Jasper’s First Haircut

2011 June 04 haircut 09

Gavin was given his first haircut before his first birthday, just shy of 11 months old to be exact. His curly hair was out of control, so the simple solution was to give him a buzz cut. At the time, I didn't understand why so many mothers got so emotional about cutting their sons' hair for the first time. It didn't really affect me on any emotional level.

The day before the cut…

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With Jasper, the first haircut was a much more difficult decision! His hair was so soft and fine, and I knew from experience that once that hair was cut, the same baby hair that had been growing since before he was born and that we gently stroked when he was just hours old, it would never feel so soft again! Fortunately, Jasper's hair wasn't nearly as unruly as Gavin's had been and it was easy to wait until after his first birthday to face the haircut decision. However, summer heat and humidity set in during the weeks that followed so it was clearly time for Jasper's first haircut. While we've always buzzed Gavin's hair with Jeff's electric razor, I didn't want to cut Jasper's hair that short yet – he just needed the curls snipped and a little bit of length removed. So, Jasper went to a real salon for his first haircut!

I chose JJ's Kids Cuts, a typical kids salon with airplane and car chairs and a television set at every station. When we arrived, Ms. Maria prepared the firetruck chair for him, but Jasper protested against the idea of sitting all alone, so I sat in a regular chair and held him instead. I didn't get any photos of the haircut in progress, but he looked so cute wearing the little hair clipping-catching cape! He wasn't interested in watching the movie I chose from the movie wall, Finding Nemo, and really wasn't too happy the entire time, but we were pretty pleased with the result! She saved the first dirty blond clipping for us and Jasper got his picture taken for a paper momento before we left.

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We went to Rhyme Time at the library up the road afterward. I learned that Jasper is really a bit too young still for Rhyme Time and he wanted to explore most of the half hour so I was happy to set him free at the end for bubble time!

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2011 June 04 haircut 05

The two of us then went grocery shopping, completing a lovely rare morning alone with my baby. It was so nice to spend several hours out and about alone with Jasper. 🙂 Here are a few shots of his new do when we arrived home:

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And here he is using a flashlight as a telephone. Remember when I mentioned that he uses any phone-sized toy as a telephone? Exhibit A:

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You may be one and you may look like such a big boy with that hair cut, but look at that chunky little baby leg! It's proof that you are still a baby, Jasper! 🙂

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I was attempting to simply get a photo of Jasper sitting on one of his play chairs in his room but the little stinker immediately turned around every time…

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So, I flipped the chair around and faced him away from me so he'd turn around towards me! Two can play at this game, Mister!

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But he always wins in the end with his crazy faces!

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Birthday at the Beach!

The day after Jasper's birthday, the celebration continued at the aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores. This is a different aquarium than the one where we celebrated Gavin's second birthday and was also a great place to spend the day! Daddy had to work, so Gmummy drove with the boys and I, and we met Aunt Kristen there since she was already at the beach for the weekend. We arrived just before noon and ate our bagged lunch at picnic tables by the parking lot.

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Rested up from a nap in the car and with his tummy full, the birthday boy was excited to check out the aquarium!

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2011 May 16 aquarium 03

A highlight at this aquarium is the otter exhibit. Two of the three otters slept while the other raced around in the water, swimming upside down to show off most of the time!

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2011 May 16 aquarium 05

Overall, wasn't too interested in watching the fishies and I understood why admission is free for one-year-olds after we had only been there for a few minutes. Jasper looked at each tank for a few seconds, but was more interested in just toddling around this new place with wide open areas for walking so he still had a lots of fun!

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Gavin's little arms were too short to reach any of the stingrays in the pool, but he enjoyed watching them swim around while he splashed the water.

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Jasper didn't quite understand the concept of glass separating him from all the fish. He tried to grab them!

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Finally, in the "please touch" wing with fake fish, I found some decent lighting for pictures!

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We tried a posed shot outside when our tour was over, but this was the best we got! Jasper is reaching for the otter stuffed animal that Gavin selected from the gift shop (he chose a turtle as a birthday gift for his brother). Gavin promptly named his otter "Fifteen" after overhearing a conversation about prices. It seems like a ridiculous name for a stuffed animal but it makes me laugh every time we talk about Fifteen now!

