Thursday, December 30, 2010

In With the New

Aiden plowing fresh snow.

We've been laying pretty low the past few days as we're recovering from Christmas and we had a big snow storm early Monday morning. However, the morning of the storm I realized that instead of laying around in our pajamas watching the snow fall, I would need to shovel us out before Sean got home (most of the snow fell/blew into the driveway after he left for work). So in frigid temperatures and skin lashing icy winds I went out and cleared the driveway. Oddly, it was perfectly clear at the bottom and covered in a two foot drift at the top.

The snowblower, you say? Oh no. Two years ago, with the help of an emergency call to my stepdad, I managed to figure out how to start and use the snowblower. I also realized that, due to the severe angle of the driveway and my nonexistent upper-body strength, using the snowblower involves me sliding down behind it into the road and then nearly being crushed by it as I attempt to shove it back up the drive. No use going side to side either as it still careens down into traffic.

Ever since Monday I've been tired and sore and Aiden and I pretty much just crash on the couch or play with his trains.

But now for the new! We are getting a new puppy! We wanted to hold off for awhile but one woman we've been emailing gave us the go ahead to come pick up a little male sheltie puppy. He's ten weeks old and so adorable the camera might explode tomorrow when I try and photograph him.

At first I was the one encouraging Sean to get the puppy. I figured we had a few months to prepare. Then Sean told me the news that tomorrow we'll be getting him from the breeder and now I feel like a new mom again. I was laying in bed last night running through everything I'd need to do today. Vacuum. Puppy-proof. Make space for his cage and bowls and toy and treats and food. Clear a space in the yard so he doesn't drown in snow when he goes out. Contemplate the fact that I just threw myself back into the dreaded potty training routine.

Despite the learning I've got ahead of me, I'm so excited for this little guy.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Goodies

Santa. He came.

We had a pretty spectacular Christmas this year. We weren't having a baby, moving or getting married within a few weeks of the holiday so it was actually relaxing. I kept thinking about how not stressed I was, how I hadn't burst into tears or had a tension headache start while wrapping presents. We exchanged gifts, visited family all over the place and had Aiden in bed by 9pm with time for Sean and I to chat and relax. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!

The table.

Now, some parts were a little tricky, like the fact that I heard Santa was at our house assembling Aiden's big gift (a huge train table with tracks) until nearly 2am. Also, I had picked up a little bear full of hot coco for Aiden's stocking nearly a month ago. He accidentally saw it when I first bought it but I was certain he'd forget about it. Well, he pulled it out of his stocking on Christmas morning, frowned and said "No...mommy's one", and handed it back to me. Whoops.

Woody, new friend for Buzz.

Aiden amassed enough gifts for a whole village, but loved everyone single one of them. Our friends and family are always so generous with Aiden and we feel incredibly lucky. Sean and I had gotten each other a few gifts in addition to The Big Gift we usually get for one another. Ironically, they were both food related this year. Sean has a brand spanking new Weber grill (which we still have to retrieve from it's hiding place in my parent's garage) and I got a professional grade stand mixer. I think "professional grade" just means that it's twice as heavy as a regular one and all of the attachments are steel instead of plastic and incredibly lethal looking. I've thanked him for it by baking two fresh loaves of honey oatmeal bread and a buttery pie crust for a huge pot pie.

So, we'll just be over here playing with trains and gorging ourselves on baked goods.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trust him, He's a Doctor.

Yesterday was Aiden's annual check-up. I sort of forgot about it up until a day or two before hand. I casually mentioned to Aiden that we'd be visiting the doctor's office, the one with a giant fish tank. He looked at me with steel eyed defiance and shook his head. I brushed it off, he loves the doctor. He's always the best behaved kid there.

On the drive over to the doctor's office (the the Health Mall as I like to refer to the sprawling medical complex) I waxed poetic about what a saint Dr. Wong was. "Daddy and Nai Nai know Dr. Wong! He's so nice! You'll get stickers! Yay!"

He seemed unconvinced but we went inside. He enjoyed the fish tank in the lobby immensely but that amusement came to a crashing halt when it was time to be weighed and measured. He's big enough now to stand on a regular scale but he put up such a fuss that the nurse had me hold him and she took both our weights and then subtracted my weight from that. Yeah. I got weighed and HIS appointment. I was not happy.

