Tuesday, September 20, 2005

In Honor Of Our Anniversary

2 year anniversary

10 Things I Love About My Husband:

  1. His smile, which was the first thing I ever saw him wearing. It seems that his soul shines through that smile
  2. His adventurousness, which makes for great vacations
  3. His talkativeness. He can talk about anything. We just had a 45-minute conversation about Hitler with interruptions here and there to talk about orthodonture
  4. His brilliant mind, which possesses knowledge about everything from thread count to historical debates to the names of 50 shades of brown to how to design and build an airplane
  5. His sometimes blond, sometimes brown hair, which is so fun to toussle
  6. His connection with nature, which makes us feel like we're making breakthrough discoveries each time we walk through our yard
  7. His singing voice. Nothing sounds better than hearing him sing to Gabriel
  8. His balance between childish enjoyment of life and adult wisdom and responsibility. We may do the New York Times crossword puzzle in the morning and then play a video game at night
  9. His patience, which he needs with me as a wife
  10. His generosity. Pregnancy was so easy because he made breakfast, lunch, and dinner just about every day, as well as almost all of the housework, so I could get my rest. And I never even asked.
  11. +1: The way he inspires by example. He teaches me about being a good spouse and a good parent every day

10 Things I Love About My Wife

  1. Her freckles, which stole my heart
  2. Her dedication to her task, whatever it may be, that makes it impossible for her to give up until the job is done (and done right)
  3. Her brilliant mind, which seems to know something about everything on Earth and well beyond.
  4. The way she always seems to know exactly what I need, when I need it, without me having to say a single word or make a single gesture.
  5. The way she can switch from mother to wife in an instant, and is always eager to be a wife first.
  6. Her amazingly inquisitive nature and the way she asks questions about everything
  7. That she loves baseball, puts up with my rants about Michigan football (mostly), and most importantly keeps my perspective on what is really important.
  8. Her musical talent, which she greatly downplays.
  9. That she never, ever, needs make-up to look gorgeous and that she is so uncomplicated.
  10. Her absolute and never ending patience with me and my quirks.
  11. +1: Her adventurousness, which can turn even a routine trip to the store into an exploration of places we've never seen before.

2nd anniversary hands

p.s. Neither of us knew the other had actually listed 11 things. Guess that's #12: we think alike.

p.p.s. Amazing parallel between our #1s and #3s. Huh.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Nice Weather

While our family up north is suffering through the beginning of winter, we're enjoying a nice extended summer down south. It was so nice today that we sat out on the back deck with the newspaper and spent a lot of time watering the lawn and spraying the outside of the house. Gabriel had a great morning. He loves being outside, and he especially loves playing in the leaves. We saw a hummingbird, a cardinal, a lizard, and some really interesting butterflies today, as well as a creepy variety of spiders.

The inside of the house looks like a tornado came through. Or, more accurately, Hurricane Gabriel. But it would be unfair to blame it all on the little guy, because he didn't pile the dishes in the sink or allow newspapers to pile up in the kitchen, and he certainly didn't throw dirty laundry all over our bedroom or neglect to unpack many boxes that still sit around making us anxious. We will blame the potatoes all over the floor, the toys and books all over the living room, and the credit cards strewn about the kitchen floor on him.

Tooth Report

We noticed Chip's upper right premolar today and his lower left premolar on Wednesday. His new tooth total is 11!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bird Watching

Well, we must have gotten the mix right this time. We refilled the hummingbird feeder yesterday and joked that all we had to do is stand there and watch them come to the feeder. We weren't far off; this morning, there are two hummingbirds fighting over it! First, one of them ate a lot more than usual, and then he sat on a nearby branch, which you can see in the photo. He sat there for a while, cleaning his beak on the branch like he was sharpening a knife, and preening his feathers. All of a sudden, he saw another one and chased it away. A few minutes later, the second guy came back and drank a lot of nectar, and then he sat on the same branch as the other one had, watching for crows or hawks every time he heard one. They have been drinking and fighting for a while now. Hmmm... sounds like college. Anyway, they like to fly up to our window and look at us face to face, so we have a couple of photos of that, too.

Hummingbird sitting on a branch
Hummingbird #1 sitting on a branch

Hummingbird taking a drink
Hummingbird #2 taking a drink

Hummingbird flying in to see the human
Flying in to see the giant human

Hummingbird posing for the camera
Posing for the camera

Web sites say that these should be ruby-throated hummingbirds, but if they're female or young males, they don't have any red in their feathers, so it's difficult to tell. These don't. The other way to tell is to look at their wing shape and size, which we will do the next time one alights near the window.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Chip's Room

Here are some photos of Gabriel's nursery. The only thing left to do is to hang the growth chart, which we will do today.