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We couldn't travel all the way to the beach without taking Jasper's first peek at the Atlantic Ocean!

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Kristen had this fabulous idea to take Gavin closer to the water so the waves would wash up over his feet…

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… Unfortunately, she walked a little TOO far and he got drenched! What else can Mommy and Auntie do but laugh at the situation! Don't worry, Gavin, we brought a full change of clothes with us!

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Jasper didn't want to get his feet wet in the chilly water but liked feeling the sand between his toes.

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Gavin doesn't have fond memories of the beach anymore. 😉 Fortunately, we don't have plans to go anytime soon again!

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Ah, we finally got a good shot at the aquarium sign just before heading out of town, ending Jasper's fabulous first birthday weekend!

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Tornado Warning

On Saturday, the boys and I experienced a rather scary "first" together. North Carolina was hit by the worst tornado outbreak in nearly thirty years and a street in our neighborhood was one of the hardest hit areas of Raleigh. Despite seeing several small tornadoes in Florida and living through twenty summers of almost-daily afternoon thunderstorms, I never had to take cover in my house from a tornado until this past Saturday.

The day's forecast called for very severe weather and we already knew it was the worst forecast since a big tornado outbreak in 1984. Jeff was at work all day so I took the boys shopping in the morning so we'd be home when the storms were expected to hit. After Jasper started his nap at 2:00, Gavin and I played a game of dominos downstairs as we often do during Jasper's weekend naps since it's impossible to play with him around!

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I turned the television on around 3:00 when WRAL began continuous weather programming and made applesauce in the kitchen while Gavin played in the living room, completely oblivious to the rain and thunderstorm overhead as usual. Although we moved before Gavin could spend his first summer in Florida, he certainly has a Floridian's lack of fear concerning thunderstorms! The weathermen began tracking a particularly strong storm heading  towards Wake county from Sanford that included a signature tornado hook formation on radar.

The rain-wrapped tornado continued to approach downtown Raleigh and soon a wall of rain could be seen on the station's camera fixed on top of a downtown highrise. I kept in touch with Jeff, whose store is closer to downtown than our house and was also in the potential path of the storm, and cleaned out the floor of the coat closet beneath our stairs in case we needed to take cover. Our power blinked several times and eventually went out for good. Our power rarely goes out since we have underground utilities, so this wasn't a good sign!

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Close to 4:00, the storm was still heading our way very quickly (the storms themselves were moving at 50 miles per hour!) so I woke Jasper up from his nap to bring him downstairs where it was safer. My mom called to say that we were still directly in the path of the storm and that Mitchell Mill Road, the street just beyond the woods behind our house, was specifically mentioned as a target by the weathermen. I had thrown my purse and camera along with sneakers for Gavin in the closet. I didn't want to confuse or scare him by making him put his shoes on since he only wears shoes to go outside but he'd need them in the worst-case scenario!

We took cover in the closet and Gavin asked me, "Are we scared?" He's never afraid of thunder or lightning, but must have sensed that this storm was a little different. We played with flashlights and made finger shapes on the closet wall for several minutes. At one point, I heard a very strange sound that was unlike anything I'd heard before that lasted for several seconds. It didn't sound like a freight train or a rumbling sound passing by like you'd expect from a tornado, but I knew it must be the tornado nearby. I've been through too many severe storms to know it wasn't usual!

My mom called again minutes after the storm passed and indicated that it was OK to come out of our closet. The storms had passed and there was nothing severe left coming our way. We spent the rest of the evening almost as we had planned: We left to pick up Jeff at work, dodging a few downed trees and branches on the streets leaving our neighborhood. Nearly every traffic light on Route 401 and Capital Blvd all the way to the beltline was out, but we made it to REI and then picked up some dinner at ZPizza before heading to Kristen's house to eat since she never lost power.

Cumulative radar from Saturday's storms

including the path of the Sanford-Raleigh tornado.

