Thursday, September 30, 2010

oh those eyes

 Is it any wonder I'm head over heels for my little boy?

The comments we get about him, 
more often than anything else,
are all about his eyes. 

These pictures make his hair look really red, but it isn't--must just be the lighting?

We had a rough two or three weeks with him right after he learned how to walk. 
I'm not sure if it was his newfound independence, 
the dreaded 2 naps to 1 nap transition that he attempted, or the fact that we were in the throes of weaning (or maybe it was all three), but whatever was ruining his little life seems to have cleared up now, he takes two long naps each day,
and oh so thankfully our happy Nicholas is back.
Oh so thankfully.
 Did I mention he's getting a dimple?  Right there on his left cheek.  
And the fact that he fell yesterday and conked his head on the edge of our tv cabinet...well that just makes these pictures all the more real-life Nicholas.

Blogger has finally made it simple to use beautifully large pictures-hallelujah!
Or maybe it's just that I finally figured out how to do it... 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

one year pictures

Attempt number one, anyway.
Out of the 59 pictures I took, more than 30 of them look something like this:Nicholas walking away from me, way more interested in the cement under his feet than in smiling at his camera-wielding mother.
But don't you just love how he still has those adorable rolls on his ankles? It almost makes me hope that he never loses those.
Okay, so that's not true. A 20-something-year-old with ankle rolls probably wouldn't be quite so adorable.
For now, though, I'm loving it.

One of the only ways I could get him to both look at me and smile was playing "5 little monkeys." Hence the blurry hand. Those little monkeys are swinging in the tree.

I enlisted Kent's help, and we managed to get a couple of good ones, but we will definitely be trying again later this week.

He's no longer able to sit still and smile at me while I snap picture after picture,
but I'm pretty certain he gets cuter every day.
We just have to work a little harder to capture that cuteness on camera.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

lemonade picture no. 5

Fifth and final.

This picture is from one of my family trips to Hawaii. Me and all of my siblings.

We were staying near Hanalei bay, which quickly became my favorite beach on the island.
While we were digging this hole in the sand there was
a rainbow over the waterfall-laced mountains,
a beautiful orange sunset over the ocean,
a local behind us playing the ukulele,
and the smell of someone's beach barbecue.

Seriously. The moment couldn't have been more perfect if we planned it.

And thanks for indulging my "lemonade" picture posts. It was fun!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

what i miss

The changing from summer to fall is probably the time when I miss being farther north the most.

I get that "fall itch," you know, the one that makes you want to wear sweaters and crunch leaves under your feet and make tomato soup.
But it is still in the 90's here.
And the leaves won't fall off the trees until December.

I want to decorate my house for fall, but when it's still bright and green outside it just doesn't seem to fit.

I know, boo hoo. When it's February and the rest of the world is dying for some sunshine...then I'll be so glad to be here instead of there.
So it all balances out eventually. Even if I do miss the changing of the seasons.
But yesterday my friend Allison taught me how to make pie crusts. Let me tell you, rolling out that dough and placing it in the pie plate, trimming the edges and crimping the outside--I felt so pleasingly domestic!

The pie is delicious, and I made pumpkin, which does help it feel just a little bit more like the fall I'm wishing it was.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

lemonade picture no. 4

I could probably keep showing you lemonade pictures for the rest of the year,
but I'll try to restrain myself and just give you two more.

This is the hotel that we stayed in the first night we were in France with Kent's parents and Sam and Heidi.

Doesn't it look like something out of a fairy tale?

This hotel was in Castlenaudary, my favorite of all the towns we visited as we traveled down the Midi Canal.

But the more important reason I love this picture is because of the night we had in this hotel.
I don't know if it was because of the multiple red-eye flights we had traveled the day before, or because of the quaint beauty of Castlenaudary, or if it was because the bed in that hotel room--although the room was rather sparse--the bed was the perfect level of softness, or maybe it was the delicious meal we had for dinner the night before....
I don't know what it was exactly,
but the night we spent in this hotel was the best sleep we've ever had.

We woke up slowly, softly. The gentle sunlight sifted through the partially open window blinds. We could hear little birds quietly chattering on the sycamore trees outside. Old men from the village walked slowly alongside the canal bank below our window, murmuring softly in French. The air smelled clean, like growing things and dewy ground, with a hint of fresh-baked bread from the nearby bakery.

I have never felt so rested, so completely relaxed and yet so energized.

