2013.05.04 – 8:58 am
Well, here we are, less than one week from closing on number 421. Before that though, we wanted to share (and preserve) some memories of apartment 27, which is absolutely the best place we’ve lived so far.
Most of these aren’t in any particular order, but we’ll start with Move In Day. We chose this apartment over the internet from half a country away, and didn’t see it until after we pulled in the moving truck. We were stunned when we first walked in- it was huge, clean, and full of light. It had a great layout, tons of storage, and was so roomy. Moving several states away is tough, and to end up somewhere so nice was such a relief.
These are a few shots of the apartment that first day.
The Balcony & The View: One of the first things we noticed about our apartment was the great balcony. It’s huge and wraps around to the south and the west, offering great sunset views. At first it was a place for Chris and I to spend evenings talking and having a drink, and then it became a place for Elliot to stretch his legs. Now that adult free time is essentially gone and our little baby has gone from crawling to climbing, the balcony doesn’t get as much use. We still enjoy the view though, and while I’m definitely looking forward to a fenced in yard, we are going to miss seeing all of Lincoln from up on high. Here are a few pictures of the balcony, with one notable exception. I never was able to get a good picture of our panoramic view of everyone’s fireworks on the Fourth of July. It was always a spectacle.
Bringing Home Babies: Obviously two of the memories that will stick with us most are bringing home our boys. Bringing home Elliot taught us how to be parents, and bringing home Ben taught us that we can kind of handle two very little kids. As Chris observed after a month or so with Ben, they were two very different experiences- we brought Elliot home to our apartment, and we brought Ben home to Elliot’s apartment. Getting used to Elliot meant finding his favorite spots in these 1,200 square feet, while Ben gets to choose from the few places that are fenced off or not covered in a mountain of toddler toys. The pictures are Chris with brand new Elliot, and Jenny and Elliot with brand new Ben.
The Last Homely House: [RN] Looking at pictures to make up this post, I’ve realized I have another fond memory- this might just be the last place of ours that will be really clean, at least for a while. We don’t have a lot of pictures of how neat and empty it was, pre-Elliot, but I can almost remember it. We do have some pictures that show how clean it still was, after Elliot was born but before he became such a… tornado. These pictures actually make me feel a little better about what a disaster our house is now. We aren’t just completely useless at keeping house. We used to be able to do it. We are just in a two-tiny-children phase right now. We’ll grow out of it.
Keeping Elliot in One Piece: This apartment is where Elliot has started growing up. He went from a tiny 7 pound baby to a 25 pound toddler doing all kinds of big boy things here. And as he learned to crawl and walk and climb, we learned how to keep him from falling from high places and ingesting caustic chemicals. This was a pretty good place for easing into baby proofing- no stairs, and bathrooms and a kitchen we could completely block off.
- Russ’s: A 24 hour grocery store that almost couldn’t be closer, perfect for when your pregnant wife needs ice cream, your toddler is on the last diaper, or for getting two kids out of the house when you just can’t stand the thought of dealing with car seats.
- The Light: Every single room but the bathrooms has windows and gets plenty of natural light. Enough light is essential to keeping this family happy and healthy.
- The Fireplace: Sitting on the floor on a dark winter night with the heat down and the fireplace on.
- Christmas Lights: Wrapped around the balcony and blinking after sunset – until March.
- The Gardening: With Starbuck – the stupidest tomato plant in the history of ever. (Remember Battlestar Galactica?)
- The Kitchen: Which was surprisingly accomodating and hosted the first ever bottle cleaning master class.
- The Laundry Closet: Where, after arriving home, we have left many a sleeping baby buckled into its car seat for some needed quiet time.
- The Garage: Which took over as the bicycle repair station from the entryway of our apartment.
- The WIND: Which shook the walls and rattled the roof.
- The Thunderstorms: Which seemed so close off our balcony that we could almost touch them.
- The Tornado Warning: When we wound up sitting in the first floor hallway at midnight.
- The First Winter: When we didn’t realize that our windows weren’t completely shut. We thought we lived in the draftiest apartment ever, and it wasn’t until the following winter that we discovered it. Shoveling the balcony, and throwing wet shovelfuls snow over the edge three stories to the ground.
