Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wisconsin Visit: Summerfest

Summer in Milwaukee means one thing.  Summerfest, the World's Largest Music Festival is 11 day long celebration on the Milwaukee waterfront of continuous music, food, beer, and fun. There are major bands and minor ones, rides and games, food and drink.  11 days, 11 stages, and over 800 bands.  It's tons of fun!

We heard a Disney group, a family band, a folk group, and a great new artist that I have to remember the name of because he was so good.  We ate chicken fingers and fries, and of course Saz's mozerella sticks.  Yum!

We took Evan for a daytime visit to the festival to avoid some of the evening crowds.  It was hot, but Grandma bought Dippin' Dots, so all was right with the world.  Evan was enthralled by the Sky Glider running the length of the festival grounds.  He wanted to ride, but he'll have to wait a few more years for that.  It was kids' day, so he got a free slinky, which made his day.  He alternated between riding in the stroller and sitting on daddy's shoulders.  The Milwaukee Bucks were there performing, and Evan thought the "ba-keh-bah" was pretty cool to watch, especially from his high perch. 

Sadly, he wasn't nearly as enthralled with the Klement's Racing Sausages.  Mommy loves nearly any mascot, but Evan hasn't yet acquired that same fascination.  The Brewers' game favorites were taking photos at the front gate of Summerfest, but Evan was having none of it.

It had been a long afternoon with all that adventure.  Evan zonked out immediately in the car, and we were all tired.  Time for a big nap!

Wisconsin Visit: Brewers Game

On Wednesday we went to watch some baseball at Miller Park.  The Milwaukee Brewers were hosting the Houston Astros.  We had a great time!  It was the perfect weather for a baseball game, and we had excellent seats in the second level behind home plate.  Evan was super excited to walk himself to the stadium, clutching his ticket the whole way. 

Evan, Mike, and Grampa Arnie took some guys' time and strolled around the concourse, checking out the various sights, seeking out good snacks, and people watching. 

One of the most fun parts of pre-game was the Kid Zone.  Most of the games were for older kids, but this one was perfect for Evan too.  The point was to run the distance from home plate to first base as fast as possible, and see if you could beat the time of one of the fastest Brewers.  While some of the bigger kids were faster, Evan was arguably the cutest one running!  He took it very seriously and didn't need any prompting. He knew instinctively what to do, from running fast to making sure to touch the base.  With a little practice, he could soon be as fast as the players!

There was lots to see inside the stadium, including a big glove. We all sat in it for a quick photo op before it was time to get hot dogs (with Secret Stadium Sauce!), nachos, and drinks. 

After all that fun (and a big hot dog), Evan tried mightily to watch the game, but he just couldn't make it.  He finally succumbed to dreamland halfway through the game, snuggled happily in daddy's arms.  He missed the end of the game, but that's ok because unfortunately the Brewers lost.  It was still a great day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wisconsin Visit: Kopps

Our visit to Wisconsin wasn't complete without at least one (ahem) trip to Kopp's.  As anyone from the Milwaukee area knows, there's nothing better. Their delectable frozen custard in every flavor imaginable and juicy jumbo cheeseburgers nothing short of amazing.  There are only three locations, but we've never seen a time when you don't have to wait in line to order.  I'll always remember being intimidated when I was little - the line moved so fast, the smells were intoxicating, and there was always lots of noise as someone announced, "Order 121 - pick up on the Blue mic!"   Not having tables and chairs was mystifying, but eating on a bench was just part of the unique atmosphere.
On his last visit Evan was sadly too young for solid foods, but this time he was able to partake in the Kopp's happiness.  The burger was almost as large as his head, but he gave it a good try.  Once I gave him my shake, I almost didn't get it back. As much as he loved the food, however, he was totally enthralled with the massive waterfall at the Greenfield location.  If we had let him, he might have stayed there for hours.  He quickly made friends with other kiddos running around; they all chased each other between the cement benches and got drenched from the spray. 

On a later visit that week (it's impossible to stay away!), Evan was solidly asleep in the car.  He hadn't napped yet, and was completely dead to the world.  As soon as we pulled into the Kopp's parking lot however, he somehow knew it.  He woke right up and said, clear as a bell, "Kopp's?  Burger?  Ice Cream?"

Wisconsin Visit: Culvers

Of course we had to make a couple stops at Culver's too for butterburgers and more frozen custard.  Evan thought it was "Mmmm Mmmm Good!"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wisconsin Visit: Milwaukee & Great Grandma Z

Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham!