We still talk about it.
"Remember that one night in Castlenaudary? Remember how great it was to wake up that morning?"
Especially now that we're parents, we crave another night like that one.

Monday, September 20, 2010

lemonade picture no. 3

These are the girls of Carriage House Apt. 308.
The year I lived with them was one of the best years of my life so far.

A few weeks ago I was organizing the closet in our extra bedroom and I came across a box full of my journals. Now the problem with organizing (as with looking through picture files) is that I get caught up and want to review everything.
Perhaps the problem is that I am a sentimental girl.

Either way, I was reading my journal entries from the semester I started living with this group of girls. Nearly every night as I went to bed I would write something along the lines of "I really should have spent more time on my homework today, but we went and played sardines with our FHE brothers. Tomorrow I'm going to be better and get all my assignments done."
The next night, the same entry with some other fun activity.

We actually formed a Study Party Association (SPA) group with some of our FHE brothers with the intent to get together to actually do our homework. Instead we would find an empty classroom in the Smith building, where I would play the piano, we'd plot our life timelines on the dry erase boards, play practical jokes on each other, and watch videos on youtube.

And now that I look back at it, I'm so glad I didn't spend any more time on my homework. I did enough to learn the material and get good grades, which is important,
but these friends, those good, good times,
they were actually a little more important.

Whenever I talk to one of these girls now, we can't stop saying how much we loved living together, how much fun we had, and how we wish we could be back together again. I developed a very real love for my 308 roommates. Sounds sappy, but it is true.

And none of us will ever forget the sight of George riding that little bike down the balcony on Sundays after Church.

Friday, September 17, 2010

lemonade picture no. 2

Kent proposed to me on August 1, 2007, late at night after a fancy dinner in his parents' sparkling treehouse. (Yes, I meant to say sparkling. Christmas lights, tiki torches, candles, and a sky full of stars.) The next morning we jumped in the car and drove to Monterey.

That day is still one of the best I've ever had. We called and texted every person we knew during the drive, and it was so fun to be in the car, both of us on our phones, sneaking knowing smiles at each other. We had big big news and oh the excitement of sharing it!

Monterey Aquarium, Bubba Gumps, Cannery Row. In my newly-engaged the-world-revolves-around-us state of mind I felt like every person we saw was staring at the shining (if perhaps a few sizes too big) ring on my finger.

Yes, I wanted to tell them, this handsome man here-he's all mine. And, did you see this ring? He picked it out all on his own. Do you see how amazing he is?

We stood in line to see a show at the aquarium. It was something about recently discovered deep water creatures. Translucent-skinned fish with large glowing eyes and microscopic creatures living symbiotically. To us, the show was hilarious.

To us, everything was hilarious. We were getting married-our lives couldn't get any happier.

We drove to a stretch of beach. White sand speckled with waxy green groundcover. We drew pictures in the sand with driftwood sticks. We hugged and kissed (more than a little but not too much!)

I set my camera on a perch of jacket-draped driftwood, set the timer. This picture has
always been my favorite of me and Kent.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

lemonade picture no. 1

Nicholas was napping this morning.
I turned on the desktop we never use anymore, searching for pictures to help me complete a long-standing blurb project of mine.

An hour later, Nicholas woke up from his nap, and I was still looking at pictures.
Do you ever get lost in your picture folders? Thinking, oh yeah I remember that, and golly wasn't that the best vacation? (Do you ever use the word "golly" in your head?)

Anyway, I have a folder on my computer that I titled "Lemonade." It contains pictures from all of my happiest moments (you know, the times when life is all lemonade and no lemons).

So I thought I'd share a few of those with you.

Picture number one is from our honeymoon. We had tried to find a meetinghouse where we could attend Church on Sunday, but the nearest one was outside of Paris somewhere, and having just barely attempted the metro system the day before, we didn't feel like we could find a way to get there. We decided that the Louvre museum was a suitable Sabbath activity.
I spent all day Saturday memorizing the words for "open" and "Sunday" so we could ask them if they were going to be open. That brought my French words total to 5. It's amazing what you can accomplish with simply a polite "parlez vous anglais."

The Louvre was dazzling. Room after room after room of the most famous art pieces you can think of and many more that you can't. We saw the Mona Lisa from behind six rows of tourist heads. We saw the Winged Victory of Samothrace. We marveled at the massive Wedding at Cana. We rested on the velvet sofas, and we realized that our museum-wandering stamina left something to be desired. We held hands the entire day.

