Saturday, January 31, 2009

fill in the blanks

ok, so on erik's actually birthday, which was almost two weeks ago, we went to eat 'n park with my mom and peter's mom. we had a good dinner together and the waitresses sang happy birthday to erik which amused him.
happy birthday erik!
he got a steeler smiley cookie and made a mess while eating it, as usual!
erik eating his birthday smiley cookie
when we got home, he opened the rest of his presents, including a dancing brobee from his granny which he LOVES.

and thus ended erik's second birthday celebration!

time since then has been kind of a blur. we've had a lot of snow. i've just started working with someone from another lab who is going to teach me to culture human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. peter's schedule is changing starting next week, so he took off today to avoid having a 1 day weekend. he will now be working monday - friday like most normal people. we're dreading the extra daycare expense, but will enjoy more time together as a family since he'll be getting home at least an hour earlier on work days and we'll have a full two day weekend together each week. today was especially nice because we met some friends for lunch, including one who lives out of town that we rarely get to see. we all really enjoyed it. while erik napped, we got to play some rock band. i roasted a yummy chicken for dinner (2 for 1 at the iggle - YAY!), and spent some time in the lab taking care of my viruses and cells. i'm looking forward to having a fairly well-rested husband to hang out with tonight instead of the normally dog tired one i am used to on saturday nights. tomorrow we're going to JC Penney to have erik's 2 year portraits taken, and i'll probably spend a nice chunk of time at the lab in the afternoon.

and of course tomorrow is SUPERBOWL SUNDAY! again, i don't really care much about football, but the steelers are playing and it's a good excuse to drink beer and eat some yummy food! plus we just happen to have one of the cutest steeler fans on the planet living in our household!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

erik's belated birthday blog

i've been wanting to write a nice blog about erik's birthday party complete with pictures for awhile now, so here it goes!

erik's second birthday was last week, and the sunday before we had a nice little birthday party for him. both of peter's parents came to stay with us, and my mom, my brother adam, sister-in-law chrissy, and nieces morgan, marisa, and maggie all came over to celebrate. before the party i went out and got some balloons for erik. when he discovered them he was SO excited and ran all over the house with them.

we also took some time to pose for pictures with the birthday boy.

happy family in birthday hatsmy mom is so proud
and my favorite:
me and my birthday boy

the party went really well, and i think everyone had a good time. the penguins and steelers both played (and both won!), which made the guys happy. my mom brought KFC for lunch and peter's mom made two very delicious cakes:

elmo birthday cake
dinosaur and choo choo birthday cake

erik got some really cool presents which he loved opening, and all the kids had fun with the TWO sets of musical instruments that he got. each set is really neat and contains different instruments. he's gotten especially good at playing the harmonica!

erik playing with his new toyserik and maggie

we had fun playing rock band too. it was chaotic with all the little folks around, but nothing can stand in the way of rock and roll! chrissy gave an exceptional performance on 'one way or another.'

marisa drummingjust like the partridge family ...peter rocking outadam rocking outone way or another!

we sang happy birthday, and lots of birthday cake was eaten (very messily by some!).

marisaisn't this how everyone eats cake?

erik eating his birthday cake

it was a really good day!

monday was mlk day and i had to spend some time at the lab. i came home early in the afternoon and peter took his dad to the airport while erik and i napped. i was exhausted from the party and all the preparations and the down time was much needed. that evening, peter's mom babysat so that peter and i could go to the melting pot for our belated anniversary dinner, a present from peter's dad and his wife jan (thank you to all three of you! we had an AMAZING dinner). the melting pot has become our favorite place to go for special occasions, and as usual it was really really nice.

peter and the potview from our booth

afterward we took a brief stroll down to bessamer court to look at pittsburgh's lovely skyline. just as we approached the riverside a train came roaring past which made for some interesting pictures. we couldn't help but think about how much erik would have loved to have seen the choo choo. i took a little video of it that i still need to show him. we didn't stay long because it was freaking cold.

train passing by station square
end of the train
smithfield street bridge

the next day was january 20, erik's actual birthday. i'll have to write the rest tomorrow because it's getting late and i need to go to bed!

