Friday, August 31, 2012

Ash's "Happy Everything!" Party 2012

Barn Party III! My buddy Ash threw the most amazing party last weekend which is why it's taken me all week to sort through the photos and write this post. Her barn parties are epic anyway, and this time her theme really took it to another level. Though it wasn't a costume party, her invite encouraged us to celebrate every holiday before the end of the world.  The decorations celebrated every holiday, as did the food, drinks, and entertainment.  It was all the reasons you love holidays (all of them) and parties rolled into one. I have been to a lot of theme parties (because I attended UVA law) and this out-themed 84-days of costume parties.

Happy Everything! 2012
Michele, Ash, and me celebrating EVERYTHING!

In order to fully document the awesome, I made it a goal to photograph each holiday. We started with a holiday drink taste test.  We were blindfolded and asked to remember 6 holiday drinks and the corresponding holidays.  We had champagne (New Years), Sex on the Beach (Valentines), Guinness (St.Patty's), tequila (Cinco de Mayo) , mulled cider (Thanksgiving), and egg nog (Christmas). Michele won the game with a perfect score of 12. I missed 2 and wasn't even in the top 3. These people are hardcore. Since the first thing we were served was champagne, and we drank too much, I'm going to call this my New Years picture.

Happy Everything! 2012
Holiday Drink Taste-test

Putting together these shots was also a really fun way of getting to know all the party guests I hadn't met before.

Happy Everything! 2012
The "sexy shot" for Valentines Day!

Happy Everything! 2012
The we're wearing green and smiling impishly shot for St.Patrick's Day

Happy Everything! 2012
Um, bunny ears and an Easter basket (see in the middle) for Easter. Um?

Okay, well obviously, by this point we'd been celebrating for a while and the structural integrity of our shots was a little weak. But that just makes it more fun right?

Our next game was breaking open the piñata for Cinco de Mayo! It was hard to choose 1 photo and it's my blog, so I didn't.

Happy Everything! 2012

Happy Everything! 2012
Poor little guy just lost his leg

Happy Everything! 2012
It sort of looks like the piñata is winning in this one.

I think my favorite was the sparklers for Independence Day. I never played with sparklers as a kid, yet they make me feel like a kid.  I think the first time I ever handled a sparkler was Independence Day in 2008! I know, right? I've been so deprived.

Happy Everything! 2012
Woo Independence Day!

Labor Day is a tricky holiday because while everyone enjoys a nice long weekend, there aren't too many symbolic representations of it. Lucky for us, Michele's birthday is Labor Day weekend, and since the party was pretty close to the actual weekend-- Ash lovingly made her a cake and surprised her with it.

Happy Everything! 2012
Michele blowing out her birthday candles for Labor Day!

Halloween was the easiest. Being the holiday-lover that I am, I had brought a bunch of costumey headbands and Ash had a few costume props as well, so we mixed and matched holidays and we had Halloween.

Happy Everything! 2012
Halloween with the late-night party-goers

Happy Everything! 2012
Eak and Gonul, Halloweening it up in the dark

Thanksgiving is best known for family and food. It also happens to be Ash's favorite, which you might have deduced from all the amazing food at the party. Dinner was like someone had come in and catered Easter and Thanksgiving. Except that person was Ash. She even had pies! Plural! Plus we played Pin-the-hat-on-the-turkey!

Happy Everything! 2012
Ash made us some yummy pecan pie for Thanksgiving!

Happy Everything! 2012
Pin-the-hat on the turkey!

Below are my Christmas representatives- Kate and her brother Matt-- who must have had awesome Christmases growing up because they both picked it as their favorite holiday. Additionally Ash kept some egg nog in her freezer from last Christmas, and I am not ashamed to say that I had it for breakfast and in my coffee the next morning- YUM.

Happy Everything! 2012
Christmas Kate!
Happy Everything! 2012
Nothing says Christmas like snowflakes and feather boas.

Of course, the best part about the night was that we didn't have to wait, month after month for the next great holiday treat. Everything was happening at once! All the holiday joy multiplied in the mix-and-match. Happy Everything to you!

Happy Everything! 2012
The Easter bunny and Uncle Same are besties 

Happy Everything! 2012
On the one shoulder I have an evil angel, and on the other a pirate. 

Baby Harry 2012

My friends David and Jordan had a beautiful baby boy, Harry. I first met David in graduate school for public policy when his sign language interpreter didn't show up, so I used my lap top to transcribe the lesson for him. After that he bacame part of my grad school drinking group, and eventually he introduced me to the entire tome of Alias. Sadly I haven't seen him or his wife Jordan since my wedding. Congratulations on your bundle of joy!

Harry, Jordan, and David

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

James's New Chair 2012

What I love about this new chair is that it's basically a miniature of our living room chair. James has been indicating he would like somewhere to chill (or something else to climb) for a little while now, so we broke down and bought him his own lounge furniture. Of course, he enjoys the box that the chair came in with equal enthusiasm.

