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Monday, September 22, 2008

A beautiful day

Lately, hubby has been needing to go into work a little earlier on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Monday and Friday, I've decided to stay home and re-coup, either after a long weekend or a long week.

Most of the times, we end up going to the playground in the morning and spend the rest of the afternoon before daddy gets home hanging around the house. Friday, our local Fantasy Playground was closed for maintenance so we had to find something else to do. We had already visited our trusty Dollar Store on Monday so I decided to try our luck at the local marina. It turned out to be a beautiful morning to go on this new excursion. The sun was shining, not too hot, and a nice, cool breeze. It was also one heck of a walk for me, but I need the exercise, right?

Part of our local HOA and run by the Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Department, the local marina is literally in our backyard (although you can't actually see it from our house). It's a small marina, probably more popular during the summer months I'm sure, that connects to the Occaquan (oc-ca-quan) River and eventually into the Potomac River.

Although there was nothing more than a few fishing boats, paddle boats, and canoes, Little Man was actually intrigued by the new surroundings. The Canada Geese? Yeah, they thought he was bringing a morning snack. I would have if we hadn't been warned several times by our local HOA to not feed the geese. Plus, those birds can get mean and the last thing I wanted them doing was trying to snap at Little Man's tiny fingers for their morning brunch.

Here are a few shots that I took with our new digital camera. Not only does it have more than double the pixels as our previous Canon Elph (only 3.2 MP purchased in 2003), our new Olympus Stylus camera (8.0MP) is shockproof (that'll get tested soon I'm sure), freeze proof (down to 14 degree F), has in-camera panorama shot capability, and best of all: it's waterproof! This awesome camera even shoots underwater movies!! How cool is that?!

Ok, enough of the sales pitch, here are the shots. Have a great week!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Had to share

I just got our pictures back from when we went to B&O Railroad. One thing I definitely appreciate about digital is that you can review them right away. No waiting for a week to see if your picture subject is blurry, if everyone is smiling, or that you captured the perfect moment. Although now with all the digital photo enhancing programs out there you can do anything with your pics including blending 3 different photos together just so you can "capture" everyone smiling.

Well, I got lucky with these shots. And even if they weren't any good, we'll be going back this weekend for Kids Fest. So if you live in the Baltimore/ D.C. area, check out B&O Railroad. You won't be disappointed.

How cute is this kid?? I told him to "go stand over there and look at Mommy" and he did!

I bet he's thinking he wants one of these in his house!

All Aboard!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mixed Feelings

Two things are about to happen soon that I have mixed feelings about.

One: Little Man A is going to get his first hair cut this weekend. Lately, Daddy has been making comments about how it is wispy on the sides with little curls. I think it's kind of cute, but I'm sure that's not what a little boy wants to hear. He wants to look, well, like a boy. I know it really needs to be done, but I was kind of hoping that his hair would be thicker by now and maybe he could have that stylish surfer dude look to him. But not happening.

Two: Little Man is acting as if he wants to start using the big boy potty. Hurray, right? Um, sure. Yes, on one hand I am excited about getting him out of diapers (that just means he'll be squirming on the toilet rather than on the floor), but on the other hand that means he's really growing up. Lately, he's been telling us when he goes #2 and actually today he told me when he went "peepee". He's also not afraid of the toilet. He'll flush that thing with or without anything in it. After he lifts the lid of course to see if there is anything in there. We're not sure where to go from here. Either buy a training potty or a small step stool so he can use the regular toilet. I guess I'm afraid to make the decision because I don't want either one to confuse him or scare him about the entire process.

Oh the joys of motherhood.


Where were you seven years ago today? Seven years later and we are still remembering those we lost on 9/11. Living in the nation's capitol, we can't help but hear about the new memorial at the Pentagon. "In remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, the Pentagon Memorial honors the 184 people whose lives were lost at the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77, their families and all those who sacrifice that we may live in freedom." While viewing the website for the Pentagon Memorial I read about a program that I didn't know existed. I thought I would share it with you in hopes that you would pass the word along about "Project Compassion".

Project Compassion
Many of our 9/11 families are unaware of their eligibility for this special offering to obtain a gallery quality portrait of their loved one.

