Sunday, July 31, 2011

happy birthday to me.

Celebrating my birthday isn't quite like it used to be - well, at least this ol' Momma tried to party like it was 1999.  Joe and I went out with friends on Friday night while James spent the night with my parents.  Before closing down a bar, we had a beyond delicious dinner at Lucca and then headed to Improv Asylum where I laughed 'til I cried.  We had such a great time and it almost felt like life-before-baby...until I woke up Saturday morning.  All I have to say is "ouch".  It wasn't too long ago that I was able to stay out until the sun came up and still have a productive day.  I guess becoming a parent changes ones tolerance for alcohol...I'd prefer to think that's the reason and it's not due to being another year older.  I'll stick to being a home-body, spending the evenings with my men, and going to bed early.  Wait, we have tickets to the Redhook-fest next weekend.  Crap.  I better start chugging water and catching up on sleep right now.

I think James could sense that his Mum had a mini-steel-drum band playing inside her skull on Saturday so he was generous with his naps.  I love that kid.  That evening, we stopped by my brother's house for some grilled deliciousness and James got a chance to show off his new crawling skills, stair climbing skills, and tomato stealing skills.

We had some much-needed yard work to do today.  Well, Joe did the work while James and I had a Cheerio picnic on the grass.

Actually, Joe did get a little bit of help...
Adding to the weekend's theme of stuffing ourselves silly, we went to lunch at La Paloma in Kingston.  Yum.  Then, to wrap up the day, we brought James on a tour of my Dad's foundry and tried to teach him how to earn his keep.  I think he'll stick to Cheerio picnics for now.

Aside from going out for one night sans-baby and celebrating with friends, it didn't really seem like my birthday weekend - hell, I didn't even have birthday cake.  Rather than having a day focused on me, it was just another weekend spent with the family - and I wouldn't have had it any other way!

Monday, July 18, 2011

we have liftoff...

Our not-so-little guy turned 9 months old this past week.  Time is passing by at a nauseatingly fast pace.  As I type this, I'm thinking that we will reach the 10 month mark in just a few short weeks and that thought makes me wanna hurl.  Lovely.  But anyways...

There was a brief period of time where we thought James might skip the whole crawling stage and move right onto walking.  He has started to pull himself up to a standing position and has been sitting up on his own and scooting around on his butt for a while now.  Since before he was 6 months old, he was satisfied with his view of the world from the sitting position and no longer wanted to be on his stomach or back - so had no need to teach himself to crawl.  Until now...

I think he started crawling out of sheer boredom.  There are only so many times you can thumb through "Brown Bear" or chomp on the same blocks - especially when you see a bookshelf full of new books and toys that can be pulled down, kitchen cabinets that can be pulled open, and plugs that can be pulled out.  Ever since the day he was born, he has been so observant of his surroundings and has wanted to investigate anything he could get his hands on – and his ability to crawl brings his explorations to another level.

It also gives him a new level of freedom.  He doesn’t have to rely on us to choose which toys he plays with (I use the term “toys” lightly because he would rather play with the cat’s tail, the window curtains, or the kitchen trash).  In fact, he would much prefer to do everything on his own, including feeding himself – which makes dinner time extremely messy.  It’s both sad and exciting to see the progression of a tiny seahorse-looking-thing on an ultrasound to a 9lb. real-life-baby-boy to a crawling-blackberry-stealing-bottle-throwing-top-teeth-sprouting-babbling-laughing-little man.  It’s also sad and exciting (I’ll admit, it’s much more sad than exciting) that as each day passes, he needs me less and less.  I know, we will always need our parents if only on an emotional level but it’s those basic human tasks that he is beginning to own.  It wasn’t too long ago that he relied on me to get food into his mouth, to entertain him, to get him across the room.  I guess I can take comfort in the fact that he already knows that I’ll always be here to support him, cheer him on, and scoop him out of the water if Grammy drops him…

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

mantle makeover.

Ever since we painted the walls and trim in the main living area, the mantle has stuck out like a sore thumb - at least it did to me.  The orangey wood tone bugged me way more than it should have...

