Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My helper

Every time I've sewn something, Braeden has asked me if it was for him. He looked at the itty-bitty white shirt I appliqued and asked if it was for him. Friday when he came home from school, he peered down at the small pair of pants I had just finished and asked if they for him. And each time he's asked me, I've had to say no. And I kept telling him that I would make something for him very soon.

It's not like I hadn't been thinking about what to make for him. And it's not as if I didn't have about 10 ideas competing for space in the tiny part of my brain devoted to crafty projects. It was just easier to make bibs, burp cloths, and tiny pants. But today was Braeden's day!

After lunch with Mat Thursday, Gage and I went to Target looking for something. Instead of a canister for flour, I walked out of there with two clearance items--a blue dish towel with a dump truck and the words "Lil Helper" on it and a large blue outdoor tablecloth with cars and trucks on it. I knew right away that the towel would become an apron for Braeden to wear when he cooks with me. The tablecloth might become a picnic blanket or maybe some big pillows for outside seating. I haven't decided yet.

Saturday Mat had to be on campus for Commencement, so in the morning Braeden and I made cupcakes (using a red velvet cake mix!) while Gage napped.

After Braeden's quiet time, I brought the towel upstairs and we got to work. He didn't like modeling the towel but he definitely wanted to help me sew. I let him help me cut the towel and he operated the foot pedal to wind the bobbin. He always wants to push the pedal. He's actually stepped on my foot while I'm sewing and sent the needle flying at a breakneck pace! And he's gotten into trouble for it, too! So he loved winding the bobbin.

The whole thing only took about 20 minutes (not counting the times I was interrupted by Braeden, Gage, or Mat coming home). It's not the best job in the world, but it's cute. And it's big enough that Bray will be able to wear for a couple years, at least.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Into the pool

We took the boys to the pool at our development today for the first time this season. It was a beautiful day, in the low 80s and sunny with a light breeze. The kiddie pool is closed for some reason, so we had been preparing Braeden that he would have to go in the big pool. We also had him try on his ski vest a few times so he would be used to wearing it. Mat got it for him last year at Costco in preparation for the day he would graduate to the big pool.

Here he is in new swim trunks and NO swim diaper! He looks sullen but he was really just being silly and posing for me. He even wore his reef flip-flops for the first time today. He picked them out; I didn't have to twist him arm or force him into them. They're so cute because they're the same pattern as Mat's. :)

We weren't sure how it would go when we got there since Braeden often seems really excited to try something new but then his excitement fizzles when it actually comes time to do it. But not today. Today he was thrilled to be at the pool. He balked briefly when we tried to put the vest on him, but he came around pretty quickly.

Mat wanted him to jump into the pool right away, but Braeden preferred to get his feet wet slowly on the stairs.

But after a couple minutes of this, he asked Mat to pick him up and take him into the water. They walked around a bit and came over to where I was sitting on the edge with Gage. Braeden sat next to us for a few minutes, but we convinced him to get back in so he wouldn't get too cold. And then we convinced him it would be fun to jump in. I think he was worried his head would go below the water. We explained that the vest would keep him above water and Mat promised he would catch him when he jumped. And after a couple minutes, Braeden took the plunge. Over and over and over again.

He's very excited to go back next weekend! I'm already thinking about teaching him to swim...buying him a kickboard to learn to kick, teaching him to put his face in the water to blow bubbles...so much fun. But for now, Braeden wants some kind of inflatable raft or tube, so I'll be making a trip to Target this week in search of something cute.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


"Mommy, there's an alligator in the garage!"

Yup. That's what I heard Braeden say as I was putting Gage in the car Saturday morning. We were headed out to run errands while Mat was on campus giving a final. I came around the car and saw Braeden crouched over our lizard.

Isn't he cute? The lizard, I mean. Braeden, too, of course.

Friday, May 16, 2008


This is too sweet not to post.

It's not much of a surprise to say that I LOVE coffee. Growing up in NY means that, at heart, I am a Dunkin' Donuts girl. I was spoiled in college because there was a DD just down the street from campus. I went often, many days more than once, for a medium hazelnut with cream and sugar or (in the summers) an iced coffee. When we moved to Ithaca I learned that the DD had gone out of business the previous year. I was crushed!

But then I found this wonderful cafe just across the street from our apartment complex. Hope's Way catered a lot of events I did at Cornell. They catered our wedding, too! And I went there every morning before work for coffee and a muffin or scone. Then something dangerous happened. I had my first vanilla latte. And suddenly I was one of those people spending upwards of $3 for a cup of coffee. Ithaca Bakery made the best nonfat vanilla lattes but Buzz Coffee was a little bit cheaper AND had a drive-through, so it was a toss-up as to which cup I'd be sporting that day.

Moving to NC, I wasn't sure what I would find. No DDs in our part of the state, that's for sure. Apparently they're coming to Greensboro, though. Can't wait. Down here there's a Starbucks on practically every corner. Since I don't like their regular coffee, I try to limit my visits to once or twice a week. Shelling out $3.63 for coffee grates on me, but I love it. It's my treat to me.

