Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas....

So I am just going to say that there are going to be a flood of blog posts following this one. I have been writing them but without a working computer at home it has been slow going and then when we were travelling things weren't getting done AND I somehow lost my brand new camera! with all the pics from Christmas on it! And since then I have been crippled by a undesire to take pics with crappy old camera! Somewhere along the way coming home from MO my new camera got lost and I kept hoping that somewhere by some miracle it would turn up but it has been missing for a month now so, alone with the airplane puzzle piece, I have given up hope of finding it back and thus must post must lameness without pics! And I had such an adorable pic of the boys with their kitchen wearing their chef's hats! Luckily my mother took pictures so I can mine her camera for some good ones and I downloaded all the pics I took onto my MIL's computer before we left MO so they exist- I just have to find someway to convince my BIL he wants to copy them all and send them to me...hint hint! As I recover pics I will probably add them into these posts. It hasn't been a good picture season b/c previously mentioned not working computer suffered a massive hard drive failure and we lost absolutely every single thing that was saved on there! Luckily I have been pretty good about have back-ups of pictures but there are some gaps...oh well. It wasn't as severe as losing our complete address book or the big one: all of our financial documents for the last year- 2010 taxes are going to be super-fun to recreate- please note the sarcasm dripping heavily from my written voice!

So back to Christmas. We had a very nice Christmas Eve quietly celebrated at home. And Christmas day went much the same way- we hung out, we opened presents, we hung out some more. The boys, aka Alexander, were up early so we opened some presents and about 1/2 way through he kinda melted down a bit so we stopped opening new presents and just focused on playing with what had already been opened. We had breakfast- mum made kippers- blech- but bottomless pit James dug right in! And after some food present opening continued (can you tell that the boys had maybe a few too many gifts!). We saved the kitchen for last and it was as big a hit as I had hoped for. They dove right in- and very promptly learned how to scale the darn thing! James had quite a bit of fun sitting in the sink! So after pretty much playing only with the kitchen after it was revealed James started to get pretty cranky so he and Xander went down for naps, Daddy headed off to church, and mum and I cleaned up some. That didn't last long before we decided that we were going to nap too. So I took a nice LONG nap- somewhere in the middle of which, mum headed out to go visit her other grandchildren. We had a nice rest of the day just hanging out, watching TV and the kids playing with all their new toys. Tomorrow I head back to work for a few days and Wed we leave for MO.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We had a lovely Christmas Eve at home. The tradition in Frank's family is to open family presents Christmas Eve so we decided to follow his tradition b/c who doesn't want to open some present but also b/c we thought it would be best to spread the present opening around a bit for the boys. That way they wouldn't get too overwhelmed and they would have chance to play with their toys as they opened them. So on Christmas Eve we opened a few presents each. I got a new camera- whoo hoo it's so tiny and light and fancy I can't wait to explore all the new options. Frank got a wireless controller for his PS2 so that we don't have to worry about the boys tripping over the cords. The boys got some new books and the all important new train set! Xander was pretty excited to rip into that one.


We had a delicious dinner of shrimp and then mom made cornish game hens and asparagus- yummm. We all went to bed too late but it was a very nice quiet evening at home!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It comes in threes... the week before Christmas...

So last week our washing machine broke- in the midst of monday laundry the water stopped draining from it. So I call the "Appliance Pros" (really that is their name...) and they come trucking out to tell em that it needs a new motor and pump and it will cost $150 to replace- ugh... So the question becomes new washer or fix the old one?... then steps in very smart hubby who says "isn't there a washer just sitting at Pop's house?" Round of phone calls later procures us a used, but free washing maching AND dryer- whoohoo! So we go and pick it up and Frank miraculously gets everything hooked up and working and then laundry can begin again!



A few days later... we're are driving around doing some errands- it may have even been the day we went to go and get the washing machine.... and we stop at a light and thenthe truck just dies. Frank turns the key and it starts right back up- Whew! But then it happens again and again one more time before we get home. Not a good sign. So Frank takes it to the shop to be checked out. Luckily it wasn't the whole transmission but only every single fluid line in the transmission that needed to be replaced.. oh yeah and we won't even discuss how much that cost!?!?!? So Frank gets a loaner truck to get home but of course the truck they give him is a one seater (as opposed to our crew cab) and he can't even fit the car seats in it so then he has to come and steal my car while I am at work so he can go pick up the kids. Ok I can live with that until...



That night while I was at work our computer died- toast- won't even turn on dead as a doornail. It still at the shop- they might get to it by the end of the week- except that it is Christmas so who knows when we will see it again (oh and how much it will cost...). So it comes in threes right??????? Please tell me so b/c I don't know if I can handle anything else breaking right now!



So needless to say I probably won't be posting much for now seeing as I don't have a computer to post on.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Visiting...


So Wednesday after the Dr's appointments we went home and had lunch. Smart mommy that I am I figured if I fed the kids then they would nap on the way down to Reba's- which they did! So I had a nice quiet car ride down and they got a good 90 minute nap and both promptly woke up as soon as we pulled into Reba's driveway. So in we went and the kids all played together and the mommies talked about life, husbands, kids, work, etc. It's so nice to have adult conversation every once in awhile! I always think of Naomi as being Xander's age but really she is closer in age to James, in any case they actually played quite nicely together- not too much hitting or rough behavior on the boy's part. We had a nice snack all sitting at the table together and amazingly both James and Xander sat without having to be restrained. James' chin was right at table level so that was a bit silly and involved once episode of his chin whacking the table until he figured out he could sit up on his knees and actually see his food.

After snack and watching a short disney program we headed to the mall. Now I realize that most people probably don't find the mall to be a fun outing but when you live 90 minutes to the nearest mall it can be quite a fun excursion. This was the first time I braved it with only a single stroller and we managed alright- only a few episodes of Xander temporarily disappearing in stores. But the whole purpose of the mall outing was to go to Gymboree b/c I had coupons. So we made our stop at Gymboree and then as we headed back to the car we had to go by the train and sucker that I am I had to take all the kids for a ride on the train. I must have looked ridiculous on that train with 3 kids under 3 but we enjoyed it. The kids got to see Santa again, whom they were quite happy to admire from afar, and they got to ride a train... what more could they want! I was actually really impressed with Xander b/c we took him on a ride one other time and he had a total hissy when it was time to get off. This time I talked with him about it before we got on saying that we were only going to ride one time and when the train stopped it was time to get off. He was totally cool with it- when the train stopped he got right off and didn't fuss. It was Naomi I had to chase down as she ran in the opposite direction of the mommas!

