Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Pictures

Talkin' to Grandpa Scott...

I love Daddy!

I love my giraffe too!


Monday, September 20, 2010

On the Town

Today Jacob had the day off, so we decided to inspect the Happy Hour scene in Portland's Nob Hill. For those who don't know, Portland just got voted the nation's best happy hour scene (I think by CNBC). I realized that we've lived here for three years and never really checked it out. It's kind of hard to do when you have to work till five or six during the week and that's when happy hour is over!
First stop was Jo Bar (above). It's located right on 23rd Street, next to Papa Hadyn, which is supposed to be a really good restaurant, but personally it's a little too spendy for me. We were walking around, looking for a place to snack, and discovered it. It's pretty small, but cute. Jacob LOVES fondue, so we ordered a fondue plate. We had fontina and bleu cheese fondue, and it was served with bread, apple slices, and roasted asparagus.
Alex had his own snack while Mommy and Daddy had theirs. I almost had a sangria, but got a diet coke instead!

Next, to cleanse the palate, we had a bubble tea. I love bubble tea!! This Fat Straw was in a basement and had a free intenet cafe, which we didn't utilize but it's good to know that it was there.

Alex was having fun looking at all of the people while Jake and I shared an Original Milk Tea with tapioca pearls. Yum!

The funniest, cutest thing was watching everyone's reaction to Alex. We saw so many ladies look at Alex, nudge their friends and say, "Look at that baby," and smile. So then I recalled the scene from Saturday Night Fever where John Travolta is walking down the street to the BeeGees song "Stayin' Alive." Alex is definitely getting to be a ladies man (even if for now it's just the older ladies!) "Well you can tell by the way I use my walk/ I'm a woman's man, no time to talk!"
LOL!! Of course, it helps that his cute daddy was carrying him down the street! Double the cuteness!

After our Bubble Tea, I was in the mood for tacos, so we walked quite a few blocks to Cha! Taqueria, which we had driven past many times before, but never been to. They have a really cute patio, so we sat outside.

I got another coke, and Alex wanted some too!! He is at the stage where he can hold his own bottle, so when he saw me take a sip, he thought, I know just what to do with that! and grabbed my cup. He is very strong, and I had to hold on tight to the glass so it didn't spill!

Such a snuggly bear!

Jacob got his favorite- nachos! It was a pretty big platter, and only $5.

I got steak tacos, which were really tasty, and a little spicy.

On our way back to our car, we passed this florist's shop that had some really pretty hanging plants, so I wanted to take a picture so I could copy them someday.
It was such a beautiful day in Portland! Fall was in the air, and the sun is probably gone until next June, but at least it didn't rain!
I definitely recommend restaurant hopping during happy hour. It was really fun, and when you are just getting something very small, it takes the pressure off of trying a new place. I always feel like I might be wasting money by going somewhere new and unknown for fear that it will be bad food or service. This way, we aren't investing that much time or money and can try something that we wouldn't otherwise.
If I hadn't been so full, I would have stopped off for some gelato. Oh well, there's always next time!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Going Bananas!


Alex ate some bananas today! I mashed them up really really thin, and added some formula. I didn't know if he would go for it or not, but I thought it was worth a try. He knows the routine now for eating cereal, so I strapped him in his highchair, fastened his bib around his neck, and he opened his mouth. It was so cute to see him eat the first bite, as he was expecting cereal but he got a very strange flavor instead. He screwed his face up in surprise, and then grimaced as he chewed it up.

"Uh oh, he didn't like it," I thought. But then, he kicked his legs with happiness and opened his mouth for more! I couldn't shovel it in fast enough, and when it was all gone, he was not a happy camper! So I mashed up a little more.

"Mmmmm banana," I told him. "Nnnnn. Nun nun nun," was his reply between mouthfuls. I should have taken pictures, but it's hard enough to spoon-feed a baby without getting a camera involved. Sorry folks!

As for some grown up lunch, I found a really good recipe for Edamame Salad, which I will share here:

12 oz of Edamame (can be frozen or fresh, but must be shelled)

1 minced garlic clove

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup corn kernals

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour all of the ingredients onto a metal roasting pan, mix together to make sure the beans and corn are coated with oil. Roast for 15 minutes.

Wait until the salad is room temp before eating. I would have taken a picture of it, but by the time I figured out if it was a good recipe, it was all gone!!

This recipe was featured on Alton Brown's Good Eats this week. He adds chopped tomato and chopped basil after the salad has cooled, but since I didn't have those items I left them out. Very good dish, and very very good for you!!

