Monday, December 31, 2012

Post-Christmas on the Cape 2012

My mother left early on Christmas Day so Kevin, James, and I spent a quiet day by ourselves. The next day we drove up to the Cape to see Kevin's family, and in particular, his cousin Katie who we haven't seen since last Christmas.

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
James, Katie, Great-grandma Ruth, and Kevin

Kevin's family spoils James's rotten and he loves every minute of it. James left the Cape with a carload of loot including a little piano, a xylophone, megabloks, plushies, books, a potty, and a ton of clothing.  Even better, Kevin's mom, aunts, and grandmother all happily take turns babysitting James while Kevin and I get a little breather here and there. We're lucky to have so many wonderful people in our lives who love James.

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
James checks out his new megabloks

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
Great Aunt Nesie showing him how to play the xylophone

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
Great Aunt Mary showing James the snowman dance

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
Reading cards and opening presents

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
Grandma Kathy loves James so much!

The next day, we went to go see James's Great-grandma Catherine. It's a bit of drive from where Kevin's family lives and James is not a fan of daytime driving, but he was okay for the drive this time. Then he was just bad while we were at Great-grandma's. Sigh.

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
Great-grandma Catherine, James, and me

It was a pretty fun visit. I dragged Kevin to see The Hobbit. Grandma Kathy made us delicious dinners. We drank some good wine and watched some pretty hilarious home videos. We spent some quality time with Dolores, Ellen, and Fran. James spent hours giggling while torturing Nomar with love. I already can't wait to go back.

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
James and Great Aunt Fran

Cape Cod Post-Christmas 2012
Nomar tolerating James

Friday, December 28, 2012

Noche Buena & Christmas 2012

My mother came over for the holiday on the 23rd. It was a hard day for us because James has been sleeping poorly, which means the adults in the home are also sleeping poorly. On this particular day James woke up at 3:40 am, so Kevin was awake with him until 5:30 am, and then we switched-- he returned to bed, and I stayed up with James until his nap around 8 or 9 am. It was the second day he'd slept poorly so we weren't surprised. So we took it easy and ordered some pizza and drank some wine and beer.

Christmas Eve morning wasn't much better sleep-wise, but Mom cooked a big Cuban feast of pork, yucca, black beans and rice, so at least our bellies were happy. We moved the table to the living room because we don't have a dining room and the kitchen is small. Plus it's nice to eat near the Christmas tree.

Christmas 2012
Our second Christmas as a family of three

Christmas 2012
Our side of the Christmas Eve dinner table

After dinner, James had black beans on his face, hands, hair, and even inside his ears, so my mother gave him a bath and put him in pajamas before we opened presents.

Christmas 2012
Bathtime with Nana

Christmas 2012
Possibly the cutest naughtiest elf I have ever seen

We kept the presents modest because James is pretty young and doesn't understand what's going on yet. He's rapidly building vocabulary lately, so he mainly got books to learn more English and Spanish nouns. His Nana also got him a baby laptop though and he was so taken by it that he played with it for 30 minutes, repeating what it said and pointing to the pictures, and at one point he even fell over from giggling at it. Pretty awesome.

Christmas 2012
A finger puppet book!

Christmas 2012
Reading some "Go Diego, Go!" in Spanish

Christmas 2012
Santa Nana reveals the baby laptop

It was also a very special Christmas this year because Kevin recently won his fantasy football league championship. So we invited his star player, Arian Foster, to dinner. No, that didn't happen. Kevin did purchase and engrave a trophy for himself. I fully supported this and even went shopping with him for the cup. I also helped with the announcement to his fellow competitors.

Winning Gracefully- Making It Rainman
Kevin, his cup, Arian, and me-- cheers!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baby Silas 2012!

Jeff and Inga had a little miracle in time for Christmas: their baby boy Silas was born! Congratulations to papa and mama!

