Saturday, July 31, 2010

Birthday Wheels

He already knows how to use it!

Axel got a birthday present in the mail yesterday from Grandma Salisbury, and since a) we will be in Hawaii for his birthday, and b) he has no clue it's his birthday or what a birthday is, I have been letting him open his presents early.

Anyway, he loves his trike bike! Thanks, Grandma!

Axel and Suraya survey her neighbor's yard.

We returned from our hike Friday to discover a broken hot water heater. We didn't have any hot water when we returned from Idaho, so I figured the pilot was out. When I went outside to light it after our hike, I discovered the door to the cabinet (it is on the side of our house, outside) was off, and bent, and things seemed damp. I couldn't get the pilot to light at all. I didn't have a clue what might have happened to the heater, or who would have wanted to bust into the cabinet, and I was befuddled. And mad!

I went inside and was going to try to contact Dave when I got a call from my neighbor, Lynn, who thought I was still in Idaho. Our gardener had noticed the leak (it flooded the back yard), opened the cabinet to turn off the water, and contacted our neighbors to try to get hold of me. Whew! What a nice yard keeper I have! It's comforting to be surrounded by such dependable people.

I called the water heater manufacturer to report the problem with our 3-year-old tank, and they confirmed it was still under warranty, minus labor, and put me in touch with three local plumbers. The one I was able to reach quoted me $350, plus installation parts. Wow! I didn't know what else to do, and they were able to have me fixed up within hours.

I told my neighbor, for some reason, and she said that price was highway robbery. She called a local supplier, explained that my husband is deployed, and that I have a baby, and really played up my plight. The supplier said they had the replacement unit and would do the paperwork for me if we could come and pick it up.

Axel was napping from the hike, and I couldn't go with them to get the tank, so they went for me! Wow. Thanks, John and Catherine! They got my new tank, called their plumber/firefighter friend, and arranged to install it in the morning.

Gerry the Firefighter had the old unit out and the new one in within an hour, and he hauled off the old one. Gerry, Catherine, and John, we don't know how to thank you enough! THANK YOU!!!

IN THE MEANTIME, Friday, after the hike, we had to fend for ourselves with no hot water and nothing but a trickle of cold. I boiled water to wash bottles and dishes, and I used boiled water and a CamelBak to rig a little shower to rid myself of the filth from our hike.

That evening, Deb invited us over for dinner, and she said I could bathe Axel there. After a delicious plate of fish tacos and a romp with Ollie the Cat, we put the kids in the tub. Take a look at the pics for the whole story.

Axel rides the tortoise statue next door to Suraya's.

The babies and Ollie the Cat actually caused a crowd of adoring gawkers to gather on the sidewalk to admire the spectacle. Axel just loves kitties!

Suraya didn't know what to make of a naked...boy... What on Earth is that THING!?

Axel seemed a little shy and reserved when forced to share a bath for the first time.

Back in the privacy and security of his own "tub" tonight, Axel was able to relax and let loose again. What a CUTIE!!!

At the top of Mt. Helix.

Axel and I woke up Friday thinking about Brillo. It is very strange not having him here. Everything I thought of to do when I woke up and began planning our day involved Brillo activities. Walking around the Village? No fun without Brillo. Hiking? But what about Brillo? Fiesta Island? It's a dog park, for crying out loud!

We finally settled on hiking Cowles Mountain, which can be a Brillo thing to do, but which is easier and faster without a hot dog stopping in every single spot of shade along the entire trail. SO, we decided to take advantage of our lack of a dog and hike the front side all the way to the top.

Axel sang most of the way up, and we had a grand old time, in spite of the fact that every dog we saw made us miss Brillo all the more. About half way down, I glanced over my shoulder and noticed Axel's head bobbing around. He was out cold. He woke up when I put him in his car seat, and he stayed awake in the car, but he was happy to get into bed to take his nap when we returned home. I think we'll hike it again Sunday. WE MISS YOU, BRILLO!

At the bottom of Mt Helix.

Grandma and Axel look at our brown and orange airplane at the Boise terminal.

Well, our Boise vacation has come to an end. Axel and I returned to San Diego Thursday to get ready for our Hawaii trip and have a little down time at home. It was hard to leave Grandma and Grandpa, not to mention our sweet Brillo Dog. We miss them all so much!

