Monday, August 31, 2009

Chasing Bubbles

While my mom was up visiting for Ace's first birthday, Ace enjoyed yet another first! Bubbles. He received some for his birthday and so we thought it would be a fun activity to involved grandma with! Ace LOVED chasing the bubbles - although he couldn't understand why they popped before he even got to them. So we broke out some cat bubbles. Wha?! Yes bubbles for cats that are peach flavored! Don't ask I don't know. The nifty thing about cat bubbles are that they don't pop - you can hold them (if you're gentle enough) so Ace had a great time playing with bubbles with grandma - and having a bubble stuck to his head for about half the time. Bubbles are Ace approved. Mommy... well Mommy thinks bubble guts are disgusting so I observed from afar with the camera. ;-)





What bubble?



Can't you just hear the squeal?


One of my absoulte favorite pictures to date.

Delancey - A Resturant in Review


I'm not often a fanatic of many things. There are many things that I like, lots that I love, but fanatic, rarely. However, I have to say that I am instantly a fanatic (in a completely sane manner) of the new budding restaurant called Delancey. It's a wood fire pizza restaurant designed and planned by a husband and wife team. The wife of whom is also the author of the blog Orangette and of the book A Homemade Life. Suffice it to say I was eager to venture to this restaurant. We attempted to make reservations for their opening ... and three weeks later we got in!

The starters, the pizzas, the wine, and the desserts were all wonderful. An excellent blend of flavors and recipes that made the dining experience excellent. Besides the food the entire interior of the restaurant is just charming. You can tell a lot of thought and style choices went into this restaurant. Their baby. It was such a delight and the company was excellent. I will certainly be a repeat customer.




Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Baby Shower Gift

I love to make diaper cakes! It's a great way to give the mother-to-be a practical and useful present and additionally some cute smaller items in a very fun presentation. However, this mommy-to-be is going the cloth diaper route, and well - that'd be one really pricey diaper cake. So my creative hunt began with the printing of the registry and the churning of my brain - what did we use a lot of when Ace first arrived. Well, diapers and wash cloths!

Yes, we used wash cloths as burp cloths. Because really, while the over the shoulder coverage is important, odds are baby will spit up on themselves or not on the cloth at all requiring wipe off rather than spit up on. Plus wash cloths are far more portable in larger quantities than full size burp cloths - so we found that we utilized many before loads of laundry were done. It worked out great to have a plethora of them.

So upon perusing the the registry and noting the wash cloth usage from our own experience the idea struck me to make a "Bath Cake" for Mommy (and baby Madeleine) - so a towel, wash cloths of varying size and texture, some Johnson & Johnson travel size soaps, hair brush and comb set and some cute girlie duckies and wa-la the Bath Cake is complete.

Then comes my favorite part: wrapping it! It's just in plastic wrap you say? Nothing fancy? True! However, it is shrink wrapped! Yes, I set the cake nestled into the basket which is sitting on regular size white wash cloths to give it some height in the basket and to continue the "bath" theme; then the plastic wrap is placed over and taped to the bottom of the basket. Then I broke out the blow drier (on the high setting) and started from the base and just melted the shrink wrap to the basket. I have to say that I'm a tad over excited about it... but seriously it was a lot of fun. It makes me want to shrink wrap other things. Just for the heck of it.
Interested? I'm selling them on Etsy if you're in need of a shower gift!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Year in Film



Ace born 8lbs and 21" long.
One Year old 18.10lbs and 30" tall.
Here's to another great year, little man!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Birthday Cakes

I had so much fun creating these cakes. The fondant recipe was the same as the trial run, but I did a little something different when laying it on the cake. I wanted to create a more fluid or wave like look to the cake, so I painstakingly laid and gathered the fondant (for quite a while) to give it the look of motion and waves. I didn't want it to look like I simply had done it because I couldn't get it smooth. This was intentional. I also imprinted some sea shells in the fondant, but it was a tad too warm for them to remain there - or my technique wasn't ideal and I didn't want to push it - so for the most part they are not very visible. The little cake's frosting is simply that, blue dyed frosting. No fondant for that one and I was whipping it together less than an hour before the party so the decoration and precision were not top priority. Besides my little one was going to smash it to bits, no one cared if it was pretty or not before he did it.

I look forward to next year when I can have another go with something fun and festive. I wonder what my son will be into in a year from now...




