Monday, December 31, 2012


Here's to noisemakers, shiny hats, shinier faces, sparkling cider, a crackling fire, midnight champagne toasts, and the promise of things to come.

Happy New Year, from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holly Jolly

Christmas, In Brief:

We had two - one with just the four of us, and another extended one that involved my entire family, separated by a rather lengthy car trip. Fun was had all around, and we even got sleep! Except that night in the hotel when all four of us shared one room, and Lucy coughed a lot. But all the other nights, sleep! And fun! And presents, oh so many presents. M. and I did exceptionally well with the gifting, I think. I got him a new hobby (beer making!), and he got me, among other things, a fabulous new winter puffy coat that magically doesn't make me look puffy, and a tripod. There was a little snow, there were a lot of cousins, there was even some church time (ack! we survived, but barely! Note to self, next time, don't sit in the balcony!). We drove home on Thursday (a very long, long drive), and we're now faced with the prospect of reintegrating into real life again tomorrow.

Christmas, In Photo:

I could go on and on, but instead, I shall overwhelm you with photos and go to bed, because it is late. I have no photos from our little Christmas at home on Saturday morning, these start with Sunday afternoon in Massachusetts:

My mom dug out my wedding dress and veil for Lucy. The dress is sadly pretty stained, but the veil looked as beautiful as ever. Doesn't she look saintly?

Since it came down to her ankles, I wouldn't let her wear it for very long.

Tried to capture an "artistic" photo on the sly.

Looks much better without flash. Would prefer it if Finn was in focus instead, though. Too bad he moves so damn fast all the time.

This is my two-year-old niece Josephine. Isn't she cute?

This is what the kids wore on Christmas Eve. Lucy is wearing an old dress of mine, a velvet jumper. Finn wore this sweater for exactly 5 seconds after we walked in the door from church, then whipped it off in favor of the Angry Birds T-shirt he had on underneath it.

Needless to say, I didn't have much luck getting them to pose prettily for me.

My mom and brother somehow managed to color coordinate on Christmas Eve.

After a big dinner, stockings were hung (by the chimney, with utmost care, of course). Finn is the only grandkid to have a stocking knitted for him (by one of my dad's co-workers) - such privileges are often afforded to first grandkids. Everyone else had to pick a generic stocking from a pile.

Lucy picked the one with Rudolph (or "Redolph," as she likes to call him).

Then my brother read all the kids "The Night Before Christmas."

They MOSTLY listened intently, and there were only a couple of potty breaks and other random interruptions.

The kids fell asleep, stockings were stuffed, and morning came. Surprisingly, not as early as I thought it would. We actually had to go into Finn and Lucy's bedroom to rouse them. Here are the kids waiting to bust into the closed family room to see if Santa came. Santa had zip-tied the door shut just in case there were any midnight wanderings...

Once the stockings were emptied and the Santa gifts were properly played with, we all got out of our jammies and moved down to the living room to open family gifts.

The display of gifts was a tad overwhelming in an "embarrassment of riches" kind of way.

Lucy waited patiently to open her gifts, and helped Bumpa with his.

Finn got a little antsy that he had nothing to open (since we had already exchanged gifts, he had fewer than his cousins), but finally scored with a new Angry Birds backpack and the Lego Star Wars game for his Nintendo DS.

My dad got a new hat.

Some of you may have seen a similar photo on Facebook - me snuggling with a happy Lucy.

All the girls received a sack of girly princess things (nailpolish, tiaras, rings, wands, necklaces) from my brother and his girlfriend. Here is Penny modeling the tiara and wand.

My siblings and I gifted Mom with a couple of rustic looking hand-hooked pillows for the Maine lake house - the moose was a must.

Me and my oldest cutie.

The night before we left Massachusetts, I headed over to my wonderful friend Natalie's house for a little kid-free get-together. Here is a photo of my two sisters (Stacey on the left, Kristin on the right).

And one of the group of us - me, Amy, Stacey, Natalie, Kristin, and Helen in the front. It's hard to believe that we've known each other for almost 30 years (since first grade!!).

Back in Maryland, I unpacked one of my gifts from my mom - a real, honest-to-goodness, Le Creuset dutch oven - and made a pretty kick-ass vegetable soup. I love, love, love this pot!!

And M. started his first batch of beer.

In just a few weeks, he won't be holding a Sam Adams, he'll be holding a... hmm, a what? Clearly, we need to come up with a name for this brewery. Anyway, soon he'll be holding and drinking his own homemade beer (and so will I! I get extra bonus points for helping M. start a new hobby that ALSO benefits me!).

