Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One Smart Man!

Ritchie finally did it! He finally graduated from college! He's been working so very hard for so very long and the day finally came for him to graduate and celebrate and reap the rewards of all of that hard work. It was a beautiful day filled with joy and pride for our guy. The guy who can truly do it all.
Max was a champ through what was a very long ceremony with over 600 graduates. As long as he was allowed to eat the program he was a happy camper.
Capturing his alma matter name up on the big screen of the HP Pavillion.
A crappy glimpse of Ritchie actually receiving his diploma on stage. Well, okay, the back of his head receiving his diploma on stage. I was told that they took one on stage that they will email to him. Thank God.

Max didn't quite make it through the whole thing, but was very proud of his daddy and grinned a grin of massive proportions when we clapped for his daddy on stage. And then the party began! We had a group of people over to party it up right. Bocce ball, meat, and home brew for my man. Nothing but his favorites. His closest friends and family came to shower Ritchie with admiration for his effort and diligence.
Bocce ball was played and everyone exhibited exemplary sportsmanship. There was absolutely no name calling, shoving, or cursing. Just high fives and exchanges of kind words. (I'm hoping that I can write sarcasm well enough for you all to get the mood of our backyard bocce)
In the end we were all friends though. This is just part of the group of friends who came out to celebrate.
Ritchie has brewed some potent beer and everyone was a bit tipsy. Ritchie thoroughly enjoyed himself and his home brew.
Way to go, Ritchie! Everyone who knows you can testify to your accomplishment. Through working full time, getting married, buying a home, having a baby, and dealing with me for your wife - you still managed to finish your degree. You have every reason to celebrate and be proud. I know I'm proud to call you my husband and the father of my child. We love you very much!

9 Months Old

I know I say this every single month, but I really can't believe we've hit 9 months already! Time is just flying here at casa de Lincoln. Things started getting pretty exciting here this past month with all of Maxton's accomplishments.

I actually began writing things down this month in a little journal that I keep on the coffee table. Whenever I see him doing something new or noteworthy I write it down so I can reference it for these updates and his scrapbook that I'm working on. So, I apologize in advance for droning on and on about my amazing son and his huge milestones this past month. The more organized me will be much lengthier, I'm sure.

Let's start with the basics. At Max's 9 month appointment he weighed in at 20 pounds 5 ounces and 29 inches long. He's grown considerably in length, but barely at all in weight. He's beginning to even out and all of his new movement this month apparently slimmed him down some.

That leads me to his new-found mobility. He began crawling this month! I originally didn't call this thing he does crawling. It's army crawling. However, I was informed by my doctor that he is, indeed, crawling. I guess he may never get up on his knees and actually crawl that way, but he can definitely get where he wants to be now via the army crawl. The look in his eyes when he sees that item he just has to have across the room is so focused and driven it makes me laugh. It also makes me let him have whatever he's crossed the room for - haha! In other mobility news, he also began pulling himself up on things this month. His little piano, his jumper, the couch, mommy and daddy... anything is fair game, really. He has little interest in being on his tummy or back. He's a standing man. He's also been taking some assisted steps with Ritchie as I am in no hurry to rush the walking. The assisted stepping is super cute, I must admit. My favorite trick is his ability to go from tummy to sitting by doing a push up and then twisting his body until his butt defaults and hits the floor. Not only is it adorable, but it saves me lots of energy picking him up into a sitting positions when he's laying on his tummy crying. With his face on the floor. Yeah... so glad those days are ending.

His teething this month has been pretty bad. Sadly, all that pain and no teeth to show for it yet. But he's eating really well with the two teeth he's got. His menu has expanded exponentially this month with the introduction of chicken, rice, cherries, apricots, bread, pancakes, cheerios (oh, the cheerios - how he loves the cheerios) mangoes, melons, and cheese. He basically eats what we eat for dinner (except when we order pizza - which is hardly EVER. No, we NEVER have pizza).

This month we've noticed that Max has fallen in love with animals. Any animal he sees he will squeal at and begin to laugh and wiggle to get out of our arms so he can go get it! His love of animals makes our appreciation for Gracie begin to return. Our poor pup has been so neglected and is slowly squirming her way back into her spot in our new family. Max also has shown a love for music this month! He loves when mommy sings to him and he's all smiles when we play with musical instruments. He began a music class this month and the big drum is his favorite. Now that he's learned how to drum, he drums all over town. Tables, laps, the floor, your water bottle. The world is his drum. Swimming is another favorite of Max's and his swimming class on Monday's is one of the highlights of his week. He loves to splash and doesn't mind putting his "eyes in" at all! It helps that the water is, like, 95 degrees and that mommy's in the water with him.