And this picture, taken on our single-use kodak by a kind French passerby who was wearing a heavy black trenchcoat, is one of my most favorites.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the snowball effect

It might just be us, but one thing is for certain.
At the Andersen house, the projects never end. And each completed project seems to necessitate yet another project.

For example:
"This great new tile we put in doesn't reach all the way to the old carpet we have here."
"So let's put in new carpet!"


"While we're on our way to Lowe's anyway, why don't we go ahead and get _____ too?" (Insert, well, practically anything Lowe's sells. I think we've bought one of everything by now.)

A few months ago my brother Josh jokingly asked me (via letter) if we had finished the Elizabethan Spires we were adding on to the house. Every time I write him it seems like we're in the throes of yet another house project.

we've been looking for a chandelier to replace the not-really-our-style one above our dining table. At the same time, I've been looking for ways to free up some space in what has become the most crowded corner of our house. Table, high chair, shoe tray, pantry, diaper bags, aprons, desk space...none of those elements could really belong anywhere else.

It wasn't until this weekend that I realized that getting a smaller light fixture, while not clearing any actual space, would certainly clear up some visual space.


And since we couldn't leave it at just the light, we also replaced the air vent cover---on a side note, why is it that so many of the new-ish houses here in Texas have so many dated, old-ish details?

And then, because as I mentioned, we can't leave well-enough alone, and because Labor Day is nearly synonymous with "sale,"
we went ahead and bought this beauty:

Now, is anyone interested in buying our old range?
It works great.
Word of caution: Replacing your range could possibly produce a snowball effect at your house, too.

Don't say we didn't warn you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

this guy

Yesterday we went to Gruene ("green") with our friends. There's this incredible restaurant there,
the Gristmill.
Ask Kent about their ribs.
Ask me about their chocolate pie.

After we stuffed ourselves silly we spent some time walking around the little shops.
Nevermind the fact that we chose to do this on possibly the muggiest day of the year,
it was fun to explore the general store, the candy shop, and of course one of the
antiques stores. (Teresa, you'd be in heaven here.)
I got myself a little lost back by the jadeite bowls and enamel sugar tins. Next time I go there I'm going to leave husband and baby behind and spend a few hours just wandering around the stores.

Anyway, back to our little Nicholas.
We sat down for a bit on a beautiful wooden swing. Nicholas was happy. Until we tried to take a picture of him. Then he gave us the bulldog face you see above and he started to fuss.
So Kent picked him up.
He wanted to get back on the swing.
So Kent set him down.
He was not happy with either option. (If you know what I mean. And if you know any toddlers, you know what I mean.)

We couldn't figure out what was bothering him so much. Then our dear friend Allison suggested that maybe Nicholas just wanted us to actually swing the swing again. We had stopped moving so we could take a picture, you know.
Yep, that was it. And just like that, our one-year-old was happy as can be again.
Our other dear friend Allison (there are two of them) suggested that being a mom is perhaps a lot like being a detective.

Things around here have certainly gotten a little more interesting now that we've entered toddlerhood. Nicholas's brain works better than his body does, so he knows what he wants to do, but often he can't figure out how to make it work, how to get things unstuck, etc. It's quite frustrating.
We're trying to teach him the words "stuck" or "help" so that maybe he doesn't have to immediately resort to squealing.

But, as it always has been, even while he's gotten more, shall we say, particular, he's also gotten so much more fun!
At 12 1/2 months, this is our Nicholas.

Words: Dad, Mom (sometimes sounds like "bob"), up, duck, ball, boo, this, no, hi, bye, done, more, "vroom," and a sentence--"Hi Dad!"
Recent tricks: kisses, folding arms, throwing balls, blowing kisses, "shh" with his finger by his lips, and pretty much doing anything he sees Dad do
When we let him go around without a shirt on, he likes to rub his belly or pinch himself while he walks.
Before I can pick him up out of his crib after a nap he has to hand me all of his blankets one by one.
He loves to play the put-things-in-take-them-out-again game.
He gets so excited when we go into the garage and open the garage door.
Balls and cars are his favorite toys.
He sings along whenever I play the piano or when he hears a song at Church or on Dad's phone.
He likes to make funny faces and his laugh is getting cuter and cuter-more grown up.
And when he eats, he likes to be close enough to the table that he can take the food off of his tray and set it on the corner of the so:
He seriously is a goofy little boy and we love having him around, toddler tantrums and all.