Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Baby Caleb 2013!

Roger and Lina had their baby boy Caleb Alejandro this weekend. He's a darling little peanut! He came a bit early as he was due at the beginning of January, but a bit more surprisingly he is very blond. Really wasn't imagining him blond! Haha! He's our own little New Years Baby this year. Welcome, Caleb!

Caleb Alejandro

Post-Christmas on the Cape 2013

So we stayed on the Cape for a full week, which was maybe longer than advisable, and possibly longer than anyone wanted us there. But we had so much fun!

James got to spend more quality time with Dolores's granddaughters Ellen (6.5), Lillian (almost 4), and Beatrice (almost 2). Ellen is a under-represented in the photos, especially since she practically babysat James one morning.

Post-Christmas 2013
James with Lillian and Beatrice

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
James and Beatrice on a mini-Roundabout

James also spent a lot of quality time with Grandma, who among other things took him to the train store. He also had an afternoon with Aunt Mary doing puzzles and reading books, and an evening with Aunt Nesie doing holiday crafts and drawing.

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
At the train store- here comes the elf on the train!

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
James loves it

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
A little hands-on train time.

He also got a visit from his Great-great Aunt Barbara, and Grandma's cousin Mike and his wife Melinie, and their daughter (and Kevin's second cousin) Abigail who's close in age to James.

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
Grandma, James, Abigail, Melinie, and Mike

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
Kissing cousins James and Abigail

Kevin and I also got to go for an easy little hike at Fort Hill near the ocean and we saw two movies with Andrew. And a big highlight for me was our two trips to the 28 Club on our trip. Granted, I can't drink, but the company was so fantastic I didn't even mind. Tuesday evening Kevin, Andrew, Katie, Chris and I joined his uncle George, cousin Mike, and cousin Megan for a few quick drinks before dinner.

Saturday, my friend Jaime and Kevin's friend Casey came up and joined us for a family dinner and drinks at the 28 Club. Another one of Casey's friend James joined us too. Hilarity ensued. And I successfully drove everyone home despite being pretty rusty. We had a big sleepover.

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
Casey and Kevin enjoying drinks

Post-Christmas on Cape 2013
Casey, Andrew, Kevin, me, Jaime

It was a wonderful break, and now we're looking forward to 2014-- the year we have our little girl and Kevin's short story collection gets published. Good things ahead! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

This year we celebrated Christmas on the Cape with Kevin's family. We had decorative snow flurries on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The 5 Clous opened a few gifts at Grandma Kathy's in the morning before having a wonderful brunch at Dave and Dolores's house.

Christmas on the Cape 2013
Early morning at Grandma Kathy's

Christmas on the Cape 2013
Thanking Grandma for his new art set

Christmas on the Cape 2013
Opening presents for Itty Bitty

Christmas on the Cape 2013
A little pre-brunch dancing with Dolores's granddaughter Lillian

It's really awesome how Dave and Dolores totally take us into their already huge family. We love you guys. There's usually 12 of them, but this year we missed Caroline because she's galavanting around Ireland. So altogether there were 17 of us at brunch!

Christmas on the Cape 2013
You wish you were eating this brunch right now.

Christmas on the Cape 2013
Linny, Dave, and Dolores

Christmas on the Cape 2013
The littlest kids table: Ellen, Beatice, Lillian, and James

We went to Great-grandma Ruth's for the main gift event and dinner. Everyone was there this year: Great-grandma Ruth, Grandma Kathy, Nesie + Steve, Mary, Dickie, Katie, Chris, Kevin + me, Andrew, and James. So 12 of us altogether. It was loud and crazy. Not as loud and crazy as Christmas Eve Chinese dinner at Nesie's, but close.

Christmas on the Cape 2013
This is the before picture: Gifts for 12.5 people
   
Christmas on the Cape 2013
Dickie handing out presents to Steve and Kathy

Christmas on the Cape 2013
Mary, Great-grandma Ruth, and Nesie opening stuff

Christmas on the Cape 2013
The cousins opening presents.

This is James's third Christmas and I thought this year might be the first year James kind of gets it. He has a vague sense of Santa as a holiday celebrity, and he likes getting gifts, but he wasn't terribly interested in opening all of his presents. He was happy to open one present and just play with that indefinitely. Kevin and I had to sit on the floor and open for him. He loves everything he got, and a week later he's played with everything many times over, but he doesn't seem to get that all these new toys are a direct consequence of Christmas. In fact, he's mentioned a few times that he prefers Halloween even though he didn't even get candy at Halloween. So basically he likes costumes and spiders better than Christmas (a child after his mother's heart I suppose).

Christmas on the Cape 2013
Chaos- James focused on the first toy he opened.

Christmas on the Cape 2013
The 3.5 Clous of Long Island! Super excited to be 4 Clous next Christmas.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Things My Brother Complains About #1: Being Whipped by a Mostly-Naked Man

I decided for Andrew's Christmas present this year that I would do something different but mostly very scary.

I knew we'd built a trust level where I could hand him to stranger who asked Andrew to surrender his belongings and enter a room full of naked men. We had, after all, just visited Key West for his thirtieth birthday. After seeing a lot of hairy behinds, we descended to a subterranean sauna where a mostly-naked man interrupted the wringing of towels to escort Andrew personally into a hot dark room. Are you dying of jealousy yet?

Inside, the man asked Andrew to lie on his stomach before placing a wet towel over his head. The man proceeded to hurl several buckets of cold water over Andrew's body between lacerations from a whip of oiled oak leaves. I'd paid in advance for this old-world relaxation. The man then insisted Andrew soak in a forty-five degree pool. I'm not sure of the exact medicine, but I believe the idea is to simulate a heart attack, so as to cause a heart attack or prevent one or something. It's called pampering.