Monday, August 24, 2009

One Year


Today marks a whole new chapter as he adventures into the world of a toddler; and he is well on his way. New adventures discovered in month 12: babysitting by non-family, climbing onto things, shoes, a trip to the dentist, his first birthday party!

Yes Ace has had a wonderful 12th month and rounded it out with a very exciting Nemo themed birthday party, surrounded by ALL of his grandparents and adoring fans.
Happy Birthday, Ace! Today you are one!
Ace seems to be growing like a weed and I feel that every time that I look at him he's taller than the time before - and it's quite possible that I'm NOT exaggerating. It's just crazy how fast he's shooting up like a weed (check back later this week for official stats when we make it to our 12 month doctor's appointment.) He's wearing 4.5 shoes, and still fits into 4, but just barely. He LOVES LOVES LOVES the shoes - have I mentioned that? A couple of times you say? Well it's true. He does. When he brings you one shoe and you ask him to bring him the other one... he will... only after you put the first one on. It's a requirement. He's understand language and understanding more and more.

Ace this month has been blowing out of the water the educational track. He has learned "no" (Mommy's thrilled... or not) but doesn't use it too much. He can communicate "no" also through the shaking of his head and he's got the sign "all done" down to a perfected science. He has recently added "eat" to his sign language vocabulary and is starting to work on "please" and "thank you". We'll see how those go. Also in the way of education Mommy and Ace have school every day - often in the mornings. Lately we've been learning colors and shapes. He can definitively pick out the color red and that's about it. We have a shape sorter and he has mastered putting the circle in the circle hole. He's doing really well. His aptitude with cause and effect is excellent. Mom and Dad are so proud!

He gaining speed as well. He's stronger and faster every day and continues to climb to new heights - literally. Yes, Ace is doing very well learning how to climb up and onto couches. Although so far - he only knows that he can get onto one. I'm guessing before the end of his 13th month - I'll be reporting his enlightenment to all couches being fair game for climbing - then I'm in trouble.

Ace has continued to enjoy swim lessons and is doing better and better staying under the water and even free swimming to mommy from the instructor. He's quite the waterbug in general. He really enjoys the bath tub, although not when I make him sit down. Rats. He loves playing in the sprinkler and in his little kiddie pool that we have. He just loves water and we love to watch him play in it. Swim lessons will continue throughout the fall.

Also during Ace's 12th month of life he enjoyed being babysat by Tom and Stacy while mom and dad went out for our anniversary. He seemed to have an ok time, especially since it was his first time not being with family. We were very proud of him and appreciative of Tom & Stacy.

This last weekend was the event many had been waiting for (ok especially me!) Ace's first birthday party. Yes, in the planning phase since he first set eyes on the little orange Nemo at 6 weeks old, yes Ace had himself a Nemo themed birthday party and my oh my what fun was had. Ace had a great time having ALL of his grandparents in one space together along with several faces he adores of friends and a relatively new face (or one he hasn't seen since he was 4 months old) Alex. Ace walked right up to Alex during his running around play time, and up into his lap?! We were all in awe as we watched him and Alex wander all around and play together for a while. It was really cute. A new best friend was found.

Ace did smashingly well with his cake. ;-) Although he needed a little help at first he got into the spirit of it all - and did a good job getting smothered in frosty goodness. And really didn't intake too much sugar in the process. Excellent! Lots of film footage and photography was obtained from the event. His presents were extremely fun for him (and the rest of us) and his two favorite (not to say he doesn't love them all) were the 100 balls and the wooden Nemo. Oh what fun was had with all of those - even two days later he's still enjoying them - that is the sign of good toys. ;-)

His birthday, today, has been a pretty average day - we dropped off  Grammie and Auntie Dawn at the airport and then headed to Ikea where we obtained a plush soccer ball. Now that he's one he certainly needs a full size soccer ball... but since he is ONLY one then the plush version is ideal. He loved it and him and dad kicked it all over the room.

It seems IMPOSSIBLE that a full year and 15 hours has passed since Ace entered this world, but my oh my what a year it has been. Just when I think I can't love him anymore... he does something more amazing. Like yesterday, when I said 'give mommy a kiss'. He stopped what he was doing came over, and for the first time, gave me a kiss on the lips. It was so sweet... and not a drop of slobber. Now that's a memory that I repeat "do not forget this.. do not forget this."

I love you, Ace with all of my heart! Happy Birthday, Baby Bear.



Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ace's First Birthday

Cakes are ready!

Pop Pop and ALL the Grandmas are here!

Burgers are grilling! Ace is helping!


My baby is 1!



Playing with his friend, Sabria!

All the family. Just missing a few Aunt and Uncles!
Wish they could have been here!

Grandma from California!

Our little family!


Happy Birthday, Ace! Make a wish!

Very careful at first

Yum!






Where's the frosting?

All that icing made me thirsty.




Sharing with mommy

After our bath it's: Present Time!







Thanks for celebrating my special day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Celebration!

Today we will celebrate Ace! Many more pictures are to come, but here's what the guests will be enjoying. It's 1am and I have completed decorating the cake. Nemo is sitting pretty in his anemone and the reeds and seaweed are a flowin' time for me to sleep. Tomorrow morning I'll decorate his cake, yes the one he'll smash to bits. :) We have 30 people coming to celebrate our son's first birthday. He's a very lucky little boy to have so much love from so many. It's been a wonderful and blessed year. Note Ace's cake is being served on my grandmother's crystal cake stand bought while they lived in Germany. Even a piece of her gets to be a part of the special day. I can't wait for tomorrow, it's like Christmas eve... but better :)



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shoes!

Yes, Ace has been introduced to shoes. Now that he's mobile and wanting to walk everywhere, I thought it was important to get him walking in shoes as well. Especially on public floors and even more importantly on hot sidewalks (ouchie!) we obtained a pair of the soft sole Stride Rites, specifically these pictured to the left. Both my husband and I were advocates of no shoes until necessary and even now Ace only wears his shoes when outside or in public places. Research shows that arch development and foot health in general is better when kids do not have their ever growing toes crammed into a pointless shoe all the time. Although don't get me wrong I am a huge fan of the cute factor.

So I was super excited to get Ace in his first pair of shoes when he started walking. However, when he first started to really gain speed when we put a pair on him (ones given to him at his baby shower) he would just crawl feeling his little toe gripping feet had been handicapped and thus preventing him from being mobile in the upright fashion. A few more weeks of confidence building and we tried again ... although by then he had outgrown the gifted pair. :) So to the store we did go and purchased ourselves these slightly spendy pair of 4.5 Stride Rite shoes (bought a half size "too big" so he can grow into them and not waste $$$ by outgrowing them in less than a month.) They are the soft soles and he walked pretty darn well around the store in them, so they came home with us. His first shoes!

We had also been gifted a pair of hard sole shoes from one of his cousin's. Stephanie's son Hudson is a few months older and had outgrown this pair of adorable blue shoes and so it was great to have two pairs around the house/diaper bag. Ace is so adorable with the shoes. He brings them to us now to have us put them on him. He sits STILL in our lap while we put on his shoes and then he takes off running around in them. He gets excited to have his shoes on, I just think that joy can only be found in little ones. Excited and happy about the smallest things. It's adorable! So our little guy is a shoe man. Although I don't expect him to care too much about style and quantity as his mommy does. We still try to keep them off of him most of the time we're at home, but he loves them and loves to go outside in them.

Look how happy he is!




Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A year of memories...

Dear Son,
You are almost nearly a year old. It seems like yesterday that you were a tiny 8lbs and 21inches plopped into my arms from your dad's not content until you wiggled your little arms free from your swaddling. You never did like to be swaddled and as an infant you could not stand a hat, although you certainly did enjoy this one, and so did many of your adoring fans.
You crushed records in your first year of life, my son. You rolled over, then again, and then the other way in record breaking fashions. Your little legs tried to walk ever since you would move them in my womb. You walked so early at 9 months and 2 days old, being stubborn like your parents mom you just had to wait those extra two days, robbing your parents of the ability to brag that you walked at eight months. hehe. You got the hang of it pretty quickly and there is no stopping you now.
You slowly developed your vocabulary with sign language and with verbal language. To date in sign you know: milk, more, all done and we are very close to "eat" as well. In the verbal department you know: dada, kitty, cat, and mama - although you have yet to say mama to me. We gave you a long list of nicknames over this last year and have kept track of them here. We tried to provide you with loving understanding justification as to why but for the most part you're just Baby Bear, or Bear as you continue to lose all the baby and turn into quite the little man.
Over the last year you've had a few bonks and illnesses; but you were a trooper through it all. When you're sad or teething, you are still the bravest little guy we know. You absolutely love to play in any water, the color orange, Nemo and no one can keep you away from your kitties. You do a dance when you eat grapes and you love to dance to music. You like to wave to people and you give Pop Pop hugs. You recongize people in pictures and smile at them as if they can see you. You are the joy of my life and I cannot believe that a full year has almost come and gone.
Your dada and I love you very much. Please let this next year go by very slowly. Mommy can't handle too much speed.
All my love,
Your Mommy