Since Project Compassion was founded in 2004, they have, as of July 1, shipped over 1,150 hero paintings to the loved ones of Americans who have died in active service, regardless of how or where, since September 11, 2001. These professionally framed, 18"x24" portraits of our military fallen men and women, created in oil on canvas and shipped to their families at no cost to them, are worth up to $10,000 each for similar works by their five professional, gallery represented, award winning portrait artists who selflessly have volunteered for this privilege for Project Compassion.

Yet this number tragically represents only 25% of the total number of post-9/11 military casualties of those families entitled to a Project Compassion hero portrait. Project Compassion is trying to reach out to the families of military loved ones - including those who died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and all other military members who have died in active service.

Project Compassion does not judge the location or circumstances of death - whether illness, accident on or off base, suicide, or murder as well as overseas or combat casualties - any man or woman who has chosen to wear the American uniform during and since the attacks of September 11, 2001 is a hero to Project Compassion.

For full information on Project Compassion and their offering and their simple requirements to request your hero portrait, simply go to their website at www.heropaintings.com, or give them a call at (209) 966-3535, or write Marie Woolf, CEO and Executive Director, at Project Compassion, 3601 Old Highway, Catheys Valley CA 95306."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A dream day for Little Man A

On the first Tuesday of every month, B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore offers 1/2 price admission. So when hubby had the day off, it was the perfect day to take Little Man. Unfortunately, I had a doctor's appt in the morning which left the afternoon to drive up there and spend the rest of the day. The bad news: they close at 4pm ... on the dot. The good news: Little Man could have cared less because he was in heaven.

We decided to leave right after lunch and let Little Man sleep in the truck on the way there. This was delayed by all the big rigs on the road and of course, construction trucks (he's taken to watching construction trucks on YouTube lately). Once we were into Maryland on I-295 where there was nothing but trees to look at, he fell right to sleep.

Once we were off the highway and making our way toward downtown Baltimore, I was reading the directions for hubby. When I got to the last line that stated, "You have arrived to the center on Baltimore" I gave hubby the evil eye. For some reason the B&O Railroad website didn't copy their address and therefore had given us directions to "Baltimore". Thankfully, I had written down their phone number and we were able to find our way. It also helped that there was a police station right where hubby had stopped.

About that time, Little Man awoke from his nap, probably because we had to stop for directions. I assured him that we were going someplace really cool! His eyes widened as we rounded the corner of the parking lot and pulled in front of a huge black steam engine. I'll never forget that look.

Once inside, it was like a kid in a candy store, except better. He couldn't figure out where to look first. All the model trains, the real, big engines, and of course the people smiling at him because well let's face it, he's too cute for his own good.

When we found the box car with the model train that was moving and with lights blinking and sounds as the train moved by, I think he told himself that we was in heaven. By the time we made it to the "Theatre Car" that was playing a short video, he was dancing with joy. Literally.

On our way out of the museum (I think they were following us to make sure we left because we were the last ones to leave), we talked to an employee who convinced us that it would be a great idea to become a member. We already knew that we would be back at least 3 more times (once with Gramma and Pop-pop at the end of the month, in December for Breakfast with Santa which happens to be on his birthday, and in April and/or May for the Day Out with Thomas). This weekend, 13th and 14th, is Kids Fest at B&O Railroad and we plan on going. This time around we plan on getting there as soon as they open at 10am and letting Little Man go wild until he falls over. That way he can sleep on the way home after lunch.

And if you live in the area, there is also Ellicott City Railroad Museum. Not quite as big as B&O in Baltimore, but apparently a very quaint little town with a fantastic display of lights for the holiday season. With a membership to one railroad museum, you get into both. We'll be checking out Ellicott City this Christmas season as well.

P.S. I would have had photos to upload for this post except our digital camera decided to call it quits, so I was forced to use 35mm film. I should have those photos this week.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Good intentions

As I was looking over hubby's shoulder reading my blog entries this weekend, I remembered I had set a few goals for the month of August. In addition to getting started on "Little Man's Special Moments", I had wanted to complete Wenderina's wedding album and get my website up and running.

While I have obviously finished quite a few layouts for Little Man's album (some of which I even submitted to Creating Keepsakes), I didn't make any progress on Wenderina's album. I'm really hoping to be able to finish it this month considering October is their anniversary month.

