Monthly Archives: June 2009

Our son still has a ‘doggy complex’

Oliver still has a “doggy complex.” Our goldendoodle, Molly, is his best friend right now. The two of them are always chasing each other around, fetching toys and digging in the doggie food dish.

Here’s a video of the two of them goofing around at my grandma’s house this past weekend:



And here’s a video of Oliver running into Molly’s crate (his new thing, any time he hears us tell Molly to go there):


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Baby gets a haircut (his sixth already!)

Those who’ve seen Oliver lately, whether in picture or in person, have noticed that his hair had been getting pretty long. So on Sunday, we called on his official “hairstylist,” his uncle Aaron, to trim the frock. Can you believe Oliver is already on his sixth haircut? Crazy. He’s only 15 months old.

Anyway, this was the first time that Sarah and I got to watch the haircut (the previous ones were done while we were working and Oliver was being watched by Sarah’s mom). It was darn cute.

Below is a picture of the haircut in progress, and then Oliver sporting his new ‘do afterward. His hair is a little spiky, and looks pretty cool. He’s such a little boy. Anyway, enjoy:

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A really nice Father’s Day

I had a really nice Father’s Day, for those of you who care to know. The day started out with a big breakfast, then I got a really sweet card. Sarah made it with some help from Oliver. It features his first ever doodles (we just bought him crayons).

Next, we headed to Brentwood, where I had an ice hockey game. That was special for me, because it was Oliver’s first time “watching” (said loosely) me play. It was hard for me to concentrate on the game at times, as I kept looking across the ice and seeing Oliver running back and forth behind the top row of seats. Was pretty cool, and I’m always going to remember him watching me play on Father’s Day.

Next, we headed to Sarah’s parents’ house for a barbecue. That was, of course, also very nice. Had a great time. Now we’re home and relaxing before bed.

Below are a couple pictures of Oliver with his proud dad today. (Oh yeah, and I’ll write about his haircut later — you may notice between pictures that his ‘do is shorter later in the day.) Enjoy:

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Oliver’s (almost) first swim

With the temperature again pushing 100 degrees yesterday, we decided to fill up Oliver’s baby pool and take the boy out for a swim. Oliver, in his swimming diaper and trunks, was ready to go.

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However, outside, he FREAKED OUT. When his feet touched the water, he’d let out a terrified shrill and then run to his momma. One time, he even sprinted across the yard, away from the pool. I wish I could share some pictures, but the camera was all fogged up. After it cleared, I got a shot of Oliver looking at the pool, which was about all he’d do.

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He was really clingy with Sarah, and was just content to sit with her. Oh well, we’ll have to try the pool again. I’m convinced he’ll like it, if we can just get him into it.

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Oliver’s stinky feet

I need to start posting some videos of the boy. He’s just so darn active and cute right now. Here’s one from a week ago, in which Sarah is singing a made-up song, let’s call it “Stinky Feet,” while Oliver laughs. If you listen closely, you can also hear one of Oliver’s new phrases: “Again.” He likes to blurt out “again” over and over when he likes something, whether it’s reading a book “again,” bouncing on my lap “again,” tossing him in the air and catching him “again,” or doing what we do in this video … “again.” Anyway, enjoy:



Oliver’s stats at 15 months

We had Oliver’s 15-month doctor appointment yesterday so, as always, I’m providing his stats here. He’s still big, running right on track with his earlier numbers.

Height: 33 inches (90-95th percentile)
Weight: 26 pounds, 2 ounces (75th percentile)
Head circumference: 50 centimeters (98th percentile!)

Developmentally, his pediatrician said Oliver is around an 18-month-old. She was impressed by his vocabulary, which we think is still pretty weak, and by the fact that he can run, respond to commands, tries to “help” around the house, etc. It’s really amazing when you think about it all.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hope to get more posted in the coming days.

Taking our son to his first baseball game

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to take our son to his first baseball game. My father-in-law was given four box seats to the Cardinals game behind home plate, so we tagged along with them. It was a beautiful night, perfect for baseball. I think the temperature was in the low 70s with a cool breeze. Very nice.

The game was a snooze-fest bummer, with the Cardinals getting their butts handed to them by the Colorado Rockies by a score of 10-1. But we had fun anyway. Oliver was really well-behaved the entire time, which surprised his parents and grandparents. He sat on our laps and ate snacks, stood in front of us, gawked at other fans (they gawked back, often commenting on how cute he is) and then conked out.

Below are a few pictures. Enjoy.

Oliver and his momma:

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Looking interested in the game (I think he actually was staring at the scoreboard lights):

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Sleeping on Sarah around the seventh inning, as Rod and Annette look on:

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And finally, the wife and me on the roof of the parking garage shortly after the game ended:

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Springfield, Ill., trip: Part V — Illinois Old State Capitol

Our last day in Springfield, Ill., started out with a nice breakfast at the B&B. Then we decided to just head back into the downtown area and walk around. We planned to leave town around lunch time.

First, we went to a farmer’s market. Was nice, but nothing too special. Next, we checked out a few local shops. Then we walked around the Old State Capitol Building. We saw that the gate was open and people were exiting, so we decided to check it out. It turned out to be one of the cooler things we did (for history-loving, geeky folks like us anyway!).

A tour was in progress so we joined it. The building was used from 1839 to 1876. According to the official site (because I don’t recall everything we were told):

During the dramatic years leading to the Civil War, the building had an important role in the political struggle between Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Lincoln visited the building frequently as both a lawyer and a politician, serving in the building during his last term in the Illinois House of Representatives and delivering the famous 1858 “House Divided” speech in Representatives Hall, and using the governor’s rooms as a headquarters during the 1860 presidential campaign. The building was the scene of the assassinated President’s final laying-in-state on May 3-4, 1865.