Bon apetito!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yay for Skype!!

Skype is the best invention for long distance families! It has been so nice to "visit" with our families every week. Once Alex starts noticing the computer screen, then he will certainly be excited to talk to his grandparents. We have definitely been sad being so far away from our family these past few years, and now that we have Alex, it has been such a blessing to show Alex in action to the grandmas and grandpas (and aunts and uncles and great grandmas, too!)

Here are some photos that Grandpa Scott and Grandma Shelly took on Skype:

I hope that we will live close together again soon, but until then, thank God for Skype!
(Thanks to Shelly for posting these pictures on Facebook!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

5 months ago....

5 months and 4 days ago, my life changed FOREVER. My beautiful boy came into the world, a precious gift from God. It was so surreal when the doctor handed this baby to me, who was writhing and gasping for air, having just been ejected from the safety of my womb. What a strange feeling, as I had known him for nine months, yet I didn't know his face or recognize his cries. I had planned what I wanted my first words to him to be: "Alex, I love you." And when they gave him to me, through the pain and all-consuming experience of labor, I remembered the words I wanted to say. As he lay there, on my chest, hands grasping at anything, legs kicking, I felt relieved and terrified at the same time. How sublime!

I remember taking him home from the hospital, and that first night at home, trying to change his diaper by myself for the first time. Waking up every hour, even if he wasn't crying, just to make sure he was still breathing. He seemed so fragile, a living, breathing, human fabrege egg.

Oh, how quickly the last five months have gone! And yet, it seems like life before him was long, long ago, almost nonexistent. Being Alex's mother is such a wonderful privilege. I have been there for his first breath, his first smile, his first laugh. I am so excited to see all of the firsts in his life, to be his number one cheerleader, just like my parents were (and still are) for me.

Now, changing diapers, feedings, holding him, bathtimes, are all second nature. But nothing is routine! Everyday is a new discovery, a new adventure, a new first. He can sit up all by himself for longer and longer every day. He notices new things, reaches for things that he wants and laughs more and more. The next time I turn around, he'll be crawling, taking his first steps, and the quiet days of holding my tiny baby, studying each other's faces, will be gone. Believe me, I am treasuring each day being Alex's mom, and enjoying each new adventure.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pumpkin Down!!

Our Little Pumpkin! We got this outfit in a box of clothes that my dad's friend from work gave them. It will probably be too small by the time halloween rolls around, but we are enjoying it now!

Uh oh!! Pumpkin down!

Our little pumpkin got tired...

Nap time!

New Fruit Discovery!

We went to Whole Foods today, and we found this weird fruit called Rambutan. It is from Indonesia and the area surrounding, and I thought I'd give it a try.
The lady at Whole Foods said all I needed to do was twist it and eat the flesh inside. Hmmm... looks kind of gross...

Looks like an eyeball, and kind of squishy, but I gave it a try.

Yum! It tasted like a big grape, but sweeter and firmer. Do you ever wonder how people decided to try eating this weird prickly fruit all those centuries ago? So weird! Watch out for the seed in the middle, but I definitely say give it a try!

Mama's Big Night Out

Well, last night, for the first time since I had my litttle bundle of joy, I went to see a movie! In a theater! By myself! Jacob goes to see movies by himself all the time, because, as he says, going to the movies is not what you would call a social event. He's right: you're in the dark, you're not supposed to talk, and everyone is staring straight ahead at the screen. But, for some reason, I just couldn't imagine walking up to the kiosk, saying, "Ticket for one," going up to the ticket ripper guy without anyone beside me, and going into the theater and finding a single seat. Everyone would know that I was there by myself! They'd point and whisper about me. Well, of course I didn't really think that, but it felt akin to going to a restaurant alone.
Anyway, after months of Jacob encouraging me to go see a movie, I finally did it. And you know what? It wasn't that bad! I felt really good, actually! Because I WAS OUT!! I found myself smiling through the first few trailers, feeling really proud of myself, until one of the trailers showed a little boy crying, and suddenly I wanted to bolt out of the theater and go home to my baby!
I stayed in my seat, though, and I had a really nice time. I enjoyed Eat Pray Love a lot. I had to get over the fact that Julia Roberts' character was a completely self-absorbed idiot, but once I did, I loved the beautiful scenery, especially the parts in Rome.
I really missed Jacob during the Rome part of the movie, because it reminded me of our honeymoon, which we spent in Rome. Ah, the sights of the ruins, the cobbled streets, and the crowds of tourists mixed in with the Romans, the sounds of the beautiful Italian language, and the beautiful imagery of Italian food!!! I found myself transported back there, and it was wonderful! Definitely my favorite portion of the movie, and I wish that the whole movie took place there!
Well, now that I made the leap into solo-theater going, I will definitely try it again soon! I saw a few trailers of movies that I want to see next time! Maybe we'll have a couple of visits from some grandmas soon, and Jacob and I can see a movie together... (wink wink!)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Grandpa Bill

My Grandpa Bill has been gone for about five years now, and I really miss him. He was such a great storyteller! We used to write letters back and forth, and he was a great writer and poet! I came across a few old letters and photos from him, and I had such wonderful memories of him flood back into my mind. I felt like I had a nice visit from him, and I just thought I would share.