The flight was a good practice run for our trip to Hawaii. Axel was very good, though not perfect. He was challenging in the sense that he was active and required entertainment and distraction. The six-hour flight to Hawaii is going to be taxing, to be sure...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ba-bada-baaaaah, bada-ba-ba-ba-baaaaaaaaa!

Drum roll, please...

Tippy, tippy, tippy toe! Look at me!!! Here I go!

This evening, I decided to take Axel and Brillo out back to wind them down before bed. The neighbors were out, so we walked over there to say hi. Axel loves to climb in their great-big fountain. And when I say climb, I mean climb. It's quite a feat to go to the top of that waterfall, and Axel did it over and over again. Afterward, I decided to try and see if he would practice walking from me to Lisa or one of the girls. When we were at Marcia's earlier, he did take several steps from me to her and back. He started that a couple of weeks ago between my mom and me, but I noticed a change in his attitude today. He seemed more eager and less tentative. With my folks away at their boat, we have been doing a lot of one-hand strolling, but I suspected he needed to span the gap between two people to really get going.

Well, boy were we all in for a big surprise! I WISH I had captured it on film, because it blew us all away. I let go of him, and he ran more than 10 steps, hands straight up in the air like an orangutan, right to Lisa. It was mind bottling [sic].

I pulled out the iPhone and managed to capture some more excellent moments. The videos show one hell of a gung-ho kid! He seemed genuinely thrilled at our cheers, and he was definitely showing off for us. He's quite the ham. (Earlier today, I was photographing him stacking mac'n cheese cups, and he cried when I put the camera down. He wasn't finished hamming it up.)

Anyway, I am really excited, because I wanted him walking before our trip to Hawaii next month. Also, I think he and Brillo will become really tight once Brillo realizes how fun it is to play chase with The Boy.

Enjoy these videos of my little drunken sailor. They are priceless.

Are you KIDDING me? Wow!

Here I go! No coaxing required.

False start, with an exceptional finish.

Here I come, Mommy! I'm an orangutan!

I'm so proud of myself! I didn't even crash until Mommy grabbed my arm.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Buddy

This is the view I had this morning.

Axel was all snuggly this morning, so I brought him into bed with me...and he promptly fell asleep on my pillows (not a euphemism, haha). Brillo is an excellent snuggler, but I needed a little extra this morning, and Axel provided it. I just wished he'd provided it a little later. I was TIE-ERRD!

Today, after our morning ride/hunt, we mowed the lawn. Fun! Axel enjoyed riding in my backpack while I mowed--until I stooped under a low branch but didn't stoop low enough for Axel
s head to clear it. Bonk! Woops. After soothing him, I decided to put him in his play pen while I did the back yard, but he was having none of that. He wailed until I put him back into his happy place: the Kelty pack, securely attached to my back. It makes me think he might need a toy lawn mower for his upcoming birthday. He rather liked mowing the lawn.

After mowing and eating, it was time for a nap. Later, we did a fun little bike ride/quail hunt with Brillo, and then we packed into the car and drove to the river so the B-man could cool off. Axel made me walk all over the park with him while Brillo played with dogs, hunted butterflies, pestered children, and swam. Even here in Idaho, where the breed is a bit more common thanks to the greater preponderance of bird hunters, Brillo still garners tons of attention and inquiries. He's such a rock star.

We dropped Brillo off at home after our river fun, and Axel and I went to Fred Myers for pool toys. I wanted to buy him a kick board, because he really likes the one he used in swim class. Target is too far away, and Freddies has all sorts of stuff. Think (Mini) Target and Ace meet Albertson's. Unfortunately, they didn't have any kick boards. Fortunately, they did have a wicked-awesome sale on kids' clothes and toys. I bought several shirts and shorts for $4 each, and I bought three toys for 60% off! He loves stacking and nesting toys, so I bought two, and I could NOT pass up the hugenormous Tonka dump truck as an early birthday present. He loves scooting things across the floor, and I've been dying to get him a Tonka truck. I'll post pictures of him loving his new truck as soon as I download the big camera. He loves that thing--and it's practically bigger than he is!

Mmmm. Red Vines!

