Dear Katie

Monday, November 30, 2009

Yes...they ARE both blue and they DO both have flowers, but they STILL don't match.

P.S. Please stop scratching your face so we can get your Christmas portraits and Timmy's 1 year pics done. And tell your brother to stop falling down the steps and splitting his lip open.

P.P.S. You are a very gifted video game playing trash talker, but you should just stop. I don't care that you are smaller. I will always be better than you. As long as the game is comprised of balls or cubes that must be shot at or grouped together. You are no match for me.
Ask Aunt Chris!


From his granddaughter

Saturday, November 21, 2009

He was a brother. A Marine. A NJ Transit bus driver.
He was a husband. A father of seven. A grandfather of thirteen.
He was a great-grandfather of six.

He was a great grandfather. My grandfather. My son's namesake.
He was my driving intructor. My cleaning conscience. My partner in crime.
He gave me away at my wedding.

He was a joke teller. A ball-buster. A nickname-giver.
He was a beer drinker. A cigarette smoker. A heckler.
He was the life of the party.

He was a fix-it man. An overseer. An instructor.
He was a football fan. A debater. A card shark.
He was a tour guide.

He was proud. Generous. Honest.
He was smart. Crafty. A catch-phrase creator.

The life of the party

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This past Saturday was Timmy's 1st birthday party. Post to come. However, in the meantime, I thought I'd tell you about the entertainment. It was incredible. I found a company online and a very talented woman came and painted faces AND led a sing-a-long with her guitar. We were really impressed. Her painting and singing were both really good. She was patient and creative.

But the REAL life of the party was after almost everyone was gone for the evening. Only the extended Bouf family remained and we got some free entertainment from Katie and Emma.

How they knew how to strike the appropriate "bluesy" position was beyond us. Personally, I think we should stick them out in front of the Philadelphia Zoo with a hat to collect money.

Debi hosts "Two for Tuesday" at Who Says 8 is Enough? Go visit!


Happy, happy, happy Birthday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I tried all day. I wanted to get that perfect picture of my handsome birthday boy. I worked against a quickly fading camera battery. You slept so much of the day because you're not feeling your best. I did acrobats throughout the day to wipe your nose and then jump back to snap a picture before it started dripping again. You're on your third cold in a row, with only 1-2 days of reprieve between each. But son, you are an overachiever. Noone said you needed to cut all of your molars before turning 1.

This is the image of your baby days that I will forever remember. Your ear is your lovey, your comfort. You can tell us you're ready for night-night quicker than any words can.

This past weekend you were at your girlfriend's 1st birthday party and her shoulder-length hair and walking ways made her seem quite the big girl. But I love that you're not quite there yet. I love that you still have your baby short hair. I love that I can pretend you're still my little baby just a little bit longer. You know, you're not really even close to walking, I'm sorry to say. This past week you just started taking some first steps, but I have a mother's intuition that it'll be some time before you master those feet. You are a master climber though. You are ready for mountains. You've taken on the chik-fil-a playground. You've found your way up a full size slide. Coffee tables are child's play; the steps are your playground now.

You are drawn to danger. You loved your first birthday present. Aunt Kari brought you over a spiderman cupcake (which your sister ceremoniously smashed...sorry). I'm not sure whether it was the bright colors or impending mess that got you so excited, but I suspect it may have been the fire. Between this glimpse into your teenage years and the knowledge of the stunts your father used to pull, I am afraid. Very afraid. You squeal with delight when we carry you down the stairs quickly. You shout out "bump" when we go over speed bumps. You love to be swung around in a circle and throw yourself backwards for maximum enjoyment. You've been a merry-go-round riding champion since early summer, but you like the fast rides the best.
Finally, we were able to get through to that happy boy. You are generally a sweet, happy, silly, social little guy. While you may not be walking yet, you use so many words. "Hi" is still your favorite. You get a little bent out of shape, though, when every stranger that you pass doesn't immediately come over to play just because you flashed your smile and whispered "Hi!"
You love music and love to dance. You love to make us laugh. Unfortunately, you love tv. Already. Anything with lots of music is your favorite. The music from Sesame Street, the Wiggles, and Yo Gabba Gabba will stop you in your tracks and draw you in like a fly. You love junk food. We have to order you your own meal most of the time we go out as a family. You crack us up when we're out to eat and you gaze longingly at all the tables around us who already have their food. You try so hard to get the strangers' attention to convince them to feed you their meal. Your favorite food, without question, is blueberries. You are a blueberry eating machine.

You are your sister's shadow. You do everything you can to keep up with her. You clap at her soccer games and bang on the wall at her gymnastics class to get her attention while she is on the balance beam. You call for her now. You say "AA-ee" instead of Katie and it is so darn cute! Your dad is your hero. You beam with pride when he picks you up and you pat him on the chest in excitement.
You are my favorite hugger. You frequently come to me seemingly sleepy. You put your head down on my shoulder and give me a good hug. Then you're good to go. You don't like to snuggle; you have to much to do to dawdle. Any attempts at snuggling you in my bed begins with a good hug and usually ends with you attempting to kamikaze jump off of my bed. You love to be chased, especially when you think you're doing something naughty. It is your favorite game. You can't contain your giggles. I love you so much and I will chase you to the ends of the earth. I will be there to catch you throughout the years. But please, lets do it in baby steps because you can be a little exhausting.

