Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Visitors 2011

Over the holidays, James had a lot of wonderful visitors who saw him in Massachusetts and New York. My friend Jaime came to meet him for the first time on the day after Christmas.

Cape Cod- December 2011
Jaime hits it off with James

Then on our way off the Cape, our friends Casey and Victoria and their kids Laurel and Oliver came out to meet us part way between their house and the Cape.  They weren't able to make their visit to New York in December because the kids got sick, so they finally got to meet James and James got to play with his hand-me-downs "big brother."  

Sowards 2011
Victoria and Laurel

Sowards 2011
Kevin, James, Oliver, and Casey (I think James is saying something.)

Andrew came home with us and visited for a few extra days.  He was pleased that James seemed to like him a little more after a couple of days of "getting used to" Andrew.

Andrew Visits 2011
James with his uncle Andrew

Then our friends Chrissy and Jason and their son Owen came from Ohio to visit their family and New Jersey and kindly came up from Jersey to see us too.  I've known Chrissy since we were 12 years old so I was super-excited to see Owen and James meet.  It was pretty cute to see, but the 18-month age gap is going to be tough to bridge for a while.  They were interested in the same toys so there's that.  It was wonderful to see so many great friends over the holidays.  
  
Vonderhaars Visit 2011
Vondy family visits

Vonderhaars Visit 2011
Hilarious interaction between Owen and James

Vonderhaars Visit 2011
Would have been fun to see this sneak peak of the future when we were in school

Have a happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

James's First Christmas 2011

We had a double Christmas this year because James wanted to spend quality time with both his grandmothers, so we drove up to the Cape on Christmas morning.  James was bad bad bad in the car and had a complete physical and mental breakdown just minutes away from Great-gandma's.  The festivities were held at James's great-grandmother's place and when we got there it was evident there was a new baby in the family, as the gifts were spilling into half the living room.

Christmas 2011
I have never seen so many gifts

But it's obvious his family on the Cape loves him to bits. They all showered him with gifts and love.  It's a bit of game deciding who will hold him next, as his grandma's siblings, and Kevin's cousins take turns.

Christmas 2011
James LOVES Grandma Kathy

Christmas 2011
Chilling with Great-grandma Ruth

Christmas 2011
James opens up a present from Great Uncle Dickie- a car!

Christmas 2011
Siblings, Denise, Dickie, Mary, and Kathy

1960 Family Photos 198
I retook a photo they took 50 years ago in the same order!

Christmas 2011
The cousins, Andrew, Katie, Chris, and Kevin

Christmas 2011
James enjoys the wrapping as much as the presents this year

Thursday, December 29, 2011

James's First Nochebuena 2011

Noche Buena 2011
Clous at Christmas

Nochebuena is the Spanish-Cuban-Latin American Christmas Eve. Mom came over and made pork loin, yuca (also called cassava), and black beans and rice. We don't have a dining room, so we moved our kitchen table to the tree. We were going to secure James's seat to a chair but he was just as happy on the floor getting bits of food from Nana. I know he's not a puppy. After, we opened presents in the evening like we've been doing in my family for a few years. Among other things, James bought Nana a biography based on his voluminous book licking. 

Noche Buena 2011
Nana feeding James yuca

Noche Buena 2011
Nochebuena meal

Noche Buena 2011
James opening a present from family

Noche Buena 2011
James opening his first present from Santa

Noche Buena 2011
The Cubans

Noche Buena 2011
Nice try, James

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kevin's Short Story in Natural Bridge 2011

Kevin had his short story, "Brendan and the D" published in the Natural Review, Fall 2011 issue! The only way to read it is subscribe the journal, find a copy in the library, or come over and look at our copy.

2011 12 Fall Natural Bridge
“Brendan and The D.” Natural Bridge 26 (2011): 134-48.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

James is 8 Months Old 2011

James at 8 Months 2011
8 months

James is 8 months old and 35 weeks now!

Growth- James two center bottom teeth have come out completely.  They are really cute when he shows them off.  The pediatrician and his nurse both measured James at 30 inches long, but he is definitely not that big.  I get 27.5 or at most 28 inches when I measure him which means he hasn't grown in two months.  He hasn't gained much weight either, but his head has gotten bigger.

James at 34 weeks + 1 day 2011
Bottom teeth are out (34 weeks + 1 day)

Moving!- He no longer falls from a sitting position like he did last month.  He's crawling all over the place, and now that he has the power of movement he can crawl over to places where he can pull up to a standing position. He stands as much as possible, and he's gone from holding on with two hands to one. Sometimes he attempts to "cruise" which means he tries to go from standing in one place to holding onto something else to stand.  He hasn't been hugely successful at this yet, but it might because stuff in our living room is spaced out too far for him.

