Thursday, April 29, 2010

Books, bears, and blankies

One of our favorite book series is the one about Bear. We randomly got the 1st book, "Bear Snores On," as a gift when Joseph was a newborn, but it quickly became one of our favorites to read to him.

One of our more recent additions was "Bear stays up for Christmas," in which Bear gets a quilt from Santa. I took one look at it and thought "I could make that same quilt so easily. I think I even have almost identical fabrics in my stash."

And so:

By the way, it's actually a tiny quilt, just 24" x 24". It's meant for his bear stuffed animal.

I had to add a personal touch, so I made 1 giant block for the reverse side. It's called a "bear paw" block, of course.

And here's bear taking a nap with it.

Joseph, being into matching as I mentioned before, was quite excited to see it. We presented it to him right as we read that part in the story. He kept looking back and forth between the book and the quilt saying "See? Matches!!" Now he sleeps with it every night along with the rest of his lovies.

I thought the quilt would be cute for Baby Brother too. But this is just creepy. Kinda Chucky-esque!

Now I'm inspired to make a full size quilt for his bed. Never an idle moment around here!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Biker Boy

My childhood trike really did turn out to be a bit too rickety for my comfort level, so we set off yesterday to get a new one. Given his stature, we figured Joseph needed to come with us to do some test driving. Here's the scene at Toys-R-Us:

And we have a winner!
Love how he narrowly avoids a crash!! His steering skills have greatly improved.

Here's the hotness - Cherry red Radio Flyer Classic, all shiny and new, assembled during his nap.

And immediately upon waking from that nap, "I ride my new bike?"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Empty Nest

JT hasn't been in the crib for a few months now. Once he got a taste of the big boy bed back in February, there was no going back. It just so happened that a friend of a friend was looking for a crib right when we were starting to wonder what we were going to do with ours. It had been occupying a large chunk of space in the room and serving no purpose but to hold a few pillows and stuffed animals. So we sold it to them.

He had been completely disinterested in the crib until I started disassembling it, of course. Would have made a cute toddler bed, but we never went that route.

The people picked it up this weekend, and now there's just an empty space where his empty nest used to be. Time to rearrange the room!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just Dandy

Just a simple thing like a dandelion inspires such wonder and brings such joy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We represent The Lollipop Guild

We went to the bank again this morning before our weekly play date with Jack, and it seems that even though it happened only once before, this has now become synonymous with "getting a lollipop." Joe Joe picked an orange one so it matched his shirt (matching has been one of his big things recently), and grabbed an extra one for his best buddy.

They had been maniacs all morning, but the world stopped and there was peace for 5 minutes for a hit of sugar. A little earlier they had been having fun with wagon rides. Joseph rarely rides these days - he much prefers to pull, so Jack was in luck.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring has Sprung

Time for Brent to get the yard back into shape after the beating it took this Winter, along with his little "helper."

Digging in the dirt and finding worms was a big hit.
And the lawnmower is back out for the season! (If only it really worked.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bend it like Beckham

Remembered this hockey net our nanny gave Joseph for Christmas 2 years ago was in the basement. Since football may not be the scholarship route....

The net came with hockey sticks and balls too, but i'm verifying my dental coverage before he gets to use those.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fabulous Family Photos

A few last pics of us from Will's christening extravaganza.
I just love it when Joe Joe smiles so big his eyes get all squinty :)

The Godfather, Parts I, II, & III

We had the most wonderful and special weekend! We were lucky to have Mimi in for a visit with us and her adoring grandson, we were thrilled to be on a panel discussion at our adoption agency's annual conference titled "Raising resilient kids in gay and lesbian adoptive families," and we were beyond honored to be included in the christening of Missy and Matt's son Will. I had the supreme honor and pleasure of being asked to be Will's Godfather, a role I eagerly accepted.

Part I: Everything leading up to the Big Event.