The lovely nurse then went into an elaborate story about how Aiden was a choo-choo and she needed to make sure the choo-choo was working right. He unwrapped himself from around me just long enough for her to get everything done.

And then Dr. Wong came in. Aiden was so frightened that he had his arms wrapped around my head and used his legs to rocket himself off the exam table, the walls or anything he could reach. I could barely keep from dropping him on the tile while the doctor looked on with this very dismayed look on his face. He then said "Yeah.....Sean was like this".

Weirdly, when Dr. Wong left and the nurses returned to give him his shots he was fine. He barely grimaced when they gave him two vaccinations. Apparently the mere sight of a physician is scarier than two injections. I don't get it.

I told the story to Sean later and he laughed for about five minutes straight, totally amused by it and began to tell me how they required a whole team of nurses to hold him down when he was a kid. Next time Sean gets to handle to yearly physical. I'll still be recovering.

Aiden so gracefully displaying his spoils of war: a big Elmo sticker, which he
definitely did NOT deserve.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Before this season started I had lots of visions about how everything would go. We would linger over the Christmas tree, carefully selecting our favorite ornaments and sipping hot cocoa. We would laugh and chat while rolling out sugar cookies. It was going to be a little Norman Rockwell, a little Currier and Ives and a dash of Martha. Obviously these dreams were not very carefully thought out because I entirely failed to factor in that three year old.

We've started making cookies and each batch requires triple the usual amount of clean up because Aiden likes to tear or roll or smash each little crumb. He has to have a hand in the mixing and rolling and cutting of each cookie. I let him help as much as he'd like, but sometimes, okay a lot of the time, it drives me nuts even though he looks so cute and has so much fun.

We decorated our tree on Monday night and it was an exercise in self control. I had pulled out all the boxes of ornaments and lo and behold, I found all of the ornaments we'd used as decorations at our wedding! Suddenly I decided that this tree was going to be a vision of jewel toned glass balls with sparkling gold accents here and there.

Aiden decided he'd like his Elmo ornament to go front and center, along with all the other Disney themed ornaments.

I decided we should all have hot cocoa. Aiden downed his in two minutes flat and spent the night nearly spilling everyone else's.

I carefully located hooks for each ornament, which Aiden would promptly lose as he shook each one to see if they did anything cool.

The whole night I kept having to remind myself that this is his show now. These are his childhood memories and they shouldn't be filled with me groaning and gnashing my teeth over the details when what he should be remembering is how sweet the cocoa tasted, how perfect his Elmo ornament was, and how amazing the tree looked all lit up in the front window.

Big Boy

Today Aiden walked upstairs and into his bathroom. He scoffed at his potty seat that was sitting over the toilet. He picked it up, put it into a corner, looked at me and said "I'm a big boy now" before peeing, STANDING UP.

I realize it seems kind of gross to have a trip to the potty incite an epiphany about how mature your child is but you know what? Parenthood is kind of gross and miraculous like that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Very Busy Weekend

This weekend was nuts. Nuts in a good way, full of fun and more fun, but it's another weekend where I feel like I survived a tornado. I've been feeling like that a lot lately. This time last year I was in the middle of my senior year of college, planning a wedding and generally surviving with Aiden on my own and it was stressful and I was absolutely certain this year would be less insane. I'm done with school, Sean's home (when he's not at work...) so we have a little more money, a little more time together and less to get done. It should be a breeze right?!

But no, suddenly it takes ALL DAY to get a handful of errands done (I'd like to calculate how much time I spend just buckling and unbuckling Aiden in his car seat). Just trying to fit in a trip to the grocery store and time at church on the weekend becomes hectic. A lot of it is that I have higher expectations of myself now. Last year I was busy so if everything wasn't totally in order or the garbage didn't get put out or the clothes went a few more days without being washed, it just wasn't a big deal. Now I feel like it all must be done and done well and done with a smile or I'm slacking. Also, last year, I had a Laura. A best friend who would sometimes run errands with me (thus helping to juggle Aiden) or who could watch him while I finished work (although my other best bud Tierney helped a TON on Friday so I could actually buy Aiden some Christmas gifts). Also, Sean works such long days that his only real free time is on the weekend and in trying to savor that precious time together we end up being late to everything and barely squeezing in the necessary things we have to do.

I also have to remind myself that we are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, which obviously adds to the activity. It's strange because I'm still very organized and pretty efficient and it's not like I don't enjoy having busy days, I just sort of (naively) thought that being home would make me less busy. Not the case.