So after the train it was supper time so being as we were in a generous mood we took the kids to McDonald's where they have a playspace. We attempted to distract them with food first, which worked well for the littles but not so much for Xander, and then hit the playspace running. At first there were a lot of big kids (really too big to be playing there) there but then they cleared out and we had the place almost to ourselves. Xander loves that thing- he could run and jump and climb until his heart was content. James stayed on terra firma for the most part except when he was trying to climb up the slides and even Naomi ventured up into the tubes. We were a little afraid she wasn't going to come back out but Xander went up and got her for us! I think Reba was dreading the thought of having to climb up into the tube. One lesson we did learn was that Mcd's coupled with playpace equals three poopy children so make sure you bring plenty of diapers! For some reason we left the diaper bag in the car (may have had something to do with trying to wrangle 3 toddlers) and then we ended up making 4 trips out to the car for diapers and clothing changes- why I didn't just bring it back in with me the 1st time still escapes me! So after playing their hearts out this mean momma made them put on their pjs and jump back in the car to head home. We swung by Reba's house to pick up sippy cups and Xander's new toy truck (which I bought him at Rite Aide the day before b/c I didn't feel like dealing with the tantrum if I had made him put it back- plus BOGO 1/2 off- plus $5 coupon with purchase- and he didn't let of go of that truck for 2 whole days- he even slept with it!); so we couldn't leave the new truck behind! After that we headed home.

Unfortunately the ride home was not uneventful. Apparently I was having a bad night! The first half of the trip went fine but then somehow when I made the turn onto Route 2 I got on Route 2 east instead of Route 2 west- so ok no big deal you just turn around at the next exit. So I get off trying to turn around and then I missed the turn. So I keep going a little bit and and then make a u-turn and try to go for the turn again and somehow miss it a third time and end up back on Route 2 east! I would like to blame it on poor signage but really I think it was my fault. Anyway I finally get going on the right road with no more mishaps and then ran off the road completely on Route 78! It had started to snow a bit but it was just flurries and we had been travelling along without any noticeable bad roads until we go to 78. I swear that road was an ice skating rink all the way home. The very first curve on 78 I came around the corner and as the road curved away the car just kept going straight. I had a very "Jesus Take the Wheel" moment as the car was sliding sideways down the road. Somehow I managed to get us straightened out and as we ran off the road on the opposite side I thought we were toast b/c all I could see in slow motion was a stone wall with giant boulders right in front of us, but the brakes finally must have gotten some traction as we hit the shoulder b/c we stopped just a few inches from that stone wall! So as I sat there with my heart about to pound of my chest chanting words that must not be repeated in public domain I look back and both boys are still sound asleep- they didn't even move! Of course my next thought was is the car damaged and how the heck am I going to get back on the road. Amazingly though there wasn't even a scratch on the car and I was able to back right up and back out onto the road and finish the drive home. All I can say is thank God there wasn't a car in the oncoming lane of traffic b/c that would have been very bad! So we took it VERY slow and easy the rest of the way home and once we hit the NH state line the roads got much better (what's up with the MA DOT, huh????). Then of course I barely made it up the driveway but I did and the kids slept all the way to their beds so all was well! Of course the first things I am doing next week is getting my studded snow tires put on!
And now for your viewing enjoyment- Xander the monkey child at the playplace!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

James' 15 mo & Xander's 2.5 yr appointments

I've been working on this post for awhile but it didn't get published till about a week later- whoops! See next post for reasons why....

We had the kids dr apt's in the morning (hence the very lame and boring title of this post) which went well but really it always seems like a good idea to just get them done at the same time since we are all going to be there together anyway but by the time the apt was over I was wiped! A dr's exam room is no place to let lose two little monkey toddlers. Who's idea was it to have lever door handles on those rooms anyway?

Anyway James weighed in at 20 lbs 12 oz which puts him in the 7th percentile for weight so at least we are on the growth chart! He was 30 in tall which puts him in the 19th percentile for height so we're doing well there. His head has normalized out a little so he doesn't have such a giant head anymore. And in exciting news he has cut a new tooth- the bottom tooth on the front right has finally cut through and on the left there is a shiny bump but no tooth yet! He had to get several shots and we have to go back in jan for him to get the second 1/2 of his flu shot but he tolerated it pretty well and then he got some pretty stickers- which he was entirely uninterested in but Xander quite liked.

Xander weighed in at 27 lbs 14 oz, which puts him in the 27% for weight and was 34 in tall (3 inches taller than 6 months ago) which is 7% percentile but again at least we are on the growth chart there. I'm thinking though that one of the boys measurements is off b/c when they stand next to each other there is more than 4 in different in height. So I'm not entirely sure if Xander is taller than they said or James is shorter but in any case they are growing so what does it matter! Xander did not have to get any shots this time round- thank goodness giving how much he screamed just when Dr Walter tried to look in his ears. No ear infection this week and it appears for now that his tubes are patent. We go in April for a repeat Audiogram although if he continues to have ear infections monthly then we'll try to move that up to make sure his PE tubes are still patent.

All in all the are small but healthy little boys. Both continue to have terrible issues with diaper rash- somewhat related to what they eat but not entirely. Juice is a definite no-no for us- apple juice especially. They can only have it if it is heavily watered down and even then only in small quantities. Xander's PE tubes have made a dramatic difference in his speech. He is talking so much more it is just astonishing. So despite 4 ear infections in the 3 months since the tubes we are glad we did it. Luckily the ear infections don't seem to bother him that much- just yuckiness draining from his ears- but quite obviously it was affecting his hearing. Soon we will have his preschool transition conference as at age 3 he ages out of RISE services and if he still qualifies as speech delayed he will get his therapy through the school. He has his revaluation sometime in March.

James, on the other hand, seems to be following his brother's footsteps when it comes to speech. At 15 months old he is already somewhat behind where he should be and at the last 2 appointments we've had he's had "fluid" in his ears. More and more I am noticing him rub at his ears a lot so I wonder if it is just fluid or if he too is having regular ear infections. The speech therapist who comes to see Xander also noted that he was a bit behind. So we are going to watch him carefully the next 3 months and work with him and see if he makes improvement. But if by 18 mnths he isn't talking at an age appropriate level we'll begin the process again with referral to RISE for speech and hearing tests to make sure that he can hear. I'm not looking forward to the potential of more PE tubes in our future but it made such a difference for Xander that I'm more ok with the decision this time if it comes to that.

After the Dr visit we went to go and visit Reba and Naomi. You can read about her thought on our visit here but I have some videos to post too so they are coming soon...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two weeks to Christmas- Yikes!


So we had a busy holiday weekend. Every year my work throws a holiday party for all staff and we haven't been able to go in the past b/c I have been working but this year I wasn't, so Saturday morning we went to go and visit Santa at the hospital. I forgot my camera but luckily one of my friends was there and she took some pics for us- not that there was much to take pics of... Xander was excited to see Santa but only from afar! The minute that we got close to the actual man he clung to Daddy for dear life and James had about the same reaction, only clinging to mommy! So nobody sat in santa's lap but they got a nice close up look at him at least. After Santa we made some ornaments and then the kids favorite part- ate some cookies! After visiting Santa we ran some errands in town and went up to Walpole to the new Tractor Supply there. The kids enjoyed all the farm toys and James especially liked riding the stuffed pony! After Tractor Supply we went and picked up our real live Christmas Tree! This is the first time we have had a live Christmas tree since we have been married and I think for me since before Peace Corps- so it's a big milestone! I got it all set up this morning so when Daddy gets home from work tonight we'll have to trim the tree! Hopefully the kids will leave it alone but if not that is what the superyard is for!

