Monday, October 27, 2014

James is 3.5 Years Old 2014

The last six months have been huge for James! He got a sister on his birthday. He successfully potty-trained. He started nursery school in the fall. He got a (non-grandma) babysitter a few weeks ago.

He can spell his name, Mama, and Dada, but Miranda is tricky! He likes to watch and help me cook. He even picks out his own clothing in the morning now, though pulling on socks is still "too hard." Mind you he can also turn on the TV, cable, and Kindle, but the socks thing... no too much! He helps me find stuff and grabs things for Miranda. Today, he decided on his own to go into the refrigerator and find Miranda's teething ring for her. He announces on a daily basis that he loves me so much. We love you too James! So so so so so much!

Here are some fun James pictures and quotes.

James- April 2014
Handsome on a horse!

James & Miranda- May 2014
Kissing his 10-day old sister. (Cute overload!)

James- May 2014

 A Day in the Life 2014
Still rocking the doggie towel.

Naptime- August 2014
One of his last documented naps.

Aug 18:
J: Why are Mama and Dada the boss?
E: Because we're older than you and we made you.
J: Why are you older than me and make me?
E: I was born before you, so I know more. I was born 32 years before you! We won't always be the boss, but we are for the next 19 years or so.
J: I have apple stuck in my teeth.
E: Okay.
J: Why Mama and Dad older than me and make me?
E: We thought it would be awesome to have a little boy, and it is.
J: I got the apple out.

Visiting McLeods- Aug 2014
Imagination playground joy

James at Stony Brook 2014
At work with Dada

August 2014
Helping me cook

Grandma Visit- Aug 2014
Riding a bike with Grandma

September 2:
J: Mama is 35.
E: That's right! Can you count to 35?
J: No.
E: Let's do it together.
E & J: .... 18, 19, 20 ...
J: 35!
E: Haha, no, I wish.

First Day of School 2014
First day of school

September 17:
E: Do you know how you say, "I love you" in Spanish?
J: How?
E: Te quiero.
J: Thank you?
E: No. Te quiero.
J: Thank you!

September 2014
Washing his hands after going potty by himself

Windy Acres Farm 2014
Pretending to be a train conductor (and so happy to be at this park!)

September 28:
E: I eat you up! I gobble you up!
J: I eat so many apples, I turn into an apple. You eat me up!

October 2014
Building a mobile castle (Take that, Crannogmen.)

October 15:
E: Who do you think loves Miranda more, me or Dada?
J: I do!

October 2014
With his new best friend, Miranda

Friday, October 24, 2014

Miranda is 6 Months! 2014

Miri is 6 Months 2014
Six months!

I have been looking forward to 6 months because this is when I remembered James "getting better," by which I mean sitting a little and playing by himself a little. She's not exactly sitting yet. She still falls over almost immediately unless you're propping her.

She can roll over and she did it at the beginning of the month at 5.5 months, but she chooses not to. She said "dada" at 5.5 mark too, although the jury is still out on whether or not she's talking about Kevin (we're leaning yes). She jumperoos for 5-10 minute stretches, and sometimes plays in the baby gym for that long if you put her in it when she's just woken up, but the rest of the day we must hold her.

September 2014
Oh hi.

September 2014
Cracks herself up!

September 2014

October 2014
How cute is this? Kevin buttoning her little sweater.

Sleep: Her sleeping has gotten worse. I hold her for all her naps and we can only put her down from 7:30-11 pm but she stopped even tolerating that, so we had to Ferberize her into sleeping by herself for just those 3 hours. The rest of the night she sleeps with us. She does not sleep through the night yet.

Food: Her pediatricians keep insisting she doesn't need food because she's nursing and gaining weight, but Miranda feels differently about it. She tries to snatch food from us, and when we feed her she freaks out because we're not shoveling it in fast enough. It's actually pretty stressful so we don't feed her food too often.

