Sunday, January 30, 2011

Falling in love, again, with the mountains

We have been waiting all winter. Waiting for a gorgeous weekend to go snowshoeing. Before the baby E and I would go snowshoeing in all conditions: snow, wind, sun. Now with the little man we have to wait for the conditions to be perfect. Because he's not exercising, it needs to be warm enough for him.

So we waited.

And waited.

And I was getting antsy. Because I love snowshoeing with the baby, remember?

Well this weekend finally delivered. It was gray and cold in the valley but the mountains offered clear skies, warm sun, and clean air! Thank goodness we were out of the inversion.

We decided on White Pine again (the same spot we went last year) and it was glorious. Just glorious.

We went with E's brother David and the two men spotted a ermine in his white winter coat. I didn't see him and I was so bummed. I really love the woods, maybe one day I'll live in the mountains. Doesn't that sound like a dream?

The best part about snowshoeing? Other than James was thrilled to be out of the house and was filling the mountain air with his happy baby laughter? The dark blue sky. It almost looked purple it was so rich and beautiful.

James loves snow. Like seriously loves it. It is quite tasty, you know.

Yum yum yum. Whenever we go outside he grabs a big handful of snow with his little chubby hand and shoves it into mouth.
Looking like the little rascal raccoon that I love.
The sky to the south was the bluest of blue. This is not edited. This is how it looked. Amazing.
Off we go, across the big White Pine meadow.
Family photos.

The snow was frozen into little beautiful crystals. I love this type of snow because as you walk across it it makes a beautiful tinkling sound, like millions of tiny bells.

Isn't it crazy that it was so warm James didn't even need gloves? None of us hiked in coats, it was divine. And David needed an action photo for a photo class he is taking. I was more than willing to jump off a snow bank.

The next three photos are courtesy of David. Here I am jumping again.
And this is how I landed. At least my camera was safe.
And isn't this close up James the sweetest? Thanks David for capturing it.
Perfect little prints across the snow.

Me, self portrait.
On the way back to the car across the beautiful untouched meadow.
And a video I took (notice my reflection in E's sunglasses). Simply glorious.
PS - If you have not voted in the JJ's Space name change poll (to your right) please do so. I see that I might have been wrong in wanting to change the name, so glad you like what its been. New name change (or lack there of) will be in 8 days when the poll closes. At that point I'll have a new Valentines header too. :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Say what? {Possible blog title change...}

JJ's space. It's my space. I'm JJ. But there are so many cute blog titles out there. Oh Happy Day is one that I love. Enjoying the Small Things is another blog title I just adore.

JJ's space I came up with quickly on a whim when I started this blog. It has served me well for six years of blogging. I don't plan to change my blog at all, just the title. Thoughts? E loves the current title and is sad to see it go. Should I stick with what I've got?

Please help. I'm serious. Any great ideas? Stick with what I have? I've added a poll to the sidebar, please please please vote. If you like two titles, vote twice. Or if you have a better idea, I'd love to hear them.

Poll is right here, see? ------------->

And who wants a post without a photo? Thursday is my new favorite day of the work week. James and I go to Gymboree Play & Music for a class. It is so fun. There are about 15 other toddlers and Mamas there and I am just loving it. James adores climbing all over the foam slides, ramps and mats. I love talking with the other Mommies.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bath time {Black and White Wednesday}

James has graduated to the bathtub. After 12.5 months of bathing in the kitchen sink we switched him to the big boy tub around Christmas time.

He likes the sink better.

In the sink he can turn on the water and play with the faucet. Hence our problem. As soon as he was able to turn the faucet to hot we needed to switch him. Can't have a scalded baby on our hands.

In the bathtub once the faucet is off, it's off. Poor man! What's a boy suppose to do for twenty minutes just sitting there?! Don't you know that sitting is boring? We have struggled a bit with trying to keep in from pulling up to a stand, we want him to know bath time is for sitting.

So recently we got out the bubbles. It only buys us three or four more minutes, but he does think it is great fun.

And a few from this afternoon in the living room. Love this kid so damn much. Being a mama is life-changing.

the long road

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trouble-making toddler {Wolfy photos: 14 months!}

"Trouble-making toddler?" you ask. How could this sweet wonderful perfect boy be even a tiny bit naughty? Oh yes, he's reached toddlerhood. "Prove it," you say.

Well to get these photos (which I adore, by the way) I had to wrangle my very mobile boy (who refused his morning nap today) onto the couch. This kid does not sit, remember? Yea, as soon as he was sitting next to Wolfy for his 14 month photo shoot he started to climb away. And fell. Off the couch.

Granted, I caught him and he thought it was a grand ol' game, but it was not fun. I even considered doing my first Wolfy photo shoot on the floor. But I prevailed. And won. How did I get such sweet smiles from a kid trying to fling his cranium onto the wood floor? Hold him down.

Notice my fingers at the very bottom of the shot above? Yep. Luckily he thought it was hilarious, and gave me quite a few big grins. Then we dawned on our coats and headed outside, because the thaw is still sticking around. I knew it was time to come in again when he had an all-out toddler tantrum (snot, tears, stomping feet, pushing me away) when I told him "NO" as he made a beeline towards the street.

