Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Laurel Turns Five 2013!

Happy belated 5th birthday, Laurel! It's been a pleasure to watch you grow into such a lovely and smart little girl!

2008 02-03 Laurel born b
Family photo of Victoria, Casey, Laurel, and dog Toby,
shortly after Laurel was born in 2008


Visiting the Sowards 2008
Two-month-old Laurel the first time we met her!

Visiting the Sowards 2008
Kevin holding Laurel for the first time in 2008

Visiting the Sowards 2008
I am loving the double snuggle--Laurel and Toby (see hint of fur)

Laurel's 1st Birthday
Laurel's First birthday 2009

 Clou Wedding 2009
18 months old at our wedding in 2009

Visiting the Soward Family 2010
Two and a half in Marblehead (Victoria pregnant with Oliver)

Visiting the Soward Family 2010
Sharing lunch during our visit in 2010

Visiting the Soward Family 2010
Climbing the fence with Kevin

Sowards 2011
Dinner at Friendly's with 3-and-a-half-plus Laurel

Soward Family Visits 2012
Laurel visiting NY and helping with James's bath at almost 4 and a third!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kathy's Surprise 60th Party!

Kevin's mother turned 60 last week, and we all called and wished her a happy birthday, but otherwise we acted fairly indifferent. Secretly we were furiously emailing and calling people on the Cape to coordinate surprise festivities. Kevin's family can be very chatty and so we thought for sure she would find out before the party. That's why we had mixed feelings when we heard that she had made dinner plans for the same time as the party-- she didn't suspect anything! Enter our special reconnaissance spy Dolores, who then quickly went through the phone book to cancel Kathy's dinner plans. Dolores and Mary also made sure that Kathy didn't stop by her mother's house where Kevin, James, Andrew, and I were hiding out.

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Waiting on the street to surprise Kathy

When Kathy drives home she always drives past her sister Denise's house. Denise was out of town but she generously gave us permission to throw the party at her house. When Kathy drove home on the way back from her spontaneously cancelled dinner plans, her closest friends and family were waiting to surprise her.

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013 
We kept telling her she'd have to wait 2 months to see James- lies!

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Her oldest friend Nancy flew up from Virginia to attend the party!

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
All the Clous-- Andrew flew up from Florida!

We had snacks and lots of beer and wine. Mary brought some veggies and dip and Great-grandma Ruth brought an unsolicited handle of Tanqueray. Cheers! For dinner we order tons of Chinese food. Most people had seconds and we still had leftovers. Finally we had a beautiful cake from my Cape cake lady Lori Fellows. She made my Cape bridal shower cake and our wedding rehearsal Red Sox cake, and James's Cape welcome party cake. She did not disappoint!

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Some of the ladies: Jen, me, Kathy, Great-grandma Ruth, Nancy, Fran, and Megan

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Dick being sweet to his sister

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Look how cute the cake is!

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Making a good wish (but she told us!)

Finally, she got cards and presents from a bunch of people. She is very loved!

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
A high tech suitcase for her upcoming trip to Italy

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Good times! Mary, Dick, and Nancy

Kathy's 60th Surprise Party 2013
Bad influences: Dave, George, Larry, Eileen, and Fran

Everyone partied pretty hard. Brunch was was a necessity the next day. We were a little nervous about bringing James, but not only does the Red Cottage Restaurant serve a delicious brunch, but they are prepared with crayons and drawing mats for the little ones. James was more interested in coloring the whole time we were there than he was in eating. As long as he behaves, I have no complaints.

Cape Cod- February 2013
James coloring with Grandma Kathy

Cape Cod- February 2013
Kathy and Kevin at brunch

Cape Cod- February 2013
Andrew and Mary at brunch

Monday, February 25, 2013

Andrew Visits- February 2013

We threw Grandma Kathy a surprise party for her 60th birthday (more on the later) and as part of her surprise, Andrew flew up from Florida. We thought it would be good for him to visit in New York a little and then all drive up together for the surprise. The funny thing is that we had to keep the visit a secret from Grandma Kathy, so we had to make sure none of Andrew's friends posted anything about his absence online, and we had to make sure our friends in New York didn't post about his presence. We managed to keep it under wraps.

Andrew arrived Thursday morning, and participated in out household's afternoon nap ritual. We nap early around here, so when James woke up we went out for lunch-- wings at Crowley's. They have amazing buffalo wings and tons of beers on tap. It's always a little risky to take James out to eat, but that's how much we wanted these wings.