- The Changes: When we first moved in, we were Kris Belli and Jennifer Woodard, and the apartment was home to just the two of us. It was more than we could have asked for. As our lives have changed and our family has grown the apartment has been hinting that it was becoming time to find a new home for everyone to spread out in. We’re leaving as the Bellwoods: Chris, Jenny, Elliot and Benjamin. Hopefully our new home at 421 will be just as happy and have even more wonderful memories.
2013.04.25 – 11:05 am
You are three months old today! Congratulations on officially making it out of the “fourth trimester” and turning into a real baby. I won’t dwell on it here, but let me just say it is awful nice to be out of the newborn stage. As I was just telling your dad last night, life is so much better now that putting you to bed actually means something. You aren’t reliably sleeping through the night, but I do get a couple big chunks of sleep nightly. Naps aren’t going so well, but we can blame that on Elliot. It’s tough to find time for two quiet, dark, scheduled times per day to put a baby to sleep when there’s a toddler running around.
Enough about sleeping, having you awake has been a joy this month. You are really turning into Ben now. You’re so alert, following all of the action with your eyes and smiling at the things that make babies smile. You like smiling at your face in in the mirror of your “kicking toy,” at others who smile at you, and at me when I pretend to yawn. You’ve also finally found the ceiling fan, which is good for a couple of minutes of entertainment. Your smiles also come with coos and calls these days. You also do a funny little yell after particularly good sneezes. That’s your daddy’s favorites.
You tolerate tummy time, although you still prefer to just lie there and suck your fist. You like looking at hanging toys, but you aren’t grabbing them yet. Several times you’ve made attempts to roll from your back to your side but of course you can’t make it over your arm yet. You’re getting great at bringing your fist to your mouth to suck on a knuckle, and you have finally in the last couple of days shown a bit of interest in a pacifier.
Happy three months, squishy fuzzy baby with big blue eyes. We love you.
P.S. If we are still calling you “Bendy Boo” when you’re old enough to read this, well, you can blame Elliot.
2013.03.25 – 11:23 am
Two months today!
First things first, let’s get the obvious out of the way. You are a giant. A monster. A behemoth, a colossus, a Goliath. At your one month appointment, you were in the 90th percentile for weight and 95th for height, and you don’t show any signs of slowing down. You won’t be weighed again until tomorrow, but given that you are now in size 3 (!) diapers I expect you’ve gained a lot.This month’s picture doesn’t even do you justice- you’ve got at least one more chine and many more leg rolls tucked away out of sight.
Although you are putting away breast milk like a champ, you do apparently have some preferences. Or aversions, really. You don’t like cow’s milk. This month we started to notice some fussiness, skin problems, and diaper problems that all pointed to a dairy sensitivity. I haven’t had any milk products for about 6 days now, and you’re definitely improving. Your skin and diaper problems are clearing up, but most importantly your temperament is so much sunnier. You are so much calmer and more content. You give us more smiles, the occasional coo, and you’re happy to lay down on your own or sit with daddy for several minutes. You are even sleeping better some nights.
You were great at holding your head up this month, and you’ve even started doing it at tummy time. Your main goal during tummy time, however, is to get your mouth to your hand. Once you accomplish that you pretty much just lay still. You’ve just started to think about moving your hands toward toys, and you will turn your head to keep watching something exciting, You love looking at people, especially Elliot who is always doing something loud or crazy.
I still love your feed me faces and your fuzzy head. Now I love your smiles and catching you watching me, too. This month you have really started to notice your family. We love you, Benny Bear.
2013.03.15 – 10:02 pm
Elliot: Uh-huh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh-huh. uuuhh-huh-huh.
Chris (tucking Elliot back in): Good night, Elliot. Daddy loves you.
Chris: Mommy loves you.
Chris: Baby loves you too.
2013.03.15 – 9:58 pm
Chris: Tonight was nice.
Jenny: That’s because our kids were asleep.
2013.03.14 – 9:16 pm
2013.03.02 – 9:07 pm
2013.02.25 – 2:03 pm
Welcome. You’ve officially been the fourth Bellwood for one month. You were born one month ago today, at 12:48 pm on January 25th. Like any Bellwood boy, you were born a couple weeks and early and in a different month than your due date.
This month with you has flown so, so fast. I am going to try hard not to make these letters just a list of Elliot-Ben comparisons, but I do have to say that your first month has gone by so much more quickly. I was completely shocked when, last night, I realized that I’d have to get your photo and letter done by today. A month is just a bit over four weeks, you know, and it turns out that weeks are short.
