Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Long Time Coming

Since we've lived in this house, the outdoor stairs have been the bane of my existence. I fear for my life every time I set foot on them. Okay... that's an exaggeration. But perhaps not totally out of the realm, considering the minor slip I had on our interior stairs... when I was 7 months pregnant... that resulted in a fractured elbow.


I'm a klutz, is what it is. And these stairs are not klutz friendly. Especially when the klutz is carrying a 30-pound squirming toddler up and down them.

See for yourselves:

They were built on a diagonal to compensate for... something. I don't know. Also, no balusters. The wood was splintering with age. And the concrete block of a bottom step was chipping away.

To give you some spacial perspective, the main entry is not at the front of the house. It's off to the side. The door at the front of the house is actually the entrance to the in-law apartment downstairs. This proves to be a bit confusing for first-time visitors and pizza delivery guys.

Dizzy yet?

So when we talked about re-doing the stairs, all those many years ago, we wanted to make them safer, nicer, and look more prominent.

To get the job done we called our boys from Choice Woodworking, who happen to include our brother-in-law Nick and good friend Paul, and who basically did our entire interior remodel (so far). Despite our obvious bias, these guys are skilled artists. And I want to marry them. Or have my sister marry one of them, either way.

Tony tore the stairs down the day before, and The Boys spent a couple days building the new stairs. Needless to say, I was giddy with excitement with the whole shebang. It only took a few days, but it was quite a journey.

Day 1: Demo and wood delivery

Des supervised the demo.

Which went fairly quick.

Then the supplies came... Another job for Supervisor Des. There was a big truck, a cool forklift, and huge planks of wood involved. He was all over this.

Look at the size of that truck.

If toddlers could say "OMG!"

Here he comes!

This'll do.

Get back to work!

Day 2: There was a jackhammer. And some framing. And some ass kicking.

New dad, Nick, hard at work.

Mhmm, mhmm. Lookin' good.

It came together fast!

Remnants of their art.

Day 3: Finished product




Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So there's our new stairway!

I leave the front door open so I can stare at it all day. The first night I pulled a sleeping bag out there and slept on the deck. Not really. But I thought about it. Tony's really excited about putting a pumpkin out there. Which, obviously yeah. There will be pumpkins. It's just so cute that he said that.

A final side by side, before/after comparison:

Our new stairway survived its first hurricane unscathed. Obviously. I mean, looka that thing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Cape

Although we haven't been able to take a real vacation this summer due to work schedules and that little trip we took in May, we were able to get away for a long weekend to the Cape. My sister and her family graciously invited us down to their rental house and we eagerly accepted.

My mom and more of our family were also renting a house in the area.

We relaxed on the beach, took walks, breathed the clean ocean air, ate amazing food, and spent time with the people we love most. We couldn't ask for a better time.

We also stopped to see the legendary Mr. Wagner, the man who found my rings on the beach 3 years ago (a story I hold close to my heart and will share some day soon). He and his wife are so lovely. We got to share our new story of finding a ring, which they were amazed by. Mr. Wagner even buffed Tony's ring for him. We said we wanted to leave the little nicks in the fine metal for nostalgia, but there's no way we could deny Mr. W when he offered. And what a perfect way to come full circle in our ring sagas.

He and his beautiful wife made us promise we'd visit again. Since we're already planning our Cape vacation for next year, that shouldn't be a problem. I don't think I can go another summer without taking a week off. We will be back next year for certain.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lesson Learned

On a whim Tony and I decided to take Des to the New England Aquarium today. It was cloudy and rainy out, so we were looking for a fun indoor activity.

The fact that it was the first icky weekend day all month should have tipped us off to stay away from any 'fun indoor activity,' unless it was in our own home. Ahh hindsight...

We found cheap parking in the city and walked around the waterfront. We don't venture to that part of the city often, so we took our time watching the boats and seagulls and tourists.

By the time we arrived at the aquarium there was a massive, snaking line from the entrance alllll the way back to the street. This can't be the ticket line, can it? No, it's probably for a duck tour or whale watch or I dunno, is Harry Potter himself here?? No such luck. It was the ticket line. We thought we planned it so we would miss the rush!