Afterward, we enjoyed various light Siberian delicacies with friends and freshly-squeezed juice. Merry Christmas!

Brothers enjoying Christmas morning

Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Car 2013

Well, new to us. We bought a used 2011 Honda Insight hybrid! It's technically my first car ever (at the age of 34) because Kevin actually bought the last car about a year before he even met me.

I'm super-excited mainly because it has 4 doors! Can you believe we had a car seat in a 2-door car for 3 years and countless roadtrips? We were insane, but the insanity is over now. By which I mean, the insanity is going to escalate dramatically now that we will have 2 children in 2 carseats in the back.

One funny thing is how much our new car looks like our old car. It's like Kevin's taste in cars has gone the way of his taste in women. He's always liked brunettes, but now he likes them with a little more um, space, and a bigger trunk. That's what I tell myself anyway.

Our 2002 Honda Civic 2005-2013
The old 2002 Honda Civic with 2 doors- total "single guy" ride.

New Car 2014
Our new 2011 Honda Insight with more booty

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Christmas has been good to us this year. Here are a ton of pictures of the Christmas cheer in our home in the days leading up to Christmas. I hope the holiday season has been kind to you as well!

December 2013
Day we got the tree before decorating it.

December 2013
Enjoying Christmas book from Grandma

December 2013
James made his first Christmas ornament!

December 2013
Decorating the tree together

December 2013
Dada putting the star on top

December 2013
"No touch" is really hard when there are all these lights and ornaments!

December 2013
Christmas naps

December 2013
Outside...

December 2013
Inside: Itty bitty says hi!

December 2013
James got to see Santa again this year. Still too starstruck to ask for a present this year.

IMG_9987
Watching some nursery rhymes on Youtube and Christmas Mickey movies on the DVR

Christmastime 2013
Trying to prevent Dada from sharing his popcorn.

Christmastime 2013
Expedition to find missing toys behind the couch.
December 2013
Merry Christmas from the Clous!

Monday, December 23, 2013

James W. Visits New York for a Week 2013

James W. came to visit us for a week. It kind of blew little James's mind that someone shares his name (he didn't remember James W from Charlottesville this year and last year). But little James got used to it and they were fast friends again in no time.

James W. Visits 2013
James W. doing pushups with a little monkey on his back

James arrived Sunday night, and got a chance to spend some quality time with us and also saw a bunh of friends in the city and Long Island, and saw and ate a number of things o his to-do list before heading back to Virginia on Saturday morning. Come back soon, big James!

James W. Visits 2013
Push up 2

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sarah and Lukas's Birthdays 2013

Sarah has an early December birthday and Lukas has a New Year's Day birthday, so they split the difference and decided to celebrate mid-December. (I don't know why Kevin and I have never thought of that when we're only 3 weeks apart ourselves!)

Sarah & Lukas's Birthdays 2013
Jon, Lukas, and Kevin at Mars in Astoria

We had dinner in their neighborhood in Astoria, at a new restaurant called Mars. The food was really good! The company was even better. Even though it snowed all day, not a single person cancelled. Their friends solidly love them!

Sarah & Lukas's Birthdays 2013
Me and Sarah- I met her 7 years ago in December 2006!

Sarah & Lukas's Birthdays 2013
Eye-ing the oysters


Sarah & Lukas's Birthdays 2013
Still snowing after dinner!

Happy belated birthday, Sarah! Happy early birthday, Lukas! We're lucky to get to see you guys so much!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nana Visits- December 2013

Nana came over and babysat a perfectly behaved James so that we could go out for Lukas and Sarah's joint birthday. Thanks Nana!

Nana Visits- December 2013
James and Nana

Nana Visits- December 2013
You can't see their faces that well, but you can see the love. 

Nana Visits- December 2013
Photo by Nana

Monday, December 16, 2013

The 12 Cravings of Christmas 2013

On the first day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: A tall glass of fat-free milk!

On the second day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: 2 Dove bars
And a tall glass of fat-free milk!

On the third day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: 3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
December 2013And a tall glass of fat-free milk!

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: 4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of fat-free milk!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: 5 onion riiiiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of fat-free milk!

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: 6 Reeses cups,
5 onion riiiiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of fat-free milk!

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: 7 sparkling juices,
6 Reeses cups,
5 onion riiiiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of fat-free milk!

December 2013On the eighth day of Christmas my true love fetched for me: 8 milk shakes,
7 sparkling juices,
6 Reeses cups,
5 onion riiiiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of vanilla soy milk!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love fetched for me: 9 lady-fingers,
8 milk shakes,
7 sparkling juices,
6 Reeses cups,
5 onion riiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of 1% milk!

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love fetched for me:10 Lifesaver gummies,
9 lady-fingers,
8 milk shakes,
7 sparkling juices,
6 Reeses cups,
5 onion riiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of 2% milk!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love fetched for me: 11 Original Bugles,
10 Lifesaver gummies,
9 lady-fingers,
8 milk shakes,
7 sparkling juices,
6 Reeses cups,
5 onion riiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of who-oooole milk!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love fetched for me: 12 seedless grapes!
11 Original Bugles,
10 Lifesaver gummies,
9 lady-fingers,
December 20138 milk shakes,
7 sparkling juices,
6 Reeses cups,
5 onion riiiiings!
4 candy canes,
3 French fries,
2 Dove bars,
And a tall glass of chocolate milk!
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