After playing outside a bit, walking all over the grassy common area, pulling the poop bags out of their housing, eating Red Vines, and getting trampled by the neighbor's dog, I'd had enough. We played inside for a while, ate, bathed, played some more, and hit the hay. Well, he hit the hay. I hit the couch. Since I'm unable to watch all my usual shows (because I record them at home and will view them later), I am once again addicted to HGTV. It was my channel of choice back when I was booby feeding the boy in the wee hours every night. I love Dear Genevieve, Design Star, Designed to Sell, Design on a Dime, Property Virgins, and Color Splash: Miami. You can get so many awesome ideas for home improvements and decorating when watching HGTV. Honey? I have some things I want to do...

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Importance of Poop.......Bags.

Today, the Ax Man discovered the poop bag dispenser behind my parents' house. I showed him how to pull a bag out, and now he is a bag pulling fool! By the time I finished snapping pictures of him, he had OD'd on NINE bags. That's a lot of poop-scooping capability!

Axel and Brillo and I are having fun here in Boise. Every day, we swim, ride bikes, look for quail, and go to the river. During each of these activities, minus the swim part, it is important to always be armed with a poop bag for Brillo's little...indiscretions. It seems Axel has learned how to be a responsible pet owner.

Axel is campaigning to bring awareness to the importance of picking up after your pet.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yesterday? Fun. Today? Not so much.

Yesterday, We went on a bike ride in the morning. Brillo, Axel, and I all had fun. Then, we went to the River and Brillo swam. Then? We had a nap. After that, we went on another bike ride. Brillo was so hot. So what did we do? We went to the river and watched him swim. We stayed a long time and had all sorts of fun.

Today, we went to the emergency veterinarian. Why? Well, last night, Brillo was chewing at his paw. Uh oh. Sure enough, he had a big fox tail (a California term), or piece of cheat grass (Idaho term) stuck between his toes, working its way into his skin. He wouldn't let me get it, of course, so I knew I would have to to go to the vet. No biggie, I thought, because my mom has a good one. He always needs sedation for stuff like that, because he WILL NOT tolerate any funny business concerning his feet. Anyway, his nails were too long (no funny business, remember?), and his anal gland needed expressing (I'm the one who won't tolerate THAT funny business).

So, the next morning, I waited until 8:00 and called the vet. Closed? OH! DUH! It's Sunday. It figures. Brillo only needs immediate attention on weekends, that way we get to pay a premium at the emergency clinic. So, we all piled into the car for a fun trip downtown.

When we got there, there was a call from a frantic woman who's dog had swallowed a whole bottle of her other dog's Phenobarbital and was unresponsive. Crap! Poor doggie! So, we didn't mind having to wait while everyone helped that patient. I still don't know if he made it. He was cool looking, like a coon hound, or something. Anyway, they finally checked him and gave me an estimate, and I had to leave him there because of how busy they were. That was around 1000, and we had arrived at 0900. When I told the tech I brought him in because he requires sedation for that sort of thing, she said, "Well, he is a Griffon." What? Are all griffs like that? "Yes, they're all a little sensitive." Well, that cleared up a big mystery for me. I couldn't fathom why Brillo was such a wuss. Now I know it's just in his blood. He's a tender little guy!

We finally got to pick him up around 1500. Axel, of course, had slept a little bit on our way home from dropping him off, which meant he had only a short nap and wouldn't go to bed once we'd arrived home. And he usually goes down again at\1530, so he missed yet another nap. As I type, he still has not gone to bed. I'm about to try to put him down again, though. Guess I'll wrap this up. Suffice it to say, yesterday was more fun than today. Brillo had better be glad he's so freaking cute...!

Yesterday's fashion show at the river.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ridin' diirty. Well, not really.

We ride bikes (bike) every day here in Boise, and the boy loves it. He's going to be an awesome cyclist, I'm sure. :) Until he is old enough for his own bike, he's diggin' the iBert.

How cute is that helmet? Seriously?

The smile says a thousand words.

My little Hell's Angel.

A sad face. He knows being back in the driveway means the ride is over.

I'm Number One!

A fish, a fish, a fishy fish...

He loves the barbel float. He hangs onto it and lets us pull him around. I think we need to buy him one.

