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2009 - Page Text Content

S: Notes for Nicholas 2009

FC: Notes for Nicholas | The Story of my Life 2009

1: With everyday Nicholas begins to change, grow and develop. It is a joy to watch each day unfold. Here are just a few of the highlights.

2: I can walk! | Thursday, January 8, 2009 | Nicholas can walk! It is about time! This evening Nicholas and I were at home alone and he started standing and showing signs that he was ready to start walking. I held his hands and encouraged him to go off on his own. Just before Grammie and Grandpa walked through the door he started walking down the hall! After that he didn't look back and strutted his stuff around the house. Things are about to get interesting!

3: So, we are off again! We are spending the next two weeks down under! We are starting in Auckland, New Zealand. We will be taking another cruise. This time it is the girls plus one. Nana, Auntie Kay, Lindsey, Auntie Mac, Grammie and Mama are all going. Nicholas is ready for his next international experience! He is a very seasoned traveler! Today we traveled from SFO to Auckland on a 12-hour flight! Nicholas was great! He slept for most of it and didn't make too much racket. He loved his pasta dinner, and his selection of movies and rugby games. | Off Again... | Saturday, February 7, 2009

4: Auckland, NZ | Sunday, February 8, 2009 | We arrived today at 5 am after our 12-hour trip! We drove from the airport to our hotel. It took about 30 minutes, and it was a nice ride. We all commented on how much Auckland reminded us of the Seattle, WA area of the US. We arrived at our swanky hotel, checked in and then headed out to a cafe for a little “pick me up.” We were told to stay up during the day so that we could acclimate to the time difference. So, we went walking downtown to take in the sights. Nicholas took a little snooze. We did a little shopping, went to the waterfront and then went to a mall; of all places! We went back tot he hotel for a little swim and rest before dinner. We had some Italian food for dinner and then went back to organize our stuff before going to bed early. It had been a long day, or two!

5: Today was the first day on the ship. We arrived early, checked in and then began to explore. Our ship is almost identical to the one we had for Christmas. But, this time we got balconies (thanks Nana!)! Lindsey, Nicholas and I are on a deck lower than everyone else, but it is OK because our balcony is twice the size! We walked around the deck and checked out the pools. We had a little snack and then went back to our rooms before Muster. We did our Muster drill and then it was time for dinner. We opted for the earlier dining time and it worked out great! We had a table by the window and were able to watch as we sailed away. We stayed up for the show (well, Nicholas fell asleep) and then it was time for bed. | Diamond Princess | Tuesday, 10 February 2009

6: Tauranga, NZ | Wednesday, 11 February 2009 | Today was our first port. Tauranga gets the most sun in all of New Zealand, but today was cloudy. It did get sunny in the afternoon and very warm! Nana, Grammie, Nicholas and I took the shuttle into town and walked around. We did a little shopping and took in the sights. We went back to the ship for lunch, and then to the pool! Nicholas went in the baby pool (1 ft.) and loved it! I took him in the children's pool and he met a little girl a few months older. We then went back to the baby pool and he played with some older boys. After about 2 hours, it was nap time! He woke up just in time for dinner and then the Miori cultural show. It was a long day and finally time for bed.

7: Today was a fun filled day on the ship. After breakfast in the dining room, Lindsey, Auntie Mac, Nana and I went to Ceramics at Sea. We painted ceramic pieces that will be fired and we can take them home at the end of our trip. Nicholas went with Grammie to a lecture but that didn't quite work out. They ended up going to the “fun zone” where he played with cars, went on the slide and was bullied by a Aussie and a Brit! At lunch Nicholas ate a whole bowl of pasta he was hungry after all that play! After lunch it was time for swimming! But, it started raining, so we went back to our cabin and watched movies before dinner. Tonight was “formal night”, Nicholas dressed up in his suit and was the talk of the ship. The ladies couldn't stop ogling him! He fell asleep at dinner, but woke up early enough for the show. We were only able to stay for half the show because I forgot to change him before dinner. So, his full diaper couldn't hold anymore and he peed all over me! We went back to our room for the night and went to bed! | Day at Sea | Thursday, 12 February 2009

8: Christchurch & Canterbury, NZ | Friday, 13 February 2009 | We arrived in the port of Lyttleton around 730 this morning. We were able to stand on the balcony and watch us pull into port. Lyttleton is on the other side of the mountain from Christchurch. We took a bus over into Christchurch for our excursion. Christchurch was named after Christchurch in Oxford University, England by one of the superintendents (mayors) who had attended Oxford. When we arrived in town we rode a tram that looked a lot like a cable car. We were able to see the town and center square. We did a little shopping before we went on our Punt ride. The punt is a long canoe/boat/gondola type vessel. Our guide took us down the Avon River that runs down the city park. It was really pretty, but it was raining and very cold! So much for summer!! After our Punt ride we went to the botanical garden curator’s house that has been turned into a restaurant and we had tea (hot chocolate for me) and small deserts. We all decided to stay for the afternoon and returned to the square to where the cathedral is. The cathedral reminded me of a modern version of the original Christchurch in Oxford. It was really pretty. We walked around and went into shops and then had lunch at a bakery. We all had meat pies. They were kind of like potpies. Nicholas had a sausage roll. We returned to the ship for a rest before dinner. We ate dinner and then went to the show. Nicholas fell asleep, probably from the rocking! Rough seas tonight!!

9: Valentine’s Day! We are in Dunedin (Done-ee-din). This port has a strong Scottish influence and is called the Scotland of the South (down Edinburgh). Our excursion today was a city sights and chocolate tour. We rode a bus around town and our guide pointed out several important landmarks. We then went to the Cadbury chocolate factory. It was more of a gift shop than tour, but it was fun all the same. We bought lots of chocolate, especially the kind you can’t get in the USA. We got back on our bus and rode to the other part of town where the university is. We walked around the campus and took pictures. The buildings were very old and had that Ivy League look to them. In town there was a huge street fair, so there were people everywhere. We went in a few shops and then it was back to the ship. We had lunch on the deck and then played some Mexican train. We went back to the room and watched a movie before dinner. We also took some formal pictures together before dinner. Nicholas is anti high chair so dinner doesn’t last too long. We went back to our room early again and hung out there. Nicholas tried to get into all of Lindsey’s stuff, so he was unhappy that I wouldn’t let him. Poor guy! | Dunedin, NZ | Saturday, 14 February 2009

10: Fiordland Cruising | Sunday, 15 February 2009 | Today we cruised through the fiords. The day was rather crummy- rainy and cloudy with spots of rain here and there. The fiords were pretty even though- very green. We spent the day on the ship and played all sorts of games. We started off with a phase ten tournament, and continued playing that throughout the day. We then went to play Geography trivia and then went to afternoon trivia. The trivia was pretty hard and we didn’t do so well. After dinner we played Country music trivia and we were second place! Go figure! We then played passenger feud (family feud). “Cliff’s Crew” got up on stage. Our question was: Name things found in a birdcage. The other team stole our points, but it was fun playing. It was a big day of games!

11: Today Lindsey, Nana, Auntie Mac, and I went to ceramics on the ship. We each chose a piece to paint and then it will be fired later. We had lunch in the dining room and then went for a swim. We played some trivia and lots of cards. Today was a leisurely day at sea. | Day at Sea | Monday, 16 February 2009

12: Day at Sea | Tuesday, 17 February 2009 | Today the weather was a lot nicer than we have been experiencing. It has been sunny with a few clouds. We watched a sushi demonstration and then went to play Bingo. We were very close in winning, but another person beat us to it. We had lunch in the dinning room and Nicholas made a royal mess! Pasta sauce everywhere! Today was laundry day so we had to spend a few hours doing that. Another day at sea...