Toynbee Idea

Toynbee Idea
Originally uploaded by StartPoint Media

random learnings from today: toynbee tiles

i saw StartPoint Media's photo in flickr's pittsburgh pool and as a result learned a little about toynbee tiles.

i had never heard of toynbee tiles before, but apparently we have at least two of them here in pittsburgh. so cool! i definitely need to plan an excursion downtown to have a look at them for myself!

Monday, January 26, 2009

peter and his dad

circa 1972

erik is a cheeky monkey

i still have yet to write about erik's birthday. i will get around to it, i swear! all the photos are on my flickr page if you just can't wait. there's also this really cute video of erik being really silly after dinner:

erik seems to be developing a really sarcastic sense of humor lately (sound like someone you might know?). dinner is almost always a messy struggle and battle of the wills. tonight erik's hands were covered in food. when that happens, he does one of two things - asks to have them wiped, or shake them in the air, sending bits o' dinner flying all over the dining room. tonight it was the latter, so i told him to put his hands on his tray, and he pressed his palms flat onto the tray and looked at me with a big smile, waiting for me to tell him it was ok to take them off again. a few minutes later, erik was eating some cheerios out of a little cup, and did something else which he does frequently - stick his sippy cup into the other cup and then pick them both up to drink. peter kept fussing at him to stop doing that, which wasn't working at all. i tried to use reverse psychology and said, "put your sippy cup into your other cup" (which it already was). he pushed the cups to the edge of his tray and turned them around so i could see them clearly, and looked at me as if to say "are you blind?!? can't you see that i already have?" what a silly boy!

tomorrow morning erik sees his doctor for his 2 year well visit. good grief! i can't see there being any problems, but i have been surprised before. i just hope he's not too upset by the vaccinations. as much as i hate getting shots, i hate it 100 times more when he gets them.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


i have learned that proper tea is responsible for the hydrants i have blogged about.

thank you to hryck for pointing that out to me!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

another hydrant graffiti guy

coincidentally, i was waiting for the shuttle this afternoon and saw this graffiti, very similar to the one i had just posted. i wasn't even looking for it. what a treat!

another hydrant guy

yippee for LOST!

finally after 8 long months, lost is coming back tonight! it is one of the few shows that i still get excited about watching (well, non-reality shows i guess), and i have really been looking forward to new episodes after a very long hiatus.

i still have to upload all my photos from this past weekend ... erik's birthday party and visit from his grandma and opa ... so i will wait and blog about it when i can put the photos in too.

yesterday was erik's birthday. oh, and obama's inauguration, in case there is anyone that didn't know that! i actually watched it on my laptop in the lab, even though i wasn't particularly thrilled about it. i honestly can't get thrilled about anything that has to do with our government at this point. i would love to believe that obama has the power to unite the people of this country and make changes that will better our nation and the rest of the world, but i don't think he does. i don't think anyone has that kind of power, no matter how many people adore him and think he's the second coming of christ. anyhow, i have made a point to avoid the topic of politics as much as possible, so i should continue to do so here. the only other things i will mention - that crazy bow on arethra franklin's hat, and that awful poem that had people fleeing the national mall by the hundreds of thousands. now THAT'S good stuff!

this morning erik and i said goodbye to his grandma and i took him to school with some chocolate chip muffins for his class to celebrate his birthday. both of his teachers, miss stephy and miss morgan, gave him big hugs and congrats on being 2, and commented on what a big boy he is now. i did some work at the lab in the cellomics building down by the river and then realized as i was sitting on the shuttle to come up to the bst that i had left my lunch in the refrigerator in the lab (even though i reminded myself ten times before i left not to forget it). i ran up and back downstairs again, in hopes that i could get back on the shuttle only to see it pulling away as i ran through the lobby. no matter ... i made it eventually, and i got to enjoy my leftover chicken parm and spaghetti from big jim's. i still need to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. that's always a struggle!

