Saturday, June 29, 2013

Carpet!

Some neighbors of ours recently moved out and graciously gave us some carpet they had collected for their apartment.  They, like us, don't have central AC and mentioned that adding carpet to the basement makes it a nicer place to play in the summer that's a good deal cooler than the rest of the apartment.  After getting it all put down, we definitely agree! 


Don't mind the mess--Niko's really been enjoying playing down there.  Notice it almost looks like a real playroom now!  And the carpet even had some padding with it so it's not half bad to sit down there with Niko while he plays either :) We like our basement way better now! 


It turned out they also had some other carpet and while it seems maybe they used it for a bedroom or something, we (I) decided to use it for our dining area! 


(Notice Niko was helping me fold laundry...so helpful!)

I had been really annoyed with the hardwood floor as of late--it gets dirty so easily and then if I want to go barefoot (aka always) then I have to sweep all the time to avoid having nasty feet :(  So adding some carpet has been the perfect solution!  It also has the added benefits of 1) being softer for when Niko inevitably falls and bonks his head and 2) being a lighter color so the room is much brighter!  It's really silly but I love the room so much more now :)


(Melissa, if you're reading this, I feel like we're on opposite ends of this subject--you're trying to get less carpet and I'm trying to get more! So weird huh?)


So thanks, kind neighbors, for giving us a great gift, and good luck in Portland! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Food?

So Jesse and I try really hard to eat "whole" food, or food that isn't processed or altered, aka food that doesn't come out of a box.  Obviously, there are days when I don't feel like cooking and make some faux-macaroni or whatnot, but the majority of the time we try to make sure we're eating a variety of wholesome food. 

But there are also times when I reaaaally want to make some pudding pops (p.s. does anyone have a good recipe?) so I buy some instant pudding from a box to use. 


This time, I happened to notice some funny business with the directions on the back.  Notice that in the first paragraph, it says that to make this INSTANT pudding you beat the mix with milk for 2 minutes with a mixer until well blended. Sounds pretty fast, right? 


But then below that, it lists the QUICKER way!  (because 2 minutes is too long!) In this option, you just put everything in a shaker with a lid and go to town on it for 30 seconds!!!  (can you guess which option I chose? side note: don't choose that option.  Too many lumps.)

Moving on in the realm of food-ish stuff, I found this gem on the grocery store shelf the other day: 


Nothing says "doesn't taste too bad" better than "Freshlike!"  
(I'm sure they're just fine but what a name! Amiright?)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Saturday Outing: A New (to us) Park and the Museum on Main Street

On Saturday, we wanted to get out a little bit so we packed a small picnic and took off to the city center! We picked out a little free museum that we wanted to go to, so we found a little park nearby to have a nice little picnic at first.  


Have I mentioned before how much Nikolai loves being outside? I'm pretty sure he'd live out there if we let him! 


Awkward family photo ;)

We're slooowly training Niko to like slides and swings and such.  He's starting to finally enjoy them, but usually only for limited periods of time.  


Baby joy! Yay! 

Evidence of a silly face he's been making lately: 


Then we were off to the museum!


They had a small exhibit about dating in Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas since the early 1800s with some interesting insight into how things have changed.  Also, the exhibit was housed in a really cool house that was built in the 1830s (or so) so it really looked the part too! 



Can I have all of that furniture? Please? 

They had some really cool prom outfits from the early 1900s ish along with a picture of the people wearing them to the dance! I wish I had thought to take a picture of the photograph because it was so neat to see them all dolled up in the same clothes I was looking at! 


It was a really fun exhibit and we look forward to going back when they change exhibits in a few months :)  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pick-your-own strawberries

We've started making friends here (yay!) and last week one of them suggested we go pick some strawberries and make jam!  

They're fairly inexpensive with the added benefit that you can eat as many berries as you want while you're picking, which happens to be perfect cause Niko has been known to eat nearly a pound of strawberries on his own from time to time. 


Nikolai really liked being able to pick the berries and eat them, although he did get a little confused about whether the green berries were ready to eat or not. 


The only drawback is a side-effect from being able to eat the berries straight off the plant--they don't use weed killer so there were weeds as tall as Niko interspersed with the berry plants.  It really wasn't too bothersome to me but Niko eventually got stressed out by being smacked in the face by them. 


But let me tell you, he really liked those berries! His face and hands were a wonderful mess of berry juice and dirt afterwards as evidence of the deliciousness :)


And here's our bounty! 