13: Today was the best day so far! We took a bus tour into the historic town of Richmond. It reminded us all of Napa, actually the whole area reminded us of Napa & Lake county. We walked around the shops and stopped at an old church. On our way out we rode over the oldest bridge in all of Australia. Our next stop was the Bongrong animal park. We saw all native animals: tasmanian devil, kangaroo, koalas, bats, and some other animals and birds. Nicholas loved the kangaroos. They were free and hopped all over the place. Nicholas was able to pet them. He screamed when he was picked up so I think he liked it! After lunch we rode the tram into Hobart and looked around town. We went into shops and took in the sights. We came back and finished the day with the normal dinner and shows. | Hobart, Tasmania | Wednesday, 18 February 2009

14: Day at Sea | Thursday, 19 February 2009 | Today was another day at sea. We started with a cooking demonstration and then met Auntie Mac and Nana at bingo. We had lunch and then played some Mexican train. We had a swim and then a nap we finished with the usual

15: Today was our snorkeling day. Lindsey, Auntie Mac and I got on our bus and drove 2 hours to Sorrento/ Portsea! It may sound boring, but it was neat seeing how people really live. We arrived at the dive shop where we got our snorkeling gear. The weather was cloudy and a bit chilly, so they gave us wet suits. We walked to the beach and got in the really cold water! We swam around and saw sea urchins, starfish, biscuit fish, webby sea dragons, puffer fish, coral, sponges, and lots of plant life. After we were completely frozen we got out and loaded the bus for lunch and a little shopping. We went into the city of Sorrento (similar to La Jolla) and walked in the shops. We loaded our bus and began our 2-hour journey back. While we were snorkeling, Nicholas and the rest went into Melbourne. They rode the bus, tram and shuttle around the city. They did some shopping and went to a café for lunch. Nicholas loved the pigeons and tried to chase them. After everyone got back we swapped stories and then headed out for dinner. We finished the night with some phase ten and then off to bed. | Melbourne, Australia | Friday, 20 February 2009

16: Our last day at sea | Saturday, 21 February 2009 | Today was our last day on the cruise. We started with some Mexican train by the pool and had lunch. We had to pack all of our stuff, and that took a while! Nana and Auntie Mac had their horse race in the afternoon, so Nicholas dressed up as the jockey and we went to the races. He was a hit! Everyone loved his outfit and I think more people bet on number 3 because of him. The race began and Nana was in neck and neck with horse 2, but in the end 6 Ladies and the Boss pulled ahead and we won! I think Nicholas was a good luck charm. He had so much fun that when we went back to the room he put himself down for a nap. We finished our night with the usual...

17: All good things must come to an end. We prepared to leave the ship and had our last meal in the dining room. We all decided to go on a city bus tour of Sydney before we went to the airport. We drove through many parts of the city and heard a little history. We were able to take pictures of the opera house and bridge. We stopped at Bondi beach for a little look around and then drove through china town. We finished up at the airport. After we checked in we stopped at some souvenir shops to pick up some last minute items and then it was time for our long flight home. The flight was pretty good, Nicholas slept for about 9 hours of it! We got home an hour early and then we were able to relive Sunday all over again! It was an amazing trip and we all had such a good time. Now it is back to reality...oh well, I guess all good things must come to an end. | Sydney, Australia and home | Sunday, 22 February 2009

18: A busy, busy weekend | Saturday, 7 March 2009 | On Thursday we went to Grannie’s house for a little visit. We did lots of things and went lots of places. Nicholas loved strolling through Target, eating grilled cheese for lunch at Mimi’s and running all over Grannie’s house. On Saturday we met up with Uncle J, Grammie and Grandpa for a day in the city and some art. We went to Golden Gate Park and went to the Deyoung Museum. We saw two special exhibits on Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent, the clothing designer. I liked the YSL exhibit. It featured some really beautiful clothes! We also walked around the permanent exhibits and saw a Wayne Thiebaud. After a day full of art we walked in the park back to our car and headed towards an Italian dinner. Nicholas had some really good ravioli and lots of bread (carbs- his favorite). On Sunday we all went to church and Nicholas went to the nursery. He loves going to the nursery and playing with the other kids. Unfortunately there was only one other child and she was too young to play with. After church we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. Nicholas loved, of course, the fortune cookies. His fortune said that he was among many friends and his lucky lotto number is 12!

19: Nicholas has discovered a new game. He likes to take his play phone or a real phone and hold it up to his head and talk. He will play for hours talking on his phone. He is so funny to watch because he uses his hands and different inflections in his voice. He will even pass the phone to others and want them to talk to the person. I guess he has been observing all of our behavior at home and has caught on. I think he has been very observant since I am not a big phone talker. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next! | My new favorite game | Wednesday, 11 March 2009

20: Story Time | Tuesday, 31 March 2009 | Today Nicholas and I went to the Woodland Public Library for story time. There were about 10-15 kids varying in ages, but most were around 2. The teacher read stories and sang songs. Nicholas was very shy, but he was fascinated with the hair of a little girl sitting in front of us. He wasn’t interested in reading any books afterward, because he saw computers. There was about 6 computers with games for kids to play and after the stories they filled up fast. He made a beeline straight for the mouse. Overall he seemed to have fun. Maybe we will go back next week.

21: Happy Easter! We not only celebrated Easter yesterday, but Nicholas being 16 months old. We went down to the bay area and stayed with Grannie. We went to her church on Sunday and then went to Nana’s for dinner. James came over from Berkeley and spent the day with us too. The Easter Bunny brought Nicholas a blue race car, but I think he would have rathered a fan or maybe a wheel (his favorites). Nicholas participated in a children’s egg hunt at church and then another one in Nana’s backyard. He caught on pretty quickly what he was supposed to do and enjoyed all the candy! | Happy Easter | Sunday, 12 April 2009

22: What a difference a year makes | Saturday, 18 April 2009 | It is the Rugby semi-finals yet again! Last year we were in Albuquerque watching Cal secure their spot in the finals, and here we are a year later in Berkeley doing the same. You would have thought we were in New Mexico with the very hot day we experienced in the usually mellow Bay Area. This year Nicholas was a little more rambunctious! He watched about 3/4 of the game, walking around the stands and chatting with fellow Cal fans. We ended up walking around the field, until Nicholas found the golf cart that carries the Cal trainer’s gear. He managed to climb up and get on the seat himself. He “drove” for the remainder of the game and after until the trainers left. When he had to get off he had a royal fit! He loves “driving” and turning the wheel (or any wheel for that matter).

23: Lately Nicholas has been obsessed with shoes. He knows exactly where they are in my closet and likes to take them all out. He has learned to put them on too. He walks around the house in flip-flops, tennis shoes, shinny pink flats, high heels. He loves them all! He is so proud of himself as he walks around the house. He has even tried to put his own shoes on and actually managed to get his sandals on (the wrong foot, but hey he got them on). I wonder what he will come up with next.... | A shoe man? | Monday, 27 April 2009

24: My new car | Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Nicholas loves cars and wheels, so I looked on craigslist for a “little tikes” cozy coupe. I found a lady in Davis that had one. I brought it home and after Nicholas’ nap I showed it to him...he immediately got in and started turning the steering wheel. He has spent every waking moment in the car driving around the house. I think he likes it!!

25: Nicholas was featured twice in the “Cal Rugby year in review” photo gallery. | My first publication | Monday, 11 May 2009

26: “aaaaaa.....BOOM” | Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Over the last month or so things have been pretty quiet around here. Not too many note worthy events have happened, so I thought I would give everyone an update on Nicholas’ favorite things and what is going on in our daily life. * Nicholas loves smoothies, Chinese food and will drink liquids until he pops *He has discovered how to kiss, but only seems to want to kiss Rosco *We call him the “one hit wonder” because he says these very funny and correct in context phrases but very rarely will say it again * He loves wheels and cars...still...he basically lives in his little red car *He loves the water! Bath time, sprinklers, hose, swimming...he loves it all *We call him advanced because he already acts like a terrible two- throwing himself on the floor and wailing when he doesn’t get what he wants * He loves the computer! If anyone is using the computer he has to be on your lap...or it’s hell to pay *He likes to go to Church and play in the nursery- he loves all the attention from the girls *He like to climb on the couch and run back and forth...despite a few tumbles *He likes to run into things on purpose and say “aaaaaa....BOOM” and then bump into something else- Human Bumper Cars

27: We started our summer off with a bang. We woke up very early, packed the car and left for a long trip down to San Diego. Nicholas was asleep for about half of the trip. When he woke up he ate breakfast, sang and talked to Rosco for about an hour. He was really amused with himself. After that he started to get a little it was Sesame Street time! It was time to put his birthday DVD player to good use. He watched the adventures of Telly until it was over (another hour). After he finished that he took a little nap and awoke in San Diego. We met up with Christopher and checked out our summer place. Nicholas immediately went out to the big backyard. He played outside with his trucks and he even threw the ball to Rosco (the right way too). After we unpacked we took a ride over to the beach. He stuck his toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time...and wanted to dive in! After Rosco lost his ball it was time to go and get some groceries, and then settle in for our first night. It was a big day, so he was in bed early. | Hello San Diego | Friday, May 22, 2009

28: Flood Kids | Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Today Nicholas and I went to Flood church and he had his first big kids Sunday school class. Flood breaks up the nursery into babies through walkers and then walkers until potty trained. In the “big kids” class they have a more structured class with songs, play time, story/lesson and a craft. Nicholas learned all about Rahab and the spies and how God will take care of us. He made a wand with the story’s verse and ribbons attached. He really seemed to enjoy himself, and we can’t wait until next week!

