pictures!”  So I took some more, to satisfy our well-meaning but nosy neighbors.  Overall I took nearly 40 pictures. 

Although he had a great time,  I had a huge fear that he would drop the snow shovel and rush into the street, where the cars go very fast, and would not be braking for bears, so I was completely hyper-vigilant about it. I did most of the shoveling with him in my arm, or trapped behind the fence watching. Nothing bad happened.  (See, my hyper vigilance is working!)

There’s 6-8 inches of snow forecast for this weekend, so maybe if we get enough we can go out and build a snowman!  Hmmm,,, maybe I need to go get a carrot and some buttons….

Here’s about half of the photos that I took.

XKCD– You rock!

Did the Bear Make a Poo? — Yes He did!

Video I shot today on the changing table of a song I made up on the spot, and AA learned to contribute to it.  Shows off his impeccable rhythm, timing, and an infectious giggle.  Oh yes, and the word “Yes!”

Piano Playing Bear

We’ve picked out AA’s Halloween costume for this year, and well, what else could he be but a bear?
We originally had a dog costume that S had given to one of AA’s cousins, and now no longer fits, but it mysteriously disappeared.  Can’t find it anywhere.  Being as it was a dog, we can only hope it has found greener pastures.
We went on a shopping spree to make sure that we’d have this costume in time, and found the perfect costume (although S does not like the bowtie particularly.  I’m kind of a big fan of the bowtie- it’s not a run of the mill bear- this is a CLASSY bear)
The costume also came with a rainbow blanket (is it possible that this is a CareBear ™ costume?)  At any rate, the blanket has been banished from the costume.
S has to cut off the bear’s feet (the costume, not the child) so that he can wear his shoes and walk around as a bear.
We have to hope that Halloween is not bear season!
A full set of these photos is available over on Flickr:

Full blown walking!

Just days after the first video of him tentatively walking, he’s gotten a LOT better!
His mom to encourage him no doubt helps quite a bit.

And he’s a fast learner!

How our houseblog became a homeblog

I’m in Las Vegas for Blog World Expo for the next few days and I was talking to some bloggers last night, describing how we used to be housebloggers, but that now I feel like we’re no longer legit in using that term (when we do blog, which is so rare). It’s almost never about the house anymore, much more about Aaron and our lives. So someone said, “now you’re a homeblogger” which is so true! That’s what I’ll say from here on out. I definitely don’t want to be lumped into the “mommyblogger” category since a) Adam writes 75% of the blog and b) it’s about more than our kid (well, at least that’s the intent). (I also have an issue with the term “mommyblogger,” as do many female bloggers I know, since marketers and PR-types (my colleagues, excluded, of course!) tend to want to categorize all women bloggers as “mommybloggers” even though most of them don’t write about being mommies most of the time….but that’s another post entirely!)

So, inevitably, what am I going to post today? Photos of Aaron from our pumpkin/apple adventure at Outhouse Orchards on Columbus Day. Because I’m missing him and these are the cutest photos ever of my boy who’s getting so big! (Thanks, Shelli and Patty for a great day at the pumpkin patch!)

Also please note the tiny bit of knitblogging going on here as Aaron shows of his newly-knitted Pumpkin Hat! So see, it’s not just about the kid!

On the cusp of walking

As these two videos below show, Aaron is on the very cusp of walking.

The first video shows a 13 second clip of Aaron actually walking to the walker, and then walking with it.

The second video is longer, but has lots of cute little moments of him looking at the camera, and walking, and looking at the camera, and walking!

Set your Clok Radio.

We have one of those Ipod clok radio’s (made by emerson, bought at Target) that works very well.

The only problem was that it recently needed to have the time reset, and I had thrown out the manual, and the setting of the clock is not intuitive.

It also turns out that for whatever reason, Emerson doesn’t make a manual available online.

Looking around on the internet, there’s lots of other people with the same problem.

So for those of us with my Clok radio problems, this one’s for you, and for all posterity, and mostly so that if you ever do come over for a visit, and I happen to be indisposed and you need to reset the time on my radio for your own nefarious purposes, here’s how:

1. Press the power button off (no functions highlighted).

2. Press and hold the Clock/display button for 5 seconds.

3. While continuing to press down that button, press the hour or minute buttons to adjust the hour and the minute

4. When you are finished, release the clock/display button

94-year-old heading to National Urban League conference :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

Stephanie’s Grandfather gets a big article in the Chicago Sun Times today. And he’s even more remarkable in person than he is in the article! He’s on facebook, and will undoubtedly read this post! (Hi Hank!)

