Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

I am hoping that we have started a new Christmas tradition this year. We invited our good friends from And Baby Makes Three over to decorate gingerbread houses although this year it was really graham cracker houses (gotta wait until the kiddos are old enough to appreciate the work that goes into real gingerbread houses!) Considering the children are all under 4 I think we had a good showing for our first attempt. Most of the candy went on the houses (at least initially) and some real creative juices were flowing (at least in the female gender).

Little I, Mr. C and Bubs stare down the houses. This is the only time Bubs had anything to do with decorating. In exactly 30 seconds after sitting down at a table FULL of candy he darted off to play at the train table. Gotta hand it to him- real self control around sugar!

Bubs favoring Thomas over decorating gingerbread houses.

The Bean hard at work decorating her house. Unfortunately she decorated her roof so well that by the end her roof line was a bit flatter but tasted just as good!

Mr. C probably would have been playing with Bubs except he was strapped into his booster seat and he has a real sweet tooth. He was a bit more into un-decorating than decorating.

MomE puts one on and I take one off and put it in my mouth...

...or put it in my house for later!

Little I did a great job decorating and to my surprise did not eat much candy.

Carefully considering which color next.

Cheese! I am done and am wearing the chocolate mustache to prove it!

Both moms decided that the trial run was a success and we hope to try it again next year so stay tuned!

Little I turns 3!

Little I celebrated his third birthday this month. He of course wanted a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday so everything was decorated in blue (for Thomas), red (for James) and green (for Percy).

Little I's friends enjoyed hot dogs, all the juice boxes they could drink and of course cake!

His cousins drove over from Georgia to help celebrate.

Mr. C and Cousin JDH battle it out in balloon vs. sword!

Little I blows out the candles on his Thomas Cake!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Look Back at Autumn

Sorry for the delay in posts but we have been busy as you will soon see! This past October we moved out of our townhouse and into a larger home with a wonderful backyard. The boys have loved the room to run and even have a treehouse with a slide. It is a wooded lot with trees holding more than 30 large bags worth of leaves- after 30 we have stopped raking them up! I sure hope Santa brings a leaf blower!

DadD, Little I & Mr.C went trick-or-treating and met some of our new neighbors. Mr.C was a friendly dinosaur while Little I was a ferocious lion complete with a growl.

The boys enjoying the backyard

DadD's proud new ride.

Mr. C hard at work!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Reflections of Summer

Last year we had a beautiful fall. I expounded on the glory of fall and football in the South--the best time of year down here. Well, this fall has not been so glorious. It has been rainy, drizzly, and rainy. But, we've tried to make the best of it.
Already it appears that cold weather has set in for good. Where'd our beautiful fall go with its crisp cool nights and moderate days? Where are the bright shades of sunrise turning in the autumn leaves? Muted? Hidden? I don't know but it's been awfully dreary here recently. Perhaps it is time for a little reflection back on the summer of 2009.

Reflection #1--Enjoying being outside. While fall has been rainy, summer was surprisingly cool, which just means it was not unbearably hot. Whether feeding the ducks (above) or playing at the park (below), it's just nice to just get of the house.

Reflection #2--Pennsylvania Lake House. We were fortunate enough to be invited to some family friends' lake house at Crystal Lake in the Poconos in August. We enjoyed one beautiful day at the lake--just enough time to get wet, get sunburned, and capture some great photos--before heading back to GG and Papa's house.

Reflection #3--Hilton Head. In September, my parents and grandma came to visit. My sister and her family had a gift certificate to use for a condo in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and invited my parents, grandma, and us to join them. Fortunately for Mom E, Little I, and Mr. C, there was room enough for them. Unfortunately for me, there was no way I could get off of work, so I had to sit the trip out. By all accounts, the boys loved the beach and loved playing with their cousins. We may have to make the trip a regular event.
Apologies for not updating the blog as frequently recently, but as you can see we've been busy. We're also in the middle of a move--more updates on that to come. In the mean time, enjoy these parting reflections.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Baby Zombies

Mr. C has taken his first steps. Initially, he would try to run, rather than walk, and would fall right over. He's discovered that he needs to be a bit more deliberate and, thus, has begun the inevitable baby-zombie-walk. A little stilted, a little wobbly, but definitely walking. Go Mr. C, go!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Morning Mist

We awoke inside a cloud this morning. The sunrise was pushed back by a sopping wet haze that seemed to muffle even the cardinals. Every night for the past week, we've watched a quarter-sized spider spin a massive web from house to fence. Each morning after, I've checked in anticipation of a masterpeice, only to find the web missing. This morning I finally saw the web and the mist. The mist seemed a perfectly eerie backdrop to the dewy strands, so I snapped some shots, then kept going:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Trip to Vulcan

A couple of weekends ago was the Birmingham Membership Alliance Day, where various museums and theaters throughout the city allow reciprocating access to members of other museums and theaters. We have memberships at the Birmingham Zoo and the McWane Science Center, so we figured we'd use the opportunity to visit one of Birmigham's other sites, Vulcan.