I remember the first summer after Aiden was born, I was staying with my mom, and the days would stretch on endlessly. I remember feeling like I was totally stir crazy and could not figure out what to do all day with Aiden. There were even days like that last year. Now suddenly, we go go go all day and tumble into bed exhausted at night, and every day is like that. It's a new thing for me, and I'm having more fun than ever, but I don't exactly know when that switch got flipped.

Anyway, this was really supposed to be all about our weekend. On Saturday I helped my mom out with our church's Christmas fair which is a Christmas related rummage sale. Always fun as it contains lots of gorgeous second hand ornaments and decorations and a few totally wacky ones, like a plate celebrating "Christmas 1979" and an ornament engraved to "Don and Norma".

That evening Sean and I took Aiden out to dinner and then drove out to Bob's Tree's. This place sounded a little strange to me until we got there and it was a veritable Christmas wonderland complete with two gorgeous reindeer. We picked out our tree from their lot but next year we're going full throttle and plan to chop down our own. Watch our Griswolds, here come the Evanoffs.

We got back from the tree farm quite late and it was 9pm by the time Aiden was in bed. Sean and I then stayed up until 2am (worst. idea. ever.) so that I could finish Aiden's birthday cake, wrap his presents and we finished the last half of a movie. This morning I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I might be the only 23 year old in New York who can't stay up that late.

Needless to say I decided we'd be skipping church since I had the kind of pounding headache one might get after the crazy night of partying except instead of having wild fun I merely frosted a cake. Woo hoo. Still, even after being awoken at 7am by Aiden, Sean and I managed to barely make it to my mom's house in time for his party at noon. Very rough morning.

The party was wonderful, super simple with just cake and pizza and our friends and family, but perfect. It was exactly what Aiden asked for ( all week he kept saying "Pizza! With Papa! and cake!"). Everyone was very generous and Aiden received awesome gifts. There will definitely be plenty to keep him busy this week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There WILL Be Cheer

It's officially Christmastime, although in my world it's been going on for about a half a month already. I play the holiday tunes as early as I can find them on the radio, while Sean covers his ears and cringes, begging me to wait at least until Thanksgiving.

I'm a little bit anxious as I've been seeing a lot of photos of other people's gorgeous Christmas trees and holiday lights and we don't have a tree yet. There are only 25 or so days to revel in the holiday spirit and I make every effort to enjoy each one, so I'm making Sean take us to get one this Saturday afternoon.

Sometimes I feel a little bit like the Christmas enforcer around our house because Sean is not the type to don his gay apparel and deck the halls. He does not care that Santa Claus is coming to town. He will not be putting candles in the windows or singing carols at the spinet. (Seriously, I could make these references all day). He does oblige me though and make sure there's a roaring fire in the fireplace all weekend.

I, on the other hand, spend this time finding the most perfect Christmas cards, and cookie recipes and going totally nuts buying gifts. And coordinating wrapping paper. I just love the way the season makes everyone a little more kind and merciful. Sean likes the fact that it provides an annual boost to the economy (although I'm sure in his heart he cherishes the kindness and mercy also. Probably).

Well, this year Aiden is on my team when it comes to the festivities. I pulled out all of our boxes of decorations yesterday and we went to town turning this place into a winter wonderland. Aiden had some pretty hilarious ideas about where everything should go (stockings on the piano? Wrapping the tree skirt around the snow globe? Advent calender on the fireplace?). Overall though, he loved it. We put in enough effort that I think Sean even appreciated it when he came home and saw everything. He didn't even mind that our banister is wrapped in garland that leaves gold spangles all over the carpet every time someone goes up or down the stairs.

I think he'll appreciate it even more next week when I get started on the peppermint iced sugar cookies and the cranberry white chocolate chip cookies.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Post Where I Make You Cry

Aiden turns three next Sunday. For some reason, this birthday has hit me harder than the others. When Aiden turned one it was like a sigh of relief. I was sad to see him growing up but it was a relief to see some of the stressful parts of caring for an infant fall away. When he turned two it was so much fun. He was walking and talking (a little) but definitely still our little guy. Now that he's about to be three....I don't know. He's his own man. The change in him this past year has been amazing. Physically he's grown so much just over the summer that he's more than half my height. He's talking, he's potty trained, he's got his own interests and a hilarious sense of humor.