Andrew Visits- February 2013
James and Uncle Andrew snuggling

Andrew Visits- February 2013
At Crowley's enjoying a ton of wings

Andrew Visits- February 2013
Andrew accidentally gifted me this Great Gatsby shirt-- and I just reread it last year!

Andrew Visits- February 2013
Kevin lecturing James on restaurant manners-- James is unimpressed.

That evening Andrew, Kevin, Jon, Nick, and Briggs went out in Brooklyn for shawarmas and beers. the next day, Kevin had work, so Andrew, James, and I spent some quality time at home. James even got Uncle Andrew to read him a few books here and there. Then Saturday morning we were off to the Cape to surprise Grandma Kathy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

Kevin and I celebrated Valentine's Day this weekend. My mom came over to spend some time with James and babysit him so we took the opportunity to go for dinner and drinks in our old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cobble Hill.

Valentine's Day 2013
Valentine's picture- oh my I need some sun!

Valentine's Day 2013
Despite his "Awesome 24/7" shirt, James is unhappy when you grab his pacifier

Nana Visits- February 2013
Reading his favorite book, Curious George, with Nana

Nana Visits- February 2013
James and Nana both like bling

We had sushi and sake at Ki restaurant. It was yummy, though it's one of those places where it makes a difference what you order. Some of the rolls are way better than others. (I'm pretty tough on sushi, but if you want a recommendation, my two favorite places in New York right now are Iroha in Manhattan and Ozu in Brooklyn.) We had sidecars at Clover Club cocktail bar and whiskey drinks at Char No. 4. The Four Roses small batch bourbon was really good. We also stopped at Brooklyn Inn on the way home-- but mainly to warm up.

Valentine's Day 2013
Yummy passion roll and fantastic roll at Ki sushi

Valentine's Day 2013
Kevin with a sidecar at Clover Club

Valentine's Day 2013
Cheers from Char No. 4!

Possibly the culinary highlight of the evening though was our double dessert at The Chocolate Room. We had chocolate cake and washed it down with dark hot chocolate. Oh. my. gosh. DARK HOT CHOCOLATE. I think they just straight-up melted a high-quality chocolate bar into my cup. Chocolate is the new wine.

Valentine's Day 2013
Telepathically professing my love to the dark hot chocolate

Thanks again, for babysitting, Nana! We had a very happy Valentine's Day celebration.

Nana Visits- February 2013
James's Valentine this year: Nana

PS. Valentine's Day last year and a Valentine's Day retrospective.

Valentine's Day 2013
Two dozen roses from Kevin- I'm a lucky woman!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kevin's 33rd Birthday 2013

Happy birthday, Kevin! One of the challenges of being a parent, particularly parents who don't use babysitters, is that it's very difficult to go out together. We had a plan for last weekend and my mother was going to watch James, but Snowstorm Nemo decided to trap us on Long Island without a railroad so we both had to cancel. Rescheduling meant that we couldn't get my mother here on a day that worked for some of Kevin's friends, so I sent Kevin off without me. There was a little symmetry in this since last year I celebrated my 33rd birthday without Kevin while he watched James. But still, it's too bad.

Some of Kevin's friends generously rescheduled with him, and they got drinks and ate BBQ at Mighty Quinn's in Manhattan. Yes, we remain obsessed with southern BBQ and we've noticed more and more places in New York City that serve it. We don't know if they were always there and we just noticed, or if we were at the forefront of a Northern cuisine trend. I digress. Thank you to Jon, Nick, Emily, and Lukas for showing Kevin a nice time on his birthday. We're lucky to have wonderful friends like you!

 Kevin's 33rd Birthday 2013
Kevin and Jon at Mighty Quinn's

Kevin's 33rd Birthday 2013
Emily and Nick on Kevin's birthday

Kevin's 33rd Birthday 2013
I don't know what's happening here, but there's Lukas

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things My Wife Complains About #23: Agreeing with Her

There's no greater sin in our house than being defensive. If I entered the kitchen dripping blood, the first thing my wife would do is complain about my getting blood on the floor. If, at this point, I tried to explain that I'd just saved a family from a horrific accident, she would ask me why I couldn't just apologize for getting blood on the floor. Then, as I grabbed the chair to steady myself from my own significant blood loss, she would storm out of the room, complaining that I never admitted to doing anything wrong.

Conversely, if I apologized for getting blood on the floor before admitting that I'd committed a quadruple homicide, she would say it's okay and tend to my wounds before placing dishtowels on the widening pool around my shoes.

I came to believe that eschewing defensiveness at all costs and agreeing with my wife no matter what was an assured path to marital success, but this belief was mistaken, as evidenced by the transcript from the other night:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me: I know.
Wife (incredulous): Why would you say that?
Me: I know you're grumpy. You're allowed to be grumpy. It's okay.
Wife (storming out of room): And I was going to apologize!