The picture above is how I remember him. He had such a great smile and he LOVED to fish! He took me, my mom and my brother out on his boat out on Lake Michigan (He lived in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) and I remember he jumped into the freezing lake from the boat. It was so cold, he yelled out some very bad language, and I was shocked at the time, but looking back that was pretty funny!
I also remember a picture that he sent me and my brother where he was in a trash can, and he labeled it "Oscar the Grouch." He liked to pretend that he was a grump, but he was definitely a grump with a heart of gold!
He was always so full of energy, and he was a lot of fun! He came to see a community play I was in, and everytime after that, he called me Grace Kelly. That made me feel really good, especially since my character in the play was the Tinman, and I did not feel so beautiful in my foam suit and silver face paint. He took me to lunch after the play, just me and Grandpa, and he gave me this advice: "Seize opportunities to do things now, because you never know if you'll get another chance to do them ever again." That's some pretty good advice, and I have to admit that I don't always follow it. I just came across those words of wisdom in a journal that I kept when I was fourteen, and honestly, if I hadn't written those memories of him down, I wouldn't remember them today. That's why I decided to start this blog, because I want to remember (as well as share) these special memories that I have from times past and memories that I am making today. I hope Alex will want to keep some kind of journal, because going through them when you are an adult is really special.

This poem made me smile when I reread it. Grandpa was such a good writer! I know that Alex will have special memories with both sets of his grandparents. I wish that Grandpa Bill was still around and could meet Alex. Grandpa would just love him, I'm sure. He would also make sure to tell Alex that he was Irish. Grandpa was really, really proud of his Irish heritage, even though when I had to do a report in my anthropology class on my family tree, I couldn't actually find a direct descendant from Ireland! (Shhh! Don't tell Grandpa that!!) Nevertheless, I will still celebrate St. Patrick's Day as a very special and important holiday for the rest of my life, in honor of Grandpa Bill.
Alex, when you get older, I hope you take some of the advice that my grandpa gave me when he wrote me this letter:

"Dear Cori,
How ya doing? I guess you are in camp right now. Sure hope you didn't run into any bears! Bears are ugly and stink and bite! I DO NOT like bears! Besides that I hope you had a good time. I never went to any camps when I was a kid. My grandpa and grandma and mom and dad used to rent a cottage each summer at a lake, and we'd go there for a week or two- that was fun. Then when I was about 10, my Aunt Pat and Uncle Harry bought a cottage on Little Muskego lake which is about 15 miles southwest of Milwaukee. I spent a lot of time out there. I would go fishing and swimming and exploring on the islands on the lake. It was cool! Then when I got older I would take my girlfriends out to the lake, and we had lots of parties, with music and dancing- then we would march down to the pier, and push each other in the water! It was a ball! I could tell you some really cool fun stories about that lake, but I'll save them for another time.
Your very welcome for the cards and gift certificates for McDonalds. Now, myself I don't care much for McDonalds, when I eat a burger there, I somehow get the feeling that its been chewed once before! Yuk... Eating at home is the best! Grandma is a very good cook, and I really enjoy the food she serves.
It has been pretty cold here again, I think it went down to zero last night. I went ice fishing the other day (didn't catch anything), the ice is still 2 feet thick! I don't know- ice fishing is really neato! It is so cold, and yet its peaceful and tranquil out on the ice- and the stark white of the snow and the blue of the sky, and the green pine trees on the shore, are just too beautiful! And quiet- at times it is so quiet, like sound has ceased to exist, and you wonder if you went deaf all of a sudden! I have only caught one fish so far this season, but because of all of the above, it keeps calling me back out on the ice...
Cori, maybe I'm boring you with all this stuff, but, it's often the little things - life's simple pleasures- like that that give a person the most joy in life- I guess you'll learn that as you grow up.
I really enjoy receiving your letters, reading them, and writing you back. Its funny though- it takes about 45 minutes to write 4 pages. I could have spoken all these written words to you in less than 5 minutes.
Now that you are an artist, and author, what about the actress in you? Have you been in any school plays? Or do you just hang around- waiting to be discovered by Hollywood? I was in a couple school plays when I was in high school. I had a few offers from Hollywood, but I had a girlfriend at the time and I didn't want to break her heart by leaving her and going into the movies. So my advice to you is... if you get a movie offer- dump the boyfriend and go for it.
Grandma's youngest daughter is getting married April 13th and I will give the bride away. I will be so handsome that day! I am going to wear the wedding suit that I wore when Grandma and I got married, and I will dance the night away! If you were there, Cori, you would be #1 on my dance card.
Well, that's enough baloney for now. Keep on doing well in school and enjoy it- and have fun.