29: Nicholas took his first trip to Dog beach in Coronado. Since it was a holiday, the beach was packed with people and dogs. Rosco met a boy who played ball with him for about an hour. Nicholas wanted to be in the ocean. He loved putting his feet in. We had to stop him from just diving in. It was a pretty mild day and Nicholas grew cold pretty quickly, but he refused to get out. I had to carry him screaming back to the soft sand. He found his sand toys and was content moving the sand and tasting it for a while. It was a short trip, but Nicholas loved it and I am sure is counting the days until our next trip. | Dog Beach | Monday, May 25, 2009

30: Nicholas and I went over to a local park with a playground. The playground was great because even the “big kids” play area wasn’t really that big and he could manage the slide himself. In fact, he didn’t even try to go down the little slide. He went straight for the big curly slide, sat down and went down by himself! Eventually he tried all the slides, but he really liked the big ones. There was also a steering wheel, so of course, he seemed to play there the most. He was content until he saw the ocean with some rocks in front across the path. Then of course he wanted nothing but to climb the rocks and jump into the water. Luckily I caught him before he could attempt anything. After I carried him screaming from the park we headed home. I bought him a plastic swimming pool (Rosco proof) and today was a good day to break it in. He played for a while in the pool, but it turned overcast pretty quickly and was a little cool. I turned on the hose to wear Rosco out a bit and then Nicholas wanted a turn. He waved the water around and had Rosco chasing it. He loved it! He was turning purple so we headed inside...which of course resulted in a major fit. Oh those terrible twos are coming! Maybe later on it will be sunny enough to stay outside longer. Until then we will have to be creative in diverting his attention and avoiding the angry man! | Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Park and Pool

31: More Playground adventures | Tuesday, June 2, 2009 | San Diego has been pretty cloudy, and even rainy since we arrived. Most days a jacket is a must. Because of the weather we have spent a lot of time in the house with the occasional visit to the beach for Rosco. Since we couldn’t lounge by the pool in the backyard or go to the beach we have been hitting up the local parks. We have been to Coronado and several different parks in Mission beach. Nicholas loves the slide! He is very adventurous, bypassing the toddler play area and heading straight for the big slide. Today was our second sunny day and hopefully we will see more sun so we can spend more time in the water...but until then the park it is!

32: It was a pretty sunny weekend and it was perfect for a trip to the beach. We packed up all the gear and headed to Coronado. Rosco spent the afternoon playing ball and chasing other dogs. Nicholas donned his life jacket and headed into the ocean. It was pretty cold, so he didn’t last long. He is fearless! The waves or cold water doesn’t scare him, he would float out to sea if I'd let him. After he was shaking and slightly purple we took him to play and run in the sand. Every time he saw the ocean he made a beeline straight towards it. I think we were playing a game of chase. Next time it is sunny, I think we will head to a mellower beach...or even the pool. | In the Ocean and on the Beach | Sunday, June 7, 2009

33: Lions, Tigers & Bears | Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Today we decided to head over to the San Diego Zoo for a few hours and check out the animals. Nicholas has never been to the zoo, but loves animals. He wouldn’t take a nap before so he was a little tired. The zoo has a new elephant exhibit that just opened and Nicholas got out of his stroller and checked things out on his own for a while. He seemed to really like the elephants. I think he could see them really well and maybe that is why he liked them better. The animals were very active and most seemed to sit by the glass or come near the fences. I have never seen the animals this active before. We got passes to the park, so we will be able to take Nicholas whenever we want. He seemed to really enjoy himself and we can’t wait to go back!

34: Today we took a trip up north to L.A. We decided to have lunch at the famous Pink’s hotdog stand. Nicholas got a hotdog, but then wanted nothing to do with it. he refused to eat anything but fish crackers- go figure. We drove to Universal Studios and walked around the city walk. Nicholas really liked all the elaborate storefronts, lights and music. We drove around a bit before heading home. Fortunately he did end up taking a nap, and didn’t mind being in the car all day...such a traveler! | Pink's and L.A. | Wednesday, June 10, 2009

35: Terrible ones? | Friday, June 12, 2009 | I think the call it the Terrible Twos because the terrible ones just doesn’t sound good. But, I think kids must start this stage earlier than two...or at least I hope they do. It seems that Nicholas has “Terrible” moments and they are getting more frequent. Today we went to Target and Nicholas got upset because he couldn’t push the cart around the store. He cried and wailed in the dressing room for about 15 minutes and then just wailed as I drove him around the store. I am sure people were wondering what I had done to that child. Then all of a sudden he stopped! Go figure! I think I might keep him in the house until he is 3...well, maybe not.

36: Today after some errands, Nicholas and I went on a dinner date for some Mexican. He got a chicken taco at La Salsa. Luckily they had outdoor dinning and we made our mess outside. If you have ever been to La Salsa you know that they play Spanish music throughout the restaurant. Nicholas sat (stood) at the table and danced to the music the whole time. He clapped his hands, swayed, bounced and bobbed his head. A couple of days ago we met Chris at work and we had to wait in the car for a little while. I let Nicholas “drive” and we listened to the radio. He kept changing the station to the Spanish channels! For some reason he likes the sound of Spanish! Maybe he should start learning now! | The Little Spaniard | Friday, June 12, 2009

37: It was finally warm enough to head over to the beach for a little swim. We decided to take Nicholas to Mission Bay where the water has more of a lake type feel and no current. He was able to play in the sand and run around without getting knocked over by a wave or two. He was even able to walk into the water and do a little “swimming” (standing in the water to his waist on his own). We put his life vest on and he floated around, with some help, and practiced his paddling. It was a little reminiscent of the British Virgin Islands, but with much colder water. He sure loves the water! In a few weeks he is taking swim lessons and I’m sure this is just the start of life in the water. | Sunday at the beach | Sunday, June 21, 2009

38: Museum Day | Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Every Tuesday in Balboa Park several museums have free entry. Today was the Aerospace Museum and the Hall of Champions (sports memorabilia). Nicholas is obsessed with airplanes. We live close to a regional airport and see planes flying over the backyard all the time. Nicholas looks up to the sky and says, “Plane.” I figured he would like the aerospace museum, what with all the planes hanging from the ceiling. He “oooooed” and “ahhhhhed” at all the planes. They even had a small jet for kids to sit in, so he enjoyed that. By far his favorite was the navy Blue Angles jet. I think he liked it because they had it set up where he could touch the wheel. He had grease from head to toe, but loved every minute of it! After checking out the planes, we went next door to the Hall of Champions and checked out the various sports memorabilia- mostly from the Chargers and Padres. He enjoyed looking at the balls, sitting in the stadium seats and checking out the surfboards. He really liked the “bike” or motorcycle they had on display. First is was “plane, plane, plane” and then it turned into “ball, ball, ball.” He fell asleep the moment we got into the car, so I think he really enjoyed himself!

39: Nicholas is off again on another airplane adventure! We went back up to Woodland for a family event. Now that Nicholas can walk, but doesn’t really listen yet ,traveling alone is hard! We went through security OK, until he found a broom and had to push it around while I put my shoes on. He screamed bloody murder until he got to ride the escalator. Nicholas was happy to watch the bags being loaded into the planes, the trucks whizzing by and planes taking off on the runway. Our original hour wait turned into a 2-hour wait when there was a security breach and they weren’t letting anyone in or out of the terminal. The place was jammed with people and all Nicholas wanted to do was be free. The terminal is shaped in a ring, so we ran around it over and over again. Unfortunately there was too much going on for him to go to sleep. We finally boarded the plane and Nicholas read books, played with his car, looked out the window and ate his dinner. Our fellow passengers were pretty vocal about their feelings sitting near a baby, but they ate their words when he was the model of perfection! He was even complimented by several people (Little did they know that he is a world traveler!). We finally were picked up by Steve back in Woodland. | Another Airplane Adventure | Thursday, June 25, 2009

40: 18 months of excitement | Friday, June 26, 2009 | Nicholas had his 18-month check up a few weeks late, but all is well. He enjoyed twirling the chair and trying to climb up on the table while we were waiting. Nicholas has been growing and gaining weight and it now in the 50th percentile for both his height and weight. He is 32” tall and 24 pounds. He is exactly where he should be in terms of development (although we all still think he is a genius!). Some of his favorite things are: *Trucks and cars of any shape and size * Airplanes * Books, especially ones that contain large portions of blue and red * Pasta, crackers, carbs of any kind * Saying- ball, bike, boat, bus, any word that starts with B * Throwing tantrums, being loud * Dancing * Kissing Rosco or saying “No, No Rosco” at the top of his voice * Learning new things * Being with his family

41: Today we all piled in the car off to San Francisco for the play, Wicked. We met up with Grannie and Nana. While all of us went to the play, Nicholas stayed in San Mateo with Grandpa. They went to the park and playground, where Nicholas played with some other kids, and then tried to commandeer all of the trucks, cars, scooters and strollers he could find. They played at Grannie’s house, took a nap and ate some lunch. The rest of us went into the city for the play. We had really good seats! All of us loved it! The main character, Elphaba had an amazing voice! I loved the part with the emerald city- the costumes were amazing. The set was really intricate and the lighting was incredible. After the play we all met up and went for an Italian dinner. Nicholas didn’t really like sitting in his high chair ( as usual!) and ended up on Grammie’s lap. It was a great day! | Wicked and a day with Grandpa | Saturday, June 27, 2009

42: HOT | Thursday, July 2, 2009 | This week happened to be one of the hottest weeks so far this summer. Lucky us, we go from mild 60s and 70s to 110! Nicholas enjoyed taking a dip in his pool on the front porch. But, what he really like was sitting on the front step and waving to all the cars as they drove by. Just the little neighborhood greeter. The hot weather is something that we don’t miss about Northern CA!

