Thursday, July 31, 2008

Week in AV Review

We went to a Move-in-the-Park last Saturday on Coronado Island. Tres fun. You can see the movie screen and the Coronado Bridge in the background.

We walked around while we were there and saw this sky-writing in progress over the San Diego Convention Center. Sascha thought for sure they were writing his initials. They weren't.

Oreo cookies at the park.

A little more cookie action.

Swim gear.

I'm fairly certain this is in no way legal. Or safe.

Ari's World

Aaah, silence.

For the past seven hours, I have been at the epicenter of the whirling, chaotic exuberance known as "Ari". And the exuberance is finally napping. Albeit reluctantly.

It's difficult to effectively describe what it's like to spend that much time in the company of a lone, yet highly energetic, toddler. And I'll probably fail miserably and you'll wonder "so why the hell is it so exhausting?"...unless, of course, you've been there yourself. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, imagine, if you would, a three-month old Labrador Retriever after a nice, restful nap. This post-nap phase lasts for seven straight hours. You can't kennel him. You can't really scold him because he's not misbehaving. And he wants you to join in with every game, song and dance that meanders through his head.

Now, mind you, I'm not complaining (for once). The kid has been unusually happy and relatively tantrum free for the past week or so. He's been a pleasure to be around, in fact. We've had a blast. But mom's pooped. Ari's bedtime has been stretching later and later. He's now going down (wide awake) at 9:30 and Sascha and I are left scratching our heads as to how it happened. The kid is simply not tired. Granted he sleeps in till almost 9 am now so I suppose if I were to start getting him up earlier, he'd then go to bed earlier. But, oh, let me tell you how much I savor those quiet Wendy-time mornings. I cringe at the thought of waking him up before I finish my pot of coffee. However, here's the kicker, my day still starts around 6:30 am (usually). Ari's doesn't start till 9 am. Ergo, his nap doesn't happen till 4 pm. That makes Mom's day ultra-long...I'm practically comatose and drooling by 3:30. So, still drooling, I decided to update the blog with a little blast from Ari's world :).

He's talking now. In fact, we have achieved, "No, I do." I shit you not. He did not want me anywhere near his toothbrush last night. "No, I do." We have also achieved a vague "Luv vu." Then there's the usual, "truck, car, kitty, cat, dog, puppy, baby, momma, dad, wawa (water), choo choo, apple, ball, eat, Adi (Ari), poop, pee, pee pee, poo poo (he also calls Pooh Bear "poo poo"), penis (yep), hair, eye, ear, teeth, sock," colors, animals and animal sounds, etc. etc. It's very neat because he finally understands most of what I explain to him and I can finally understand about 50% of what he's saying to me. We were driving to the library today to turn in his summer reading hours (okay okay, our summer reading hours) and he starting pointing violently and saying "cannes, cannes, cannes". I thought, huh, we have a francophile on our hands here...and then was relieved to see that he was pointing at a crane from construction site. He likes anything truck, car, construction or train-related. The bigger the better.

Songs are huge right now. He, himself, has been singing the ABC song and "Bingo" (you know, about the dog B-I-N-G-O). Anytime I start randomly singing anything (which is often), he's right there asking me to do more. Today he had Bingo stuck in his head for about 4 hours.

Climbing is also topping the charts as one of the top things to do at any minute. He's conquered our bed, which is about 32" high, every chair in the house, the couch, the stroller, the car and his car seat, playgrounds and the stairs (facing front, like a big person). The only apparati he hasn't attempted are his crib and table-like surfaces, thank God.

Reading has been taking up a lot of his/our time lately. Especially any book about trains or trucks. We sat at the library for an hour the other day, just reading and looking for "more choo choo" books.

Praying. The boy likes to pray. Don't ask me why because I wouldn't describe either of us as "devout". I have a well-used devotion book sitting in the kitchen, which I call the "God book". Almost every day while we're eating one meal or another, he says "God" and goes to get the book. "Pay, pay", he urges and folds his hands. I've tried to tell him that we don't need the book to pray, we can make the prayers up, but he insists that the book must be there. And it must be open. On the back, this book has little pictures of all the contributing authors. After we pray, Ari turns the book over and points at pictures while I read off the names. Today, he kept looking up at me and saying "God?" while pointing at one picture or another. I had no idea what he meant. "Yes, Ar, this is the God book." Points at picture, "God?" Again, points at picture, "God?" Oooh. I'm a little slow sometimes. "No Ar, God isn't in these pictures. We can't see him. He's invisible. These are the people that wrote the God book." "Ooooh. Okay." Like he totally got it.

Water. Water. Water. Any water, anywhere. Mud puddles. Suspicious-looking puddles. Bath water, hose water, water standing in flower pots, sprinkler water, water in a Rubbermaid container on the patio, water in spray bottles, water sitting on the countertop, water trickled from his sippy cup onto his highchair tray. Any water except pool water and ocean water. Go figure. He stills says "no" when we walk into swimming class. And he ran away from the water at the beach last week, laughing, like he knew it totally flummoxed me. This dissapoints Sascha just a little, being the water bug that he is. I kind of want to remind him that he was scared to death of even bath water at Ari's age.

We've been spending more and more time with kids Ari's age and, by default, mom's my age. So much that we're out socializing almost every day of the week. This gets a little tiring for me by the end of the week and I think it does for Ari as well. Today we were supposed to head to the park to meet up with the Thursday gang and he simply refused to don his clothing and leave the house. He wanted to play at home in his jammies. Well slap my ass and call me Judy. You could've knocked me over with a cat hair. This is the kid that always wants to leave the house. The kid that isn't happy unless he's out, away from the house. I guess I had finally out-played him. So, by God-Almighty, hallelujiah, we played at home (which, ironically, is more tiring for me since I'm then the prime playmate).

