Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Old Man

This past Monday we celebrated Andy's 30th birthday. His best friend also turned thirty this month so his wife & I decided we should have one big bash and call it their 60th Birthday Party. Man, those guys are old.

After a day of prepping salsa and hummus, making cupcakes & drinks then marinating several pounds of chicken, I got to be the grill master for the evening and spent some time flipping the juicy birds and hot dogs for the kiddos.

Of course, I did a bit of playing with my baby when I wasn't grilling. She's just so darn cute and fun!

There was tons of food for all, (including a fabulous noodle salad, corn biscuit casserole, cookies and more cupcakes from my party-mate) Frisbee, hillbilly horseshoes, and a rousing game of croquet which all the dads played while carrying their tots. I have no idea who won. Anyone else know?

But they all looked super studly out there with their babies and croquet mallets.

We have always loved living close to downtown, but also half a block away from our local zoo and beautiful park. We call it our back yard with the bonus that we don't have to mow it and there are plenty of picnic tables at our disposal.

With 20 adults, 15 kids and 1 dog it was a beautiful evening and a huge success!

Hopefully, his next 30 years will be just as much fun as his first 30! We're just hoping we'll still remember where we put that birthday candle.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Baby? You Decide.

The other day I was sorting through a few items in my daughter's baby book and found her birth certificate. I looked inside and notice that they had stamped her feet in it after she was born. Awww.

My baby book came with a special little "clean" stamp pad where you press the baby's foot onto the top of the pad, which is covered in plastic, and it makes the print on the paper below.

In looking at the prints I had made of my baby's feet, and the ones done in the hospital, I noticed something strange.

They are nothing alike.

Those footprints on my child's birth certificate? Not my child's feet.

See for yourself. They are not the same. Totally not the same. Not to mention the fact that the ones taken two weeks earlier are bigger. Huh.

Do I do or say something about it? The small print on the bottom of the page says that they are not a legal document and are a memento. Ok, sure, but not a memento of my kid.

Andy says that they did it right in the birthing room. Apparently, after they took the card away, they filled out some other kids' info on it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Baby 5.5

(She is now five and a half months old. I kept missing and then putting off writing her five month post. Apparently, she was also neglected this month as she has very few pictures. But she's got lots of fun video. It just needs editing. A very time consuming project.)

This month you seemed to make so many changes! Not only are you getting bigger every day, (and always cuter) but you really seem to be learning new things. I still have a hard time distinguishing whether you are doing something intentionally or accidentally, but it is starting to move more often toward intention.

You love to grab. Anything and everything, but most especially people's faces. Noses, hair, eyes, lips. Your toys hold new interest for you and you can play with a toy for a lot longer now. You notice the textures and the movements and you are more concerned with all their different sounds.

It's possible that you've started teething as you can go through your whole pile of bibs in a day with your drool. The binkie seems to keep some of it in, but you can leak all over in mere moments. I have been making waterproof bibs so you don't have to change your clothes as many times.

You now love to stand up. You can only handle lying down or rolling around for so long before you want to stand. Sitting is only a means for you to be closer to standing. I think we may need to buy some more sticky-footed socks so you don't slide all over.

We still try to enforce tummy time as often during a day as possible, but you are not a fan at all. You will tolerate it, and our silly shenanigans for about five minutes until you have had enough. I have a bad feeling that you are going to be a walker long before you crawl.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Joining In: WFMW

I don't usually do a daily post or a "scheduled" topic, but today I was specifically thinking of a few things that worked for me today.

Craigslist. I don't know if you have a craigslist community near you, but you should definitely check into it. I sold a ton of great stuff yesterday and am steadily purging my house of things I don't need, hardly use, and am completely sick of. Plus, I am building up my home improvement fund for remodeling the attic & the basement this winter.

Paying my car insurance premium semi-annually instead of monthly. With our last car, we only had the minimum insurance coverage and the premium reflected this. I was easily able to pay it up front and didn't have to see regular bills. I have been saving up enough lately to pay the most recent one altogether and am looking forward to not having to pay it again until December! Why shouldn't I collect some interest and avoid the (albeit small) monthly fee? Plus, it just makes me feel much more on top of things to get this done.

What doesn't work for me on this beautiful, sunny Wednesday? The piles of laundry to put away, the dishes, the garden to clean and move, the luggage still sitting out, the odds and ends and junk around that needs to be returned to rightful places. All in due time, I suppose. Reading a book and being back in the cottage on the lake would work for me a whole lot better I think.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

At the Lake

Growing up, we would go to the lake several times during the summer. My grandparents owned a small, cozy cottage on Lake Chautauqua in Western New York. We'd spend the day in the shallow, rocky water searching for mussels to try to pull apart or roll on the gentle waves in our inner tubes.

Fishing was a given. Gramma was an avid fisher who not only could fillet a mean perch, but could catch one just by winking at it. If you went to the cottage, you had to fish. It took me years to learn to string my own worms, but still never had the courage or ability to get the fish itself off of the hook.

I loved sitting and staring lazily at a red and white striped bobbin riding the waves. Waiting until it came in too far past the best fish spot and reeling it back in only to throw it out again immediately into deeper waters. It wasn't about how many or how big; it was just about the soothing, relaxing time of fishing with Gramma. She'd show you the best way to cast the line and where it was easiest to catch a fish. She knew when a shiny little minnow would catch a bigger fish and when the little worms were better.

Far too often Pop would have to get his waders on and walk into the water to dislodge my hook from the rocks in the shallows. He never complained, just chuckled that it was only fifteen minutes since the last time.

It wasn't really summer unless we had spent time at the cottage. Eating macaroni salad, chicken barbecue and chocolate chip cookies while sitting on the dock. Laying for hours on the green cloth hammock stretched tight on the poles while staring up at the clouds floating by. Laziness was a virtue at the cottage.

Last year they sold it to their long-time neighbors. Most of the family has moved far enough away that we didn't always make it up even once a summer. The new owners have renovated it beyond recognition of it's original style. Instead of dark paneling, piles of old magazines and the musty smell of a too-long-closed-up room we arrived this week to find a fresh, airy, light vacation getaway. You can still see the original walls, but that is about all that has survived the transition.

The deck which used to sit off the front and face the water is now completely enclosed and a new deck added. The kitchen, with its ancient appliances and cramped cupboards has become a bright new room with updated everything and a beautiful, chic stand-alone island. The whole place has a feel of sunshine, pale blue water and summertime instead of a dark, cold fishing cabin hiding in the woods.

I loved the old cottage. I loved the musty smell, the coziness, the familiar piles of old games, books and knick-knacks. I loved hearing the easy-listening channel on the radio all day. I loved sitting with a pair of binoculars and looking at the boats sailing or speeding by. I loved digging through the closet to see what random junk could be found for play. I loved meeting the whole family for a day of talking and laughing and eating, fishing and swimming. There were years of happy memories stored up in that cottage.

I also love the new cottage. We'll still only be able to come up here once a year, but it feels more like a vacation now with the added benefit of modern conveniences. Instead of musty, it smells like fresh water and just plain clean. Instead of fish heads nailed to the boards on the porch, there is framed artwork inside. We don't have to haul in a bucket of water to flush the toilet and the shower has continual hot water. We can watch movies on the HD flat screen and still listen to the waves crashing on the shore. We can cook and bake and grill and eat with brand new appliances.

We are the first customers this cottage has ever lived with. It seems fitting that we get to gently break it in and give it some new memories.

The old was good. It was very good. But the new is good too. Maybe the new is even great. See for yourself.

Cottage from Anne on Vimeo.