43: Independence Day | Saturday, July 4, 2009 | For the 4th this year we headed to the Bay Area to the annual Pickle family picnic. There was a big group this year, and everyone enjoyed catching up and visiting with one another. Nicholas enjoyed playing with the older cousins. He spent the day running after Spencer, Muriel, April and Amber. He surprisingly sat at his little table and ate his dinner in peace! Uncle Bob has some apple trees in the back yard and Nicholas picked up a few stray apples and had himself a snack or two. After dinner it was time for the annual homemade ice cream. Nicholas got right in there and turned the ice cream crank on his own for quite a while. It was like the paparazzi were there to capture the moment. Everyone had their cameras going with the flashes going like crazy. He was the little celebrity of the ice cream making. His turn had to come to an end and he got a little mad when it was time for Muriel to take her turn. Later on he was able to help Uncle J, Grandpa and me while we were taking our turns. The ice cream was fabulous, as always and Nicholas enjoyed his scoop. It was time for the fireworks in the park, but he wanted nothing to do with it. So, he ran through the park with Grammie watching after him. Maybe next year he’ll want to take in the sights. Half way down the block on the way to Grannie’s, Nicholas was asleep. It was a very good, big day.

44: Half Moon Bay | Sunday, July 5, 2009 | Today we took a trip to Half Moon Bay for the customary “after the 4th” Besser family breakfast. We went to a favorite restaurant by the local airport. The entire restaurant is filled with airplane memorabilia and Nicholas was fascinated with the planes. Unfortunately he was in a mood and decided to be unruly until his food came. Oh the “terrible twos” are coming! After breakfast we went down to the beach and walked (well in Nicholas’ case, ran) to the ocean and back. We went for a stroll downtown and window shopped in various stores before heading back to Grannie’s for a little Marianne’s ice cream. Nicholas enjoyed running around Grannie’s backyard and getting into everything. The ice cream was amazing, as always! We hit the road back to Woodland to get our stuff ready for our trip back to San Diego.

45: Well, all good thing have to come to an end, and it was time to go back to San Diego. Luckily we sailed through security and had a fairly short wait for our flight. Nicholas was content staring out the windows at the planes and trucks. He met two other babies around his age at the airport. He wasn’t too interested in them and acted shy. The hour flight was only an hour....thank goodness! Nicholas was excited to see Rosco and more importantly all of his trucks! Now back to fun in the sun, well at least for a little while anyway | San Diego bound | Monday, July 6, 2009

46: “It's a boat | Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | We had the opportunity to participate in a San Diego sail boat race. Chris took a sailing class through work and the instructor of the class participates in weekly races. Nicholas and I sat in the rear and watched everyone else do the hard work. There were lots of sailboats and it was a nice and sunny evening in the bay. All the ropes, fast movements and other boats in the water fascinated Nicholas. He was constantly saying, “It’s a boat!” Since we were in the water we got a great view of the helipad on North Island. We saw tons of helicopters taking off and landing. Nicholas learned a new word, “copter” and went back and forth from “boat” and “copter.” The race lasted about 2 hours and Nicholas only had a few screaming I think he really enjoyed the experience.

47: We took a stroll over by the water in La Jolla on a very warm San Diego day! Nicholas ended up taking an impromptu dip in the cool water. He really enjoyed it! He squealed every time a wave would come in. He enjoyed exploring the tide pools and picking up all the rocks he could hold. In the end he was so fascinated with some kelp that he didn’t even noticed it was time to get out. | Tide Pools | Saturday, July 11, 2009

48: UP | Sunday, July 12, 2009 | The movie, Up was playing at the Base theatre and I really wanted to see it. So, I thought this could be Nicholas’ first trip to the movie theatre. At the front of the theater there is about 12 feet where kids can walk around and some sit on blankets. We decided to sit up in the front so if Nicholas needed to walk around he could and not disturb anyone else, plus it was near the exit. The movie was about 90 minutes and Nicholas sat and watched the movie up until about 15 minutes before it was over. He stood up and sat in his own seat for a while, but didn’t get restless until about 5 minutes before it was over. Luckily we lasted until the end. Nicholas seemed to like the house with the balloons. He would saw “oooo” and point to the screen. I liked Dug. And we both loved that Fenton’s Ice Cream parlor was in it! We probably won’t be seeing another movie for a while, but it was free and we had fun.

49: Nicholas started swimming lessons today. Right now he is one of three in the class. The other kids are around 2 years old. I thought Nicholas had a natural swimming ability, but today I could really see how well he does in the water. The other kids were very fearful of the water and cried for most of the lesson. They seemed glued to their parents, but not Nicholas. He let the instructor use him as the demo kid. He practiced gliding in the water, kicking his legs, paddling with his arms, blowing bubbles/putting his face in the water and jumping off the side of the pool. He even went all the way under and came up laughing. He really enjoyed being in the water and screamed bloody murder when it was time to get out. I took him to the bay for some more swimming, but he was distracted by the playground and forgot all about the water. Tomorrow we’ll try to come back for family swim in the afternoon. | Swimming Lessons | Monday, July 13, 2009

50: San Diego Wild Animal Park | Saturday, July 18, 2009 | We decided to take a trip to the Wild Animal Park in Northern San Diego County. They have made lots of changes since Chris and I have been there before. The main train attraction has been changed to a tram. The tram gets much closer to the animals. We saw lots of giraffes having lunch, a cheetah sitting in the shade and dozens of other animals. Nicholas seemed to enjoy the tram and pointed to lots of different animals. I underestimated how hot it was going to be at the park. 95 degrees in Northern CA is hot but not the worst by far. But, 95 degrees with 80% was almost unbearable! Good thing we brought water! Nicholas really liked this monitor reptile and watched it until we had to drag him away. He also seemed to like the elephants, surprising us by calling them the correct name! As soon as we got in the car the heat got the better of Nicholas and he took a long nap! Despite the weather, the trip was fun.

51: Just when you think your child is behaving well and having a great day, you make the mistake of taking them to the grocery store where life seems like it is straight out of a movie. I took Nicholas to the commissary today and we ran through his normal naptime. This could have turned out to be screaming madness from hell, but it just seemed like one funny moment after another. Nicholas began by yelling Hello to all the other shoppers. At first they thought it was cute until he kept trying to hurl himself toward them while waving. They said hello and quickly walked away. He continued to violently drive the car around the store while make loud squeaking noises, yelling Hello and randomly saying, “It’s a bus!” but bus sounds a lot like it pretty much seemed like he was saying butt very loudly over and over. While we were in line I took this video (this was one of the calm moments), but I stopped it just short of the culminating event. He stood up in his car cart and began to grunt as loudly as he could (and I have never heard him do such a think before) and making very apparent what he was doing. All I could do was laugh, while other shoppers pretended not to stare in horror. And as I write this, laughing to myself remembering all the funny moments, Nicholas comes over and hands me his diaper. Yes, he took it off and is now running around naked yelling butt (but meaning bus). All I can say is that it is never a dull moment! | The grocery store | Thursday, July 23, 2009

52: Swimming Lessons | Friday, July 24, 2009 | Well, swimming lessons are coming to an end. Nicholas seemed to really enjoy his time in the water! Most days he did great. They leave toys at the edge of the pool and whenever Nicholas saw the toy boats he was done practicing any swimming. All he had on his mind was “Boat, Boat, BOAT!” Even though he spent a lot of time holding onto a boat for dear life, he did learn a thing or two. He can: -blow bubbles -put his face in the water -jump in from the side of the pool get out of the pool on his own -hold his breath underwater -kick his legs -do a back float (although he doesn’t like it) -feel comfortable in the water -found a love for all things boat Now we will just need to practice all these things and maybe next year he can be more independent in his swimming.