Hope you all had wonderful holidays, too. See you next year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dancing the Night Away

Lucy has been taking a ballet/tap class once a week since September, every Saturday morning at 9:15 a.m. It's perhaps not the most convenient time (we are usually scrambling to get everyone dressed and in the car right as my body is screaming for another cup of coffee and a seat on the couch), but we do it because she absolutely loves it. She is an enthusiastic participant, even if some of the finer points of instruction pass her by :-). And on Friday, her dance school had a "Winter Dance Review," a sort of informal recital that gave all the students a chance to dance onstage without those expensive dance costumes (never fear, those ARE coming - in June).

Lucy's class of 2-5 year olds performed a tap number, and I captured it on film, for your enjoyment. The performance gives a very clear picture of exactly what each Saturday is like, where at any given moment some of the girls might be following the teacher's instructions, caught up doing a previous dance move, singing to themselves, lying on the floor, or refusing to participate altogether. Lucy, bless her heart, managed to do a fair number of the steps (at least, when she was actually watching her teacher who was hiding in the wings), though she did get a bit caught up "flashing" the audience for a few beats of the song. She is the one in the middle with a blond pony tail, 5 girls in from the right (just to the left of the girl holding her hands over her ears). Enjoy!

Lucy was not nervous at all, but Finn was nervous enough FOR her. He kept asking her if she was afraid that she would mess up, despite my repeated attempts to get him to shut the hell up. Luckily, he didn't phase her at all - she was excited at every step of the way.

Here she is with her proud/nervous big brother, before we left for the theater:

And a rare still-ish moment backstage, where she mostly ran around like a monkey on speed:

Man she likes playing with that skirt ;-):

At the end, everyone came out to take a bow. Lucy wiggled her way to the front, and then saw us sitting in the audience:

I know that next time, when she will have TWO! COSTUMES! (a hot pink tutu for ballet and a "duck" outfit for tap), she will be just over the moon. Here's hoping that she and her classmates remember a few more of the steps by then ;-).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Flying By


That was a longer blogging break than intended. In fact, I had hoped to follow up within a day or two of my last post to write ecstatic things about the triumph of good over evil.

Sorry about that.  Then again, I'm sure you weren't waiting with baited breath for MY assessment of the election.

Anyway, where have I been?

Well, watching Moonshiners, for one. I am all over any show that prominently features characters named Tickle and Jim Tom. This show has given me a new appreciation for a segment of the population that I would swear could barely pass a Redbook quiz, but can somehow manage to construct an IED. Seriously.

I've also been working A LOT, helping to fill the shoes of a superhuman colleague who has been out with some scary health issues. I wouldn't ever want to NOT do it, but it has been keeping me busy.

And time left over  has been spent capturing the holiday spirit, because I HEART Christmas. We've decorated our tree, decked the halls, hidden that Elf (who is rarely on the shelf) a ridiculous number of times, started the Christmas cookie baking, gone shopping, and listened to lots and lots of Christmas music. However, I have taken exactly zero pictures of all of this. Cue sad face and accusations of bad mom blogger status. I should be capturing twinkly pictures of cherubic faces and Bokeh-ed up Christmas lights - I am clearly not cut out to make it in the blogging world. Good thing this is really just a hobby and a way to get pictures to my grandmother (Hi Mimi!) :-).

In other news, I gave up on ever trying to find skinny jeans I like, and bought a pair of jeggings. People, THEY ARE SO COMFORTABLE. I'm a wee bit embarrassed to wear them (though I do!). But I am a stickler for making sure I only wear them with shirts that cover my butt, so that should count for something, right?

I also just started reading Gone Girl. I hear good things, and am hopeful to have more than 5 minutes a night to read this.

Hm, what else? Well, Lucy managed to break a whole carton of eggs on the floor of the supermarket when I was solo shopping with both kids today. I was not as mortified as I maybe should have been. Maybe because Finn has been SUCH a TREAT as school lately (sarcasm is dripping here, people) that I can't get myself too worked up about a few broken eggs. He's racking up a streak of reds and yellows on the Ol' Behavior Chart lately, and also managed to get a black eye while instigating a round of "Let's Throw Rocks" on the playground the other day. He's also getting in trouble for having a "smart mouth" with his teacher. Pretty sure I know where he got that trait.

But, but, but... it's not all bad, not even half bad. We're in the holiday spirit, and sprinting to the finish line - very much looking forward to getting away and getting up to New England for Christmas. It's going to be a lot more work over the next two weeks, but at least it's just two weeks! And then I'm hopeful that life will return to its normal fast pace, instead of the crazy "just took a handful of uppers" pace that it's been on lately.

I did a half-hearted attempt at some gift guides last year. An attempt that stopped when I realized exactly how much work it takes to put a gift guide together (Hint: A LOT). Instead, this year, I'll try to hop back on after Christmas and tell you what I actually bought the people in my life. Sure, half the stuff will be out of stock by next Christmas, but it may give us all some ideas to start with when we start heavy-breathing at our blank gift lists next November.

Hey! Here are some pictures! They are old!



Hope you are all having a fabulous Advent/Hanukkah season! I'll be back, eventually!