Each Day Brings Greater Messes

January 2009

stomp, stomp, stomp

Wherein Last Month Is Featured Prominently. Also, Niklas Says "Go Steelers!"

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  • 2009-01-05: Much like Sir George Somers 400 years ago, we have arrived back in Bermuda. We didn't even crash a boat or anything, so that puts us one up on him. Take that, Somers! Anyway, we actually got back on the 2nd, but I've been battling too much of a travel hangover to mention that fact. Much better now, though. So, since we got back, Niklas has been re-acclimating himself to both island life and not getting a bunch of presents everywhere he goes. The second one got off to a pretty poor start as Santa Claus had actually left a bunch of presents for Niklas here on Christmas Eve (though I guess it's possible that he knew Niklas would be out of town and didn't get around to it last week, either way), so the first thing he did once we got home was open a big box of racket. Other than that, all he really did on Friday was eat some dinner and go to bed early. On Saturday, Niklas slept in (likely due to his exhausting Christmas road trip that I haven't mentioned yet and won't be getting to today) and pretty much laid low for most of the day. He did mention to Andrya that he had a good time looking at vacuum cleaners at the Best Buy, which he had done a few days earlier. Sunday, we went to the playground in the morning which was definitely something Niklas missed about Bermuda while we were ice and snowing it up in continental north america. We followed that up today with some further playground action out at Shelly Bay where Niklas had a fabulous time playing with a bunch of two and three year olds from a nearby day care. Also, he insisted that I pick up a bunch of plastic that had washed ashore on the beach there. "Daddy pick up trash some more," he would say each time I brought a load back to the trash can on the beach. I don't know why he found that so enjoyable, but there you go.

    So I'll be writing up a full report of our adventures in the states, but until then, please enjoy these pictures.
    2009-01-06: So I suppose I should start writing the Christmas recap before it ends up like this:

    We went to America. Niklas got a bunch of presents. I don't like three AM wake-up calls.

    December 19 - Bermuda to New York to Some Seriously (Euphemism For Waste) Weather
    So on the 19th, we flew out of Bermuda. Jet Blue actually has a reasonable departure time (3:00 PM, I think), so we spent the early part of the day finalizing the packing and taking out the trash and that sort of thing. It was something like 75 degrees here, so I was looking forward to getting to New York so as to experience some seasonably appropriate weather. For some reason, the check in line was ridiculously short (even though we got the last long term parking space at the airport), so we had plenty of time to enjoy the ambiance of the airport terminal. Niklas watched some Sesame Street and Grinchy type programming. The flight wasn't too bad, mostly because we were on a plane with only two seats on either side of the aisle instead of three thus shielding me from Niklas's kick the seat and do some yelling type antics. Andrya did a fine job of handling all that, I'm sure. One cool thing about Jet Blue is that they have DirectTV on all of their flights, so I was able to check out the weather in NYC before we landed. This is why it came as no surprise to me when the plane experienced massive weather related turbulence. One passenger who wasn't bothered by the rough ride was Niklas who when stuff finally smoothed out again, requested "more bumps". Anyway, we landed pretty much on time. Given the ghost town like appearance of the baggage claim area, such was not the case for most people.

    Having learned from our previous trips,, we were traveling much lighter, so the six mile walk through JFK to the train that takes you to where you only have to walk another couple of miles to get to the rental cars went OK. Niklas was riding in his wheel-enhanced carseat, so he didn't mind the hike. Once we got to the car, though, it became pretty clear that the weather was not terribly conducive to driving across New Jersey and most of Pennsylvania to get to my grandparents house. Despite the snow and ice and whatnot, we figured that we'd give it a shot, as that had been our plan and not just some arbitrary thing I just made up. We crawled out of NYC (not literally) and made it about halfway through Jersey before the combination of intolerable weather and irritated two year old screaming convinced us that we should give up and find a hotel. So, we gave up and found a hotel.

