Sunday, September 25, 2011

Going (well, gone) to the zoo

A few weeks ago, as mentioned in a previous post, we went to Milwaukee Zoo. Here's a clip I put together of the animals we saw and fun we had.

Peter Rabbit visits our place

We've read Peter Rabbit to Aidan. We have rabbits in our back garden. They've "enjoyed" the fruits of our labour this summer. So this seemed the logical next step.

Starring Erin and Aidan as Erin and Aidan.
Sophie and Allie as Sophie and Allie.
The dad's voice played by (and is) Jason Waller.

Inspired by Beatrix Potter and the many rabbits who jump around our back garden.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daycare day 3

An email conversation explains it all...

Hi Julie and Heidi, this is Aidan's mother, Erin. I just wanted to let you know that this morning was tough getting him up and ready for school. The first day was easy and after that it's not been the same!

I'm sure he will get used to it eventually. I'll be picking him up today and should be there around 5pm. Jason picked up someone else's report card last Thursday, Caiden's, and we didn't get feedback on how his day was but he looked completely wiped out.

If you can remember his day last Thursday it would be good to hear the highlights as it is still early in the transition.

Thank you and have a great day!

Hi Erin,
Jason and I touched base a bit this morning. Sorry about the daily sheet mix up! Between 4:30 and 5 is the busiest time at Little Explorers with lots of transitions taking place amongst the children. Jason took home last Thursday's sheet this morning but from what I remember he had a great day once he transitioned into the day. Full of smiles and very interactive. Hopefully, that is why he was wiped out. He does wake up groggy so he may not be getting as good of a quality nap as he is used to at home. Today he was sad at drop off but bounced back moments after Jason left. Jason did a great job of giving hugs and kisses and leaving without much fuss. That will help Aidan acclimate much easier to the new routine. Aidan played great with the other kids today and enjoyed our apple art project. He did mention you and Dad several times and does not like seeing other children upset for any reason. That is mostly when he has been coming up to me asking about you two. Playing and learning a new routine is hard work for any two year old and I think Aidan is doing just fantastic! We enjoy his warm personality and I am sure he will eventually take to the idea of "Repeat" visits to school. Rest assured his hesitance seems to last just a few minutes in the morning. If it should worsen or if we become concerned, I will certainly let you know right away. Thanks for checking in and we will see you tonight!
-Ms. Julie

Sunday, September 18, 2011


The week before Aidy started at Little Explorers I swapped my day off and took Tuesday instead of Friday. He looked after me the whole day and showed me his usual Tuesday highlight.

It didn't get much better than that, other than looking for it again on our travels. We saw it two more times.

Sunday roast pizza

Last Sunday we unexpectedly had Sophie and Allie over. They were put to work in the kitchen very quickly. Not sure Gordon Ramsey eats half the cheese he's cooking with, though.

Aidy's PJs

When Aidy was born, he was given some positively prim and proper PJs from possibly our most prim and proper pals. We thought he'd never grow into them. But now he has and thankfully he loves them.

Thanks Fred and Caz

Labor Day - part 2

Here's a catch-up post. The afternoon after a few of us went to see the steam show, we met up with Matt and Liz and their kids at Seth's and before stuffing our faces with burgers, brats and corn, we went to the park.

The big kids


The other kids


Day two at Little Explorers

Day two didn't exactly go as well as day one.

We don't have any photos or images as the images are powerful enough in my head.

Everything was going well enough through breakfast and getting his clothes on until we needed to leave. "You come, too, momma?" He asked. And when he realized she wasn't, it was met with a ferocious cry.

It took 30 seconds and distraction to calm him down. But as he was crying, "I don't like daddy" for the third time. I said, "Hey Aidy let's look for a truck." He was in the middle of a I don't like... when he finished the sentence with a "...oh, trucks, yes."

The journey was OK. We chatted about his first day at daycare and he pointed out a few parks.
And it was OK walking in and dropping off his jacket in his locker and seeing the other kids and building a tower.

But when I got up to leave the waterworks came back on. Miss Julie saw what was going on and promptly moved him to a set of photos to look at. But I was left the whole day with the image of tears tickling down his face.

My mate Chris has a daughter who has just started there too. He looked as white as I must have
when we met up, leaving the place. Drop-off wasn't good for either of us.

Picking him up was a little fraught too. His usual teachers weren't there and the stand-in gave me Aidy's report card. It didn't say much except that they were working on trying to get him to drink his milk slower. I didn't think too much about it except for like father like son.

But when I got home and read it to Erin, she rightly said it didn't sound like Aidy. And it wasn't. They gave us the card of a boy called Caidan's.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our little explorer

"After tomorrow, he'll change forever," said the person who's usually the least dramatic in our family, last night.

Today, was Aidan's first day at Little Explorers preschool. It was quite a nerve wracking experience.  But not, so it seems, for the little guy. 

At breakfast, you could tell Erin and I were nervous about his first day, getting him out of the house and drop-off, as we didn't stop asking him questions and talking to him - desperately trying to make the time go quicker so we could see what was going to happen.

Aidy pinches his mum's breakfast to get ready for his day at school
At the open evening, a couple of weeks ago, we were given a checklist of things we had to take on his first day.  It was more than some take on a two week cruise. 

