Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012!

Happy Halloween from our refugee outpost in Ash's house! I am a few posts behind because we haven't had power or heat at our place in Long Island since Monday. So we left. Since we are one of 2 million people without power right now, we don't expect that we'll be going home anytime soon.

I'll share more details later, but in the meanwhile, enjoy our little Halloween tiger. Last year he was a monkey, so I was looking stay on a zoo theme until he starts requesting his own costumes.

Halloween 2012
We found this tiger, and he says, "Rawr!"

Halloween 2012
Our generous benefactor, Ash, with a tiger.

Halloween 2012
Tiger on the run

Halloween 2012
Nana came by too! The Warwick area officially has 2.5 Cuban refugees.

We dressed him up a few times in advance of Halloween so his other grandmother and Michele both got to see him in costume.

Michele Visits- October 2012
Michele tickling tiger feet

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is Coming 2012

The local media is all abuzz about Hurricane Sandy hitting New York, but no one here seems especially worried. Probably because Hurricane Irene was a hyped last year, and all that really happened in our neighborhood was some damage from trees and a power outage. (We lose power a lot in our neighborhood so we're kind of used to that.)

The Mayor is closing the subway and Long Island Rail Road tonight at 7 p.m., though that did not stop my husband from going into the city today to watch football with the guys. Ah, priorities. If he gets stuck there, James and I will be very displeased with him.

The Mayor also declared some areas of the city as mandatory evacuation zones, but I'm not really sure what that means since I don't think they actually force anyone to evacuate. We're not near the coastline so we're nice cozy here. But we almost always lose power, so if you don't hear from me, that's why.

2012 10 28 Hurricane Sandy Evacuation Zones
New York City and Long Island Evacuation Zones

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wendy Visits 2012

Wendy came over to visit us. Last time she saw James, he was just 6 months old and going through a "stranger-danger" phase where he would cry when introduced to new people or people he didn't remember. This time he blew her a kiss when she arrived.

As James was getting ready for his bath before bed, I realized that I hadn't gotten a photo of them together. Just then James ran out naked and sat down. I grabbed my camera (the batteries were dead- oh no!) and then the phone. I love everything about the photo we got. James looks scandalized that I'm taking a nude photo of him, and he looks like he purposely used the block to protect his modesty. Awesome.

Wendy Visits 2012
Best photo ever of James and Wendy

Afterwards we went to a yummy sushi dinner at my favorite local restaurant. We ate it Ash-and-Michele-style. That's where you share all the rolls, try each roll at the same time, rank all them, and then eat your favorites. We were slightly less methodical about it than Ash and Michele, but then we didn't even finish all the sushi, which Ash and Michele definitely would not approve. We had crazy philosophical conversations on the nature of happiness. Seriously. We don't have any answers, but here's another picture to contribute to your happiness.

Wendy Visits 2012
James dive-bomb-mooning Wendy

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Visiting the McLeods with Janice 2012

Janice took what turned out to be a very long trip to visit us this weekend. We got to spend good quality time, and James loved having her here. He totally adores her.

As if making the long trip here weren't enough, she was excited to visit Christina and meet her baby Hudson for the first time. This required bravely going into Manhattan with James. I had only ventured in with James once before with Kevin's help, and that time we didn't even brave the subway, so I was very nervous, but with Janice's toddler-whispering skills we made it. She was kind of an amazing super-mom actually, carrying James or his stroller up subway steps, alternatively. She tried to dissuade me from using the elevator once because she felt like there were too many people waiting after us. (Is there a Nobel Peace Prize for subway-use? I'd like to nominate her.) When I went to check a subway map, I heard somebody call Janice James's mom.

Visiting McLeods- October 2012
Janice and James cozy together on the LIRR

Visiting McLeods- October 2012
Janice meets Hudson

The trip was well worth it to see Christina, Dan, and Hudson. Hudson is getting bigger and cuter every day! He's sitting on his own now, and I'm positively itching for him to start walking so he and James can chase each other around.

Visiting McLeods- October 2012
Hudson is sitting on his own

This wasn't James's first time meeting Hudson. I think their first introduction was at James's 1st birthday party but our main priority then was to keep them from interacting since Hudson was just 2 months old then. This time they were able to sit together, steal toys and juice from each other, and in one particularly cute scene, James insisted on helping Hudson bounce in his jumperoo. Hudson politely declined the assistance. He's all up on jumping on his own.

Visiting McLeods- October 2012
James and Hudson chewing on stuff together

Visiting McLeods- October 2012
I'm a pretty big fan of this little guy.

We're really adventurous, so after lunch we took the boys to the Imagination Playground in South Street Seaport. Discovering all the playgrounds in New York, has been a huge treat.

Imagination Playground, NYC 2012
Janice with James and his diaper bag... and I just have the camera. Hm.

Unfortunately at this playground, the blue foam building blocks area is really for older kids who can talk and cooperate, as I learned when James attempted to destroy some 6 year olds' foam castle and was almost pummeled to death with a foam noodle as punishment. Luckily there was a huge sand box area for little toddlers, so we moved over there.  James immediately grabbed a pail and shovel and got to work scooping. His beach visits this summer must have made an impression.

