Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Foray into Miniatures

About 5 months ago, I decided I was going to build Abby a dollhouse for Christmas. She had seen one at a toy store and was so enchanted with it. I checked into buying one. I found that you could buy some for a little over $100 including furniture (see first image) up to $800 without furniture (see second image). While the first was not totally unreasonable in terms of price, I just didn't like the "plastic-y" feel of it. And obviously, though amazing, the second was completely unreasonable in terms of price. Thus the decision to build one. I figured I could do it for less than $100 and could probably still manage to make it cool.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, when I realized I only had two weeks to construct the house. Yikes! As a Christmas present to me, my mom advanced me $75 to spend on building materials. Then she spent an undisclosed amount of money to ship out a truckload of crafty materials to use in the process. She also collaborated on the planning process. Best Christmas present ever, mom!

Construction began in the evenings, after Abby was in bed. I soon realized that I could work on bits and pieces during the day without Abby figuring out what I was doing (and even get her to help!). I managed to pull together a mostly complete house, though it is not even 50% of what I would have loved to have done. The good news is I can keep working on it, and Abby can help, for years to come!

These pictures are mostly for my mom, who has so far only seen crappy phone pictures, but have a look if you like!
(I think if you mouse over the pictures below, it will tell you details about it's content).

Abby and I started a list of additional things that need to be added. I think I need to build an addition to contain everything on the list! We started right away, and built this changing table yesterday.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I sure did.

Make Christmas cookies.... check!
Do puzzle.... check!
Eat pie.... check!
Eat Alex's gourmet food.... check!
Drink good beer.... check!
Nap.... check!
Play.... check!
Build things.... check!
Get fresh air.... check!
Watch a new release.... check!
Run... check!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Was Fun!

Playing with kids.

Backyard fire!

Hiking at East Rock Park.

Abby climbing rocks.
Charlie checks the view.

This is a squirrel that sneaked up on me and James while he was eating. It was very distracting to James.

Finding walking sticks for everyone.

The gang.


Last, but not least, Thanksgiving dinner. Wow. Alex is an amazing cook.

Uncle Matt and Aunt Meghan, can you please come back?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Look Who's Crawling!

At 7 months and one week...

(Also, I recommend turning the volume down. Turns out, my voice is rather shrill.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


This year has been pretty busy, what with Olivia getting married in February, defending in March, having a baby in April, moving in June, starting a new job in July, Portland in August, and Utah in October. So I can't really be surprised that by the time November rolled around we hadn't been camping, even once.

Fortunately (and you know I don't REALLY mean that), Hurricane Sandy rolled through causing an uproar about the New York Marathon and spurring me to cancel. Instead, I registered for Manchester City Marathon up in New Hampshire. Now, the northern part of New England is a lot different than Connecticut--much less densely populated, with hills and almost-mountains, and even a big chunk of forest service land in Western Vermont. So it is really the perfect destination for camping. We couldn't pass up the opportunity, even though a cold front was scheduled to move through that weekend, with nighttime temperatures in the high 20's.

We drove up to New Hampshire on Saturday and stayed in a hotel that night. I ran the marathon on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful course, with a couple of sections of trail, a couple of picturesque lakes, and plenty of hills. It was also really windy--especially from mile 15 on. Let's just say I didn't run negative splits. Well, unless you count the last 200 meters where I was forced to sprint by a man behind me who was yelling at his wife "Come on! You can take her!"  She didn't take me.

As a side note, I think that Alex got more notice than I did at the race, toting a 7 month baby, strolling a 3 year old, and controlling two large dogs. What a guy.

Directly after the marathon we hopped in the car and headed to Western Vermont where we found the perfect campsite. We were the only people within several miles, next to a DIRT road (unheard of in Connecticut), where the dogs could run free, and there were no stinking port-a-potties.

We made a blazing fire and ate some basic pasta with sauce for dinner. James wasn't super thrilled to be stuffed into his winter suit since it restricted his movement. But hey, he was warm. We hit the sack around 7:30. Early, yes. But we were all tired, including Abby who started asking to go to bed at around 7:00. I brought the memory foam top from our futon and the cushions from our outside porch swing (mostly for the dogs). We put a few space blankets under the foam pad, which we oriented sideways with the swing cushions along the bottom at our feet. Then we layered two fleece blankets under a down blanket for me and James, while Abby and Alex shared our zipped-together mummy bags on the other half of the pad. We were surprisingly toasty all night. I think Ella was in heaven, sleeping together with the whole family.

In the morning we were greeted with snow flurries and ice on our table. Perfect.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Fall Sunday

Today was pretty much a perfect fall day. We set out around 9:00 for a family run. As a double bonus, this weekend was a "short" weekend--only 10 miles! The weather was perfect. I actually wore a shirt. We picked up an iced mocha from Dunkin' Donuts for our "recovery" drink, and headed to an orchard. We picked a few apples, bought a few pumpkins, and ate a few donuts. Then, after nap (Abby and James), we carved up Abby's pumpkin while we (Mom and Dad) shared a pumpkin beer. Then we got pizza from our favorite pizza place and ate some chocolate-caramel-toffee-whipped cream cake for dessert. Perfect.


Some cute sibling pictures.

Some Grandma Time

Over my birthday weekend (also known as Labor Day weekend), Grandma Mettler flew out to visit us. This allowed us to do many things. For one thing, she took us out to eat every night. For another, she babysat so that Alex and I could celebrate our 7th anniversary with a 50 mile bike ride together and dinner out BY OURSELVES. And, on my birthday proper, Alex and I ran a 20K run together. Again, BY OURSELVES. Amazing. Don't get me wrong, we also enjoyed her company!

Here are a few photos from the weekend featuring Grandma Mettler.

Thank you Grandma Mettler and we miss you already!

Saturday, September 8, 2012