Happy 1st Birthday, Timmy! You long to be a big boy, but you will always be my baby. I hope you have a great time at your party this weekend.


Thanks Aiming Low

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've been all set to write about my fantastic night OUT OF THE HOUSE Wednesday night, but you know, in true Aiming Low style life has interupted. A little procrastination here, some Halloween blog obligations there. Throw in some swine flu* for good measure. (*My daughter had a fever for 24 hours, but aren't we calling all fevers along with cold symptoms swine flu these days?)

I was already planning to throw in this picture of me and my pal Lisa. Even if my face is three times the size of hers. Even though I look pregnant (I'm not!!!). But on the upshot, I'm actually tanner than someone. I was all set for the embarrassment since I was so grateful to Lisa for taking a trip to NYC with me. I was ready to throw caution to the wind.
And then, yesterday, Lisa sent me this link From Aiming Low's Flickr uploads.

So thankyou Aiming Low for the night out and the snacks and drinks. And THANK YOU for posting this picture of me. Because seriously, my face has never looked thinner.

Now let me back up a moment and start over.

Once upon a time, I found a link to the amazing blog Aiming Low. I felt like I found my true parental sorority. Women who love their kids, but may not be as crafty as some, or speak as quietly as others. One day I noticed that they were coming to NYC to visit and I felt a tickle in my tummy. I really had no idea what to expect. I had never been to a single "blogger" event before. But I immediately called my husband to see if he would be able to come home early just once so that I could travel to NYC, meet some great bloggers, and perhaps come home with a goody bag or better yet a new printer or laptop from HP. Next, I e-mailed Lisa, a good friend since middle school, a dedicated blog aficianada, and recently author of her own blog. It took some convincing, but she was in!

I decided to drive in, all the way in, and valet park at the hotel. I was convinced that I would be winning one of the rumored fabulous prizes and was concerned that it would be difficult to lug my huge prize home on the train or ferry. I figured $40 in valet costs would be a small price to pay. But something awesome happened. We got there an hour late and when we told the bellman we would be back within 3 hours he looked at us like we were nuts and asked "Why would you pay $37 when you can just leave it right here and I'll watch it for you?" Um, ok! Sure. Here are my keys, kind sir. Now before you mock me, at my willingness to have my car stolen, what the hell is the difference between leaving my car there with the employee of the hotel or having him drive it to another secret valet location? Unfortunately, when I met Marinka I was a bit tipsy and she had me so convinced that my car was already in a chop shop that I couldn't muster that argument then. So there I was, chugging gallons of water so I could sober up and leave to check on my car.

Along the way we got to play with some products. I took the opportunity to print out some of the first snapshots from my new Nikon D40. We got to peruse some crafts made on the HP website by the Aiming Low writers. My favorite was the recipe cards. LOVED them! If I can gather up the motivation, I can finally fill up my recipe holder box with pretty recipe cards and toss all my wripped out notebook pages of recipes.

As I mentioned, I really had no idea what to expect at my first blogger event. I had a vision in my mind of mingling with lots of people, but it didn't really happen that way. We kind of fell into place at a specific table, but we made some new friends and had lots of laughs. Perhaps too many laughs. We were getting odd looks.

I found myself to not really be myself. It was the booze. I only had one drink but it was STRONG. It made me laugh. A lot. And act like a moron. The HP cameraman was so impressed with my ability to print a picture that he interviewed me throughout the entire process. I couldn't stop laughing. I really could be great on tv or in a commercial. I swear. Just don't ply me with liquor first.

Besides the Aiming Low team, I wasn't really aware of any other bloggers that I am a regular reader of who would be there. Except Marinka. I was really excited to meet her in person. At the same time though, I was really nervous that she would just make fun of me and I would cry. And then I was there and realized I really didn't know what she looked like. I've only ever seen her arm online. I did look around to see if I could find someone I thought might be her, but my eyesight is terrible, even with my glasses and I felt ridiculous at the notion of going up to every person to look at their name tag. But she found me. She was incredibly nice, except for trying to convince me that my car was being stolen while we spoke and that perhaps that would gain me more readers. I was giggly and awkward the entire time we spoke. Again, the booze. I beat myself up about it the whole way home and Lisa was kind enough to agree with me, that I was as bad as I thought I was.

Everything wrapped up much earlier than I expected. Screw the baseball game, didn't they realize we had traveled 2 hours to get there? I was delighted to find out that my car was still in front of the hotel and even with a good tip, we spent half the amount we otherwise would have. We hopped in and hit the road. And then as soon as we were driving through Times Square, in the rain, we thought "Crap! We forgot to walk around a bit and use my new camera to snap some pictures." Not that I haven't been there a zillion times, but never with my new camera. So to pass the time, Lisa played a game to get the best picture she could, in between the swipe of the windshield wipers, without smeary rain all over, and without getting the dashboard in the picture or a flash reflection.

Not too bad, huh?

So we tossed off our glass slippers and headed home. Away from the bright lights, the video cameras, and authors extraordinaire. Back to reality. To NJ. Knowing that the next day we would have a very early wakeup. But it was worth it to get a night OUT OF THE HOUSE!!! With adults. Funny ones. Thanks Aiming Low!


A Day Late and a Candy Bar Short (or several candy bars)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Playing along this week with Baby Picture Sunday at Who Says 8 is Enough?

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