Grandma- Sept. 2014
Trying to eat the spoon

October 2014
Trying to figure out if she can steal the Cuban sandwich I made Kevin

Growth: She's in 6-month clothing. Her check-up is next week but I think she's like 19 pounds.

She rolled over a few times, but stopped doing it. She tries to chat and says dada. She can stand leaning, but she's still pretty bad at sitting. She can kind of high-five.

October 2014

Personality: She is indomitable! She will rule her little universe now and always. She hates: being put down, loud noises, and green beans. She loves: being held, kisses, jumping in people's laps, dada, mama, James, the new baby sitter Sierra, oatmeal, apple sauce, chewing on toys.

October 2014
Who me?

October 2014

Me: This month has been the hardest month yet for me. I've been busier than I've ever been at this job, Kevin's been traveling a lot, I'm surprisingly still nursing, Miranda is still not sleeping through the night and actually sleeping worse. The good thing was that due to my stress I finally bit the bullet and found a mother's helper/babysitter for a couple of hours on the days that Kevin's not working from home.

Kevin: She reaches for stuff, sits if you hold her, she drinks from a bottle, she eats food. She says "dada," and prefers dada. She has a babysitter!

October 2014
Loves Dada!

James: James and Miranda are best friends. He hugs her every day and plays with her a little but loses interest kind of quickly. He likes stealing toys from her but he's very displeased when she grabs something of his. No one is surprised by this.

October 2014
"Sharing" the kindle

September 2014
Playing in the baby gym

September 2014
Baby gym turned into tent with James's comforter.

October 2014
Six months!

October 2014
We're tired!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Gratuitous pumpkin photos post. There's nothing to say we just went to a nearby pumpkin patch, took some photos and bought a few pumpkins. Maybe if we actually carve one I'll add that picture to the bottom of the post.

Pumpkins 2014
My little pumpkins!

Pumpkins 2014
Love this one! Thanks Kevin!

Pumpkins 2014
Loves of my life

Pumpkins 2014
Picking out one to carve

Pumpkins 2014
Miranda has never seen so many pumpkins!

Pumpkins 2014
Group photo fail! Miri was too distracted by the pumpkin.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Atlanta with Chrissy and Allison 2014

We went to Atlanta! Chrissy has been nursing Owen back to health since April 2013, so she was overdue for some relaxation and girl bonding time. Coordinating was a little tricky but Allison, Chrissy, and I could all get a direct flight to Atlanta, so off we went!

Atlanta, GA 2014
Allison, me, and Chrissy- together!

We decided to stay in the Buckhead area close to our hotel to make the best use of our 36 hours together. Allison and Chrissy arrived before I did on Friday so they had dinner at Cook Hall and drink on the patio, and when I got in we had drinks in the W's lobby, affectionately called "The Living Room." We were off to a good start. 

First order of business the next morning was sleeping in late. This was super exciting for me, and I suspect for Chrissy too since she also has two kids. Allison was an angel and kept quiet for as long as she could handle and then ran out to get us coffee and breakfast goodies. Also, we had to Facetime with all our husbands and kids before we got going, which was actually pretty fun as we crossed over into each other's conversations and Allison and I got to see Owen, Hailey, Jason, and Dan, and vice versa with all our families.

So we missed brunch where we were going to go, it was late and the place was overrun with football fans. But we did a little walking tour of Buckhead and a local Uber cab driver recommended a place to us. It turned out to be one of the best tapas place in Atlanta, Eclipse di Luna, and the music was all Cuban salsa. We were beyond pleased.

Atlanta, GA 2014
Allison and Chrissy with a Palm Tree hat at Eclipse di Luna

Somehow we ended up at the mall which was not the original plan, but it kept us out of the rain. Allison and Chrissy had big frozen yogurts and I saw my first ever cupcake ATM. I almost took a picture of it, but it's one of those things... it looked like a pink ATM, the picture wouldn't do justice to the genius of the idea.