    December 20-21 - New Jersey to Patton, PA
    We got a pretty early start the next day as Niklas woke up at the crack of dawn yelling "runs on Dunkin!" because the hotel was just around the corner from a Dunkin Donuts and Niklas is easily influenced by advertising. Niklas had never had doughnuts before, but it seemed like a pretty sure thing that he would like them. Quite right. He was more excited about the doughnuts that he was about the prospect of Christmas presents. Unsurprisingly, chocolate was his favorite, though the powdered doughnut was popular, too. I don't know what he thought of the glazed because he traded that to me for more chocolate. Once we had him suitably hopped up on sugar, we got back into the car (a Pontiac Torrent, the existence of which I was unaware prior to renting one) and headed off to Patton. Unlike last year where Niklas apparently thought it was his duty to stay awake every second that he was in the car, this time he sugar crashed into a nap for an hour or so, which was nice. We even managed to make it through Altoona (where there was a bit of lostness last year) with only minor complications, due as much to me knocking a contact lens out as anything else.

    In yet another dramatic improvement over Christmas 2007, when we got to Patton, Niklas seemed happy to see my grandparents instead of screaming whenever either of them looked at him. I'm sure the presents and cookies they gave him didn't hurt. I'm pretty sure he got away with more than I ever did at their house, and according to my mom, I got away with a lot. He also struck fear into the heart of an eighty pound Siberian Husky, but I get the impression that there are many, many things that that dog finds terrifying. A good time was certainly had by all, except by me when I watched the Penguins get blasted on by the Maple Leafs, but after the game, I was in good spirits again. The highlight of Patton for me was probably when my Grandma and I took Niklas to the grocery store and he walked around holding her hand. I'm sappy like that. I would have taken a picture, but I was carrying around the forty pounds or so of cookies Grandma thought her great-grandson needed. Speaking of those cookies, later, we were heading up to see my uncle. Grandma wanted to send some over to his house, so she and Niklas loaded up a tupperware container. Perhaps unclear on the whole process, Niklas put a couple of cookies into the container before starting to take a bite of each one before dropping it in. Maybe he is clear on the process and just not sufficiently practiced at cookie larceny. Probably, he just loves cookies. Other than the cookies, what Niklas probably enjoyed the most was racing around with toy car my grandpap gave him. That car was so popular you would have thought it was made of chocolate.

    The next day, we got up pretty early again as Niklas still hadn't adjusted to the time change. I need to do a better job of teaching him about time zones, apparently. We said goodbye to Grandma and Granpap Smith (Niklas gave them hugs and everything) and headed off to see the Godfather in Columbus. Apparently, neither the borough of Patton nor Cambria County can be counted on to get the plows out early in the morning, so we drove through a few inches of snow, but once we got to the expressway, everything was pretty clear. Niklas once again took a nap in the car, which was awesome.
    2009-01-07: Today, Niklas and I went to the zoo in the morning and the beach in the afternoon. Both of these were quite popular with Niklas as these are two of the things he asked about repeatedly while we were in the States. Speaking of which, here's this:

    December 21-22 - Columbus, OH to The Coldest McDonald's On Earth
    So we made it to Columbus just in time to see the Steelers fall completely apart against the Titans in a week sixteen showdown. What? Oh, right. So we got to Columbus sometime in the afternoon (what with time zones and this being two weeks ago, that's the best estimate I can give if you're not willing to go on what point of the Steelers' game it was) and Niklas was able to thank the Godfather for the big pile of loot he had sent a week or so before we left Bermuda. Niklas had an awesome time running around Josh's place and generally busting things up (though not too seriously) for a while, then we headed off to meet our old friend Jeff at some Mexican place for dinner. I was pretty excited about this as there is a dearth of quality Mexican food in Bermuda. Oh, it was nice to see Jeff, too. Niklas agreed, as he said "good time see Jeff". After that, we went back to the Josh's where Niklas once again ran around like a madman, posed for the occasional photo and generally had a fabulous time. The next morning, Niklas was all about sleeping in, probably because of all the running about and fabulous timing he had done the day before. Inconveniently, this was a Monday and Josh had to go to work, so we woke him up, piled in the car and continued on our way west. "Good time see Josh and Jeff," said Niklas.