53: Nicholas took his first trip to Fairytale town in Sacramento. It is basically a playground created out of nursery rhymes. He seemed a little overwhelmed by it all- especially all the kids. Most of the kids were under 3 and he has never been in a place with more than a handful of kids his age. But, nevertheless he enjoyed most of the attractions. I think his favorite was seeing the real cow. When we got there it was right before the cow had breakfast, so it was “mooing” a bunch. He loved it- pointing and saying moo. He also seemed to like driving the tractor and “the Little Engine that could.” There were a lot of animals- pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats, donkey, cow, duck, and Nicholas enjoyed seeing all of them. He had a good time and feel asleep in the car. We’ll have to go back again soon. | Fairytale Town | Tuesday, August 4, 2009

54: A baby no more... | Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Gone are the baby days! Nicholas decided to vacate his crib and thus his baby days just as he is about to turn 20 months. Just before 6, he climbed out of his crib and went into the living room opening the gate to where Rosco sleeps, and then they both climbed in bed with me. At first I was excited to see him moving into his “little bed,” but I soon found out that with each milestone those before it were nothing to complain about and far easier! Gone are the days of making him take a nap and go to bed when I want, now he is in charge. At least he thought he was. Sunday he went to bed late and after having me lay with him for 30 minutes he seemed to fall asleep. But then several hours later he was up. Back to sleep and then up again. Monday I decided to use the Super Nanny method. For over an hour I kept putting him back in his bed when he would get up and slowly I moved toward the door. Just when I thought he had won...he was asleep! Yes! I broke him! I was able to outlast that stubborn little boy. Tonight I was fearing the worst (nap time proved to be another hour battle). On my own again I was exhausted and knew I wouldn’t last another hour. God must have heard my cry! 15 minutes and I was able to leave the room while he was still awake and he stayed in his bed and fell asleep on his own. 3 days down....a million to go...but I did 3 days! Hooray for me, but slightly sad that he a big boy. .

55: In the afternoon we decided to go over to a regional park in San Diego, Mission Gorge. I forgot how different the weather is just a few miles from the coast. It was still only about 85 degrees but a lot warmer than the 70 we are used to. We hiked through the gorge into queries and up the mountains. Nicholas was in his backpack, but he wasn’t too keen on it. He complained a lot that is until I found him a treasure to hold- a rock! After that he seemed OK. At the end of the hike he got out and walked for a bit, taking turns between being carried and walking (well, running). He got to see some lizards and a frog and thankfully no snakes. It was one hot a sweaty hike! | Mission Gorge | Wednesday, August 12, 2009

56: Swimming Lessons: Round 2 | Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Nicholas started his second set of swimming lessons. He was supposed to do it with Chris, but work interrupted that plan. So, a few days he has done it with Chris and a few days with me. Next week he should be able to swim with Chris. Nicholas is a lot more comfortable in the water. He easily jumps from the side or slides into the water. He kicks his legs and is starting to move his arms. He is getting more comfortable getting his ears wet. I think he really enjoys it! These lessons are in the evening and it gets a little chilly in Coronado, so a few nights Nicholas has gotten out early on his own- his skin purple! At least he doesn’t cry or get upset. Once he gets out he is focused on one of his favorite things- boats! From the pool you can see into the bay and see all the sailboats...he loves it!

57: Today we decided to head over to the San Diego zoo. Nicholas really enjoys seeing animals and is starting to repeat animal names and sounds. It was pretty busy in some spots, but that didn’t spoil the fun. He really seemed to enjoy the monkeys this time. He would point to them, try to say “monkey” and the make a monkey noise. We headed over to where the chimps were and the whole family was out, including two babies. They were mesmerized with Nicholas and came right up to the glass. They were literally nose-to-nose. It was amazing. They were so playful with one another and seemed to enjoy people watching them. Nicholas was very taken with them. He also really liked the camels and hogs/pigs. I think because they were moving around and he could see them really easily. At the end of the day we stopped at the kids shop and I let Nicholas pick out a stuffed monkey. He didn’t even hesitate- he wanted the one with the yellow belly and the red tail. In the car he was hugging it and giving it kisses. He then fell asleep holding the monkey. I would say he loved it! | Zoo fun | Saturday, August 15, 2009

58: San Diego Padres | Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | A family friend gave us some tickets to the Padres game. We went to the park with some friends. It was Nicholas first trip to a Padres game. Nicholas seemed interested in it for quite in the game for a while. He kept pointing to the players and saying “ball.” He liked the fireworks for the home runs and seemed to follow the ball in the air. He also liked checking out the seats, the floor, sitting with me. He got a Padres ball and button from the park for attending his first game. The game was an exciting win against the Cubs and proved to be another memorable family outing!

59: Our mini vacation has begun! We met up with the family in LA at the new Grammy museum. We walked through the three floors looking at music memorabilia. Nicholas enjoyed the stairs, escalator and the touch screen music components the best. After the museum we went to a famous diner, Langer’s. We got sandwiches and while taking a trip back into the past through the employees, atmosphere and food. We had some time before the game so we headed to Venice beach. Most of us had never been there...and was interesting! Lots of hippies, reggae and street artists. An hour was just about enough! With that we headed to the Dodger’s stadium for another game versus the Cubs. We sat up near the top of the stadium, but we got a great view. The Dodger fans were a little obnoxious, but hey we expected that. They won the game and it was finished with fireworks. A great start to our mini vacation! | Grammy's, Venice Beach, Dodgers | Friday, August 21, 2009

60: Watch out Disneyland, here comes Nicholas! | Saturday, August 22, 2009 | With much anticipation we finally hit Disneyland with a bang! We hit the park and started off with some fast passes and got in line for our first ride, Nemo’s Submarine ride. Nicholas didn’t seem to mind the wait at first, but after about 30 minutes he got a little restless (the line was longer than anticipated). But, we boarded the ride and began our undersea adventure! Nicholas was all eyes and really enjoyed the Nemo characters! Before lunch we took Nicholas to the autopia where he was able to drive one of the cars. He had a major freak out in line and cried after seeing the cars until it was his turn to ride. He didn’t understand the waiting concept. But, the Disney attendant let us go twice in a row- good thing he is so cute! We had lunch at the Blue Bayou in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Because it was so dark , Nicholas fell asleep before lunch came....but that was OK, it made for a more peaceful lunch. After lunch we went to fantasyland and then off to tomorrowland. Nicholas really didn’t like waiting in line and cried a lot, plus he was sick too. There were a lot of people in the park, but we were able to do pretty much everything we wanted to do. I think Nicholas had a good time, even if the best part was running around in front of the entrance!

61: This was Chris, Nicholas and my first trip to California Adventure. We started the day with a ride on the Flight on the Condor- the trip into the California landscape. Nicholas wasn’t tall enough so we took turns on the ride and he ran around out front. While we waited in line for the tower of terror, Grammie took Nicholas to “A Bug’s Life” where they had a water play area. Nicholas made a beeline into the fountain with all his clothes on, but he had the best time of his life playing in the water. We spent the rest of the afternoon going on rides and seeing the park. We had to head out early so Steve and J could catch their planes, but we were able to make a traditional stop at Knott’s for chicken dinner. Nicholas wanted nothing to do with it and was a royal pain, but he was able to calm down enough to enjoy his Snoopy ice cream. Go figure! It was a great mini vacation with ups and downs, but overall a lot of great memories were made. | California Adventure and Knott's | Sunday, August 23, 2009

62: Sea world | Thursday, August 27, 2009 | Seaworld allows service members and their families a one-day pass into the park for free. We decided to take advantage of this offer before we left San Diego. I wasn’t feeling well and stayed home for the first half of the day. Chris and Nicholas met up with some friends and checked out the bat rays, penguins, and Shamu. Nicholas enjoyed looking at the sea animals and wasn’t too sure about touching them. After a trip home and a nap we all headed back to the park for some nighttime fun. We saw a Sesame Street 4-D show that Nicholas loved and then checked out the sharks. He really liked the shark tunnel. We checked out the manatees and then headed over to the Sesame Street play area. I don’t know how much he enjoyed the rides, but he did like pointing to Elmo and Zoe. Before heading home we checked out the night Shamu show and took in the fireworks. Nicholas has a great time, and was asleep in the car before we left the park.

63: We packed up our stuff and bid goodbye to San Diego. Summer is officially over and it was time to head back up north. Nicholas seemed to adjust well and really likes his new toddler bed and room. Today I found a kids keyboard and mouse at Costco and hooked it up to my old computer. He loves the computer and throws a fit every time we divert him away from the adult computers. I set this one up near his “play zone” and he has been loving it every since! He likes and watching Sesame Street videos. Maybe this will keep him away from deleting stuff on my computer! | Home bound and Computer station | Monday, August 31, 2009

64: California Academy of Sciences | Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | I remember going to the Steinhart aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences with Steve and J and my Dad so my mom could have a “break.” I remember looking all the different fish and picking out my favorite. So, ever since the new building opened I have wanted to take a trip. We went on the roof first and took a look at all the plants and the view. Nicholas was more interested in climbing on the rails, so we headed downstairs to the aquarium. There were all kids of fish and tanks to look at. We saw a sea bass that was probably as big as me. It was amazing. Nicholas really enjoyed the lizards and the large fish tanks he could walk up to and be eye to eye with the fish. We went into the rainforest, but Nicholas thought it was boring so we decided to go into the taxidermy animal area. There was lots of large animals like: lions, zebra, giraffes, etc. But, the best part was the live penguin tank at the end. We were able to see the penguins dive in the water and jump from rocks. Nicholas really enjoyed all the animals and exhibits.

