Monday, November 7, 2011

We Went to Blue Grass, Iowa, And Then...

This happened.

Then this.

Also, this bit of fun with her cousin Kaitlyn.

Blitz: Halloween

For Halloween this year, we had two costumes. The Saturday before we went to visit Juliette's Great-Grandma, who is recovering from heart surgery.

Ma, Granny and Jules
Ma has missed us while she was recovering in the hospital. But now that she's in the rehab center, visiting is much easier.

After visiting Ma, we went to Boo in the Zoo and met our friends Stephanie and Anthony, and their little girl Allie. We had fun checking out the animals and the other kids in costumes.

I Caught a Wild Pumpkin!
Stephanie, Butterfly Allie, Sheep Jules and Kathy.
And just to show you how much she prepared for her role, check this out:

On actual Halloween, we scrambled because we forgot to wash the sheep costume! She got it dirty playing with Allie, and it wasn't until Monday that we remembered it. Oops!

That's okay, though. We had a pseudo back-up.

Note Halloween Themed Socks
Presenting [a rather thirsty] Piglet!

Oh, yeah. Jules prefers drinking water out of one of these. It is clearly far superior to any sippy cup available. Sitting on Daddy's nightstand? Must be hers! And just before she takes a drink? "Num num num."

Seriously. Cute.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Jules is walking all over her Uncle Dave's living room in Iowa. Video when we return to StL.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Beautiful Weekend or, My First Bicycle Ride

So, Friday I got off work earlier than I've been getting off work, which is nice. My office has been incredibly swamped lately and have taken to staying later in order to keep up with business. It's a good problem to have, from the standpoint of keeping a business going and earning money and whatnot, but it does have the drawback that I get less time with Juliette. But then days like Friday come along and I get out a little early and get to spend a lot more time with my little girl. Always a plus.

I got home Friday and was greeted by two things; a smiling face and a magnificent odor.

Pictured: Smiling Face

Pictured: Magnificent Odor
See that smile? Awesome. And we've kept that smile all weekend because of what's in that pot. Remember those apples we picked from the last post? Kathy took the initiative and turned them into apple sauce. Jars upon jars of apple sauce. With cinnamon and a little nutmeg and no sugar, it's possibly the best apple sauce I've ever had. And Jules loves it.

Saturday, we went on a nearly fruitless quest to find a bicycle helmet that would fit Juliette. This epic quest took us to one big box retailer, a baby goods store, a sporting goods retailer and then a much more specialized sporting goods retailer. It took us four stops to find anything or anyone even remotely helpful. So, thank you, REI, for not only having a helmet for Jules but for also having an incredibly helpful staff who took the time to poke around in the stockroom to find some clearance small sized helmets. You rock, guy with awesome beard and sweet lip piercing (Kathy and I are trying unsuccessfully to remember his name right now). But, you might ask, why would we need a helmet for Juliette?

Extreme Water Drinking. Sponsored by Bell Bicycle Products
Because Kathy found a sweet child seat for her bicycle. For super cheap. New in box. So I hooked it up Saturday to Kathy's awesome Schwinn Breeze, and Sunday afternoon we went for a ride.

Oh, yeah, Kathy's bicycle. When we got married, Kathy had a Schwinn mountain bike that was about two sizes too small for her, and any time we'd go for a ride neither of us could enjoy it for multiple reasons. Mostly, since Kathy's bike was too small for her, she couldn't exactly get into a comfortable rhythm and, also, I used to road race and I have a bicycle built for that. The only way for us to ride together was for me to ride painfully slow or for her to ride painfully fast. But this past spring, Kathy scored a free Schwinn cruiser from her parents' garage. We put a little work into it and it is now road worthy.

Sweet ride
She can go faster on this bike than on her old and, as I am now in much worse shape than I was when I was actively racing bicycles, we can both ride at a pace comfortable for each of us. The only problem comes on upward slopes, when I have the clear advantage. Also, it's hard to climb with a child's seat on the back. Fortunately, not too far from us, there's a great trail which is almost perfectly flat! Just great for a brief ride with the little girl!

So today was Monday, which generally means back to the ol' grindstone. But as luck would have it, today was Columbus Day (which I generally celebrate by "discovering" my neighbor's house, sneezing on them and telling them that I live there now, but now that I'm a father, Kathy has put her foot down and I'm only allowed to do it on leap years), and as the courts are closed, my office was also ostensibly closed. I went in for about two and a half hours and did some catch-up work, after which I once again come home to a smiling face. More than that, though, when I was walking up the front walk I could see Jules standing at the picture window beaming and waving and laughing. I came inside and Kathy was crying! Tears of joy, I am assured. Apparently, when I pulled up, Jules saw my car and just screamed "Daddy!" and started giggling and waving and dancing and laughing. That's enough to make a guy feel the love.

