Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We had a great Halloween. We dressed Calvin up as the cutest lion, with the most chewable cheeks EVER. Andy was from the Matrix, but the kids thought he was a vampire. I was a witch. If the camera had gone a bit lower, you would have seen my sassy orange thigh highs.

Calvin went trick-or-treating at the 6 houses closest to ours.

Then he played with his glow stick on the lawn, watched the other kids come and go, and dragged his grandma all over the neighborhood.

We went into the house and Calvin had the best time playing with his grandparents who dote on him shamelessly and give in to his every whim. He adores them. There was also a birthday party involved - we'll talk about that tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Opportunistic Climber

Today I was working in the office on a deadline I've had, so I had set Calvin up with toys in the entry where he was within my line of vision from the desk. Even though I could hear him talking to himself the entire time, every minute or so, I'd peek out to make sure he was still playing. At one point, I heard him laughing so I leaned over to take a look. He wasn't there.

I got up from the desk, walked through the living room, kitchen, and family room, but he was nowhere to be seen. I started to panic a bit, but I could still hear him laughing. I retraced all of my steps, and finally followed his voice to the last place I expected to see him - playing at the banister at the very top of the stairs. He had climbed both levels of the staircase completely on his own - and he couldn't have been more proud of himself. I am very proud of him as well. Unfortunately, along with that pride, I have a whole new set of worries.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Old-TimeTrain Ride

On Saturday Calvin's grandparents took us to a steam train in the middle of Pennsylvania that has been running since the early 1900's. It was the most charming train I've ever seen. It was straight out of polar express, complete with the nostalgic whistle and all of the tiny details of wood, upholstery nails, paint, and a coal burning stove. I really did try to limit the amount of pictures in this post, but here are my favorites:

Conductor Calvin, happy to have a hat just like Grandpa's.

Everyone at the train depot waiting for departure.

As the train approached with its steam blowing, light glowing, and whistle bellowing, I thought it was magical... Calvin, on the other hand, lost it. He was terrified of the whistle, and all through the trip, whenever it sounded his little chin would quiver, his bottom lip would stick out, and he would start the saddest cry until we could calm him down. Except for the very last whistle of the trip, when his lip jutted out, but he didn't cry - go figure.

Waiting on the quaint train depot bench.

They charged a bit extra for the caboose, but it was completely enclosed, with two different levels for seating. There was the main car, and then up a few metal ladder rungs was a single seat on each corner with windows that opened for looking out across the country side. There was also a corner with a tiny coal burning stove and two old wicker chairs to warm yourself by the heat. So adorable.

Calvin at the top of the caboose, loving the view.

Calvin pouting on grandma after being frightened by the whistle.

You can't really tell, but it was POURING rain and everyone was soaked. The train stopped for a 10 minute break so everyone could get out and look around, and Calvin loved walking on the tracks with his dad and looking at the front of the train, despite the bad weather. I think this was his favorite part of the trip.

Our caboose conductor. A very nice guy, and a fun shot of the crew.

The boys enjoying riding up top.

A view of the gorgeous country side. I loved that it was raining so hard. It made it seem like something really special, watching the water run down the glass and listening to the pitter-patter on the roof and windows as we made our way through the Pennsylvania farm lands.

After the train ride, we drove further north and visited Andy's college. It was fun for me to see a little piece of his history. We then went to the bar and grill he used to frequent and had delicious sandwiches and waffle fries dipped in blue cheese. It was a perfect meal on a rainy day and fun to see where he used to hang out with friends.

We ate chinese take out for dinner, conversed about politics and family, looked at pictures, played with Calvin's birthday present (that deserves its own post), looked at Halloween lights, and then went home right at the boy's bedtime, so he slept all the way home. It really was a good day. Thank you Grandpa and Grandma Nelson for showing us a great time!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Alone Time

Today the boy was the orneriest thing ever, from 7:30am - 8pm. So in order to revisit happier days, I entertained myself with memories of a few days ago. I think most moms will tell you that one thing that goes when you have a kid is any sense of privacy. Especially since Calvin loves playing in the toilet these days, every time he hears the bathroom door open and close, he crawls as fast as he can and spends the whole time you're in there banging on the door and either jabbering or whining, depending on his mood. It's an even bigger disaster if I let him in.

However, the other day as I was in there looking for a bit of peace, Calvin crawled up to the door as expected, but instead of banging to get in, he slid a toy underneath the door. I pushed it back out, and there was a slight pause before he pushed it right back in. In and out, in and out, and on and on we went. He was getting very intense about the game. Sometimes the little block would fly in quickly and almost hit the opposite wall. Every time I pushed it out, he responded immediately and pushed it back in.