New airplane rug
The new rug

New curtains
Navy blue tab-top curtains

Propeller finial
Propeller finial

Light fixture
Light fixture

Painting hung over dresser
Do you think we went overboard in this corner?!

New nightlight
Although Chip already has a great nightlight, he loves this new one

In other news today, the priest swallowed a fly just when he was about to do the sign of peace. He said after mass that the square piece of cloth, called the pall, is placed over the chalice traditionally to keep out flies. He said that we are protected from eating them, but he obviously isn't!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Artistic License

Gabriel's painting

We did a lot of work on Chip's room today. We painted his light fixture and reinstalled it, we installed a big star light on the wall, and we installed his curtain rod and hung the curtains. P was struck with inspiration after painting the glass, and after finding some canvases downstairs, and created a painting for the room that will go above his dresser. Here is a photo of it. You might notice that the words in the clouds match the word "imagine" on his rocking chair. That's because we used the same stencil that his Grammie used.

When we finished with the curtains, G was more than ready to go to sleep, so we didn't take pictures yet. We definitely will tomorrow (today, technically). In the meantime, enjoy the painting and feel free to tell us how much you love it (ha ha!). We're more than pleased with the way it turned out!

Patrick's first birthday

In other news, today was Chip's friend Patrick's first birthday. After tutoring, we went to his new house to celebrate. He's already walking and is very much like Gabriel. He likes to open and close doors, is quick to smile, and loves to practice walking. We gave him a little baseball tee so he could practice hitting the ball. His daddy (Tom) is very eager for Patrick to learn to play. We can identify with that - we practice throwing the ball with Chip every day, and we've even started teaching him to catch, not that he gets it at all. Anyway, we got there just in time for Patrick's nap and had some cake and chatted for a while. We had a great time.

And we might as well mention the stupid game. Matt cheered ("Why don't they just run it up the middle again", "We suck; we're going to lose", "Michigan sucks", etc.), Patty fell asleep, and after a frustrating game, a great nap, and a thorough kitchen cleaning (M cleans when he's angry, incidentally, the most useful information P learned when we met), we decided to adopt a second team. It had to be one that is good, one that will not play Michigan and will not have an impact on our season, and one that has a UM connection. We chose LSU, which has a former Michigan assistant coach and can potentially beat lots of SEC teams that we do not like, especially Tennessee, Florida, and the Tide, not to mention UGA, whose fans are rabid. Anyway, we were very happy with our choice when they beat Arizona State in one of the best games we've seen in a long time.

Friday, September 9, 2005

A Little Birdie...

came to see us today. While Gabriel and Mommy were eating breakfast, and Daddy was getting some much-earned rest, our newest hummingbird came to see us. This one is black, while the other one was lighter. He's been around for the past few weeks. Anyway, we saw two black specks; one was a big black butterfly that's been hanging around lately, and the other was our little birdie friend. He flew right up to the window by the Chipster and put his little beak right up to the window and watched us for several long seconds. He then flew up to his feeder and took a quick sip before Gabriel watched him fly away.

We had a very nice day today. Gabriel went to playgroup, which we combined with another playgroup just for today so we could discuss changing our schedule since we didn't have our regular group this week. He met Gabrielle, Katie May, and Jackson, and P liked their mommies very much.

After playgroup, the three of us were reunited at Starbucks and walked over to Belly, since our favorite Thai restaurant, Panita, was closed between lunch and dinner. Gabriel fell asleep in his stroller, so we stayed there for a while, eating, browsing the general store, and chatting with the people who work there. We had a great time.

We finally left and went to Lenox mall to return some shoes to Steve Madden. Whitney and Bobby weren't there, but there was a limousine at the hotel next door where they stay, so maybe we'd just missed them going in! We returned the shoes without a problem, got some makeup for P at Aveda while Chip charmed the ladies there, visited the Apple store to gawk at the new iPod nano while the typically male customers there joked with G, and ended the saga of the nursery curtains when we got them at Pottery Barn kids. We got some navy blue tab-top sailcloth curtains, and they are going to look great.