It suddenly feels like someone has pushed fast forward and time is just slipping away. I'm just totally bowled over by the fact that he's no longer a baby. He's a boy. When he was younger I was so eager to see what he'd be like and now that he's starting to blossom I'm getting that panicked feeling as it dawns on me how one day he'll be grown, and he'll go off on his own. When you put love and hard work into something you want to hold onto it and savor it, but our children are one thing that we have to turn out into the world. You love them and care for them and drive yourself crazy trying to be the best for them, all so that they can stand on their own.

I know he's only three, that I have many more years ahead to love and hug and hold onto him, but I can already see that day that we send him down the road alone.

So, we made this video to celebrate the three years we've had together with our baby. I mean, our boy. The song is "Stop This Train" by John Mayer, and it's one of our favorites, all about how the best balm from the sting of passing time is just to savor each moment and don't look back (except at the pictures ). I'll warn you: get a couple of tissues and be prepared.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The New Car

Guys, guess what? We got a new car! Well, it's used actually, but somehow it still has less mileage on it than our '09 Honda. Our one requirement for the new car was that it a) work and b) have all-wheel drive since Sean has a 40 minute commute on windy country roads that don't often see the snow plow. We searched high and low and settled on a '08 Kia Sorrento which we picked up this Saturday.

I was excited to have an all-wheel drive vehicle since I regularly curse our driveway every time it snows and the little baby Honda fishtails up the steep incline, narrowly missing the retaining wall. Sometimes it just can't make it and our neighbor lets up park in her driveway.

Now we have a big manly man vehicle that can easily tackle a snowy driveway. I truly was excited about the SUV until I read the manual. Every other page has yellow warnings that say things like: "Drive at slow speeds around corners as this vehicle can tip over easily!" and "This vehicle may roll over when in all-wheel drive mode!" and the worst one "Do not steer using the inside of the steering wheel as it may adjust suddenly without warning and SNAP YOUR WRISTS LIKE MATCHSTICKS!!!". Okay, so maybe the wording was slightly different on the last one, but you get the picture.

No joking: Saturday night I kept dreaming that I was stuck in a parking lot with half sized spaces, trying to park without scratching the others cars. I also dreamt that I did in fact roll the car over and Sean picked it up like it was made out of plastic put in back on the road. Strange right?

It's not all bad though. Sure, it has all the maneuverability and turning radius of a Sherman tank, but I do get a sense of satisfaction from being able to look down on all the smaller cars on the road. Maybe that's because I'm all of five foot two. It's got amazing trunk space and tons of leg room. Although, I did go to step out of it and miscalculate the height which caused me to plummet to the garage floor.

I will definitely get used to it, but maybe I could use a step ladder and a signal crew in the meantime.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's My Birthday!

Today I turn, in Aiden's words, "twenty-pweeee!". Or 23, for those who don't speak toddler. I get very nervous around my birthday, especially as an adult, because a bad birthday feels like a bad omen for the whole year. Frankly, I've been completely spoiled on birthday's past, so there's always pressure for the next one to live up to that standard.

When I turned 4 my mom hand decorated my cake with little candies so that it looked just like the Little Mermaid. I think I'll ask for that again next year. When I was 15 my mom, Laura and I went to NYC for a girl's day out. When I turned 16, Laura organized a huge surprise party and gave me an album of letters written by my friends and parents. When I turned 18, Sean took the train home from Boston so that he could surprise me before school. We went and saw "Harry Potter" (for those of you who know us, you know that it was a VERY romantic gesture) and then we drove to Montreal (where the drinking age is 18 so I actually got champagne on my champagne birthday!). Needless to say, I've had some fantastic birthdays. And one horrible one: on my 17th birthday not one single person came to my party except Laura, and it was at her house.

As a grown up though, it stops being an All About You party. Everyone's busy and there's just not enough free time. It's just less of a big deal as you get older. I figured today would be like that, especially since Sean and I are down to one car so I've been stuck at home. Except, it's actually been great!

Last night my mom took Sean and I out for dinner,where I enjoyed the double whammy gift of great food and a well behaved child. This morning my friend Tierney stopped by with a latte, which was the nicest pick-me-up. My brother came over at lunch time and played with Aiden and took us out so I could run some errands. My grandparents even popped by with a card and a gift. I was so surprised that everyone called or stopped by and it was so nice to know that they were thinking about me.

