Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sun and Snow (The Text)

Happy Holidays to all of those we did not see in the past few weeks. Winter has definitely hit the northeast. We left home mid-December in the midst of an ice storm, a picture of which is our new blog pic, and headed to Connecticut for a weekend at the Anderson's. A few days later we were off to sunny California for Amara's first visit with most of the Johnson clan. Her first experience traveling went off without a hitch. The flight did not seem to bother her ears and she mostly nursed and napped. The longer leg of the flight from New York to Denver and back was a little trying since just around the time we were tired of sitting still Amara also got restless and wanted to move around. But overall she did not scream too much so we did not have to be "those people" with the screaming child.

We had a great time visiting with Mike's family and friends and Amara had a whirlwind time meeting lots of new people. She got to see Grandma Marie again as well as meet Grandpa Danny and Great-grandpa Pat. She also met her Uncle Daniel and Auntie Coco (Nicole), Uncle Ryan and Jillian, Uncle Stephen and Jodi, and Uncle Timothy. She enjoyed her cousins Hayley and Nicholas the most, smiling and giggling through our visits with them. They have a few little cousins so are great with babies and knew how to play with and entertain Amara. The weather in LA was not as cooperative as we would have liked and it was a bit cold and rainy during our trip. But we did get to spend a lot of time outside and Amara could bare a little more skin than she can at home.

Some highlights of the trip; making Kimchi with Ryan and Jillian, backyard BBQ with friends, Las Posadas on Olvera Street, receiving (and drinking for breakfast) Drool Butt Brew from Stephen and Jodi, and Team Tickle at Daniel and Nicole's house.

We departed California on Christmas Eve (yeah, no fun, but affordable!) and headed to CT to spend Christmas at the Anderson's. The day was rather uneventful but joyous: a simple, delicious meal; small bit of gift giving (Secret Santa is the way to go); and a couple rounds of Scategories.

After all of the holiday madness, Erin and I spent our birthdays without a lot of fanfare. We had a get together with family involving a wonderful pistachio birthday cake, care of Meme. Erin's birthday night we went out with some of her college room-mates to a cool little bar in New Haven that was far too loud to do any real conversing (I guess we're getting old!) And Mike's birthday night was at the famous Pepe's pizzeria in New Haven (delicious white clam pie, yum!).

New Year's Eve was fun since we got a good dump of snow, 4"-5", just enough to go out sledding. Kim, Joe, Kaylee, and Brad joined us for for the wet, wild, and cold adventure. There's a great hill down the street at the elementary/middle school. We bundled up old school style, in jeans and plastic bags over our socks, in vast contrast to the Madisonites in their sweet North Face gear. But we could run that hill just as good as the rest.

We're back home now, to our beautiful frozen lake and winter wander-land. Our new fermentation projects of Brined Carrots/Daikon Radish and Garlic are underway with Beer/Mead Brewing up on deck. We just installed our new wood burning stove and it made it through it's first firing; let's hope it lasts all winter!

And one last thing... Amara is growing up so fast, she is really learning how to use her body now. The short video is of her in a slightly assisted roll-over in Cali a few weeks ago and today she went from tummy to back all on her own. She can also sit up by herself for a few seconds before she face plants. And she's doing full push-ups...military style.

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