Kathy went out with a friend of hers for dinner this evening, leaving Jules and I alone. After mulling it over I decided against beer and chips for dinner and planned an elaborate four course dinner. But when I saw we didn't have any Cornish game hens or shiitake mushrooms, I just heated up some frozen veggies and cooked a couple hot dogs. Jules picked out some dinner music (Radiohead's OK Computer) and, sort of swaying in our chairs, we ate. Jules wanted me to skip "Fitter, Happier" because it didn't have any music, but other than that dinner was a good time. Afterwards, we went for a quick stroll up our street, then turned around and headed back home.

At the top of the street, Juliette pointed to something down the street and said, "Bloon!" I didn't see any balloons, so I said, "Where?" She pointed again and said, "Oh shoes! Ball! Bloon!" (this whole "oh shoes" thing is a new one for us, and we find it adorable, though sometimes it doesn't sound like she's saying "shoes" if you can use your imagination and fill in a hard consonant sound at the end there...). I locked the wheels of the stroller and got down next to her. "Where?" I said. She pointed again and said "Bloon! Ball! Bloon!"

She was pointing at the moon.

She's kind of awesome.

Finally, I leave you with this: the very first photograph Juliette ever took. She was watching a video of herself on our point and shoot digital and, as kids do, started pressing buttons. This is the result.

Untitled - Juliette, 10/1/2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apple Picking

Before anyone asks, Juliette has not started walking yet, however she is incredibly close.

Today, to celebrate Kathy's Birthday (which was on Wednesday this past week when the above video was taken), my side of the family got together and went apple picking, after which we had a nice picnic lunch with rhubarb pie.

We didn't get a ton of pictures, but I wanted to share these two with you and also this awesome short video.

So, wait, is an Empire Apple something grown for Darth Vader to eat? 'Cause that's wicked awesome.
For those keeping score at home, the Snugli that Juliette is strapped into here is the same one that Lydia was using just about a year ago when we went to a different apple orchard. Jules spent the tractor ride back from the orchard working on breaking through the skin of this apple to get to the good stuff inside.

Success! Sweet, Delicious Success!
Like anyone doubted she could do it. As I told her Granny, if she doesn't learn to do it on her own now, she may never learn. I don't care that she's only fourteen months old. Besides, she can do lots of other things. She's kind of fearless. Oh, don't believe me? Watch this:

Yeah. That's my fourteen month old daughter being ridiculously awesome.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Jules, making way for Ducklings in Boston, August 5th, 2011

August was super busy for Kathy and I. The vacation at the start of the month was a welcome break, but after the rest of the month, we could sure use another vacation. Ugh.

But here we are, September 1st, and it's a new month and Jules is nearing her 13 month birthday. So I thought, since I didn't get a good update in on her actual birthday, I'd share some information with you.

"Working" on her laptop. Working = Dancing
Juliette loves to play and dance. Her favorite toys are the ones that play music. One of her birthday presents was a toy cell phone; most of the buttons just make regular phone noises and one plays a message that Kathy recorded for her, but her favorite buttons are the * and # buttons, the only two on the phone that play music. She will press one of those buttons and get to shimmyin' and shakin' like it's nobody's business!

Not taken by JJ Abrams
Juliette can say many many words these days, and does. Here's the list:

What's that?
What's up?
Yes (I like this one)
No (d'oh!)
Kit (kitty)
Gen (gentle, when referring to the cat)
Book (though she does not pronounce the 'k,' she puts a 't' at the end)
Per (or Diaper depending on her mood)
Juice (anything in her sippy cup)
Yeah (learned from Cousin Lydia, I think)
Bird (be it a bird, rabbit or squirrel)
Basketball (not kidding, she said it after hearing me say it once)
Shirt (sounds like...something else)
Ba ba (Lamb or sheep, also what Sheepo says)
Bye bye
Here (as in "here you go, I found this fuzz on the floor and I'm giving you four seconds to get it out of my hands before I eat it. Four-three-two-one nom nom.")
Yuck (usually 5-7 seconds after "here")

Relaxin' done RIGHT
In the past few weeks, Juliette has learned that the kitty is super soft, and that she'll let you experience this softness if you're very gentle. Jules has always been curious about Amethyst, and would laugh whenever she'd walk into the room. They have been playing together since Jules was able to sit up, with Amethyst rubbing Juliette's back and Jules laughing and grabbing for her. For a while, they played with balls together; Juliette would roll a ball across the floor to Amethyst, who would sometimes roll it right back. But recently, this started (see above). ADORABLE CITY.