Plus, Aiden helped me make some cupcakes, and I realized that watching him make them was so much more fun than actually eating them. I think we're definitely going have to make them for his birthday.

Safety First!!!

Future Pastry Chef

Very Excited!


A masterpiece.

Official Birthday Portrait.

Uncle Ben and the choo-choo's. Wow, that could be a band name.

Yeah, it's been pretty awesome. Also, I know you probably thought Thanksgiving was the opening of the holiday season, but secretly, I like to think my birthday actually marks the start of it. So I give you full permission to start listening to Christmas music and bringing out the decorations.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Two Dog Night

This weekend Sean's coworker/friend Kelly headed out of state for the weekend and asked us to dog-sit her adorable Australian Shepherd. His name is Henry Jones Jr., also known as Indy, and he is AWESOME. For as calm and sedate as Bear is, Indy is every bit as energetic. It took me all night to get some decent pictures of him because he kept coming out as a black and white streak of fur.

It goes without saying that Aiden loves Indy, although he kind of pronounces it "Ninny", which makes me giggle. Last night the two dogs and Aiden played together for 45 minutes. In toddler time, 45 minutes is a lifetime. After Aiden went to bed, Sean took Indy out back to see how fast he could run a loop around the yard, and that dog is unbelievably fast. It's obvious why these dogs were bred to work on farms.

So basically it's been one big dog sleepover at our house.

There have been snacks:

And games:

And plenty of belly rubs:

And don't even get me started on the roughhousing:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Everything Since We've Been Home

Things have been crazy! I was looking forward to a week or two off with Sean but every morning we wake up and don't stop moving until 11:30 at night. I've been so busy some days that my feet and back start to ache the way they would when I was tromping all over Brooklyn, and I've just been running around the house! The laundry seems to have quadrupled now that it's cold, the house needed a bunch of small fixes and we've finally had the chance to finish a lot of random errands. It's good, it's just exhausting also.

What has happened in the past two weeks? Halloween! Here's a picture of the cutest Buzz Lightyear in the galaxy:
He looooved Halloween. He got to actually go Trick-or-Treating this year, just like a big boy, and it meant a bucketful of goodies and getting to wear this super suit. Huge thanks to Sean's stepmom and dad for finding such an awesome costume.

We also got our furniture back, FINALLY. It was a little disappointing as the movers basically tossed the boxes in, assembled the furniture incorrectly and then left both our couch and coffee table in pieces. At least everything was inside the house though, right? We're all unpacked and Aiden has adjusted wonderfully.

Hide and go seek: packing materials edition

Who needs Jack? Aiden-in -the-box.

Yeah...this game involves putting a box on your head and spinning in circles. Also great entertainment for the spectators.

Next up is Aiden's birthday! He's excited for year three, even though sometimes he says he'll be turning 1 again. However, I can't wait for Christmas. Sean and I had to make a stop at Lowes and we happened to wander down the aisle with all of the blow-up lawn decorations and Aiden's jaw dropped. He stood, just staring, at Santa and the reindeer and penguins and Frosty and Snoopy. He was starstruck over a handful of decorations and I can't even imagine how excited he's going to be when we get a tree and put up stockings. He really gets it this year and it's making me even more excited for my already favorite holiday.

P.S.: We visited Sean's sister at school the other day and realized that the kids in kindergarten right now will be in highschool with Aiden. Mindblowing. Also: the district just emailed us and let us know that Aiden (due to the Dec. 5th birthday, the cutoff is Dec. 1st) will officially be headed to kindergarten in 2013. You guys, that's like, tomorrow. Heartwrenching.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm A Stay At Home Mom

I thought people knew this but I guess I didn't make it very clear. I'm going to stay home with Aiden for now. Maybe until he's in school. Or maybe until he's in college. I don't know yet, but right now, being home with him is what feels right for me.

I often feel the need to defend myself when I tell people this since our society seems to think that it's okay to comment on/critique/criticize other people's (mainly mother's) life choices. People tend to look at me like I'm nuts or that I'm somehow giving up on life, which is so wrong. I know plenty of moms who love their jobs. They feel fulfilled and have a sense of purpose heading into work each day. I, on the other hand, during my last four years of going to school and working, was left with a feeling that my sense of purpose was sitting in daycare with strangers. I hated being away from Aiden, and not in an 'oh, I can't wait to see you at six o'clock (or nine o'clock) tonight' kind of way but in a way that made me realize I want to be the one taking care of my child and showing him the world, not a rotating crew of childcare workers.