Imagination Playground, NYC 2012
Imagination playground! James was doing okay at first...

Imagination Playground, NYC 2012
Hudson knows how to stay out of trouble

Imagination Playground, NYC 2012
James is much happier in the sand box area, scooping up sand.

Thanks for an awesome visit, Janice, Christina, Dan, and Hudson! We can't wait to see all of you again!

Monday, October 22, 2012

James is 1.5 Years Old 2012!

Happy half birthday, James! My little guy turned 18 months old this weekend. As previously mentioned, I think he's awesome. He understands a ton of words, and it feels like says more than last month, but I think he might just be saying different words with regularity, and stopped saying other ones. It still seems like he says about 15 words, but oh boy, does he get his point across to me! His new favorite word is "no," which he pronounces "no-ww." He also seems to be singing along to songs sometimes and the tune seems right but I think he's mostly making up his own words.

Cape Cod- Sept 2012
Making some important calls.

His pretend play cracks me up. Even though I rarely talk on the phone, a couple times a week he pulls my landline phone off the table and starts conversing in babble. He pretends to feed me with his spoon and cup. He turns the pages in his book and points to the words like he's reading it. He's plays peekaboo even when we're not actually paying attention to him. He hides under the kitchen table like it's a fort. He redecorates with any furniture he's strong enough to move. He even fluffs my hair into funny hairdos. Best of all, he continues to be super affectionate.

Cape Cod- Sept 2012
James being affectionate with Nomar the cat.

I set him up to draw on his own this month, but even with washable markers it's a huge mess because he draws on his hand and any non-paper surface he can reach. As for what he gets on the paper, well, clearly he's studied Jackson Pollock.

James at 17 Months 2012
Art project. He would do this all day if I let him.

He's getting big! He's in 2T shirts, 18-month pants, and size 7 toddler shoes. The doctor says he's 35 inches tall. A year ago, he still didn't even have hair. He doesn't grow as quickly anymore so we try to buy things for the current season in his actual size and not a size up. Since he's outgrown all his gift baby clothes, we've been having to shop for him now, and it feels like the season always catches off guard so we're always buying pants when they're off the shelves already, or shorts when there are only pants in the store.

One of our new battles has become getting the pacifier away from him. We don't oppose pacifiers generally, and we think it's been useful to him while he's been teething (for the last 15 months) and it soothes him and keeps him from putting random things in his mouth. Now his baby teeth are almost all out, and it's getting annoying because: 1) he can't talk to us when he has it in his mouth, 2) he freaks out at night if he loses it, and frankly 3) vanity (people judge).

James at 17 Months 2012
Who taught him to jump on the bed? I'm looking at you, Dada.

Besides getting rid of the pacifier our baby wish-list for the next 6 months includes: taking naps by himself, going to sleep at night by himself, and staying asleep until morning. Of course, daylight savings time next month is going to throw all of us for a loop. Pray for us, and for toddler parents everywhere.

James at 17 Months 2012
Enjoying a book on his own before bed. It's not even upside this time!

Here's my cute boy taking his first ride on the New York City subway on the day he turned 18 months. Of course, he demanded to sit in his own seat instead of on my lap. More on our Manhattan adventure in the next post.

First Ride on NYC Subway 2012
Taking a ride on the NYC Subway at 18 months

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grandma Visits- October 2012

James positively adores his grandmothers, and last week was one of those amazingly lucky weeks when he got to see both his grandmothers in the same week. It's like winning the lottery. It's probably better than winning the lottery actually. We don't take it for granted at all.

Grandma Kathy took care of him while we enjoyed the Stern's Baby Shower and our night out in Brooklyn. Since we have a babysitter phobia, we're basically under a strange 1-at-time house arrest until our family or friends come to set us free.

Grandma Visits- October 2012
Grandma getting James ready to go to the park

Grandma took a nap with him, took him to the park on Saturday and Sunday, and even-- bless her heart-- got up with him Sunday morning. It was particularly good for us, because even though we took a reasonably early train home Saturday night, we missed our stop on the way home and had a 40-50 minute walk home. Woah.

Grandma Visits- October 2012

Grandma Visits- October 2012
Tickle-attack turned snuggle.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brooklyn Night- October 2012

A night out! Have you ever had a medium-rare burger at Prime Meats? If not, you have not lived. Drop everything and go now. Also their mixed drinks will not disappoint at all.

Brooklyn- October 2012
Sarah and Lukas at Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens

Brooklyn- October 2012
Michele, Ericka, and Kevin

Brooklyn- October 2012
Cheers to our new buddy Amanda and Mike

The captions below have no relationship to what was happening but sort of fit with the pictures?

Brooklyn- October 2012
"When life hand hand you lemonade... make lemons..."

Brooklyn- October 2012
"... life will be all like 'Whaaa?'" - Modern Family

I haven't been to the Brooklyn Inn for ages. It really brought back memories from the last time I went for Kevin's 30th birthday. With a lot of these same friends actually.

