Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Olympics- London 2012

Last week, the Summer Olympics started in London, and everyone I know has Olympic fever! I think it has to do with how much everyone is on social online communities now. There are constant reminders that exciting international games are happening.

I was excited about the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, and I was really happy that Sarah and Lukas wanted to come over to watch with us. Left to our own devices, Kevin and I might not have made it to the end, and then I would have been sad about it the next day. We have a DVR, but it's just not the same when it's an "event." (For that reason, and because James never slept, James and I watched the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at 4-6 a.m. last year.)

Summer Olympics 2012
Opening Ceremony of 2012 Summer Olympics in London (photo of my television)

I think it's remarkable that even after years of watching the Olympics, I didn't remember that the opening ceremony was so ridiculously long! Was it longer this year? Maybe it just felt longer because it was kind of awful and nonsensical.

I also thought it was funny that the terrifying opening ceremony from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was still fresh in everyone's mind. Kevin and I left for my bar trip in Peru a few days after the 2008 Olympics started so we watched most of what we watched on tiny hotel television sets. I took this picture in Cusco, while we watched Phelps win his 8th gold medal.

Cusco, Peru 2008
Watching Phelps win his 8th gold medal, 2008 Summer Olympics 

On the other hand, I have almost entirely forgotten everything about the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  The only thing I remember is that we watched the opening ceremony the weekend we were celebrating Kevin's 30th birthday. Andrew, Jim, Lisa, Briggs, Jon, and James W were at our apartment in Brooklyn, and we all thought it was hilarious that they had trouble lighting the torch. That's it. That's what I have in the memory banks for posterity.

Opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

Kevin's 30th Birthday 2010
Olympic hilarity 

Here's a fun fact, Kevin was born during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. The "Miracle on Ice" happened a week after he was born. Obviously, I don't remember this historic sports event because I was 11 months old at the time, but growing up we visited Lake Placid a lot, and throughout the 90's, that town still lived in the 1980 Winter Olympics (and to a lesser extent, the 1932 Winter Olympics). Besides that, I don't actually remember much about the Winter Olympics growing up.

The first Summer Olympics I remember were the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Maybe I remember it because that one was held a little on the later side in September and I was in school. it was probably discussed a lot in class. I also remember a ton of commercial tie-ins to the Olympic rings on every possible product. It was also a huge deal that South Korea was hosting the Olympics during the Cold War, the significance of which was cloudy but not completely lost on our 4th grade class.

What our kids are probably going to think is really weird is that when we were growing up the Summer and Winter Olympics took place in the same year.  We had 6 weeks of Olympics every 4 years? That seems extreme. The last time it happened in the same year was 1992. That was also the first post-Cold-War Olympics year. The Winter Olympics that year saw a unified Germany team, and the Summer Olympics that year were the first with no boycotts since the Cold War. Kevin and I were both in middle school. After that, the Winter and Summer Olympics were split up into different years. That, and the lack of cell phone in our youth, will make our children think we're ancient.

Which Olympics do you remember from your past?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Nana Visits- July 2012

I think this photo captures the type of close relationship James and my mom have. What a lucky boy!

Nana Visits- July 2012
James and his Nana

This gave me and Kevin the opportunity to go out for date night. I really wanted to go to S'Mac a place in the East Village that just serves mac and cheese. We tried 3 different types:  Favorites: 4 Cheese, Manchego, and Parisienne. I liked the Parisienne and 4 Cheese the best, but I wouldn't get the Manchego again because it didn't actually taste like Manchego cheese and was a little flavorless. I definitely want to keep going back until I've tasted all of them. Afterwards we went to Tile Bar and met up with Briggs. So sort of less date-like but still really fun. Thanks for date night, Nana!

Date night!
On the train into Manhattan 

Favorites: Parisienne and 4 cheese. Weak: manchego.
Three skillets of mac n' cheese!

This just happened.
With Briggs at Tile Bar

Friday, July 27, 2012

James is 15 Months Old 2012

James is 15 months old and it's become pretty obvious I'm never going to stop doing these posts. He's 33" inches tall and rapidly gaining on me! He's a whole foot taller than when he was born, though back then we called it long because he obviously he was a purely horizontal life form. He wears 18 month clothing, but some of the 18-month clothing being a little slouchy on him still.

James at 14 Months 2012
Wearing my sunglasses

He's got 8 teeth and 4 molars for a total of 12, but he's definitely in the process of getting more. (8 to go!) He puts these teeth to good use by eating everything! This month he discovered he's more talented with a baby fork than with a baby spoon, so for most stuff he gets a fork now. He can also (finally) drink on his own. He was really late on that one.

Some of you saw this picture from the beginning of the month. I posted it to Facebook with the label, The Most Interesting Baby in the World, "I don't always eat beans, but when I do, I prefer Cuban black beans. Stay hungry, my friends." (If you don't know about the Dos Equis campaign: http://youtu.be/8Bc0WjTT0Ps.)  Now note his progress in eating like a real person in one month.

