Monday, September 28, 2009

Southwest Flight 1450

We drove to Albany on Sunday to pick Grandma up at the airport. Graham hadn't been there since he was just a little kid, so it was lots of fun to show him the airplanes. We went up to the observation deck and saw Grandma's plane pull up to the gate. I hoped she had a window seat so she could see us waving.

It took a few minutes for Grandma to make it from the plane to see us in the terminal. The reunion was very exciting. 8 days away is a long time when you are almost 2.

After the smooching, we made our way down to Baggage; it seemed like her suitcase wasn't ever going to come out onto the carousel. Lucky for us, it wasn't lost after all. (And it made a really comfy ride!)

All that work tuckers a kid out. Thank goodness Graham could rest on the ride home.

Singing with Laurie

The Laurie Berkner Band Rocks! It was a sold out show at the State Theatre in Ithaca. Aunt Amanda joined us for the fun. Somebody please explain to me how Laurie runs and jumps around the stage in heels without breaking her hip?

All the screaming and crying kids made the situation a bit overwhelming, but once Laurie came onstage, Graham was mesmerized. As you can see he was almost in a state of disbelief for at least the first 20 minutes.

When they said goodbye and left the stage, silent tears fell down Graham's cheeks. Yeah, it was sad.

Here are some clips for you to enjoy (of the singing, not the weeping):

After the show we had a nice lunch with Amanda's friend Bree and then we checked out the Apple Fest on the Commons where there was lots more music to enjoy. It was a great day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Week with Paul

Fun Facts:

Graham calls my Dad "Paul" instead of "Grandpa." Maybe it's easier to say. Or maybe with Grandma, Graham and Grandpa, it was just too many Gr names. Dad doesn't seem to mind, so we're all happy we can tell who Graham is talking about.

Paul was here for dinner several times last week because Grandma went to Virginia to help Abby after her foot surgery. Each dinner started with a (Paul-supplied) banana for an appetizer.

Graham loves bananas but I don't normally buy them because we never eat them quick enough and then we get fruit flies (scientific name Drosophila melanogaster). Despite my 10th grade biology project on that species, I dislike them.

When Graham woke up Thursday morning, the first words out of his mouth were Paul and Banana. So I had to explain Grandpa was having dinner with friends that night. Major Bummer.

Friday night we went for ice cream with Paul. This was doubly exciting because our favorite Ice Cream Parlor has a stray cat named Butterscotch. And Graham LOVES that cat.

We watched The Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday night. Dad told us that Grandpa Frank loved to watch Lawrence Welk.

Lawrence Welk's costume budget must have been enormous. Seeing all that 1970's matchy match polyester formalwear was excellent.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Graham figured out how to walk backwards last week:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sweet Ride

Thanks to Jim (and an assist from Ethan's cousin Chad) I am biking with my boys. Honestly, I never thought I would, but I love feeling the breeze on my face!

I love the new color and I have a bell and new brakes so I am not (as) stressed about stop signs :) .
I haven't mastered the "steering-while-filming" thing yet but I am working on it (Jim, sorry I decapitated you).

First Day of School

Graham spent his first morning at Bugbee today.

Papa did the drop off without too much fuss. When I picked Graham up, I peeked through the window to see him happily looking at books with his teacher and a couple other kids-- still wearing his hat. (His teacher, Shelly, explained he didn't want to get undressed after recess, so keeping the hat was a compromise.) Well, once he saw me, he looked agast and covered his mouth with his hand. There was almost a smile-- then the crocodile tears!
After he calmed down, Graham said he had fun with the kids and that he liked his lunch. I told him, "Tomorrow you get to see the kids and Shelly again, isn't that fun?" He replied yes, with a smile. Let's hope he feels the same in the morning!

Ruffino's pizza

A guaranteed smile is just a bike ride away!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Little Pony

After a brief trip to the fabric store, we headed over to the Beak and Skiff Orchards for some Cider and Donuts. What a terrific surprise to see the pony rides! Graham took not one, but two turns on a cutie named Snickers thanks to some well-played alligator tears and a soft hearted auntie who paid for the second go (thanks, Amanda!).

Here he throws kisses as he makes his rounds. And you can check out Graham's best horse noise in the video below:

The Hat

It's taken about 15 months to get him to warm up to it, but as of this weekend, Graham doesn't go anywhere without his "HAT." He asks for it before we head out the door and it stays on his head until we get home. It's still a little big, so when it falls over his eyes, he's quick to ask for some fashion assistance. He likes to carry our shopping bags when we go to the Farmer's Market and with the one above, he makes a pretty cute Newsie.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pa rum- pum pum pum!