On the website front, I did accomplish a temporary one while my beloved brother tries to pry himself away from his daily duties. Although it did come in handy the other day when one of hubby's colleagues was inquiring about my services, I wish more of my layouts were posted (and not in video format since they are unable to view videos). We'll see if it's complete by the end of the year.

So here's one more layout for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Going with the flow

For the past few days, hubby has taken the truck to get to the train for work, leaving me and Little Man to fend for ourselves. Wednesday wasn't too bad since we had just experienced 4 fun-filled days with Daddy (more on our adventures later). We took our time walking to the park, walked to the grocery store, and the infamous Dollar Store. I'm always a sucker when it comes to taking Little Man to that store. Although I know if he were to find something that seemed really cool at the time, five minutes later he'll have forgotten about it. But that bright, shiny blue balloon just had to come home with us. And it has been well worth it since. He runs wild around the house with it, just giggling in delight that it's following him around.

Thursday was another hot day, so I made sure to be out the door by 9:30am. We made it to the park and only 35 minutes later he was either bored or just plain done with the park. It didn't help that the temperature had started to rise. So we headed home and tried to hang outside playing with chalk or blowing bubbles as long as I could handle getting bitten by those pesky mosquitos. All in all it wasn't too bad of a day. It definitely made me realize it is time to re-evaluate our leisure activities with Little Man because some of them he's starting to outgrow.

So on our third day at home, I'm just going with the flow. Taking my time walking to the park. Making sure to walk by the "spiny trees" so he can reach out and touch the pine needles. Walking up to the grocery store just to walk around and look at the fruit (especially since I didn't bring any money). Seems like Little Man is just going with the flow also. He found an old toy, Leap Frog Spin A Letter. Today he actually waits until it stops, listens to the letter or sound of the animal that starts with that letter, and repeats it! Then he decided it would be fun to sit on it and roll off of it!

Of course this is when our digital camera starts to act up, hence the lovely purple striations across the screen. But at least it captured the moment.

Thankfully, it's the weekend and hubby will be home to help entertain this weekend. Which, since we have a weather advisory starting tonight for this weekend due to Hanna possibly heading our way, we may be in for a long weekend. Hope everyone else has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bathroom reno #2 complete

Although the bathroom has been useable for the past month or so, there were little details that needed to be finished. Like the baseboard in front of the tub (which needed to be stripped of the paint the previous owner applied), filling in nail holes, and redoing the moulding around the door.

The bathroom itself was really out of commission for only 2 weeks. I think that is a great accomplishment for hubby considering what needed to be done!

And now, since it is finally complete, I thought I would share a few highlights of the new bathroom.

This was a support beam under the subflooring. Notice how it's not there. Yeah, that's what happens after 20 years of decay from water damage.

A nice fresh coat of paint to turn our dungeon of a bathroom into the perfect retreat. It took three coats of off white paint to cover up the awful color. We were debating about putting a pocket light over the tub, but since the new color is so bright we don't need one. Notice the beautiful wrap around tile on the edge of the corner?? Yeah, hubby had to replace the last row of tile so we decided to prevent further water damage by adding it .... and to make it look pretty. The other thing we changed, one because of the color, and two because of the amount of paint caked on, was the baseboards. Who paints their baseboards a darker shade of the same color as the walls?? A nice crisp, clean white is what it needed.

Because this bathroom is in the main hallway on our main floor, and right next to Little Man's room, there wasn't much we could do about hiding the mess. So we let him help Daddy whenever he could. Even if it was handing Daddy a nail or handing him a particular tool. I think it made him feel really useful. The other down side of the position of the bathroom was we couldn't make much noise at night for fear of waking Little Man up. We tried to make sure the majority of the noise was made during the day.

We had a medicine cabinet on the side of the wall. No big deal, right. Well not if it supplies the only mirror in the bathroom. Makes it kind of difficult for hubby to shave in the morning. We weren't sure if we wanted to cover it up with drywall or replace the medical cabinet with one without a mirror. Turns out, no one makes medicine cabinets without mirrors. So our other option was to make our own - with or without a door. We opted for the less expensive version: Open box with moulding around the edges and re-use the shelf from the old medicine cabinet. I think it's kind of nice. It's a place for us to store our toothbrushes to keep the counter top clear.