Dad, if you make me listen to ONE MORE obscure indie-pop album from the last decade...
We went on a road trip to Nebraska for the weekend two weeks after Juliette's Birthday. We got to see cousins.

Cousins don't stand still when asked.
We saw others as well...


Aunt Kristie

Aunt Lori
Also there but, oddly not pictured: Aunt Lisa, Aunt Carissa, Uncle Steve and soon-to-be Uncle Justin.

The weekend had to end, though...

Daddy Knew where his Towel Was. I'm counting upside down.
On the drive back, the sun was in Juliette's eyes. But we fixed that.

After a month like this, we just like to sit back and relax with a good book.

Or maybe, considering the heat, a cool soda would be good.

Ode to Sodie, Bo-de-o-dodie! Auntie Mo, hold me more often so I can get more of this SUGAR WATER YUM!
Oh, yeah, Juliette learned how to drink from a straw. Also how to use the Tupperware shape sorter.

Also, this mad adorableness.
I'm getting verbal updates from Kathy as I blog, so: Juliette learned how to build a small stack of blocks. She "cooks" her animals. She got a farm animal puzzle and a set of utensils and pans for her play kitchen, and she put the pig, cow and chicken into a frying pan and stirred them around with a spatula. That's my girl! Though, really, you should be grillin' all that, unless of course it's ground beef, chicken breast for pasta and bacon. Oh man...I'm so hungry right now...

While sitting with Poppy at his piano the other day, she watched his fingers intently and mimicked what he was doing. Do we have a musical prodigy on our hands? Do we have active imaginations? Maybe. But a musical prodigy wouldn't be a terrible thing. Prodigies tend to land recording contracts and end up on the Tonight Show at age 11 I want that? No...but I wouldn't mind her being musical (see above, re: dancing).

Stairs are no longer an obstacle but an out and out danger, at least as far as going up is concerned (we tend to not let her hang out around the top of unblocked steps, the experts frown on that). Get her at the bottom of a staircase, and up she'll go. She can manage it all on her own, but every time I've seen her do it I've seen it happen from half an inch away. Strange thing, though; when I've seen other kiddos learn stairs, they tend to crawl up on their hands and knees. Jules is using her hands, but is putting her foot on the next step and pushing herself up that way. With her whole leg. You know, the way people who have been climbing stairs long enough to really know what they're doing do. Like, people who aren't only thrice the height of one step. It's an awe-inspiring and nerve-wracking sight for a parent.

Standing is now an all the time thing. Standing in bed? Check. Standing at the picture window waving goodbye to daddy in the mornings? Check. Standing freely in the middle of the room and laughing at the sheer miracle that is one years' progress? Check. She still crawls between places where she stands, but that won't last much longer because...

This week, she took two steps. Not concurrently, but still. Her consecutive total may be one, but her cumulative total number of steps taken without assistance comes to two. So we've got that going for us.

Kathy informs me that's probably enough for now. I guess. But first, one more picture. Ready?

Juliette, on her birthday. And she totally knows it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Get Used To It, Kiddo

With me as your father, this kind of thing will happen all. the. time.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bonus Video: Juliette's Favorite Word

She likes pictures.

Test Post

This is a mobile blogging test. This is only a test. In a real mobile blogging situation, the picture would be much cuter.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


A little more than a week until Juliette turns 1.

We will be in Boston on her birthday, celebrating my friend's wedding. I'll be posting updates if I can figure out how to do so from my phone.

I am working on a project for Juliette's birthday, but unfortunately it's not something I can post on the blog. But I'll tell you all about it later.

You will see a picture soon. In the next three days or so. Promise.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

We had a busy busy weekend, the four of us here at the house of StL HD.  Friday evening we hosted a game night. Friends came, bearing food for a pot luck, and it wasn't until Juliette went to bed that people began acknowledging the fact that there were other people besides a baby around. After dinner, Kathy and I (and nine other people) busted out The Game of Things which, if you've never played, you need to. It kept us entertained for hours and hours. Amethyst, meanwhile, hid in our room.

Saturday, we played all morning. After lunch and a nap, we picked up some flowers for our new backyard garden. After dinner, Amethyst slept on our bed, and we put Juliette to bed and planted the flowers, finishing just as the light faded completely. This is all a part of the basement project that happened in April; the workers took out the sidewalk which ran from our driveway to our backyard patio, regraded soil so it sloped away from the house and also installed a sump-pump in the basement to keep it from flooding, a problem we've had for a few years but which got much worse this year. The garden we're putting in will help keep the soil sloped the right direction and also provide a little help against water entering the basement.