This month gave us a perfectly blissful sleeping pattern. Max typically goes to bed around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. and wakes between 6:00 and 6:30 for a quick nursing before returning to sleep until between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. He then naps for 2-2 1/2 hours in the morning and usually another 45 minutes to an hour in the afternoon. He's a very, very well rested little boy.
* of course as I say this he is crying avoiding sleep and we're having to Ferber him - so, with each month it definitely changes.

A few behavioral changes have been made this month as well. He's learned how to shake his head "no" and he really means it! When he doesn't want a particular food, or he doesn't want me digging whatever little treasure he found on the floor out of his mouth, he just shakes his head "no" at us with vigor! I thought we had until at least 2 years of age for that, but I suppose we didn't luck out on that one. Separation anxiety has been in full force this month and anytime we leave the room or even turn our backs he begins to wail his disapproval. It's not particularly enjoyable to have him crying anytime we want to pee, but it is flattering that he always wants us near him.

But my favorite report of the month is that he is now hugging. Big. Tight. Bear hugs. Pure, heart-melting bliss those hugs are. He hugs me like he never wants to let go and I don't ever, ever want him to. I love our little boy and cherish every moment we spend with him.
So much personality is sprouting forth!
His permanent faux-hawk!
Overall a very happy, loving baby boy.
We love you, Maxton James.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Officially Summer!

And Max is loving every sweet minute of it...
Barefoot in the grass....
lovin' up on some watermelon...

makin' a huge mess!
So happy he's here with us this summer! We have some fun things planned to enjoy this season with our little man. I can't wait to see his smile shining right along with the sun.

While he chomps on watermelon, the only thing I'm interested in chomping on is those cheeks!


Today we celebrate Dad


Okay, so we celebrated dad yesterday. But I'm still celebrating dad today, thank you very much :)

I would first like to talk about my dad. My hero, my first love. The guy who has always shown me love, encouragement, and has endless faith in me. His high standards for me have helped me become the kind of woman I am today. From my father I get my creativity, my love of family photos, my wonderment of the holidays, and my ability to talk through conflict. He's the hardest worker I know and I look up to him now more than ever because I know what having a child is like. I can't imagine taking the kind of care he did of us while working and being a single parent 50% of the time.

Here are some shots from the past few years (my favorites from what I have digitally)

My dad has also taken Ritchie on as his son and for that I am so grateful.
He's seen me through all of my milestones...

And was there to "share me" as he said on my wedding day.
And then he became a Papa. And my love and admiration for my dad grew as I watched him love my own son and began to understand the kind of love he has for my brother and me.

I love you, Daddy. Thank you for being the man that you are.

The other Dad was celebrating his first father's day. On September 24 he was made a father. He was given a son. He filled the father shoes with ease and made it look easy. When I felt frazzled and overwhelmed, he was calm and certain. I couldn't have survived the beginning of motherhood without him.

Oh, and how he loves his baby boy! He plays with him and teaches him. I catch him having conversations with our little 8 month old and explaining big vocabulary words. He works on baby signing during dinner, they play during bath time, he sings him songs and reads him books and gives him so much love that it makes my insides burst.


A picture taken today. See how happy Max is with his daddy? Swoon.
Both of the celebrated dads with Max, who I know one day will be celebrated for being an amazing father as well because of the role models that he has of what it means to be a father.



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Inspired

So I've come across this amazing blog:

http://www.kellehampton.com/

Not only can she write beautifully, but her pictures tell their own stories. Reading her blog has inspired me to practice more photography. Especially photography of Max, my all time favorite subject.

And what a good subject he was tonight!
The light behind this fire hydrant was amazing!
Check out that blue bike and how there just happens to be a wider gap in the fence right in front of it! What luck!


What I came to realize lately was that having a great picture taken is one thing, but enhancing the image using photoshop is a whole different thing! It took may pictures from good to great tonight!
Before:
After! A little warmer and higher color saturation.
Before:
And AFTER! Higher contrast, more light and warmth, and it's sharper now.
Ritchie bought an external flash today so we can continue to improve our technique with light. I am so excited to have this new found inspiration and to continue improving on my photography skills. Please give Mrs. Hampton's blog a read. She's amazing and will undoubtedly inspire you with more than just photography. Happy reading!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time to baby proof?

Not just yet... but we're getting there!
Here's where Max was on Monday with "crawling"

video

And here is yesterday... Thursday. Just 3 mere days later:

video

I'm thinking we don't have too much longer before we'll have to bust out the outlet plugs, baby gates, and cupboard locking mechanisms... *sigh*

(But obviously we're excited about this milestone or we wouldn't be encouraging it - so YAY!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

I'm not putting this on my culinary blog that I can't figure out how to delete (I mean, seriously, what was I thinking?) BUT I want to give everyone this chocolate chip cookie recipe because it is seriously delicious. Seriously. Like, we make them twice a week sometimes. So, if you're up for gaining 5 pounds instantly then you'll enjoy these immensely!