Although this last month has had its struggles including non napping, some crying during the night, yet another cold, and still more teething (we are up to 8 teeth!), it has been full of fun too. James is more and more aware of his world around him and surprises me all the time with the amount he knows (I would guess he knows around 50 words including refrigerator, downstairs, outside, and his all-time favorite word: ceiling fan!).

He is getting more and more mobile as well, FINALLY learning to crawl about a month ago. He easily can walk on almost any surface including the uneven grass in our front yard. He has yet to be able to stand from a sit, but will happily crawl to the nearest item he can so he can pull up.

He laughs when we laugh, dances whenever he hears music, blows kisses, is super sweet and gentle with the kitties and squeals with delight whenever we are outside. And he sleeps through the night, and most days at nap time.

He is beyond wonderful and I love him more with each passing day.

Happy 14 months Baby Man! Now don't fall off the couch or go in the street.

Only way I got these were to push him back and then quickly snap a shot.

At least he thought it was funny.
Here are some of the mid action shots were he is trying to fling himself onto the floor.

And from month 1 until now:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Playroom {our awesome basement!}

When we moved into our house in 2008 I knew I wanted to convert the big room in the basement into a playroom in one half and a tv room in the other half. The TV room came together quite easily, but there wasn't much need for the playroom until we had little ones to play in it.

For the last three weeks or so E, James and I have been working on the basement playroom quite a bit. It is so cold and unpleasant outside, why not make our indoor space as awesome as it could be?

We had a lot of fun fixing up the space, and now that it is complete we have a good couple of hours of fun down there every day.

So, here it is, in all of its glory! If you have any questions of where I got a specific item, leave it in the comments and I'll try to help out.

Above, view of the entire playroom area.

Just a warning: IKEA owns my soul. Almost everything came from its jumbo store full of reasonably priced goodies.

Detailed views:

Left Wall, back: This piece of furniture is an armoire from IKEA that my mom bought in the as-is department. When she didn't need it anymore she gave it to me and I was thrilled because it was the perfect home form my American Girl collection. I tipped it on its side, took off the doors and painted the black backing. It has housed my American Girl dolls for about 18 months and for a long time was the only thing in this area of the room.

I cleaned out the bottom half of the "house" for James. On the left I store some of the pillows I made from IKEA pillow forms and fun IKEA fabric and on the right we store some of the bigger toys that are not always in use (his awesome IKEA rocking moose). The top half and "roof" still stores my doll collection.
Left Wall, front: James's Grandma and Grandpa (my mom and step-dad) got James this adorable IKEA kitchen for his first birthday. The little stove top turns on, all doors open and close and is made of solid wood. Then a couple of weeks ago my Mom showed up at my house after thrifting with this adorable little hutch. She paid $5.00 for it, and I couldn't have been more pleased. James's little pots and pans mostly came from my American Girl collection, and his little foods are from both IKEA and Melissa & Doug.

(You might also spot the gnome cottage on the cabinet near the microwave.)

The fun school house styled clock is from IKEA, of course.
Far Wall: This wall still has some of the decorations I hung when we were new to the home. The top floating shelf has some of my favorite photographs from our time in Africa and the bottom shelf has a beautiful Titanic model E made as a teen. Both seem to fit the room just fine, the Africa photos are colorful and simple and what boy doesn't love ships?

We also had a little space between the far wall and the IKEA armoire that I mentioned a moment ago. James loves little hiding places like this, so I came up with the simple idea to sew a little curtain (more IKEA fabric) and hang it on a little spring tension rod. It worked out so well and now it is one of his favorite spots in the entire room.

To the right of the hiding spot we have a magnetic board that holds some magnetic gears (from Lakeshore Learning). These things are the neatest and not only does James love them, but E and I are addicted to them too.

And last but not least, we have a picture ledge shelf, from IKEA of course, that holds some of James's favorite books. I like how this shelf showcases the cute covers, because everyone likes kids' book covers, right?
Right Wall: The opposite wall is the home to some of my favorite things in the room. The two framed prints are from Kate's Papery in NYC and hung in simple IKEA red frames. The other two IKEA frames hold some pieces of the awesome IKEA fabric that I made some of the pillows from.

On the left side of the photo is James's activity cube, which was his first birthday present from E and I. I love this thing, it is solid wood, made to last, and is adorable.

The shelf is (you guessed it), IKEA. I love their Expedit line because is is super affordable and comes in lots of colors. E and I had to make two trips out to IKEA (first time it was sold out) but the trouble was worth it. We love it and the coordinating bins that hold all of James's toys.

On top of the shelf is our adorable vintage airplane lamp from PB Kids, a red mailbox from Magic Cabin and a dragon stuffed animal that was E's when he was a boy. Inside the shelf are just a few of James's many wonderful toys.

The rug that you can just barley see (it is so cute, roads and cities and a beach front) is also an IKEA purchase and was James's Christmas present.
Some of my favorite details.
Mr. James revealing his hiding spot.
He really likes the activity cube. So glad we got it.
Showing off how the doll house is perfectly sized for him!

E loves these magnetic gears. I swear, every time we go downstairs he plays with them.
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