Saturday, December 11, 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Highlights from 2010

Hold on tight! Looking down on the Lodge Freeway in the D...

Atop Costa Rica!

The beauty is in the journey...

Costa Rica...butterfly capital...

Alan & Atticus in Oak Park for Easter weekend.

Munising waterfall ...oops, icefall up in da U.P.

Mush, doggie, mush! Sledding on Lake Superior!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Halloween, everybody! Atticus decided he'd like to be a bunny this year so he's been hopping or rather galloping around these days. He had a grand old time with Big Momma and Papa hanging out at the mall and then answering the door for trick-or-treaters. He got some great Halloween cards this year (thanks!) which he has taken to bed at night to call on the powers of the Great Pumpkin. I got home from work in time to carve the pumpkin and Atticus got to enjoy the "fire!" of a jack-o-lantern.

Atticus is a sing-songy chatty cathy these days. The minute he feels comfortable in his surroundings your likely to hear him belt out "Chicago! Chicago!" which can sound surprisingly like a sick duck or an "ABC-Baa Baa Black Sheep-B-I-N-G-O-Row, Row, Row Your Boat" medley. We're now having to watch our language as it becomes his language. He definitely has the ability to communicate demand with a sense of urgency such as, "I need cherries right NOW!" It's enough to keep us on our toes and to keep us laughing.

Atticus is entering his 3rd month of school this week and has adjusted pretty well to life as a pre-schooler. He had a slightly bumpy re-entry after our week of vacation but is now clearly back in the swing of things. I accompanied Big Momma for the drop-off last week and as we entered the building he walked right out of his coat and never looked back. He comes home with artwork and new songs -- our collective favorite is "Clean up. Clean up. Everybody clean up."

This month we spent a week in Utah hiking in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks with a little bit of biking and climbing thrown in for good measure. We found out Atticus loves hiking! Heck, he was pacing some adults on the trails. We spent some time with John's climbing buddy Marc in Salt Lake and visited the Mormon Temple for good measure and then we met up with Ronny, Haley and Cainan for some camping in Indian Creek. It was great to see everybody and the boys really enjoyed one another. Cainan shared his dinosaurs and Atticus shared his vehicles. Together, they took over the front seat of our vehicles and created general mayhem with our dashboards. Fun, fun, fun! We're hoping to meet up with Cainan and his folks for a ski adventure sometime this winter.

Since we last wrote, there have been a few other important developments. John's folks were in a rollover car accident in Missouri on their way back from Kansas City. John's mom ended up being hospitalized and, after a frightening few days, made a speedy recovery. John drove to MO to drive them home and the following weekend we brought Atticus to meet them in Chicago. Atticus had a nice visit with them and we were able to celebrate both grandfathers' birthdays. Both Ginne and John are doing well now and we look forward to seeing them for Thanksgiving.

While we were home, we also managed to squeeze in a whirlwind visit with Michelle, Jim & Eliza. Eliza and Atticus, too, managed some interactive play and to share with one another. Atticus got a big kick out of Eliza's musical toys.

This month brings Atticus' second birthday and we're planning a small party for some of his playmates here in town. We'll keep you posted on our party boy and Thanksgiving festivities as well. Thanks for reading and hope all's well with you and yours...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

daddy cut my hair!

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haircut #2 wasn't nearly as traumatic as the first. thanks, daddy!
turns out the best place for barbering this boy is in the backyard swing.

School is cool!

After a whirlwind weekend trip to Florida celebrating Uncle Chris' 40th birthday, Atticus started school (?) this week at the local Montessori. Atticus enjoys saying his teachers' names--Renee, Amy & Jennifer--and he already has a favorite toy that we hope he'll learn to share. It's a school bus. Go figure.