Brooklyn- October 2012
Everyone at Brooklyn Inn

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Becky and Jon's Baby Shower 2012

Jon and Becky had their baby shower at one of my favorite bars in Brooklyn, Local 61. It was the perfect bar for a shower because there were lots of other babies and kids there. Take note, Brooklyn parents. It was a nice turn out. Lots of their friends came in addition to Jon and Becky's parents, their brothers and sisters, and two adorable nieces.

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Parents-to-be Jon and Becky

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Friends Jolie and Gio

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Jon's parents chatting with guests

We enjoyed beers, snacks, and good conversation. We filled out a little baby guestbook/journal, played a little madlibs about the baby, and decorated some blocks for the baby. Good times!

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Kevin, Briggs, and Jon

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Lukas and Sarah

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Kevin and me out at the same time!

I can't tell you how excited I am for their baby! I already have babysitting loosely penciled on their calendar, depending on when Becky does her big trip with her NYU MBA program. Oh that's right, mom-to-be Becky goes to work, is getting her MBA, and is about to start mothering on top of all that. She can do it. She's run the NYC marathon. She's got this. Besides, she's got Jon, and he's going to be a wonderful father too.

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Jon, Mike, and Amanda

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Adam and Amelia, Jon and Becky's niece

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Jason and Nova, Jon and Becky's niece (I think that's an Aunt in the background)

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Friends Jake and Tammy

Becky's Baby Shower 2012
Sisters, Jennifer and Becky

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nana Visits- October 2012

My mother visited Tuesday through Wednesday morning. It was so nice to have her here, especially with Kevin gone during the day. James was so pleased that he learned to say "Nana." For the entire day after she left all I heard was, "na-na-na-na-na-na!"

Nana Visits- October 2012
Nana reading James his favorite book, "Click, Clack Moo"

Nana Visits- Ocober 2012
Tickle attack!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Things My Wife Complains About #21: Seeking Her Best Interests

James is on a pretty regular schedule now. He wakes up between 5 and 6 am and goes to bed at 6:30 pm. During those thirteen hours or so, he takes one nap, and all of this is normal for a kid his age. My wife wakes up with James most days, and she's understandably tired and solicitous of a wake-me-up like coffee or amphetamines or high-grade cocaine. I prepare the coffeemaker for her before bed, and when I hear the whirr of the beans grinding, I know she's making coffee and James is dancing, as he thinks the whirr is a particularly good song. He has very bad taste in music.

When I don't hear the beans grinding, I know she's going to be mood challenged and I'm going to be accused of not showing sufficient sympathy or breathing too loudly or impregnating her in the first place or not impregnating her again or nothing at all, followed by a loud accusation that I'm ignoring her. Usually, I've already started grinding the beans or cutting the cocaine by this point, but recently my wife pointed out that I'd suggested she have coffee AFTER her nap. She naps with James. From her tone, you might have guessed that I'd suggested she join the Taliban. We had the following conversation:

Me: I thought you might sleep better.
Her: You made me this way.
Me: I wanted you to be rested for the day.
Her: Do you understand that this is your fault?
Me: Maybe we should make you some coffee.
Her (bending her arms in the matter of a tyrannosaurs rex): RARRR
James (getting his head stuck between the chair and the wall): RARRRRRR

Possible solutions!

1) Brew decaf coffee and hope for the placebo effect
2) Follow a morning stimulant with a morning depressant, like whiskey
3) Get James to nap by himself (hard)

James at 38 weeks + 5 days 2012
Dinosaurs at rest.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Brooke and Marc Are Engaged! 2012

Brooke and Marc are engaged! Brooke and Marc met at New Years Eve party shortly after Brooke moved from DC to LA. Marc is a comedian who regularly tours the US. I got to meet him and laugh at all his jokes when I visited Brooke in LA 2 and half years ago. Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing you guys for the wedding in June!

2008 12 31 Brooke and Marc 02
Brooke and Marc the day they met 12/31/2008

With red hair in 2011!

2012 11 Brooke and Marc
And brunette hair in 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Apple Festival at Queens Farm 2012

I was really excited about Apple Festival at Queens County Farm. Really disproportionately excited for it. Maybe because since the first time I went to the farm I've been really into it. Also, I love apple cider, and Kevin is a big fan of apple pie and apple crisps. We discussed all the apple-goodness for weeks. And then it rained. The rain was bad enough, especially with a toddler who if we'd put him on the ground would have made a beeline for the puddles. But worse yet, there seemed to be virtually no apple products. We couldn't figure out if this was also due to the rain because we've never been to the Apple Festival before so we had no point of reference. This is a real quote from Kevin, "Apple Festival has all of the excitement of a trip to the grocery store."

Queens County Farm 2012
Hamming it up

We tried to make the most of it and take some pumpkin patch photos, but that's a little different in the rain. Also, James doesn't remember the pumpkins from last year, so to him he had been set down in a field of orange balls. He immediately ran to one and started kicking it like a soccer ball. When that proved ineffective he tried to pick one up, but again, no go.

Queens County Farm 2012
A field of balls!

Queens County Farm 2012
I choose this one.

Queens County Farm 2012
Maybe we should come back?

Queens County Farm 2012
Holding the umbrella with James
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