Like the first bathroom, I'm not exactly sure how much we spent on the project. I do know that we did so much more work than the first and hubby still managed to get it done in record time. And that we made record trips to and from Lowe's. It really could have been a lot worse than it turned out to be. Fixing the water damage in the walls and the floor was the biggest obstacle. And I found out something about my hubby in the process. He used to part of a program called BOSS (Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers) in the Army. Instead of soldiers waiting around for minor leaks, cracks, or broken parts in the barracks to be fixed, they learned how to do it themselves. Because of this program and the repairs and work we have done to this house, we'll be able to build our own dream home some day. Looks like I married a real "Handy Manny"!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

August Recap

So since last month's recap was a hit, I decided to do it again. Although I didn't take as many photos, it feels like we did a lot during the month of August.

Little Man noticed a few "new" things in his closet this month. One in particular was his backpack Gramma had given him last year with a bushel of books. He decided it was pretty cool to walk around the house with it on. Little did he know that I was starting to cry just thinking about the first day of school for him.

We introduced a box of chalk for Little Man to scribble his masterpieces on the driveway. He actually liked it so much he decided to share his masterpieces with the truck and the truck tires. Daddy thought it was funny at first until he came home to blue and purple chalk lines on his tires. Little Man even carries the little box around by the handle.

He continues to love playing with his lawnmower (although we don't put the bubble juice in it and I'm not even sure Little Man cares either). Oh, and don't forget about sunglasses. These are his toddler glasses that we bought him shortly after he was born. I remember walking around Kennedy Space Center with him wearing these things. They've been hidden for awhile since they started to bother him over the nose, but now he thinks they are really cool!

And he continues to be totally infatuated with the real lawnmower. Maybe he'll be a landscaper one day. In that job alone he'll be able to use a lawnmower, a tractor, and truck, and maybe even a train... if he's lucky.

August was his third month at Gymboree. He has continued to excel in his overall agility and his ability to climb. We continue to visit our local park which features a huge wooden playground that he loves to climb in a out of. It's especially fun to watch him observe stare at all the older kids and see what moves he can look forward to doing in the future.

August was the big fair in the area and we couldn't wait to show Little Man all the tractors, animals, and fun things to do at a local fair. Although he was still too young to get on any of the rides, besides the ferris wheel, he undoubtedly had a great time just watching EVERYTHING. He is such a people watcher, but I think that is true for any toddler really. The funniest part was when he was walking by a rooster as it decided to voice his opinion to Little Man.

Little Man has always had an ... unusual way of sleeping at night. We have constantly found him with his feet dangling between the bars of his crib, curled into a ball with his butt up in the air with his beloved "Jeffrey" tucked under his chin, and this position. Seems a little uncomfortable to me, but he doesn't complain in the morning.

The other thing I started to notice Little Man attempting to do was putting on his own shoes or shirt or socks by himself. I already showed what it was like for him to be in Daddy's shoes.

There were more little moments in the month of August that weren't recorded. They just all went by too fast. Until next month!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A look back in time

Last night, after I finished downloading a few pics from the digital camera, I was trying to organize a few other photos. From there, I ended up scanning through the first twelve months of Little Man's precious life. From his first taste of rice cereal to tummy time in the middle of the living room (which he was not too thrilled with) to the day he made his successful attempt to stand and to taking his first step.

I watched every single short video clip....

What's wrong with me?? My child is not even 2 years old yet and I'm reminiscing about the little moments in his life already. Aren't you suppose to wait until he's at least 5 or 10 years old before you start recapping??

It just amazed me at how much he's grown. And in such a short period of time. I mean, it's September already. Where has this year gone?? I guess this is what happens when you have children. Just to show you what a years time can do, here is a chair that Gramma got him last July.

And here he is the other day:

I think the other part that has made the summer fly by is having something new to do every day - especially Gymboree. Although we have contemplated about continuing him in Gymboree, I have to admit that is the best thing we have done all summer long. Not to mention, if our vehicle even points in the general direction of Gymboree, he starts to mutter "Gym" and points us onward. Last night when we were headed right by Gymboree, I had to tell him that it was closed for the day, to which I'm sure he didn't understand.

I have to be honest though, I miss the days that he was learning how to crawl. Those little gums with no pearly whites. His first successful step toward Daddy. But I'm sure there will be more "little moments" ahead that we will be able to cherish for years to come.