We had a great visit in Tampa with Uncle Chris, Aunt Trish and cousins Kate, Colin, Cameron and Christopher and Grandma Ginne & Grandpa John. Atticus worked hard to get everybody's name right but the most easily understood was "Grammmmah." Grammmmah and Atticus shared some good belly laughs and Grandpa entertained Atticus in the pool. By the time we left, Atticus was running laps around the living room, sitting on Aunt Trish's lap for storytime and a new disciple of Thomas the Tank Engine not to mention his new love for Matchbox cars (a few of which he was able to take back to Detroit...phew! meltdown averted.) He loved the swimming pool and had fun watching his cousins swim circles around him. Just wait 'til next time!

These days the little man will attempt to say just about anything he hears. His latest phrases (which may be intelligible only to those who live with him) include "oh my goodness" and identifying every car by its color and sometimes its make/model--yellow Jeep, Dada's Scion, Momma's red Corolla. Clearly we live in Detroit for a reason. He's also getting a better handle on his G's and can now say Bingo (in place of B-yah) and GO! GO! WHITESOX! The latter is sure to come in handy as we enter baseball's homestretch. Sorry, Cubbies. If you get to the Series against us, the boy's a Sout' Sider through and through.

We were hoping to get home to Chicago this weekend for the return of Kristen & Mark's big bash in their new home but it wasn't in the cards as I had to stay here for coverage of an OB patient. Anyhoo, I'm sure we missed a good time and look forward to next year!

Hope everyone is doing well with the start of school and the approach of fall. We'll keep you posted on how our school boy does...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

drum circle

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atlas ain't got nothing on this crew!

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green ball

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a daddy-made swing!!!

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in the secret garden

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hey look! i'm atop a butterfly!

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The little man is doing great post-surgery! He just had his single stitch removed this past Friday and needs no further follow-up according to his doc. We also just recently found out that he has been accepted to begin Montessori school after Labor Day and Lois has taken him to school a few times during this past week for a trial run--so far he's enjoying it greatly.

Since our last entry, Big Momma made a whirlwind trip up to Interlochen to retrieve Aunt Maur accompanied by her friend Mari. Papa swapped places with Big Momma and spent the weekend with the A-team while we were on call. Thanks, Papa!

Yesterday, we took part in Ferndale's Green Cruise--our local alternative to next week's Dream Cruise--celebrating modes of transportation other than the automobile. We rode our tandem bike in the 22-mile ride and then joined our crew of Big Momma & Atticus, Misty & Alma with Katie & Jade and Danielle & Kyla at the Green Rally at Geary Park down the street from our house.

Atticus just received a police car this week and it's his new favorite toy. He wanders happily around with his "peace car" in one hand and his "sire" (fire engine) in the other. He now races around the block on his RadioFlyer scooter. As seen above, little man's latest thing is clomping throughout the house in our shoes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It has been a while since the last post, and much has happened with us and our little boy. In May, Atticus took his first trip to New Orleans and got to spend some time with his Aunt Star. Highlights of that trip included visiting the French Quarter, having a streetcar ride, walking along the levee and seeing his first topless lady walking down Bourbon St.

Atticus also took his second Amtrack train ride to Chicago for a visit to his cousin Mitchell's new house and his cousin Darrel Anthony's birthday party. He had a great time!

Memorial weekend was Pontiac's first urban adventure race-"The Blast"- where Eithne and her teammate Lisa took 1st place in their division-Yeah! Atticus didn't get up early enough to cheer his mom on but he was there in spirit.

In June, Eithne and I went on vacation to the northwest-Washington and Canada where we climbed at Tieton Canyon in Yakima and enjoyed urban biking in Seattle and Vancouver. We were able to catch up with our med-school friends Sean and Michele. Atticus spent time with both sets of his grandparents during our Northwest trip and had an extended sleepover at Grandma Ginne & Grandpa John's. He loved visiting the park down the block from their house.

Atticus performed (sort of) in his first wedding (of his cousin Dan and Barb) at the end of June where he was a ring bearer. He made it a grand total of 15 seconds down the isle before Mama had to swoop in and rescue him. He did, however, in preparation for said wedding receive his first haircut and first tuxedo.