65: Lately Nicholas has been into trains. He has a “Thomas” video he likes to watch over and over. I thought he might enjoy the California Railroad museum in Old Sacramento. Since we went on a weekday there was only a few other people there, so he was able to walk on his own and check out the different trains. He was running around pointing and saying, “train, train.” I don’t know how much he really understood about the large trains, but he was super excited when we went upstairs to where they display old toy trains. He really enjoyed the model train set up and liked pressing the buttons. Everything was great until he saw the Thomas wooden train set...then it was amazing! He was so excited. he would have played there for hours. He loved pushing the wooden trains on their tracks and going from one area to another. After about an hour playing with Thomas it was time to go and of course I had to pull him kicking and screaming from the set. So, I guess I know what to start getting him for his birthday! | A train, a train | Wednesday, September 2, 2009

66: Labor Day at the Lake | Friday, September 4, 2009 | Ahh summer! As a child the conclusion of summer always came to an end after a family trip to Clear Lake; where we spent time playing games, boating, swimming and hanging out with family. This summer Nicholas was able to share in that tradition. Nicholas spent the weekend with Nana, Grammie and Grandpa at the Lake. I decided to run a 1/2 marathon during this weekend so, I was unable to go. Steve came down from Portland for the weekend too. They spent lots of time swimming and riding in the boat. Nicholas checked out the neighborhood parks and took walks in downtown Lakeport. He especially enjoyed hanging out with Steve. He even got to join in on the Mexican Train fun, but wasn’t too good of a player. It was the perfect event to bring one amazing, fun filled summer to a close.

67: Who knew Woodland had so much to offer! After living in Davis for practically my entire life, I had given Woodland a bad name. But, after living here for just about a year I have discovered what a great place this little town is. Today was Woodland’s annual “Stroll through History.” We got up way too early for me and hit up the pancake breakfast. The pancakes were great and Nicholas actually ate something (he’s into throwing food on the floor now). After breakfast we met up with our guide for a walking tour of Woodland’s Victorian houses. it was amazing! So, much history and lots of different styles to look at. Some pretty big families lived in Woodland and built some gorgeous homes. After our tour we headed over to the fire station to check out the vintage fire trucks. Nicholas went crazy when he got to sit in one and drive. He was squealing with delight. One of the volunteers asked if we want to take a ride in a 1937 fire truck, so we of course loaded into the back. Nicholas was a little afraid at first but after a block or so was loving it. He was waving to people and pointing at things he saw. After our ride we walked over to the Opera house. We said hi to Grammie’s boss, Galyna and her daughter who were dressed up and then we took a tour of the inside. I enjoyed seeing the inside, but Nicholas was way past a nap and wanted nothing to do with it. He just liked climbing the stairs. It is amazing to me how I never knew any of this great stuff and Davis is just a skip away. Woodland is a lot better than I ever could have imagined. | Saturday, September 12, 2009 | A stroll through Woodland's history

68: A Century Apart | Sunday, September 13, 2009 | It’s not everyday that you get to meet a relative that is 100 years (and 12 days) older than you, but that is exactly what Nicholas did! We visited 101-year-old Cousin Ruth and her daughter, Beth with Grammie, Grandpa and Grannie. I found it so wonderful to have the opportunity to talk with her and to hear her very vivid stories. She talked about going to school at William & Mary, growing up in Virginia and moving to California and teaching. She had lots of information on our family history and shared books with us that outlined that information. I especially enjoyed reading parts of Ruth’s masters thesis done on experimental tape recording used to enhance remedial reading. Nicholas enjoyed playing in her living room and enjoyed sitting on her lap. It was truly an extraordinary experience that I am glad he was able to experience, even if he won’t be able to remember it. (Ruth was born on Dec. 24, 1907 and Nicholas was born on Dec. 12, 2007)

69: It’s that time of year again! When the weather starts to give you that glimmer of fall, it’s time to hit the beach for the Annual family Cement Boat Picnic! This year the attendance was a little smaller and we all decided (without telling each other) to get to the beach bright and early! Nicholas enjoyed visiting with Aunt Onie & Uncle Bob, Aunt Kitty & Uncle Marty, Greg, Carol & Mark, Grannie, Sherry, Grammie & Grandpa. He had lots of fun playing in the sand and walking on the beach. I even took Nicholas into the cold Northern CA ocean water....he didn’t mind, he even loved it! We all took a walk down to the cement boat and took in the view. The cool Santa Cruz weather was a perfect escape from the hot Woodland weather! | Cement Boat Picnic | Saturday, September 19, 2009

70: A tractor | Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | Lately Nicholas is obsessed with construction equipment, tractors and any other large truck that resembles the like. So, I thought it would be fun to take a walk around the corner where the city is building a park. They were hard at work with lots of trucks coming and going. Nicholas really enjoyed it! He kept saying, “tractor!” and “you see it?!” over and over. Of course it was pretty hot (I didn’t think our walk would turn into an hour long stroll with temperatures in the high 90s) and Rosco could barely keep his tongue in his mouth, but is was a fun little outing. When we got home Nicholas was exhausted and took a long nap, and Rosco laid on the cool tile and took a snooze too.

71: With such a long line of academics in this family, it was important to get Nicholas into school early. UC Davis has a researched based toddler “preschool” like program, and Nicholas is lucky to have been accepted! This program works on social development, enhancing his vocabulary, exposing the him to new experiences and things and important school skills like taking turns, conflict resolution, transitions, etc. Each child is paired with two UCD students (they alternate days MW, TTH) and they act as their “buddies.” The students study their development and help to advance it. Today was an Open House for the students so they could visit the classroom and get comfortable in the environment before the first day. There are several zones: quiet/reading, imagination/pretend, kinesthetic/music, art/writing, science and another one that houses all the trains/cars. When we first arrived Nicholas wanted to play on the playground, but I managed to get him inside. He was shy for all of two seconds- enough time to spot the trains. He walked right into the group of about 4 kids and 5-6 adults and started to play. He was talking to the other kids, parents and teacher. He checked out all the toys, but loved the area with the cars and trains. Toward the end of our visit he started playing with Hailey on the indoor climber and slide. They were talking turns going down the slide and laughing. He had a really good time! He liked it so much that when it was time to leave he threw a fit and cried all the way to the car. I think Nicholas is going to thrive in this environment and is going to love his buddies! | Open House | Friday, September 25, 2009

72: Nicholas goes to School | Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Nicholas started school! He met his buddy, Melissa, who will be with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She is a third year student studying Human Development and is from Fremont. His buddy on Mondays and Wednesdays is Kathy. She is graduating this quarter as a Human Development major. She is from San Jose and plans on going into nursing. Nicholas went right into the classroom and found the trains. He barely noticed that I was there, except when I went to leave. He wasn’t sure he wanted me to go, but after I did he forgot I was gone and went on playing. The next day was a lot better and he seemed more comfortable in the classroom. His favorite parts of the day are playing outside and eating his pop (ice with a small amount of apple juice on a stick). He enjoys playing with the trains, cars, reading books about trains and cars, playing with the push and ride toys outside and running on the grass. In just the first week (only 3 days) I have noticed that his vocabulary has increased and he is saying more phrases rather than single words. He also has new interests like pretend play and dancing. He is really enjoying himself and it will be fun to watch as his development flourishes!

73: Nicholas celebrated his 2nd walk to end Alzheimer's. This year we decided to do the walk in downtown Sacramento around the Capitol. It was a smaller group this year, just Grandpa, Grammie, Nana, Nicholas and me. Nicholas fell asleep during the walk but woke up just as we finished. After the walk we went to the Capitol and walked around. We checked out Arnold’s office and the bear in front of it. Nicholas wasn’t too sure about it. Nicholas and I headed out early- toddlers in an echoing building just doesn’t work. So, we ran on the north lawn trying to get out his energy! For lunch we ate at the Buckhorn downtown before heading home. Once again it was a great day honoring Papa’s memory. | We're on the Move! | Saturday, October 3, 2009

74: Adventures in the Toddler Room | Friday, October 9, 2009 | Nicholas has completed his second week of school. He has adjusted well and starting to follow a more structured routine. During his first two weeks he met his “buddies” and teachers and has established relationships with them. He really enjoys playing outside, where he can run, push the cars and go on the play structure. Of course, he has already had some injuries, just scrapes though. He really enjoys the wooden trains and cars, and goes there immediately when I drop him off. So far things are off to a good start and we can’t wait to see what next week will bring.

