Sunday, December 28, 2008

Parkin' It

A day at the fun forest brought many smiles.  This kid and his Papa are two peas in a pod, and alike in more ways than I can count on both of my hands.














This is one of my favorite pictures to date.  My two men.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning 2008

I warn you this post will be quite the doozy!  I started this blog as a way to keep track of Julians milestones so it seems appropriate to post all of my favorites, plus I know family gets a kick out of it as well.

Jules was up bright and early, somewhere around 7AM.  He always escapes the bedroom and heads for the living room and his toys before we are out of bed so I rushed to get the camera once I saw him getting antsy and playing with the door.  I wanted to make sure I captured the morning since this was the first Christmas he could really participate in.






Sweet Book dude!


Awww, I love it!



Puppies ARE my favorite.














Zippity Zebra, Pete's special gift to Jules.  They made him together at Build-a-Bear, and Z has a recording of Pete singing the first line of his nursery song.












Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kashi Pizza is His Fav

Christmas Eve dinner around here is Pizza Night, that way we can save all of the big effort for the big meal on Christmas Day.  And this boy loves to eat pizza just like us!  His meal also contained succotash (soy beans, corn, and red peppers from Trader Joe's), while we stuck to salads, but the kid can't get enough of things covered in cheese.






Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Plans

We're sticking close to home this year for the holidays, and so far we're off to a good start.  The tree has been up and decorated since the Friday after Thanksgiving, the lights are hung, and packages have been piling up under the tree for weeks now.  So far all I have left to do is pick up a few things at the grocery tomorrow to make Peppermint Marshmallows and Chai Snickerdoodles.  Other than that I've got a menu planned, and half prepared, ready for Thursday night.

Pete has to work tomorrow until 3, but after that we have him home all the way through Monday so that is going to be really nice.  We went walking through the neighborhood with Jules tied up in a wrap in a front carry and went around to all the houses with the biggest and best lights.  He is obsessed with bushes and lights lately so his two favorite things together nearly blew his mind.  Plus some people really go all out around here, so it's well worth hoofing it around.  So far we've already watched a Muppet movie, and some Sesame Street Christmas.  Tonight we stopped by and picked up some Gumby, more Sesame Street, and another Muppet movie to watch over the next few days with Jules.  It's the only TV he's been allowed to watch so far, and I figure as long as we keep it restricted to the holiday it can't be too bad.  Tomorrow night Pete and I have plans to eat pizza from Trader Joe's and watch White Christmas (the MOST important yearly tradition to me), while drinking hot cocoa with my homemade marshmallows - yum!  

Then Xmas is going to be a quiet day here at home, just the three of us. Starbucks is open so I'm hoping for a mid-morning walk with the puppy to pick up a Mocha, and I'm sure Pete is going to want some doughnuts for breakfast, plus there will be presents to open and time to spend hanging out.  I'm hoping to make a few ornaments with some materials I have around, and I'll probably spend a bit of time indulging in my newest obsession, Puzzles.  I LOVE puzzles.  I know it makes me sound like an 80 year old woman, but seriously, I love them!  Stefanie sent me the most awesome present, an Impossible Puzzle.  So far I've steered clear of them because of their difficulty level, but I'm glad to now have the push to give it a whirl.  So if you have any puzzles sitting around collecting dust, you can always send them my way.

Beyond Christmas day we don't have many plans, we picked up a few movies (Prince Caspian, A Very British Gangster, and Counterfeiters) and we're hoping to stay cozy and spend some quality time together. Claire and Tessa will be arriving shortly before the new year, and will be here for a week.  That's when things get really hectic!  We're going to go ice skating (hopefully Jules will get to try it out with a walker!), drive through the light display at the botanical gardens, hit up Ti'juana Flats for food, maybe drive up to Williamsburg, cook a big Italian feast for the Christmas celebration with them and exchange gifts again.

I'm really looking forward most to Pete's leave over the new year.  We haven't had that much time together since the leave he took last year when Julian was born.  It will be nice to have him home for whole days at a time for a change, and I know Julian is going to love all the time with his Papa.

I'm not sure when I will update next, but I promise to take a bunch of pictures of the little guy over the holiday and update soon.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Please Take a Moment

As some one who purchases as many handmade, natural products as I can, the thought of losing the amazing resources of handmade toys for children is terribly saddening.  I have bought many a wonderful gift on websites like etsy.com, and I would hate to see people lose their livelyhoods just as much as I would hate to lose such an amazing resource for creative, nontoxic, and imagination inspiring toys. 

Please take a moment to click here and help save handmade toys and clothing.

Save Handmade Toys

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Music Man

It's not the best lit video, but it's awful cute.

Lately

We found a new park in the area recently and it's added a whole lot of fun to our days.  We try to meet up with James, Ryan, or Canaan after lunch but before afternoon naps on days with good weather.  Its a really nice, new, clean, safe, and enclosed play space for little kids attached to a church just a few blocks away.  It's open to the public and perfect for our little guys.  Jules climbs all over it, down the slides face first, over the bouncing bridge wiggling to be bounced by an adult, through the tunnels and ALL OVER the mulch!  He is not easily contained these days, and is frustrated that he can't walk, but that doesn't stop him from getting down on the ground and racing around anyways.  All of his shoes are worn off on the tops from scraping on pavement and through the dirt and mulch.  They also have the safe baby buckets that are enclosed all the way around for little kids to swing in too.  I love this because the park that is closer to us doesn't have them and I felt like he was missing out on some quintessential childhood fun.

We've had some unseasonably warm weather recently, up in the 60s and 70s, warranting opening all of our windows and spending lots of time outdoors.  The late half of the week we were forced inside by the rain, but hopefully we will get back out there this week.  He burns off at ton of energy at the park so he always takes a good nap afterwards, definitely an added bonus.  And on days when Papa leaves for work at 1:45 we all head over together for some added excitement.  













Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tis the Season

By the beginning of November I was already itching for Christmas.  It's like this every year.  As soon as the stores have the decorations on the shelves, which gets earlier every year, I get excited. When Thanksgiving was approaching I was already calculating where the tree could fit and be out of reach from Jules, thinking about things to do when Claire and Tessa come to visit, thinking about having a holiday party, planning the holiday crafts,baking, and gifting.  I've uploaded nearly 15 hours of holiday music to keep on shuffle throughout the season.  Crazy?  Yes, definitely.  A fun way to spend our days this month?  Big Time.

Winter, even as mild as it is here (It was 60 degrees on the first of December!) brings out the homebody in me.  I've been organizing, cleaning, and purging all over the house.  If we don't use it, out it goes.  If it needs to be fixed/replaced/re-purposed I put it on my To Do list and get to work.  I've been learning how to use essential oils, figuring out how to cook with dried beans, working on some new crafting projects, and doing puzzles now that the big table is out to use.  Cooler weather means I can get cooking in the kitchen again.  With summer days topping out at 100 degrees I try use the oven as little as possible for most of the year here in Virginia.  Now stews and chili's linger through the afternoon on the stove top, I roast tray after tray of vegetables - especially parsnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and carrots, and now I'm making bread.  

There is whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread in the oven as I type this.  Soon it will be ready for our breakfast in the morning.  A book came out not long ago about a new, incredibly easy, and quick way to make homemade bread all the time.  You make big batches, the dough keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks, and it requires NO kneading.  It is the most amazing thing ever.  I've been making whole wheat bread,  cinnamon raisin bread, and sandwich bread. I'm going to try baguettes next to go with all the pasta we eat.

Jules isn't getting much for Christmas since he has so much stuff that is still new to him from his birthday.  With the economy where it is we're trying to be extra smart with our money this year.  I picked up a little wooden fire truck at the local green children's store, and a few other used wooden toys at some consignment shops out at the beach.  I'm trying to limit the plastic, not eliminate it - just keep it to a minimum, and I've found some great deals that way.  Lot's of puzzles, blocks, little wooden vehicles, and tons and tons of books.  This kid has a seriously large library of mostly second hand/free books.  The libraries around here have yearly book sales and give a ways, one even has a bookstore that is open when the library is open.  Thrift stores and consignment shops are another excellent place to look.  Not only does it save us a ton of money but I feel a lot better about our environmental impact, and life is simpler in many ways.

I'm making several gifts, as well as new ornaments for the tree out of things I already have here at home. It's a great way to change it up a bit with no investment.  I found this awesome video online on how to make a 3D snow flake that I'm going to try out tomorrow.  I think Jules would love to look at them hanging from the ceiling, and it's something I can make with things from around the house.  

I love the holidays.  I love the cooking and the baking, the making and the partaking.  It's my all-time favorite time of year.

Back

Sorry for such a delay in posting lately.  Things got really busy around here and now that the holidays are upon us it's even crazier!  I'm baking and crafting and reading and decorating like a mad woman but I'm going to do my best to get back here more often.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Letter to My 13 Month Old

Jules,

Wow, this last month has been intense. A lot has been going on. All three of us have been occupied with a packed schedule and you have been busy with a huge developmental burst. These last few weeks have been rough. You are cutting several molars but we didn't know until they were breaking through the gums. Since you hate to let us brush your teeth, let alone look in your mouth there was no way to know. You've been terribly uncomfortable but a little ibuprofen goes a long way with helping you sleep and get some rest. The molars haven't kept you down though, you're still as wild and crazy during your waking hours as ever. Everyday you have something new to show us or way to make us laugh. You are a joyful little guy, and you want so badly to be bigger. I can't wait to see what you come up with next. Here's where you're at now:

Vocab: Baby, puppy, Papa, slipper, diaper, bite, baba (water), bye-bye, ball, Mama (mostly when you're very upset about something), Na-na's, bath, bunnies (a cheese cracker snack), a-Boo (peek-a-boo), zebra, football, bushes, ba-Boom!, penguin, balloon, book

Signs: More, Milk, Eat, Bye-Bye

Animal Sounds: Puppy, Dog, Monkey, Snake

New Skills:

Walking - You took your first solo step tonight!!!! Lately I have been having you walk more from room to room or activity to activity using my hands to steady yourself. Once you mastered that you started to let me just give you one hand. After your bath tonight I pulled you out the tub and stood you in front of me so that I could dry you off, letting you lean on me for support. I let go of you and the towel as I finished, and you kept holding on to the towel, thinking I was still holding it. You stood for a bit, then you started testing your toes to try and lift your foot, and next thing I knew you stepped forward all on your own! I'm so excited, you are going to love being able to walk, and I can't wait for that for you.

Climbing - You have figured out how to pull your self up into the desk chair. When it's pushed in you just climb underneath the desk and push it out. From there you try to climb onto the desk or play with whatever has been left out.

Firsts:
Had a birthday.
Selected this years Christmas tree.
Ate first Thanksgiving meal.
Had a yearly photo session.
Got a haircut.

It is so exciting to be able to communicate more with you. Just today you started signing milk like crazy, and you've been using "more" and "eat" consistently for at least two weeks. Next up: baby, down, up, hungry, and help. These are all words you say or try to say all the time. Hopefully the repetition will help you learn them quickly and continue to add to your sign library.

I still can't believe you are 1, but it's kind of cool. You're one of the big kids now. No more tiny baby here. We're looking forward to showing you all about Christmas, Yule, winter, New Years, ice skating, Christmas trees and carols, twinkling lights in the coming month. Many a family tradition will be started this year now that you can participate.

Kisses,
Mama