Below are some pictures I took while there. First, the outside of the building:

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This is the old state Supreme Court area. Lincoln argued, I think this is accurate, more than 200 cases there:

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Below is a picture of an actual drum that a 14-year-old boy carried into battle during the Civil War. The drum was displayed in a tiny room on the second floor. We were told that you had to visit this room, if you were an Illinois resident, to enlist to fight in the Civil War.

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Ulysses S. Grant’s first job was in this building. He was a recruiter for the military. Funny story, though. His desk was too big to get it through the door to the office he was assigned, so his “office” was under the staircase that led up to the third floor. Here’s a recreation:

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When we were at the Lincoln Museum, they had a display set up to look like the room pictured below. This is the old state senate area. Lincoln’s body, after his death, traveled across the country. The last stop was here, where the casket was placed in front of this portrait of George Washington (this is the actual painting). More than 75,000 people went through this room in one day to pay their final respects to the president.

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This is a picture of the actual desk used by Lincoln when he was a state senator:

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Across the corner on the back side of the building is Lincoln’s old law office. He worked on the third floor:

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After this, we grabbed lunch and headed home. Overall, this was a fun trip. Two nights (and three days) was plenty of time for us to see everything we wanted to see. Not sure if there’s much that would draw me back in the near future, but might be cool to take a train there with Oliver when he’s a little older. Thanks for reading along about our journey. I’ll start back with the more typical posts here soon.

Springfield, Ill., trip: Part IV — Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

During the afternoon of our full day in Springfield, Ill., we visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. I know it’s fairly new, but can’t tell you when it opened because the Web site for the museum is hard to navigate.

The museum was pretty cool, though it sounds hokey. There are different areas around the building, each set up to showcase a time period from Lincoln’s life. In these areas are wax figures, artifacts, interactive activities, etc. I’m telling you, it’s worth going if you’re into American history. My favorite part was in the Civil War area. First, there’s a “Civil War in 4 Minutes” video that shows you the battle lines and casualties that took place over the course of the war. Pretty amazing. Then, there’s a wall with close to 200 old photographs on it. At the base of the wall are computer monitors with touch screens, and you can click through to select pictures from the wall to view and read descriptions. I also enjoyed seeing one of Lincoln’s stovepipe hats, which had finger marks worn into the brim from all the times Lincoln’ tipped his hat at passersby.

We were at the museum for hours. At the end, Sarah wanted to watch one of the free movies playing in the theater area. I reluctantly agreed, but must say that the presentation was among the best I’ve ever seen at a museum. I think the show was called “In Lincoln’s Eyes.” Was very good. Then we watch a short, live-action show called “Ghosts of the Lincoln Museum,” or something like that. It was merely OK. Probably more exciting for kids.

The one drawback for a Canon digital SLR camera-toting tourist is that you can only take pictures in the lobby area. That said, here’s a photo of me, being goofy and acting stoic, with a wax Abraham, Mary Todd and son family outside the “White House.” Enjoy:

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That evening, we hit the city’s “finest” restaurant, Maldiners to celebrate our anniversary. The food was excellent, though the spot we were seated at was right near the kitchen and workers were running around the area like crazy the entire time. We got some wine and headed back to the B&B where we ended up watching, I kid you not, this hilarious local elementary school’s spelling bee on a community television channel. Some of the kids were sooooo bad. Makes you fear the future. At least we slept well that night.

I’ll wrap up this series of posts later today or tomorrow, then we can get back to all the parenting stuff you’ve come to enjoy.



Springfield, Ill., trip: Part III — Lincoln’s Tomb

Thanks for following along with all my posts on our trip to Springfield, Ill. This is part three, and I may have two or three more coming up.

The first morning, Sarah and I decided to head over to Lincoln’s Tomb. We figured there would be a little display and a statue, but this was really an impressive resting place. We were both pleasantly surprised.

The granite structure, featuring several bronze statues and a tall pillar called an obelisk. It’s all much larger in person than you would imagine. The next two pictures will give you a sense of the outside.

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Inside, I was asked to remove my baseball cap as a sign of respect (not a problem), and we then headed down a dark tunnel to the back side of the tomb. There, we viewed Lincoln’s actual grave site. It was quite impressive, and you can’t help but feel moved while in that room. On the opposite wall were chambers that held the bodies of Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd, and three of their four sons, Edward, William and Thomas. The eldest son, Robert T. Lincoln, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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There are numerous small bronze statues located throughout the building. I asked a guard about the one near the entrance/exit. I was told that it was the actual artist model created for the famous Lincoln Monument found in Washington, D.C. Here’s a picture:

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Behind the building, there’s a path that heads down a hillside. At the bottom is the Oak Ridge Cemetery public receiving vault, the scene of Lincoln’s funeral. His body was held in this facility until the fancy tomb was completed some several years later.

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Hard to see in this picture, but there are chambers inside the open-air building. See here:

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Before leaving, we had to rub the nose on the bronze reproduction of Gutzon Borglum’s marble head of Lincoln (the real one is located in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.). It’s said that rubbing the nose is good luck. From the discoloration, you can tell that many people have done the same thing:

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Afterward, we walked around the cemetery for an hour, looking at graves from Civil War veterans and others. Was pretty cool. Then we headed back to the bed and breakfast to clean up. Next, it was on to more touristy activities. I’ll have more here soon.