So far in your short time with us, you seem to like eating, and sleeping, and… that’s it. You are not interested in ceiling fans or mirrors or cuddling. You are interested in falling asleep while eating and then waking up in order to eat. You are making sure that even though you have to share me with your brother you are getting plenty of mommy time.
Speaking of your brother, I would say that he is one of the few things that you actually pay attention to in your few and far between not-eating-or-sleeping times. You give him these looks, and when you do I can almost hear you thinking “What is this giant things and why does he keep poking my face?” You take it all in stride, though, and can sleep through the loudest cries of “BABY!” and the most “gentle” of head pats.
Although it’s been exhausting, I have loved this month of fitting you in as Benjamin, little brother and second son. I love your I’m hungry faces and your fuzzy head. I love those moments when you come up for air and look around, and I can’t wait to see you really begin to discover your world.
Happy first month, Ben.
2013.02.21 – 8:56 am
The Two Day Errandonnee
A quick note about lighting as per the Errandonnee rules. This is my first winter riding. Consequently this is also my first real stab at bicycle lighting. I feel pretty good about my visibility at the moment, but I suspect (or at least hope) that I will find ways to improve it in the future.
Anyway, I ride with two headlights, a Light & Motion Urban 550 and a Light & Motion Urban 180. The 550 is used to show me where I’m going when it’s dark enough, and the 180 I actually keep pointed down my front fork on the strobe setting. Who knows if that helps with my visibility, but I sure like to pretend that it does.
I also feel pretty savvy about the Urban 180 headlight. They don’t advertise it on their website any longer since it’s an older model. But if you start typing “Light & Motion Urban” in Google it will suggest pretty much all of their older model lights in addition to the new ones. Since I just wanted something to strobe on the ground the old model was perfectly sufficient and much cheaper than the new models.
In the rear I have a Light & Motion Vis 180 Micro – and that’s all. Though in its defense people have complimented me on it. I assume that means it seems visible enough to them. But I could probably use something more back there, but I haven’t yet worked myself up to get anything. Maybe it’s because I don’t see the back of my bike to worry about it as often. Or maybe the front is as well lit up as it is simply because it also has to serve the function of showing me where I’m going.
In addition to the lights, in the winter I am almost always wearing a high visibility stormshell from Bontrager (- hey, I just noticed that it supposedly has a loop on the back that I can clip another tail light on! Maybe I’ve just found a good excuse to add another tail light.) I also have a few neon colored sweatshirts from Target which I purchased when neon clothing became a fad with the youths this past summer. Lastly, I also stumbled on these Lightweights reflective stickers as well. I have them on both sets of wheels, and I have to say that I am gratified how well they show up in the few night photos on this trip.
Day 2 | All Day – 15.61 miles, 1:35:02, -Extra Righteous Points :(
It was a long day. It was a fun day, but it was long. I left home at 6AM and returned home at 9PM. And I missed Elliot. I scheduled too long a day, so I didn’t see him from the time I put him to bed Sunday night to the time he peed through his diaper Tuesday morning as I was trying to leave for work (thank goodness or it would have been even longer). Hence the negative Extra Righteous Points.
That being said, he and I will be doing some biking this Summer, partly as a result of this fun event. And we had a great time on Day 1. So I’m sure it all balances out in the end.
Library – My first stop was back at the library to return our weekend reading books. It was uneventful, although I think I may have unnerved someone who circled around in their car waiting for me to leave. Honestly though, I am lit up in so many lights and reflectors and neon colors – I must look like one of the dorkiest cyclists on the road.
Pan Dulce Bakery – My second stop was impromptu. There is a local bakery on the small block of Hispanic shops around the corner from where I work. I have walked and biked by it countless times by now, and it frequently fills the neighborhood with an incredible smell of baking pastries. Never been in.
So after biking by it I pulled an irresponsible u-turn in the middle of an intersection and rode back to the bakery. I had to wait around for about ten minutes for the donuts to come out of the oven, and I brought two dozen in to work. People at my work have a habit of bring in treats for everyone when it’s their birthday. I have steadfastly not done this before, and I was feeling rather guilty about it. So two dozen donuts, and a fun new Hispanic bakery.