Somewhere in between the vacation and wedding, we moved to a house with a garage, central air conditioning and a backyard. We've been grilling up a storm and we've got a slack line and horseshoes for anyone who's interested.

This month, Atticus saw his first 4th of July fireworks. He really enjoyed the bright lights and the booming noises. Bingo, however, was less than enthused. We also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary by taking in Taming of the Shrew (how appropriate) at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario followed by a day of climbing at Mt Nemo.

We've also done a bit of biking both locally on the riverfront with a pit stop for Atticus to play in the fountain and then up north from Suttons Bay to Traverse City. Somehow, Atticus managed to fall asleep on the 8-mile unpaved stretch of the trail. He woke up just in time to meet Big Momma, Papa Tom and Aunt Maur in Traverse City and had a great time exploring the sights and sounds of Interlochen.

This past weekend, Atticus took in his first major league baseball game in Cleveland at the Jake! with Jen Facciani, Dave Meier (my friends from college) and Jen's brother Dave. He witnessed a split between the Indians and Twins and picked up his first bona fide baseball hat as well as a genuine Chief Wahoo hanky. He loved the ballpark atmosphere and is sure to be a lifelong fan!

Today, Atticus had his first (and we're hoping only) surgery to repair a hernia. Our little guy guzzled down his sedating medicine like any good Irishman would and soon after was bobbing around like a drunken sailor. Four hours after we arrived at the hospital, we were home and he was sleeping peacefully in his crib. Everything went well and was uneventful... thank goodness. Tonight he was motoring down the sidewalk on his Red Flyer as if nothing had happened.

Here's hoping all's well with you and yours!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Already we're behind...

We were doing so well with an almost weekly post...and here it's Wednesday. Oh, well.

Today marks the end of my critical care month and John's orthopedic surgery month. John's off to Kentucky for a climbing adventure in the Red River Gorge--the best "local" climbing around--and I'm starting a month in the Emergency Room tomorrow. How's that for fair? No complaining, though, as Big Momma, Atticus and I are heading south next week to New Orleans for a conference and a rendezvous with Grandpa Tom while John stays here for 12 hour day shifts at the hospital.

Since our last update, Atticus has
  • gotten his first sunburn (mild enough that he didn't even notice) and subsequently his first sunglasses
  • visited the local zoo and met a proud peacock or two
  • added words like "up...uppppp...upppphhh" and "uh oh" and "tree" to his vocabulary
  • climbed into the rocking chair and rocked it like nobody's business
  • garnered attention in a restaurant after attempting to scale his high chair and nearly pulling it down on top of himself. The waitress noted, "He's a little wild, isn't he?" How does one properly answer that?
After comments like that, Big Momma took Atticus to church to get him some manners for his upcoming ring-bearer role in June. Per her report, our little jailbird did well stopping to smell (not touch) the flowers on his way out.

We got a new Signing Time DVD last week that focuses on "family, feelings and fun" in an effort to help the Little Man with his frustration when the adults don't properly understand his grunts and points. I just learned the sign for "grumpy" and "silly" which Atticus particularly enjoys and is sure to put to good use in short order. His other new signs are "rain" & "tree" & "leaf" which are all quite useful given the season.

Turns out most of our collective energy this week has been focused on bedtime. Little Man's been having some difficulty going down lately. While we've got plenty of theories, we've got no sure answers. Last night was an almost two-hour ordeal. Tonight it took less than 15 minutes. We can hope we're setting a new trend.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring has finally sprung!!!

