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Snow on the Ground!

Subtitled: oh yeah, and a new car!

Nellie and I woke up this morning excited to jump in our brand new car, head to Starbucks, and try it out around town (obvi not with beverages inside the car).  G, who was already awake, put the kibosh on that idea quickly, as he pointed outside.

Snow?

It hasn’t snowed once this winter, and it’s February 12.  The first morning with a new car, and we woke up to snow?  What a crock.  So we’re sitting inside looking at the car instead of wheeling around town.  I have homemade hot chocolate, and Nellie’s baby food cooker is steaming away on a mission to make some peas.  G is catching up on the work he was supposed to be doing when we were actually out looking at new cars.

Oh you didn’t know we were getting a new car this weekend?

To recap:

Last summer one of G’s colleagues begged us to sell asked whether we would consider selling Mini Monster.  We definitely weren’t ready to sell it then — it was our last summer of dock bars and top-down drives.  But it started the conversation about whether or not we’d keep it in 2012.  Since convertibles don’t sell so well in December, we pushed the decision off for a while, but this weekend we put it back on the table and decided it was time to make the switch.  Mini Monster was about to have an expensive year of ownership, and we simply couldn’t enjoy it fully anymore now that convertible tops and baby seats don’t go so well together.  Plus, even on regular days around town, it’s difficult to get Nellie in and out of the backseat, and I found I was constantly defaulting to the Element, even on lovely days.

And so, we found ourselves weighing the options and considering the wide range of cars that fit the bill of slightly larger, still fun to drive, four-door vehicles that also looked a bit snazzy as they zipped around DC.  Things we didn’t want: another SUV, a heavy four-wheel drive vehicle, anything that got crap mileage, or a plain car with no frills.  Yanno, we already have the El for those slogs in inclement weather and for those big loads of groceries — we don’t need another one of those.  Besides, it’s gray.  We looked at a ton of vehicles and focused in on three in particular, but in the end, we wound up driving home with the vehicle that started our search.

We’ve been keen on this car since we saw it last May at the dealership (I believe the phrase ‘wanty…’ may have escaped my lips at some point when we first saw this car in person), and as each new one popped up around town, we watched it drive by with an ‘oooh’.  That we’re loyal to the brand shows just how much we loved our dear, orange Mini Monster, and last night we found a dealer willing to work with us on price and trade-in (though I think they mostly were desperate just to get us Out The Door since it was well past closing when we sealed the deal).

And we drove home in Mini Monster 2.0.

The Countryman.

::swoon::

Nellie slept the whole way home from the dealership last night, and I have to say, there is SO much room in the cabin of this car.  Super foot room, super head room, super comfy seats.  It’s our mini monster — just supersized.  And a little redder.

Also, I am well aware that this post doesn’t scratch the surface of updates that are due.  G finished the fancy bathroom remodel (and it is awesome), the new ginormous bed is in place in our bedroom (and it is awesome), Nellie turned six months yesterday and has some super duper (awesome, obvi) six-month pics to show off, and she’s also got more pictures of her eating real food (because taking pictures of goopy food smeared on her face is awesome, of course.)

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Day 1

Fall is undoubtedly my favorite season.  Bright colors, warm sweaters, first fires, pumpkins, football, soups, and tall boots designed for impromptu leaf stomping. But I have one complaint about fall, and it’s the schizophrenia of the season.  The ‘cold one day, gone another’ indecision of the season. 

And maybe that’s why December is my favorite month of all.  Because the wind and the sun have finally come to agreement on the changing season.  Because the mornings are consistently cold and the afternoons are always brisk.  Because coat collars come up and gloves start to emerge. Because sunny days bring with them flushed cheeks and red noses.  And cloudy days mean a chance of snow.

But it’s also because of the holiday spirit which, cheesy as it may be, spills out this time of the year.  Maybe it’s the fuzzy ear muffs, the oversized office wreaths, or the red holiday cups from Starbucks.  Or maybe it’s the anticipation of a week off from work.  But whatever the reason, there’s something noticeably different around this city.  You see it in lingering lunches in downtown restaurants jam-packed with busy DCers who suddenly have time to sit down together; you see it in the passing smiles and nods of people you don’t even know; and you’re suddenly immersed in it when you realize that the common thread of the holidays — of family, of traditions, of travel — infuses water cooler gatherings with a new camaraderie.

Holiday cheer is everywhere in December, and it’s decorated with a white icing of light snowflakes and twinkly Christmas lights.  And I love it.