    Once it became clear that Niklas wasn't going to go back to sleep, we stopped for some breakfast. Niklas was initially disappointed when there wasn't a Dunkin Donuts to be found, but he perked up again once he learned that Tim Horton's also had doughnuts. He was also inexplicably excited by the fact that I had coffee. Anyway, once we were on the road again, he spent an hour or so bouncing around the backseat (as best he could being strapped into a car seat) and then crashed. When he woke up, we sang some songs, most likely listened to the soundtrack from How The Grinch Stole Christmas a few times, and then looked for a place to stop for lunch. We were hoping to find a McDonald's or some similar place with an indoor play area so he could run off some of his coopedupedness. Marshall, Illinois had a fairly spectacular looking play area, but it was an outdoor deal and it was, according to the Torrent's external thermometer (which I have no reason to doubt), five degrees outside. Thirty minutes or so down the road, though, success! Sort of! Not really! I don't know where exactly we were, but we stopped at a McDonald's with an indoor play area that was indoors in name only. I swear the temperature there was at most ten degrees warmer than the air outside. Also, while the play area claimed to be appropriate for two year olds, I don't know of any four foot tall kids that age which is what you would have to be to use any of the stuff there. Also, it was swarmed with children who were supervised by adults who did not meet my quite lax standards of child supervisory ability. Despite all of this Niklas claimed that he had a good time. That might just be because he got a toy with his happy meal that is vaguely shaped like a trash can and Niklas thinks trash cans are awesome, so... success!

    December 22-23 - Smithton, IL
    Later that day, after stopping off to buy some last minute Christmas presents and replace the orange Matchbox car that Niklas apparently left as Josh's, we finally rolled into scenic Smithton. Andrya's Grandma and Grandpa Forcade were very excited to their great-grandson and Niklas was particularly happy to see "another Grandma". "Another Grandma!", exclaimed Niklas (as I guess you would have gathered by my use of the exclamation point). After visiting for a while, I took Niklas up to the attic where there are classic toys. Andrya and I spent the rest of afternoon trying to stop Niklas from busting up various breakables and Christmas ornaments. Luckily, the Forcade's nativity set is very well made. The next day, Niklas slept in a bit (hooray, exhaustion!) and then spent the day playing with toys, entertaining his great-grandparents with his general cuteness and visiting with Andrya's Uncle Mark and cousin Kendra, who stopped before heading off to the Illinois-Mizzou game (where things didn't go their way, wooooooooo!). That evening, his Grandma and Grandpa Meeker arrived, which led to hilarious grandma naming which I'll get to later.
    2009-01-08: So it rained all day today. Cabin fever Niklas is entertaining, but a bit exhausting, so the 08/09 American Winter Tour recap will have to wait a bit. I will mention that Niklas has become quite the restaurateur. Today, he made me fake eggs, fake pizza and refilled my fake coffee (using the wrist strap on his stroller, for some reason) about five hundred times. He also spilled some fake coffee, but he cleaned it right up with his Elmo broom. So that was fun.
    2009-01-11: So, we took Niklas to church today. This is generally a fairly arduous task, as Niklas rather enjoys not sitting still in church. He doesn't yell or anything, but he does continually whisper "get down, get down", which is obviously not happening, "ready to go, ready to go", which also isn't happening unless it's coincidentally the end of the mass or "go to the bathroom, go to the bathroom" which does actually work on account of how I've had enough of changing diapers and I'll do anything that might slightly lead to a successful and rapid end to the potty training. Right, so he was all squirm, squirm, squirm, "go to the bathroom", so I took him out car so he could use the car potty. That actually went well, as seconds after he sat down, there was a big gulp's worth of pee in the potty. At this point, then, there's a large container of urine that my son is sitting on in the back of the car. Do you see where this is going? What if I were to tell you that the potty stuck to his butt when he stood up? Anyway, I covered the spill with an unused diaper and put a twelve pack of soda I had presciently neglected to take in from two grocery store trips ago on top of it and I think that shamwowwed most of it up. If the car doesn't smell like pee in the morning, we're in the clear.
    Niklas has taken to announcing what he likes thus-wise: "Niklas loves pepperoni", or "Niklas loves Dockyard". I don't have anything else on that, I just thought it was funny. Anyway, here's some more Christmas recap wherein we actually get to Christmas.