Saturday night we went to a holiday party at the neighbor's house which was a lot of fun. There were a ton of kids there in a good age range from James all the way up to teenagers so basically we set all the kids lose and the parents all hung out without having to worry too much about how much trouble they were all getting into. So the boys had a great time and so did Frank and I. It's nice to have some decent adult conversation with someone other than your spouse outside of work!

Sunday we went to Pop's house and put in the rest of the storm windows and picked up his washing machine. Our broke last week so since we can't really afford to fix it or buy another one right now having the option of getting Pop's old one was a huige help! It's certainly nothing fancy but it works and that is all that matters! Now we can save up some $ to fix the old one or buy a new one- we're still trying to decide which would be the best option. Sunday afternoon we spent installing the new (to us) washer and moving the trailer into the sheep paddock to be their shelter against the weather. Frank hooked all the new heated water lines and the new sheep water tank complete with float so we (he) doesn't have to hand carry water now that we have entered into the freezing temperatures all day and night(except of course for yesterday and today when it rained ALL day).

Well I have to run into town to visit the grocery store, go to a staff meeting at work, and finish up the last few bits of Christmas shopping- stockings....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for ....

Happy Thanksgiving! This ended up being a very odd day! I was supposed to work wed, thurs, fri but tonight the census at work was low so they put me on-call at like 3pm- good and bad I guess b/c I get to spend time with the fam but I lose out on holiday pay and being on-call only nets me $2 an hour vs my regular salary! And I have to work again tomorrow so.... win some you lose some I haven't had to be on-call since June so I guess it is a wash. But b/c I had been planning on being at work for the whole holiday we didn't really make any plans for food so this evening when I didn't have to go to work we were somewhat at a loss of what to do so we ended up going to the hospital anyway to have turkey dinner in the cafeteria there. I had a meal ticket for free b/c I worked last night and then one of my co-workers gave me her so we had 2 free meal tickets and they have a very nice spread. We missed the pumpkin pie but had lemon meringue instead (my FAVORITE) and turkey dinner with all the fixings, it was free, and I didn't have to cook or clean up so I'd say it was a win- win situation for me at least! Plus I got to spend some quality time with my boys and one of my co-workers gave me a new sewing machine- well new to me but all kids of fancy compared to my old one. Now I can actually do decorative stitches. I'm going to have to track down an owner's manual but I can't wait to start playing with it- a real live Janome and it's all mine to play with! I'm was SO excited that Frank told me I had to stop "fondling" the machine- his word exactly. So all in all a really good day.

I was laying in bed trying to sleep and not being successful so I tried something I read about in Guideposts which seemed very appropriate given that it is thanksgiving. basically you go through the alphabet and pray for each letter for something that you are thankful for or someone who maybe needs some extra prayers- although the idea really is to pray for someone/something that you wouldn't normally pray for. It didn't help me fall asleep but it did make me realize how very blessed I am in this life. I have food on my table, a roof over my head, both my spouse and I are currently employed, we have clothes to wear and 2 wonderful, if mischievous, exhausting, wear me to the bone little boys. When I was pregnant with James I wondered how I could possibly love another child as much as I loved Xander- it just didn't seem to me that there was room in my heart. Now I can;t imagine what life would be like without my little devil in cute baby clothing. I don't know that I love them in exactly the same way- I love different things about them, they aren't cookie cutters after all but it isn't as if my love for one child shrank to make room for another- it just expands until you are full to overflowing. Now as I gush about this let me be clear that there are time when I really would like to be able to give them up for adoption and go back to life before kids but.... I never would b/c I am so thankful that I am blessed to be the mother to such wonderful little men. And the wife to such a wonderful big man!

In other notes tomorrow it was one year ago that James was baptised into the the church so a few hours early Happy Christian Birthday to my littlest man. I hope that you will grow into a shining example of Christ's teachings- God Bless and keep you all the days of you life.

Now that my sleep schedule is totally out of whack I thought I would brave the Black Friday sales at Target and Joanns. Target for a new camera and some bed sheets and Joanns for $1.29 flannel and a new cutting table. So I am going to try and nap now, get up at 4am go shopping and then come back and nap all afternoon so i can go back to work tonight- we'll see how it works out! I guess I need to go start the alphabet again....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

early mornings....


This is a photo of the sun rising over the hill in front of our house this morning. It was way more impressive in real life- the sun was like this huge ball of fire flaming above the trees. Xander came to the front door and said, "moon?????" (I can't describe his inflection in type) and then he had a hard time understanding that it was the sun..he kept calling it the moon! We've been having a lot of very early mornings around here lately. Both kids have been waking up around 4:30 every morning. The time shift did have something to do with it but doesn't really explain it all b/c before "falling back" the boys were finally sleeping till about 7am every morning- what bliss! to have those days back.... James will often go back to sleep if I nurse him but Xander not so much...I have resorted to the dreaded TV to get a little extra sleep. It hasn't helped that the last few days I have had a sinus infection and laryngitis.



Finally I sound worse than I actually feel. It's hard to be on the ball when I can't even get off the couch! I've been pondering illness recently- I just feel like I have been sick a lot this fall, more so than usual. I got both the flu shot and the pneumonia shot in September and then promptly got really sick.... I don't actually believe that the shots cause illness but I to wonder if both shots together followed by being sick was just a big hit to my immune system. Anyway so in my ponderings of illness I have been trying to work on healthier lifestyle choices- pretty much a never ending ongoing work in progress. But today's manifestation led to a renewed effort in menu planning. Of course as per usual I did really well for a week and then got sick/life interfered and things didn't go quite as well as planned but luckily we had leftovers (and Kulick's daily dinner special...). So I have been trying to use the crockpot for the days that I work so that we all have something to eat and then cook dinner on the days that I am home and have Frank cook dinner on the days that he is home but I am working. For the most part it has been going well-although I don't actually have anything planned for tomorrow yet... I should work on that! On that note if anyone has yummy kid-friendly, nutritious, healthy crockpot recipes they would like to share (not asking much am I...) I am always up for trying something new!



So I haven't written much recently b/c I honestly haven't had too much to say. We've just been living our lives these days- working, sleeping (or not sleeping much as the case may be), playing, eating, cleaning, etc. It amazes me how much mess 2 little boys can make in such a short amount of time- I think I need to just chase them with a garbage bag pretty much at all times. James is just about as mobile as Xander these days...and Xander has perfected climbing into whole new art form so we've been spending a lot of time cleaning up after them these days. Last week somehow they got a hold of a 16oz bottle of baby lotion and while Frank was sleeping in the room with them managed to squirt the entire bottle all over the room- carpet and all! Luckily baby lotion wipes up pretty easily with cleaning rags and we have stainmaster carpet that is variegated (bought on purpose to hide the inevitable messes) but then I had to shampoo the carpet. Frank has been installing new doorknobs- ones that actually lock- to keep Xander out of every room in the house. His learning to open doorknobs was not a good day in my life! Next on my list is some bifold door locks and getting the dead bolt on the front door fixed- luckily now that the weather has gotten cooler Xander actually asks for his coat before heading outside without telling me. Thank goodness we live somewhere we he can go outside and play without me supervising his every move. I thought I was done baby proofing- nobody warned me about toddle proofing. BTW- don't let this sweet little face fool you....


Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I really have been a shameful blogger these days...too much to do not enough time to blog! We had a very nice Halloween- it was a cold day but the boys had nice warm costumes so all was well! We went down to Parker Street in Winchester and trick or treated there. It's pretty much the perfect length for the boys and basically made for a nice family walk-about! We started at the Fire/Police Station and then walked down to the school and back. It's nice b/c we ran into many people we knew so we stopped and chatted along the way. It's also nice because since we don't get any trick or treaters at our house- no surprise given our location- it gives us and the kids a chance to admire all the other kid's costumes. One lady had this adorable little boy- maybe a little less than a year who was just learning to walk. She had his dressed as a spider with the legs sort of dangling off the sides and he had his little tiny radio flyer wagon and he was just trucking up the street pushing his little wagon walking as fast as his tiny little feet would carry him- too cute!
James has been pretty fussy recently and not sleeping well which has made for some tired parents but I am hoping we are over this particular bump in the road and back on the upswing. He just kept waking up at like 3am and being up for the day and then not really taking a nap. I wouldn't actually mind it if he weren't a crankpot but he obviously was tired and needed more sleep but wasn't able to get it for whatever reason. We have been battling terrible diaper rash again so I am afraid that may be the culprit. I would like to blame it on teething but if he is teething we haven't seen any new teeth actually come through yet- he has shiny spots where his canines are coming but they haven't broken through the gumline yet. The poor kiddo has such honking big chompers though that it must be painful! I have also banned grapes from their diets b/c I really feel that eating them has contributed to the rash- no juice, no citrus, and no more grapes for the time being b/c those thing all seem to contribute to the rashes. We should buy stock in bananas!

Xander's big development these days is that he is now sleeping in his big boy bed! One of my co-workers gave us a twin bed frame last year and it's been tucked away awaiting Xander's readiness to move out of his crib. So several days in a row he kept trying to go and sleep in the bed in the guest room and finally we let him and he slept there all night. So I said well why don't we go and buy him a mattress and and set up his twin bed next to his crib and then he can choose where he wants to sleep- well every night he has chosen his twin bed! He has been really good about staying in bed- even if he gets up he typically goes and gets a toy or a book and climbs back into his bed to play or read. He likes the fact that he can climb up on it and James can't! So he puts his toys that he doesn't want James to play with on the bed. So really it has been a pretty good transition so far- I'm sure we'll have our battles about going to bed at some point but luckily it hasn't happened so far! Now if only he would show even a slight interest in potty training!

So mostly we have been working, finishing up the garden for the year, canning and preserving all the leftovers, digging potatoes, moving animals back up to the main barn, settling the sheep in with our neighbor for the winter, and trying to find a routine with Frank's relatively new job! Things have been in flux regarding scheduling with my job so... it's been a transition for all of us. I'm feeling pretty good about where we are at right now- scheduling at my work is still a challenge especially with the holidays coming but it looks like I will be able to get the time off to attend Jason and Donna's wedding in January- thank goodness since we already bought the plane tickets!- and I'm actually going to have Christmas Day and Eve off for the first time in 3 years! Monday has developed into laundry day and Tues into speech therapy/phone call/paperwork/mail sorting day, weds are music class and currently my work days are more stacked to the end of each week. I finally sucked it up and hired someone to come and help with the house cleaning and I really think it has helped with my stress level considerably. It is well worth the added expense for me anyway (not so sure Frank agrees) but now I can focus on things that I don't hate doing quite so much and my house isn't a pig sty anymore- well it's still pretty cluttered but at least underneath and around the clutter isn't covered in dust bunnies! We have a few big cleaning projects that need to be undertaken- mainly the garage and basement and our inner packrats are battling it out with my intense hatred of clutter and mild disgust at the amount of "cr*p" we have managed to accumulate in the last 5 years, so we'll see who wins in the end. The best part about having someone coming to clean occasionally is that means I get to spend a couple extra hours in my sewing room and I have been making a pretty good size dent in my unfinished projects bin/pile. Soon though I am going to have to take a break from the ufos and make a dent in all the christmas sewing I have been planning! Hopefully the boys will continue their trend of napping at the same time so I can actually make it through my list of gifts!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family Photos

These are some photos from when we were in MO. Despite the circumstances it was nice to be able to see all the family again. Sadly I think it may be one of the last times that everyone is able to get together. I think they figured out that it was something like 10 years since all the family had been together. As the family grows we start to spread. We are spanning the country as it is is- although currently no one is abroad. Most of the family is still in MO we are in NH and several of Frank's cousins are in CA. Someday we will make it out that way to visit our many friends and family. So the photo above is Frank, me and the boys at the Fulton Memorial Garden. During the graveside service xander's patience had worn thin so we spent most of the time walking the gardens. James was asleep when we go there and Uncle Luke was holding him but then he woke with a vengeance! The photo to the right here is of Frank and all his paternal cousins. There are 13 of them total- which seemed like a lot to me (I have 2 paternal cousins...) but then I found out that on his mother's side he has 27 so 10 isn't really all that many! After the graveside service we went back to Hatton where the lovely ladies of the community put on a fabulous dinner. On the left you have our immediate family. Frank and his brother Luke in the back with Alexander, Myself, James and Grandpa Hadley in the middle and Frank's baby brother, Kurt (who is a mini 17 yr old clone of Frank- although Frank swears he didn't whine as much...) and Grandma Lynn in the front. These photos were all taken after the dinner in Hatton. Unfortunelty even though it wasn't really that dark in the room all of my photos came out rather gloomy- I guess I needed a stronger flash. So no people don't like like devils- it's the dreaded red-eye from my crumbly camera! Back to the right we have a photo of the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandchildren- all the offspring of Gladys and Hadley Linnenbringer! It's kinda hard to see everyone in this picture but you get the idea! And below is a picture of all the great grandchildren. What I think is funny about this one is how well Xander fits in! Everyone always looks at hima nd is like where did he come from...since Frank and I are so dark but really when you start looking deeper into the family he really looks like a Linnebringer to me! Just look at Shay holding him- they are second cousin and yet they look more alike than he and James do. The funny quirks of genetics....

Monday, October 18, 2010

James is 13 months old!


I can't believe how quickly my little man is growing up. He has pretty much stopped drinking from a bottle entirely; unlike his big brother who at least several times a day annouced to me "I need a bottle"- at least he is using a full sentance! Today he ate a whole yogurt by himself with a spoon (it was messy but hey!) and he hasn't had baby food in over a month. It's really true that your second child is so different than the first. With Xander I was so cautious about introducing foods and cups and everything really but with James if Xander is doing it, pretty much James gets to do it too! Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is only a year old and he can't do everything that Xander can do!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life intervening...

So I have been meaning to post for awhile but life has intervened as usual. Right after James' birthday I came down with a horrible, nasty cold. I didn't work for a whole week I was feeling so miserable. Just a truly nasty virus I guess. Then Xander wasn't feeling well and he got a double ear infection...ear infections post-tubes are just yucky. Anyway so one by one we fell- poor Frank managed to hang on the longest but after a week he wasn't feeling so hot either. Then we go the news that Frank's grandfather has taken a turn for the worst and wasn't expected to live the week, which turnes out to be quite true as he passed away that day. So after not feeling well and already missing work we were going to be headed to Missouri for the funeral. Of course the day before we were supposed to leave for the funeral I had the absolute worst sore throat ever and turns out I had Strep! uugh. Luckily the antibiotics worked quite quickly and I was feeling somewhat better by the next day.