James at 14 Months 2012
James at close to 14 months with black beans on his face

James at 14 Months 2012
James eating with a fork at close to 15 months

His powers of mimicry have really taken off. He doesn't have much of a vocabulary "mama," "dada," and "light" (which he pronounces "ight"). However, he repeats a ton of stuff randomly. I recently heard him repeat "go," "oh-oh," and "Boos Coos," his version of Blues Clues.  Beyond just words, he copies the things we do, and he pretends to talk on the phone, even though as most of you will complain, I rarely talk on the phone.

Cape Cod- July 2012
"Hello, yes, I'd like a large pizza with all the toppings."

We cut out his afternoon nap and made his bedtime earlier per parent-advice on Facebook (thank you!). Everyone said to cut out his morning nap, but I think what that really means is cut his afternoon one and then try to make his morning one later and later. I'm pretty sure he'd injure himself from tantrums if I just suddenly cut the morning one. He is not a morning person. So now he takes a 2 -hour nap once a day, goes to bed at 7-7:30, and wakes up after 5 AM. Usually at 5:15, but today at 5:45! Yes, it is sad that it makes me super happy when we're still up before 6 AM. Now I just put him in our bed for the one nap because he's so exhausted, and I don't have to hold him anymore.

James at 15 Months 2012
The last nap I had to hold him

He's full of energy and personality. He jumps up and runs when he sees me coming to wash his face off with a washcloth. It's pretty hilarious. I can still eventually catch him, but pretty soon that might not be true anymore.  He loves to dance. He climbs onto our couches and coffee table. He plays a cross between peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek. He loves being read to, and he'll bring book after book to us to read him. If you don't respond right away, he takes your hand and presses the book into your hand. He can "ride" his "bike."  He pretends to write with capped markers in his books.  He plays pretend games by himself that we can only guess at because he doesn't talk. He invents and reinvents and laughs at strange things.  He behaves for most of the day! James has really hit a good stride now.

James at 14 Months 2012
Riding his bike and bringing along a snack

James at 14 Months 2012
Brushing his hair in the bath

James at 14 Months 2012
Brushing dad's beard

James at 15 Months 2012

James at 15 Months 2012
I see you!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Concert in Park Slope 2012

I know it's kind of overkill that I document most of the things that I do, but the Celebrate Brooklyn! concerts in Prospect Park are pretty cool. Actually, both times I went (last time was 3 years ago!) I sat outside the concert, but you can hear the music, spread out a blanket, and picnic. Michele and I grabbed some Vietnamese sandwiches near the park and met up with her friend Yianice and her friend Christina, and we listened and danced to Calle 13. Brooklyn is awesome.

Park Slope- July 2012
Night picnic in the park

Monday, July 23, 2012

Northeast Roadtrip Review 2012

I reviewed our summer Southeast roadtrip, so I figured it made sense to just quickly review the Northeast roadtrip.

The first day we headed into Quincy to celebrate Jim and Lisa's wedding.  Then we went to Martha's Vineyard to celebrate our anniversary a little late.

Martha's Vineyard 2012
Near East Chop Beach in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard 

Kevin and I had a great time on the Cape.  We stayed with Kevin's mom and spent a lot of time with the family.  Pete, Adrienne, and Leni came to spend time playing and swimming with us on the Cape, and stayed for dinner. We went to visit my grandmother Catherine, and then took James to nap in Provincetown. Finally we celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks on the pond.

Cape Cod- July 2012
Dinner with Grandma Kathy at Summer Shanty on Monday night

We headed north to Maine, but first we made a stop in the lovely Portsmouth, New Hampshire so that James could get a break from driving. We all loved it. My favorite part was the huge submarine just sticking out the ground. Awesome.

Portsmouth, NH 2012
James dancing in front of the Albacore submarine

We spent almost 3 days with Allison and Dan in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, which is apparently long enough to get lobster rolls twice and try three different flavors of gelato. Not to mention seeing lots of Cape Elizabeth and Portland, and spending quality time with Allison and Dan. On our way back, we stopped for a quick visit with Cate, Matt, Phoebe and Vivienne, and had a lovely time with them as well.

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Me, Allison, and James at a rocky beach in Cape Elizabeth

Then as our last part of our trip, Casey, Victoria, Laurel, and Oliver came to visit us on their way back to Massachusetts from their summer roadtrip. The kids had some awesome dance parties in the living room and the adults had fun when they went to bed.

Soward Family Visits 2012
Victoria, Casey, Oliver and Laurel at our place

Friday, July 20, 2012

Casey and Victoria's Family Visit 2012

We were supposed to visit Casey and Victoria on our Northeast roadtrip, but they were off doing some road-tripping of their own, so instead they came by on the last day of their trip and the first day we were back home.  So really, their visit sort of counts as part of our trip too.