    December 24-25 - Smithton, IL to Glen Carbon, IL and Back (but just once)
    Right then, so as I mentioned before, we were in Smithton with Niklas's great-grandparents when his Grandma and Grandpa Meeker arrived so when Niklas got up on Christmas Eve, he had two grandmas to play with. This was fabulous good fun, but somewhat confusing for Niklas who by now was up to his third grandma of the trip. As it was apparently too much for Niklas to apply last names to his grandmas, he went with a color coding system. His grandma had on a green sweater while his great grandma was wearing red (I had on an Illini sweatshirt so as to celebrate the beatdown Illinois put on Mizzou the night before, but that's not important). That's how they became Red Grandma and Green Grandma. "All kinds of grandma's!", indeed. Anyway, Niklas once again spent the morning running about the house, stealing his great grandfather's cane, nearly destroying a cuckoo clock and trying unsuccessfully to get a jump on the present opening. Then, we headed up to Andrya's aunt and uncle's house in Glen Carbon (a thirty minute drive or so) for some lunch.

    Niklas was happy to see Malcolm and Margaret, so much so that he extended his streak of not horribly melting down in their house to two years. Woo hoo! They gave him some Dr. Seuss books which, given his existing affinity for the Grinch, were quite well received. Also, he had some pizza. After that, he ran around the house supervised by Green Grandma while the rest of us failed in our efforts to set a new record in computer Jeopardy. Next year, Trebek! Anyway, all of the bathrooms in the house met with Niklas's approval, so there's that. Reassured as to their toilet adequacy, Niklas said his goodbyes and we headed back to Smithton.

    That evening was Andrya's family's big Christmas party, so Niklas partied it up but good. You know it's a party when there's a two year old wearing a tie. Note that his tie featured a pirate motiff with treasure chests, palm tree and skull and crossbones. We figured this was appropriate given the amount of loot he was bound to collect over ther holidays. Anyway, he tore into a bunch of presents, some of which were even for him (including a truck from his great aunt Kim and great uncle Mark, a bunch of new Elmo plates and silverware from his great grandparents and an extremely popular [and noisy] Elmo computer from his great aunt Marsha and great uncle Dan). Also, he ate a bunch of food and laughed it up with his second cousins. I'm sure there was other stuff that happened, but Andrya's uncles brought a bunch of beer and wine and it would have been rude of me not to drink it. I'm told a good time was had by all.