Mmmmm - donuts...
Part of our visit to Wisconsin included spending time with Grandma Barb in Milwaukee.  Lots of fun was had here too!  On the theme of Firsts, Evan got his first taste of National Bakery Ham, and their donuts.  The bakery is just a couple blocks around the corner, and it was a fun morning walk with daddy to go get breakfast.  Definitely one of the benefits to living in the city is having a great family bakery around the corner!  The donuts are mommy's favorite, and Evan liked them too, but it's their thin-cut ham and squishy rolls that he loved best.  Before every meal, he'd run to the kitchen asking, "Ham? Ham?"  Delish.

Running through the laundry!
Evan loved running around with Grandma Barb.  She babysat one night while we went to a concert, and she and Evan had great tales of the places they went while we were away.  A nearby park where she couldn't keep Evan off the slide, the park's water fountain, and plenty of time exploring the flowers in the backyard.  Grandma Barb hung the sheets out in the summer sun to dry one morning, and Evan thought it was the coolest thing to run through the laundry. It was like a huge game of Peek-A-Boo!  Thanks, Gramma Barb for lots of fun!

Evan & Great Grandma Z
While in Milwaukee, Evan got to spend an evening with his Great Grandma too.  She came over loaded with presents, and they got to know each other.This was the first time he was able to meet Great Grandma Z who is his only great grandparent, so it was pretty special.

Earlier in the season Great Grandma mailed a package of sunflower seeds, and Evan planted them.  He was happy to report to her that they were growing like crazy.  Little did he know that the three sunflowers were exploding in height while he was gone - we got home and they're over 10 feet tall!  It was a great evening capped off with a Friday Fish Fry, like only Milwaukee can do it.  Evan didn't care much for the fish or coleslaw, but he sure did love the crinkle-cut fries.

Milwaukee sure was fun!  We are anxiously awaiting when we can go back.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wisconsin Corn

Our Wisconsin visit was full of firsts for Evan. One in particular was his first corn on the cob! He's got all the teeth he needs, and he loves corn, so when we went to Doug & Sarah's house for dinner, he was more than happy to try corn without a spoon. Yum! He really loved spending time with some of our best friends - Joe and Stephanie were a lot of fun to play with too. Both of them have dogs who are a little more bold than Ernie - usually when Evan runs, Ernie just walks the other way. But this was a new experience to chase--and be chased--by puppies! Abbey and Dixie were more than happy to oblige, and all three wore each other out. A month later, Evan is still asking for Abbey (and mumbling what we think is Dixie - that's a hard name for a little guy to pronounce). See you again soon!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wisconsin Visit: Racine

Summer is the time for our annual pilgrimage to Wisconsin. We love being home and seeing family and friends, and this year we were lucky enough to stay for over a week. We traveled throughout the Southeastern half of the state a lot - from Racine to Milwaukee to Waukesha to Madison and back. It was so good to see everyone again!

We spent some good time hanging out with Gramma Kay and Grampa Arnie - and Evan won't let anyone forget that Misty was there too. He now thinks almost any dog is Misty. We all went to the Racine zoo one morning. They have a new zebra that we wanted to visit, and Evan was really excited to see all the animals. It was super hot, so we tried to go early in the morning, but we were still roasting the whole time. It turned out the new zebra wasn't out to be seen, but there was a great giraffe couple that were active and fun to watch. Evan's favorite place however was definitely the Monkey House. The star monkeys, the orangutans, were being particularly active. Evan walked right up to the glass and peered in, and lo and behold, the female literally ran over to him on the glass. She put her hands up to match Evan's hands, and they stared each other right in the eye. It looked like they knew what each other was thinking. Evan gave her a big kiss, which she returned. I think he would have stayed there with her all day.

Evan had a blast playing with Racine Gramma and Grampa. He got to explore the tractor, and Grampa even let him take a pretend ride on the Harley. Soon enough he'll be able to take a real ride... Evan loved having a pond right down the street. He was super happy playing in the sand and discovering the ripples that are made when you throw a rock in water. Some neighbors were fishing at the pond, and they brought over a fish they caught so Evan could pet it. He wasn't shy and gave it a good pat. That's a very new texture for him, and he was curious. Gramma and Grampa were kind enough to baby sit one night while we went to a concert, and Evan spent lots of fun time in the yard playing baseball, blowing bubbles, and picking up sticks, as well as building block towers and playing in an indoor tent. He already can't wait to go back - thanks for a great time!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Playing Around the Yard

