Monthly Archives: July 2010

Day trip to Springfield, Ill. – “Cozy dogs” and my first “shoe”

Last weekend, we loaded up the car for a day trip to visit my sister Carrie and her boyfriend. They have been living all over the country, often in cool cities like Seattle and Boston. And now? Springfield, Ill. Not the most exciting place, and Sarah and I just visited there just over a year ago , but we still had fun. And we got to do two things I didn’t get the chance to do last time we were there: Eat corn dogs at Cozy Drive In and eat a “shoe” at another restaurant (yes, both items involved horribly unhealthy meals).

After arriving, we walked around the downtown area to visit the city’s farmer’s market. It was really hot that day, and about lunch time, so we headed to our first big destination, Cozy Drive In.


Cozy Drive In is a novelty along Route 66. And it’s the birthplace of the corn dog. Yes, the first person to go, “Let’s shove a stick down the center of this hot dog, roll it in cornmeal and dunk it in the fryer,” was at this location.


It was a kitschy place, and the corn dogs (“Cozy Dogs”) were pretty good. Glad to have finally had the chance to eat there.


Being so hot out, we were desperate for an indoor activity. So we drove over to Chuck E Cheese and got a bunch of tokens to kill a couple hours.


I had fun getting my butt kicked at “pop a shot” basketball, playing against Eli. Carrie’s boyfriend also was popular with Oliver, who made Eli join him as he climbed through the tunnels that lined the ceiling.


Next, we headed back to Carrie’s place for a while. Neither of the boys would nap, so we just hung out for a little while until dinner time. We headed to a Mexican restaurant. It sounded like good food, but I was a little disappointed because I had always wanted to try a “shoe.” Just about every restaurant offers a shoe, and the city is known for it. We had even previously watched an episode of “Man v. Food” in which host Adam Richman visited Springfield, Ill., to down one of these bad boys (he also went to Cozy Drive In).

Basically, it’s a piece of bread with a hamburger patty on it, topped with french fries and nacho cheese. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Well, much to my delighted, the restaurant we picked offered a “Mexican shoe.” This bad boy featured two fried tortilla, each with a giant hamburger patty on top of it. Each mound was piled high with french fries, queso cheese and fresh salsa. It looked fantastic. Here’s the “before” picture:


I couldn’t quite finish the thing – it was HUGE. But I did pretty well. Here’s the “after” pic:


With dinner over, we got back into the car to head home. We had a lot of fun, though all that fried food really made Sarah and me nauseous for the drive home and the rest of the night. The next day was filled with a lot of fresh fruit and salads to make up for it!

Tunnel vision? Nah, it’s just our son

I wrote yesterday about the recent visit to our house by my sisters, brother-in-law and mom. While at a local park, Oliver was cracking us up running through sprinklers and … a long tunnel. He loved the tunnel. It was cool, because nobody was at the park that day and Oliver’s voice was amplified so well in the tunnel you could hear everything he said. I shot a video of him running back and forth between me and Carrie. You think he slept well after all this running? Uhhh, yes, he did. Enjoy:

Big family visit at the Lopinot household

We recently had a rare-but-extremely-welcome visit from my sister Jennifer and her husband, Ryan. My other sister, Carrie, and my mom also joined us for a long weekend. We had a blast, hitting a farmer’s market, a park and the Magic House. We also celebrated my mom’s birthday. It was so much fun, but Oliver was a little confused when we didn’t use the lyrics “Happy birthday, dear Carrie,” during the birthday song. We all miss the family so much. Stinks that they’re spread out all over the Midwest!

Below are a few pictures from the visit (only wish I had a picture of mom on my phone to upload – sorry!). Enjoy.

Carrie holding Owen:

Jennifer and Ryan teaching Oliver to “magnet fish” at the Magic House:

Oliver and Jennifer inside a giant bubble at the Magic House:

Oliver mystified by floating objects at the Magic House:

A pause in the fireworks? Oliver wants ‘more please’

We had a fun weekend visiting my parents in Springfield, Mo. It’s always nice to be around family – especially for the extra hands with our two boys!

On the Fourth of July, we headed to Battlefield, Mo., to watch fireworks, just like we did last year. Owen was enthralled, looking up at the lights in the sky while my mom covered his poor little ears.

And Oliver? This year he really enjoyed the show. Man was he excited. Whenever the fireworks would pause, he would yell out “Again, again!” or “More fireworks.” And a couple times, he even asked politely, blurting out, “Again please.” It was pretty adorable, as always. Enjoy the video show with the “nightframing” mode on our camera:

Owen at 4 months

Owen just turned 4 months old a few days ago, and he just had his regular visit with the pediatrician. While he looks so much leaner than his old brother did at this age, he’s actually a little larger. Here are his stats:

  • Height: 28 and 1/8 inches (75th to 90th percentile)
  • Weight: 16 pounds, 3 ounces (75th percentile)
  • Head circumference: 44 centimeters (90th percentile)

In addition to being bigger than Oliver, Owen’s athleticism has a head start on his brother. He’s already rolling over and, despite our efforts, sleeping on his stomach at night. And also unlike his brother, he actually sleeps well at night at this age.

Owen’s generally a quiet baby, content with entertaining himself often (usually because Oliver is so darn needy and an attention hog). However, when he decides he needs some food or needs to go to bed, he lets out the loudest, shrilly sound you can imagine. Between the noise and the way he moves his head about, I call him our little velociraptor.

Overall, he’s a good kid and we love him – giant head, dinosaur noises and all.