    December 25 - Smithton, IL to The Chestnut Capital Of Illinois
    So on Christmas, Niklas woke up at a fairly reasonable hour recharged and ready for some present opening. He said goodbye to Red Grandma and Green Grandma (also, his grandpa and great grandpa who are called pa-pa [or perhaps papau, but I doubt it] and grandpa respectively; note that while he calls his Great-Grandpap Smith and Grandpap Vennard both "grandpap", he's never seen them both in the same place), then, we loaded up the Torrent and headed across to the other side of the state. Niklas took a nap in the car and had no diaper complaints the whole trip, so we didn't have to stop and were thus able to arrive while my Mom and Jack were right in the middle of turkeying up lunch. In true grandma fashion, my mom then handed off the cooking duties so as to play with her grandson. Before long (seconds, not minutes), Niklas noticed the big stack of presents under the tree and went to work. I'm pretty sure that the first thing he opened was a CD for me, but after that, he opened a pretty awesome Little People raceway set that features some of the most impressive car crashes I've ever seen. The two ovals provide the propulsion in lieu of the cars themselves, so you can put pretty much anything on the track and it will smash hilariously into whatever else is on there. I (also, I'm sure, Niklas) had a good time playing with the Little People raceway. He also got a bunch of books, a couple of Elmo DVDs, some clothes and a two foot tall Mr. Potatohead stuffed with smaller Mr. Potatoheads. Once his loot was unwrapped, Niklas played it up with a vengeance until the lunch his grandpap had thankfully taken over preparation of was ready. Then there was some vengeful eating. After that, there was more playing with his grandparents ("good time play grandma, good time play grandpap"), so it's safe to say that Niklas had an awesome Christmas.
    2009-01-13: So there's a short or something in the car stereo. As I have been trained in the ways of electricity by a higher-end institution of learning/booze, I decided to look into it this morning before Niklas and I headed off on the day's adventures (Exploritorium! Diaper Acquisition!). This is how I ended up in the Rav4's passenger seat with a bunch of wires in my lap while Niklas turned everything conceivable on and off (and on and off, etc.) whilst pretending to drive from the (obviously, I suppose) driver's seat. He had a pretty fabulous time, shouting "go, go!", bouncing up and down in the seat and (given his lack of attention to the road in front of him) apparently running down crowds of other motorists, pedestrians and people in nearby houses. A fine time was had by all, as I got the radio working. On the downside, either my tampering with the radio or Niklas's crazy button/knob/switch manipulation confused the car's feeble computer brain to the point where it refused to start, choosing (on account of how it's a jerk) to make an annoying clicking sound instead. Fortunately, if my experience with Niklas has taught me anything, it's that cranky people need a nap. According to this forced analogy, cars nap by having their battery disconnected for a while. Once that was taken care of, we headed off to the Exploritorium and, more importantly, were able to purchase some much needed diapers. Fortunately, there was never a diaper shortage while we were on our 08/09 tour of the states.

    December 26-27 - St. Francisville
    So our second day in St. F was pretty much like the first, but with much less present opening. Niklas had a fabulous time playing with Grandma and Grandpap Vennard. He neglected his new toys in favor of a wooden wagon that I assume my mom only bought because it says "I Love Cats" on the side, which Grandma Vennard does. He drug it all around, hauling his blanky, not-as-neglected-as-I-may-have-indicated toys and whatever wasn't nailed down but was small enough to fit in a wagon. Note that we did not get Niklas a wagon for Christmas, though we obviously should have. Anyway, Niklas also spent a good chunk of the day stalking his ancient enemy Michelob the cat. The cat wants nothing to do with the people who give him food, let alone two year olds with whom he has past enmity, so it pretty went like that:

    Michelob slinks into a room.
    Niklas sees the cat, and runs eagerly towards him.
    Michelob starts to trot away.
    Niklas runs after him making petting motions and saying "it's ok, kitty, it's ok" in his uber-cute little kid voice.
    Michelob, who's heart is apparently made of stone in the cute kid voice department, hides under Grandma and Grandpap's bed.

    This happened five or six times before the cat apparently decided to just stay under the bed until Niklas left.

    Niklas also enjoyed a bit of gambling. He liked putting the coins in a lot more than he liked getting a payout, so he'll be popular with the casinos someday. After that, he had yet more pizza, tore stuff up a bit more and hit the sack. The next day, he said his goodbyes with hugs and kisses and all that and we headed upstate to Bloomington.
    2009-01-15: Yesterday, Niklas and I went to the playground for about two hours and Niklas was in excellent spirits. Today, it rained all day forcing us to stay inside which caused Niklas to Terrible Two it up to maximum levels of terrible. Also, he pooped three or four times. Yesterday was a much better day. Anyway, I still haven't finished the Christmas recap. Then again, last year I didn't finish it until the 23rd, so I'm well ahead of schedule.

    December 27-28 - Champaign (Briefly) and Bloomington
    Conveniently, the road from St. Francisville to Bloomington goes through Champaign. We had hoped the weather would be nice enough that we could stop for a while and let Niklas run around the Quad, but where I'm from, America, driving rain is not considered "nice". Still, we were able to drive him around so he could see all of the buildings from his Illini primer. His favorite was the Alma Mater statue. This was mine. Anyway, after some brief sightseeing, we had lunch at ye olde haus of fried crap and headed out of town.