They are especially going to look great with the new rug that Chip got from Gramma yesterday. It has planes on it and is very plush and comfortable, and we'll put photo of these things on the blog when we finish the room, probably tomorrow.

ToothChip got tooth #9 today. It's his upper left first molar, which usually comes in around 14 months, so he's right on track. He got #8, his lower right lateral incisor, on 25 August. Those usually come in around 7 months, so it was long overdue. He certainly had a lot of pain and discomfort with that one over the months.

With these new teeth, Chipdip is learning to feed himself more chunky grown-up food. Yesterday, he fed himself chunky steamed sweet potatoes with his own fork for lunch, and for dinner he used a fork to eat steamed corn. Sometimes, he won't even let us feed him at all, because he wants to do it himself. It is common at breakfast these days to give him a bowl of oatmeal or a banana with a sippy cup of milk, open up the newspaper, and enjoy our own breakfast while he eats his. Breakfasts are pretty nice, even if they are messy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Grammie and Gabriel

We just want to wish Mom a very happy birthday! We had our favorite wine with dinner and toasted her. In honor of the big day, this is a photo of her with the apple of her eye.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Happy Birthday, Selena!

Relaxing Outside Cool Beans

It was almost as if Mother Nature wanted to specially thank all those who labor in the Atlanta area today. The weather today was absolutely perfect: sunny, a very slight breeze, and a temperature that was most agreeable (around 80 degrees). We managed to stick to our Labor Day resolution that we’d get a few chores done around the house for as long as we could. We started doing some cleaning and, of course, more wallpaper scraping. Finally around 1:30 we couldn’t stand it anymore and headed for the door.

Our first stop was a new eatery that we’d noticed from the road several times but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to visit. It’s called Metro Market, and it turned out to be fantastic! Since Chip was asleep in his car seat, it was decided that Patricia would be our envoy to the food. Even though one woman kept saying hi over and over again, every one else was super friendly (and not weird). The food was great, a good selection of various types of sandwiches and salads and soups and all manner of deli goodness. The ingredients seemed to be really fresh and they used a lot of them. Patty got a four cheese grilled cheese sandwich, which had gouda, swiss, dill havarti, and provolone (or something like that). Matt created his own sandwich, with turkey, sprouts, and cheddar on an onion focaccia roll. They were tasty and consumed rapidly in the car.

Then we were off to the Marietta Square. This weekend was Art in the Park, Marietta’s small art fair. There were probably 60 booths with the usual mix of types of media. There were also a number of kids’ crafts booths, including a booth from the Veterinary Clinic whose two dogs really liked Gabriel. Our favorite artist was Robert Griffis, but we didn’t buy anything. If we had $400 burning a hole in our pockets, though, this would have been a great way to use it.

We went through all of the booths pretty quickly, and got down to the important business of ice cream and coffee. Sarah Jean’s Ice Cream was a cute place that looked like the outside of a building and had a train going around a track near the ceiling that Gabriel loved. Other people were watching him watch the train. Cool Beans was the find of the day, with the best espresso PA’s had in a loooong time. They roast their own coffee and sell beans of lots of varieties and roasts. The girl behind the counter was very nice, even if she did say "expresso," and they even have free internet access. When Patty gets her own car, she and Gabriel will be spending lots of time there, unless we open our cafe first (we’re hoping to do that next year). We sat at a table out back in the shade of a big tree and enjoyed the nicest weather we’ve had in a long, long time. It was very calming.

On the way home, we stopped at the liquor sto' to buy some Erath Pinot Noir and some Aquinas Chardonnay. Erath is our all-time favorite, and Aquinas was something that looked interesting and is pretty good and definitely unique (we tasted apples and grapes and smelled popcorn!). We also stocked up on tonic water, because our gin’s been getting lonely.

We have a couple of photos today from the weekend. One is of Gabriel, who sat down in a chair when he wanted to watch TV in Selena’s room yesterday. The other is of Matthew’s new bonsai tree. Keep this one in your memory; in 5 years, you’ll see that it is... well, the exact same size, hopefully, but a really cool shape.

Gabriel and Selena watching the tube

Bonsai on the back deck

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Date Night

We had a "date" today to celebrate Matt's birthday, ending our traditional week of birthday celebration, while Gabriel stayed with Chris and Yolanda. We went to the High Museum of Art, the Montreaux Jazz Festival (where the band was definitely not jazz, rather blues, so we left), Borders (where Matt picked up "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene), Laredo Mexican Grille, and Publix (for groceries). We found that it wasn't much different without Gabriel, because he really doesn't make it difficult to do any of the things we normally do. We realized that we really don't go places where kids aren't welcome, and at dinner, there were lots of noisy kids, so we might as well have brought him along.

