Monday, October 31, 2011

Massachusetts and California

On the weekend before Halloween, we headed back east to the Boston area and visited some friends.  Well... it started out as a weekend in Boston to visit friends, but turned into a lot of flying with only 36 hours on the ground.  So if we missed you in Boston, we're sorry the time got away from us, but we'll be back!

We were very grateful to stay with our friends Barb and Dave and meet their new "little" puppy dog.


Hello, Miss Barb

Dave's a natural.

On Saturday, we hung out with Ben, Emily, and Anika, and went trick or treating in their town.  Andrew went as an Ohio State fan - Thanks to Aunt Lori for knitting this gorgeous and warm scarlet and gray sweater!

Would rather be napping.

Anika the Elephant
After that, Andrew quite enjoyed rolling around on the R's living room floor.

Meeting the kitty cat.

Aaaalllllmost got it.

To cap it off, we met up with Harry and Cathy for a tour of Harry's lab and some pastries.


A nor'easter blew into Boston that night, dumping enough snow to essentially "cancel" halloween for the next day. Luckily, we flew out of Providence, RI, where they miraculously didn't get that much snow.

As a bonus, on the way back home we were able to stop in Orange County to meet Aunt Dottie and Uncle Jim.

We also met Mugsy.

It was a pretty quick trip with a lot packed into it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Weekend of Firsts, Part II

Don't miss Part I!

So the other highlight of the weekend was carving Andrew's first pumpkin (since we will be traveling next weekend and won't be able to).  Mostly I was excited about the sensory experience of pumpkin guts for my curious 6 month old.  So we stripped him down to his diaper and planned for a bath afterwards.  I carved the pumpkin with a single bottom tooth in honor of the first tooth that may be here in time for Halloween!

There are a lot of pictures here, but I can't help it -- the faces were priceless!  (And daddy is a great photographer!)

Note the look of concentration.

He's sucking on the cut-out eye piece

A Weekend of Firsts, part I

Earlier this week, daddy was enjoying some asparagus. Andrew wanted to enjoy some too.  He didn't end up having too much of that or the banana we offered the next night, but he did enjoy some of a waffle this morning.

 On Saturday, we headed down to Colorado Springs to meet up with Uncle Tyler, who is on TDY in Pueblo.  We met at Colorado Mountain Brewery to watch the Falcons take on the Broncos at Boise State.  The game wasn't a W, but we kept it close enough that if our defense had been healthy (like having ANY starters at all on the D-line) we just might have been able to pull it out.  Uncle Tyler told us about his rigorous pilot training - sounds stressful and exciting.  We are very proud of you!

We then took the opportunity to earn some "hits" in the US Airway Grand Slam mileage earning promotion and crashed at the Comfort Inn in Colorado Springs.  We took advantage of the indoor pool and Andrew went swimming for the first time (in his zoogie cloth swim diaper).

At first he was not too sure at all...

...but in no time he was kick-kicking away.  He has a great flutter kick and a great froggie kick, and I could feel him pushing himself around against my chest.

We are right in the middle of the 26 week sleep regression (thank you Wonder Weeks for making us feel not crazy!), and so the past few nights have been really challenging.  His body wants to keep practicing rolling over, which he has been doing more and more - didn't think that was possible! - even stringing multiple rolls together to move around the room.  He's also been scooting, especially on his back, attempting to sit up by himself, and he looks like he could take off crawling any second.  To top all of that off, I think his first tooth is just about ready to break through (it has not broken the skin yet, but is bulging up in his gum).  So there are a lot of physical changes and developmental leaps going on for our guy right now... and his sleep is suffering for it.  Hopefully it'll only be another week or so and we'll be back into normalcy.

Andrew also supervised the carving of his first pumpkin this weekend, but that gets a post all to itself in Part II....

Friday, October 21, 2011


So, yeah, there's an awesome story behind this one.  

So Travis was surfing around Ebay awhile back, and he happened upon an auction for a hotel voucher.  It was for the Hilton Downtown Atlanta, and was being offered by Hilton themselves.  The voucher was for two nights at the hotel, two mornings' worth of breakfast for two, and executive lounge access.  The bidding was around $20.  Travis was like, well we fly to places for less reason than that!  A weekend in a nice hotel sounds pretty relaxing.  So he threw up a bid... and won it for all of $27.01 + $5 shipping.

Upon paying for the item, however, Hilton refunded the purchase price!  They replied saying that the auction was actually for a different hotel in the region -- not the one listed -- and that they would be refunding the purchase price.  Uh, whatever.  Given that these stay packages have a declared value of $500+, these seemed like an attempt to weasel out of the transaction.  Travis responded to them saying that he was excited to stay at this property, and that he would contact Ebay if necessary since this is a breach of their T&C's.  Hilton quickly conjured up the proper cert and all was well! Despite the initial shadiness of the situation, Hilton did do the right thing and made this right.  Thanks Hilton!

And so we found ourselves on our way to Atlanta for the weekend.

Andrew enjoys his business class seat to Chicago

Taking a walk through Olympic Park

The Olympic Ring fountain

Nursing in the executive lounge, skyline behind.
It so happened that Grandpa Mike was driving Great Grandma and Grandpa back from Michigan to Florida on this very weekend, and Atlanta was right in their path!  They were able to stop and meet us at the hotel for a visit and a bite of lunch.  It was such a sweet time!

Grandpa Time!

Demonstrating the rolling... and chewing on toes.

After the family left on the last leg of their journey, Travis beat me handily at checkers.

This is just embarrassing.
Then we went to take in the Atlanta sights.  First stop was CNN world headquarters.  We took the tour and got to see a sound stage broadcasting live and another one (HLN) taping a future segment.  We saw two newsrooms, and got demonstrations of cool news technology, like the magic touch screen.  Andrew slept through most of the tour.

This is the longest freestanding escalator in the world - 8 stories tall and only connected at the top and bottom.

The CNN newsroom.  The director of operations is in the front practicing his golf swing.  Slow news day, I guess.
The next stop was World of Coca-Cola.  You don't realize how much a brand is a part of your life.  We aren't big pop drinkers, and yet it's amazing how Coca-Cola is just part of the fabric of growing up in America.  They had exhibits on the history of Coca-Cola itself, the branding and marketing through the years, and a full-up bottling facility bottling Cokes that you could take away.  Then they had a tasting room where you could sample Coke and other Coca-Cola products that are sold around the world: Green Melon from Thailand, Menthe from Africa, Bitter Lemon from England.

The inventor of Coca-Cola - a pharmacist

Coca-Cola product display. 

Bottling in action

The tasting room
We meandered back to our hotel, on the way searching for Underground Atlanta.  On the way we passed the park where they were holding an "Occupy Atlanta" protest/campout.

We found the Underground, but after dark it was pretty darn sketchy, so we headed back to the Peachtree Center and picked up pizza and stromboli to take back to our room.  That, along with freshly bottled Cokes and baseball made for a perfect evening.

The next day we had a tired boy.

We left the hotel and grabbed a rental car justified by US Airways' "Grand Slam" mileage earning promotion, and headed out to Stone Mountain in hopes of seeing the monument.  Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time before we had to leave to catch our flight home.  But we did get a nice walk in a beautiful park!  And as Grandpa Mike would say, "You have to leave something to come back for!"