There was no way Des was going to sit still in this line. So we pushed the stroller over to the exterior seal exhibit, trying to decide what to do. Des LOVED the seals. Well, at first he was scared. He nearly jumped out of his skin when one of them swam by. It was really funny. We are the kind of parents who find our child's initial terror of harmless situations side-splittingly hilarious. But after that, he was pointing and yelling at them, like, "HI THERE, I SEE YOU SEAL, YOU ARE SWIMMING AND I LOVE YOU," kind of yelling. Aww, look he loves them!

Despite the fact that we were thinking of nixing the aquarium idea and walking around the city for the afternoon, Des's adoration of the seals made me want to take him inside. How much would he love the penguins and turtles and shiny fish as far as the eye can see? But that line. No effin way, is what I said to that line.

"Damn, we coulda bought tickets online and printed them at home," Tony said. "I wish I thought of it."

"What if we went to Kinkos?" I am truly brilliant sometimes. FedEx/Kinkos was just a couple blocks away. We'd be there and back before most of these people even make it halfway to the ticket window.

So that's what we did. And I was so proud of myself for coming up with that plan. All those people waiting in line are clearly not as smart as we are. But as we made our way back to the aquarium, printed tickets in hand, I had a thought. All those people waiting. Those hundreds of people... they're going to be inside eventually. Every one of them, in those dark aisles and along the edges of tanks, congested and crowded. The wind went out of my sail. Ohhh crap.

See, I'm not so good in those situations. I like bright, under-populated, wide open spaces where me and my kid can run around. So umm.. what was I thinking again?

Welp, we paid $50 for this, we might as well go in at this point. And as soon as we walked in the doors, my fears were justified. Wall-to-wall people. The last time I had been here I was in elementary school. I recalled it being A LOT bigger. But maybe that's the claustrophobia talking.

Despite the crowds, it wasn't all bad. Des actually enjoyed himself for the most part, and that's what it's all about, right folks? Unfortunately I had a minor anxiety attack in the middle of the starfish exhibit where it felt like the walls were closing in on me and I was going to be sucked spinning into the tile floor. So for the most part Tony handled Des, and I handled the stroller and the arduous task of keeping my shit together.

When I was breathing at a normal pace, it was so fun to see Des's reactions to all the surroundings. The penguins were his buddies. The shark scared him to death at first, as it did ME, and the turtles were as a big as cars. But he loved it all. And it's always an amazing experience to see this world from a fresh set of eyes. Especially when my old eyes are polluted with stupid anxiety.

Check out these ooh's and aah's (if you listen past the crowd noise):

These pics are a bit blurry due to poor lighting, constantly moving subjects, and my piss-poor photography skills. But you get the gist.

Penguin buddies!

Just like St. John

Puffer fish

I love coral

Also, turtles

"Oh Holy Jesus!" was my very loud reaction amongst the crowd of young children.
"Rawr!" was Des's.


Sweet, sweet fresh air

Moving freely is awesome

Me and my turtle boy

Side note: Best of luck to Auntie Jaclyn on her trip back east from California!! We can't wait to see her. And her 'lovie' is going to give her the biggest most excited smiles and hugs ever. She has no idea.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Trains, Planes, and... Make it stop already

Desmond inherited a big bin full of Thomas trains. Every morning, the first thing he does after we walk downstairs is to reach for the bin and whine until we open it, “eh eh eh.” Then he spends the next half hour taking out each train one by one, lining them up in a circle all around him.

The original owner, Des’s cousin Liam, was obsessed with Thomas a few years ago. Liam would sit on the floor with the thick Thomas catalogue, pointing and naming every train from memory before he could even read. The names of close family members would often slip his mind (his famous saying was, “Who are you again?”), but heck if he couldn’t pick Diesel 10 out of a line up!