So we headed off to MO for the funeral feeling vaguealy human but certainly not 100% ourselves. We didn't arrive at Frank's parents house till like 1am but we made it. Saturday was Craft Day in Hatton- which for those of who who don't know is "kinda" a big deal- as in a huge, major giant community event! So in some ways the timing worked out that we were able to be there for Craft Day. We saw lots of family and friends and Frank got to see a bunch of old school classmates. He managed to go and hang out with them Saturday night but the boys and I stayed home and went to bed.

Sunday we saw more old friend and family at church and back at Hatton for the post craft-day dinner. Xander really enjoyed going out with grandpa and riding on various farm vehicles. I think he would spend all day riding around on a tractor if we would let him! Monday was the visitation and Tues the funeral followed by a dinner and then we jumped back on a plane and headed home. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip but they always seem to be these days. It was nice to be able to see so many family and friends and reconnect, obviously it would have been more preferable under different circumstances but we wouldn't have had the chance to see every single member of the family under other circumstances.

We got back to the house at about 2am wednesday morning after a slight mishap at the parking spot. Xander had fallen asleep on the plane so we had picked him up in his car seat and set him seat and all in the stroller (not a good idea by the way...). Anyway on the way out to the car I was pushing him down a ramp and as we hit the end of the ramp I slowed down and kinda ran over a bump and Xander's seat went tipping off the front of the stroller and onto the ground. Luckily he just had a big old scrape across his forehead and he had bitten his tongue a bit. But it was kind a drama right afterwards- he was screaming, I was crying and then James woke up and he was crying....poor Frank was just standing there looking hagard! It's amazing how quickly kids bounce back though b/c a week later you can hardly even tell he had a humungous scrape on his head. So after this drama and getting home at like 2am Frank actually got up and went to work wed morning at 7am- I was so impressed. The boys and I got up a bit later and they went to daycare b/c I had to work that night.

So pretty much since we got back I have been working, unpacking, doing laundry, cleaning, and getting the last of the harvest in from the garden. Yesterday I did 6 loads of laundry and was feeling pretty proud of myself until I realized that I missed a whole hamper! But all the laundry is done- I just have 1 load to finish putting away and 1 load to fold and put away. The kitchen is pretty much a disaster at this point b/c I also brought in probably 50 lbs of tomtoes and have been busy making salsa and tomato sauce and soup. And we brought in 4 wagonloads of squash, much of which is still waiting to make it into the basement. I ended up taking some of the tomatoes (and 8 dozen eggs) to the food pantry b/c I just needed to get some of it out of my house!

Now I am back on a 3 in a row stretch at work which means not much else will get done for a bit but since the garden is done now I can pack away all the canning supplies and that will get rid of much of the clutter in my kitchen for now. I honestly don't know sometime show the 4 of us can create so much junk!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Joys of babyhood....


It's kinda sad to me when even the bathwater has trouble getting the food off his face!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

James' 1st birthday party!


I had meant to post this sooner but we've been living in snot city here this week. It's been a really hard week because every single one of us has been sick. Xander got his first ear infection since having tubes...all I can say is YUCK! It started with his left ear and wasn't so bad and then after his nap Wednesday he woke up rubbing his right ear and it was just nasty... So he has had the ears and a runny, snotty nose and James has had a runny, snotty nose but so far he seems to have escaped the ear infection. I've been sick as a dog myself. It's so much harder being sick when you are a mom b/c you can't just spend the enitre time lying in bed. I managed to make it to the couch for the most part of each day but needless to say the house is totally trashed- oh well. Why is it that kids can still manage to wreck havoc even when they aren't feeling well? At least I was able to stay home from work. Frank has been sick too and he can't stay home from work right now or we can't start with his insurance for a whole extra month. So anyway I am finally feeling mostly human, the kids are still snotty but given their energy level I am guessing they must feel better. And Frank is still suffering but he has to go to work anyway!

Anyway last Saturday we had James first birthday party. It was a great sucess I think. Melissa baked a beautiful and delicious cake. We had some yummy food. The weather was beautiful and we spent most of the party outside. There were a whole bunch of little boys running around and only one little girl! James had a lovely time mashing his cupcake all to smithereens and licking the frosting off- and the dogs had a lovely time cleaning up all the leftovers. James opened some of his presents and Will and Xander opened the rest! The kids had a blast with the presents. I think we'll have to have a whole bunch of playdates centered around the boy's new train table and all the trains that James got.

Friday, September 24, 2010

James' one year appointment!

So James had his one year appointment on Monday. He is doing well overall. He weighs 18 lbs 11 oz (4th percentile) and is 29 in tall (26th percentile). His head circumference was 18.5 in (69th percentile), which means that now he and Xander actually have the same size head! He only got three shots this time around and he will get more at his 15 month visit and at some point here we'll have to do the flu shot. Someday I wish that daddy had to take them for shots and not me..but really he did well and chilled out as soon as it was over! He is trucking all over the place these days and now he's trying to run but mostly that just means he trips over his own feet and face plants- his poor forehead has non stop scrapes and bruises! He seems to be fine with giving up the bottle, although he does steal Xander's whenever he is done with it! That being said he is still breastfeeding but he also drinks milk and water from a cup. Getting the bottle from Xander isn't going so well but one day at a time! He does seem to like some of the new sippy cups we got handed down to us from Naomi but first thing in the morning all he wants is that bottle!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

a productive day...

I have to say I am feeling pretty good about today went. Recently I have been feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done around the house/farm and that overwhelming sense of not accomplishing anything wears at you. But today was a good day. I had a really hard time falling asleep last night which is usually a sign that the next day isn't going to go well but we got up and going early as James had his one year dr appoint this morning (updates on that and his birthday party in a late post). So we went to his appointment, went to the grocery store for a milk run (in an effort to simply our lives we took milking out of the equation and are going to focus on a beef herd and until I can find a supplier of fresh milk it's store bought for us- blech...), and then hit the pharmacy for some new vitamins for the big one year old boy! And to stock up on motrin in case the inevitable fever post shots set it. We headed home after that and went straight out in to the garden where we picked raspberries(4 quarts), zucchini(probably 20 or so none smaller than my arm), and summer squash(again a bunch of huge honkers...). Back into the house for lunch and naps, at which point I dyed my hair- time to get rid of the grey! Of course the second I mixed the color both kids were screaming but Xander's issues were resolved with the quick changing of a diaper and I think James was just crying because Xander was! After hair dying I took the raspberries we picked and made a batch of raspberry jam- mmmmm, James and I enjoyed the extras once he got up from his nap! Then it was onto shredding zucchini for relish and slicing cucumbers for pickles. 2 gallons of relish fermenting in the fridge and 14 lbs of sliced cucumbers soaking in lime later it almost time for bed. Now I just have to clean up the mess I made in the kitchen so the flies don't go totally beserk and pack the diaper bag for tomorrow b/c we are leaving first thing to head over to the seacoast to visit Pop, Nan and to get James' 1yr pictures done- followed by a shopping excursion to Kittery and I need to be home in time to can that 2 gallons of zucchini relish- yikes! It's going to be a LONG day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

James is ONE Year Old!