Vulcan Park and Museum is a tribute to Birmingham's history in the steel industry. The statue of Vulcan, god of the forge, stands atop Red Mountain, overlooking the city of Birmingham. For those of you interested a detailed history, take a peek at the Vulcan website. For those of you who don't want to click away from these beautiful smiling faces, here is my executive summary:

Birmingham was founded in 1871. The area where the city grew is very special because it contains coal, iron ore, and limestone, the raw materials for making iron and steel. Birmingham's founders knew this would be a good place to build an industrial city. By 1900, Birmingham was called the "Magic City" because it grew so quickly. The city's leaders wanted to advertise Birmingham and the state of Alabama to the world by entering an exhibit in the St. Louis World's Fair. James A. MacKnight, the manager of the Alabama State Fair, decided a statue of Vulcan would best highlight the area's growing industrial abilities.

. . .

Designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti and cast from local iron in 1904, it has overlooked the urban landscape of Alabama's largest city.

. . .

The statue proved to be a very popular exhibit and won the Grand Prize [at the St. Louis World's Fair] . . .

In 1905, when the World's Fair had ended, Vulcan was taken apart and brought by train back to Birmingham. . . . he finally wound up at the Alabama State Fairgrounds. . . . Merchants began to use him for advertising, and over the years he held various objects, such as a giant ice cream cone, a pickle sign, and a Coke bottle. Later he wore a giant pair of Liberty overalls. In the 1930s he was repainted in flesh tones.

. . .

In May 1939, Vulcan, now painted with aluminum paint, was finally in his new home in Vulcan Park, atop Red Mountain. The hollow statue was filled with concrete to help anchor it in place. In 1946, some safety-minded citizens decided Vulcan should remind everyone to drive carefully. Instead of his newly forged spear, he now held a cone-shaped, lighted beacon. This signal glowed green on days no one was killed in an auto accident and red on days when there was a fatality.

Apparently, Vulcan suffered from the same ailment as my backyard basketball goal in high school. Just like my basketball post which was never covered, the top of Vulcan's head was not covered, so rain poured in and he eventually developed cracks. Unlike my basketball goal that rusted at the base and fell over, someone figured out what was happening to Vulcan and dismantled him in 1999 before he could fall over. He was fixed, repainted, and the park re-opened in 2003.

I suppose it is a tribute to how long I've been in Birmingham because I can remember going up in Vulcan prior to 1999 and also remember when they took him down for safety reasons. For a while there, it seemed like no one was willing to put any money into restoring Vulcan. Eventually they did, but I wonder what Vulcan's fate would have been if they had to do the repairs in 2009 instead of 1999. . . Maybe he could have gotten some of that fictional dome money.

Ah well, at least Birmingham has some lasting legacy that heralds a time when Birmingham was a booming city full of promise. For Little I's and Mr. C's sake, I'm anxious to see some of that promise return.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. C!

It is hard to believe that just one short year ago MomE and I were still at the hospital with our newest family member, Mr. C. Yesterday was a big day for Mr. C. He had a little birthday celebration with friends from play group, he got some new toys to play with, and he had his first cake. We decided to treat him to barbeque out for dinner after spending some time at the library. Mr. C must have known it was an important day because he surprised us with two new words: "bubbles" and "balloon"! His vocabulary now consists of eight words, which means he improved his vocabulary by 33% on his birthday. Way to rise to the occasion, Mr. C! Rather than wax philosophically about the relativity of a year depending on how you look at it or spend an inordinate amount of time reminiscing about the past 365 days, I'll get straight to the pictures.

The friends:

The family:

Blowing out the candle, Little I helped:
The cake with action shots:

I have to brag about MomE's creativity here. The "ice cream cones" below are actually cup cakes baked into ice cream cone shells. No silverware or napkins needed!
Happy Birthday Mr. C! We're so glad to be your mom(E) and dad(D)!