1 cup + 2 Tbl all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt (yes, it has to be kosher - it makes a difference)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup light brown sugar (yes, it has to be light - don't mess with the ingredients, folks)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I usually put 1 1/4 cup because who doesn't like more chocolate??)
3/4 cup walnuts chopped (optional)*
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut (optional)*

* tonight was the first night I've ever put in the optional ingredients and it was seriously worth it!! (Kim - I know you hate coconut, so you have permission to leave that ingredient out :)

  1. stir together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Stir together the egg and vanilla in small bowl and set aside.
  3. in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar on med. speed until just mixed. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. (you can also use a hand mixer)
  4. And the egg mixture to the butter mixture and beat well.
  5. Put mixer on low and add the flour mixture to the egg and butter mixture.
  6. Stir in chips, walnuts, and coconut.
  7. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
  8. Drop rounded spoonfuls (I usually roll into 1- 1 1/2 inch balls) and place onto cookie sheets sprayed with Pam.
  9. Bake 10-12 min. Mine take exactly 11 minutes. You want them to be slightly underdone so they are gooey and soft, with brown, buttery edges.
  10. Let them cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes (very important) and then transfer to a wire cooling rack (also very important) to let them cool completely.
  11. Use will power not to eat them all in one sitting like someone I know.
YUMMMMM.... I know it's hot, but wait for evening (I started mine tonight at 9 o'clock) and bake away. You won't regret it!

Just Cause I Was Called A Tease...

..and because this project is shaping up to take longer than I thought it would so I'd like to document the process a bit.

So if you look at my previous post you'll notice where the furniture is arranged, etc... We kept the paint colors the same (the room is massive and difficult to paint. Plus, we like the colors!) but rearranged the furniture so that it now looks like this:

We mounted the TV and put the canvas over the dresser. The dresser needs more dressing up and that whole wall in general needs more color to it. I do like the beige, but I've always searched for a way to add some color to it. So that's part of the redo plan is to spruce up that area some.
The bed is now in-between the sliding door and the window. We'll keep the same bedding but we are in need of some throw pillows.
Ugh. The purple lamp shades. I got those lamps at a garage sale for $10 for the pair and we've had them (purple shades and all) for 7 years. The shades are either going or getting a facelift somehow. Also, we have some decor for the nightstands that need to be brought up fro the garage since the room was cleared out for carpet installation.
Okay now come to the part of the room that REALLY needs some attention. Again, most of the decor is actually in the garage, but I wanted to give you the bare bones view of the room and show off the new carpet and baseboard! Ooohh!! Ahhhh!! Okay, so here we have a bookshelf. We have some baskets and books and such but the top has nothing. I have some ideas for bringing in some of the bed colors over there. Above the bookshelf is where the project involving some actual artwork that is NOT photos of us (gasp!) is going to go. Ritchie broke me down, but I do LOVE what's going there and I'm hoping the mounting technique will work and look the way I've been picturing. There's also a project for above the desk that I'm wanting to do, but I need to do some garage sale-ing to try and find the materials for it. That one may take awhile. Ignore the toys on the floor. Little man plays there and we usually pick the toys up and put them in baskets on the bookshelf. I love that area for him to play while I clean (or lounge on my bed - let's be real). Also, this picture gives you a great view of the carpet and baseboard! The carpet photographs a bit darker than it actually is. It's a nice shade of gray. and goes with everything! We are loving it!

There's the enormous sliding glass door that we've never quite known what to do with. Right now it has some bamboo shades, but if you notice they are not wide enough to cover the window. Special, right? haha! They actually go too high up to put our old curtains up on the outside of the bamboo so I have another project in mind to make them work. All of these projects!! See why I was saying it's going to be awhile?? I'll show you each as they progress.

So that's it! Stay tuned as we bring in the decor, complete the (what? 4?) projects and make it the cozy space that I'm hoping it can be!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Master Bedroom Project

We've done and redone the master bedroom already. We started out doing a light, limey green all over and had zero artwork or character. It was blah with a capital B.




Then we repainted using two shades, a dreamy blue and a warm taupe. We got a canvas from our wedding from my mom for Christmas. We also hung red curtains and brought up a chair. It was an improvement for sure, but still not quite where we wanted it.





We've rearranged the furniture already and have a large art project in mind. We have new bamboo shades for the big window and different shades for the smaller one (I know, I know. I hate the shades being different, but it will have to remain that way because of finances). We also got rid of the chair and brought up a bookshelf. Perhaps the biggest recent change was putting in new carpet and baseboard. It makes the room look 100% better. We just need to do this art project, hang curtains, and add some finishing touches. I want the final look to feel cozy and romantic. A retreat where we can unwind from the daily chaos that we've welcomed into our lives. I'll show you more when I accomplish my goals. HOPEFULLY this will be very, very soon.
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