As we played, I was thinking how much I wish I had pictures of his tiny little fingers poking in and out through the crack at the bottom of the door. It was one of those weird times when your heart aches for the simplicity of the magic in that little moment. Imagine my happiness when two days after the event, I looked at the camera, and found that Andy had taken pictures of the outside from Calvin's perspective. I love them. I think they would make the perfect flip book.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tiger by the Tail

Tonight the boys were playing and somehow Calvin ended up with his tiger's tail in his mouth, shaking it vigorously back and forth. Even when Andy picked him up by his feet (which he loves), he wouldn't drop the tiger. Andy swung him around the room for several minutes, and the tiger finally only fell out because Calvin was laughing so hard. It was very entertaining to watch.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Photo Shoot

We had an impromptu photo shoot tonight while Andy was raking up some leaves. These were our favorites, in no particular order.

Which do you like best?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Simple Saturday

Today after the laundry was done, the house was cleaned, and the yard had been mowed and edged, we decided to get out for a couple of hours. We ended up at Reston Town Center, a cute outdoor mall of sorts with a skating rink in the winter, a fountain in the summer, and always something going on year round. Today they were having an interfaith children's fall festival with a hay maze, face painting, and other random activities. We stood in line for the hay ride for a couple of minutes, but when we realized it was a 45 minute wait and a $5 ticket for a ride around the block, we decided Calvin would enjoy watching the horses just as much from the side. We played in the fountain, hit some of our favorite shops, ate lunch at Potbelly, and just had a really great fall day. The boy is at such a fun age right now and we enjoy any chance we get to have these magical little outings.

Walking to the festivities

The hayride - someday when he's older we'll have to tell him it's the hayride we were too cheap to let him ride.

Here he is busy checking out all of the dogs

Ready to plunge into the fountain

Diving head first...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Andrew!

All women gush about how they married the perfect man. They can't all be right, but I think it makes them feel better to say so. I, on the other hand, know I married the best of the best, and here's how I know:
  • He makes me laugh all the time.
  • He acts like the most important thing he can do in life is make me happy.
  • He is incredibly intelligent (sometimes it's annoying, but mostly it just comes in handy).
  • He makes wise decisions and thoroughly thinks through everything he does.
  • He is incredibly attractive: the face, the lean, tan, muscular body, the thick dark hair... I could go on.
  • He is so great with our little guy. He never EVER acts too busy to spend time with him.
  • He is sweet and kind and giving.
  • He loves life and trying new things and is supportive of whatever I want to try.
  • He has just enough cynicism and sarcasm to keep life interesting. He swears he's just a realist.
  • He is romantic and poetic and a fantastic kisser.
  • He lets me eat all of the chocolate covered pretzels he got for his birthday.
There's a lot more to celebrate when it comes to Andy, and today we had a great time doing it. Here are the highlights:

Happy Birthday, Andy! I love you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I swear this blog has no desire to be a political one...

We watched parts of the debate last night and I have to say that this election has been, in my memory, the most bizarre ever. Andy calls it (among other things less suitable for internet posting) an "election of gross exaggerations and mud-slinging." Honestly, I can't wait to just fill in my bubble sheet in November and then hunker down for whatever the next four years may bring.

One thing I do not tire of, however, is how much fuel this election is giving to SNL. I love their new Thursday night show. It makes me happy with their talk of Herbert Hoover and Joe the Plumber. Also, instead of mocking Palin, why can't Tina Fey just run for office? I'd vote for her in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Young Republicans

Our adorable niece Ariana went with some friends today to see Sarah Palin in Scranton, PA. Sarah actually talked to Ariana and even signed the back of her cell phone. It sounds like she had a really great time. Earlier this year Ariana was quoting her dad and said that "if Paris Hilton wins this election, we're moving to Australia." She meant Hillary Clinton, but it's an easy mistake to make. They're both blond, self-centered, and tiresome.

I think it's really great that she's interested in politics at such a young age. She's a smart girl. It's been fun to watch her over the last few years as she has been in plays and done well in school and sports. Now she is in the fencing club and is trying out for the dance team. She's the kind of girl that makes me feel like our future is in good hands.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Autumn Walk

Adorable snuggly fall outfit compliments of Auntie Bekah.

Everything is less fun when Daddy's gone. Calvin and I try to keep the routine - after dinner we go on a walk, play on the swings, have bath time, read 2 stories, and go to bed (without Daddy growling and chasing Calvin, who screeches and bounces in my arms in anticipation of being caught and tickled. We do this every night. It's kind of a depressing bedtime walk without it).

Tonight while we were on a walk there were dozens of clouds of gnats and mosquitoes hanging low over the trail. They would swarm around Calvin's head, so I would swat back and forth, trying to shoo them away. He watched me like I was crazy the first two times, but before I could do anything at the next swarm, he started swinging his little arm over his head, swatting them away on his own. The next cloud, his arm went up again and this time was accompanied by his head shaking back and forth. Soon after a few groups of bugs, he just went to shaking his head vigorously back and forth any time he saw anything flying.

About half way home, I think he forgot why he had originally started, and just continued swinging his head back and forth all the way home. I was afraid he was going to knock something loose, but he seemed to be having the time of his life.