Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3 Year Check Up

Graham weighed in at 35.1 pounds and measured 38.5 inches tall-- that's seventy fifth percentile for both measurements. He kept Dr. Mooney on task, continually asking, Okay, what do we check next?

Graham got to use the blood pressure cuff for the first time and did terrific big breaths while she listened with her stethescope. When she explained the nurses were going to give him some shots, our little chatterbox told her, No-- that's owie! They did it quickly but there were real tears and an emphatic proclamation, I'm SO MAD!

...One chocolate milk shake later, he seems to be no worse for wear.

South Norwalk

We Stopped off at the Stepping Stones Museum during our recent visit to Connecticut, only to discover it is closed for renovations until November. Luckily the Maritime Center was open so we went there instead!

The seal feeding is always a big hit-

And this year they added a Meerkat exhibit! They had a tunnel through the exhibit where you could crawl in to see what the meerkats see. We had to try it out...

I was pretty sure we'd be stuck in there for awhile, good thing I'm limber!

The touch tank took a bit getting used to- "It's slimy!"

Ahoy Capt'n!

Love this shot.

We made a quick trip to the top of the parking garage to see the view of the ocean.
It reminded Graham of the Mary Poppins rooftop scene, (it's one of his favorite movies) and we all enjoyed a impromptu version of "Step in time" before heading back to the hotel for a much needed rest.

A Weekend Away

Once again we made a business/pleasure trip to Connecticut. We enjoyed a few wonderful nights at Grandma Strolin's house where Graham played non-stop with his cousin Rachael, but in true Daddy style I took absolutely no photos. (I left the camera at the hotel)
Grandma spoiled Graham with some belated Birthday presents and 2 cakes, one for just us on Wednesday night and another for the whole family on Thursday.
(That makes the grand total of  5 different Birthday cakes Graham has enjoyed this month!)

We also made not one, but TWO trips to Stew Leonard's to see Graham's friend Clover the Cow.

And Graham got a new winter hat!

We also got to visit Uncle Baci (Anthony) and Uncle Cookie (Ed) and share some yummy Halloween cupcakes. I tried to warn everyone that the frosting stained my finger, but before they would listen Graham had already put his face in one, and Uncle Cookie, ever the comedian, gave himself a Groucho mustache!

On the way out of town we stopped by to see Betsy and Chris. Dean was not there, he was scoping out colleges, but so far SUNY seems to be in the lead of his choices. It would be awesome if he were to live close by so we could help keep an eye on him! 

Here's a neat shot of Mommy taking a picture of Graham ...

who was taking a picture of Mommy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Anna

Anna turned 10, and the gift of choice was a lava lamp. I remember coveting one when I was about her age. Very cool!

Graham loves hanging out with the "big kids." In fact he wasn't satisfied until he inserted himself smack dab in the middle of the action:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Number Three

Our little boy has some very clear ideas about what he wants and is never to shy to share them.

After the cowboy party, I tried to explain that we would have another special celebration with Grandma and Grandpa on his real birthday. He politely turned me down, "No thank you, I had enough party!"

He passed on his crown at school; he explained to his teacher, I'm not a king and no singing! He did however eat his cupcake happily and reported back that it had lots of sprinkles.
We were able to coerce him to wear the crown while we mixed the cake.

I had made the design choices for the weekend, so for this cake it was Graham's pick: vanilla with blue frosting.

All the festivities must have taken a toll. He slept until nearly 10 AM this morning, but it was worth it!

Taste of the Catskills

We took a short ride out to the Maple Shade Farm for a harvest festival they sponsored.
It was a beautiful setting for a great family event, filled with games, treats and animals.
The crisp air, bright foliage, and fresh homemade goodies really put us in the mood for fall.
Summers in Upstate NY are fun, but the the Autumns here are downright fantastic!

Birthday Hoedown

Nearly 2 dozen little cowpokes and their families joined us for Graham's big celebration.

I made some cowboy beanbags, and the big kids helped the little kids knock down a pyramid of empty cans. And how many people have a coin operated horse and an old school arcade gun game in the basement? It's like Jim had been preparing for this party for the last 10 years.

Thanks to the Harters for sharing their yard. Aren't they adorable?

The apple cider was a delicious addition.

But Buster Brown was the real hit of the party... Graham didn't know about this special surprise until the trailer pulled up on Hudson Street.

Graham was eager to give "his boy" some love. (And check out the boots that came from Aunt Betsy! So cute!)

But it wasn't until after he had his cake that he was willing to actually get in the saddle. (This cowboy has priorities!)

Thanks to Jamie Tirbs and her family for making the trip into town.

Here's some video from the special day:

Many Hands

If you read our blog, you probably know first hand that I believe birthdays should be a big deal :). After pestering Jim for months, he finally conceded that a Cowboy theme really would be great. In reality, credit is probably due to Jim's friend Jamie who offered to bring a real live pony; I think that sealed the deal.

While Jim was busy ordering cowboy hats, sheriff badges and harmonicas, I set to work on sewing matching cowboy vests for Graham and Froggie.

We took a couple days off from work just to make sure we would have all the details in place for almost 60 guests but even with our crazy planning skills we couldn't do it alone. Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles all lent a hand.

Grandpa Paul and Jim coordinated the hay bales, and tables and chairs.

Graham and Grandma were in charge of frosting production. We even tried fondant for the Sheriff Star Cake. Mom's mad rolling pin skills were definitely key to that success.

Blocks and blocks of cheddar were shredded and pounds of pasta boiled by my sisters while Uncle Jason helped Jim pull the arcade game and mechanical horse from the basement. Here Graham and Abby try their luck at sharpshooting:

There was no rest for the weary as Jason also took the roll chief hot dog griller the next day while the rest of the crew rolled up their sleeves to make cider. Ethan drove in on just a few hours sleep to assist the apple pressers. He and Amanda both took a few bee stings in the process. (Sorry about that, you guys.)

Dad always told us, If everybody does a little, nobody does a lot, and it's true. Thank you to each and every one of you for pitching in with a smile... we can't wait until we can return the favor with your own little cowboys and cowgirls.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Super Spooky

Our Halloween decorations are up! This years display contains 3 flying ghosts that glide around our neighbor's yard, and a scarecrow witch that stirs her cauldron.

Below Graham helps set up the cauldron. The stirring stick works off of an old windshield wiper motor, and the witches head is hooked up to a desk fan I hacked so her head moves back and forth. There's a fog chiller connected to the cauldron to help pump the eerie mist.

and here he supervises the ghost set up.

Here's a short clip of everything in action.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coffee to die for...

 "Deadly Grounds Coffee"  is a new venture for my friend Tommy, and during a recent visit he brought Graham one of the company t-shirts to help advertise the line. (He knows how much Graham loves a good cup of coffee!)
He also asked me to participate in an online commercial campaign- I'm the official driver of the Deadly Grounds hearse! (You can check out my big debut here.)

Good luck Tom!