Silas 2012
Jeff, Inga, and Silas

Silas 2012
Cute little baby Silas

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More Ben- December 2012

A few quick pictures from my firs time babysitting Ben. I stayed with him for just a couple of hours while Jon and Becky ran out for supplies. Kevin and James accompanied me to Brooklyn but spent their time outside at the park.

Visiting Ben 2012
Me and my little buddy Ben

When Jon and Becky returned I took some family photos for them. I think they came out cute!

Visiting Ben 2012
Jon, Ben, and Becky

Visiting Ben 2012
Aw, love!

Visiting Ben 2012
The men and their boys

Monday, December 24, 2012

Michele Visits NYC 2012

It's not clear whether Michele missed New York more or New York missed Michele more (probably the latter) but she decided to catch a train up to visit for a few days. I saw her the day she arrived, and though I would have liked to see her another one of the days, I was still in recovery some days later. I've mentioned this before but I'm old and my toddler like to get up at 4:30 AM or worse, and that makes for really poor recoveries from fun night out. But it was worth it!

I met Michele at Penn Station where the Christmas decorations and the armed guards were out in full force. Christmas is strange in New York.  From there we went to a wine bar in the West Village, and shared a huge bottle of wine with her friend Yael.

Michele Visits NYC 2012
At Gusto Ristorante with Michele and Yael 

Afterwards, we met with Kirsten, and went for a late dinner at the Meatball Shop. It is so delicious. All of it. I had the classic meatballs and the buffalo chicken meatballs with polenta. Then we decided we needed ice cream sandwiches too. Yael and I shared an espresso ice cream on one snickerdoodle cookie and one brownie cookie. It tasted like a Momofuku compost cookie but a million times better if such a thing is imaginable.

Michele Visits NYC 2012 
Kirsten, me, Yael, and Michele at The Meatball Shop!

Oh yeah, and we had more wine at the meatball shop. All of that wine resulted in these super self-portraits in front of Yael's Christmas tree. Which is fitting, because Michele visiting is one of the best Christmas presents!

Michele Visits NYC 2012
Holiday love

Friday, December 21, 2012

James is 20-Month-Old Chatterbox 2012

James is 20 months old! We're getting so close to his second birthday!

James at 19 Months 2012
Building a pillow fort, December 4

His vocabulary has exploded in the last month. He understands a ton of stuff in both English and Spanish. He says over 40 words now, mostly English. I'm going to lose track pretty soon, but here's a run down of the things he says regularly:
    Things he loves:
    1. light 2. a Mama 3. a Dada 4. tete (Spanish for pacifier)  5. a ball 6. a book

    Food he loves:
    7. milk (he also says this when he's hungry so this is helpful, rarely he says leche) 8. juice / jugo (He says both the English and the Spanish) 9. a coo (a cookie) 10. yogur (Spanish for yogurt)  11. apple 12. nana (banana) 13. agua (Spanish for water) 14. a cah (a cracker)

    15. a cat (also makes the cat noise meow) 16. a dog (also makes the dog noise woof) 17. a whale (there's one on his nursery wall) 18. a cow 19. sheep (also makes the sheep noise bah) 20. duck 21. chick 22. a mon (monkey) 23. pig (and pig noise oink/uck?) 

    24. go! (when he wants us to play tag) 25. up (to pick him up) 26. "ow" (when he wants me to kiss his booboo)  27. hi!  28. bye!  29. eye/ojo (Spanish for eye) 30. nariz (Spanish for nose) 31. pelo (Spanish for hair) 32. choo-choo/ train 33. a door 34. a wall 35. a shoe 36. a car 37. a tree (Christmas tree) 38. a star (on Christmas tree) 39. baby  40. a T (Tigger from Winnie the Poo) 41. Oh tools! (from Mickey Mouse Club) 42. cache[te] (Spanish for cheek) 43. Santa 44. please (but he think this is the word he says to obtain yogurt bites) 45. touch (from us constantly yelling, "NO TOUCH."
James is the strangest kid. He hates car rides. He loves vegetables and routinely eats all of them at dinner before touching anything else. He also loves brushing his teeth. He'll ask for his toothbrush and refuse to relinquish it for hours sometimes. I think it's fair to say he takes after my dad in these things. Right?

