Saturday, February 28, 2015

Daily Shenanigans

Bean has quite the daily routine.  She has certain toys that she plays with every day (baby dolls, blocks, wooden puzzle pieces).  Other toys are randomly chosen to be her favorite of the day (harmonica, cell phone, weebles).  She is mostly an independent player, but sometimes she wants me to play with her (and I happily oblige!).

She spends most of her time pinned in the living room, but now that she's walking, I've let her come out and follow me around the kitchen and main areas.  The stairs always tempt her and I'll give her a couple chances before she gets pinned back in the living room.  She's learning though, as her times "out of the cage" are becoming longer and longer.

When we're in the kitchen together, she has certain areas and things she has learned she can play with. For instance, she knows she can pull out certain drawers and play with the things in them -- cup lids in one, hot chocolate and tea packets in others.  She has magnets on the fridge which find their way onto the floor, dishwasher, stove, and new favorite location -- the bottom step of the stairs.  What a funny girl! She crackers herself up and now races to get the magnets on the fridge and place them one by one on the steps.  Sometimes she'll reverse the process and put them back onto the fridge.  What a cute girl!

Steve went outside to warm up the car while I was getting us ready to head out.  After I got her shoes and hat on, she immediately went into "move magnet" action while I packed up her bag and got her coat:

(And now we can add pulling recyclables out of the trash and carrying them around.  In 2 separate occasions, she dug out a milk jug and happily carried it all around with her until we finally take it away and throw it out.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Visit from Mommom & Poppop!

It has become a tradition that Mommom & Poppop come for a visit over President's Day weekend.  This weekend also happens to correspond to Steve's birthday, so it is a double win! And this year, the weekend also fell on Valentine's Day so we managed to sneak out for a date night (triple win!).

Mommom & Poppop arrived early Friday afternoon.  Bean was asleep when they got here and I was watching James for the day.  We got to visit a little bit before Steve got home (he got off work a little early after his last meeting) and Bean woke up.  We had just a couple hours of mayhem left (James & Bean combined always result in mayhem of some sort!).  James was picked up at 5; so Steve and I got ready for our dinner reservations at 5:45!

We went to a "new" restaurant in town - Old City Prime.  Okay, so really it's probably been around a year+, but we've had intentions of going since day 1; it just never worked out.  It's probably the "fanciest" restaurant Lima has to offer.  Now if you know Steve and I, you know we are pretty simplistic and tend to be cheap when we spend money.  We checked out the menu and went in with a game plan.  I'd get a "cheaper meal" (burger) and Steve was going to get a steak and then we'd split the meals.  When we got to the table, we discovered that they'd revamped the menu for Valentine's day (even though it was the day before)!  Our plan wouldn't work (they axed all the "cheaper" meals, even the steak Steve was going to get! So we initiated "plan b".  Haha.  We ended up splitting a meal (Pork Shank) and then I got a bonus dessert (donuts & chocolate fondue!) in the deal, haha.  The food was very delicious and we had a nice time being able to just chat and not worry about Bean! Thanks Mommom & Poppop!

When we got back home, Ashley had just arrived from Cincy.  She came up to spend the night with us and hang out a little on Saturday.  We decided we were going to go to Dayton on Saturday for lunch and then check out the aviation museum.  It snowed over night and was still snowing off and on when we got up.  We still decided to head to Dayton, but first on the docket was an art session with Mommom and Bean.  I have attempted small scale art sessions with Bean and they always end up in a mess.  I wasn't sure how this session would go, but Bean loved it! I guess Mommom just has more experience in the art department.

(Bean had so much fun painting with Mommom! Her favorite part was dipping her brush in the water cup!)

After we all got ready, we loaded up in the cars to head to Dayton.  Trisha headed with Ashley in her car while Doug, Steve, Bean and I were in our car.  We had to get gas so Trisha & Ashley went on ahead.  The weather was fine when we headed to the gas station, but completely changed when we were driving back past our neighborhood to go through town to get on 75.  The weather quickly turned to complete white out conditions and slippery! Steve had an instance where he couldn't get the car to stop and Doug & I were for sure prepared to hit the car in front of us.  However, Steve quickly decided to use the "E-brake" and got the car stopped with a few inches to spare.  Sheeesh!