We just got back from Holland! A mere two-and-a-half hours to the west and a stone's throw from Lake Michigan, it's the land of Hope College, an annual Tulip Festival and lots of Dutch Reformed folk. John stayed home and worked his last weekend call as an intern while Big Momma, Atticus and I rendezvoused with Papa Tom in a town that has become a familiar meeting place for Grandparents Barton. We ended up there this week for a wedding. As a dry run for Atticus who's slated to be the ringbearer in John's cousin's wedding this June, there's plenty of room for improvement. The minute Atticus and I sat down (thankfully, in the back), he squirmed and then screeched at the thought of being held still for the ceremony which led to an immediate departure. Of the hour-long ceremony, we witnessed 15 minutes or less as we were lost in a deep and thorough exploration of surroundings not limited to but including the grounds outside, multiple trips up and down the stairs to the balcony and, last but not least, the nursery with its bounty of toys. As for the rest of the festivities, the Little Man did pretty well sharing his dried apples with the other kids, dancing and drumming to the music and, in his spare time, teaching folks some sign language. He also garnered much praise for his chugalugging as he drank from his sippy cup for no less than 3 minutes without coming up for air...a future of beer bongs and relays was mentioned.

Mother Nature finally woke up this week and the weather finally matched the calendar. The grass is green here now and everything is blooming. That meant lots of time outside for the Little Man including trips to the park nearly every day with Big Momma or Mama and Daddy. Big Momma and Atticus have made fast friends with some of the locals and have play dates set up for Monday through Friday. There are at least a couple other boys born in November 2006 who frequent the neighborhood park and one of them is bound for bullyhood. The way Big Momma tells it, Atticus was chilling in the tunnel when bullyboy happened upon him and just reached out, grabbed his face, gouging his left eye and cheek. Atticus has the marks to prove it and required some interventional swinging with Big Momma to get over the trauma. So far, our little pacifist seems no worse for the wear.

Atticus is also making friends with kids who hang out at our next door neighbors. Today, there were 4 kids -- Marquell, Ashanti, Skyler and Jerome -- ranging in age from 5 to 9. They shared an Atticus-sized basketball with the Little Man and showed him a couple of their ball-handling tricks. He shared the two rocks and pine cone he'd picked up in his backyard travels. Marquell asked to pick Atticus up and then Ashanti asked if he could come and play with them later so I think he's a hit. I've got high hopes for his summertime adventures...

Firsts from this week:
  • a new obsession with all things large and automotive requiring lots of pointing and grunting
  • saying almost intelligible versions of "hot," "up," and "now" and signing for "juice"
  • strapping up his sandals
  • getting dressed to the hokey pokey song and turning himself around
  • sliding down a METAL slide...old school style

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day!

Last week started off with treats from down South from Big Momma's visit to Oxford. A Beth Ann Fennelly book featuring poems on motherhood for Mama, rubber animal potholders for Dada and a CD for Atticus featuring the song "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" that goes with one of his favorite books. He loves to shake his finger "No" and he'll dance the night away to each and every one of the songs. And, he's still getting plenty of enjoyment from the new toys Grandma and Grandpa Reyher brought.

Atticus and Big Momma checked out two of the local Montessori schools. They both liked the one here in Ferndale best. Atticus slipped right into the toddler group and joined the crew holding onto their assigned knots on the golden rope as they traipsed around the block. He was momentarily distracted by a passing school bus and stopped to wave at the kids on the bus...and then quite pleased when most of them waved back.

He enjoyed (?) his longest trek in his Co-Pilot last Tuesday when we biked two burbs north to Birmingham. We ended up at a chi-chi Middle Eastern restaurant all of us looking like bums with bad helmet hair. Atticus made juice out of some dried apple rings and a general mess of himself and his surroundings. I don't think they'll be asking us back there any time soon.

Big Momma's 65th (!!) birthday was on Friday of last week and Grampa Tom came in to help celebrate. Atticus had a great time with Grampa Tom bringing him things to check out and playing with his reading glasses case. Together, they continued to work on this season's mantra... "Go, go, SOX!" We all went out to dinner at a local joint called Nello's and Atticus had the run of the corner booth...eating off everybody's plate and playing peekaboo with Grampa Tom.

No notable firsts for this week. It's status quo here in Ferndale.

P.S. We just figured out while doing this post that we probably left John's camera in the restaurant in Birmingham... Alas, they'll have more to remember us by than we'd like. Sigh.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Grandma & Grandpa Reyher come to town!