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Backyard Garden

I've mentioned my black thumb before - in fact since the last posting of me the gardening extraordinaire all but one of the plants have died. Yes dead as a doornail. Mostly due to the fact I forgot to water them. That and the stress of 100+ heat when they never were meant to withstand that also played a part in their demise, so I refuse to take full responsibility. ;-) However, with my son's first birthday party coming up I wanted the backyard to look nice and there was this looming pile of... nonsense in a corner - and I have twice previously gone over to tackle it and said... uh never mind. Wouldn't you? I mean look at it?


Yes, that ghastly pile of whatever was inherited when we moved here and I just ignored it and my husband mowed around it. It turns out once we got to hacking that it used to be a vegetable garden. Or at least there were a zillion little potatoes spawning beneath the surface when I started to hack into the soil... once we FOUND the soil. Yes I thought a little clawing at the weeds would be no problem for me. Um no this quickly turned into a family project and several tools where utilized. The weed whacker was brought out, the spade the metal rake, and most importantly the muscle.

Yes, Loving Husband happily jumped in to assist with the back breaking labor of moving stones broken pieces of concrete, that was at one point a wall, out of the way and then went to town attempt to find the earth beneath the madness. It was found and my oh my was it rocky and potato-y. There were several LARGE spiders that were less than pleased to have their home disturbed, but we trudged on through while Ace played with the dandelions in the yard. At the end of the day, we had a new wall built and an excellent planting surface awaiting some plants.


So Monday I headed to the local garden store and piled my cart with $25 worth of plants. I came home and got to work. As I was digging the holes for the plants I found a TON of rocks and so I set them aside to utilize later as a little decore around the plants. The potatoes ... well sadly they and their roots found their way to the yard waste bin. The end result was this! Even if it all dies, I'm just proud of the general landscaping accomplishment. It looks much nicer out there. Just in time for the BBQ for Ace's first birthday!



Monday, August 17, 2009

The Dentist

Yep that's right. Ace has 7 teeth now (4 on top and 3 on the bottom) and everything we've read says to take them to see a dentist six months after the first tooth breaks through and so... eight months after the first tooth came through we went. I have tried to be a good mommy and brush his tooth, now teeth ever since he's had them. In fact our routine most days is that after I have brushed mine we go to the other room and brush his. I use a little finger brush and he loves it. In fact he fusses when I put the brush away rather than during the brushing. It's really cute. Although I know it won't always last. He'll go through the hold him down phase I'm sure too.

We had a recommendation from a friend and away we went. We arrived at the dentist office and we went straight for the Nemo tank, yes I think an obligatory component of every dentist office these days and while Loving Husband checked us in, Ace and I went on the hunt for Nemo. We found him hiding in some coral. Then we were called back relatively quickly. Ace was given a tooth brush all his own with Tigger on it. He instantly began chewing on it while we chatted with the dental hygienist about our tooth brushing habits.

We then met the dentist. Ace was happy enough with him until he morphed into Mean Blue Mit Man. Yes when those gloves went on and he had to be laid into the dentist's lap, well Ace was to say the least... not thrilled. The doctor inspected his teeth and gums and noted what I had feared that he has indeed chipped a tooth. However, it isn't a jagged chip and the dentist doesn't feel anything needs to be done to it, so it will remain that way. He noted also that Ace's baby teeth are very close together and that likely will result in braces and other dental work down the line. Both my husband and I never doubted that trouble, both of us are dental cash cows, a dentist's pocketbook's dream, I could go on. Suffice it to say, we've had a lot of dental work done.


After the exam which seriously was less than 5 minutes we went over a few good habits to try to stick with and add into our routine and then Ace received a bath toy - an orange(ish) frog. Between his tooth brush and his frog he was in heaven. He held onto the frog the whole trip home (we took the blunt eye gouging, throat gagging stick toothbrush away for the car ride.) It was really cute. So overall, Ace while not a fan of MBMM but liked the dentist well enough.