Christmas Season 2012
Christmas jammies and Christmas tree, December 7

He seems to have gotten a little bigger because he's more comfortable in 2T pajamas now than the 18 month ones, but when I measure him I still get 34 inches. James loves the Mickey Mouse Club, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Blues Clues. He loves to nab things he's not supposed to touch. Kevin takes him to the park most days and he wanders around picking up leaves and sticks.

James at 19 Months 2012
Bouncing on the bridge at the park

James at 19 Months 2012
How he goes down the slide

To celebrate his 20-month birthday we took James to meet Santa for the first time. James sat there saying, "Santa. Santa. Santa." No one is surprised that Santa said he would be getting coal in his stocking.

James Meets Santa 2012
James and Santa

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Walk 12-12-12

Last year, we threw a party on 11-11-11, because ever since my early twenties I had wondered what I would be doing on that date. This time, 12-12-12 fell on a Wednesday, so we kept it low-key. We took James on a walk around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. He doesn't really understand Christmas yet, but he loves lights. In fact, "light" was one of his first words. It was a nice way to enjoy the holidays and the neighborhood, and I'd like to make it a yearly tradition.

Christmas Lights 2012
Angel and snowman

Christmas Lights 2012
Pop-out Santa!

Christmas Lights 2012
Christmas tree house

Christmas Lights 2012
Huge snowman head

Christmas Lights 2012
Santa and Mickey Mouse snow globe

Christmas Lights 2012
My favorite guys by a Christmas tree

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting 2012

We were so deeply saddened by the horrific loss of so many lives this Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the 20 children and 7 adults who were killed and the community of Newtown. Everyone I know has cried again and again for the families. My friends and I are of the age when some of us understand personal loss, and some of us understand what it means to be a parent. The loss of a child is an unspeakable horror. I hope that our country does whatever it takes to protect our children in the future.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lukas, Sarah, and Christmas Cookies 2012

Last weekend, Lukas and Sarah came over for some Christmas merriment. I got a little excited and went overboard with cookies, but I don't regret a thing. Even better, Sarah introduced me to glögg! It's a delicious mulled non-alcoholic wine that you heat up, to which we added some alcoholic wine. Of course.

Christmas Season 2012
Our Christmas tree!

Christmas Season 2012
Christmas cookie mania!

When Lukas and Sarah came in James ran over to them and gave them a group hug like he sometimes does to me and Kevin. But it's rare! He understands they belong together.

Christmas Season 2012
James tackles Lukas

Christmas Season 2012
Sarah to reading James

So much fun! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Richmond Food Cooperative 2012

A month ago, I wrote about Michele's departure from New York to start a food co-op in Richmond. She and her co-op co-founder Susan are hard at work already! The Richmond Food Cooperative has had meetings with the committee heads and an event to meet prospective members.  The co-op has a Facebook page, and now the Richmond Food Cooperative blog up and running! Go check it out!

Richmond Food Co-op

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meeting Ben 2012!

Jon and Becky had a baby boy last week! His name is Benjamin Elliot and he is the cutest snuggliest little guy you will ever meet. I know because I rushed over to meet him as soon as I could.

Baby Ben 2012
Newborn Ben

He was born at 6 pounds and 4 ounces. I have never held a baby that small before, and he's so lovely. (James weighed more than that 4 weeks before he was born.) Did I mention how excited we were to meet him?

Meeting Ben 2012
Kevin meeting his new little buddy

Meeting Ben 2012

Jon and Becky are so happy and in love with their little guy. Becky looks great, but I decided not to even attempt torturing her with photos. Jon was fair game though. You can see his love and adoration positively oozing out of him in this photo.

Meeting Ben 2012
Jon waking up Ben for a feeding

James took an interest in Ben as well, and between our visit and all the time I spent looking at photos of Ben on my computer, James learned how to say "baby" this week. That's a fun story for when they're 4 and 5 years old.