since i am behind on my photos, i will leave you with this picture from last week of some cool graffiti i saw while walking along forbes in oakland. it's not a robot, but it's still pretty damn cool. i think it's a fire hydrant. or something. i need to make more of an effort to photograph street art. i find it very interesting!

not a robot graffiti

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

happy birthday erik!

today is my little boy's second birthday. here he is after eating his birthday cake at his party on sunday (my little hannibal lecter):


i will post more pictures when i have some time to upload them!

Friday, January 16, 2009


i was playing with some photos of erik a while back for my father in law for a christmas gift and think that this one really works best in black and white. the contrast and the light are beautiful, and erik's completely peaceful and relaxed epression captured just perfectly. i often find that light falling from a car window is ideal for a portrait.

erik sleeping b&w

erik is almost 2!!!

i can't believe how quickly the time has gone and how much he's grown and changed. he's made so much progress in even just the past few months and is learning at an amazing rate. he's counting, saying the alphabet, knows many colors and names of cars ... he's just a great little boy! i'm trying to get ready for his party this weekend. his grandma and opa are both coming from nj to be here for it on sunday (what a lucky little boy!). it'll just be a small family party, but i am looking forward to celebrating this milestone with erik and the people who love him the most!

here is what i looked like this time in 2007:
self portrait - six days before erik's birth

Monday, January 12, 2009

in bloom

i somehow forgot to mention in between all that christmas carnage, peter and i exchanged gifts with each other.


among other things, peter got me an awesome new macro lens for my rebel (which i still need to try out!!!). and among other things, i got peter rock band for the ps3. i have to say that this present was maybe the bestest present EVAH! we've wasted SO MUCH time playing this game almost every night since he opened it and it's been a lot of fun. i never thought i would enjoy it so much, but i find myself looking forward to erik's bedtime so we can go on tour. peter is of course the band leader and guitarist, while i head up the rhythm section on drums. i have also been known to play bass, and peter does occasional vocals, but in our touring band 'snurdburgling 4 dollars,' peter is strictly on guitar and me on drums. i lack any natural rhythm or musical talent, but we have fun and have accumulated a large fan base, possibly dwarfing that of my favorite band luna!


i have to go now and rock ahn!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

catch up (part 2)

we got back to pittsburgh on the saturday between christmas and new year's, and on sunday afternoon met my mom, our friends sarah jean and alastair, scott, michael, kyle, adam, chrissy, morgan, marisa, and maggie and the carnegie museum. unfortunately it was right around erik's nap time and he hadn't eaten lunch, and he was just one unhappy little guy, which naturally made peter and i most unhappy ourselves. we stayed for a while, but it just got to be too much trying to keep him from getting yelled out by "skeletor" (aka creepy security guard in the dinosaur exhibit who hates kids). amazingly enough, i don't think he ever actually set off the alarms. it was kind of funny watching erik and maggie run amok and "skeletor" seething. but alas, i decided that for all of our sanity, especially mine and peter's, we should go home and let erik eat and sleep. it worked out pretty well since peter needed to get some things ready for his trip back to nj for omi's funeral anyway. i met the rest of the crew for a couple beers at rock bottom, and it was nice getting to talk to everyone without worrying about erik. here are a couple photos from that day:




on monday peter left midday for nj, and erik and i spent a nice quiet day together at home. we went to meet mom, scott, and the boys for dinner at olive garden, and it was crazy busy there. we waited for over an hour for a table, and probably another 45 minutes for our food. it was good to be together, but an exhausting ordeal! i think we were there almost three hours! the highlight was when the food finally arrived and kyle was so excited that he accidentally knocked his dish out of the waitress's hand as she was trying to set it down in front of him. that and the waitress spontaneously bringing michael a side of broccoli, his favorite food (NOT!). heheh ... good times. i guess the holidays are a bad time to do much of anything, as the next day (marisa's birthday!) we were going to go to the children's museum with all the cousins and it was so crowded and all the lots were full, so we (erik and i) turned around and headed back toward home. i had promised erik "more choo choos," so i took him back to phipps (where we can get in free), and let him run around there for awhile.