    When we got to Bloomington, Niklas was thrilled to see Green Grandma and Pa-Pa again. They had a bunch of Andrya's old toys up from the basement, so Niklas was able to cram a Little People castle dungeon full of his tiny plastic enemies, just like his mommy did back in the 70s. Also, there was another cat that wanted nothing to do with Niklas, but this time, it was on account of the cat's particular hatred of me and my associates as opposed to Michelob's general hatred of humans in general. Still, Niklas had a fine time.

    The next day, Niklas and I headed to Best Buy so as to pick up some cables and otherwise burn through some holiday cash. You know who likes CD shopping? Me, obviously. Also, Niklas. He ran around, picking up random CDs and putting them back in horribly incorrect places. As someone who may be a touch obsessive over his own CD collection, this caused me a bit of anxiety. I thought the solution might be just to put him in charge of some of the CDs I was buying. Looking back, I can't really explain why I thought that would be a good idea. Luckily, for me, Best Buy had more than one copy of the discs he apparently decided it would be funny to secretly replace with late period (which is to say, terrible) Aerosmith CDs. Not cool, Niklas.

    Back at his grandparents house, we opened the last big batch of Christmas presents. Niklas got a really cool Little People town thing that makes all kinds of noise and features coins marked with apples that you push into a tree... well, it makes sense if you see it. He also got some books and some other stuff that escapes me on account of how it was three weeks ago. Niklas also opened every present belonging to anyone else he could get his hands on. "Good time open presents," said Niklas. Later that day (or maybe the previous day, I don't know), Niklas and his grandpa colored with some markers, creating this piece entitled "Draw On The Card, Not Your Hands". That evening, Niklas got to stay up late and play with his Uncle Eric. Niklas absolutely loved that. I loved the part where they raced a knight on a horse against an elephant on the Little People raceway. Who won? Everyone.

    2009-01-19: So Niklas had a good weekend. He slept in to reasonable hours (7:30-ish) on Saturday and Sunday, helped Andrya make some biscuits and ate several of the aforementioned biscuits. Also, there were brownies and a trip to the playground. That's all I've got. Well, that and the plague.
    2009-01-20: We had planned to hit the playground this morning, but as there was a legitimate chance that Niklas would have been washed away by the torrential downpours hitting the island, we decided to forgo that and hang out at the house. Inexplicably, Niklas has developed a love for Futurama so strong that he will request to watch that instead of something Elmo related. It's an Inauguration Day miracle!
    So every night before bedtime, Andrya reads Niklas a story. Since we didn't ship over the chair that we had for this purpose in Chicago, they lay down in Andrya's and my bed to do this. Niklas always takes his blanky and a stuffed animal in with him for the story reading. Inspired, I assume by this guy, he has lately insisted that Cuddles wear blanky as a cape and fly into the bedroom. "Super Cuddles," shouts Niklas. He did a bit of shouting when we were back in Chicago for New Years, too, but not for superhero stuffed animal reasons.

    December 29-30 - Bloomington to Chicago
    So on Monday the 29th, Niklas tore it up for one more morning in Bloomington (throwing people in the dungeon? you bet!), we had some lunch headed up to Chicago. We were all pretty exhausted after so much travel over two weeks, so we grabbed some quick dinner and crashed out without doing much of anything. Riveting! The next day, we took Niklas for a haircut that was remarkably unpopular (with Niklas, Andrya and I thought he looked great). After that, we went to his Godmother Katie's house for lunch. Niklas had a fabulous time playing with Katie and Mark's daughter Alice and our friend Jean-Marie's kids Grace and Keaton. There was remarkably little destruction for having four children running about, so that was awesome.

    Later, we did some shopping and headed to the Goose Island to meet Jared for dinner and some beers. A fine time was had by all until it was time for Niklas to go to bed. Andrya planned to take him back to the hotel and do some relaxing while I stayed at the pub with Jared to help the economy. This didn't sit well with Niklas for some reason. Two weeks of travel apparently had him quite out of sorts and the idea of leaving the bar without me was quite objectionable. So much so that once he and Andrya got out to the parking lot he screamed until he threw up all over himself. Undaunted, Andrya took his puke covered coat off, strapped him into the carseat and drove him back to the hotel where once he was depuked, he calmed down and went to sleep. That is when Andrya had opportunity to call me and ask me to go out to the parking lot to look for the puke covered coat which she had put on the roof of the car and forgotten about (possibly distracted by her screaming puke covered child) until she got back to the hotel and found that she was short one puke covered coat. It turns out that I was not able to find the coat (godspeed, orange coat), but the Goose Island is right next to the Gap, so I was able to buy him the same coat, only in blue. Jared and I agreed that this was for the best, as who wants to hang out with a puke coat?