James at 16 Months 2012
James in his new chair (and his old Huntsville, AL shirt)

James at 16 Months 2012
Chillin' like Dada (just needs his own iPhone)

James at 16 Months 2012
La casa de caja

Monday, August 27, 2012

Grandma Kathy Visits- August 2012

We feel so lucky that James's two grandmothers make an effort to see him (and us!) every month. He's their only grandchild so it makes it a little easier to focus their attention on him, but even so, I feel like they really go above and beyond. This week, the best thing ever happened to James: he got to see both grandmothers! After our Wednesday visit to see my mother, Grandma Kathy came and stayed Thursday night through Sunday afternoon.

James has plenty of reasons to love his visits with Grandma Kathy. She takes him to the park every day, and takes him for walks. She reads him lots of books, gives him baths, and puts him to bed with lullabyes. She even took him for frozen yogurt! James was really sad when she left. Who can blame him?

James at 16 Months 2012
Bathtime with grandma on Friday night

James at 16 Months 2012
Uh-oh, runaway naked baby

James at 16 Months 2012
He looks like a baby frog-towel Caesar!

Grandma Visits- August 2012
Reading with grandma

Friday, August 24, 2012

David and Melanie in Hoboken 2012

We've been overdue for an outing with David and Melanie for a long time, and they both graduated from college this spring, so we went out to dinner to celebrate. David passed his Series 7 exam and is working in financial planning. Melanie is gearing up to take optometry exams this fall. The two of them are smart, awesome, and adorable in no particular order.

Hoboken with David & Melanie 2012
We passed this random Cuba sign and decided the picture should be here!

We went to a nice BYOB Italian family restaurant in Hoboken. I don't think I've been out in Hoboken since I was in college so probably twelve years ago! It's cuter than I remember it, and it's no mystery why so many people from my hometown move there when they move out on their own.

Hoboken with David & Melanie 2012
Aren't they the cutest?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Visiting Nana- August 2012

My mother has Wednesdays off from work, and right now Kevin is in between his Manhattan campus summer classes and his Long Island campus fall classes so we went to visit her. She tried to be very strict with my little spoiled son, so he was a little wary of her for a little while, but then we left for dinner and they had a great time without us. She fed him a huge dinner (he eats so much!) and then they got ready for bed and snuggled together on her bed. So adorable.

Visiting Nana- August 2012
Me, Nana, and James

Monday, August 20, 2012

James's Vocabulary at 16 Months 2012

James is 16 months old today! In lieu of a full update on James's personal growth and development this month, let's stick to the one thing that has been changing. James is starting to say words on his own more and not just repeating sounds we make. He understands a lot of stuff we say to him. Sometimes he even responds to stuff Kevin and I are saying to each other and not to him. As far as actually speaking though, we expect his language will be delayed and confused for a while because I'm teaching him Spanish as well as English.

One complication is that little kids don't pronounce things correctly when they're learning to speak, but their parents can usually guess at the words based on context, and reward the language by giving them what they request.  It makes it harder to guess what he's saying when it might be a mispronounced English word, Spanish word, or nonsense noise.

Spanish Books 2011
Collage of James's Spanish books

Another unusual thing is that I did a little reading on raising bilingual children. It was my understanding that, at first, James would learn one word for each item without regard for language, but that he would only learn the one word. Well, this is not turning out to be the case. Like many little boys, James is obsessed with light fixtures, and he says both light and "luz," the word for light in Spanish. I'm not sure what to expect going forward. I exclusively spoke Spanish for 4 years before I started learning English so my experience was different than James's will be.

Here's his current list of words/ word-like-babble in order of frequency:
  1. "ight" = light
  2. "loosh" = luz (Spanish for light)
  3. "go go"= Diego (sometimes he actually says Diego, but rarely)
  4. Boos Coos = Blues Clues
  5. "ow" = used to convey painless injuries (he actually cries when he's hurt)
  6. Mama
  7. Dada
  8. agua/aba = Spanish for water
  9. tete = Spanish for pacifier, but I suspect he might also be referring to "leche" or milk 
  10. "ba pa"  = back pack (from Diego)
  11. Click = the camera on Dora and Diego
  12. arbol = Spanish for tree
As you can see, "Mama" and "Dada" don't rate very high on his list of importance.

James at 15 Months 2012
James and "Mama" at home

Tiny town.
"Dada" and James at the park

Monday, August 13, 2012

Colbert Report 2012

In 2010, I went to the Daily Show with a few friends, and that was okay, but my real dream was to go see Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report. Well, last Tuesday, Michele made that dream come true.

Colbert Report 2012
Outside the Colbert Report

Stephen is awesomer in person than he is on the show. He is also geekier. These are not ways of saying the same thing (though I've been known to be a fan of geeky). Let's get the bad out of the way before I begin endlessly gushing about Colbert.  He always says on the show that he's a big fan of Lord of the Rings trilogy, but he is not kidding-- he has entire poems memorized from the books and he's not embarrassed to spew them out at pretty ladies. Um, not so good. 