It was time for more lazing about. We went to check out the hotel pool, but the people there were all quiet and intense, and we're loud and relaxed so we passed. We sort of nap-rested, which was necessary after sleeping in(!) and then got ready for dinner.

Atlanta, GA 2014
Buckhead Diner- Actually an upscale restaurant

We had dinner at the Buckhead Diner which does look a diner from the outside- and how appropropriate to our Jersey roots!- but is actually an upscale restaurant on the inside. Apparently, celebrities are seen there all the time, but we didn't see any. So we pretended with the celebrity photo wall. And we had lots of delicious food and drinks.

Atlanta, GA 2014
Chrissy, Billy Crystal, and me

We walked to and from dinner, so I'm sure we burned off all the calories from dinner and our after party. Right? We went to Whiskey Blue which ended up being kind of clubby bar with nice views of Atlanta on its porch. We even made some friends. Then it was back to Cook Hall so we could sit on the patio and have loud inappropriate conversations by ourselves. Definitely some quality bonding! Time to plan our 2015 getaway!

Atlanta, GA 2014
Porch at Whiskey Blue Bar- tried and failed to get Atlanta's skyline in the picture

Happy birthday, Chrissy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kevin's Midwest Book Tour 2014

Kevin left for his big Midwest book tour very early on Wednesday morning!*

On Wednesday, September 24th he read at Prairie Lights in Iowa City. Since Kevin attended the Iowa Writer's Workshop, they promoted the event widely. He read with Mike Meginnis who was also published through Black Balloon, and who is an Iowa City resident, so between the two of them, the reading was packed. They even broadcast the reading on local radio because Iowa is awesome. He read part of his title story, "We Were Flying to Chicago," and part of "Puritan Hotel, Barnstable." If you missed it the first time, they archived it here (Kevin's part begins at 18:30):

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Kevin and Mike acting "authorly" at Prairie Lights

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Kevin's book is shelved just under Chekov here!

Thursday, September 25th, Kevin and Mike read at The Book Cellar in Chicago. Kevin read parts of "T-Bone Capone" and "On the Highway Near Fairfield, Connecticut." Kevin also had the chance to visit and stay with his friend Nate. He went to a White Sox game by himself and caught a foul ball, because it was just that sort of amazing trip.

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Chicago Skyline

Midwest Book Tour 2014
White Sox game

On Friday, Kevin started posting things like this on Facebook. "Am I actually alone in a Belgian bar in Chicago reading Flaubert with not one thing I have to do tonight or tomorrow?" I started getting jealous!

On Saturday, he went on a little hike, then he went to Madison, Wisconsin because why not? Then he went to Milwaukee for a Brewers game and noted, "The casual boredom with which the gigantically mustachioed Brewers mascot hurls himself down a slide after a home run is wonderful." While he was in Wisconsin, I sent him on a cheese curd mission. They did not disappoint.

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Hiking outside of Madison

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Madison, Wisconsin

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Cubs v. Brewers

Midwest Book Tour 2014 
Milwaukee art museum

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Wisconsin cheese mart!

Sunday Kevin and Mike drove together from Chicago to Minneapolis and it took forever! On Monday he read parts of "Open House" and "Third Prophet" at Magers & Quinn, in Minneapolis. But first he went on a bit of a Fitzgerald tour. "You're goddamned right I'm having an early-afternoon Manhattan at the bar of the hotel where Fitzgerald lived in St. Paul."

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Hello, Fitzgerald

Midwest Book Tour 2014
Books on display at Magers & Quinn 

Tuesday he came home! Yay!

September 2014
He was missed by all!

September 2014
Showing James his foul ball

September 2014 
Showing Miranda her new Iowa cheerleader outfit

*Kevin was gone Wednesday morning until Tuesday afternoon. Kevin and I haven't spent a whole week apart since January of 2007, well before we were married, and never more than two nights since we've had kids! Thank goodness Grandma came to help me and the kids!
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