My little man is one year old today! It's hard to believe that one year ago I was sitting in a hospital room about this time with Frank passed out on a cot in the corner wondering if my labor was ever going to start- and yet 7 short hours later James was with us! He came into the world at 6:57 in the morning much more quickly than his brother, which was a great relief to his mother, and weighing in at 8lbs 10oz, which was less of a relief! Then he was a fat round chubby hairy dark little man and now, well he still has a big round head and dark skin but his hair has turned to be more like a dark blond and his eyes will probably be hazel like his daddy's. He looks very much like his namesake in my opinion which is some ways may be why when he was born he just looked like a "James" to us. He's walking and pointing and occasionally waving. He says ma-ma and da-da and ba-ba and he points to things and hisses as if to say "this!" He's gone by various nicknames in his life- including cue ball, fang, crankpot, booger baby, bubba, Jamie James, Baby James, My James vs. your James, Jed, and most consistently JJ. And he is the most perfect and precious baby in the world today! Happy Birthday JJ!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Updates...

My poor sadly neglected blog! I keep meaning to write about the things that have been happening in our lives but I have been too busy living it to write about it! So what have we been doing... on August 31st Xander had PE tubes placed in his ears. Not an experience I would like to repeat anytime soon but all in all it went well. We had to get up quite early and I was worried about how he'd do without being able to eat or more specifically drink but I got him up and just plopped him straight into the car and he didn't complain. When we got to the hospital we got registered right away and pretty quickly got taken back to the pre-op area. They were ready for him- in his little cubicle they had a dvd player with some kids movies and a wagon with pillows for him to cuddle in. We waited in pre-op for awhile while the Dr came to talk to us and the Anesthesiologist came to talk with us and then they gave him some oral versed- actually I gave it to him and he took it quite easily but then I thought for sure he was going to puke it right back up. Versed must not taste very good! But he managed to keep it down and after about 15 min he voluntarily lay down in the wagon with his stuffed elephant, at which point the anesthesiologist was like "that's our cue" and they wheeled him off down the hallway to the OR. That was a sucky moment- when literally I felt like I was putting my child's life in someone else's hands. I went out to the waiting room to sit and wait- longest 15 minutes ever! Thank goodness that it wasn't a long procedure b/c otherwise I would have been a total wreck. So the Dr came out, told me everything was fine and took me back to him and I swear it was a different kid. Alexander waking up from anesthesia is no fun at all! He was flailing and kicking and just screaming at the top of his lungs. It was awful- like he was awake but didn't know where and who he was. It took him a long time to calm down and then when he finally calmed he was having a hard time walking- he kept stumbling around like he was drunk- it was just unsettling to see him like that. Plus he just smelled like anesthesia- I don't know how to describe it but pts after they have anesthesia just have this nasty funky smell to their breath that I just think is nauseating.


So we headed home after the tubes and Xander did well all things considered but he was in a funk for a few days. I almost wonder if his environment seemed more overwhelming since he could hear better. I do think that having the tubes placed and the congealed fluid sucked out of his inner ear has helped with his hearing. It has not been a dramatic, overnight change but gradually we are noticing improvements in his speech and understanding. He is mimicking more and he has several words that are quite clear now which were garbled before. He has used several 3 word sentences like "I want Ba (bottle)", "No my choo-choo", and "I did it!" (thank you Dora...). He calls James by "JJ" pretty consistently now and he has developed a new fascination with the television. He would watch Backyardigans before and liked that but almost anything else wouldn't hold his attention for more than 20 minutes. Now all of a sudden we hear "I want tv...tv...TV" more than I would like to admit. I was quite frustrated with it until Frank pointed out that he probably likes it more now b/c he can actually hear it! So in addition to Backyardigans he now enjoys Dora and Diego especially (it could be worse...Barney anyone?)

Speech therapy continues and is going well at this point. Like I said we are seeing small improvements week by week in the number of words he is using, our comprehension of those words, mimicking, and his ability to create sentences. As we approach his turning 2 1/2 we will have his 6 month revaluation and assessment to determine where he falls developmentally. At age 3 he will age out of early intervention and into the school system so the preschool coordinator will hopefully be a part of this assessment so they can start developing an IEP for him (if he needs it) for when he starts preschool next year. I guess the benefit of him needing services would guarantee him a spot in the Winchester preschool. I should put his name on the wait list in any case.

James has been pretty miserable the last couple of days b/c it looks like he is cutting some more giant honking teeth- I swear the kid has the teeth of a 5 year old! Hopefully he will be ina good mood tomorrow in time for his birthday party...yes can you believe it? My JJ is going to ONE year old tomorrow! Oh my goodness I have so much to do before his party- yikes! I promise all who are coming that I will try to have the house reasonably clean and enough food for all!
The pictures in the post are from our visit last weekend to the Franklin County Fair in Greenfield, MA. We had a great time and the kids seriously enjoyed the kiddy play tent b/c there were all kinds of tractors to play with. They ended the day by playing on a real life JD Gator- trying to convince mommy and daddy that we "need" one for the farm. Heck we'd never get Xander out of it! Doesn't James look like such a big boy trucking across the seat! More updates after JJ's party...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My little man...

Photobucket
is looking like such a big boy.... Today I went to daycare to feed JJ on my way to work and Xander didn't even notice that i was there for like 25 minutes. It's good in a way to see him so wrapped up in his play to not want to leave but somehow it's a little sad that he didn't even notice me! I think if I had tried to make him leave he would have fought me tooth and nail so I guess it's good that I left them there to go to work!

This morning was interesting as the barn and apparently the house were both hit by lighting. The barn was a definite strike with a huge rumble of thunder. Poor Jake was in the barn when it hit and I thought for a minute he got hit too. It must have been pretty loud though and at least one of the light bulbs exploded. Thank goodness it didn't catch on fire seeing as there are about 1000 bales of hay in the loft right now. The house must have gotten hit before that b/c we heard the thunder- it woke us both out of a dead sleep but we didn't realize anything was amiss till the evening when we tried to turn on the TV and realized the satellite is toast! Oh well we were planning on getting rid of direct tv here soon so I guess this was just the kick in the butt that we neded to do it. Too bad it couldn't have waited one more week until all the summer finales were over.

Friday, September 3, 2010

James is almost one year old!

How fast this year has flown- yikes! I can't believe my little munckin is almost a year old. In fact it totally snuck up on me so I didn't get around to do invitations for his party b/c well frankly until the other day and I realized it was Septemebr I didn't realize it was time to plan a party. I made sure I got the day of his birthday off months ago and then kinda forgot to plan the party! So instead of individual invites you all get a blog posting (and for my freinds on FB and event invite...gotta love technology...).

