Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Learning is Fun!

Jacob and I had a very fun, but busy, weekend. We had a lot of things to take care of in a short amount of time, but managed to make most of it fun. But, of course, we can always expect the unexpected. We've come to the point now where it's a given so I no longer think - or dare even say, "I'm looking forward to having a nice, normal week/weekend," because it will never actually happen.

In order to get going, I was in serious need of this:

Irish Cappuccino only made better by the Seinfeld soup bowl I put it in (I have 2, shhh!).

Friday evening was like any other - thankful the week was over and that we didn't have a schedule to keep up with during the weekend. There is always something to be done but, for the most part, we can do it at our leisure. Unfortunately, Jacob was just curious enough to inspect the brake pads and rotters that we already knew we needed and discovered we needed them ASAP. Our good friend, Mike, Executive Chef at the super-yummy The Vig came over and hung out with us for awhile until it was time for him to head home to his own significant other and children. I then continued the dinner that I had abandoned halfway through the night before. Not kidding. Putting Zoey to bed and waiting for the chicken to thaw was enough for me to completely lose interest. But when I completed the meal 24-hours later, it was just as good.

While making it, I mentally decided that it shall be called the Man Salad. It has all of the veggies to accommodate the ladies, but with eggs, bacon, and lemon pepper chicken. I suppose in order to make it real manly I could have added some more pork and some beef. Next time.

First thing Saturday morning, Jacob handled our brake situation. He picked up new pads and drove to his parent's house in Columbus where his dad has the king's ransom of tools and another skilled pair of eyes. They managed to get everything done and Jacob came home by early afternoon. My parents were scheduled to arrive, but not until early evening.

I had wanted to go with Jacob but there were too many things to do around the house. And in the time he was gone, I only got a few of those things done; the house smelled clean but it didn't really look it. At least I know tables are dust-free underneath all of the clutter. It's entirely possible that the reason I was unable to get more things done was because of Zoey (not that I'm complaining in the slightest). She has been learning every second since the day she popped out of the womb. As she gets older, her learning gets more complex so, of course, I have to drop whatever I'm doing and grab the camera.

 We were afraid the ExerSaucer was debunked right after we gave her the Elmo Cart. Once she figured she could move her legs to move herself around the house, she had little patience for just sitting in one place for loner than 30 seconds. But, she stood up to play with it so the ExerSaucer has been reinstated!

 Here she is, learning all about how magnets work. She sat in front of the fridge for awhile, practicing taking the magnet off then putting it back on.

Of course, sometimes she had to stop in the middle of it all to applaud herself. I applauded her too when I wasn't busy taking millions of pictures.

 Her next course for Saturday morning was Physics of Toilet Paper. She learned how to unroll it and that it eventually runs out. After she emptied the roll, she grabbed one end and attempted to put it back on the roll (of which I have a video that I will post later).

We then learned where toilet paper goes.

 Next, she had Career Counseling.

She really breezed through that one.

 During some learning with Nick Jr., Zoey played with her Sippy cup. It had the last of her formula in it, and while she merely played, I'm hoping she'll eventually catch on to the idea. Truthfully, though, we haven't been too great with introducing the Sippy Cup; we often forget we have it when she's freaking out for a bottle.

 As we approached the warm afternoon it was time for Popsicle 101. It was actually mine but it ended up making me nauseated halfway through (thank you, intolerance to processed sugar). I let her try a taste, and while she didn't appreciate the cold, she was sure interested in the flavor.

By the time Jacob got home with new brake pads on the car, we were pooped from learning so much in such a short amount of time. Zoey loves dogs so she cuddled with some of her favorites and absorbed some more televised pre-school.
 This stuffed Golden Retriever used to be mine in homage to the late, great, Sam. Zoey has adopted it as her own since it's big enough for her to hug and snuggle (which she loves doing). Just this morning she crawled out of her room chanting, "dog," and while I thought she was headed for the actual dogs, she found her stuffed dog, exclaimed, "DOG!" then gave him a big snuggle.

 Our "three" dogs.

 I guess Zoey isn't the only one who likes a good snuggle, Durbin does too.