Meeting Ben 2012
Two super awesome dads in action

Friday, December 7, 2012

Visiting Andrew in Florida 2012

Kevin and I went to visit Andrew in Florida. It's been 2 and half years since our last visit to him there, so we were due. We were there shortly after Andrew's birthday, so Kevin planned the visit to coincide with the Patriots v. Dolphins game, which was Andrew's birthday treat.

Grandma Kathy is the big hero of this story, as she stayed in Long Island to watch James for... FOUR DAYS... alone! This is where I admit that I have never watched James for four consecutive days without any help.

Visiting Andrew in Florida 2012
Kevin, Mike, Andrew, and Kelly, Friday night at the Blue Anchor

We got there Friday evening and we went out with Andrew and some of his close friends to the bars in Atlantic Avenue. The weather was lovely that evening, and Atlantic Avenue is one of the few places in the area that has a bunch of bars within walking distance to each other. Some of the bars are open-air.

Visiting Andrew in Florida 2012
My new buddies, Marissa and Tatiana sitting outside in December- yay!

Even though it was a travel day, we had a lot of fun Friday night. Too much fun perhaps considering we already had Andrew's birthday and a football game on our weekend schedule.

We checked the area out a little on Saturday afternoon.  We drove down A1A, went for a longish walk on the beach in Deerfield, and by my request we went to the outside shopping mall Mizner Park.

Visiting Andrew in Florida 2012
Walking along Deerfield Beach

Visiting Andrew in Florida 2012
The Clou brothers go a few buttons down on Deerfield Beach

Visiting Andrew in Florida 2012
Mizner Park in Boca Raton, where Kevin had his prom photo taken 14 years ago.

There are countless photos illustrating how fun Andrew's Birthday and Brother Bash were (celebrating both Andrew's birthday and Kevin's visit to see him), but many of them are a little embarrassing for someone, and as I get old, I try to post fewer and fewer of those on the interwebs. So here's a perfectly respectable and happy group photo from the party. Kelly and Megan got there a little late because they had to work so they missed the group shot, but I included them separately too.

Andrew's 29th Birthday 2012
Group photo- yay!

Andrew's 29th Birthday 2012
Kelly and Megan rock!

Andrew made enough chicken parmesean, eggplant parmesean, and angel hair pasta to feed anyone who wanted dinner. Marissa made the most amazing pepperoni dip ever. Connie brought 3 delicious desserts. Some of the guys even brought some of their home-brew beer. Andrew's friends are an amazing group of friendly, funny, and giving people. He's really lucky that they fill his life.

Let me tell you, it was hard for everyone to get up to go to the football game on Sunday. Especially since we committed to getting up early to tailgate. Really. We did that. After 2 nights of already being out. This was not any easier for Andrew who is still in his 20s than it was for us, though Mike seemed to be holding up valiantly. Adam and his uncle did all the tailgate cooking, which was super nice of them.

Patriots v. Dolphins 2012
Tailgating with Andrew, Mike, Kevin, Adam, and his uncle!

I'm not a football aficionado, but I've always enjoyed watching a game live. It's more exciting, and there's beer and bad stadium food (which I secretly love). Sometimes I learn or relearn some rules of football or some fun plays. I often take I'm-at-a-football-game photos. That's obviously the best part. During this particular game, I developed a newfound appreciation of why people complain about the Patriot's Coach Belichick. He won a close game using sound mathematical strategy, but most of us were there to watch football-- we wanted him to go for the glory of a final touchdown to win. Instead the Pats kicked a field goal and ran out the clock to assure victory. He's no Coach Taylor, that's for sure. 

Patriots v. Dolphins 2012
Me, Kevin, Andrew, and mike at the Patriots v. Dolphins game

Patriots v. Dolphins 2012
Brady getting tackled

It was a great weekend, and it seriously took me about a week to recover because recovery is a slow process when you return to reality and your toddler insists on getting up at 5 a.m. or earlier every morning. But it was worth it!  
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