Oh. And he's still drooling. Check out that shirt.

That's about all that comes to mind for now, when it comes to the World of Ari. Which is good because I have, in all probability, lost all of you except grandparents by now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July Shots

Trying on the new life vest. He seems to like it.

"That sure is a stiff breeze there, Mom."

The Schwarz Clan, et al. sorting their fire power (i.e. firework prep).

Ah, boys and fire.

Gettin' jiggy wid it. Ari introduces Aunt Paula, Uncle Jay and Grandma to "Naked Dancing".

Ari and I sharing an "aha" moment on the boat.

At Sascha's Dad's place on Lake Michigan.

"Build a castle, knock it down. Build a castle knock it down. Build a castle knock it down."

Snack time with Grandma Nana.

"Oh my gosh!"

Learning lawn care with Grandpa Arnie.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yes, we're still here.

Two months later...

Clearly, things have been busy. But as I look through my calendar of the past two months, other than a two-week vacation, I'm not sure what has sucked up all the time. Oh yes, that's right. We were living. After I take a quick look at my last post here, I'd like to bring you up to speed on Vie de la Freiwald (if that successfully translates to "Life of the Freiwalds" then I've had a good day).

...goes to read below post...

Oh. Okay. So that's where I left off.

Our good friends, Theresa and Kevin (from MI), came to see us in May. We spent a pretty great weekend introducing them to the rigors of toddler rearing...i.e. Ari couldn't have been sweeter, better behaved or more endearing. Good Lord. The kid really knows how to put on a show. He adored these guys, especially Kevin (no offense T), and spent most of the visit dragging them around by the fingers and pulling them to the ground for more playtime. Since our friends have the goal of hitting every single pro ball park in the contiguous 48, we schlepped downtown to the Padres stadium and saw them go into major overtime against...huh...can't remember (it was two months ago, cut me some slack). Anyway, they did end up winning.

The week after that, Ari and I headed out to Michigan for a week to stay with Mom and Dad while Sascha was away at a conference in Denver. When we booked the tickets, we had no way of knowing that Pfizer, in a financial attack of nerves, would cancel most travel for the rest of the year. Ergo, Sascha stayed home to worry about his job and Ari and I continued on to Michigan. We had a great trip and, shocker, remained healthy the entire time. AND, I got to experience thunderstorms again...they don't get those things down here.

Ari started "swimming lessons" just before we left for Michigan. Really, it's more of a chaotic festival of freaked-out or joyous toddlers held above water by their moms while the joyous ones splash water on the freaked-out ones. Ari sides more with the freaked-out variety. Our Tuesday mornings are still a little tense but I think he's slowly getting used to it...even though he only smiles when the floaty balls come out. Three weeks ago, at swimming class, Ari picked up a bug. Yes, another friggin' bug. I know this because two days later he started in with another fever. Oh no, not again. The next day, he threw up all over himself and the swing at the park. That was a nice, interesting experience. Luckily, there was no one else there and I had a bottle of water in the stroller. Ironically, that was a day of great pride for me. For several reasons:
  1. I stayed very calm as Ari projectile vomited over the sand, the swing and himself.
  2. I held him as he finished draining his stomach.
  3. I didn't flinch when I, too, was covered in apple juice barf.
  4. I remembered to pick the pacificer out of the puddle under the swing.
  5. I carried him home, uphill, and managed to pull the stroller after me. Both of us dripping just a little.
  6. I can proudly claim that day as the first time I cleaned vomit out of a pair of kiddie shoes.

This may seem like child's play to some of you. But I surprised myself at how calm and unbothered I was as if this was something that happened to me every day. Let's hope not :). Anyway, it turned out that Ari had Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease. No. Not Hoof and Mouth Disease - that's for cows. This was enterovirus, which presents with fever and painful blisters in the mouth, throat and sometimes hands and feet. By the time this sucker was done with our family, we had all had the worst throat pain of our lives. I could not believe how bad it was. You simply did not eat, it hurt that much. Ari seemed to have the easiest case out of us (thank God), Sascha had the worst. The only upside to this was that I managed to lose those last five pounds and fit into a bikini I hadn't worn in 7 years.

In the midst of the Great Freiwald Sickness, we flew to Michigan for our Two-Week-See-The-Grandparents-At-The-Lakes trip. Both of our parents have lake homes. My family's tradition is July 4th...but I think that's just an excuse so Dad can buy contraband fireworks in Indiana, smuggle them into Michigan and shoot them off over the lake. We're not the only ones. I think every other cabin on Wixom Lake is an incendiary expert. After we left my family at Wixom Lake, we drove down to Ann Arbor for a few hours to hang with our old Baby Posse and then drove to Holland (on Lake Michigan) to stay with Sascha's family. We had a great time all around, Ari fell in love with his uncles, and weren't really ready to leave Michigan. I guess it's just home.

I have some pictures of our July trip to Michigan but my laptop is failing to recognize Sascha's desktop (where we keep the new pictures) as it's here-to-fore lifemate and won't let me access them. Hmmm. Interesting. Veddy, veddy interesting. Hopefully, Sascha can work some voodoo on it tonight and I'll be able to post some more tomorrow.

...come to think of it...I guess it has been a pretty full two months.