Also, it turns out that it is not really that difficult to ride with a cake box full of donuts balanced on your handlebars. The pot holes sure shook the donuts around though.
Work – Work. Well such is life. I do really enjoy getting in before everyone else, though it seems to happen less regularly now. I particularly like the way the office looks with just the very first light of the day on. This morning I arrived about an hour early. My general aim was to study, but I wound up emailing people about donuts and setting out plates and napkins instead.
Lunch – Occasionally I’ll walk downtown for lunch. I’ve never ridden before. Mostly I think it’s because I’m unwilling to change back into my cycling clothes, but I’m not entirely sure about that. It’s still a bit of a mystery why I don’t ride more places at lunch, and I don’t think that this trip really settled anything. It did however demonstrate that it’s not that difficult to do.
Regardless, I put on my holey jeans and rode downtown to Bruegger’s Bagels. It was an unpleasant afternoon actually. It was cold and had just stopped raining. Usually I’m not forced to leave my bike outdoors in the weather either at home or at work, but this stop required it. Fortunately the rain held off and my bike did not get wet. Unfortunately it seems I was not especially thoughtful taking a picture of lunch, because it turned out to just be my bike sitting out on the sidewalk. It seems that I am a little self conscious about conspicuously taking pictures of my bike. So in my effort to be surreptitious I forgot to include any setting to show where I was. Other than the illegally parked FedEx truck stopped outside of the FedEx shop adjacent to Bruugger’s.
Dinner – After work I biked over to the Haymarket to have a lonely dinner out. Ordinarily Jenny could have met me down there, but we were told that our youngest son should stay home until flu season is pretty much over. So it was just me.
The Haymarket is on the West side of downtown Lincoln, and it’s a pretty neat place. Not quite as neat as the Old Market in Omaha (“O” is for “Omaha” and “Old Market”. Therefore the Haymarket cannot be in Omaha. That’s how you tell them apart.), but there are a few good places to eat, an ice cream store, a licorice store, and probably some other things I’m less familiar with.
Eating alone did mean that I could go to Lazlo’s again since Jenny couldn’t tell me that she was sick of them. They brew averagish beer, but their oatmeal stout is always good (which is true of about 90% of oatmeal stouts in general, imo). So I locked everything up and took off all of my gear, and they were closed.
Disappointing, but not the end of the world. I walked two blocks over to Old Chicago – another restaurant that Jenny has been made sick of in the past. Though in their defense, they did have some new menu items. The baked macaroni and cheese was good even if a little overpriced. And Old Chicago always has a very adequate beer list.
Great Plains Trail Network Annual Meeting – After killing time with my lonely dinner, and after two mediocre beers and some good mac & cheese, I headed over to the Jane Snyder Trail Center for the annual meeting of the Great Plains Trail Network. At right is my fancy new bike lock outside of the trail center. I had never been to a meeting before, but I’ve been slowly working up my courage to get more involved with some bicycle groups locally.
Lincoln, Nebraska has great trails, FYI. I did not bike before moving out here, but the trails are just everywhere, and I eventually had to give it a try. Granted I was fat and desperate, but I’m not sure that the idea would have occurred to me had I not been driving by people commuting to and from work everyday.
It was a long meeting. It started at 7PM which was already much too late to be out. And it ran for at least 90 minutes with the most uncomfortable seats that I have sat on in quite some time. It turns out that their annual meeting is usually on a Sunday afternoon, but they moved it to Monday night to allow for some urban planners to come talk about the protected bike lane which is planned for N St downtown sometime in the next year or two. This is going to be a great addition downtown, and I really look forward to it. We have trails everywhere, but downtown access has always been a little roundabout. Anyway, the planners couldn’t make it after all.
It was still good. I paid them $10 for a family membership for the year, and I plan to bring Elliot to their Trail Trek event in late June.
Home – The best part of the meeting was getting to go home. Even if it was about ten degrees colder than when I rode to work almost 15 hours earlier. And Jenny was awake when I got home because Ben has decided just in the last few days that sleeping isn’t all that great and he’d rather just nurse all night. So we chatted for a while, and then I went to sleep exhausted. At least until Ben got himself all worked up in the middle of the night. And then until he got himself all worked up in the middle of the night again. And then again until he got himself all worked up and it was just about time to get ready for work. He’s alright though.
Errandonnee! It was a lot of fun, and I got to do that kind of riding. :)