2014. Not ready for my baby girl to grow quite this big!
This holiday season we celebrated our precious baby girl. With tiny delicate hands and soft wispy baby hair, she seems only slightly bigger than the 5-pound Valentine we first brought home. (And she still fits in 3-6 month shoes.) Our dear little Madeline — whose name fittingly derives from old German for “little girl” — has so much happiness and love to share. As if on cue, she just began saying “Mum-ma? Mum-mum-mum-ma?”
Technically, Philly’s first snow of the season was earlier, but that stuff didn’t stick.
Babymoon part 6 of 6. Besides visiting the parks, we spent a lot of time at other resort attractions. It was nice to do everything at a leisurely pace and made for a great vacation 🙂
Brunch, then Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf
Babymoon part 5 of 6. The best part of DAK is the safari, and the best time to go is in the morning. The animals are active then and give you plenty of photo ops. In fact, half of our images came from Animal Kingdom. Whereas motorized attractions and themed settings are reproducible and practically perfect visuals every time you see them, animals choose whether to cooperate for your camera. And they are just so darn awesome.
Babymoon, part 4 of 6. By a small margin, the Studios is our favorite park. It feels old-timey and nostalgic. It has great live-action shows with talented performers and fun rides. Unfortunately with the pregnancy we didn’t go on my favorite, Rockin’ Roller Coaster. That just means we’ll have to come back!
Babymoon part 3 of 6. The day we visited EPCOT was very cloudy and drizzly. The weather made photography and visiting the countries less than ideal, but on the plus side, it wasn’t crowded at all, and we managed to hit our favorites 🙂
Babymoon part 2 of 6. The first park we visited was Magic Kingdom, and we were pleasantly surprised to find the holiday decorations were still in place. Holiday hours were also still in effect, and with the drop in attendance that comes after the new year, we had an easy time navigating the mild crowds. One cool thing that is probably really hard to find anywhere else is the mutoscope — and the Main Street Station has several. Here’s a video of one called “Rodeo Time” in action:
Babymoon part 1 of 6. Chris and I needed a vacation. When we found out we were pregnant, we decided to take our babymoon at Disney World. It would be the last time we could go and be kids ourselves and be responsible only for ourselves. Having worked there for a year, I knew I wanted to go during an off-peak time — I no longer have any patience to wait in ridiculous lines! Neither of us had visited for over 10 years, so we planned to stay a week just after the new year. I would be seven months pregnant, ready for a vacation but not so uncomfortable to travel.
We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside Resort, which had a quaint, relaxing Tom Sawyer-ish theme. For the first few days of our stay, it was still adorned with pretty holiday decorations. It has ferry service to and from Downtown Disney via the Sassagoula River Cruise, which has a fleet of boats with fun southern names like Magnolia Blossom, Memphis Miss and Saratoga Queen. I have to admit that I was rather impatient with the boat sometimes, but in a way, the slow pace and southern feel also helped me relax and remind me that we were there to unwind, not to rush 🙂
At 36 weeks, we had our maternity family photos taken by our fabulous wedding photographer, Isabel March. As always, Henry is the most photogenic member of the family 🙂
We went up to Connecticut for the holiday and had a snowy white Christmas. Henry had a good time playing in the cold and getting snacks from Grandma.
This year was our first married Thanksgiving. For weeks, Chris had been excited to roast his first turkey, and I was equally excited for stuffing! We made a game plan, did our grocery shopping, and went to bed (relatively) early the night before so we could get started at 7am. Thursday morning came. Game on.
Well, the first hiccup came early — I had trouble sleeping, so we slept in an extra hour. We adjusted and got right back on schedule, though. (Yes, we made a schedule.) As it turns out, we learned a number of things:
- Chopping the vegetables the night before means we don’t have to get started until 8am. Whoo hoo!
- Our 24-pound turkey took about 5.5 hours to cook. By about 3 hours, enough fat had drained off to baste it.
- We do not have a platter big enough to hold a 24-pound turkey. Fortunately, a smaller platter on a baking sheet will suffice.
- Potholders can also be trivets.
- The day is not nearly as busy as I thought. We had breaks to to watch Star Trek, set the table, and so forth. It was easier than cooking for the party we just had! (Then again, we had over 30 people there.)
I also took notes on miscellaneous adjustments to our schedule and recipes. Here is the result of our Thanksgiving Matrix (which obviously is not formally a matrix, but sounds niftier than Thanksgiving Chart):
And here is the resulting feast:
Having slept well with the aid of turkey somnolence, we dismantled the bird this morning. Henry also helped, sort of.
We had a potluck party at our house a few weeks ago. We hadn’t invited people over for a long time, and it was great to see so many friends!
After everyone left, we took a break to watch QI. I said we should start cleaning up, and Chris said we should finish the episode. Five minutes later, I hear snoring:
I let him sleep.
The next night I took these pictures of my two handsome boys, hanging out on the couch.
Fifteen minutes away from the beach, we found ourselves a picnic spot under the redwood canopy. We found a barbecue place that turned out to be a favorite among the locals, the Aptos Street BBQ. We had gone to get some ribs the night before, and tonight we came back for more. The ice cream root beer float was the perfect ending.
Sol’s family hosted brunch the next morning at his sister’s place. They have a neat property that includes a barn and vineyard. Brunch was delicious, with the highlight being menudo. Chris and I had never tried it before. Now I’ll have to go looking for it whenever I crave a fix.
Our dear friends Ingrid and Sol had a beautiful wedding in perfect California weather at Aptos Village Park. True to form, they planned their day around food and friends.
A quick stroll down the aisle:
Then on to the celebration: