Archive for the ‘toby’ Category

toby’s party

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Today we held Toby’s second party for his fourth birthday. Last week we had some non-daycare friends over to the house – in retrospect maybe we should have postponed because Toby had just come down with a cold and wasn’t on sparkling form but we had a pretty good time anyway.

Today was a bit more of an outing and was a joint party with Toby’s friend Patrick, who is just two weeks younger than him. We decided on a bowling party so went to the Park Tavern which is pretty decent for these kinds of things – I organized a work thing there last year for about 100 people which went well, and we’d been to another kid’s party there a few months ago. They have a nice little deal for children’s parties – the kids had a great time bowling too. Actually, being a grownup at that point was kind of stressful – all the little people insisted on not letting go of their own personal bowling balls, so would carry them around or stand at the ball rack holding on to the ball running the risk of getting their fingers crushed (actually that only happened once) or putting their heads into the ball return slot waiting for a ball to come back after a frame. The play was made easier for small kids – the place has ramps they can roll the ball down so they don’t have to actually bowl, and bumpers to stop the ball going into the gutters. With this help Toby got the high score of the day – an even 100.

We had arranged a delicious cake from a great local bakery where they can print any image you like onto rice paper to have on the cake. My brother Richard had helped us out by photoshopping Patrick and Toby into a picture – we used this for the cake, the invitations and I also made them a couple of t-shirts to wear for the party (click on the picture to embiggen):


toby is four

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

It’s Toby’s fourth birthday today which has been the subject of much anticipation and excitement. It seems to be a real milestone for him – four is much bigger than three in his world. He’s been telling us lots of things which four year olds do which three year olds don’t, including liking salad and avocado – we’ll see how that works out in the next few days.

He came through to our room in the night, about three thirty, and mournfully said, “But, Daddy, am I big yet?”. I told him no, he should go back to sleep and give it another three hours.


Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Last night I was about to go upstairs to bed when I noticed Toby’s daycare class activities calendar on the fridge, specifically that today was going to be sharing snack day. There have been lots of sharing activities and learning about being good friends all week due to Monday having been Martin Luther King Day. So for the snacks I checked in the kitchen cupboard to see if there was anything appropriate (peanut-free due to a couple of kids’ allergies, unopened packaging and reasonably snackish). The only thing I could see which met those criteria was a big jar of baby pickles, which I’m sure Toby would have loved but he’d be marked as the weird kid who brought pickles to school.

So I was a good dad and went out at 11:30pm in the 18 degree cold to the 24 hour grocery store and picked up a couple of packets of cookies, which apparently were very well received today.

Speaking of MLK, tonight when we were discussing the snacks and the legacy of Martin Luther King, we reminded Toby that King famously had a dream, and asked Toby if he also has a dream. He said, “Of course, I have dreams ALL the time.”


Monday, January 15th, 2007

Yesterday afternoon/evening we had a fun cultural experience. One of my good friends at work, who is originally from India and has been here just a few weeks longer than me, invited us to their son’s Mundan Sanskar – Churakaram Sanskar (Hair Cutting) ceremony. I understand that the details are to do with the fact that their son had potential for bad karma due to previous incarnations, and as he has reached about two and a half years old it was time to cut off all his hair to remove this previous bad karma. My friend came over with his son during the meal to tell us this – his son was quite tired after the long day of ceremonies and looked a little surprised to suddenly have a shaved head, but pretty soon was racing around with the other kids. My friend and his wife were very proud and happy – he’s somewhat formal in the way he speaks and I liked that while he was describing the ceremonies he underscored that it was logical and scientific.

We unfortunately couldn’t make it for the main ceremony, but got to the celebration afterwards, where there was a big meal with lots of their friends and family. We appeared to be the only non-Indian people there, so felt quite honored to have been invited, and we very much enjoyed ourselves. Toby particularly enjoyed the food, and was rapt when a couple of the girls did some traditional dancing – he was spellbound at their colorful clothing and the graceful movements of the dancing.

mickey’s diner

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

On Saturday evening we went to downtown St. Paul for Toby’s first exhibition opening party – the Minnesota Children’s Museum were having a party for museum members to celebrate the opening of their new Bob the Builder exhibition. I think he (Toby) quite enjoyed it – he loves the museum anyway but the BtB room was so mobbed that I’m not sure he enjoyed that particular piece so much.

About 7 o’clock we got pretty hungry, so went around the corner to historic Mickey’s Diner, which is a diner in a train diner car situated in downtown St. Paul (worth reading the link to get more background and historic info). Certainly not gourmet food but very good for what it is, including real hand-cut fries, the best I’ve had in ages – they clearly actually were made of real potatoes – what a concept!

thanksgiving photos

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

My dad just sent me a link to the photos he took when he and my brother David visited at Thanksgiving. Some really nice ones of Toby and spectacularly bad ones of me.

One I like is the shot of us wearing pilgrim hats at the dinner table. The story behind this is that Toby had made a pilgrim hat at school, and Emma and I thought it would be fun to tell the non-Americans that it’s an American tradition to wear paper pilgrim hats while eating your Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone believed us with no questions asked, so that’s what we did.

kids mishear the funniest things

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

At lunch today, Toby out of the blue said, “Daddy, did you know that Opa is wrong?” I asked him what he meant – apparently out of the blue he’d remembered a book my dad had brought him last month, where someone tells someone else to spread the word. Due to my dad’s accent, Toby thought the line was “spread the wood”, and it took me a while to persuade him that it was word, not wood. Now Toby is very suspicious of what his grandfather has to say.

Also Toby was telling me about his mall trip this morning with Emma, during the course of which they had a break for a snack. Toby told me he had a blueberry muffin. I said, “Ah yes, the state muffin of Minnesota.” Toby said, indignantly, “No, it was blueberry. Not steak.”


Friday, December 15th, 2006

We were just talking after dinner about going over to see our neighbors who looked after the cats while we were away. We got them a Bermuda rum cake and some Bermuda rum in liquid form too, which I hope they will enjoy.

Toby said that we should just go round and “knock on the door several times until they answer.” We asked how many times several is, so he counted on his fingers while saying “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, several.”

not so happy

Monday, November 27th, 2006

I wish I had read The Family Filmgoer before taking Toby to see Happy Feet over the weekend. It’s strange – it was marketed as a very fun musical about dancing penguins, and what almost-4-year-old doesn’t love singing and dancing penguins? However as the review states the movie dramatically changes course 2/3rds or so of the way through and becomes dark, scary and kind of nonsensical (dancing penguin tries to chase a fishing trawler, gets lost, gets washed up on some beach, put in the zoo and confused by mindless other penguins, dances for the people at the zoo who send him back to the other penguins, they all dance for some guys in a helicopter, the World Community stop all fishing around the South Pole). So, a bit of a waste of time.

Much more fun was dinner last night – we took him to a Japanese Restaurant where the chefs cook the food on a hot plate at your table, juggling cooking implements and flicking food around. This combined Toby’s two great loves of Asian food and slapstick humor – perfect. He did really well using child-modified chopsticks too.

sofa, so close

Friday, November 17th, 2006

We’ve got a lot of guests arriving over the next week or two and are trying to work out where we are going to put them. Seeing as he hasn’t worn diapers for ages we decided that Toby doesn’t need a changing table in his room any more, so we shifted that up to the attic and got a cheap but nice sofa bed from IKEA, which I set up last night. He’s very excited about having his own sofa in his room, he thinks it’s a really big boy thing to have. After I’d finished it I had to go off and do something – Toby closed the door after me, then sat on his sofa for a while to sing some songs to himself.

Emma had a less positive experience with the sofa though – she put Toby to bed last night and was trying to persuade him to stay in his bed all night (which has been a bit challenging lately) so she said that he should stay in his room to make sure his sofa doesn’t run away. Big mistake – Toby’s eyes went wide and he said, “But I don’t want my sofa to be moving around.” He was reassured that sofas don’t in fact move around but he said, “I think the sofa should go back in its box now.” Eventually Emma had to put some of his animal toys on the sofa to make sure that it wouldn’t move around in the night. Fortunately he did sleep all night, but we were worried for a bit.