The highlight of this week was a visit from Grandma Ginne & Grandpa John. While Big Momma and Grandpa Tom headed south to Oxford, Mississippi for the Oxford Conference for the Book, we were lucky enough to have Daddy's parents step up and into our wacky routine. They arrived on Wednesday night just in time to see us off on our first genuine family biking adventure on a ten-mile route winding through the neighborhoods of Ferndale, Oak Park and Royal Oak bypassing the Detroit Zoo and a local park providing some good swinging and sliding opportunities. Grandma spoiled little man with a new toy each day and Grandpa taught him how to commandingly conduct an orchestra. On Thursday and Friday, we all walked to a nearby park and Atticus held onto Grandpa's hand the whole way and then was treated to a swing ride on Grandpa's lap.

Saturday, Atticus had a play date with a gaggle of girls. Turns out, all of the pediatric residents on the floor at Royal Oak last month have girls (4 total) ranging in age from 1 to 5 years old. We all got together at the kids' play area in the food court of a local mall and let them have the run of the place. After some initial shyness, Atticus warmed up to the crowd. He particularly liked the potato chip slide, climbing onto the corn cob and hanging out beneath the hot dog bun.

Sunday, we trekked out to Dearborn to the Henry Ford Estate & the Henry Ford Museum. There was lots to see at the Museum--literally all manners of trains, planes and automobiles. Grandpa, Daddy and Mama got involved in crafting the perfect paper airplane for Atticus to pilot. Let the record here show that the girl plane was the only one to hit the 20' target. After a late lunch in Dearborn, we said our goodbyes to Grandma Ginne and Grandpa John. It was great to have them!! The weather was beautiful outside so we headed downtown for a stroll along the riverfront and a peak inside the downtown Marriott. Atticus loved the water and the sculptures in Hart Plaza. We're hoping the enthusiasm for both is long-lasting...

Firsts for this week:
  • signing for "owwwie" was new this week and already the boy's taking advantage using it every chance he gets for a sympathetic response
  • new eats included a black bean burger, an unbounded enthusiasm for hummus and a newfound proficiency sipping from a straw

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ice Ice, Baby!

The calendar may say it's Spring but the air temp and recent snow showers have Atticus focused on a more wintry landscape. Take this boy on a walk and as soon as you turn your back he'll have found a snow mound to stomp over to and on top of all the while saying "Aiyyssss. Aiyyyyssssss." No denying John's excited about Atticus' fascination with water in its frozen form. Already, he's displaying the required but odd fixation of a budding ice climber.

Atticus had his 15 month well-check with his new pediatrician this week and apparently freaked out at the site of his doctor's white coat. Her advice to Big Momma was to have us wear our white coats and use our stethoscopes on him to help de-sensitize him a bit. Already, we've failed him. Three shots later, Atticus spent the next 24 hours walking around like an arthritic old man. It was pitiful and funny all at the same time. He weighed in at 22 lbs 4 oz and measured 30 inches in length. At 16+ months, our boy has yet to triple his birth weight. Oh, well....

Firsts this week...
  • first adventure ride in his "Co-Pilot" chariot tooling around the neighborhood...pulled by daddy and flanked by mama and then vice versa. the boy just sat back taking in the scenery.
  • extended drum least 20 seconds by daddy's count
  • signs for "all done" and "girl"
  • sliding down the big kids' slide just like the big boys sitting up the whole way down
  • climbing into his car seat without complaint
  • attempting to climb stairs with alternating steps even though his body's too small...
  • sayonara to the bottle (but not the booby)...he's already on his 2nd set of sippy cups as he cuts his canines. the boy's got 14 teeth!
  • new foods include sardines, potato pancakes, cottage cheese, water chestnuts, red pepper, filet of sole not to mention all the sample cheeses Whole Foods had to offer (not to mention the salmon pate)
  • stacking 6 plus Legos
  • sharing boogers with Big Momma...nuff said.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hippity Hoppity Easter and the March Hare

Woke up at six this morning, donned my ears and made my way down to the peds floor where kids from zero to seventy-two were receiving all kinds of goodies from the Easter Bunny. Last night, all the staff were given bunny ears (no tails but still the closest I'll ever get to the Playboy kind).

