Sunday, August 31, 2008

August in Review

Pictures from August that I liked and didn't post...

One morning Calvin was being unusually quiet, so I went to investigate. He had pulled out all of the books from a cupboard and was babbling softly to himself as he turned the pages.

Cute picture of Daddy, Calvin, and the tiger we adopted in Virginia Beach. More on that story later.

Calvin showing grandma how the fireflies light up in Carle's The Very Lonely Firefly.

Calvin watching tv with Grandpa.

Calvin chasing the elusive dog, Maggie.

Our little family yesterday afternoon.

I fell in love with a little lion Halloween costume, so I got it a bit early and we tried the head piece on Calvin. His little round face looked so adorable in it, but he hated it and tried ripping it off the entire time. The soft, precious little outfit makes me even more excited for fall than I usually am. I hope the boy likes it by then.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Les Miserables

Today was the performance of Les Miserables for which Andy had purchased tickets back in June as an anniversary present. He somehow worked his magic and got us box seats in the section that is reserved for season ticket holders and generally not open to the public, so we were front and center with a perfect view of the stage and orchestra. It was at Wolf Trap's amphitheater and was so incredibly muggy. The whole audience was sweltering in the heat, but for some reason, it was the best performance I have seen in my life.

I have seen Les Mis on several occasions, so I'm not sure why this was different. Maybe it was because I was with the love of my life instead of some schlep of the week, and romantic stories always seem better that way. Or maybe it was because now I'm a mother and I have learned that there's a new kind of love out there that I had never known existed, making themes - such as sacrificing anything it took to provide for your child, or the heartbreak of sending young boys off to war, or just wishing more than anything that your boy will grow to be a man of honor - more relevant.

Or maybe it's just because I'm older now, and much more jaded than I wish I were. Sometimes I need a reminder that I really do believe in the goodness of humanity and second chances and redemption. It's a powerful play, and it spoke to me much more this time than it ever has before. It was emotional and magical and romantic and perfect. I am grateful I was able to share it with my Andy, and I am grateful to Andy's parents for watching Calvin for a very long time so that we could go.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Undesirable house chores go so much faster with a little bit of help...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I let my kid watch Baby Einstein...

...because while I'm changing his diaper nothing else induces him to roll away from me (and the new diaper), sit up, stare at the tv, and laugh. All the while ignoring me calling his name, swatting off my attempts to force and coerce him back to the ground, and remaining oblivious to the flash of the camera. He's just so happy when he sees it, and I can't take that away.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Froggy Fiasco

Last night it was late and Andy was playing his game and I was working on my laptop when we heard a noise in the fireplace. I just thought it was the house settling and didn't pay any attention to it, but Andy went over to investigate. Somehow a tiny little frog had made his way into the fireplace, which is a gas one, and completely sealed off except for a tiny vent in the back. As soon as we shined a flashlight on him, he quit jumping around and just sat there looking so sad and cute peering out at us. I was practically crying, saying repeatedly "we can't just let him die in there!" Andy just gave me one of his looks and told me to calm down, and then being the knight in shining armor that he is, he went and got a screwdriver and proceeded to remove all 20 screws from the front of the glass. As soon as the glass swung open, I put a paper cup right up to the frog and just tapped it a tiny bit, and thankfully he jumped right in. We were worried that he was going to freak out and run backwards, but he didn't. He was a good frog. We let him go outside and he sat in the cup for a while. Eventually he hopped off to his freedom.

Also, in other wildlife news... We take this walk every night with Calvin on a trail by our house. It's exactly 1.25 miles, so we get some exercise while he gets a ride. There are also swings along the way, so it's usually a lengthy evening activity. Well last night as we were walking, right off of the path was a HUGE skunk. I have never seen one so close before. It was a crazy night filled with wild animals.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Plot: Fun in the Sun

Here are some pictures of our fantastic vacation, in no particular order.

We found a little diner, The Purple Cow, that we loved. It had great burgers and the most amazing cheese fries with bacon. Oh so decadent. I just thought this was a funny one of the boy.

Calvin's obligatory beach "pensive, looking off into the distance" pose.

The second day we were on the beach we had just set up shop when this cute Indian man came and tapped me on the shoulder. He said that he and his wife had paid for an umbrella and cushy chairs for the entire day, but they were ready to leave, so they asked us if we wanted to use them. His wife gave us their room number and everything "in case anyone gave us any trouble." They were adorable, and we were grateful to have the use of their shade and fun chairs for a few hours.

The boys playing in the sand.

Calvin LOVED the sand. He liked to knock down castles, dig with his shovel, and eat it. He would have been content if we had just left him there for hours.

Riding the fish statue on the boardwalk.

My smokin' hot man, Mr. Nelson.

After eating what must have been pounds of sand. We tried to stop him, but he could not be persuaded to listen.

I adore this picture. Calvin loved looking at the water, but when we took him into it at first he was very apprehensive. I'm not sure if the water coming AT him seemed intimidating or if it just made too much noise and moved too fast, but he wasn't enamored of it like we thought he would be. He warmed up a bit, but he never loved the water as much as just playing on the beach.