Good thing, too, considering our Sunday. We went over to Granny and Poppy's house in the morning for waffles. Auntie Mo showed up with cousins Madeline and Lydia and we played for a little bit until Jules started getting sleepy. Our plan was to go home and put her down for a nap while one of us picked up some mulch for the garden, but since she fell asleep in the car, we decided to just take her with. She slept through about half of our trip to the store, and when we got home we ate lunch and went down for a nap. While she napped, Kathy and I considered planting the extra plants we had picked up with the mulch. I consulted the weather and together, we decided better to get them in the ground before a giant rain storm than after it; we finished just in time before a storm blew in.

The storm put a tiny kink in our plans, because we were supposed to have a cookout with some of the families from Kathy's MoBap Mom's group. Fortunately, Jet's mom (he is the baby who hosted the event) sent out an e-mail telling everyone she had a big finished basement and we could still all come over. So, we huddled under our giant umbrella and rushed to the car with a fruit pizza in tow and made the cross-town trek. So. Many. Babies. Jet took his first steps while everyone was watching! Not to be outdone, Nolan (recently turned one) took his first steps. Jules was watching and, I assure you, taking notes. When we got home, Amethyst was laying on the living room rug.

This morning, we woke up and checked the weather; it looked like it was going to hold, and stay somewhat cool, so we went to the Webster Groves parade. This parade is special for me because I participated in the parade at least five times. Once as a Cub Scout, riding my bicycle behind a truck (loaded with a giant super-soaker) and four times as a member of the WGHS Marching Statesmen Drumline. Yes, I was a band geek. Granted, it's been ten years (yikes) since I graduated from high school, but I still like to see the band. Also, some people I hadn't seen in years said they would be there, and some of them have kiddos just about Juliette's age, so I figured she might like to meet some new friends.

So there we were, waiting for the parade to start.

My First Parade!
Jules was excited and so well behaved! She kept looking around, watching all the people walking by. We kept telling her every time a police officer would ride by on a motorcycle "that's the parade! That's all!" She wasn't buying it.

Quit Joking, Mom and Dad!
We had to wait a while for the parade to start.

Let me smudge the lens!
So long, in fact, that it started raining. Hard. But only for a little bit. Lucky for us, Kathy remembered the big umbrella.

Sure, we're dry, but what about the people in the parade?

We had to wait a long time.

There is going to be a parade today, right? Because Daddy's going back to work tomorrow.
Finally, the parade started, and that's when Juliette really let her patriotic side show.

Watch me wave this flag: I'm so good at it!
There were marching bands, Girl Scouts on horses, Boy Scouts on bicycles, fire trucks, Corvettes, Mustangs, more Corvettes, gymnasts, Lions Clubs, County Executive Charlie Dooley, and three girls riding shovels while  a fourth walked behind them banging two halves of coconuts together.

After the parade, we took a short walk to find our friends. For some unfathomable reason, we didn't take any pictures of Juliette with baby Claire or baby Stella. However, Stella's mom Amy (whom I have known since I was thirteen), took a few pictures of the family, including this one.

Thanks Amy for the Photo!
That's Nicole, Claire's mom, with her back to us, and behind her is Claire and her dad Josh. In the middle is my old friend and my 2000 Senior Prom date Jackie. Jules is looking awful hot and tired at this point, and shortly after this was taken, she fell asleep in Kathy's arms. So, we headed back to the car and to home.

Once we got home, we put Juliette to bed and once again set to work in the garden, this time laying the mulch down in our front tree ring. A sweaty hour later, I took my fourth shower of the weekend and, all refreshed, got Jules up from her nap and played with her for the rest of the day! Until Granny and Poppy came over for dinner, then she was all about playing with them. Not that I'm complaining; it's awesome that Juliette gets to have this time with her grandparents. And my parents are very good at being grandparents, so Jules loves spending time with them.

After dinner (and a little bit more playing), it was bed time. Those of us still awake retired to the basement to watch Up, which my parents hadn't seen. And can you believe that neither of them shed a tear during that first eleven minutes? I know what's going to happen, and still, every time, waterworks. Even Amethyst, watching from the stairs, cried a little.

It was a busy weekend, and sadly devoid of fireworks. However, since our neighbors all seem to love shooting off their own fireworks, we get a kind of panoramic amateur display every year. I'm happy to report that Juliette has been sleeping through the fireworks all weekend, including tonight's escalations. Good thing, too, since Amethyst seems to be going crazy.

Happy 4th every body!