It was still a big treat to get out together alone, though. We were able to talk without interruption, and we were able to shut up and relax when we wanted to. We didn't have to change a diaper all evening, and we got to hold hands walking down the street, rather than push a stroller. It was also nice to be able to walk around the museum without a fussy little one to hurry us.

Gabriel had a great time, too. He played with Selena all afternoon, and when he was sleepy, Yolanda held him while she, Tristan, and Selena sang him to sleep. He loved it.

Tomorrow is Selena's sixth birthday, and the entire school system is celebrating by taking the day off! What a lucky girl!

Saturday, September 3, 2005

A Big Week

Since it's been a while since our last post, we have a lot to write. First of all, we have had two very important birthdays, on the 27th of August. That same weekend, we babysat for Chris and Yolanda while they cruised to Cozumel and never did return to port. And of course, Gabriel's been up to lots of stuff.

The birthday boy

For Matt's 32nd birthday, we took the kids to Oregon Park, where he and Corbin threw around the football and the rest of us played on the playground. When we go back home, we ordered pizza from Domino’s to support the Ann Arbor-based company (we also do all of our book shopping at Borders and stop at the Espresso Royale when in Athens), opened presents, and ate cake. Corbin, Tristan, and Selena chose one of Matt’s favorite magazines, Architectural Digest, and his loving wife and son gave him a mini mouse for the notebook computer that works on the left side. His big present wasn’t given until today, though, since he had to pick it out himself. More on that later. Cake was a delicious sweet cream ice cream with chocolate chips mixed in on chocolate devil’s food cake with a chocolate ganache icing. It read “Happy Birthday Matty/Daddy.” It had the tallest candles we’ve ever seen!

We wish that we had some embarrassing photos of Laura as a child, but they are unfortunately still packed somewhere in the basement. Oh well, she’ll just have to settle for a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY and lots of love from us.

We had a great time with C, T, and S all weekend. Patty enjoyed doing their homework with them, and Matt liked the forced change to his biological clock. He is now getting to work earlier and has a much easier commute in the morning. Chris and Yolanda were delayed due to the hurricane, but the cruise ship at least got them to land, even if it was a different state than the location of their car... They have since driven their rental car back to Mobile to pick up the minivan, which was luckily parked on the 3rd floor of a four-floor parking deck. The first 2 levels were under water, and the top one had no roof.

Chip eating calamari

While the kids were at school on Friday, we slipped away for Ru-San's fabulous sushi buffet. We have vowed to go there every other Friday for the rest of time because we definitely eat our money's worth, and we can try things we wouldn't ordinarily buy. We found that the cream cheese banana roll was surprisingly good but whatever that super slimy sashimi thing was, was not. Gabriel actually tried the calamari, but when we gave him a second piece, we found that he'd somehow eaten the breading and left the squid in his cheek, maybe to spit into his napkin when we weren't looking. It was a step in the right direction though; we haven't gotten him to eat a sushi roll (don't worry, not all sushi is raw) yet.

Today, we went to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit to pick up Matt's bonsai tree. He had to pick it out himself because A) he couldn't ever be left out of a trip to the monastery, and 2) he's going to put a lot of love and effort into this tree, so he had to choose one that "spoke to him." We came home with a beautiful little juniper, about 10 years old, and a little clay turtle, to remind us of the one we saw in our yard, as a decoration. Matthew-san is planning on shaping the juniper in the Kengaï or Han-Kengaï style.

Plum tuckered out

Chipdip is starting to choose walking over crawling. He did not sit down between 8:30 and 11:30 tonight. When he got tired, he crashed, as the photo above shows. He had been pulling clothes out of his hamper, when he laid down and started fussing. Before he had the chance to put the clothes back in (which he does, believe it or not), Daddy rubbed his back and he was out.

Little slugger

The Chipster has a new favorite toy. He carries his baseball with him all over the house, and we play catch with it constantly. On Thursday, he made his first catch on his own, and it was one-handed!!! That's our little first-baseman!

The only other big Gabriel news is that he's feeding himself, even if it is still baby-type food. We did have to divert some of the Red Cross volunteers from hurricane relief to clean up our kitchen, but on the positive side, Mommy was able to read Harry Potter while Chip ate dinner...