19 December 2011

Improving our Image

Now that Court is in constant motion, our rinky-dink five-year-old digital camera can't quite keep up with him. The extended delay of the shutter speed means that we pretty much always miss the perfect shot of Court, since his willingness to sit still for a photograph lasts for about three seconds before he's off to the next thing. For Christmas this year, Jon and I decided to buy ourselves a new digital SLR camera, which promises a shutter speed of 3.7 images per second. It seems like Court has finally met his (photography) match!

(this last one is my favorite)

13 December 2011

Rock Center, this is not.

For our first Christmas in NYC, we decided to make the most of our location by attending the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. The event started at 7 pm so Jon and I met after work and rode the subway uptown, arriving to Rock Center at 6:45 pm. As we made our way above ground, we were stunned to find throngs of people stuffed onto the sidewalks of 6th Avenue and all cross streets. There were police barricades and shouting voices all around us; not exactly an event designed to get us in the Christmas spirit. We quickly realized that there was no shot of grabbing a spot anywhere within view of the tree, so we swiftly headed back down to the train and made it home in time to see the tree lighting on television.

Six years and a NYC>NC relocation later, we decided to give the NC Capitol tree lighting event a try. Court's preschool is conveniently located across the street from the Capitol building so we popped over at the end of the day and we were pleasantly surprised to find a welcoming, festive, kid-friendly event complete with hot spiced cider and cookies. Sure, the 24-foot Frasier fir was small potatoes relative to the 74-foot Norway spruce at Rock Center, but the ease and accessibility of the event, and the smile on Court's face when the tree burst into brightly-colored lights, made it a highlight of the holiday season.

11 December 2011

Pullen Park

After two years of renovation work, the City of Raleigh recently reopened the 72-acre Pullen Park, which was the first public park opened in NC in 1887. The park is home to an antique carousel that was designed in 1900 and has operated on site since 1921, and a miniature train that was added to the park in the 1950s.

Court's Maui grandmother Kathy/Tutu came to visit us just a few weeks after Pulled Park reopened, providing us with the perfect activity for her post-Thanksgiving visit to Raleigh.

08 December 2011

Go Heels!

When Court's Maui grandpa Eulie came to visit us in November, we lucked out with four seats to a UNC basketball game. It was Court's first time inside the Dean Dome and he enjoyed watching the game as well as chowing down on a huge tub of popcorn.

06 December 2011

Court & Cousins

Court spent the Thanksgiving holiday with his paternal grandparents and the extended Stephens family at Lake Oconee in Georgia. One highlight of his trip was all of the fantastic playtime he got with his California cousins, Reese (5) and Drew (3). Their dad, Jay Preston, is Jon's first cousin and we're so excited for Court to have them in his life.

In addition to plenty of shared time at the playground, these three mischief-makers found plenty of ways to rascal around together.

(This last one is under the table during Thanksgiving dinner!)

17 November 2011

Cow-o-ween (part two)

Halloween is not just a super fun excuse to dress up our super cute kid in a cow costume; it's also a wonderful occasion to take lots of cute photos of him with his friends. Both of our playgroups (the Five Points Half Pints and the Stroller Strides gang) hosted fantastic costume parties this year. Court was especially excited to spend some costumed time with his besties Oliver and Gigi. Oliver plays a particularly significant role in our Halloween memories, since Court crawled for the very first time while watching Oliver do the same at a costume party on October 28, 2009. Fast forward a year, and these two are still dearest of friends!

Take note of the ridiculously adorable hand-holding!

16 November 2011

Cow-o-ween (part one)

We're a few weeks behind schedule with this post (ah, the life of a working mom!) but Court is still talking about the "cow jacket" he wore for Halloween. Of course, it wouldn't be a proper toddler holiday without multiple costume parties and lots and lots of candy. Sadly, it started pouring rain at 4 pm on October 31st so our neighborhood costume parade was cancelled and we only made it to a few houses for trick-or-treating, but Court still had a great time. He was extra excited to show off his costume to his Grammy Carol and Papa Courtney, who came into town to share the evening with us.

(note the M&Ms in his right hand!)

27 October 2011

Pumpkin Season

As I have mentioned before, we are big fans of the State Farmer's Market, which operates year-round and provides a fantastic farm-to-home format for continual access to some of the state's best produce. We especially love the market during Autumn, when the fall bounty offers tons of inspiration and color. Court especially loves the pumpkins at this time year!