I wanted to call it quits (after all, we were just a few minutes still from our house!), but Doug called Trisha and she said there weather was fine and didn't know what we were talking about.  We continued on our way very slowly.  The visibility was so poor that I had to stick my head out of the back window to help Steve merge onto a big highway.  Lots of cars on the highway had their flashers on and were going so slow.  Wherever there was an open filed, you couldn't see anything (which on Highway 75, it's like all open fields).  We only made it about a mile when we decided to bail and go back home.  Ashley and Trisha finally started to hit the bad weather and agreed they should turn back, only they were much further ahead.  Once we got off the highway and driving back up through time, the wind had died down and the visibility was back.  We still decided it wasn't worth all the open fields and bad weather (it was supposed to be bad for a few more hours).  So instead, we rendevouzed at Chipotle for lunch, hit up Meijer for bonus items, and then headed back home.  Bean's naps got screwed up because she had fallen asleep in the car, but she still ended up taking a second nap (just later than normal).  That girl is seriously a trooper!

Ashley hung out with us for a little bit longer before she had to head back down to Cincy.  The weather had died down enough that she said the drive wasn't too bad.  Trisha made a delicious meat loaf dinner and we watched an episode of Sherlock together.

On Sunday morning, Doug & Trisha packed up all their stuff and then we loaded up the cars (them in their rental, us in our car).  We headed down to Cincy to meet up with Scott & Ashley for lunch and discuss afternoon plans.  It's amazing the difference in weather a day makes!  We had no problems on our drive down.  We met up at our favorite pizza place - Dewey's! Which if you did the math on our Zoo trip, we had Dewey's 2 times in a week's time!  This Dewey's was located right next some stores, so we ended up going over to a book store for a few minutes.  While we were in the book store, Steve and I rode the escalator with Bean a couple times.  She LOVED it!

(Going Down!)

(She signed "again" as she ran towards the escalator. She seriously loved this a little too much.)

We got back in our cars with a plan of meeting up at Scott/Ashley's house to condense cars and possibly go to an art museum (with a kids section) for the afternoon.  Bean fell asleep in the car by the time we got to Ash/Scott's house.  I stayed in the car with Bean while Steve figured out the plan with his family.  They had decided to just stay at the house and not go back out anywhere.  I wanted Bean to at least get a 45 min nap, so I sat in the car with her for another 30 min while everyone else hung out inside.  Bean naturally woke up around the 45 min mark.  I got her and her various items out of the car and we headed into the house.  Bean loved hassling Tyson (their dog) and running around the house.  We tried to keep her contained in the living room, but the child wouldn't stay.  Luckily, there was enough people scattered around that she was kept entertained.

(I am not sure where she got all her props, but at one point, Bean entered the living room at Scott and Ashley's with Scott's "Tough Mudder" headband on, and carrying around some wand that I think was a magnet to pick stuff up.)

(Don't mess with this girl!)

(Aunt Ashley playing with Bean and her crazy toys).  

Trisha (with Ashley's help) made chicken parmesan for dinner.  Ashley had also picked up a DQ ice cream cake and we had a special little dinner celebration for Steve's birthday.  We even got a bonus travelogue of Scott/Ash's recent trip to Costa Rica.  We didn't make it through the whole picture show, since we needed to pack up and head back up to Lima.  Cincy was supposed to get another snow storm the following day.  We look forward to the next visit with Mommom & Poppop!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Columbus with Friends

A couple weekends ago, we loaded up the car and headed to Columbus for a weekend with our good friends - Mitch, Alice & kiddos! Our first stop was meeting up at our favorite pizza place - Dewey's Pizza.

(So many pizza options, which one to choose?)

(Documenting a first Dewey's visit!)

(Seriously, how cute are these two?! We always get compliments about these two looking like twins. Wilson is just a month younger than Bean.)

After we ate our delicious pizza, we loaded up the cars and headed to the zoo for the afternoon.  We had really great weather considering it was early February and the middle of winter! A lot of the exhibits were closed for the season, but we were still able to see a good amount - moose, eagles, red panda, tiger, elephants, rhino, koala, etc.

(Checking out the moose at the zoo.)

(It was just a little chilly when the wind would pick up, but we seriously couldn't have asked for better weather for a January zoo trip!)

(This tiger would pace back and forth and rub up against the glass.  I thought it might scare Bean, but she was really into watching the big cat!)


(Getting a foot message from the Footsie Wootsie.  I was on it first and was dying laughing (the foot platform vibrates and seriously makes your whole lower body shake) and Steve wanted to try it out, so we did a swap.  It really did "rejuvenate" your feet like it promised.  A quarter well spent!). 

After the zoo, we headed to our digs for the evening.  We rented a house/condo via airbnb! It was an old house (slate roof!) that reminded us of our home.  It had 2 bedrooms, a nice hang out space for us and the kids. After unpacking and letting the kids run a muck, we loaded back up in the cars (with the plans of a girls car and a boys car, but then realized we'd have to swap car seats. So it was a girls car + Wilson and a boys car + Bean) and headed to City BBQ for dinner.