75: It wouldn’t be fall without a trip to the Pumpkin Patch. We went over to Cool Pumpkin Patch in Dixon where they have the world’s largest corn maze. We didn’t do the maze, maybe when Nicholas is older. The farm had lots of varieties of pumpkins and things to look at. Nicholas enjoyed pushing the wagon filled with pumpkins. He picked out a small little pumpkin with a large green stem, but he was quickly distracted by another wagon. His favorite part of the trip was the tractors. They had three tractors set up around the farm and he was able to sit on two of them and “drive.” He was in heaven! When it was time to go he cried so hard and kept saying, “tractor” in a sad voice. It was pretty warm, so we headed over to Fenton’s in Vacaville for an ice cream treat. We also visited the play cars. Nicholas was way too interested in the cars to have any ice cream. He had so much fun that he fell asleep in the car on the way home. | Saturday, October 10, 2009 | Pumpkin Patch Fun

76: School Days | Friday, October 16, 2009 | Nicholas finished his 3rd week of school! he still is a bit shy in the morning but warms up after a while. This week he did some art with foam paint and continued working on the mural. He especially liked the wooden trains and the various cars and airplanes. He loves to play outside, especially with the cars, push toys and on the play structure. He still seems to be playing alone, but I am sure that will end soon and friends will be made. He is enjoying spending time with Melissa and Kathy, his UCD buddies. He really likes snack time where he gets to drink out of a “big boy” cup and pour his own water. Another fun week at school!

77: This week in school Nicholas and his classmates went on their first field trip. The kids were loaded into the buggies and they rode onto campus to the arboretum. They took in the fresh air, nature and got to see lots of ducks. They also observed fall leaves and the difference in colors. One stop was at the Egg Head statues on campus, which Nicholas really enjoyed. This was a favorite event for most kids this week. In addition to their field trip, the kids practiced jumping and other gross motor skills. This week Nicholas let go of all his separation anxiety and freely went into class without a problem. He is really enjoying his time in class! | Buggy rides and ducks | Thursday, October 22, 2009

78: I love, love, love water | Thursday, October 29, 2009 | This week a new activity was introduced: water play! Nicholas loves water, and this occupied almost all of his free playtime this week. He enjoyed splashing, playing with the boats and getting thoroughly soaked everyday. The caregivers enjoyed watching him play in the water and squeal with glee. The kids also took another field trip on campus this week to check out the farmer’s market. They saw lots of fruits, vegetables, flowers, but were disappointed not to see any pumpkins. But they did see some bikes and a Nicholas was happy with that!

79: Nicholas and I did an overnight at Grannie’s house. We visited with her and then went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. Nicholas actually behaved for once, but I pulled out my secret weapon: kids videos on youtube! I love my iphone! On Saturday we met up with our friend, Barbara and went to San Carlos. We walked around the shops and had a treat at Starbucks. Nicholas got a chocolate milk and played with another little boy he met. We walked into a neat children’s bookstore and a candy shop. Nicholas had a little melt down about a tractor...but fortunately feel asleep in the car. We arrived home just in time to meet Grammie and Grandpa and get ready for our Halloween extravaganza! It was fun afternoon with friends. | A day on the town | Saturday, October 31, 2009

80: Trick or treat fun | Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Nicholas' first officially trick or treat Halloween. We headed over to Nana’s street for some trick or treating fun! Since she lives on a cul-de-sac, I thought this would be a great intro to what Halloween is and not overwhelm him. Chris got a costume from a friend, so Nicholas was Frankenstein and I was his “mummy.” He actually liked the costume and wore the hat the whole night (now I just wish I would have painted his face!). When we got Nana’s we went to a few houses while it was still light outside. At the first house he was a little scared, but by house number 3 he was a pro! We took a break and had some pizza with Nana, Grannie, Grandpa and Grammie, then we went for round two. He really seemed to like it! He held my hand and was skipping and talked to all the people. He choose his own candy and even said “thank you” and “bye.” After a few houses we headed back for a taste of that candy. He enjoyed his one piece (he doesn’t even know that the candy he got is actually candy) and then it was time to head back to Grannie’s for bed. It was a fun and easy introduction to many more years of Halloween fun!

81: Uncle Steve came down from Portland for a visit before he was off to a seminar in Southern California. During his short visit, Nicholas stuck to his leg and followed him everywhere. He enjoyed watching his favorite, Cars with Steve. They also watched The Incredibles. Steve checked his alignment and gave him an adjustment too. That’s a chiropractor for ya. On the way to the airport, I tried to get Nicholas to say “Bye Steve,” but he would have none of that...until we were on the way back home. The whole way home every minute or so I would hear, “Bye Steve!” from the back and see him waving his hand. Go figure! | Uncle Steve comes to visit | Friday, November 6, 2009

82: Potty time | Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | So the adventure has begun! I asked Nicholas if he wanted to use the potty...and he did! When I dropped him off at school I told his teacher and she said she would ask him at “diaper time.” When I picked him up they said he went to the potty in a big way! He continued to go again when we went home and then 4 times the next day. So...the adventure has begun. We have a little potty and some pull-ups and underwear will come next. Nicholas is super motivated and enjoys his M&M for going. He especially likes to wash his hands and is very proud of himself. Now I just have to remember to ask him and I’m getting to know the bathroom very well! (We’ll refrain from embarrassing naked potty photos online!)

83: Nicholas is really enjoying school. Over the last few weeks a lot has happened in his classroom. They have studied grocery stores and shopping, mail and letter writing, jumping and tumbling, seeds and gardening and lots more. He has enjoyed playing with play-dough, finger painting (that turns into face painting), water play and outside play. Lately he has enjoyed singing the songs he has learned at school. His favorite is “Where oh where” and then you insert a students name. So, I hear him all the time singing, “where oh where Tyto....where oh where Asher....where oh where...” He also likes “Twinkle Twinkle” and “Old McDonald.” He has turned into quite the celebrity since being the only one to use the potty. All the caregivers and teachers are very excited! He has made friends with other kids and enjoys his caregivers. We can’t wait for next week’s adventures! | Where Oh Where... | Friday, November 20, 2009

84: On the farm | Monday, November 23, 2009 | After school one day I took Nicholas over to the UCD vet school. On a few of my runs I noticed lots of animals and knew that he would enjoy seeing the animals. We drove over to where I saw a bunch of baby cows, but they were nowhere to be found. So, we drove over to where the sheep where and there were LOTS of sheep. Nicholas was able to get really close to the sheep, but they were scared of him running around yelling “Sheep.” After spend some time looking at all the sheep we went over to the horses. He was fascinated with the brown horses, but one lone grey horse was fascinated with Nicholas. He wanted to check us out and loved to have his nose pet. Nicholas liked touching his nose, but then wanted to touch the other ones. Next time we go we’ll have to bring some carrots! It’s so great to have these animals so close that we can visit them frequently.

85: Nicholas’ class took a very exciting field trip to the train station today! This week they had been studying trains by reading books, playing with toys and being part of a kids sized train made of boxes. The kids loaded up in the buggies and rode through downtown Davis toward the train station. They window-shopped and observed the bustle of downtown Davis. Once they got to the train station they met the stationmaster and received a bookmark. Then it was time for the train to arrive. They headed out to the ramps and watched the train come in and then leave again. Nicholas loved this experience! He kept pointing and saying “Train!!.” When I picked him up from school he was excited to show me his bookmark and tell me about the train. We can’t wait until the next field trip! | Choo Choo | Wednesday, November 25, 2009

86: Happy Thanksgiving | Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Happy Thanksgiving! This year Thanksgiving was here in Woodland and everyone came to spend it up here. Nana, Grannie, Steve, J and the Waterman’s all came to enjoy the day. Nicholas had an early morning and fell asleep watching Cars. After a quick nap, just as the guests arrived, Nicholas was up. Nana got him some new toy trucks to play with and this occupied him off and on all day. He enjoyed playing with Steve and J throughout the weekend. One of his favorite things was jumping on his trampoline with cousin Lucy and then playing baseball with cousin Matt. He enjoyed a little bit of our turkey,”Foster,” but he had piece or two or three of pumpkin pie. Hey it’s a holiday! Another family filled Thanksgiving holiday.

