Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Alex, der Deutscher Bube!

Greetings, greetings! We are back from Germany and mostly settled back into our routine! It was such a nice trip, and I was such a good boy.

We started our trip in good ol' Columbia (duh). We hung out at the airport, and I watched the planes...then I got to get on one! It was the most awesome thing ever. It worked out rather nicely...I was able to prop my feet up on the tray table in front of me! However, I wasn't able to do so on the second flight, and that did not sit well with me. At least I was lucky enough to have an empty seat in front of me on that first flight, and there was a baby sitting in front of me on the second flight.

I stayed awake a lot of the second flight (the loooong one!) but finally fell asleep about half way through, snuggling with Mommy. She put me back in my seat so she could get up after a while, and I just curled up and made myself comfortable! (ps - do you totally love my red toe nails? I picked the color myself!)

Of course, one of the first things we have to do upon our arrival is go shopping! We got settled into our apartment, then headed off to see Papa. But we did need to stop for some amenities on our way home. I loved shopping in Germany because most of the stores have little Alex-sized shopping carts! I felt like such a big boy, pushing the cart...and I even did good and didn't add too much random stuff to the cart!

We also had to get started on exploring all the playgrounds in the area! There are many many playgrounds around...some were nicer than others, but you get that just about anywhere :) Gigi climbed all the way to the top of this play structure, and I was ready to catch her should she fall. Well, fine, I wanted her to pick me up there, but my caption is much cuter!

In order to get me to walk a bit better, Gigi came up with this fun game, where we were cars driving along the side of the road! Every so often, we had to stop by putting our foot on the brake. I had a lot of fun and made the best car noises!

The best part of being the only kid there was that everyone was willing to play with me! It was made all the more better because Gigi and Aunt Chelsea don't see me very often and couldn't get enough of me :) They even got on the playground stuff with me!

Aunt Chelsea stubbed her toe, and I was very concerned. I ran off, found a band aid, unwrapped it, then put it in place on her toe. She was very touched by my efforts and it was all better pretty much right away. I should probably look into being a doctor when I grow up.

One of the highlights of the trip was my sweet Cars packpack. Mommy had packed it with loads of goodies to keep me entertained on the plane, but I also used it to drag around my treasures while we were there. There were many days I insisted on packing it and bringing it along, only to end up letting someone else carry it when I got tired of it.

I had lots of fun hanging out with Papa! He was such a good sport putting up with me and all my little shenanigans. I unpacked my packpack and showed him everything that was in it. He was very interested in everything, especially Mommy's sunglasses. I wish I looked that cool in them!

I finally found him a little bag to put all the treasures in once his lap got too full!

Evenings at our apartment were nice and relaxing. Gigi bought me a Thomas Memory game, and I had a lot of fun playing that. I play it more as a matching game than a Memory game at this point, though. It worked out nicely, I played my game on half the table, while Gigi played her new game on the other half!

Slide. 'Nuff said. FUN!

We drove a few towns over to find a playground Gigi used to play at when she was little. We did find a playground, and I found a friend! Leni lives across the street from the playground. I showed her the slug and the ladybugs that I found. She wasn't all that impressed. But I took her on the teacups, and that was a bit more fun. Afterward, Papa visited with a man he used to work with while Aunt Chelsea, Mommy, and I went on a walk around a nearby pond. Oh, and we spent some quality time baaing at the goats nearby!

Gigi and Papa's friend Keesi came to visit for a while! We went to the train station to pick her up. I felt a bit ripped off by my first real train experience. We waited and waited, it pulled up, people got off, then it kept going. I just stood there, wondering where it went and why I didn't get to explore it bit more!

There are always lots of neat things in the park. Gigi found little pods that have just enough stick on them so we could make silly noses!

During the summer, a different local oompah band came and played on the market place each Sunday morning. The first one was my very first concert experience! I thought it was pretty special. I liked dancing to the music, and Keesi even took me closer so I could see a bit better.

Gigi set me on her foot and bounced me good to keep me entertained when I started getting bored with the music. I got some really awesome air a few times!

On the walk from Papa's to our apartment, we always had to go through a tunnel that has the best acoustics. We simply had to stop and make little peeping and booping noises every time!

Considering how close we were to the duck pond, we really had no excuse not to feed the ducks on a regular basis! We even brought Papa along a few times! It's an awful long trip for him, so we had to push him in his wheelchair. A few times I even caught a ride ;) I let him help me feed the ducks, but was very stingy about rationing out the bread!

Gigi has a few boxes of stuff at her friends' house, and had to dig through it to pick what to bring home this time. She found the most awesome headdresses in there! I looked just like a super cute little Indian in my headdress!