We stopped by the hardware store and grabbed two pieces of wood to spruce up the mantle and here's how it looks now...

Minor improvement.  Major relief.

We bought one piece of 1x8x8 and one piece of 1x6x8 (I think...this was 3 whole days ago and my memory is totally useless since becoming a Mum.)  The mantle is only about 6 1/2 feet long so Joe cut those two boards to the correct length.  (The *ahem* not-so-perfectly-square trimmed pieces would later be used as the end caps.)

We used liquid nails along with our trim nailer to secure the two long boards - basically forming an L shape.  I didn't take a picture but here's a ridiculously awesome drawing of this step:

Next, we attached the two end pieces using the same method.  I know, it's like rocket science...

After we confirmed our box fit snugly over the mantle and the liquid nails had time to dry, I gave the piece a quick sanding and then stained with what was leftover from the TV stand project.

Two pieces of wood:  about $20
Stain (we already had some):  free
Total cost of new mantle:  about $20

Feel free to break out your calculators and check my math.

Aside from more yard clean up, our next project(s) will be to fix up the mudroom and laundry room - both are slated to be done on the cheap as well.  Stay tuned.

Oh...and if anyone has any large, granite stones/blocks they want to get rid of, let us know!

Monday, July 4, 2011

first fourth.

To celebrate James' first Fourth of July, we decided to make a weekend trip up to one of our most favorite places: North Conway, NH.  This time, it was just the three of us so we prepared ourselves for a relaxing vacation.

For starters, Joe decided to mow our lawn before we left so we didn't come home to a overgrown nightmare.  I think he mostly wanted to test out his Father's Day gift...
We didn't get to North Conway until Friday night but James was able to stay awake long enough for us to stop into Red Parka for some quick eats.  We woke up early Saturday morning and had breakfast at the cabin...James LOVED it there.  He was even more relaxed and cheery than normal - as if that is even possible!

We hung around the cabin for a while, Joe showed James exactly where we were on the map, and James explored his new surroundings...

We walked around the shops for the rest of the morning, took a drive north through the mountains while James napped in the backseat, and then stopped for lunch and, of course, more pics.

It was getting late in the afternoon and we knew James would need more than a 30 minute nap in order to behave through dinner so we took a swim in attempts at tuckering him out.  It worked.

Before dinner, we went for a walk to build up an appetite.  I'm not exactly sure why because none of us ever need any additional help working up an appetite.

Sunday was warm, muggy, and drizzly.  We wanted to take advantage of the break in the clouds before the rain ruined our day completely so we took a short hike near Wildcat...

Did I mention that James loved it there?
After our hike, we took another drive through the mountains - no real plan or destination in mind.  We spotted this little fella on the side of the road and stopped to chat.  He wasn't much of a talker but I'm pretty sure his name was Phil.

It rained for most of the afternoon but we took shelter in Flatbreads (yummmm) and then peeked in on the cupcake eating contest that was going in across the street.  I love cupcakes.  I probably love cupcakes more than the average person...but I totally wanted to hurl at the sight of people shoving those things down their throats.  The weather cleared up later that evening so we were able to walk around "downtown" and check out the antique shops and little craft fair they had going on.  Don't worry, Joe wasn't totally bored - there was a stand with a hundred different types of dip.

Unfortunately, both Joe and I have to work tomorrow so we headed home from New Hampshire this morning.  We stopped to take the token family shop but, once again, I was reminded why to just opt for my camera's self timer and not the sweet lady passing by - especially if she has hairy pits.  Our token family shot will not be posted online for the masses to view but here is one of James reflecting on his mini-vacation...
We made it home and are already missing our little break from reality.  James wasn't able to catch any fireworks on his first fourth and I thought about having him watch Boston's celebration on tv - but lets get real, I probably won't even be awake to see them.  On that note, I hope all of you had/are having a wonderful 4th!  If you aren't, watch this.  I hope it inspires you as it does me (inspires you to love & appreciate your country, not to do crack)....