Quick plug: if you ever get the chance to go pick your own berries, do it! They are so much juicier and more flavorful than the several-days-old berries from the store, and MAN did they make some good jam! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Leslie Science and Nature Center

We have a fun group here that plans weekly (free!) outings for moms with kids that aren't in school yet.  We've only gone twice so far but it's been fun to have a place for Niko to interact with other kids his age and for us to get out of the house!  Last week, we went to the local nature center to see their birds of prey.  They take in birds that have been injured and so couldn't live in the wild on their own, which means we get to see them!

Nikolai looooves birds so I thought he'd really like this outing--which he did, although he was uncertain at first. 


We saw some really cool owls and eagles, among others.  My favorite was the kestrel--so tiny and cool!



Thanks for being my explorer buddy, Niko!





Sunday, June 23, 2013

Belly button

A weird thing we've noticed about our Niko is that he's mildly obsessed with his belly button.  When he's wearing a tshirt that's not a onesie (aka it's not snapped shut at the button, therefore leaving him access to his belly button) he often just walks around touching it.  If he's wearing a shirt that IS snapped, he'll touch it through the shirt or even reach his arm through the neck hole (and stretch it out something awful) so he can reach his button.  We've noticed he does it a lot when he's upset or tired or nervous (meeting someone new, going to the doctor, etc).  Being anxious people ourselves, we're a little worried (surprise!) that it's a nervous tick that he's developed to comfort himself. 


Probably it's nothing to worry about (but if it is, you'll tell me, right?).  But if nothing else, his little obsession is really cute! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Washing Machine Music

One thing I love about Nikolai lately is that he LOVES dancing to music!  Sometimes we start random dance parties just for the joy of watching his tiny boogie :)  

A few days ago, I had brought Nikolai in the basement with me to start some laundry and he decided to stay and play down there for awhile--so when the very rhythmic wash cycle started we were still down there.  And lo and behold, our sweetest little boy decided it was music and started dancing! 

 It was a little hard to capture on camera but here's a little taste of his adorable jiving:


Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's Nutrilicious!

One reason we think Ann Arbor is really awesome is because of it's abundance of great ethnic food.  

The other day, we came across a place that likely has nice food, but we got a little distracted by the sign:


It's nutrilicious! 

We really can't decide if the misspelling is intentional or just a bizarre (but hilarious) accident.  

What do you think?  Weigh in in the comments! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Big Mouthed Baby

Our child has a very large mouth and decided the other day mid-soup eating that he wanted to prove it.  


So there's that! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Friday Responsibilites

This week, Friday Responsibilities superseded Saturday Adventures :( 
Normally, Jesse doesn't have class on Fridays (hooray!) but since we're super used to him being gone 8-5 M-F he just goes to campus on Friday anyways and gets his readings done so we can have time on Saturday for adventures! But this week we had to mix things up because I really wanted to go ahead and get my driver's license and our car registration and plates updated. Unfortunately, they are only open on weekdays, so Jesse stayed home on Friday so I could go sans Nikolai, and he studied all day Saturday instead.  

So although I don't have anywhere fun to tell you about this week, I do have this! 


Hooray! We're Michigan residents now! 

Aside: I really wanted to take a picture of where it says "Spectacular Peninsulas" on the bottom of the plate but Nikolai reaaaaally wanted to touch it. 


Can you tell he's at a really "helpful" age?? ;)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

We had a nice, fairly quiet father's day this year.  Thanks to my brother Albert, I had some fun prepping for father's day a few weeks in advance. He had a great idea for a tshirt for my dad with "World's best dad" on the front, and the signatures of his kids on the back.  With my trusty fabric painting skills, I helped albert make his vision a reality! 





(Niko wanted to help too)

Then, for actual father's day, I signed up to bring some cupcakes to church to give to the dad's (everyone loves a good cupcake, right?). 