One of the highlights of my trip was definitely getting my bike! It doesn't have pedals, so I can work on my balance without worrying about training wheels. Once I got the hang of it, I was zooming up and down the sidewalks!

The nursing home grilled for lunch one day, so Papa invited Mommy and Aunt Chelsea to join him. They said it was super tasty!

One of my favorite parts of feeding the ducks was chasing them back to the water. Ducks belong in the water, you know, so I was really just doing them a favor! The whole time, I was shrieking "swim ducks swim!"

We went to take Keesi back to the train station so she could go home. While we were waiting for the train, a giant cargo train pulled in! It made such a racket, it was so noisy! The engine detached and did some maneuvering in order to get around to the other side so it could push it somewhere and still get out. After the noise that the train made initially, I was expecting the din every time the engine slowed down...of course, the engine was the quiet one, but I still kept my hands over my ears just in case!

Once the train was gone, we had nothing else to do but wait...Aunt Chelsea, Mommy, and I went on the train with her (just for a couple of stops) just to make up for my disappointing experience the prior week!

I really liked looking out the window and seeing the countryside pass by! Gigi came to pick us up in Munnerstadt, the next town over :)

One of the highlights of our trip was the ice cream. We did our best to eat ice cream at least every day. But since we missed a couple of days, we had to make up for it by having ice cream multiple times other days! Sometimes it was just grabbing a cone to go, other days we sat at the ice cafe and ordered fancy ice creams or drinks. It was always good and tasty!

I really enjoyed spending time with Papa, and I think he enjoyed spending time with me too! I liked catching a ride with him on one of his wheels - his walker had the perfect little seat on it!

Plus it gave me the perfect seat for nose rubs :)

Another highlight was seeing manpris. For those who don't know what manpris are, they're capris worn by men. Apparently this is quite the trend in Germany. We turned it into a road game (only for when we were walking). We had to spot as many as we could! I got pretty good at spotting them myself, and would scream about manpris when I saw them!

We had quite the routine for getting to Papa's. "Drive" up the side of the road, stop to see fish at the first bridge, look at the sign about fish, run to the tunnel to make noises, stop at the second bridge to see fis, stop at the sign to see bugs and crabs, jump off the curbs in the parking lot, push the button to cross the street, tap the rocks against the flag poles, jump on and off the steps, look at the pig, look at the boat in the travel agency, look at the fish at Kupsch, then beg for ice cream, and finally, push the buttons to get into the home, summon the elevator, get into Papa's area, and end up knocking on his door!

We had to get a group shot with the headdresses!

We went to have coffee and cake with Elly and Gerhardt, and Gerhardt showed us his awesome train set! He's been working on it since 1970, and it is super impressive! I was so excited watching it go, I was shaking!

Gigi bought some new reading glasses and I got to try on a pair. I look awful cute!

We finally got a picture of the whole family - Aunt Chelsea, Me, Mommy, Papa, and Gigi.

I was ready to get home and see Daddy. The trip home felt super long, but I was mostly good. We got moist towelettes on the plane, and after I wiped myself down, I used my towelette to get Stinky Dog cleaned up too.

We had a bit of a layover in Washington, DC, and they said that there was a problem with our plane and it would be at least another hour. Luckily, they were able to make the repair really quickly and we took off just a few minutes after we were supposed to! I got super excited to see Daddy when we got home, and ran to him as fast as I could as soon as I spotted him! I was so glad to get home and get back to my bed and my house and my stuff.

Of course, we've done more since then, but that'll be updated another time! In the meantime, you can find videos from our trip on YouTube - there's a number of them, so be sure to browse through them :) Enjoy!!

Oh, and of course, you can check out the updates on my baby sister or brother...we'll go find out what Peanut is next week!

And you can see an extended version of the photos on FaceBook - there are two albums:
Volume 1
Volume 2

Friday, August 7, 2009

Alex's July Adventures!

We’re about to head out for vacation, so there will be plenty of new pictures when we get back…in the meantime, you’ll have to make do with all of July’s pictures!

We've had a great month. We went to the splash pad, which I enjoyed much more than last year! I still wasn't overwhelmed by the spray, but had fun once I warmed up to it! I treated some of the fountains like my own personal water fountain!

I was laughing and pointing at some of the other kids playing, but the picture makes me look like a little grownup!

This one is Mommy’s favorite picture from the day – I look like I should be in Riverdance: The Next Generation!

I kept trying to get the water to stop spraying, but it didn't work too well!

To continue the trend of water, we went to the pool by my friend Anakin's house. I had so much fun playing with Gabe and Ethan there! Ethan was put in time out, but Gabe and I went over to join him and commandeered a couple of lounge chairs of our own.

Then Gabe and I convinced a nice lady to spread our towel out for us. Then we convinced her to spread out HER towel for us too! We are going to have all the ladies wrapped around our little fingers when we grow up!