87: The Christmas season has begun! This week we decorated the house, put up the lights, put up the tree and started the advent calendar. We put up the tree and of course, Nicholas is fascinated with all the ornaments. He thinks the globes are golf balls and tries to putt them all over the house. The tree has been decorated and redecorated several times this week and now I think the bottom half has hardly any ornaments (they’ve all been moved to the top). I made Nicholas a advent calendar out of felt this year, and on Tuesday we started the countdown! He wasn’t too sure what was going on, but by day three he was trying to break into all the presents. Now when I tell him it’s time he runs over to the couch and sits waiting for his “peasant.” So far he has gotten a ball, a nightlight and some trucks. He is really enjoying this tradition and I can’t wait to see him on Christmas day! | 'Tis the season | Saturday, December 5, 2009

88: Time to say goodbye and take a break | Monday, December 7, 2009 | The end of the quarter has come and with that it is time to take a break from school and say goodbye to Nicholas’ beloved caregivers. Nicholas has such a great quarter with Melissa and Kathy. He has grown to enjoy their company and has learned tremendously through their guidance. Next quarter he will have two new caregivers and if they are anything like these great girls he will be truly blessed! I had my first parent conference for Nicholas and it was a good one. He is very advanced in his fine and gross motor skills and is at or a little above in all other areas. He has expanded his vocabulary and really enjoys artistic and sensory activities. He enjoys playing with Andy and Asher, and any other child that is active. He is already showing signs of qualities that we look for for Kindergarten readiness. So, now it is time to take a break and recharge the batteries. After the New Year we will start a brand new quarter with new caregivers, new activities to explore and advances in his development.

89: And we’re off again! This time we took a short ride up north to Portland. Nicholas enjoyed the plane ride. He stayed in his seat and watched his beloved, Cars. Before he could complain we had landed. While we waited for Nana and Grannie, he got some of his energy out by running laps in the baggage claim. He even tried to get on the moving belt...luckily it wasn’t on! Upon arrival we checked into our palatial hotel suite (aka Steve’s place) and then hung out in Grammie and Grandpa’s real hotel room for a bit We then headed over to Western States for a little campus tour. We checked out the Library, the gym, the new buildings and strolled the grounds. I had an adjustment appointment with student intern, Steve Besser, so we headed over to the clinic. While I was in my appointment, Nicholas played in the waiting room. He met some other kids and played with some chiropractic equipment. We then went to a pizza place for dinner. Nicholas spent almost the entire time “driving” a racing car video game. He had a great time, even without spending any money! That won’t last much longer! We headed back to Steve’s just in time for Nicholas to hit the hay. | Up, Up and Away | Friday, December 11, 2009

90: Now presenting, Dr. Besser | Saturday, December 12, 2009 | It was not only Nicholas’ 2nd birthday, but Steve graduated from Western States Chiropractic College. We headed downtown, found our seats and got our custom made signs ready for when we saw Steve walk in. Well, that is just about all we did see. After Steve came in and the speeches started, so did Nicholas. He did not want to sit and listen, so we ended up sitting in the lobby for pretty much the rest of it. He ran around the lobby and looked out the big windows, and oh yeah cried and cried! “Grandpa....inside...grandpa!” We did get to see Steve walk across the stage and be presented as a graduate! After that we headed right back to the lobby. He then had a little meltdown and we had to excuse ourselves while pictures were taken. Go figure! After heading to the car and Nicholas promptly falling asleep we head to a BBQ place for lunch. Nicholas slept right through! After a delicious lunch, we headed over to some antique shops for a stroll and then over to the Alphabet district through some shops. We took a little break at the hotel before heading out to Tillamook Creamery for Nicholas’ 2nd birthday Celebration.

91: Nicholas is 2! Nicholas loves ice cream, so yet again we headed out to a creamery for his birthday celebration. We went to a local favorite, Tillamook Creamery. It was about 30 degrees out, but Nicholas had to have his ice cream. He rotated from booth to booth and enjoyed sitting with everyone. Nicholas ordered a Mini B (a mini banana split in a small bowl), but he ate Grammie’s whipped cream before his came. He then commandeered Nana’s cone and ate a god portion of hers before we scooped his Mini B into his own cone. He really enjoyed another ice cream birthday celebration! Once back at Steve’s, Nicholas watched a little “Ice Age” with Steve before bed. It was a great birthday! | Terrific 2 year old | Saturday, December 12, 2009

92: Birthday Celebration | Monday, December 14, 2009 | Since we were in Portland on Nicholas’ birthday, we decided to have an official celebration once we got back. Nicholas had a Lightning McQueen birthday cake and presents galore. Grammie and Grandpa got him all the matchbox style “Cars” cars and special box to carry them in. I got him a golf set and a remote control flip car. He liked the $10 golf set the best...go figure! He has been playing “golfs” ever since he opened it...and he has a pretty good swing! We have to watch out when he swings that club and smacks the ball across the room! After presents, it was time for Lightning McQueen! He even blew out his candles on his own! After the candles he promptly put his hand in the frosting! He had a piece of cake and was up late on a sugar high! But, hey I guess that is what birthdays are about! Fun, fun and more fun!

93: Today I decided to try and cut out gingerbread cookies with Nicholas. I figured it is kind of like play dough so he might be able to do it. I got the package kind of mix in case it went south and I laid everything out before we started. Well, he tried. He didn’t quite understand and I think he ate more cookie dough than I would have liked, but I think he liked playing with his little ball of dough. Maybe next year he will be able to actually cut a cookie out! | Christmas Cookie Baking | Wednesday, December 23, 2009

94: Christmas Day | Friday, December 25, 2009 | Christmas came in three parts this year, starting at home. We woke up early and headed out to the living room where Nicholas big train set was hidden under a sheet. Nicholas wasn’t even curious about the giant mound in the living room. After some prompting he pulled off the sheet and said “WOW.” Steve set up the train tracks while Nicholas opened some Thomas trains and a few other presents. He really liked playing with the trains while the rest of us opened gifts. Nicholas had his first taste of Monkey Bread for breakfast and then it was off to Nana’s for part two!

95: At Nana’s Grannie and her friend Diane joined us in celebration. We had a few snacks before Nicholas dove into his mountain of gifts. He got trucks, books, movies and the best of all....a new bike! We had to go outside and try it right away! he couldn’t work the pedals but he loved it all the same. Nicholas had already had a big day, so just before we sat down to eat he fell asleep in the den. Oh well...he could eat later. Before heading over to Grannie’s for the annual Pickle, Abramson, Besser desert, we played a little wii bowling tournament. We even got Nana in on the fun...and she was pretty good! Before we knew it it was time for part three! Well the third and final part of Christmas was here- desert. Nicholas enjoyed playing with Amber and April while all the adults mingled. After a sampling of many tasty deserts, it was game time! Grannie asked everyone to write down a Christmas memory on an index card without a name. I read the memories out loud and we guessed whom each memory belonged to. It was fun to see what kinds of memories were significant to each person. I love the family games! After several hours of visiting, Christmas came to a close and we headed back to Nana’s for some rest. Nicholas fell right to sleep (after thoroughly looking for his bike). It was a Christmas to remember! | Christmas Day | Friday, December 25, 2009

96: The day after Christmas started off with a great family breakfast at a small restaurant near Grannie’s. Nicholas enjoyed the pancakes the best! We then headed to the city for some site seeing. We hit up union Square and checked out the St. Francis hotel, the huge Christmas tree, and then went to Macy’s to check out the window displays. Nicholas enjoyed seeing the SPCA displays with the live kittens and puppies in the windows. We also checked out the giant Christmas tree in Neiman Marcus. We did check out the mall on market street for a bit before getting a little frustrated with the crowds and heading back to the car. Once getting back to Grannie’s we opened some more gifts. Nicholas got lots of great toys, including some fun books and a duplo set. Christmas had come to a close and it was time to head home. Christmas was officially over. | A Day in the City | Saturday, December 26, 2009

97: Nicholas had his 2-year-old doctor check and here is where he stands.... Weight: 26 pounds 7 ounces Height: 34 1/4 inches Famous Quotes: 1.-“You see it?!” 2.-“Watch Nemo...Nemo...Finding Nemo?!” 3.- “NO” 4.-“MINE” 5.-“Uh- Oh!” Top 5 things Nicholas loves: 1.Throwing all his toys on the floor 2.Escaping into the garage when the door is open and hiding 3.Waking up at the crack of dawn (i.e. 5 am) and staying up all morning full of energy 4.Quaking like a strangled duck at the top of his lungs 5.Screaming really loud and throwing things when he gets mad Nicholas got the memo that 2 year olds are supposed to be terrible! (Oh and he likes his cars, trains, books, going outside, going to school, singing songs and all the other more tame parts of being a toddler) | 2 year old Stats | Wednesday, December 30, 2009

99: This year Nicholas moved from a baby into toddlerhood. There has been much joy, memories galore and more adventures than I ever thought possible!

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  • Title: 2009
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