But this December is unlike Decembers past.  It’s Nellie’s first December, it’s our first little family Christmas here in Maryland, and it’s the first time we’ve been able to see so many family members in one holiday season. 

And so I herefore dedicate my upcoming blog posts to:

NELLIE’S 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!

Day 1.

Nellie’s first Advent calendar.  One of my favorite traditions from Christmas as a kid was running into the kitchen before school, smelling the fresh-cut Christmas tree, and opening the window on my calendar and reading, each day, a little more about the story of Christmas.  It seemed only appropriate, then, that Nellie enjoy the tradition as well.  Today she opened her first (of many) Advent window.

The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto…Nazareth, To a virgin. Luke 1:26-27

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More Fall

Just because I don’t want you to think it’s all ‘football’ and ‘pumpkin beer’ and ‘charlie brown movies’ around here, I thought I should mention the other reason I love fall.  It’s beautiful.  Our yard is beautiful, our street is beautiful, our town is beautiful, and I’ve been able to enjoy it this year more than any previous fall.  It’s different from the neon greens and electric yellows of the Poconos; in Cbeach, it’s fire reds and brilliant oranges. 

But this particular time of the fall is even better, perhaps, than when the foliage is at its peak.  This is the blustery, windy part when the leaves cascade from the trees and swirl in the road as you drive through them.  It’s the only time of the year when leaves drop like snow on your windshield as you make your way down our street.  And even though G would probably disagree since he spent yesterday clearing the driveway again, I think it’s pretty magical. 

Some shots from our backyard the other night.  Please excuse the lack of focus.  I was also holding a baby.  And bouncing her.

Can you spot the chubby dog?

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It’s 45 degrees out today, a stark contrast from Friday’s 78, and a glorious reminder of everything I like about cold weather. Since Nell and I were so ahead of the game this week and got all of our weekend grocery shopping out of the way early, we have nowhere to go today.  No Sunday trip to the store.  No Sunday trip to Starbucks.  No Sunday trip to Dunkirk or Prince Frederick or Annapolis.  We have no errands to run!  So it is a Sunday in today, and Nell is celebrating by wearing her Ravens jammies early (and currently sleeping like a champ in the bassinet, which would be more impressive if she wasn’t sleeping on a sheepskin blanket wrapped in a chenille blanket — baby girl knows what she likes), and I am celebrating by wearing my NFL jammies, and G is celebrating by wearing his Yankees jammies.  It’s just that kind of Sunday.

Editor’s note: Nellie is fully supervised in her bassinet o’ blankies, in case someone is concerned.  She is also two inches from me since naptime in her bassinet is the only time I can get on the laptop.

This sudden rush of cold weather means my favorite seasons are upon us (and by seasons, I mean “fall” and “holiday” — January, February, and March do not make my list unless they include light, pretty snow that does not tower above our mailbox and make travel impossibe), and it also means warm, cozy, crackling fires.  I’m leaning on G pretty heavy to make today our inaugural fire day, and he may just give in…

It also means the house requires additional holiday decor, and G is going up in the (garage) attic to get the rest of my fall decor — wreaths and colorful garlands of fall leaves.  I also thought I would get a jump on holiday decor and finally order some beautiful personalized stockings for the family (though the velvet Target stockings were lovely for the last 6 Christmas holidays), but the Pottery Barn stockings I really wanted are sold out online.  WTF PB???  IT’S OCTOBER 2!!  I should note that while I find my decision to order holiday stockings today COMPLETELY RATIONAL, I totally judge anyone who ordered their stockings before October. 

Speaking of house decor, there is something about changing seasons that also makes me start envisioning massive house changes and new decor.  This year I’ve got my eye on the living room.  And to be fair, only one change of paint color and no furniture changes since we moved in 4.5 years ago?! — I think I have shown incredible restraint.  I want to create a gorgeous dark wooden box over the top of the slider curtains to frame them and replace the messy rod on top; I want to incorporate two sliding barn doors that would hide G’s desk area or, alternatively, slide to cover the staircase when we want the dogs to stay upstairs; I want to remove a few of the pine pieces and add in lighter furniture (in bulk and color); and I want to change out our area rug for one that is bigger, lighter, and softer.  Obviously some of these things (ahem, sliding barn doors) are more complicated than others, and some are probably out of my budget right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome projects for G and Craigslist sales for me to make.  G seems a little concerned, as he usually does when I decide a room needs major changes, but I think he’s secretly really excited inside.  How could he not be?