Soward Family Visits 2012
The Soward Family: Victoria, Casey, Oliver, and Laurel

The kids all played at the water table and tiny jungle gym in our backyard, we grilled out for dinner, the kids watched a bunch of ADD-inducing cartoons on our TV and on Casey's iPad, ran around the living room like crazy people, and finally, mercifully, fell asleep. Then their parents enjoyed themselves.

Soward Family Visits 2012
Casey snuggling with all three kids and Wonder Pets

Soward Family Visits 2012
James and Oliver agree that pulling the light switch is the best ever

Soward Family Visits 2012
Ollie is a model

Soward Family Visits 2012
Laurel, James, and 5 little monkeys attacking Kevin

Soward Family Visits 2012
Laurel helping with James's bath

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Visiting Cate and Matt's Family 2012

On the way back from Maine, we planned to stop and visit Cate and Matt. We don't get to see them nearly enough, ad their two beautiful daughters Phoebe and Vivienne are growing up so fast.

Visiting the Lefebvres 2012
Matt, Phoebe, Vivienne, and Cate in front of their house

Kevin, James and I played with Phoebe and Vivi while Matt and Cate got lunch ready. James and Vivi particularly got into a little rock trading game they invented. They had a pretty elaborate rock economy.

Visiting the Lefebvres 2012
Matt helping Phoebe with the puzzle we got her

Visiting the Lefebvres 2012
Vivi playing with the Mr. Potato Head we brought

Visiting the Lefebvres 2012
Cate and her sweet baby girl

Visiting the Lefebvres 2012
Vivi and James exchanging rocks

Cate and Matt made us an amazing lunch, and we got to spend time with each others kids.  Sadly, we couldn't stay as long as we would have liked because James was desperate to nap. 

Visiting the Lefebvres 2012
The girls: me, Vivi, Cate, Phoebe

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby Hailey 2012!

Our friends Chrissy and Jason had a beautiful baby girl who they named Hailey Maureen, Maureen after Chrissy's mother.  She was born a few days after her due date, so she was born in July instead of June. She's beautiful and everyone is crazy about her. I can't wait to get my hands on her! I wish she didn't live so far away.

Hailey edit
Hailey Maureen, about 5 days old

Visiting the Vonderhaars in Cincinnati, OH 2012
Her family: Owen, Jason, and Chrissy (photo I took in May)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Visiting Allison and Dan in Cape Elizabeth 2012

Our friends Allison and Dan moved to Maine after they got married. At first, it seemed impossibly far away, but then Allison pointed out that she was only 2 hours from Boston, and that Dan commutes to work in Boston a couple times a week. So, we all piled into our two-door car (my own circle of hell) and off we went to Maine. You don't have to tell the Clous twice to come visit you! Allison and Dan have a beautiful house in a beautiful town.

Allison not only took us to the sites, but we ate lobster rolls twice. She certainly knows the way to our heart! We spent some time in Cape Elizabeth and some time in Portland. We went to the Fort Williams Park and the lobster roll food truck there (yum), the Portland Head Light, Two Lights, Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth.

Visiting the Poteets 2012
James, Allison, and me in front of Casco Bay

Cape Elizabeth, ME 2012
In front of the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, ME

Cape Elizabeth, ME 2012
James loves Maine!

Cape Elizabeth, ME 2012
Strolling around Fort Williams Park

Cape Elizabeth, ME 2012
Yeah, they get to live here, all the time.

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Dan, trying to get some work done on the back porch

In Portland, we got delicious sandwiches at Duckfat and took them to Fort Allen Park to picnic.  We also made a stop at Shipyard Brewery. There aren't any photos of our lovely picnic in the park because I spent a little while chasing James around and trying to keep him from bashing himself on the many cement monuments.  Mercifully, Kevin and Dan took James back for a nap so Allison and I could enjoy the rest of the afternoon. We also got some amazing licorice gelato at Gorgeous Gelato in Portland.  Apparently there is quite the gelato rivalry in Portland, and Allison is committed to Gorgeous, so I won't threaten our friendship by mentioning the name of the competition. Suffice to say, I didn't try the other gelato place.

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Fort Allen Park in Portland, ME

We didn't have to venture far from the house for lovely sights and activities though. For one thing, Allison flattered me by asking me to take photos of her family. I might have liked this better than lobster rolls (but maybe less than gelato). We went on a long walk with James through a path in the woods near her house. Kevin even went on a longer walk/hike in a different part of the same woods (sans James).  They also live near a a scenic rocky beach.  We would have stayed longer, but you know, James tried to eat the rocks. Thank you for all your wonderful hospitality, Allison and Dan!

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Allison and Dan volunteered themselves for an Ericka-style photo shoot

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Beautiful walking path near the house

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Allison, James and I at the beach

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Failed attempt at a family photo- but we have a lot of those

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Photo bomb! And it's a better (accidental) family photo!

Visiting the Poteets 2012
Coco got her own shoot too
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