Truthfully, I’ve always been a bit creeped out by Thomas and his friends. Gray clay-like faces on the front of giant steel machines. They spoke in British accents and used weird words like “cross” and “chuff.” They answered to a man in a top hat and tuxedo jacket. They didn’t have limbs. What if they had an itch on their face?? These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

Des didn’t understand that his favorite bin was full of Thomas trains. He’s just always been fascinated with trucks and cars and anything with wheels. These could have been all of the above. Fun!

Well, he didn’t understand they were Thomas trains until recently.

Tony, in his infinite nerdiness, decided he wanted to learn the names of all the trains. As Des picked each one out, Tony tested himself aloud with the names. Apparently, Des started remembering too. Recently I asked him, “Where’s Spencer?” He stood over the bin, staring into it. Then he shuffled his hand inside and pulled out the sleek silver train. Spencer. Thinking it was a fluke, I asked, “Okay, where’s Toby?” I could see his eyes searching, then his hand feeling around, and out came the brown square train. Toby.

Wow, that's amazing! Impressive! Scary as hell!

And oh greeeeat.

He’s only seen a few episodes of the TV show. But now that he’s learning who Thomas and his friends are, he gets SUPER PSYCHED when it comes on.

Exhibits A through Z:

I guess I have to get over my creepy Thomas issues.

Anything for this face.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blowing the Stink Off

Des had a bit of an off day at daycare. He was in a fine mood, played well with others, ate all his snacks and lunch. But the napping... oh the napping. His caretaker tried twice, but Des just cried and cried. We've been having some sleep issues recently. And coming off of a weekend always makes it worse.

Needless to say, his mood by the time he got home was less than desirable.

It had rained most of the day, but the skies finally cleared after dinner. As Des sat whining through another episode of Chuggington, I finally said, "He needs to get out and blow the stink off him."

"What, does he stink?" Tony said.

"No, he's been cooped up, he's cranky, he needs to run around in the fresh air. Blow the stink off of him."

He looked at me like I had two heads. I was shocked he had never heard this phrase. My mother must have said that EVERY DAY growing up, 'Get out and blow the stink off ya!' I assumed every mom said that. I plan on keeping the phrase alive.

As we put our shoes on, Tony said, "Okay Des, let's go outside and get that smell out."

I laughed. "It's blow the stink off!"

And as soon as we got out there, put Des down on the wet grass and let him run around the yard, he was a new boy. He was our boy.

This, my love, is what blowing the stink off looks like.

(Sorry for the skinny iPhone video. We have a flip. We should probably use it.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Night

What a lovely night. There's a breeze wafting through the window sheers. It's nice to not have the hum of the AC in the background. I love the summer, but a cool evening is a welcome change.

Right now I'm half-watching a movie I've seen a dozen times already, my laptop on a pillow, and a glass of wine on the coffee table. Tony is in bed, finally home from a few days away for work, a long and exhausting stretch for the both of us. We don't do apart well.

Desmond is going through a rough patch with sleeping. Or not sleeping, as it were. It happens every once in a while. It will pass. It usually does within a week or two. Hopefully soon because my back is shot from laying on the floor next to his crib. Dealing with a rough patch like this alone, on top of all the other daily care taking, is draining. Then to end a tough day in big empty bed... well, I'm glad my husband is home.

Both my boys are resting quietly upstairs. I'll join them soon. And tomorrow it's back to the way things should be. Tony and I plugging away at our laptops on the dining room table as Des comes by with a train or a book, forcing us to take a needed break. I love Thursdays. I love my family.

Welcome to the World

Cameron James!

Born Sunday 7/31 at 5:42pm, 7 lbs (not sure of the length).

Nana holding her 10th grandchild.


So Des has a new little cousin who will live right down the street. I have a strong feeling they are going to be best buds, despite the fact that Des banged on the side of Cameron's bassinet in the hospital. Cam barely flinched. That's a good sign.

Proud parents, Janet (my sis and best friend in the whole world) and Nick (one of the coolest guys on the planet). That is one lucky kid.

Was Desmond ever this teenie? :tear:

I am beside myself with excitement to get to know this new little person, and to see my best friends become parents. It is such an amazing adventure. We are lucky to be a part of it.

Congratulations Nick and Janet. I love you both to pieces. You guys make beautiful babies.
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