Alex, you'll have lots of good memories of your family too, and my advice to you is, save your emails (and letters if you get any :-)) so that you can remember things that you wouldn't otherwise remember when you get older. Even though I'm not what you'd call old, I don't have too many specific memories of things that happened when I was younger, just impressions.

I wish I could tell Grandpa the impressions that he left on me, and how much I love him.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mr. Adorable!

So cute!
Alex is mostly a happy boy, and he loves eating rice cereal, playing his piano, looking at his kitty cat, and laughing with his daddy. He gets cranky almost everyday after lunch when daddy goes back to work, and that's when he takes his nap.

Thanks to Great-grandma Helen for this adorable cap! Alex is so cute in hats! This kid already knows what a cutie he is and he definitely plays it up.

Daddy wants his boy to be a smarty like him!

"Yes, I believe that equation is correct, Daddy!"

Memories of a Tea Party

Would you like a spot of tea?

Ever since I was a little girl, my mom and I have been collecting tea cups. The rules of selection were simple: the tea cups had to feature a purple flower, and they had to be pretty! Violets, lilacs, pansies, and butterflies grace the delicate contours of the porcelain.

The cups all have different shapes. This one, above, has a scalloped edging on the saucer and came from an antique store. I remember having a lot of fun with my mom at antique malls and thrift shops. It's always such a fun experience to take a step back in time and what people used to have in their homes before I was born. Has anyone noticed how items from the 80's have crept their way into antique shops lately? I don't believe that anything after 1975 should be considered antique. What do you think?

In selecting our tea cups, mom and I did not religate ourselves to antique stores. This one is brand new and we bought it at a tea shop, which had a gift shop in the front. Mom and I went there for tea a few times. They had the cute little sandwiches and delicious pastries to go along with their vast tea selection. Once we took my grandma there, and it was really quite the afternoon, with three generations of ladies taking high tea, you can't go wrong!

Another selection from an antique store. My mom loves violets, and she always had African violets in pots in the kitchen window (I think she still does!) Everytime I see a violet, I have to inhale the delicate, yet intoxicating fragrance, and I think of my mom.

This one we found at an antique mall. I remember it was in a glass case, and we were so enthralled with the delicate lilac painted on the front, and when we purchased it and got it home, we realized that on the other side of the cup was a huge, ugly white rose! We always kept it turned like this, even though it's backward, to hide the rose. (I forgot to take a picture of the other side!)

This cup is also new. I'm not sure where we got this one! But you can definitely notice a difference in styles between old and new. The new ones are thicker porcelain and have cleaner, more modern lines.

This one is of a later style, although it was purchased used, it is not what you would call a true antique. Still very pretty though!

Lately I've been enjoying pomegranate green tea. Jacob drinks tea, too, but not out of these babies! Somehow I don't think that men enjoy the delicacy of these dainty cups! When I was pregnant with Alex I drank lemon ginger tea and mango black tea, since I couldn't drink coffee. I remember my Grandpa Bill taught me to drink tea with milk and sugar when he took me out to a fancy lunch. I had never heard of that before, but it is really delicious!

I love this claw-footed cup, which gives it such an oriental flare. Our friend and neighbor Mary gave it to us, because she knew mom and I collected them. I think this is my favorite cup!

For my 14th birthday, even though our collection was not quite complete, we still had a good enough number of tea cups to have a tea party birthday. My mom decorated our backyard and set tables with lace table clothes, beautiful bouquets, and our beloved tea cup collection for all my friends. That was such a beautiful party! She made all kinds of baked goods and delicate sandwiches. I remember feeling so grown up!

Ah, what fond memories I have when I look at our collection! If I have a daughter, I hope that we can continue collecting cups, along with Grandma, of course! If not, maybe Alex will have a little girl to continue the memories with!