Silly Free Santa...Max is not a Girl!

Approximately 75 percent of the conversations in our house these days have to do with Santa, Rudolph or Frosty. The other 25 percent are about Lightning McQueen, of course. Sometimes the two worlds collide when I am asked to make Lightning McQueen talk to Santa, and I'm at a loss for what the two might talk about.

We wake up in the morning hearing Harry singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" over the monitor. We hear him singing "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" over the monitor at bedtime.
So when Rob told him we were going to see Santa, Harry said: "I go to the North Pole?"
Logical thinking based on the songs we had been singing, but we explained that we were going to wait in line to see Santa at the zoo. When we got to the front of the line and Harry laid his eyes on Santa for the first time, just a mere 12 feet away, he said, very earnestly: "I AM A GOOD BOY!"

This is Santa. SANTA! You can tell my nervousness by the way I am holding my hands. So exciting.
Baby Max, umm, he just doesn't care at all. Give me all his trucks. I definitely get it, Santa.
In this video, you can see Harry's nervousness kicking in, as he refuses to look directly at Santa for awhile, until it is possible that he will lose out on the opportunity to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. Then, he is entirely focused. You may not be surprised to hear what Harry asks Santa to bring him for Christmas ;) Also, free Santa at the zoo got a lot of stuff wrong. He initially thought Harry was Cary, and also thought Max was a girl. Baby boys can wear cute animal hoodies too!

Zoo lights at Lincoln Park Zoo is one of my very favorite holiday traditions. It looks like you've stepped into Whoville or some other magical land. Take a look:

Daddy and the boys.

And Mommy.

This Week at Hello Harry to the Max

I'm ready for the real stuff, Mom!

"Give me a break, Harry...You so do not care about me eating solids, you're just playing it up for the camera!"
Actually Harry gagged when I showed him the pureed carrots I intended to serve to Max. "No like them!" he said.

"Hmm..maybe I like them?"

"No, definitely not. In fact come here and let me give you a good smack."

A few days later, he loves the rice cereal.
Aha! Now try resisting this, Max! You non-sleep-through-the-nighter!
After six months of middle-of-the-night feedings, we were desperate to get this baby to sleep through the night, and willing to try anything -- including entering back into the reswaddling phase with the miracle blanket. But he busted out of it within minutes. Sigh.

We get a surprising amount of traffic for a side street. Here is an example of the lanes of traffic that develop in our hallway during rush hour.
"Look at me! You put me down way over THERE, Mom, and now I'm way over HERE! I can move now! And I can get to all of brother's toys!"
Max is mobile! Not crawling yet, but he manages to get where he wants with a quick roll, stretch and a heave in just a few seconds. I am frightened.

Who is watching these children? Is Harry biting Max? (No, just showing his love, I assure you.)


"We love sharing apples!"
Here is a rare photo of this crew of two-year-olds sharing. In this case, apples that were divided up for them, without their consent. Often any two members of this posse can be found wrestling over a toy that one didn't even know he or she wanted until another picked it up. They're so cute though!

Who's Got Your Nose?

(BTW, I am not pregnant again. Apparently seeing this ultrasound photo pop up startles some people like my Mom. But, we here at Hello Harry are not sleeping through the night yet, let alone thinking about adding more babies to our brood!)

We knew two things about Max before he was born. One, he was very active (lots and lots of kicking and flips). And two, he had a cute upturned nose, which we saw on this ultrasound photo at 20 weeks. (We actually didn't even know that he was a he until we met him on May 4th.)

And we wondered: where did that upturned nose come from? It's adorable, but it didn't appear to look like any noses in either of our families.'s Max with that adorable little nose.
Then....I took a closer look at the photo below, of Rob as a baby, and Max, I think I've found your nose! Take a look...

Boo! More Halloween!

A good photo of Max from Aunt Angie's camera. Shows off his big, happy eyes!

The cousins. All three seem to be thinking "Why do we have to do this?"

Trick or Treating

Our camera gave out on us in the middle of Halloween, so I don't have as many photos to choose from as I would like. Here, you may be able to tell from the cheeks peeking out that this is Max as a green dinosaur. He was very laid back about wearing the costume, smiling and shaking his big green tail.

Harry the firefighter.

We practiced trick or treating for a couple weeks ahead of time. (Harry is in a solid I-am-2-and-I -don't-like-anything-outside-of-my-normal-routine phase) When the time came, he was actually way into it, which was a nice surprise. "I go more trick or treating?" he asked. We were very proud that he actually said "Trick or treat?" and said "Thank you."

These two must have pulled a double or something, because they're not looking so happy to be firefighters.

Look Harry! There's the cutest Kermit the frog I've seen.

Trick or treating for the first time. You will also get a glimpse of James in his very appropriate Yoda costume. As a new walker, he walked exactly like the old Jedi master. Oh, and don't be frightened by the very large Viking. That's just Uncle Aaron.

The real angry bunny

I was premature in my posting of the angry bunny video. The previous post doesn't quite capture it, while in this new clip, baby Max has fully embraced the character of Angry Bunny. So ladies and gentlemen, I give you....Angry Bunny...

