Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in Newtown

My sister has lived in Newtown for the last 10 peaceful years. We have spent Christmas at my sister's for the last 10 years (give or take a few). You can imagine that this year was quite different. The black cloud lingering over Newtown is not going anywhere anytime soon. You just feel the sadness as soon as you approach the exit. But, we made our own happiness in this household for the holidays.

Our mini road trip wraps up tomorrow, but we were able to fit pretty much everything in, including seeing both grandmas and a few friends (plus Deal saw 1 concert, who other than From Good Homes, or From Home Goods as my mom calls them)!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Like Uncle, Like Nephew

We spent last week in Chi-town becoming acquainted with our new nephew!

We did a lot of this:
 and this
 and this
We tried to take a little of the load off of the brand-new family of 3 by helping with dishes, meal times, bath time, changing diapers, getting peed, pooped and spit up on. It is uncanny how similar lil E is to Deal in the number of times he goes to the bathroom each day and how much gas he has.

Deal thought it would be a great idea to pass on his own prized childhood stuffed animals to his new protege. However, the vintage appeal of P-I-G and Monkey (Deal was clever with his names as a child, huh?) was not well received. I believe they are now being stored in the garbage.

We also initiated our aunt/uncle tradition of reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas," which we've done for years with our other nephew and niece. Lil E was most attentive, so that's a good start!!
Deal was such a good baby whisperer, he is actually returning to Chicago next month to help out while Russ/Napolean Dynamite is away for business.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Garden Groweth

In the dead of winter, I would like to talk about gardening. Fitting, right?

This was my first year I tried my hand at a garden and I am proud to say my thumb was a little greener by the end of the season. Even Deal was impressed with my skills.

Luckily, BD has a nice fenced in plot that gets plentiful sunlight and few intruders. It is part of the upkeep of the grounds to make the garden look nice for guest, but even more so an opportunity to have fresh fruits and veggies through the summer.

APRIL - ready to plant

JULY - in its growing glory

NOVEMBER - ready for the next season!
Since the garden had previously been used and ready for more, all I really had to do was plant, water and hope. Oh, and weed. And weed some more. Then some more. How the heck do these weeds grow so quickly??? At first, I liked weeding. It was my contribution to BD while I was working nights and frankly, it was a little therapeutic. But, that wore off quickly and the weeds became the bane of my existence. I even had one friend comment, "have you ever heard of Round Up?" in response to see my garden of weeds.

Despite the weeds, my garden did groweth and we got a lot of complements on the garden. I am proud and thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of my labor (literally). I am excited to implement new things next season and learn so more.

Unsuccessful crops: squash, zucchini, eggplant, sugar snap peas, green beans, corn, red peppers

Successful crops: green onions, carrots (1), cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, pepperoncinis, basil, cilantro, dill, watermelon, strawberries

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Columbus & Cleveland, Two Months Ago

Anytime Deal goes anywhere without me, I tell him to take pictures so I can blog about it. He usually takes one picture of whoever is on the stage and calls it a day.

Back in October, he took a short trip to visit theHoss/Jason in Columbus and took pictures from the trip. He was so proud of himself and was excited for my blog post. Guess who never followed through on her promise?

So, I invite you to rewind 2 months with me and live vicariously through Deal for a trip to Columbus and Cleveland.

Deal's second trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time with a special Grateful Dead exhibit and U2 3D movie
A quick visit with theFather/Mike and baby Charley while in Cleveland

Not Pictured:
Deal's 15th Carbon Leaf concert, but first time seeing them in Columbus
Losing $ at the casino in Cleveland
Football madness
Bromance love between Deal and Hoss
Steadee slaving away back at BD while Deal plays

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Introducing our newest nephew!

Everett Hudson 
(courtesy of SILMeow/Julie and Napolean Dynamite/Russ)
Born Nov. 30 at 9:30 am
6 lbs 8 oz 
21 inches of perfection

Can't wait to meet lil E in person!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Tale of Two Thanksgivings

Deal and I spent Thanksgiving apart this year. Don't gasp. We live and work together everyday, so we should probably take breaks like this more often!!

What this means is you get 2 tales instead of one! We had very different Thanksgivings, and I will let you be the judge of which was better (not that it's a competition, but note that mine included more family time than concert time).

Let me preface by saying we spent Thanksgiving apart for a reason. My mom was coming to spend the holiday at BD, but my dad can't travel that far. So Deal volunteered to essentially switch places with my mom and keep my homebound father company. Save your "awwwwws" for later because there may have been an ulterior motive in that ...

So, my mom arrived Tuesday. Knowing she would be here for 6 days, I had my to-do list for her. Before you judge, know that this was necessary. Anyone who knows my mom knows her favorite things to say are, "Is there anything I can do for you? Can I help you with something?" In an effort to decrease the number of times she asked me that while I was busy working, I had several BD projects for her.

1) Wash 30+ blankets
2) Fold 250 maps
3) Number and fold 200 parking envelopes

She accomplished all of them, logging 20 volunteer hours.

I promise it was not all work and no play. I showed her all the typical hot spots--Harper's Ferry and the ATC Headquarters, our infamous overlook, Purcellville--plus we did Christmas shopping on Black Friday (during normal daylight hours), Christmas decorating and she got to meet all our friends. We first went over to Hopeful/Marie & Redwing's/Scott's (previous caretakers of BD) house for Thanksgiving meal #1, then to Fire Marshall's family's house for meal #2. We were stuffed like turkeys. Ha!! But really, more important than the meal was the fellowship. As usual, we have good, good people in our lives that provide us with our "families away from home" and she was happy to finally meet the faces behind the names.

 As for the Christmas decorating, this is my mom's forte. Her 1,000-square-foot house is decorated from ceiling to floor for every holiday (she even has a few decorations for President's Day). As much as we swore we wouldn't be that way, my sister and I both inherited her decorating bug. But this time, I got to spread my 2 boxes of decorations across 8,000 square feet. My mom & I were in heaven. My mom kept telling me I should write down where I put things so I remember post-season! And, we finally have a 9-foot ceiling and were able to go a little crazy and get that huge tree Deal has always wanted. Dreams do come true afterall.

Deal's Thanksgiving was quite different. In New Jersey, he went to 3 concerts (I do not kid about these things), 1 live football game (J-E-T-S) with a good friend who has stellar season seats, saw all his Prep boys and instead of partaking in any debauchery, they went bowling. These boys need to calm down in their old age. Plus, my dad rewarded him for "taking care of him" by taking him out for a nice Thanksgiving meal at the diner (no big-time outing because my dad was very sick) and plenty of other take-out meals.

Please note that there are far more pictures of Deal's festivities than my own. Anytime Deal goes away on his own, I tell him I will only blog about it if he takes pictures (and not just pictures of the concerts). So, he took the camera and took many, many pictures.

Which Thanksgiving would you rather?