(Small little kitchen.  It's always so nice to have access to a fridge while away from home! I brought a bottle of Bean's milk with us.  During the day, I had a cooler in the car.  I was able to refreeze the cooler and keep her milk cold at night!)

(Nice big living room to hang out in.  Other than having to move some stuff off the coffee table, the room w as fairly kid proof.  If only we'd brought our gate to block off the steps!)

(Our bedroom.  Bean slept in a pack'n'play in the back corner.  She did great sharing our room with us for the night!)

(City BBQ - soo many options! What to get, what to get?)

It was way past Bean's bedtime by the time we got home (she of course didn't care, I however did!).  After Bean went down, our friends got their kids down, and then it was parent time!  Wooohooo!  We celebrated the momentous occasion playing 7 Wonders and of course talking a lot of Jams -- and yes, the husbands were even involved in the conversation, but I won't mention their views.  We stayed up way to late (or at least for us Ackermans who have a strict 10:30 bedtime).

(Showing off our Jams!)

I got up early with Bean (7:30 comes early when you don't go to bed til past 1) and let Steve sleep a little longer.  Libby ended up joining Bean and I for some Saturday morning cartoons before the others trickled down. We all got ready, packed up, and cleaned up the house before heading out to get some breakfast.  Okay, really it was more like brunch since we obviously missed the breakfast hours.  We headed to a little hole in the wall place called Katalina's.  Katalina's is known for its "pancake balls".  There was very limited seating outside and the place was hopping.  So we sat at a table outside - in the end of January!  Did I mention the beautiful weather?!  They had heaters that were above the tables and it was really perfect sitting outside.

(Playing outside while waiting for our food). 

(So I know "pancake balls" doesn't sound appetizing, but they were soo good!  We each got different fillings.  Mine were dulce de leche (caramel), Steve got apple/pumpkin filling (mmmmm), and our friends got Nutella.  I don't know which was my favorite. I really enjoyed swapping and having different fillings!)

After eating our delicious food, we went on a drive through THE Ohio State campus.  Poppop is already pushing that school on Bean (which I don't mind since it would be in-state and just a couple hours away!). Seeing as how Bean slept through the whole drive, I don't think we can get an accurate account of how she feels about the school at the moment -- haha!

(THE Ohio State stadium in the background)

We finished up our drive-through and then headed to the Ohio History Connection.  There we meandered through exhibits that taught us about various history in Ohio through the years.  The definite highlight of the museum was going through the model Lustron home.  The kids had a blast playing in the "kid's room" in the house.  There were old Tinker Toys, army men, and horses to play with.  Then we corralled the kids to the "backyard" where they played with hula hoops and various yard toys.  I even got to show my hidden hula-hooping talent off.

(Ohio History Connection)

(Group shot in front of the Mastodon.  We had high hopes of taking this photo ourselves with a selfie-stick.  But it wasn't working.  We had to flag someone down and be shoobs.) 

(Steve was standing in the backyard and took the photo into the kids room.  I stayed in there while the kids played and everyone else checked out the house.)

(Wilson and Bean playing in the Tinker Toys)

(Libby getting in on the fun!)

(In another area of the museum, the kids were encouraged to do some art.  While Libby did some drawing with crayons, Bean played on the chalkboard.  Steve sat with her while I looked through some of the exhibit.  Steve said Bean was having fun with the chalk, when a piece broke off.  She picked it up, made eye contact with steve and quickly shoved the piece in her mouth. Hahaha, she immediately regretted her decision and Steve had to help fish it out of her mouth.  What a silly girl!)

While at the museum, we had a stroller for Bean, but she eventually wanted out.  We had high hopes that she would see Wilson & Libby walking all around and that she, too, would prefer to walk over her knee shuffle.  Since we were in a public place, we wouldn't let her stay on her hands/knees.  So her options were riding in the stroller or walking.  She would slowly walk with us by holding our hand, but eventually preferred walking on her own and chasing after the kids! Our ploy worked! Ever since we've gotten home, she has become such a more confident (and full time) walker!

(She seriously looks like such a big girl!)

(She walked so much!  I figured she would get cranky about it, but she loved it!)

After the museum, we decided we just weren't ready to say goodbye to our friends.  So we headed to Jeni's Splended Ice Cream before calling it a day.  Bean especially loved sharing ice cream with mom/dad! Once we were filled with ice cream, we were all tuckered out and ready to get back to our homes.  We said "until next time!" to our dear friends and headed back home.  What a wonderful weekend!