It was a learning sort-of day for Durbin too, as he figured out the best place to lay down for falling and/or sprayed bits of food.

When my brother was visiting, he was continually amazed that she "doesn't do anything all day except fuck around." While this is true (and funny, HAHA!), she is learning every second she is playing, so, in that regard, she has it more difficult than all of us. We might come across obstacles, but we know how to overcome them; she is still trying to figure it out and requires constant assistance which can be frustrating in and of itself. So even though the following day - Sunday - was fun-packed, she was learning and having new experiences all over the place.

The temperature was expected to reach 100-degrees so we weren't sure what our plans would be, especially since my dad likes to have his clipboard of fun. But being outdoors in 100-degree weather - baby or no baby - is uncomfortable and it's difficult to find things to do that don't include an endless array of sports programming. So dad took us to Lake Elmo, which is situated in Billings close to where we live. 

 My dad was the only one that wanted to get in the water. Five point to whomever spots him first. :-)

Daddy and Zoey watching Grandpa in the water; and everything else that was going on around there. LOTS of people and things to watch.

 Always doting Grandparents. :-) Can't get nearly enough pictures. Grandma is thrilled she gets to spend the next two weeks babysitting her while Jacob and I go to work.

 Zoey's first trip to water that wasn't a bathtub or pool. I have (well, my parents have) oodles of pictures of my dad and I in the exact same position.

 She enjoyed herself the entire time she was in the water, getting to know how it feels on her skin, and the difference in walking she undoubtedly noticed. Coupled with the mud oozing between her toes, it was quite the new experience!

 After getting used to it, she really wanted to sit down; one of the many reasons you bring multiple outfits (for your baby and yourself) when leaving the house for whatever reason.

 Splashing herself to the point of no return! She got all wet and didn't seem to mind in the slightest, just splashed more. She told me what she thought of her hat, though, taking it off and dunking it in the water. That's one way to not wear it.

Of course, things quickly evolved from there. I'm happy she enjoyed the lake so much. I'm excited for her to be a kid and for her to learn her interests and watch her have fun. At the same time, though, I love her as a baby and don't ever want it to end.

Post Lake Elmo, we decided to continue our "beach" theme with lunch at Red Lobster. Jacob and I had seen the commercials a few nights before and wanted to try and go this weekend. Lucky for us, we could! Zoey took the opportunity to nap while us adults had lunch, then it was on to shopping!

 The last time I went shopping when it wasn't baby-related was when she was still in my tummy. When visiting from Wyoming, my mom LOVES to check out Ross. It is cleaner, nicer, and not as jam-packed as the stores that litter the rest of the country, so it's a definite tourist-stop when she's in town. Although I'm sure most of the store employees recognize her by now. :-)

 It was an unexpected surprise being able to shop for myself for a few stolen moments of the day. Truth be told, I couldn't have done it without my parents and Jacob. Going anywhere with Zoey requires a 3-ring circus and whoever is with me is my honorary, voluntary assistant. I still felt rushed and stressed while shopping but I managed to snag a few new all-my-favorite-things, which included a new book....... (the next in the Confessions of a Shopaholic series, Mini Shopaholic)

......A new bag, new shoes, body spray, and the Bumpit. I never dreamed of trying the Bumpit but it was too ridiculous not to buy for $1.50.

We got home from shopping tired from the days' activities and worn out from the heat, but my parents were still ready to party, planning to attend the Billings Mustang's game that evening. This was how Jacob, Zoey and I spent the late afternoon/early evening:

Despite being extra busy with the brake-fixing we hadn't planned, it was a very fun, enjoyable weekend. It was a bummer to have to work the following day. Mom came over before we were to leave for work, ready to soak up some Zoey goodness, and Dad left for Wisconsin where he'll meet up with his brother. From there, they'll drive their motorcycles to Newfoundland and I won't see him until our family reunion over Labor Day weekend (I guess it will be a reunion in more ways than one).

It's a shame the weekends always go by so fast because we always have fun and enjoy ourselves; unfortunately, that is probably why. This week has already proven not to be the "nice, normal week" I always hope for, but good things are still happening that I feel good about. No one can say that I'm not happy (and if they do, they better be prepared for the backlash).