"Ou-sai?" Sure, Evan, let's go outside! The weather's great, and we're spending lots of time in the yard. Our friend Caleb recently gave us his slide/house, and it quickly turned into Evan's favorite hideout in the yard. Thanks, Caleb & Family!!
Here are a few shots of us playing outside in the early summer sun.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! We had a great day today. Evan let daddy sleep in, then woke him with kisses in bed. He gave him gifts and cards (including a color-mug with his fingerprints transformed into animals and drawings), helped mommy bake brownies just for daddy, took Ernie for a walk, and went to the pool. I don't believe there were any time-outs today, and Evan was full of big tight-necked hugs. It was truly a special day. How blessed we are to have a great little boy, and he's incredibly lucky to have such a great daddy. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Virtual Visits

Technology sure is great, since it allows Evan to stay in touch with family even when they're far away. We had a great visit today with Auntie Chrissy. Evan was very clear in letting us know he wanted to sit in the computer chair by himself, and proceeded to have a full conversation, albeit mostly unintelligible on his part, with Chrissy. Then he got out of the chair and showed off his running skills by tearing around the room as fast as he could yelling, "Chrissy! Chrissy!" the whole way. We're so glad he can get to know family, no matter where they live. Talk to you again soon!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fridays After Five with Daddy

Fridays After Five is an awesome free event every, well, Friday at 5pm in Charlottesville. Free music and lots of friends - it's great. Yesterday there was even a flash mob performing to the Cure's "Fridays I'm In Love" - what a cool sight! Like much of the crowd, Evan and Mike were transfixed.

Sesame Street Live

Back in May we surprised Evan with a fun evening including pizza and ... Sesame Street Live! He was just getting into the characters, but ever since that fateful evening he's clamored to watch an episode or read a book every chance he gets. The show brought out all the characters in a story centered around what each one wanted to be when s/he grows up. Grover wanted to be a police monster, Ernie and Bert wanted to be Forest Rangers, and Big Bird didn't know... until he figured out he was a super Director of the gang's Pageant!

We weren't sure how the show would go over. After all, this child is currently deathly afraid of mascots up close. CavMan sends him into a shaking, screaming fit. However, Evan sat through the whole show completely mesmerized by the lights and sounds and characters - who kept their distance. He clapped along with some songs, but mostly stared, open-mouthed, and didn't move a muscle. I'm not sure if he ever figured out what was really going on, but he didn't hate it. If his new-found love of all things Big Bird (including the characters on his diapers) is any indication, it was a trip he hasn't forgotten.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flowers in the yard

OK, so this post has nothing to do with Evan. But author's perogative says I can post it anyway! So, for your eye-candy enjoyment, here are some photos of flowers in our yard. I've been having fun choosing and planting a bed over the last couple years, and this year it's really taken off. Maybe because I've been watering it more... anyway, I had access to a fancy camera this weekend and tested it out on what's currently in bloom. Sadly, some of the delicate blooms I had wanted to shoot have already dropped off! But here are some of what is still there. The hydrangeas are actually two different bushes along the back fence. They're almost right next to each other and are the exact same type, but yet different colors! Since hydrangeas react to the acid in the soil, I can only deduce that Ernie has a clear preference as to which bush he likes for his bathroom. I've seen him use one more than the other, and it's clearly affected the bloom colors. Nature is so very interesting! Hopefully I'll get to use the camera off and on again as more plants show their delicate petals, and will share more as they come. Enjoy!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Brewers Release Jeff Suppan...

Tonight was spaghetti night. Evan loved the meatballs, as usual, and the garlic bread was good. He even ate some noodles which is unusual, and better yet he used his new fork to eat them. What a big boy!

When mommy went to clean up the dishes, Evan stayed at the table with daddy, who had moved to the laptop that sits on the dining room table. Not too unusual. Evan was happily singing and drumming in his chair, so mommy wasn't worried from the other room. Again, totally normal. Suddenly, daddy starts laughing uncontrollably. Mommy comes in to see what's happening, and:

Oh dear! Apparently daddy was checking the Brewers blogs and saw that they had just released Jeff Suppan. This was big news, so he read the story. In the 30 seconds it took him to read story, Evan decided he was being ignored and took it upon himself to decorate his head with the leftover spaghetti. We couldn't have staged this better ourselves. Straight to the bath with you, little man!

Merrily, Merrily!

What is better than singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" in the bath?
Having Evan sing along! (In toddler-talk.) I just love how he says "Merrily, Merrily"!

Now, to get that Parmesan cheese out from behind his ears...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gramma Grampa

Hi Gramma! Hi Grampa! Evan now recognizes that there are grandparents in his family and is getting good at saying hi!