James' 1st Birthday Party
Saturday, September 18, 2010
at our house
3:00pm

If you are planning on coming or need directions, etc just let us know. We'll have food- burger and dogs but bring your own drinks. You're welcome to bring a side dish to share but we don't expect anything but your company! Presents are unecessary but if you really want to get him something he loves books, anything he can chew on, wooden trains (like for the Thomas wooden train set), any Fisher Price farm toy, and his parents would accept donations towards a big boy carseat (why they have to be so expensive is beyond me!).

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

James is eleven months old!


One step closer to being a whole year old... oh my goodness it's just stunning to me how quickly they grow. He's walking very well these days, not quite as steady on his feet as I remember Xander being but it is so hard to look at them now and try to think back on what they were like so I am most likely misremembering. He's chewing on anything and everything in sight but I don't see any new teeth chomping through. He has 6 teeth total now, 4 on top (the middle 2 finally came in) and 2 on bottom. His top teeth are huge, wide teeth so now he has a very toothy grin. It's amazing to me how much teeth can change their look. With his big honking teeth and the fact that since he has started walking he has slimmed right down, he looks much more like a toddler than a baby these days. He still has a big cue ball of a head but his hair is much lighter than it was. His eyes I think are going to stay brown- for a while they seemed to be changing on a daily basis but I think he is going to have brown/dark hazel eyes. But his hair...sometimes it is a very light brown, almost dark blond and some days it looks slightly darker. It's a bit hard to tell since they are outside a lot so it could just be sun bleached but he isn't going to have hair as dark as either me or Frank and he certainly isn't going to be a toe-head like his brother. In fact I don't think they could look any less alike! Xander is extremely fair skinned and James has the same dark olive skin that Frank has. Xander looks more and more like a blond version of Frank everyday with my mom's har and eyes and my coloring and James has more of Frank's coloring but looks like a mini version of his Uncle James- apparently he was aptly named! Anyway he is weighing in at about 18.5 lbs these days which make his a skinny little peanut but I swear the child is a bottomless pit! Xander has entered the picky toddler phase with a vengeance but James will eat anything you put in front of him and then more! My new fav thing that he does though is when he cries he makes this adorable warbling sound. Frank says he sound like Chewbacca and we should nickname him "chewy" but for the time being JJ seems to be sticking best. Sleep wise we are fighting between him needing two naps but then only taking one nap and my desire for them both to nap at the same time.. we'll see who wins!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Canada we go...


So today we made the next leg of our trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. So yeah sure it is just across the border but we made a big deal of it b/c it is the boy's first trip to a foreign country. We've had several "plans" to go abroad since Xander was born but this is the first one to actually happen. We got off to a good start- our plan was to leave at check-out, which we did, but I think the grandparents were chomping at the bit to get going. It's not so easy to pack up 4 people after 4 days in the same place. I got up at 6am with James and didn't go back to sleep and it still took us till 10 to leave the hotel.


So we got some lunch on our way out of town and our timing worked out well with the boy's nap schedule. We passed through passport control relatively quickly and we made it to our hotel just in time for check-in. We parked the car, threw the bags in the rooms, and headed out to explore. We stayed at the Days Inn which was perfect. They had free parking and it was right at the top of Clifton Hill- where all the really garish touristy stuff is located (glow in the dark indoor mini golf- really?)- but only a few short blocks from the falls themselves. We bought an Adventure Pass which worked well for us b/c we wanted to do some of the really touristy things. First we headed to the Maid of the Mists- b/c you can't go to Niagara Falls and not go on the Maid of the Mists. It was awesome! I can't imagine the power that those engines must have to fight against that current. We had seen the plume of mists as we were driving in but it was really neat to be right in the midst of it and just feel the power of all that water pounding down around you. James didn't think too much about the whole boat thing but I think Xander enjoyed it. They had the cutest little ponchos for the kids!

Then we headed up along the river to the horsehoe falls. It was a beautiful day- not too hot but warm enough to not mind the misty air around the falls. We went to the Journey Behind the Falls, which was also pretty cool b/c you got to get right up next to the edge of horsehoe falls. It was pretty wet I have to say. I think the Cave of the Winds on the American side looked a bit more interesting but hey we got to to visit some pretty wild tunnels back behind the falls. After the Journey we went back up to the welcome center and went to Niagara's Fury, which was like an interactive ride a la Universal Studios. It was actually really fun. They had a cute little video before the ride part which Xander really enjoyed- the polar bear was hilarious! And the ride part was pretty cool too. Xander didn't like the thunder much and James fell asleep but the adults enjoyed it. They spat us out through the giftshop which was interesting b/c Xander ended up suckering me into getting him a stuffed Mammoth by beelining right to the stuffed animals and them sucking on the tusks-sigh... After that we headed out to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner, which was my choice and I think I enjoyed it more than anyone else. Well Xander didn't much care for the thunder storms but he liked the fact that our table was right underneath a fish tank and right behind us were gorillas that talked every 10 mins or so. After a very long afternoon we all headed back to the hotel and collapsed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A visit to Thomas


This morning we headed out to Lake City Hobby so the boys could try out the rideable Thomas. They weren't quite open when they were supposed tobe so we walked around Geneva for about 45 minutes- did a little window shopping at the Ashley Furniture Homestore... Finally they opened and we got to go check out the trains. The boys were so cute! Xander couldn't quite figure out how to push the button to make the train go- he'd push it but in order for the train to move you have to push and hold it. Xander had so much fun he tried to take Thomas with us when we left and as you can see it wasn't a little train!

After the hobby shop we headed down the street to the yarn shop. I love hometown yarns hops- they have such a nice cozy feel to them. I had fun picking out some yarn to begin my first ever sweater project! We'll see how long it takes me! I just hope that I get it done before Xander outgrows it- fingers crossed he deosn't have a huge growth spurt. I also got some yarn to make a sweater for James so the goal is that if I can get Xander's finished I'll make one for James but if not then at least the one I am making for Xander will fit James. I got some lovely painted yarn in a washable wool so they should be good for this fall.



Then the boys and grandma headed back to the hotel for lunch and naps and I headed out to the spa for some mama time. It was heavanly. I got a hot stone massage, my eyebrows waxed, and I to a pedicure. I had her do my nails hot pink! After my massage I got to take a shower and they had one of those giant shower heads, which if we ever redo the bathroom I am totally going to have to get, b/c that was awesome! After my pampering I went back to the hotel where I found grandma and James asleep together on the bed and Xander loose playing- the joys of him learning to climb out of the pack n play.