I remember being in middle school and sitting on the afternoon school bus, watching a kid run off the bus and into his mom's arms and thinking 'wow, I want to be that kind of mom'. My own mom didn't get a chance to stay home (except briefly when we were very young), and I don't know that she would have even if she had the choice. She has a great job and she's awesome at it, and I'm no worse for wear having had a working mom, but I have always known I'd want to stay home with my own kids if possible. It just happens the baby is here sooner rather than later. So yeah, this is what I want to be doing now.

No one looks twice at a woman who works through her twenties and thirties and stays home when she has a baby at 39 or 40. Why can't I stay home with a baby who's going to be in college by the time I'm 40, and do what I want then? Sure, it's backwards but I've always been one to do things in my own time. And really, 40 is the new 20 anyway. I fully plan on going back to school or work or whatever the moment it feels right. (And I know a bunch of you are doing the sarcastic eyeroll because come on, she'll never go back! But plenty of people also said I'd never graduate after having a baby, in a neat four years no less!)

Sean and I have talked about it over and over again, and we both agree it's what's best for us. He's about to embark on a period of his career that requires 12 hour days and an ever changing schedule. Trying to work a forty hour week and care for Aiden while Sean works his own opposite schedule is my personal version of hell. I know that it would not do good things for our marriage or for my ability to be a good parent. It's not something we're willing do.

So I guess I just really wanted to come out of the closet about my firm decision to stay home right now. And to say that I totally support working moms and stay at home moms. And to say that I hope everyone voted yesterday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wait, wait...It's Been SIX Months?

We're moving home on Tuesday! I had big plans that involved not panicking about the move, but alas, I've abandoned them. I kept assuring myself that since we're having professional movers pack and drive everything that there was no reason to stress out over anything. Except finding an acceptable route that avoids D.C. (Jon Stewart rally) and still gets us home in three days or less. And booking the three hotels (that must accept dogs). And wrangling a screaming toddler into dress clothes to attend Sean's graduation in addition to two other work functions for Sean (despite the fact that he will have no bed/nap). And cleaning the apartment. Let's not even get started on that big important test on Tuesday.

Yeah, I was totally kidding myself when I figured it would all just happen with little or no effort on my part. The only thing saving my sanity is imagining fall leaves, and crisp cool air and apple cider donuts.

We're coming home!

Can I join you down there?

*I forgot to add this, but the purpose of this was to say that we won't have internet access until next week, but a lot of you will see Aiden then anyway!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mr. Smarty Pants

You guys, we're coming home in a week and a half! Okay, that's assuming everything goes to plan (although I've given up on making plans, so basically, we'll be home when we're home).

Whenever we get there we're taking Aiden to see all the friends and family but I'm not sure anyone will recognize him. He's a little boy now, despite how often I call him baby, and he's all bony and skinny where he used to be soft and pudgy. When we left in May he was wearing 24 month clothing with the occasional 2T thrown in. Now he's wearing 3T and I even had to buy a couple of 4T shirts (he's got the issue where all of his shirts are baggy and boxy in the middle but the sleeves don't reach his wrists). Plus, he's got more entertaining phrases than ever.

Some of his favorite things to say:
"I already did it mom!" - He says this whenever I ask him to do ANYTHING.

"Come on, gotta get going!" - Yeah...I guess he got this one from me.

"Little baby one!" - He's obsessed with babies. I don't know why. Any bug or animal he sees he'll point at and call a little baby one.

He's gotten really good about saying 'please' and 'thank you' all the time, and is very concerned about the well being of everyone and everything. If we see a car on the side of the road he starts asking "What happened? Oh no, what happened?". If we see a tractor trailer without a trailer it's "Where's the trailer? Oh no!". It's so cute. He also has to point out that airplanes overhead are going to the airport, that firetrucks live at the fire station and any time we see an image of a submarine? He says "Daddy works there".

Yep, he's pretty smart.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Game Where Mom Pulls A Muscle

Charming, no?

Aiden's new favorite thing is to wait until I'm not looking and quickly climb onto the top of the couch, or the bed or a kitchen chair. Then, as I am walking through the room, I'm hit with a flying mass of knees and elbows which I must quickly catch while retaining my balance. Yes, he leaps off whatever precipice is closest and I have to catch him. No matter how many time-outs are issued, the fun of the game seems to outweigh the consequences. I'm walking around with a sore back and shot knees from being hit repeatedly with a human cannonball.