Missy's parents were both generous and gracious in asking us to their family dinner the night before the christening at a favorite neighborhood restaurant. We gathered for cocktails beforehand and took some lovely pictures in front of Missy's favorite cherry tree in their front yard.

Joseph and Jack had a ball next to each other, sharing pizza, pasta, and more bread & butter than 2 adults could stomach (interestingly Joseph focused on the bread, while Jack preferred the butter). They even had their own place cards at the table. Top notch!

On Sunday morning Mis invited the Godparents over - as she so sweetly said so many times, "2 of her favorite people," her best friend Maria and me- so all of our boys could play together. She set up a picnic under the dogwood tree for them, and they had a field day running around the yard.

Part II: The Baptism of William Reed Estabrook

Here's the parents and Godparents along with Will, and an action shot from the ceremony.

Brent did an awesome job photographing the event since my task at hand required me to be in front of the camera for a change. Mimi did an awesome job taking care of Joseph. Who knew how he was going to handle this - the ceremony was schedule right in the middle of his nap time - but he worked it out:

Me and my Godson!

Part III: The Reception

As with Jack's christening, there was a dessert reception back at home after the ceremony. I gladly filled a personal request from the hostess for an order of cakeballs, this time chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with chocolate coating. Decadent! Jack seemed to enjoy them, as did the rest of the guests.

I also couldn't resist and surprised them with some decorated sugar cookies. W: it's not a bad letter anymore! (You might notice in the above pic that Jack snagged a "W" cookie too to work on after the cakeball.)

A more casual pic of the Godparents and Godson:

Towards the end of the afternoon we piled the boys onto the slide for a photo shoot. Unfortunately Will was napping at the time. They looked adorable even though we couldn't get all 4 of them looking in the same direction at the same time. And boy did we try - all of the adults jumping around, hooting and singing and jumping to get their attention and make them laugh.

It's a shame when such wonderful weekends have to end.
Missy, you did such a wonderful job with all the arrangements, as always! You're always the perfect hostess and perfect mom! Everyone had such a great time, and I'll be the 1st to remind your boys how much you did (and always do) for them and your family. And thanks one last time for including me in this special day. God bless William Reed!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Drive By (Photo)Shooting

Yeah, we tried to go see the cherry blossoms at peak bloom. So did 10 million other people. We tried to go late enough in the day when we thought most people would be heading home and it would be easier to drive. No such luck. This is as close as we got before heading home.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Buona Pasqua

Look, I know I'm just a white guy from Jersey, but I really do embrace my Italian heritage and much of the time wish I was more Italian in some way other than having a Roman nose. I love to cook Italian food, especially at Easter since we tend to always spend it with my side of the family.

Every Easter I make "Pizzagaina" for my family. You've probably never heard of it, as almost no one outside of my family ever has. It's a savory pie jam-packed with cured meats and cheese - salami, pepperoni, ham, prosciutto, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, parmesan. Plus you can throw in anything else you like, such as roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, even hard boiled egg. It's served at the conclusion of Lent, once the period of sacrificing is over. (You know we Catholics even give up meat on Fridays. Well, the practicing ones do). It's one of the things I remember my paternal grandmother always making, yet when she passed away I sadly realized that no one else knew how to make it. I randomly came across a similar recipe a few years back, tweaked it a little so it was closer to what I remembered, and tested it on la famiglia. Success! Now it's a tradition that I carry on, even if it's essentially a heart attack on a plate!

In my continuing goal to scour my cookbooks and try at least 1 new recipe a week, I decided on a new dessert for Easter dinner: "Torta della Nonna." It means "Grandmother's tart," which is fitting since I was making my Grandmother's appetizer too. I 1st heard of it when reading the book "Under the Tuscan Sun" and tried to find some when we went to Tuscany a long time ago, but never did. Bummer, since it sounded so good - a sweet crust filled with custard and topped with pine nuts. Simple, but elegant, and molto squisito.