James at 33 weeks + 2 days 2011
Pulling up on everything! (33 weeks + 2 days)

James at 34 weeks + 5 days 2011
One hand, mama! (34 weeks + 5 days)

Social- James seems to have recovered from his fear of strangers. He says "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" all day long, but he doesn't know it means me. He high-fives on request, though he really just holds his hand up so that you can high-five him.  He waved today for the first time!  He thinks all sorts of things are funny: hiding behind walls, wrestling, being snuggled by the teddy bear, and people wearing hats. He also follows us and misses us when we leave the room.

James at 8 Months 2011
What he does when one of us goes to the bathroom

Eating- He's trying to figure out how to feed himself from the bottle, and he can lift it but doesn't know to tilt it.  He'll eat pretty much anything you feed him, and often requests parts of our meals, much how an untrained puppy would.

Sleep- James sleeps in his crib from 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m, 3 a.m., or 4 a.m.  At that point I feed him, then bring him to our bed.  This is not comfortable at all for me, but if I'm lucky it gets him to sleep until 5.a.m. or 6 a.m.  

James is having his first Noche Buena (the 24th) this Saturday here on Long Island.  My mom is cooking traditional Cuban fare, including pork loin, yucca, and rice and beans.  Then Sunday he's headed to the Cape for his first Christmas day with Kevin's family.  It's his 6th visit to the Cape in his short 8 months! We're going to have to go to New Jersey more to even up the score!

Santa James 2011
Santa James at 33 weeks

Friday, December 16, 2011

Grandpa Buff 2011

Last Saturday, Kevin's grandfather George passed away at 93 years old. He was extremely well-loved. He was the last grandfather Kevin and I had and one of the best men I have known. I am certain he is one of the reasons Kevin is such an amazing husband and father. At his wake and funeral this week, I felt proud that James is his great grandson.

This is what Kevin said about him the day of the funeral:
    By anyone’s estimation, my grandfather’s life was an overwhelming success.

    George Altimus Rogers was married for over sixty years to a woman who cherished him so deeply she withstood thousands of hours of sports she did not care for and pretended not to understand. Only occasionally—when the table was set and dinner was warm—would she say, Turn off the idiot box, Buffy.

    He had four children—Nesie and Mary and Dick and my mother—all of whom were by his side when he died. He had four grandchildren—Katie and Chris and Andrew and me—and one great grandchild, all of whom visited him during his final days. He owned a business, ran a farm, and served his country overseas. You are not likely to meet someone else who can say this.

    He was the only Red Sox fan I know who was alive when the team won the World Series in 2007, 2004, and 1918. As a kid, he crafted wooden nickels in shop class to circumvent the turnstile and sneak into Boston Braves games. The last time we spoke, he had opinions about the Patriots’ defense.

    Everyday he listened to an AM radio older than I am and read two newspapers. Until it was no longer possible, he kept himself fit playing golf and gardening. His mind he kept sharp with crosswords. He told me he liked all of the presidents. For decades, he sat in a comfortable chair beside my grandmother and looked at peace.

    My grandfather attended my graduations and my wedding. When my son James gripped his finger, he called him Jimmy. My grandfather and I had an entirely uncomplicated relationship. He treated me with respect, and I respected him tremendously. When someone lives a life as long and rich in meaning as my grandfather did, you feel very grateful and, for a time, you feel very sad.

    I will miss the earnest greeting he unfailingly delivered to me—and then my wife Ericka and later James—when we came to see him. I will miss the reverence with which his chair was treated—both in the living room and at the head of the table—and his perpetually stained slacks. I will miss his indifference toward those stains. I will miss the long silences my grandfather and I shared waiting for the pitcher to throw the ball to the batter. I will even miss the fable of how he ate every part of the apple, though I suspect my grandmother will keep this story in circulation.

    I will miss a lot of things about my grandfather because there were a lot of things to appreciate and to admire. We will all miss him and, in doing so, we will honor what a great grandfather and father and husband and man he was.
Cape Cod Engement Party 2007
With his kids and grandchildren in 2007

kevins wedding 017-1
At our wedding in 2009

Rogers 60th Wedding Anniversary 2010
Celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary in 2010

Cape Cod- May 2011
Meeting his great-grandson James in 2011

Thanksgiving 2011
James's fourth trip to visit his great grandpa and our last photo together

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christina's Baby Shower 2011

This weekend I went to Christina's amazingly nice baby shower at Locanda Verde in Tribeca. There were tons of friends and family and they hosted a delicious bunch with multiple courses. Baby Hudson is going to be a lucky boy surrounded with so much love.