the older cousins went to the children's museum and had a great time, so i think it worked out for the better. we stopped and picked up a pizza and salad from rialto (YUMMY!) on the way home, had a good lunch, and i spent some time going through and editing my christmas pictures while he napped. we had another quiet afternoon of playing and reading books. it was great getting so much alone time with my little boy, but we both missed peter a lot. i ended up staying up way later than i wanted to, but got a lot of laundry done and finished processing all my christmas pictures and uploading them. woo hoo! i also took some "interesting" photos of our fiber optic christmas tree.

christmas abstraction

christmas abstraction

the next day was new year's eve - time for the laemmle family christmas celebration. YAY!!! peter hit some bad weather on the way home, but thankfully made it back to pittsburgh safe and sound and in time to get to the spaghetti and steakhouse for our traditional new year's (rockin') eve dinner. the older cousins had their own table, which i think made everyone happy!


erik had some issues with his cheese stick, but ultimately he prevailed.


back at my parents' house, erik and maggie discovered the pure joy that is the macarena turtle, and i loved every second of it!

presents were opened, beer was drunk and spilled (by me), cranium was (sort of) played - this year by the older kids and adults, and things were blown up as is our way.




nary a glass was broken by my mom, ending a fairly long-running tradition, but maggie made up for that at lunch today by tossing a plate and breaking it on the foot of the table at rock bottom. for what it's worth, i think the plate was asking for it, and we were able to officially ring in 2009.

new years day brought sleeping in (thank goodness!), more family togetherness at adam and chrissy's house, and the rose bowl (ack!). we all know how the rose bowl turned out (penn state got smoked), but other than that it was a really nice day. erik loved taking out every toy he could find and playing with it, especially the doll house. he was also mesmerized by the train around their christmas tree. the older kids ran around like a bunch of crazies like they do, and much food was eaten and football watched.

chrissy and maggie

erik and momerik in maggie's sunglasses

maggie and erik

friday brought a little more r&r and some shopping. erik loves the silly merry-go-round at walmart.

erik on the merry-go-rounderik on the merry-go-round

on saturday marisa had her birthday party at fun fore all. everyone (especially peter!!!) had a great time at the new indoor playground called ballocity. it had a really awesome long fast winding slide and all kinds of other coolness.


poor erik was playing one of the games and a large heavy lever fell on him and conked him good in the face, causing his nose to bleed. luckily his aunt chrissy and unkie newt were on top of things and adam stopped his tears with some skittles while chrissy ran for an ice pack and i gave him lots of tlc. things were very chaotic, but i think marisa had a great time at her party. the people at fun fore all did a great job of keeping everything running smoothly and taking care of everything from food to opening presents to goody bags (mental note for possible future birthday party for erik). in the end, erik got his revenge against the machine that injured him, and peter won the jackpot of tickets, enabling us to buy erik two crappy cars and two crappy light up dinosaurs. why is it that even the most expensive prizes at these places suck? no matter ... it was just fun watching how excited peter got when the machine started spitting out tickets. i'm not sure whether he had more fun with that or in ballocity ... probably in ballocity!

monday was my last day of vacation, and we took erik to the children's museum to make up for the missed day with his cousins. it wasn't at all crowded and erik loved it, especially the train tables.



i noticed some interesting reflections from the windows in the pool in the water play area:


after that, it was back to real life. i have plenty more to say, but it will have to wait for another day. it was an awesome break which we sorely needed. i'm already missing the extra time i got to spend with my little boy, who is changing and growing up so fast.