Okay, now that that's out of the way, Colbert walks on water. He is the kind of religious man that lives the teachings of his religion. He advocates tolerance, charity, and community. He is hilarious. Michele and I laughed the entire time we were there. He is tired of the bullshit he has to make fun of every day. As hilarious as his rant against Congressman Steve King was on the show, in between segments he boiled it down to, "Who comes out in favor of dog fighting? Seriously, what is he talking about?" Why is Colbert on an entertainment program and King is in our government when clearly it should be the other way around?

Colbert Report 2012
Reporting on Congressman Steve King's glassy-eyed man puppies

He also told this amazing story about how he decided to go into comedy, but the best part was this quote, "I wanted to do something where there was so much joy in failure." It struck a note with me. Obviously we don't ever want to fail, but when it happens anyway, how much better would our lives be if we could run with it, guilt-free?

Michele and I closed out our perfect girls night with Indian food and drinks. I am running out of time to have Michele in New York. I am super happy for her that she is chasing her dreams (!) but I am really getting sad about her leaving.

Colbert Report 2012

Colbert Report 2012
Me with Colbert-glow. I heart him.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Meeting William T. 2012

I was dying to meet Megan and Ed's new little baby. They live close enough that it's possible to just go for a quick weekend, but we'd just been in April right before Megan was due, and it was hard to get back down there with James in tow. Alas we met William a week ago. He's the perfect little adorable blend of Megan and Ed. Babies change a lot very quickly so I don't know if he's going to keep it up but I've never seen a baby that looked so much like both of his parents. He's got a little Megan here, a little Ed there, and lots of Ed's expressions.  And he's good! Maybe he'll rub off on James....

Visiting the Taylors 2012
Me, James, Megan, Lucy, William, and Ed (Kevin behind the camera)

James ran around spilling Cheerios all over the Taylor's home while I chased him and picked them up. William was not impressed since he's a mature older soul. Hopefully as they grow older the age difference will get smaller. William needs to catch up physically, and James needs to catch up emotionally and then they will be the best of friends!

Visiting the Taylors 2012
William: Do you see what I've had to put up with today?

James did make a connection with Lucy though. He wanted to pet Lucy all day. While Lucy was eager to have me pet her, she was less enthusiastic about James.

Visiting the Taylors 2012
James petting Lucy-- Lucy avoiding paparazzi shots

Megan and Ed were awesome hosts and made us a yummy burger and mango salsa, and pretended like James was being cute.  Most of all I got lots of William snuggle time. At one point I had to chase James while carrying William and wow, was that a dose of reality. That's not gonna happen anytime soon.

Visiting the Taylors 2012
Me and my cutie snuggle baby, William T.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

DC Friends and James 2012

While we stayed at Cory and Robin's a few friends came over to visit with James. Janice came over bearing a new ball for James and marshmallow fluff and pretzels to share with his mother. James had stolen the Boone's water can and attempted to use it to water the ball. Not sure where this plan came from since I'm sure he's never even seen me try to water a plant.

DC Visit- August 2012
James accepting presents from Janice in the strangest way possible.

DC Visit- August 2012
Janice and James clapping together

Roger also stopped by for just a few minutes, since he missed seeing James when we came to DC in April.

DC Visit- August 2012
James shows Roger the new gift he got from Janice...

DC Visit- August 2012
And then takes it back. Psyche!

Oh and here's a ridiculous cute photo of James snuggling with his best friend Cory.  The two of them got along famously.

DC Visit- August 2012
Cory and James hug!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Saturday Morning in Southeast DC 2012

We had a quick trip to DC this weekend. We stayed with Cory and Robin who live in an up-and-coming neighborhood in the Southeast - and got to enjoy some of the best places there.  We started at Eastern Market, which somehow I missed in the 8 years I lived in the Metro area. The outside market area reminds me a lot of the Brooklyn flea market, except the food is more farmers' market than food truck. The actual Eastern Market building is very unique and beautiful. I can't believe I had never been in it before. I think this just leaves the White House on my DC-bucket list. (I've been in the backyard but not inside the building.)
DC Visit- August 2012
Clous with Cory and Robin in front of the Eastern Market building

My friend Jaime joined us for the outing and after we walked around the flea market and the indoor  Eastern Market building, we grabbed some lunch at Marvelous Market nearby. I would recommend eating directly from the farmers' market instead, but James was pretty happy because he got his first squeezy-tube of smoothie-like food.

DC Visit- August 2012
Jaime inside Eastern Market

DC Visit- August 2012
James enjoying a fruit smoothie squeezie at Marvelous Market

Cory and Robin had a great idea to take James to the new Yards Park. It's beautiful and super kid friendly with a wading pool and a kiddie splashing fountain.  James was a little nervous about the whole thing at first and kept asking Kevin to pick him up (not with words but with his arms). Once he got into though he loved splashing around.

DC Visit- August 2012
The Yards Park, facing towards the Anacostia River

DC Visit- August 2012
The Yards Park, with my back to the Anacostia River

DC Visit- August 2012
The men taking a dip in the wading pool

DC Visit- August 2012
Trying out the kiddie fountain on the street level
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