When he left our house this morning, his backpack was full of shorts, shirts and undies; his dummy, blanket and bumblebee pillow. Then there was his sleeping bag - an alligator which eats him up before he sleeps. And lastly, there was his bag with his binder, sunscreen, insect repellent, wipes and morphine for his teachers (OK, no morphine). 

I checked all three bags threes times. Looks like Erin did too as there were a few different things in each times I checked.

We drilled him on potential questions

It was my drop off today and that's been Erin's job until now. But as the place is near my work, I get that pleasure. I'm used to Erin telling of an often clingy little boy. So to say I was wracked with nerves is kind of an understatement.

Well, at 7:30 - 15 minutes before planned - Aidan and I set about our merry way. We didn't sing nursery rhymes as I'm sure some parents make their kids do, but we listened to NPR's headlines for a bit, just in case he was asked about what was going on in the world.  And if he was, which he didn't seem to be (standards must be slipping in schools these days), he would have been able to say that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going to free some US hostages, Obama was on the campaign trail and Wisconsin has sworn in their new Democrats.

After that we talked about school, looked for trucks and buses, and he counted from 6 to 11, adding twenty for a final touch.

When we got there, Aidy dragged his sleeping bag to the entrance and I dragged the other two. All was going well until we entered the classroom and there was no-one there. His hand gripped me harder than ever and I could hear his mind ticking, thinking - you're not going to leave me here are you?

The class was next door waiting for everyone to turn up.  And when they returned, so did Aidy's smile and colour in his cheeks. He played a little with the kids on the sensory table and gave his sleeping bag to Miss Julie saying, "it's an alligator."

He seemed fine.  I on the other hand, had to be guided to his locker, find out where to put his binder and almost put the sunscreen in the wrong place.  I was becoming a bit of an awkward mess at this stage.

Aidy then spied the box he'd played with last time containing trains and cars. That's when I new drop-off was going to be a success. I said bye and he didn't even notice. 

The last moment of drop off - you can't see, but we're both smiling

After that, who knows what really went on but he came up with a great report card:

He had a great day! He happily went through the day enjoying the new toys and reading stories. Very talkative and a real joy to have in class :)

At least he didn't get the old "could do better" like the old man often got.

Erin picked him up.  She got there just as the other kids were preparing to go out on the slide.  This was possibly the first time he didn't have a beaming smile for her when he saw her, "but we go outside on the side, mama," was the reply.  After a little whining he got in the car and went they home.

I put him to bed tonight and it took a few times of me returning to him for him to calm down. But on my last chat with him he told me about his new best friends, Ttttoooooeeemms, Urrssssssleee, Aaannnnnoooaaa - I'll get the correct spellings later.

His story went a bit like this:

Urrssssssleee new best friend. Fun but she cry. Miss her mummy. I say I miss mummy too. Boo hoo. Then mummy pick me up and happy.

Great bedtime story.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tractors and trains

On Sunday, we went to seth and Alissa's for breakfast then the boys (and Amelia) set off to go to the Threshers train and tractor fair in Edgerton. It's only a few miles away so wouldn't take 10 minutes to get there.

An hour and half later, due to cars getting stuck in the mud, we arrived.

It was quite the exhibition of all things steam and combustion. Needless to say we got covered in soot and the train was the highlight for Aidy.

Aidy at the helm
Aidy and Seth mechanically milling corn
Train rules
Pat and Amelia taking in the view

Aidy practicing his royal wave from the train
A proud moment for the boy

We saw a lot more than this which we preferred to commit to memory rather than photos - that and the chief photographer was out with the girls.
There was even a parade of tractors showing the evolution of the vehicle. For something which is technically boring to me, it was quite the sight.

But the highlight for me was the journey there.  During the traffic jam, Uncle Seth and Aidy would constantly tell Pat to "go faster, Pat," to fits of giggles. While Aidy learnt the term old fogey. But I won't tell you who that was aimed at.

Milwaukee Zoo

This weekend was fun packed, as you'll see in the next few posts. The rain tried, but didn't put a stop to our fun.

We saw giraffes, apes, penguins and wild cats at the zoo but you'll have to wait for the video to be put together for those.

Starting the day with train ride - and a rare family photo
The favor is returned for Pat, Amelia and Roby
The view from our carriage.
Escaping the raindrops we visited the dairy area. It seems that Amelia loves tractors more than Aidy.
Aidan tells daddy that even though it's cold outside, this isn't a Friesian. Pull the udder one Aidy.


We ventured into the deep dark Wisconsin Dells to Mirror Lake one weekend in August with Pat, Roby and Amelia.



Matching camping chairs for the cousins

Batman came too

And we had lots of fun

We did the usual camping stuff: campfire, bbq, got rained on, played in parks, fumbled around getting the tent up, went for a hike and swim, forgot things, ate great food and moaned about having to wash the tent when we got home.  Like I said, it was great fun.

Monday, September 5, 2011


This Spring and Summer we put our garden together. My dad built the raised beds when he was over, Erin planted the seeds in March and we have all been watering ever since.

Here's our little garden plot. The peas and beans have long gone. But you should still be able to see the tomatoes, green peppers, cucumber and broccoli - no zucchini (courgette) we failed on that one.

Aidan's not the best eater in the world but he does like anything we pick from the garden.