This weekend, during our weekly trek to the farmer's market, we went to "The Grand & Glorious Tag Sale" on Main St. in Oneonta.
They shut down the entire street, and it fills with all sorts of vendors selling stuff to raise money for various organizations. We had no intention of buying anything until we spotted this:

Oh yeah, It's a Graham sized drum kit, bought for a mere $10.00.
A small price to pay for so much happiness!

And now, for the first time anywhere, Graham T. Strolin- Drummer extraordinaire!

Mama accompanies-

I've begun brain storming some band names. Please take a moment to vote on your favorite in the poll above, or leave a comment if you have any suggestions of your own.

***UPDATE 9/20/09*** The polls have closed and we have a tie between "Fist full of Cheerios" and "Temper Tantrum" each earning 5 votes. "Crusty Sleeves" and "Mama's Migraine" both tied for second with 2 votes apiece. I guess we'll have to wait a few years to see which name Graham chooses as the final winner.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tour de Hudson Street

We have been enjoying the cooler evenings by taking family bike rides after dinner. Here Graham sports his new helmet and IBert seat (which was a wonderful gift from the Posner Lawrences). Last night we did 4 times around Belmont Circle (that's a mile for you novices).
While not pictured here, my ride is a Grandma-trike-- the plan is to trick it out with a custom paint job... stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Practice makes perfect

Graham has been working hard to master a selection from the new Laurie Berkner songbook. It may not sound perfect yet, but he already plays better than me.

Three Amigos

It was so much fun to see Graham interact with Maya and Gabriella. He was possessive from time to time (ok, whenever he caught me loving up one of the girls) but he also attempted to help give Maya a bottle (which he was trying to snag for himself) and he shared the piano with both of the girls without any fuss.

Alecia fondly remembered how we all used to sleep late. It didn't happen this trip, but we both agree the payoff is worth the sleepless early mornings! (how cute is she?)

Here Pepper and Maya take a break from all the fun.

Hudson Street Taxi, twin baby girls edition:
This is possibly my favorite pic from the whole weekend. Maya has a voracious appetite. And we all know how the Strolin dogs keep watch for any crumb. Alecia barely had a chance to bite her cider donut before the troops were on her like white on rice.


Graham has learned that cuteness alone may not be enough to impress the ladies. You also need a righteous sandbox! Here Emily, Anna and Allie share some fun on the last night of summer vacation.

Hugh Hefner, eat your heart out!

Fly Creek

This weekend we took Jeff, Alicia & the Twins to the Fly Creek Cider Mill to see the seasons first apple pressings. Nestled in nearby Cooperstown, it is an excellent place to go and enjoy the sights and tastes of the approaching Autumn season. The cider slushies and doughnuts are worth the trip alone.

Plus they have ducks!

They have gumball machines that dispense a handful of dry corn kernels to feed the ducks for a quarter. This can be a bit expensive, especially with a toddler who can't get enough of the splashing action, so this trip I got smart and brought a few bags of my own corn. (Actually I had Melissa smuggle them in!)

Keep the hand flat!

Here Graham seems very serious as he contemplates where his next hand full will be cast-

Signing "more!"

Another tradition at the cider mill is having Graham's picture taken in front of the height chart. Here he is in 2008-

And 2009! Now that he's standing on his own, you can see how tall he's gotten. Almost 3 feet!
Although he insists it's more...

They also have a few free range chickens running around. Here one visits us while we enjoyed lunch. Who says chickens are dumb? This one scored a few pie crusts for her bravery.

Graham's chicken impersonation, complete with "baak-baak" sounds and frantic wing flapping.
If all this weren't enough, they also have a playground area complete with a small race track for some pedal cars. At the end of this fun slide clip you can see a runaway tractor that narrowly missed our hero. Isn't the Cider Mill exciting?

En garde!

Look at him! That near perfect fencing stance, those steely eyes focused and ready for some swashbuckling action.
I tell you if there are any balloon pirates nearby, they are in for a serious poking!

Tourtellinger Summit 2009

Saturday afternoon, Abby and Jason hosted the GPEE (greatest picnic event ever) at Neahwa Park. Graham was happy to spend some time with Uncle Jase, just catching up... and then his Aunties, too.

There was lots of delicious food, Bellingers, Tourtellottes, special guests (the Coffins and the Posner-Lawrence clan) and hot air balloons!

In this shot, the youngest Coffins look for a quick way out of O-Town. Good luck Ladies! There are people who try for years and never make it.

Seriously, what Balloon Pilot could refuse these faces?

Here Graham and Serafina start a drum circle:

The day finished with the "Glow" -- about 8 balloons on the ground, with the only light coming from their burners. Dad, Mom, Abby and Amanda (with one very tweaked schnauzer), below.
I waited about 10 minutes too long (AKA Dark Ten, as opposed to Dark Thirty) to get the Coffin Family Portrait.