Since I don’t have any pictures of sliding barn doors or new fancy furniture or CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS, I’ll leave you with some pics from our night on the town last night.  And by that I mean, we went to Outback.  Nellie is a champ whenever we take her out, knock on wood, and she’s 6-0 for perfect behavior at restaurants.  Let’s hope that continues!

I should note the super adorable sweater came from Aunt Liz.  Not only does Nell look adorable, but it has strings that she finds very entertaining.

Rocking out in her carseat on the booth:

Getting post-meal cuddles with Daddy:

Having fun on her ducky towel while G fills her bathtub:

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Staying Inside

We haven’t seen the sun since Sunday, and I barely remember what dry pavement looks like.  We haven’t just had rain — we’ve had monster rain, and booming thunderstorms, massive quantities of lightning, more power outages, and widespread flooding.  Nell is only four weeks old and has already experienced an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane, and flooding.  Can’t the kid (and her mother!) get a break and a sunny day?  Even Starbucks is less enjoyable when I’m hustling her in and out of the car in a downpour.

Here is a picture of Rt 4 North taken by G last night on his commute home (via Rt 4 South).  Upper Marlboro, which stands between us and the city, is completely flooded — the buildings-under-water kind of flooded.  Needless to say G did not go to work today, nor did most of the federal government.  Mini monster is a great car, but floating vehicle it is not.

So we’re all home today.  It’s just another day of rain for Nell, the puppies, and me, but it’s G’s first day home.  And even though he’s working hard, he has gotten in a little bit of Nell time.  He even joined me for her tummy time today, and I think she may..finally..be..napping.  Here are some pics from tummy times this week. 

And though I’d love to post some more, she is finally sleeping, so I am going to do one of the many things on my list of things to do.  Though a nap sounds awesome.

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Oh, Irene. Seriously.

I’m blogging from our remote location just to check in.  A little status update: on Saturday at 2:45pm, we lost power.  It’s now Tuesday at 9:30am, and power restoration is nowhere in sight.  They’re saying Friday.  Heaven help me if we don’t have power until Friday.  Since Mom flew out this morning and it didn’t seem fair to send her on her way (for her or for the people sitting next to her on her flights), we came into the city last night for a hotel stay, a shower, and a night of sanity.  The neighbors are taking care of the pups and the generator at home, and even though we’d much rather be home with power, it is SO nice to be clean and have running water.

Nell and I are on our own today and are very sad Mom is gone.  Since we’re in the city, we’re going to take the opportunity to check in with all of the people who have been asking to see her cute little face — my coworkers and G’s.  The RCDC has been SO nice to let Nell and me use this room as a home base for the rest of the day, so we’re going to do just that until G is ready to go home.

I honestly dont know what we will do if power is out until Friday.  Nell is running out of clothes that fit, to say nothing of my own limited wardrobe, which is equally soaked in spit-up and more.  And our precious bathtub full of water, enabling us to flush toilets, etc., is running very low.  I haven’t tried to flush a toilet with bottled water, but it smacks of a luxury car ad.

So that is the update.  G and I are a bit weary from the whole situation, but Nell is in good spirits.  And the power outage didn’t get in the way of our family visit yesterday with Wayne, Michael, and Grandma.  But I’ll save that for a separate (powered post) so I can download some of the great pictures from the day.

Signing off from my remote location for now!

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Oh, Irene

I realize I missed yesterday’s daily fix of cuteness, but it’s not easy raising a newborn in the middle of earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes.  And now that we’ve knocked past two out of three, we’re buckling down for Hurricane Irene and doing what all good folks on the eastern seaboard do when a storm comes — buying massive quantities of food and water just because we can.  We may not have power all weekend, but at least we’ll be able to drink gallons and gallons of water. 

Yesterday was Nell’s two week birthday, and it’s hard to believe I’ve already been on leave for two weeks, and it’s hard to believe I’ve only been on leave for two weeks.  It seems like I haven’t slept in about two months.  Either way, she’s definitely getting cuter every day.

Mom and I took her for a walk this afternoon before we get stranded inside with rain.

After sleeping through her walk, she decided she would keep on sleeping (after all, staying up all night makes little girls very tired during the day).  She has begun to thoroughly enjoy snoozing in her swing.

 

 

I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time for storm footage and Nell footage this weekend, even if we don’t have the power to post it.  But until then, it’s time to batten down the hatches before Irene’s visit.

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