I had the clever idea to melt down some chocolate chips and pipe some little hearts to put on top.  I really wanted them to stick up from the cupcake but unfortunately it's so humid here that they got all floppy and fell over--so this is how they ended up:



And, in the spirit of full disclosure, here's what happened to one poor cupcake when I was trying to take those pictures: 


(but don't worry; I ate it anyways. waste not! :D)

Jesse and Nikolai were so sad that it fell down:


(okay just kidding: Niko was actually suuuuuper tired and wanted a nap! And I thought it was hilarious that the tiny person that made Jesse a father was grumpy on father's day and took a picture ;D)

But all was well in the end because I only had to take 12 of my 2 dozen cupcakes to church--meaning I had a full 11 others (minus the fallen one, remember?) to do this with for us at home:


Mmmm.  We might celebrate father's day with cupcakes every year! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

We're doomed

Today Jesse and I had our noses buried in various projects in the livingroom when we heard a commotion in the diningroom.  Nikolai had discovered that he could push the diningroom chairs over to the bookshelf next to the kitchen, where he could then play with the light switches and pull all sorts of things off the top shelf that he couldn't normally reach (and mama had been banking on that, so she had stashed all sorts of cool stuff up there).


I think this is the beginning of the end--or at least, the end of our ability to keep things out of his reach, as well as our ability to ever leave him alone in a room expecting to come back to find him and the room intact--at least until he's old enough to reason with (so, like 8? >.<)

Oh well.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Squirrel!

My child is a lot like Dug on Up!  
He really likes squirrels! A million of them live in the stand of trees behind out house and Nikolai is constantly calling to them.  

Here he is in his jammies, having just glimpsed a squirrel: 


And on our recent Saturday outing, chasing some of the feral squirrels on campus:


His squirrel call evolved, hilariously enough, from how he calls my parents' dog.  Sometimes, he even mimics how he would pat his leg for the dog to come here, and pats his leg (or tummy!) at the squirrel!  Crazy kid! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Saturday outing: Film Festival and walking around campus

Last week Jesse went to meet with an adviser about doing a dual degree in Law and Russian and as he was leaving she noticed he had picked up a flier for the upcoming international film festival and handed him two free tickets! Most of the movies looked like they were going to be awesome but we didn't want to have to find a sitter (we haven't made that good of friends yet!) so we found one that was for kids and therefore would allow us to bring Niko with us instead :)  We saw a really fun French animated film called The Painting about characters in a painting who leave their painting searching for the artist who created them and run into some interesting characters along the way.  It was fun and existentialist and had gorgeous animation and we were so glad we got to go!  

And I didn't take any pictures (not even of the awesome old theater it was at!) so that's all you'll get to hear about that.  But since we were heading down to the campus area, we decided just to make an afternoon of it and spent some time after the movie wandering around and enjoying the lovely campus. 

Some architecture-love indulgence: 


Clocktower


Museum? I forget.


An old fashioned "arcade"--a gallery of shops right next to campus! They had really cute antique stores, a travel agency, and even a barber shop! 


A pretty church


A classroom building I think, but with a really awesome tower! 

We also saw a really cool piece of modern art: The Spinning Cube! 


Behold it in action:


Campus also has a lot of green grassy areas with lots of greenery so Nikolai had a lot of fun running around and pulling leaves and flowers off of bushes and such.


Look! It's like a forest! In the middle of campus! 


Campus also has TONS of squirrels that are semi-tame from getting fed by tons and tons of students. Nikolai, in typical Niko fashion, saw one and chased it up a tree, doing his little squirrel call (more on that in tomorrow's post) and wanting it to come down and play with him! 



Peeking out at us from the tree!

And then he wanted to get on daddy's shoulders to get a better look at it! 


At that point, though, the squirrel got freaked out that the tiny shouting human was getting closer and ran even farther up the tree, so the game was over.  


But look how cute my boys are! 



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thank you

to the kind neighbor-of-a-neighbor who is moving to Africa (good luck!) and gave us a small fortune's worth of toddler toys and shoes.  


And a brief prayer that I will always remember to be as generous and kind with my resources as she was with hers. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

My boys

w3YxQP on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

I wish you could hear the adorable giggling that accompanied these pictures! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Olive oil juice?

The other day Nikolai walked into the kitchen and starting pointing vigorously at something on the counter and making his signature grunting I-want-that noise "nah nah nah."  We're getting to the point that trying to figure out what he wants usually prevents full on baby-meltdown mode so I sat him on the counter to find out what he wanted.  Lo and behold, he started pointing at the olive oil, I guess because it's the color of juice?  (watered down juice, maybe...)


I tried to tell him it's not juice but he just kept pointing at it, so eventually I put some on my finger for him to taste so he'd learn for himself.  Apparently this was not the deterrent I had hoped for though, cause then he lifted his sippy cup for me to pour some in! 

Silly kid! 


(Also, he's the cutest toddler ever, right?)