Kicking Off the Year with an Actual Bang

2019 started with a rather unusual string of events that I felt should be documented. Although to give the recap full justice, I should really start with last night. Elise went to bed at her normal hour, but instead of lying down and going to sleep as she normally does, she wasn’t having it and seemed quite distressed. After an hour and fifteen minutes of consoling, lying next to her crib on the floor, sending Chaz in to do a round of consoling, a dose of Tylenol for what we ultimately decided was teething pain, nursing, and replacing her in her bed, she finally went to sleep around 10:20. “How unexpected,” I thought, and headed to bed myself after finishing my Best of 2018 list.

She woke up 3.5 hours after I went to bed, and then proceeded to wake twice more before rising for the day at 7:00. I decided to keep a positive/negative tally for the day, and this counted as one point on the negative side.

Fortunately, Chaz had the day off today and since he was able to sleep through her night wakings and had gone to bed an hour earlier than I had, he hung out with Elise in the morning and I was able to get an extra hour of sleep. Hooray! Negative score: 1. Positive Score: 1. We’re tied!

Next, we decided to get some breakfast at a local restaurant. Thanks to her not so restful night, Elise was a little less content than usual to merely sit and eat, so we kept our breakfast a tad shorter than we might have otherwise. Nevertheless, it was scrumptious, so I gave this whole outing both one negative and one positive point. We’re still tied! 2 to 2.

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After stuffing our faces with pancakes, both Chaz and I did a workout. I like to think that I consumed no more than 173 calories in my full stack of pancakes + syrup and side of bacon this morning, because that would mean that my workout completely canceled out breakfast. Don’t burst my bubble with facts here. #science. The fact that we did a workout at all was definitely a point on the positive side.

After a rather uneventful lunch for Elise, I put her down for a nap. Naps are good! We love naps! Another point on the positive side! However, she woke up halfway through. Another negative point. If you’re keeping track, we’re currently at 4 to 3. But by some strange magic, I actually got her back to sleep in her bed, and she slept for another hour. Positive point!

After she woke up, we decided it was time to take down the Christmas decorations and pack them in the box until next year. In past years, putting Christmas stuff away has felt rather sad, but not this year. This year it felt like a fresh start, and it was nice to have the extra space in our living room and at the top of the stairs, which is where we keep the chair that normally sits where the Christmas tree goes. Fresh starts! Extra space! Clean house! Another positive point!

We also decided it was high time to replace the dead lightbulb in one of our sconces by our front door. It had been out for probably 18 months, so we took care of that, though it turned out to be a rather frustrating exercise since the fixture disassembled itself while we changed the bulb. Eventually, it was done. Bulb replacement, +1. High frustration level: -1. We’re at 7 to 4.

Since we were on a roll on the home improvement front, we decided to also fix the bookshelf at the top of our stairs that had self destructed and dumped its shelves about a week prior. The bookshelf was always a bit precarious, so the fact that the shelves had fallen wasn’t too surprising.

We removed all the books from the remaining perilous shelves, although left some on the center shelf, which was part of the apparatus securing both upright sides to each other. Then we braced the sides together at the bottom and determined that we needed a screw on either side to ensure that the same issue wouldn’t happen again going forward. I got the drill, screwed in the screw, and was finishing was just finishing the final tightening when I heard a gigantic crack above my head.

I shut my eyes and leaned away from the bookshelf as the previously-firmly-attached center shelf gave way, dumping every musical score, Norton Anthology of Western Music volume, French dictionary, Conversational Solfege Teacher’s Manual binder, and rogue CD set on to the floor with an unholy crash. Did I see my life flash before my eyes? Maybe. Elise, who was standing a safe distance away to observe the operation, immediately started crying. Chaz, who was policing the Safe Distance range, did not.

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Negative TWO POINTS.

However, as previously the stated, the bookshelf had always been precarious, and so I will give the positive team one additional point: we no longer have to worry about the possibility of the bookshelf collapsing at a random time and harming a toddler. Specifically our toddler. Safety wins the day!

We declared defeat on the bookshelf repair project, made ourselves dinner, and then picked up the pieces before Elise went to bed. I’m happy to report that she went to sleep as normal, without close to two hours of distress. We’ll give that a positive point for good measure.

If you’ve kept track, the positives beat the negatives 9 to 6, and if that’s how the rest of the year shakes out, I’ll be happy at the end of it. Cheers!

O Christmas Tree...

I think Christmas just got infinitely more exciting. I mean, Christmas has always been exciting, but with a baby, it became even more so. I'm not sure which is better: being a kid at Christmas or having a kid at Christmas. Perhaps we'll never know. Or at least I'll know after a few Christmases with a kid are under my belt.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pumped about this coming Christmas, and so we got started with the Christmas decorations a little earlier than usual this year, beginning with the Christmas tree.