By now you're wondering where the hell I'm going with this...Occasionally when Mat and I both worked at Elon and we would drive together to work, I would insist on stopping at Starbucks for coffee. And sometimes I would decide to make my coffee run before we dropped Braeden off at school. He thought going to Starbucks was a treat, too, and I thought that was just wonderful. I love sharing things with my boy. He knows a lot of stores by their logos, and Starbucks is no exception. When I would take him inside with me, he would tell the barista I wanted a mocha. And they always thought it was so cute that this two-year-old was ordering mochas for his mommy. And at home he would bring me pretend-mochas all the time. If he got on his buck to run errands, his errands always included a trip to Starbucks for me. Such a good boy to want to go get coffee for his mommy.

About a month ago he got a lot more sophisticated in his pretending. He's now got my Starbucks order down pat. Well, almost.

He runs around telling anyone who will listen that I want a "defat grande nonfat no whip mocha" which is exactly right except it's decaf not defat! Today he was making coffee for his teachers and friends at school and telling them that I go to Starbucks every day (in my dreams, maybe). He was also serving penguin cappucino...he has this little penguin that came with a Diego toy set my parents gave him last year at Virginia Beach. He puts the penguin in a cup and pretends to make cappucino out of it. Slightly disturbing if you give it too much thought. But on the whole, totally cute.

And thoroughly sweet that my little boy takes such good care of me!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Hope everyone had a happy mother's day! We did.

My mother's day actually started Friday when Braeden came home from school with my present. Each year the teachers help the kids make something for the moms. This year he brought me home a plastic bowl with potpourri in it. On the outside of the bowl is a little poem and Braeden's handprints. It's very sweet. And very smelly. :)

Mat and Braeden had also stopped off at our Lowe's (the grocery store) to buy me flowers. Mat let Braeden pick something out, and they came home with a beautiful hydrangea. It's funny because my boys gave me a hydrangea last year for mother's day too. I love hydrangeas! I'm looking for a place to plant it in our yard, something I didn't do with last year's plant.

Those were my surprise mother's day gifts. Mat and I had talked about gifts, and I asked him for a tree. We've been talking about planting trees for each of the boys since before I was even pregnant with Braeden. It will be nice for them to grow up helping to take care of this tree. I hope that they'll want to plant dogwoods in their own yards someday. When we finally got around to planting trees, I didn't think our yard was big enough to add two more, so one will have to do. I always knew I wanted a dogwood. Dogwoods are a Potter thing. We had one in our yard at the house I grew up in. When my parents moved to their new house, I bought them one as a housewarming gift so they would have one in their new yard.

So, Sunday morning during a break in the rain, we all went to Lowe's (not the grocery store, this time!). I wore Gage in the Moby facing front again, and he had a great time looking at everything and cooing. And drooling. Braeden was very good while we were there. Mat and I split up so he could buy stones to make a ring around the tree and to edge our front bed. Braeden and I went to look at trees. Even though I was planning to buy a dogwood, I almost got seduced by these beautiful Japanese maples. Their leaves are so delicate and the red color is just amazing. I also looked at a crabapple tree...I knew Braeden would love picking the fruit. But ultimately, we bought a white dogwood. It's very sweet. And little. Not much to look at now, but I know it will grow into something beautiful in a couple years. If we can keep it alive!

And here's a picture of the front yard now that Mat edged around the flower bed. Last fall he built a little wall around the oak tree in our front yard. The soil was eroding in front of the tree since our yard slopes down to the street. Once he built the wall, the two daylilies I planted in front of the tree just exploded. I guess they weren't getting enough water before. Before the wall, only one of the plants bloomed. And now both lilies are lush and both have buds. I'm thrilled! And I'm hopeful that doing the edging around the front bed will help the plants up there as well. My daffodils were duds this spring. I was so disappointed. The lilies up there are coming in nicely. And there's one tiny hosta coming up that survived the great hosta massacre of '07.

One last cute picture...here's Braeden in his faux crocs. You may have noticed he has band aids on his knees in the first picture. He was running up and down the driveway when we got home from Lowe's and slipped on one of his trips down. He skinned both knees, just a little bit, and insisted on two band aids. Spongebob band aids. :)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Putting out fires

Mat had to work all day Saturday so that left just me and the boys to hold down the fort. We made chocolate chip cookies in the morning...Braeden is turning into a great helper in the kitchen. He loves anything that requires using the stand mixer or the food processor. Come to think of it, he likes the blender too. I guess anything with a button, anything that makes a bunch of noise, or anything that you can see at work (like watching bread turn into breadcrumbs in the food processor).

I didn't take any pictures from this Saturday, but here's one from a week or so ago when Braeden and I made cupcakes. I ALWAYS got to lick the beaters when I was a kid. And it's still one of my favorite parts of baking, so I'm so happy to share that with Braeden.

While the cookies were in the oven, Braeden figured it was time to do some serious work. He put on his fire chief hat, got our step stool/firetruck out of the closet, and set to work putting out fires.

I asked Braeden if Gage could try on his hat...being the good brother he is, Braeden said yes. Please excuse these next two pictures. I'm sitting on the kitchen floor with Gage on my lap trying to take the picture without actually being able to see the screen, just holding the camera at the angle I think I need to in order to get a shot of Gage's face. As you can see, I did only okay at this. I love this picture because I love baby toes!

His face is a little fuzzy in this second picture and the bright sun completely washed out our morning room, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances.