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.