So then we headed out to the Waterloo Premium Outlets - man you could totally get lost in that place! We got Xander some new shoes at Stride Rite b/c his old sandals were really rubbing on his feet and giving him blisters; probably b/c we ended up buying him shoes that were 2 sized larger than what he was wearing! Now he is in a size 7. We also hit up Harry & David, Gymboree, Osh Kosh, and Carter's. I think in all honesty there were too many choices of shops. It was really overwhelming. Busted at Gymboree but major score at Carters. I go back and forth between those 2 store for boy clothes. Sometimes Carters is great and sometimes there is just nothing that I like- this time I liked everything. I think that I like Gymboree better for summer and Carter's better for fall/winter. I never find good stuff at Osh Kosk but my mom always does so I keep trying! Now though we are stocked up on PJs which is what we really needed. We got the boys some dinner and then headed back.
Then for the SECOND time that day- shocking I know- we left the kiddos with Grandma and Grandpa and Frank and I went out for dinner just the 2 of us. We actually went back to Belhurst Castle to the tavern there. We had yummy wine and cheese and dinner and another glass of wine and desert- it was true decadence, but so delicious. I was so full when we left I thought I might explode!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wine Tasting and the Amish Country Store


Well you can't come to the Finger Lakes without doing some wine tasting so the goal for today was to do just that! We headed south along the west side of Seneca Lake b/c we planned on making our first stop at Weaver View Farms, which isn't actually a vineyard but an Amish/Mennonite Country Store. Mostly I just thought it would be an interesting stop but then I found out that they were also a fabric store so... of course we had to go! It was a total maze of a place but Lynn and I lost ourselves in it for awhile while Hadley entertained the kiddos outside- actually Xander was napping in the car and I think Hadley was just enjoying some face to face time with James. We had fun looking at all the fabrics and especially admiring all of the beautiful quilts. If only I had a few hundred extra dollars to spend on quilts! There was this absolutely gorgeous turquoise batik dark to light wall quilt that I was seriously coveting. I could plan a whole room around that little gem. Anyway they also had a wonderful selection of books. I have decided that we just need to purchase every book by Storey Publishing. I got a whole book about cheese- hopefully if we have extra milk I can make some!
After the Weaver Views we headed down the road to the Fox Run Vineyards where we had lunch and did a little wine tasting. They had a tour of the vineyard leaving right as we go there that would have been fun but we were all starving and the tour was an hour so food won that battle hands down. We didn't find any wine to bring home but I got some delic creamed honey and found a really cool wine tote that I am hoping I can replicate (Christmas gifts anyone...).
We decided we needed to hit at least one more vineyard before we called it a day so we went to Belhurst Castle. Talk about romance..it would be a fabulous spot to have a wedding. Anyway it is a winery, hotel, spa, and restaurant all rolled into one. Quite the place. And they had a very nice semi-dry Riesling that came home with both Lynn and I. After that we headed back to hotel to meet up with Frank and went to dinner at the Ponderosa Steakhouse, which was very reminiscent of Cactus Willie's in Baltimore where Frank and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner. It was alright but by then we were all pretty tired and the boys have been quite destructive in restaurants recently so I was pretty glad to get back to the hotel and put the little devils to bed!
In big news James took his very first step this afternoon in the hotel room from grandma to me. It was so exciting! Just one tiny little step but the herald of more craziness to come!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wegmans

So today as part of an accompanying persons tour organized by Frank's conference we went to a Wegmans Store on an organized tour. We visited their store in Canandaigua and got a tour of most of their departments. It was pretty cool. We don't have many store like that around here- maybe Price Chopper would be the closest comparison. Anyway after our tour we had a very nice lunh in their Market Cafe- Xander and I had sushi-yum! Then we went back to the hotel and everyone had a nice nap, after which we went to the Conference BBQ.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

James is 10 months old!


My little bit is 10 months old today! I can hardly believe it- double digits already. Soon he'll be a year- yikes! He's been a bit of a devil child recently. He's having a very hard time with teething first off but also he seems to be having a hard time staying asleep as well. He's fine as long as he is in bed with someone but try to put him in his own bed and he's not having it! The problem with this being that mama doesn't sleep so well with a squirmy worm in bed with her! especially not one that wants to be permanently attached to the breast! Oh well I am sure he will be out of this phase soon enough and then I will miss my little baby wanting to cuddle- what's a little less sleep? sigh.... But atleast now he has 2 front teeth to go with his fangs! Both have cut mostly through the gum and are working their way down


He's going to be off and walking soon it seems. He's crawling everywhere and cruising all over too- just not ready to lift that one little finger off and go!
Road trip update: we made it to Geneva today. Took a beautiful drive through Ithaca and up between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes- we resisted the urge to stop at several wineries along the way as the kiddos were sleeping. We made it to Geneva in time for lunch where we had Philly Cheese Steaks! Which were delicious! Went for a dip in the pool (which was literally I am not kidding the size of a large hot tub- the pool had a limit of 10 people!) where Grandma and Grandpa found us. We had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant and then the kids spent some time with the grandrents and Frank and I sampled some wines and cheese at a welcome reception for his conference. Then bedtime for all...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cooperstown, NY

We got a pretty early start today and drove from Oneota to Cooperstown, which was another nice drive through a lot of scenic farmland. We drove by the Cooperstown Dream Park, which is quite the complex I must say. Someday maybe the boys will have baseball camps there. Anyway we parked at an outlying lot and took the trolley into town. Xander really enjoyed the trolley ride- a little terrifying though for his parents as he kept trying to lean out the windows.

Our first stop of the day was at The Farmer's Museum. It looked really interesting to us and we figured it would give Xander a chance to really run around and stretch his legs. Also that way we could spend the hottest part of the day inside, instead of out in the heat. The Farmer's Museum is a 19th century village and farm. Xander really enjoyed the carousel... by the end. He really wanted to go on it but then when I took him he started to cry- until it started moving. Then he thought it was the coolest thing ever and I had to carry him kicking and screaming off of it. I enjoyed the exhibits of sewing and fiber crafts the best and I think Frank enjoyed a lot of the agricultural exhibits. They also had some animals, but mostly the same types of animals that we have at home- sheep, cows, chickens- so that wasn't too exciting for the kids. Although Xander enjoyed petting the calf. Before we left we went on a horse drawn wagon ride. Then we hopped back on the trolley and headed into the village of Cooperstown.

We had lunch at an overpriced street cafe but the food was good at least and we got to eat outside and watch all the people go by. Cooperstown on a Sat in July is a pretty busy place! The we headed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I think every baseball enthusiast has dreamed at some point in their life of going there and it didn't disappoint. There were lots of cool exhibits and trivia and memorabilia. We got to watch a bunch of neat videos and interviews- including a copy of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" which was hilarious. I especially enjoyed the Women in baseball exhibit and the baseball in the movies exhibit, as well as the team locker exhibits. And the Hall of Fame gallery itself is pretty impressive. Luckily both boys fell asleep for part of our visit so we were able to stop and read through all the trivia for at least part of the time. Museums are definitely not Xander's thing! Too much standing around and not enough moving.

After the Hall of Fame we went to visit Doubleday Field and happened upon a baseball game in progress so we stayed and watched for a bit. James happily sat on our laps and Xander climbed up and down the bleachers. Then we headed back towards the hotel and to find someplace for dinner. We ended up at Applebees, which was delicious despite the fact that Xander was shall we say not well behaved. The Applebees was in a mall so I took Xander for a walk after I finished my dinner and he happened upon a toy store with a table full of toys out front and he quite happily played there until we had todrag him away kicking and screaming. Poor guy was pretty tired by that point. So after a quick bath and a marathon bout of screaming by both children we all fell asleep!

Our future hall of famer...


It's been so hard to get photos of Xander recently- he's decided he is camera shy! So when i got this pic of him I just had to share- isn't he the cutest thing ever!