Tuesday, April 29, 2008

birthday party in the park

Saturday morning was Noah's birthday party (aka "rumpus") in the park with family and his little friends. We picked the location strategically, for its proximity to the train tracks and the water. And while we were there TWO freight trains went by! Very exciting for all the little ones (and a bit overwhelming for some). Here's some of the group watching the BNSF.

I figured I'd keep going with the train theme, and used some vintage train images to iron on to little canvas bags as party favors. All the kids seemed excited about the bags except for Noah, who was quite distracted by other presents, treats and grandparents.

We had great weather, thankfully, and got to lounge on blankets, play on the playspace and check for crabs down at the water's edge. The grown-ups made coffee runs to the conveniently located coffeeshop right next to us, and we all munched the delicious birthday scones Aaron made. Here's Noah getting a little help from Elliot in blowing out his two candles.

After the party in the park we came home for lunch with the family (and the Lier girls, who are basically family at this point), and Noah promptly conked out. He didn't even have any of his birthday carrot cake! But we felt like he was on the verge of "The Berenstein Bears and Too Much Birthday," so a little less cake was probably fine.

So our little birthday prince has been celebrated thoroughly, and things are calming down now. Well, do you count getting ready to buy and fix up a house and have a new baby as calming? We'll see!

Friday, April 25, 2008

birthday the second

i've just tucked into bed a very tired but very happy two-year-old, and his mama is ready for bed too. noah has had a busy birthday! it began with a special breakfast for the birthday prince.

he has been really into the book "where the wild things are" these past few days, and we've talked a lot about how max wears a crown to be king of the wild things. here is noah proudly wearing his birthday crown, just like max.

here's the whole set-up, including birthday coffee cake and fruit, and his new dolly from mama. this is noah's first doll, and i'm hoping he'll bond with her enough to help prepare him to help nurture his little sister. he named her annie, and she's already come for a car ride and had a nap with noah. he even offered her a pacifier! very generous little boy.

after breakfast we headed to fairhaven for a trio of treats. first we chose a book at village books, where we also enrolled noah in the young readers club, earning him a "ticket" for a free ice cream cone at the colophon cafe. pretty cool! then we walked across the street to the fairhaven toy garden, where he turned in his "ticket" from them for a birthday treasure. he chose a little blue train from the cool treasure chest, and then we played for a while with all the toys. finally we ended up at avenue bread, where we shared a croissant and watched traffic and passers-by out the window. on the ride home for lunch he managed to hold on to his new train, his new book, and annie.

this evening we met sarah, jessa and cassin at mallard ice cream downtown, where noah enjoyed his very first ice cream cone. (it looks like jessa's making a move on noah's cone...) he made a mess and had a great time.afterward we drove back to fairhaven to await the arrival of the evening amtrak train headed for seattle. noah calls it the "am" and loves to talk about how loud the train is and how the "ding-dings" have to go down to stop the cars. he watches the train like a hawk the whole time, with a very serious look on his face. we went out onto the platform to see the passengers board and to check out the "hooks" between the cars, and the conductor waved and said, "all aboard!" just for noah. a pretty special ending to a pretty special day.

tomorrow we'll celebrate with friends and family with a party (or a "rumpus," as max would say) at boulevard park. if we're lucky a train will go by while we're there!

birthday prince

happy second birthday, noah barnes!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

good faith

an apology to faithful blog-checkers for the lack of new postage in the past few weeks. i've been busy trying not to let noah drive me crazy, he's been busy trying to drive me crazy and we've all been busy attempting to buy a house!

big things first: we bought a house! (i think...) well, we signed a purchase and sale agreement on 1716 iron street, a cute 2-bedroom craftsman in the york neighborhood. in our process of looking at homes around town, only this one fulfilled most of the criteria we came up with for our ideal house. really, the only thing it doesn't have that we were hoping for is 3 bedrooms, but that was low on our priority list. highest on our list was location, and for that, this house wins hands-down. here are some other stats about 1716 iron street:

--it's only a block away from our current house in the york neighborhood, the best neighborhood in bellingham
--it's a classic craftsman, built in 1915
--it has a spacious front and back yard, with room for a garden and a garage
--it has a west-facing porch
--the inside layout is open and flows well
--it has been largely untouched, structurally, which makes it easier to restore
--it's a bit bigger than our current apartment
--and it's affordable!

we are super excited but also aware that nothing is set in stone yet. this process is so involved! it's overwhelming but also interesting to learn all about it. just yesterday we had the house inspected, which revealed mostly things we already knew--i.e. the house needs a lot of work. it did reveal that a new roof, new wiring and new plumbing need to be done asap, and these are things that the bank might not like to hear. next is the appraisal, which will say for sure if the house is mortgage-able as is. if so, then we pretty much just wait till closing and make a game plan! if not... then i'm not sure what the next step is.

aaron already has a detailed plan for the work that needs to be done before we move in, and he's thinking it'll take about two and a half months of some full and some part-time work. so we'd stay in our current apartment during that time, and aaron says i'll be a single mom. (anyone want to come visit?)

and aaron's mom has worked a few late nights on a detailed design for how to best orient things to make the smallish space most useful. she has some fantastic ideas and hopefully we can make them reality. see below.

my plan is to sit back and watch the house get pretty! well, not really, although i can't actually be very helpful, given a) noah and b) all the toxins that will be floating around the house. aaron says he'll put me, noah and irene in charge of building a picket fence.

so if everything goes according to plan, our closing date (i.e. when we get the keys) would be may 15th. and we probably wouldn't move in until late july or early august... hopefully in plenty of time to get settled before this new baby arrives!

for fun, here's a map of how to get to the new house from our old house. we've joked about moving everything using noah's wagon.

so that's that, regarding the house, for now. i'll keep you posted!

this weekend we're off to oregon to visit john, jess and kate, and to see their new house. i've got lots more to report on noah's recent hilarity, but i'll work on that next week. hope everyone is well!