    Tomorrow: I wrap this up, hopefully. Also, it's brought to my attention that there hasn't been a picture update in a while. I'M AWARE!
    2009-01-21: More rain today, so we did a bunch of playing with Niklas's toys. I enjoyed a fabulous fake lunch courtesy of Chef Niklas at Elmo's Restaurant and then we spelled a bunch of words with some refrigerator magnets he got for Christmas. His favorite words were "vacuum", "hammer", "Niklas" and "boxing". He think's "X" and "F" are particularly cool letters. Anyway, here's this.

    December 31-January 2 - Chicago to Bermuda
    Right, then. So on New Year's Eve, we took Niklas to the Field Museum to see the dinosaurs. After having been relatively cooped up for the past couple of weeks, Niklas took full advantage of the wide open spaces in the museum and ran around like a mad fiend who had cause to do a bunch of running. Also, he pushed every button on every interactive exhibit in the museum. In hindsight, the Chicago Children's Museum may have been a better choice, but in my defense, I totally forgot it existed. Still, a fine time was had by all, especially Niklas when he was running around this giant freestanding painting of a bus. That night, we went over to Jared and Dana's where Niklas had a fabulous time playing with Aaron, running about and doing a bit of reminiscing ("Dana, Aaron beach!").

    New Year's Day we headed back over to the Hall's to watch football and hockey, none of which turned out the way I wanted it to. Despite that, a fine time was once again had by all. Niklas had so much fun playing with Aaron that when Aaron went down for his nap, Niklas waited ten minutes or so and then opened Aaron's door to see if he was interested in playing some more. As he was asleep, Aaron was not so into at that point, but Niklas had a fine time playing with a different set of toys. When Aaron woke up, he and Niklas resumed their experiments in the field of toy car collision resistance.

    The next day, we woke up at a heretofore unknown hour of the morning so as to catch our flight to New York. Unlike our last trip, everything went ok; we didn't miss our connecting flight and we made it back to Bermuda at a reasonable hour due to the ridiculous time we started out at. And that brings us back to here, the end.
    2009-01-26: So, I've had the flu for the past few days. Niklas has been immune so far and I hope that writing that down won't cause it to no longer be true. Anyway, I haven't spent much time with him recently, but he has had an awesome time playing with Andrya. I did draw him a picture of me throwing up into a toilet today, so there was that. Depending on my ability to not feel like somebody's kicking me in the gut tomorrow, we'll do something worth reporting upon.
    2009-01-29: Apparently, I've got salmonella or parvo or something, so we've still been laying pretty low. (I can't really stray too far from my home base.) I am feeling a bit better, though, so we were able to take a quick trip down to the beach on Tuesday. Niklas did some bulldozing and excavating with his Tonka trucks and also showed off his aptitude for rock climbing. His favorite thing, though, was picking up trash off of the beach. He's quite the environmentalist, apparently. Yesterday, we ventured off to the grocery store where Niklas used the banana that he insisted on being in charge of as a hammer on the cart, the shelves, other produce and, briefly, his own head. Not surprisingly, this resulted in us buying a banana peel filled with some banana scented goo that Niklas refused to eat on account of how it was icky. Today, there were a couple of contractors in the house to fix a crack in the wall of the spare bedroom. The older gentlemen had a beard similar in appearance to this guy. Niklas said "hi" to him in a somewhat giggly voice. "Santa?", Niklas whispered to me once the guy had left. Thankfully, he wasn't too disappointed by my response.

    Here are some new pictures. I hear there haven't been any in a while. I guess the other 800 or so weren't cutting it.