25 October 2011

Block Party

A few weekends ago, we joined our neighbors for our first annual block party. With the permission of the Raleigh PD in hand, we blocked off a segment of our street and let the kids run wild while we visited with friends new and old. Court particularly enjoyed playing with his buddy Carver, who lives on our block and is just six weeks younger than Court. They are two peas in a pod!

17 October 2011

Big Changes!

We are kicking off a new stage of our lives today, as I prepare to return to the workforce this week. The Local Government Commission, which is part of the NC State Treasurer's Office, received a copy of my resume through a professional acquaintance and approached me about an opportunity in their debt management division. Ultimately, they offered me a position working in my exact field of study and they have agreed to allow me to work thirty hours per week, thus affording me with the ability to continue to spend a lot of time with Court every day. I will be working Monday through Thursday from 8 am until 4 pm, during which time Court will attend the Infant-Toddler Center in downtown Raleigh, directly across the street from the State Capitol and just two blocks from Jon's office.

Today was Court's first day at his new school and he was amazingly calm and happy - no tears! He has been attending a two-day morning preschool for the past few months so he understands the general concept of school and now he'll be attending full-day school, four days per week. He already knows his three teachers by name and they said that he was a true sweetheart to them and to the other children. We are excited and nervous about the transition but Court makes it look easy!

16 October 2011

NC State Fair

Court let us tag along with him on his annual visit to the NC State Fair, where he visited with some friendly cows and horses, sampled cotton candy and NC State University ice cream, rode the Merry-Go-Round and a leisurely boat ride, and visited with the Wake County Fire Department. The day was a highlight of the fall season!

15 October 2011

Fall is here!

We have been so busy having fun in this gorgeous fall weather that we've been neglecting our "Holding Court" posting duties. But we're back, and we'll be much better about keeping you current on Court's comings and goings, we promise!

Last weekend, we traveled to Youngsville, NC to attend a fall festival at Hill Ridge Farms. We expected a simple hay ride and pumpkin patch, but what we found was a mini-theme park complete with a steam engine train, an 80' tunnel slide, a farm animal corral, and lots of space to run around like a wild man (which is Court's favorite activity, as of late). It was a lovely day. Happy fall!

(Court loves tractors, but he apparently doesn't love for his mom and dad to prop him up on a tractor tire and plead with him to smile for the camera!)

21 September 2011

South of the Border

If you have traveled along the I-95 corridor between NC and SC, you are probably familiar with the infamous and somewhat-spooky complex known as South of the Border, which sits frozen in time at the state line. Despite regularly traveling this route for the past 16 years, we have successfully avoided any reason to ever stop there... until now, when the lure of a playground and open greenspace become compelling reasons to stop anywhere if it means that a cooped-up toddler can blow off some steam during a long road trip. Behold, photographic evidence of our stop at SOTB, which apparently was wildly popular in the 1960s and 1970s but is in a current state of decay. If there's a life-sized elephant or a miniature merry-go-round, count us in!

17 September 2011

School Days

After a long, fun summer break, Court returned to his morning preschool program this month. He attends the program two mornings per week and he was very excited to put his new lunch pail to use on the first day. We dressed him up in his fancy outfit for photos, but then he changed into something that he could safely get messy for the actual day at school. We are fortunate to live just two blocks away and we enjoy walking to school together with our dog Edith in tow.

28 August 2011

Raleigh Rose Garden with Grammy & Papa

Court is lucky to live within a day's drive of his Georgia grandparents, who came to visit him in August for a weekend of fun. He loved taking them to some of his favorite spots, including the Raleigh Rose Garden. In addition to sixty beds of roses, the garden has a small pond that is his very favorite spot for spotting fish and for splashing around. We had to convince him that the pond was not suitable for swimming; otherwise, we're pretty certain he would have jumped right in!

25 August 2011

Retro Style

This week, Court received his second (and hopefully final!) crew cut as a part of our ongoing efforts to even out his lovely locks. Court *loves* to suck his left thumb and he picked up a fairly fierce hair-twirling habit in early June to keep his right hand busy while sucking his thumb. Hair twirling lead to hair pulling which lead to a bald spot that we addressed by chopping it all off. Two months later, we opted for a second haircut to even it out.

He was such a champ in the barber's chair that we decided to reward him with a delicious cup of ice cream. He also convinced his dad to share an Oreo milkshake. Our big boy now looks like he belongs at a sock hop in the 1950s!