I've told Sean that when this boy is grown I'm going to drive to his house, ring his doorbell, toss him a giant bag of cats and see how he likes that. I think it's probably a comparable sensation.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Taste of Charleston

This has been one of the busiest weekends we've had in a long time. It's pretty much the last weekend before Sean has to start studying for his final test (well, study more than he already does, which is A LOT).

Anyway, Friday evening we went out with his coworkers for one of their birthday's. We had dinner at this VERY authentic Mexican restaurant, and Aiden was very daring and tried all of the food. It was delicious and we came home with enough food to last into the week.

Saturday we went to the beach with Steinn. It had been in the lower 70's for the past couple of weeks but this weekend it jumped back into the mid 80's, so the weather was perfect for one last trip. When we got there the whole place was flooded with surfers and we realized it was a big surf competition. They even had a DJ playing music and announcing the winners, so we listened and watched while Aiden built a big train made out of sand.

So, because big Mexican fiestas and surf competitions aren't enough fun for us crazy Evanoff's, we ran out that night and bought tickets for the Taste of Charleston food festival, which happened today.

I have to thank Steinn for tipping us off about this one, we had no idea it was going on. I was on the fence about the whole food festival thing because my best friend Laura has been to many and they can really vary in quality, and frankly, the tickets were pretty expensive. It was held at Boone Hall Plantation, a place I'd been wanting to visit but was reluctant about paying the rather exorbitant entrance fee to get into (I must sound very cheap, it's really just Sean rubbing off on me), so I figured I'd at least get into the plantation and get some free food so it wouldn't be a total loss.

Well, we figured it would be a few hundred people and some free samples, but we new we'd missed something when THOUSANDS of people flooded into the place carrying chairs and tables and blankets and tents. Turns out the trick is to come early, claim a little patch of shade and send a designated runner to the various food stalls to get the goods. We were stuck rambling around seeking a shady piece of dirt where ever we could. None the less, it was a blast.

There were about thirty local restaurants that had stalls, each stall had two or three dishes special to the restaurant. The portions are deceptively small, you think you have a little taste of food but it's so rich and fresh and delicious that it's very filling. We ended up trying shrimp scampi, a cake of fried grits covered in cheese, a prime rib sandwich with sauerkraut, fried shrimp, barbequed ribs and homemade chips. And she-crab soup. Oh, and the piece de resistance: dirty pie. Dirty pie is a big wedge of key lime pie on a stick, dipped in chocolate and frozen. It was the closest thing to heaven I've ever tasted.

Not only was it a food free-for-all, there was a live band playing Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Eagles, the local firemen brought a couple of trucks for the kids to climb on and, the thing that I was totally excited for: South Carolina's largest sno-cone!!!

Yes, I purposefully sought out this exhibition and made Sean and Steinn stand in the sun as we watched a man fill a plastic koi pond liner full of shaved ice and syrup. It was glorious, and truly, the largest sno-cone I have ever seen. The best part was when they handed out plastic cups and we all got free sno-cones! Seriously, I loved it, and you're never too old for giant ice treats.

Koi pond liner full of shaved ice...

sno-cone bonanza (also, very cute little girl in pink cowboy boots)

Once we were full to bursting with the lowcountry's finest foods we decided to explore the plantation house and gardens. I have to confess that, although I've been wanting to visit Boone Hall for the rich history, I kind of just wanted to see the house that the movie The Notebook was filmed at. Steinn and Sean obliged my wishes and took a few pictures for me.

Here I am enthusiastically posing in front of the house used for Ali's summer home (free sno-cone in hand)

Here I am pointing at the very gate Noah crashes into after Ali leaves for the city (still working on the sno-cone)

We've been ready to head back to New York for awhile now, we can't wait to see our friends and family and enjoy the tail end of fall. However, now I'm starting to wonder how I will get on in a life where the beach isn't twenty minutes away, and there aren't palmettos and sun everywhere, and don't even get me started about the total lack of fresh crab. I guess it'll be worth it to be back with loved ones. Probably.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, and the food festival would be something worth flying back here for. Yes, this has been one of those weekends that we need a weekend to recover from, and it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Best Gift Ever

Would you prefer him boxed...

Or in a gift basket?