2011 April 19 tornado 01

Our power was restored just before 8:00 AM on Sunday morning though our cable was still out for another day. On Sunday, Jeff had the day off and painted Jasper's room just as we had planned while I ran more errands with the boys. Kristen told us that she heard about damage to neighborhoods just to our south along Forestville Road, but it wasn't until Sunday evening when she specifically heard about Serendipity Drive that we knew how close the tornado actually came to us. We never drive by Serendipity but it's along our usual walking loop around the neighborhood and we just passed houses there on Friday night when Kristen came over to walk with us after dinner.

Our cable was still out on Monday morning so I went to Gmummy's house to work and decided to drive by Serendipity on the way out of the neighborhood to see the damage. It was all those things you always hear, like it was a scene from a movie, and it was unimaginable to think that no one on that street was even hurt. Several houses crumbled all the way to the ground, several were missing nearly the entire second floor, many were missing an entire side of the house. It was amazing that only one small portion of the street, about 20 houses, were so heavily damaged while houses around on all sides were nearly untouched. It was like the tornado just dropped out of the sky for a few seconds and then lifted back up again. Seeing the damage pattern made the sound I heard while we were in the closet make sense, just a relatively brief sucking sound during the short time that it dropped into the neighborhood.

Damage on Serendipity Drive (taken by the N&O)

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We still haven't talked to Gavin about what happened. We had no damage to our house or property although we've found a few bits of insulation, siding, and shingles from elsewhere in our back yard. He still hasn't seen any damage or asked any questions, but we'll start walking the neighborhood again soon and we'll pass by Serendipity every time, where clean-up and rebuilding will surely be a long process. So, we'll tell him what happened then. Hopefully he won't become afraid of storms, but if he does, we'll assure him that this was a very rare occurrence in North Carolina and something that we probably (hopefully!) won't see again for at least another thirty years.


Spring is here!

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The calendar may say that spring is still several days away, but the weather on Sunday certainly felt like spring was already here! We took a walk around the neighborhood to a line of blooming bradford pear trees and the boys played in the grass with bare feet.

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"Gavin, put your arm around your brother." 

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2011 March 16 spring 05

OK, I won't give that request again… 

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Now that he's such a solid walker, Jasper is getting a little more difficult to photograph since he always wants to walk away to do something more interesting… 

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… but he's still much easier to photograph than Gavin. 

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2011 March 16 spring 09


Moo Moo, Buzz Buzz

Jasper received an early birthday present last week – a very early birthday present! We had planned on getting him a Wheely Bug for the big Oh-One, but since he's been cruising and taking his first steps, he's been eyeing and often stealing Gavin's bee. Gavin received the bee as a gift for his first birthday and it has been one of his favorite toys ever since. We decided that Jasper simply couldn't wait another two and a half months for his own or we'd be enduring sibling fights every day, so we ordered one from Amazon and it showed up on our door step four days later (gosh, I love Amazon!). We chose the cow for Jasper and it's even cuter in person!

The Wheely Bug is also my favorite toy for so many reasons. It's cute and plastic-free so I've never minded seeing Gavin's bee parked in the living room for the past two years. It's seen Gavin through several growth stages, first to push as a walker and then to ride on when his legs grew long enough to touch the floor (despite the large size being listed as "3 years+" on the product web site, short-legged Gavin could easily ride on his by around 15 months old). Rather than fixed wheels, it has casters that allow it to roll in any direction so he never gets stuck or frustrated when it won't move in the direction he wants to go. And perhaps the best reason of all: Gavin just loves it and has probably played with it daily since his first birthday. We certainly can't say that about any other toy in the house!

Sorry, this is probably sounding like a paid product review! Enough talk. Let the roller derby begin!

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It's been fun to watch Jasper push the cow around because he just flies! Aside from a throw rug in the living room, our entire first floor has hard flooring so these toys really move fast on the smooth floor! We lived in a 100% carpeted apartment when one-year-old Gavin had the bee in the pushing stage so he was much slower!

Yes, Gavin has a black eye, the result of a close encounter with the window ledge by his bed.

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One socked foot and one bare foot is Jasper's fashion trademark.

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Riding is fun, too!

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The photo below looks so odd to me. Both boys are posing … together … smiling … looking right at my camera. I don't think that's ever happened before and it's rather unnerving…

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… OK, this is much better: One kid not looking and the other kid antsy to leave. This is Jasper and Gavin. I don't know who those kids are in the photo above.

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