In a perfect world, we'd go to the tree farm and cut down our own tree. I have such great memories of doing that for years as a kid and I'd love to pass that down, but it turns out that somehow cutting down our own is significantly MORE expensive than buying a pre-cut one. Someone explain that to me, please. Someone has to do all the labor of cutting, moving, arranging, selling, and attaching the trees to cars, but it's $20 less expensive than me going to the farm, sawing, transporting, and attaching everything on my own?

I digress.

Long story short, we got Elise's first Christmas tree at the local garden supply place down the road, but as far as pre-cut trees go, they had a really good selection and it was still fun. 

We headed to the lot on Saturday afternoon and perused the various tree options. There were several good ones! 

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Our living room has limited options for tree placement, so we knew we wanted something not too tall and not too wide, but not too short and not too skinny. Basically, it had to be just right. Fortunately, we found the perfect one within a few minutes and then we made sure that Elise approved. 

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When we couldn't get her attention to take a picture, we knew that was it. And so we played it like the millennials that we are and took a family selfie, then paid for our tree and got it on top of the car. 

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As one does with Christmas trees, we brought it home, set it up, and filled it with decorations while Christmas music played in the background. Midway through we made breakfast for dinner, and then finished it up after we ate. 

We tried to take one more picture along the way, but it's a little tough while baby-wrangling and this is pretty much what we got:

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And finally, because Christmas with a baby is magical, I took a few photos while she played with some lights to round out the evening. 

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Since Advent starts later this year, we have an extra week to enjoy the season. We're celebrating at our house this year for the first time, and I'm quite looking forward to slowing down, savoring the preparations, the decorations, and the holiness in which these weeks are steeped. And I can't wait to watch Elise take it all in for the first time, since there's something especially lovely about introducing holidays to someone who's already filled with wonder over the regular day to day life. May we all anticipate Jesus's birth with such childlike amazement. 

What We've Been Up To...

Well, we flew to Washington...which unfortunately turned into an experiment on blog abandonment. Instead of blogging, I've done a lot of the following:

A) Eating. Pretty sure I'm going to be a few pounds heavier upon my return to MA. There's just so much good food! Teriyaki restaurants, pizza places, burger joints, fro yo...you name it, and we've eaten it and enjoyed every last darn bite.

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B) Shopping. We waited to get Christmas gifts for the family members out here until we arrived since we didn't want to haul it all in our suitcases, and since there are many family members, we've been in more malls than you can count.

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C) Exploring. Washington is the coolest, I tell you. Do you want to see water? Ok...look out the back door. Mountains? Yep...look out the same door. We decided that view wasn't quite enough, so we went on a drive through a mountain pass on a day when there wasn't a massive snowstorm, and it was well worth it. 

D) Beer-tasting. Ok...this is admittedly not me. But I appreciate it in spirit. Does that count? One day I hope I grow to like it, but not this trip. 

E) Coffee-shopping. There are SO MANY COFFEE SHOPS(!) out here! Why is this not a thing in Boston? They're comforting and friendly and they have tasty things. Who wouldn't like that type of thing?

I started laughing after the second picture...

I started laughing after the second picture...

F) Crafting. Sorta. We painted pottery, because the town we're in had a place that coupled pottery painting with a coffee shop. Brilliant.

G) STAR WARS.

So far...that's it. Considering we still have three days though, I'm sure there will be more to come!

Thanksgiving 2015

This year for Thanksgiving, we stayed at home. My family came from various parts of New England and so our house was the gathering place. It was wonderful. Since as far back as the beginning of college going-on-nine years ago, I haven't had a holiday that didn't involve traveling. What a gift it was to really be able to relax without needing to pack up and drive or fly as part of the time off! And so to my family I say thank you for coming to us and helping us have a wonderfully laid back Thanksgiving. 

We planned our Thanksgiving feast for later in the afternoon, which gave us time to go for a walk that morning. It was a beautiful day and not too cold - perfect fall walking weather.

At the end of the trail we found a camp (closed for the winter) and a small pond, which is good to know for whenever warmer weather rears its head again.

And with that, we stopped, took a couple pictures, and then headed back to the kitchen.

Let me just add a note here and say that I don't know how chefs do it day after day. I cooked the most food I have ever cooked in a single day, but that's something they do on the daily, so...props to you, chefs of the world. 

Our menu included turkey (of course), gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce (from a can), rolls (from Whole Foods), and two kinds of pies. I made the chocolate cream pie, but Costco made the apple pie and it was glorious. Never underestimate the glories of Costco.

And when it was all finished at 5pm, we sat down and ate. 

Finally, the food was eaten, the leftovers were put away, the dishes were washed, and the counters were wiped down. Logically, the next step was the pie, which may have been the crowning victory of the whole endeavor.

And because pie...I think we'll leave it with that. Happy Cyber Monday, y'all!