94-year-old heading to National Urban League conference ::
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

Longtime activist heading to National Urban League conference

July 29, 2009
BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporter/mihejirika@suntimes.com

When the convention hall doors swing open today on the National Urban League’s annual conference here, Hank Schwab will be there.

Schwab’s been there a long time.

Hank Schwab (inset) took this picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and
Coretta Scott King at a civil rights rally at Soldier Field in June of 1964.

This year will be the 94-year-old Hyde Parker’s 51st National Urban League conference.

“It was 1958. I’d just moved into the new, integrated Lake Meadows housing development when I met Urban League President Bill Berry,” Schwab says.

“Berry lived on the 17th floor. I was on the 11th. We became friends. He took me under his wings, made me a member of the Urban League and put me on the board. He took me to all the national conferences.”

But Berry, the legendary civil rights activist who led the Chicago organization from 1956 to 1969, is only one of many African-American icons that Schwab, a Jewish immigrant and Holocaust survivor, has called friend over the years.

His personal photo collection — spanning decades — is filled with images of him and the likes of Martin Luther King, Whitney Young, Julian Bond, Joe Louis, Dizzy Gillespie and other historical figures.

Admittedly drawn into the African-American struggle for civil rights by accident, the still very vibrant Schwab has a colorful history.

Born in Frankfort, Germany, he and his family at the onset of Nazi rule lived comfortably, running a family business. Then came Kristallnacht, the Nazi attack on Jewish people and their property in November 1938. The family business was destroyed, and Schwab and his father were among 25,000-plus Jews arrested and deported to concentration camps.

“My number was 10052. I’ll never forget that,” says Schwab, imprisoned for five weeks at the Buchenwald camp recently toured by President Obama. “There were 10,000 prisoners lying on shelves. I didn’t think I ever would get out.”

But it turned out an uncle in America, a banker, had filed for visas for Schwab’s family as Germany was deteriorating. The visas came through while he and his father were in the camp, they were released, and emigrated to New York.

“I believe that Jewish and African-American people had the same exact problem in the Holocaust and slavery,” says Schwab, who found his way to Chicago as the civil rights movement was growing.

“I was selling automobile policies when one day, several came back in the mail. The underwriting company told me, ‘Sorry, but we don’t take colored’,” Schwab recalls. “I didn’t know anything about discrimination until it touched me personally, and I was heartbroken.”

Schwab worked successfully to tear down racial barriers in his own firm, then met Berry and became a staunch activist in the movement.

“There is no one in Chicago or the whole country who has been to 50 conferences but me. I’ve missed two since 1958,” he says proudly.

His photos and archival documents recently donated to the Chicago chapter — including his program from the 1963 March on Washington and photos from the 1964 Civil Rights Rally at Soldier Field — bear witness to pivotal moments in African-American history.

This year, Schwab found himself close again to a pivotal moment he never thought he’d live to see.

“It turned out President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was my senator, and I have letters of his starting, ‘Dear Hank,’ and signed, ‘Barack’,” says Schwab. “What I can say is we’ve come a long way in civil rights in this country, but we still have a long way to go, and a black president does not change that.”

For more information on the conference running through Aug. 1 at McCormick Place, visit www.nul.org

Urban baby

We went to a friend’s house on Saturday for a barbecue in NJ. It was very nice, it was very suburban, and the people were incredibly nice.

Aaron had a great time hanging around with the people who smiled at him, eating lots of goodies and treats, and playing with the two dogs of the house.

The one thing he didn’t like was sitting on the grass.

We realized that it was his first exposure to grass (HEY, before you call Protective services on us, we live in an urban, non nice grass environment– and he’s a September baby, meaning it’s been pretty cold for most of the time he’s been alive) Anyway, sitting on the grass made him pretty uncomfortable and more than a little crybaby-ish) Not sure if he was frightened of bugs, didn’t like the tickly feeling, or just prefers the concrete.

He’ll have plenty of grass time over the next few months to figure it out and grow to love the green.