Swimmin' with Grandma.

I'm late in posting this fact, but for those who are unaware, the boys and I are in Boise visiting my parents. In August, we are going to Hawaii to see my brother and his family. While we're here, Axel is taking swimming lessons at my mom's neighborhood pool, through the local Y. I think it'll benefit him in Hawaii. Actually, the ocean there is warmer than the pool here, so I think he'll REALLY like Hawaii. He's a total fish, and the instructors say he's the best baby of his young age they've ever had. I guess most babies cling to Mommy and won't do anything that is asked of them. Axel will put his face in, kick, splash, and play. He'll let us pass him from person to person, too. He'll even lie on his back and trust me to keep him afloat. He's awesome. I think we have a future Michael Phelps on our hands...

...Of course, he might skip the Olympics and become a pool boy, instead...

He climbed into the drain by himself...and we COULD NOT keep him out.

Friday, July 16, 2010

First Steps

Axel took his first real steps a few days ago, and yesterday my mom witnessed him stand up and walk three paces on his own. I haven't seen him stand up on his own yet, but I have seen him stake steps. Three days ago, he took three steps between my mom and me. We have had the hardest time catching these moments on film, but I finally captured some this morning after his swim lesson. He is a notorious flirt, and he decided to show off by walking to his swim instructor. He loves the pretty girls. In the other video, he was distracted by an apple and stood without realizing it.

The apple distraction.

The flirty show-off.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Wearing his patriotic polo. (Daddy, that's a 3 on the sleeve!)

That's a monster in his mouth.

Axel, Brillo, and I had a very low-key 4th of July. We had a morning walk, a good morning nap, and then an afternoon walk and play time with Axel's friend Suraya and her mom, Deb. The house across the street was having a party, and kids were running around, playing in a blow-up pool, and slipping on a Slip 'n Slide. The men were cooking hot dogs, and everybody was having a wholesome, old fashioned, American good time. Deb and I played with the babies out front, drank a beer, and lived vicariously through the party goers. It was cool. And it was better than being at the party, because we didn't have to mingle and have meaningless conversations with strangers about things in which we're completely disinterested. It was a perfect 4th of July!

Happy birthday, America!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Photos and a random video

Playing in his friend Suraya's "pool."

Come on in; the water's fine!

Ring, ring, ring. Hello?

Nom, nom, nom. Wearing a monkey shirt; eating a banana. How apropos.

He actually managed to bite a big chunk out of the middle of the banana peel.

Waiting for the bath (sink) to fill up this evening...

Just Axel. day. This video illustrates the precarious relationship between Brillo and Axel. The boy adores his dog, and the dog does love the boy, but the dog still isn't interested in hanging out with the boy much. One day, though, they are sure to be thick as thieves...

Lil' Scoot

Picking through the rocks today. (Photo not related to this posting. I just wanted a photo from today up top.)

Axel's latest fad is pushing objects around the floor while crawling. It started several weeks ago when he would just kind of go from playing with something to crawling with it. He started carying things around with him all the time, click, click, clicking down the hall with the object, picking it up and setting it down with each "step."

Eventually, that sort of carry evolved into a push, the way a lot of kids do while playing with cars. And, actually, Axel loves to push cars across the floor. He also likes to push his turtle across the floor. And he likes to push paper and cardboard across the floor. Basically, the boy pushes everything he gets his grubby little hands all across the floor.

Lately, his go-to item has been Brillo's food and water dishes. He slides those things all over the place, and I often have to go on a little Easter egg hunt for them before I can feed the poor poochie. To illustrate what I've been rambling about, I've attached three little videos. Enjoy...

Out of the kitchen and into the living room. Poor Brillo.

This is a little something we call "the double push." It's an advanced move.

In this video, Axel is really taking a stand. Heh, heh. You'll see what I mean.

Friday, July 2, 2010

For those about to ROCK!

It looks like he's either just about to rock out to the White Stripes, or like he's going down a big drop on a massive roller coaster. In reality, he's sitting in his car seat, and I just happened to have caught him mid-yawn.

The other night, I put Axel to bed with damp hair...and he woke up with a perfect little rocker hairdo. It was so cute, I wish I could do it at will.