Scored a donated Easter basket for Atticus and then promptly forgot it. Walked through the door with rather large pink ears atop my head and the little boy did a double take before coming over to greet me. When I announced I was a bunny, he was a good sport about it and promptly responded by wrinkling his nose and performing his bunny sniff.

Big Momma and Daddy, John, Atticus and I high-tailed it over to one of our favorite local breakfast joints called Toast where they always serve a fine cup of coffee. The bunny ears brought us special treatment today.

Atticus continues to become more and more verbal and more and more assertive with his increasing verbalization. He wants what he wants when he wants it. Thankfully, he is still easy to distract and divert with a quick "I'm going to GET you!" This boy loves a good chase. This week, he's been particularly enjoying giving high five and then being too slow on the down low. Somehow missing your hand makes him chortle with glee. He's begun to say "yeah" ever so casually and may be seen simultaneously to be shaking his head "no" (a tortured youth is ahead of us, no doubt).

Firsts for the week include:
  • lunch with the boys Vigo and Dagueneau (names surely complementary to Atticus) from Romp 'n Stomp
  • sharing a Thomas the Tank Engine toy at the local Barnes & Noble
  • riding a merry-go-round at the mall
  • first exploration of his new chariot and subsequent purchase of a tandem bike (!!)

Perhaps the most memorable (?) first was the Danny Boy marathon at AJ's cafe in downtown Ferndale. AJ himself was featured on NPR promoting his attempt to land a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records with 50 hours of Danny Boy. We stopped by on Saturday when things were in full swing, the place was packed and the voices were mostly able to carry a tune. Big Momma and the boy made a return visit on St. Patty's Day and spent a couple long hours listening to at least a few atonal contributors (we have it on film) at least one of them toothless. When the toothless woman with a face that would stop a clock came over with a "Kiss me, I'm Irish" greeting for Atticus, he'd clearly had enough. But not before he and Big Momma were interviewed by a CBS reporter. Even Governor Granholm stopped by the festivities missing the A-team by mere minutes...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kiss me I'm Irish!

Today, Atticus ran his first race. He actually slept through most of it. We donned our green this morning and headed to Corktown for the 26th Annual St. Patty's Day Race. With a noon start, we surely thought we'd make it without a hitch. Not so as Tigers stadium and the current ballpark in which the Tigers play (Comerica Park) are not one and the same. After running from Comerica Park to Old Tigers Stadium, we'd tacked on an extra mile to our race. Suffice it to say some were less pleased about this than others.

The race turned out to be quite a fun event after finding the actual starting line. This from John who last ran an organized race well over over 20 years ago. John paved the way for the jogger running as our blocker as people veered in front of us like they'd had their finish line beers prior to starting. The 4 mile race wound its way through the heart of downtown Detroit around Campus Martius and then back to Corktown where streams of parade onlookers cheered--heads adorned with shamrock deely-boppers and green beers in hand. Atticus was oblivious to just about all of it. It was all over in a matter of 33 minutes (not including the untimed frantic warm-up mile to the start). Slow by John's standards, respectable by mine.

After the race, we meandered back to the car and encountered some Wayne County mounties with their trusty steeds. Atticus who says "nay-nay-nay" any time you suggest the word "horsey" was entirely uninterested in the live animals before him. Perhaps now that he can climb atop his trusty steed at home (a rocking horse from Grandma and Grandpa Reyher) he doesn't need the real thing.

We entertained ourselves the rest of the afternoon by going to our home away from home, the Detroit Institute of Arts, where Atticus loves to run through the galleries yelling loudly trying to touch art while the guards aren't looking. After that, we met up with Big Momma for some Indian food on Nine Mile and then walked down to AJ's for the 50-hour Danny Boy marathon.

More on that later...