July 2009


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Summer has finally arrived in Wauwatosa and we have started exploring Wisconsin a bit more.  Last weekend we visited Kohler-Andrae State Park near Sheboygan.  Among other things this is home to the Lottie Cooper, which I think of as the Vasa of Wisconsin, except that it was a lumber schooner rather than a warship.

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But it is interesting and symbolic of the shipbuilding industry that used to thrive here, as well as the number of shipwrecks on the great lakes, which are estimated at over 10,000.  We have also started visiting Veteran’s Park on the Milwaukee lakefront for Sunday afternoon picnics – that’s where the photo at the top was taken.  And we are now in the process of preparing for quite a few visitors over the upcoming weeks which will provide new opportunities for us to be tourists in our hometown.

So far this summer we have learned a few new facts about Everett:

-He does not like to wear anything on his feet.  Any attempts to put shoes, socks or sandals on him will result in screaming.

-Same goes for his head.  During the summer this is only a problem with the bike helmet or sun hat, but the outcome is the same as for footwear.

-He seems amused when we try to teach him things, and usually doesn’t pay much attention.  Yet he continually surprises us with things that he has learned without our intervention.  Recent examples: how to blow his nose or wash his hands.

-He seems ready to start walking.  Over the last couple weeks he has started standing by himself.  Last week Melissa bought him a cart that we hope he will use to help us with yardwork, but in the meantime he discovered that it is handy to hang onto for practice as you can see in the video below.

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Happy Independence Day to our family and friends, especially those overseas who might not experience a celebration in their current country.  We wish you were here with us – you know who you are.

This was Everett’s second July 4th.  We were reflecting on what we did for July 4th last year and discovered that neither of us could remember, which is probably a reflection of our sleep deprived state at the time.  This was also when we were packing up our house in the Cleveland for the move to Wauwatosa.  We had a lot going on.  For this July 4th we had some friends over for the kid’s festival in the afternoon at Hart Park (which is where Everett’s photo above was taken in his red, white and blue outfit), then cooked steaks on the grill and watched the Wauwatosa fireworks from behind our house.  This was followed by the Kavanaugh fireworks, which were set off by people who will not be identified in order to avoid incriminating anyone.  When I was growing up in Maryland the only legal fireworks were sparklers, so when we traveled to other states such as South Carolina we used to load up on the good stuff and bring them back to Maryland or shoot then off in Grandma’s back yard in Washington, DC.  I thought those fireworks were pretty big time until I saw the Kavanaugh show, which was truly impressive.  I have no idea where they came from, and I don’t think I want to know, but they rivaled those used at professional fireworks shows.

Everett slept through all of this, but is nonetheless experiencing his own form of independence.  He seems to go through phases every few weeks where he clings to us, then explores a bit further out on his own.  He is also developing more and more preferences about the way he wants things.  For example: Cheerios are out, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish are in; bananas are out, nectarines are in; sleeping late is something he hasn’t done in a while, and as a result our days of getting up around 6 am are in.  It is also very interesting to watch him develop new language skills, mostly receptive but from time to time he throws in a new word.  Sometimes he is mimicking us, but other times he learns something new without our help or knowledge and shares it with us when we feels the time is right.

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Beach Week

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Chris grew up in Maryland, and during most summers he would visit the beach with his family.  We occasionally traveled south, but most often we vacationed at the Delaware beaches.  This year we kept the tradition going by traveling to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Our first couple days at the beach were pretty eventful.  We celebrated Father’s Day with Eileen and Sean and Kathy and Dillon and Connor.  For dinner we ate steak, shrimp potatoes and peppers cooked on he grill; Sean even ate some grilled veggies.  Everett got his first fat lip when he fell onto the footboard on the bed; thankfully this was almost gone in about 24 hours.  He tried beach custard for the first time, which is different from Wisconsin custard, and which he developed an immediate preference for.  He also tried boardwalk french fries for the first time but did not immediately take to them, perhaps because salt and vinegar fries are an acquired taste, especially in the concentrations used by his parents.  The highlight so far was his first trip to the beach.  After talking with other parents we knew that children can have a variety of reactions toward the water.  Everett’s was to make a beeline for the ocean, roar at the waves when they came in and wave to people while waiting for the next one.

It took a couple days for us to get into a rhythm with the kids, and to adjust to the fact that we just can’t fit as many things in a day when we are on vacation with them.  But once we figured it out the week went really smoothly.  We had great weather, and surprisingly none of the kids got sunburned.

Photos and videos of the trip are here.

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