Friday, November 18, 2011


Man, this little girl already knows how to break my defenses. This afternoon when I finally went in to get Nora out of her crib from her should-have-been-two-hour-but-somehow-only-twenty-minute-nap, I noticed she needed her diaper changed. As I laid her on the changing table, she just grinned up at me, then sweetly pressed her hand on my arm and said, "Mama. Pretty." Seriously, how could I be mad at that?!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Couch!

We've had our beautiful new couch for a couple weeks now, so I thought it might be time for an introduction here...
I love the subtle herringbone texture and the warm camel color. Neutral enough to transfer gracefully through my fickle design kicks. :)
And I'm slightly obsessed with the little turned caster feet.
It's also super comfortable and sturdy (with a great warranty), which means it will be around for a long, long time.
Pretty much everything in our house is from a yard sale or inherited, so this was our first real furniture purchase. I've been waiting for it for a long time- it was my motivation to get us completely out of debt (student loans, cars, credit cards), and we finally did it! Maybe that's part of why I love it so much.
A big improvement from our old one, which had broken supports, mouse-chewed holes, pen decorations, and on top of that- was way too big for the space. Yeah, I'm not missing this old one much...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maybe is time I get some new duties...

See that pile of leaves the boys are in? That's just from the front of a small strip of lawn on the side of our driveway. We spent most of Saturday raking and bagging (our city requires us to buy their overpriced bags, which I suppose pays for their removal) roughly 20 huge bags worth of leaves. It was satisfying at the end of the day to see our yard so clean again...but only for a few minutes, since the neighbors' leaves blew right back in. Oh well. Those are the prices you pay for living in such a green area.
It's been a really warm November so far. Yesterday, it got up to about 80 degrees! I could live with Winter if it stayed like this. But for the past two days, I didn't get to enjoy the weather. Instead I was downtown, fulfilling my civic responsibilities as a juror. It was a really interesting, frustrating, tiring, and rewarding experience. I originally was scheduled for jury duty last month while Paul was out of the country, but I got it moved so he could stay home. Paul played the part of Mr. Mom perfectly. Seriously, kids were fed, bathed, taken to and from school, dishes were washed, laundry was done, groceries were bought, dinner was ready at the end of the day, and the house was even in decent order when I got home. He's a star.
I went in yesterday morning, armed with a few books. I was sure I'd be sitting in that giant room with 500+ other people for two days. After a few hours, things finally got moving, and they called the first round of jurors- 36 people, and I very relieved to be among that group.  We moved slowly up to our room, where we found out that we were on a civil case and the attorneys asked us different questions. Being the boring stay-at-home-mom that I am, I was pretty quiet through all of this. No, I did not have any experience driving a truck, no I did not have any real legal knowledge, no I never had business dealings with these particular companies...and so forth. And so I was picked to be on that particular jury. Also a relief, since those who were not picked had to go back to that giant room and go through the long process all over again.
Our case was pretty boring, although I feel some surge of excitement that I now have permission to talk (and even blog!) about it. :) We watched the same clip of surveillance footage and google map images and heard the same story over and over for two days. Basically, a company was trying to get actual and punitive damages from some FedEx driver for "knowingly" damaging a communication line that ran over a parking lot. Besides the footage, there wasn't much to go on to determine motive other than the guy's testimony that it was an honest mistake- that he wasn't even aware of causing any damage until he was later shown the tape.
Being in the same room with a bunch of strangers for a few days was the most interesting part though. Since we couldn't discuss the case, we talked about all sorts of other things. I had lunch with another young mom, who I never would have otherwise met. I got to hear all sorts of fascinating stories and open up a little about some of my beliefs. When we finally got to deliberate, it was as if the floodgates opened, and what was really on our minds all spilled out. It was a pretty clear consensus among us, which I thought was interesting. I wondered if it would be when during the closing statements I found myself waffling. Anyways, it's over. I'm glad it's over, but I'm also glad I got to have the experience. Maybe I'll even look forward to it the next time I'm called in for jury duty.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Trip to Virginia

We're back! We drove out to Virginia last week for Paul's brother's wedding, and took a little extra time off to visit our old stomping grounds. We had a wonderful time, and have a lot of great pictures to show for it. Although I'm still baffled as to how I never got a decent picture of the bride and groom, or any of our day with my parents and Bryan and Jeni and their kids. Whatever. We'll just use our imaginations. :)  
The first few days we spent with Paul's brother's family near DC. Here's Peter at Cox's Farms. We went there on Halloween, with Alexandra and two of her boys. 
Lunch at Cox's. Peter, me, Will, (Porter in the stroller), Alexandra and Benjamin,
More Cox's...
Cousin bath time! There are FIVE boys in there! Nora didn't join them, which was probably for the best.
Porter is such a sweet, affectionate little guy. He gives kisses on demand, and Nora was always willing to offer a cheek.
Trick-or-treating! There's Brigham with Porter the dragonfly, Benjamin the ninja, WIll and Andrew the soldiers, Peter the Robin, and Nora the duck. It was a chilly night, so everyone had lots of layers underneath. 
Nora at the Natural History Smithsonian.
The Air and Space Museum was a favorite. The space ice cream remains one of the big things they still talk about from the trip.
Benjamin touching the moon rock.
We both love the Air and Space Museum and have lots of great childhood memories from there.
There's the Capitol building.
And the Washington Monument.
After our DC adventures, we drove south a little ways to visit my brother Bryan and his family. They live right near the Chesapeake Bay, so Bryan is now a certified sailor. It was a perfect afternoon for him to take us out on one of the Air Force's little sail boats. We watched the fighter jets and stealth planes fly overhead along withe the seagulls and pelicans. It was a really fun adventure.
And it of course made Paul feel all sorts of manly, manning those sails. :)
The rest of the time was in Richmond with Paul's entire family for Mike and Kat's wedding. The time together felt too short, but we had some great times. We all really loved getting to know Kat and her family and friends better. It was a really nice wedding.
Katie brought her boyfriend Eric along too, so we finally got a chance to get to know him a little better. 
It's sad but this is the best shot I got of the beautiful bride, with little Nora looking on.  I guess weddings are totally different once you have three little kids to keep track of.
Benjamin getting chummy with his fellow red-headed Aunt Katie at the reception. He told me today that if things don't work out between Katie and Eric, then he (Benjamin) will marry Katie.  
Here's one of Kat dancing with her father, and Mike dancing with his mother.  There was lots of good music and good dancing, especially by the kids.
It was a great trip. And the drive wasn't even that bad for being 13-16 hours. Nora pretty much watched our one Yo Gabba Gabba DVD on repeat the entire time, and the boys just did their own thing in the back. I think we may have gotten this crazy long car trip thing down!