A mama and her boy in the surf. Life doesn't get any better.

Things I wish I had pictures of but don't:
  • The look of awe on Calvin's face when he saw the ocean for the first time. We arrived after dark, so we just took him down to the beach to get his toes wet.
  • Andy jumping and splashing in the waves, laughing like a kid.
  • Gigi the Hilton Greeter. She was bizarre. She loved Calvin and anytime we passed through the lobby we would stop and wait while she held him, talked to him, stroked his face, whispered in his ear, and so forth.
  • The way the orange moon looked like half of an orange slice, tilted at an angle and hanging barely above the black ocean.
  • The Surf Rider restaurant where EVERYTHING on the menu was battered and deep fried. And not in a good way.
  • The pretty plates we ate at Catch 31. Andy had orange roughy, I had Mahi Mahi, and Calvin had Pepperidge Farms baked cheddar goldfish.
  • "Waffles and Things." A dive of a restaurant, right across the street from the beach. It had horrible OJ from concentrate (I'm not snobby, really it tasted like Sunny D mixed with lighter fluid), all of the waitresses were 70+ years old, and they only accepted cash. But they had the best biscuits, sausage gravy and grits I've ever had. (Well, except for Connie Jean's, of course). Andy's waffles weren't too bad either.
  • The last night we were there and Calvin was just sad and tired and wanted to go home. We tried to get something to eat, but he was just inconsolable. Across the street from the restaurant we noticed a Toys R' Us, so we took him in. I wish I had a picture of the way he laughed and jabbered as he played for 45 minutes with a Thomas the Train set on a table just the right height for him to touch everything, push the train along the tracks, and keep pushing the nozzle on the water tower to fill up and empty the "water" over and over again.
  • That night instead of subjecting him to a long meal, we just ducked into a Texas Steakhouse and had an appetizer and dessert. The best brownie sundae ever. We weren't there long, but when we left, the floor was covered in goldfish, cheerios, and crackers. We left the best tip that waitress has ever seen for just serving up water and dessert. I wish we'd taken pictures of the floor.
It was a short vacation that didn't take us very far from home, but it was really the first one we've taken with just our little family. We had a magical time and we will savor every little memory for a very long time to come.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Setting: Virginia Beach, VA

Our exotic vacation destination for this year was Virginia Beach. Calvin's a bit small to do anything too crazy, but we thought since he loves water so much, he might enjoy the ocean. We left Thursday night and stayed through Sunday morning. Our hotel was right on the beach, and we couldn't have asked for a better time. There were lots of highlights, so I'm going to break it down into manageable chunks. For this post, please enjoy the setting:
Our hotel - the tall building behind Andy's head was right on the beach, divided only by a boardwalk where people walked, ran, and rode bicycles and roller blades.

The Boardwalk.

This was the view from the hotel door. On the right was a big amphitheater which was filled every night with concerts. This morning was a huge gathering of the Trinity church having their weekly service. If I could meet every Sunday morning in this location, listening to a Christian band jamming, I just might be up for a change.

This was our room. What a mess, I know. It worked out perfectly with the two full beds because we pulled the mattress of of one and put it on the floor so that there was a wall on one side and a level bed board on the other side, that way Calvin couldn't roll off at night. I slept with him, and Andy enjoyed some peace on the other one.

The little mischief, crawling all over everything in sight.

Enjoying the downy softness.

This was an awesome pool on the roof of the building. It looked like the edge of the pool dropped straight off into the ocean. It messed with my equilibrium, but was fun to play in.

View of the beach from our hotel roof.

More of the roof. These chairs made us slightly envious of couples there who weren't wrangling a nine month old little boy.

The other roof pool. One inside, one outside. This one has little water falls coming out of the walls that we loved to splash in and stand under.

King Neptune, welcoming us to our wonderful ocean adventure.

More detail on this amazing statue.

Packing for Vacation

Here's Calvin helping me pack for our weekend o' fun. At this point on Thursday, he is completely oblivious to the exciting journey we are about to embark upon. Where did we go, you ask? You'll have to check back later after I've downloaded the photos.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Battle of Wills

Typical males, both staring at the t.v. - Andy shooting people, and Calvin with the remote trying to change it to Baby Einstein.

For those of you who have heard this story, just ignore it. The other day I was on the couch on my laptop. The television was off and Calvin was across the room playing with his toys. All of a sudden he crawled across the room, climbed up to the coffee table, pulled the two correct controllers - one for the dvd player, one for the tv - out of our basket of four remotes, scooted over to where I was sitting, handed them to me, and then stared patiently at the blank tv screen waiting for me to turn on Baby Einstein.

I like to think that this scenario proves that my child is a genius rather than that I'm turning him into a junkie. He really doesn't watch it that much, I promise!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Nursery

For lack of anything better to blog about today, I will continue our home tour with photos of the completed nursery. There are a lot of things I had wanted to do, but didn't, so this is a simplified version of my grand master plan. It's cozy though, and Calvin seems to like it, so I'd say it fills the measure of its purpose.