Christina's Baby Shower 2011
The baby-parents, Dan and Christina

Christina's Baby Shower 2011
The GW ladies in attendance: me, Christina, Rachel, and Megan

Christina's Baby Shower 2011
The baby shower room

Christina's Baby Shower 2011
The main course- yum!

Christina's Baby Shower 2011
Christina's besties, Pam and Nikki

Friday, December 2, 2011

Boys Club 2012!

Three of our friend-couples are expecting their first baby at the beginning of next year, which is super exciting.  They will be wonderful parents. Plus they are all having boys! And our friends Meghan and Ben are having their second son in January! James is going to have a bunch of little buddies!

Cipperleys 2008
Ben an Meghan, due in January (photo from 2008)

Corbman-LeVeen Wedding 2011
Dan and Christina, due in February

Grubaugh Wedding Celebration 2011
Donald and Sarah, due in March

Corbman-LeVeen Wedding 2011
Ed and Megan, due in April

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

James is Crawling 2011!

In the last week, James learned to sit up on his own and crawl. He actually learned to do both on November 21st, my dad’s one year anniversary. I videotaped him sitting but I couldn’t capture the crawling. He kept working on the crawling while we were in the Cape for Thanksgiving, with much encouragement from Kevin’s family.

He’s been working on it more since we got home. He does better when the video camera is not on him, but here’s a clip of him crawling. After I recorded this he followed me from the living room to the bathroom. He doesn't like me out of his reach anymore. He’s gone from not wanting to be left alone, to not wanting to be left without me. Mind you, because of Kevin’s work schedule, Kevin spends about half of the day with him 5 days a week. Even the other two days he spends 1-2 hours with him. So there’s really no reason why he’s gotten so attached to me over him. Unless James has figured out that I’m a bigger pushover than his father.

  
James crawling (32 weeks)

James can also pull himself up to a standing position when he finds something low enough to the ground to pull up from. Usually this means that when I’m lying on the floor on my side, he crawls over to me and puts his hand on my legs and uses them to pull up. He balances precariously so I grab him when he pulls up. I’m not sure if he’ll be walking as quickly as everyone is predicting though. Now that he can crawl, he doesn’t demand that we hold him in a standing position as much.

James at 32 weeks 2011
James pulling up (32 weeks)

James at 32 weeks 2011
Bonus cuteness- His raised eyebrow says, "did you see that?"

Friday, November 25, 2011

James's First Thanksgiving 2011!

Thanksgiving 2011
Thanksgiving with Kevin's family: Kathy, me, Kevin, James, Grandpa George, 
Grandma Ruth (James is notably less photogenic when I'm not behind the camera)

We spent James's first Thanksgiving on the Cape, where both Kevin and I spent many Thanksgivings before we knew each other. This is a little strange considering we met in Virginia, but Kevin's maternal grandparents have been living there for a long time, and so did my dad's parents. We had Thanksgiving dinner with Kevin's extended family, aunts, uncle, and cousins. The day after Thanksgiving, we briefly visited my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin an hour north in Truro.

Thanksgiving 2011
With Aunt Katie, Uncle Chris, and Great-Aunt Denise

Thanksgiving 2011
James is ready to eat in his new Thanksgiving Day bib

I was really excited to feed James all the mashed Thanksgiving sides. He usually only gets to have one flavor at a time, and while he had tried squash before, he had never tried mashed potatoes, turnips, stuffing, or cranberry sauce. I know you're only supposed to introduce one thing at a time so you can figure it out if they're allergic to something, but James isn't a very delicate baby, and Kevin and I have almost no allergies. James LOVED Thanksgiving. He loved being around Kevin's family, getting constant attention, and he loved eating everything. He wanted me to keep the food coming. I had to check between bites that he didn't still have food in there from the last spoonful because he wanted more before he was done. He was super cute.

Thanksgiving 2011
This is less fun than I anticipated; my dinner is getting cold!

Thanksgiving 2011
James's plate: mashed potatoes, turnips, squash, stuffing, and cranberry sauce

Cape Cod- November 2011
With Great-Grandma Catherine

Cape Cod- November 2011
With Great-Aunt Elaine, Uncle Griffin, and Winky

Cape Cod- November 2011
With Great-Uncle Richard

Thanksgivings without my dad are hard and sad. Especially on the Cape. Especially when I'm at his family's house and Thanksgiving is so much less without him. Last year was the first Thanksgiving without him, but it was so close to the day we lost him that we were still spinning in shock. This year felt like the first year without him. He is everywhere, and at the same time, his absence is suffocating.

Follins Pond, Cape Cod- November 2011
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