In lieu of possible solutions, I came up with an alternative dialogue:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me: I hadn't noticed.
Wife (curious): So you admit that I'm grumpy.
Me: Did I say that?
Wife (storming out of room): Why can't you ever admit to doing anything wrong?

Wait! Let's try that again:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me (too terrified to speak): 
Wife (incredulous): Are you ignoring me?
Me: No! It's just that--
Wife (storming out of room): Do you have to be defensive about everything?

That was worse. OK, last try:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me: Can you believe the AAP has a new vaccine schedule?
Wife (excited): The craziest thing is pertussis. Did I tell you my whooping cough story?
Me: Several hundred times. But I would love to hear it again.
Wife (sitting): I went to the doctor, like, three times and...

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

New Years Eve Day 2012

Valentine's Day- A Retrospective

Happy Valentine's Day! This year is my 7th Valentines Day with Kevin, and my 2nd with James. Since I met them, love has rocked my world. Tonight I'm cooking a huge Cuban dinner for Kevin, and this weekend we're going to dinner and drinks in the Brooklyn neighborhood we lived in when we got married. And for your Valentine's Day gift, we're posting a Things My Wife Complains About this afternoon.


Our 1st Valentine's Day in 2007
Kevin and I had been dating about 6 and half months. He took me to the fancy Fellini's Restaurant in Charlottesville, VA for Valentine's Day dinner. Also got flowers the week before for our 6 month anniversary. I didn't take any pictures (what?) but I took him to my 2L Barristers Ball three days later and we took tons of photos.

Six-Month Anniversary Flowers from Kevin
6-month flowers

Barristers Formal 2007
At Vivace restaurant before the dance, February 2007

Barristers Formal 2007
Barristers Ball at the Omni Hotel 2007


Our 2nd Valentine's Day in 2008
Kevin and I had been engaged for 2 and half months, and we were living in Charlottesville together. I don't remember if we specifically did something for Valentines Day, but 4 days before Valentines we went to my 3L Barristers Ball. The following weekend, on the 16th, my parents hosted a little engagement party for me and Kevin in Charlottesville.

Barristers Formal - 3L Year
At our place before Barristers Ball

Barristers Ball 2008
Dancing! 2/10

Barristers Ball 2008
Dancing?

Ericka's Family 2008 
Our engagement party at our place in 2008, 2/16

Our 3rd Valentine's Day in 2009
Kevin and I were engaged and living together in Brooklyn, NY, with under 4 months until our wedding. Brady, James W. and I celebrated Kevin's Sunday birthday on the Saturday of Valentine's Day, with dinner at a Peruvian restaurant and drinks at Kevin's favorite Brooklyn bar. The four of us kept it sexy.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade 2009
Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Valentine's Day 2009

Valentine's Day 2009
Peruvian dinner at Coco Roco in Brooklyn

Kevin's 29th Birthday
Brady, James W., and Kevin at the Brooklyn Inn

Our 4th Valentine's Day in 2010
Our first married Valentine's Day! I threw a huge multi-day celebration for Kevin's 30th birthday over the relevant weekend, so we celebrated Valentine's Day the next weekend. We were still living in Brooklyn, but we celebrated in Manhattan with Mexican restaurant El Centro for dinner and the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center.

Kevin's 30th Birthday 2010
Celebrating Kevin's 30th birthday, February 13th

Kevin's 30th Birthday
Chelsea Market, February 15th

New York City Ballet 2010
At the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, February 19th

Our 5th Valentine's Day in 2011
By now, we had moved to Long Island and we were expecting our first baby in 2 months. We went out for dinner at Bob's Restaurant in Long Island when I was 31 weeks huge.

30 Weeks and 5 Days 2011
 Kevin's 31st birthday in Manhattan, 30-31 weeks pregnant with James

Valentines Day 2011
31 weeks along on February 14, 2011

Our 6th Valentine's Day in 2012
Our first Valentine's Day as parents! Which means, you have to figure out who wants to spend their Valentines Day babysitting for you if you want to go out together. Michele very generously came over to watch James. Kevin and I went out for dinner at Sushi Ya in Long Island for Valentine's Day, because  sushi is one of my favorites.  James was particularly happy about Michele's visit because he loves her, and she was his first ever Valentine's Day date.

Valentines Day 2012
James's first Valentine's Day at 9 almost 10 months!

Valentines Day 2012
Getting James ready for bed before leaving for our date

Valentines Day 2012
James and Michele 
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