Then we got her to give us her sunglasses too! She tried to convince our mommies that we could keep them, but they politely told her we had enough toys already and didn't need any more, no matter how nice they were! Gabe and I took turns wearing them and felt so pretty!

Then I found a chip bag clip and thought that it would be lots of fun to clip it on on my lip.

It wasn't quite as much fun as I thought it would be! Yet, for some odd reason, I still did it about 18 times...

One of my favorite parts of going to playdates is all the fun stuff people have at their houses. Like exercise bikes. I'm so fit!

Anakin and I spent some quality time sitting around, eating rolled up PB&J sammiches, and practicing to be me. We thought we were pretty cool!

I have all of a sudden decided I love the water! Of course, having a just the right depth pool at the water park helped a lot! Mommy was cracking up when I started jamming to "Wild Thing"! I was totally going to town!

There were a few smaller fountains there. I liked sitting on them!

There was a slight incident, so we picked up an extra couple of travelers for the trip home! Luckily, we'd driving in a van with some friends, so there was room for all of us. For the record, it is possible to fit three bulky car seats into the back row of a mini van. Add in three adults and another car seat, and that makes for a whopping 7 people. I really liked riding back there with my friends!

There are always lots of babies in our group. And I get so excited when there are new babies! We went to the hospital to visit the newest addition, Taylor Grace. I like holding the little bitty babies - with lots of adult supervision, of course! I especially like their little feet and hands.

Mommy and Daddy finally got to go on a real date for the first time in ages! They went to see Harry Potter. I was so disappointed because I went with her to buy tickets earlier in the day, but we didn't stop in to get popcorn - or "crocorn" as I call it! So they made sure to get a big bucket so there would be plenty left over for me to have later :) I spent two days eating at it before finally just spilling it all over and making a big mess!

I like to think of myself as a bit of a domestic diva (divo?) And I like to come up with new and unique ways to make housekeeping fun! Like wearing nothing but a strainer as a hat while I do dishes. It's quite the look, isn't it?

As I mentioned, I finally like the water! I went in the pool with just a floatie, which made Mommy very proud of me! I still had to hold on tight to her hand though.

But I floated along very nicely and had a grand old time!

Virtually all the kids in our group have the same train table I do. But I still love playing with everyone else's! They each serve a different purpose...for example, Trent and Anakin's serves as a race car. We each got a drawer and drove the heck out of 'em! I had to check to make sure Trent wasn't cheating or anything. I'm pretty sure I won the race.

One of the best parts of going to the lake is that there are always lots of new toys! Someone always has something that we can all play with, and most of the time, other parents and kids don't mind sharing. Marley and I found these sweet boats and spent some quality time sitting on them.

A little while later, we were both sitting on the rocks (Marley had already gotten in trouble for playing on the rocks once) so when she saw Mommy sneak up behind her, she poked me a few times and got me to move really fast! So we stood at the edge of the rocks and pretended like we hadn't been doing anything wrong. Our mommies totally bought it.

Other fun toys are always rafts! I had fun playing on the surfboard. I tried standing up a few times as well, but didn't quite get the hang of that...

One day, Daddy got home from work at a decent time, so we decided to get out of the house! We went to Build a Bear, where Daddy helped me bring Ice Cream Bear to life! I picked him out, then helped stuff him...

Picked out a heart and warmed it up....

Then put the heart inside his chest! The full adventure can be found here :)

I'm the kind of kid who likes to have all my important stuff close by. Sometimes, all my important stuff means everything off my train table but the tracks. Yes, there are more trains and accessories stuffed behind me.

Since I have this new found love for water, Mommy and Daddy decided it would be wise to find me some floaties! I have yet to venture far enough in to see if they work or not, but I like to wear my "muscles" around the lake nonetheless!

Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen lately is the addition of my brand new big boy bed! We found an awesome deal on Craigslist and decided to go for it. This way, I have plenty of time to get used to the idea that my old bed isn't my bed anymore, since Peanut will be sleeping there when she or he is born. Mommy and Daddy had barely gotten it together before I monkeyed up to the top bunk! I can usually get down by myself too, but to be on the safe side, they make me sleep on the bottom bunk. I feel so grown up sleeping there!

I still LOVE reading. But my tastes have matured and I like grown up books now. Mommy reads her cheesy vampire novels, and I read them too. I flip the pages and point out paragraphs. Then I switch to another book and do the same. I can go through two or three books a night! I'm such a bookworm.

So there are my advenures for July (and a few from August too!) You can see more pictures from the month here, and of course, stay tuned for loads of awesome pictures when we get back from Germany and visiting with Papa, Gigi, and Aunt Chelsea!