Pumpkin Patch

Along with most of Chicagoland, we headed out to the pumpkin farm on Sunday. Seriously, they had to have cops directing traffic to the...pumpkin patch! Your tax dollars at work -- heading off road rage incidents in the pumpkin patch parking lot.
Anyway, Harry loved the hayride, straw tunnel, apple cider donuts and of course, the hundreds of pumpkins everywhere.

Disgusted after he realizes this is in fact not a real car.
"I'm outta here..."

Our pumpkin in pumpkinland

Harry trying to lift the pumpkin he has picked out. "Grrrrrrrrrrr......." While this boy has quite a will, he is not as strong as he thinks.

I'll just sit on it instead.

No way! A tractor ride too!
(Daddy's looking a little tired after several 4-5 a.m. Harry wakeup calls this week. But still he gets up early for the Sunday morning trip out to the exurbs of Chicago. That's why we keep him around.)

The Angry Bunny

Rob says this video accurately portrays our life these days. You have Harry trying to control the camera (and everything else). Harry deciding that he will sit on his baby brother's lap, all the while trying to disguise his bad behavior by speaking to Max in a high voice ("I know! If I talk in this sweet voice, they'll never notice me smack Max!"). Mom in the background with a constant refrain of "no, no, no," trying to act as the referee between the two of them. Harry sneaking in a swipe at Max. And then there's little Max. He has started this adorable snort thing that I like to call "the angry bunny." He uses it when he's excited, happy, mad, hungry or to vent out his frustrations, often brought on by older brother stealing toys.

And here's Harry doing his current version of Wheels on the Bus :)

Firefighter costume AND trains!

Could life get ANY better?
(p.s. We spent 30 minutes standing at a railroad crossing watching trains go by today. I've been on that same train line 45,000 times before, but never noticed all the fascinating things that can be observed by staring at it like that. It's clear that I need to study up on train mechanics. I'm making up words for train parts that I'm certain are not correct. Harry will be on to me by next week. )

I have nothing to do with this post. I'm just cute.
(Thanks, Grammy, for the cute bear jacket. We want to eat him up when he wears it.)

Look at 'em all!

That's what Harry said when we pulled up to the Illinois Railway Museum and he saw every kind of train imaginable.

"Seriously...can we move here?"

We rode one of the old trains, and sat in a Pullman sleeper car from the 1920s. Harry's Papa used to help build Pullman cars -- of course many years after this car was built (he's not THAT old :)

All of the boys enjoying the view from the old train. See the guy behind them? He's one of the many SUPER helpful volunteers, who are basically old guys who run around the museum grounds like little boys playing with the old trains. love it.

We also saw electric trains, subway cars, L trains, trolleys, freight trains....the list goes on and on. My favorite part was when Harry matched up the trains we were seeing with his favorite Thomas the Train characters. "Look! There's Salty!" he would say.
Harry's already asking when we can go back.

Is That Very Nice?

Most times, the answer to that question, Harry, is no.
But several times a day he tries to convince us of how nice he is to his brother by very gently touching him and saying in a very high pitched voice "Is that very nice?" But along with these little "very nice" episodes, he likes to poke Max in the eye and pull on his arms. Oh, and pull any toy he may have away from him.
Still, he is very excited to "get Max from his crib" and likes to entertain him, which is quite adorable to watch. When Max laughs, Harry will say very earnestly "You love your brother?" (He's still getting his pronouns mixed up a bit.) He follows that up with: "Baby Max is sooooo cute."

In other cuteness:

The North Woods

We got an early start for our long drive to the North Woods of Wisconsin. Mom and Dad tried to transport a sleeping Harry into the car at 5 a.m. in hopes of getting some driving hours in while the babies slept, but no such luck. He woke right up. If there are cars and trucks on the road, Harry can't sleep!

Eating a picnic lunch during one of our many rest stop breaks. Baby Max did not like the car ride at all. Thus, an 8 hour drive took 9.5 hours.

This is how dirty he got within a few hours of vacation. The washcloth is black. I love vacation playing. He basically played until he passed out each day.

Bathing in the cabin sink, of course.

"That's MY Papa!" all three boys say at once.
This is proof that balance exists in the universe. Steve spent two decades with three girls in his house, now he has three boys to keep him busy.

HI! Look what I can do!

Baby Max at his first bonfire.

Harry liked roasting the marshmallow, but still kept with his aversion to sweets and refused to eat the s'more!

Sitting with Uncle Aaron while everyone sings Harry's favorite songs -- "Bake a cake" and "The Froggy song."

Fishing with Daddy on "Kenzie Lake."
He also spent a good portion of the day keeping tabs on the loons that live on the lake. Ask him to do his loon call next time you see him.

Not too thrilled with the result of his fishing efforts.

Trying hard to be brave on the boat ride. He was a bit freaked out, but tried not to show it.

Harry wasn't too much of a fan of swimming in the lake, what with the sand and the rocks and fish. We have a city boy there.

Action shot.

"You'll be just fine, baby James, as long as you keep your hands off my trucks."

Morning with Papa

Early morning walk with Uncle Joe

I like this vacation thing.