Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What. A. Month.

I'm not sure when it became the third week of December, but here we are.  A brief update from the past few weeks:

Our First Thanksgiving
We got a turkey from a local farm - picked it up, freshly processed and never frozen - the weekend before the big day.  My mom and Jack were scheduled to leave for the Philippines for my cousin's wedding on Thanksgiving day and Terri was still in New Zealand so Thad, my brother, and I hosted Turkey Day for the first time.  We invited some family friends so all told we had 9 adults and 9 kids over for dinner.  Thank you to the Batts, their friends from Alabama, and the Doughertys (regular DeGuia/Lurie Thanksgiving celebrators) for joining us for an amazing night.   Here is a picture from our point of view at the end of the table:  

We moved all the furniture out of the living room and lined up tables with food and chairs and it turned out to be an amazing feast.  Thad's first experience in cooking a turkey didn't turn out the way he had hoped (the brining made it super salty) but there's a first time for everything, right?  Cooking a 20+ pounder for a first time may have been ambitious but I think he did a great job.  After packing 8 leftover boxes and doing multiple loads through the dishwasher, we put our feet up and celebrated a first Thanksgiving in our new house a success.

More to come on our first family vacation in 2 years....here's a teaser photo: 

The Return of Mamo
Four hours before we returned from Aruba, Terri returned from her 3-month trip to New Zealand.  It's taken some adjustment having her home on all sides but it's great to have her back and the boys were SUPER excited to see her.  They still are; Mamo is back and the boys love having another playmate around.  Thad and I aren't complaining either...we are getting back into a workout groove being able to escape at night to the gym after the boys get to bed.  What a big help! If you want to check out Terri's adventures while she was away, check out her blog and all the work they did on Heather and Mike's homestead: http://t-notasausage.blogspot.com/.

Returning to Training
I decided that I've been milking this "being out of shape because I have little kids" business and signed up for my 7th Team in Training event.  We started training 2 weeks ago for the Rock 'n Roll Half marathon in DC in March.  I am very excited - but incredibly nervous - to be back in the TNT family and have the responsibility of not only training for a race again but also fundraising.  The cause is far too important for me to NOT participate so here I am again, continuing our fight to find a cure for blood related cancers.  I will be posting my fundraising site sometime over the next couple of weeks and my goal is to raise $1000 before the race.  GO TEAM!!! 

and our most recent family event....

10 Years later
This past sunday was 10 years since we lost my dad.  10 years, a husband, 2 children, and a home that have all missed my father's presence.  This time of the year is always hard for us but this year even more so because landmark years are always hard.  To commemorate my father and bring together family, we hosted a party on saturday for our family and friends.  I'm so grateful that we can all get together and enjoy my dad's memory, as well as share stories around my husband and kids.  I think I need them to hear the stories probably more so they need to hear them, you know?  Here's a group shot, the best I could do with the lighting.  Thank you to everyone who came; you all hold a special place in my heart and in the DeGuia family's hearts.  My dad is smiling upon all of us.


So that brings me to the week before Christmas and we've been enjoying the decorations and lights.  The boys are getting more and more aware of everything going on and Julian has been singing "Holly Jolly Christmas" nonstop.  Unfortunately the little guy was diagnosed with Strep throat this afternoon which means it'll probably pass through the house before we know it.  Last Christmas all 4 of us had the flu over the vacation week and we are determined not to let that happen again this year.  Send some good health vibes this way, pretty please!  

Thanks for getting this far....this has been a hell of a month and it's not even over yet!!!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy birthday, Mamo!!

Our dear Mamo is still in New Zealand and today is her birthday so here is how we celebrated for her!  Chocolate Pumpkin muffins and a song.  Happy birthday, Mamo, and see you in a few weeks!  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

I LOVE FALL.  Love the leaves, the festivities....corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards.  Really, I don't think I could ever live somewhere that didn't have Autumn festivities.

Last year Julian was very aware and interested in all the decorations but this year he was SO into it!  I made the mistake of bringing he and Dash to Party City with me to choose decorations but the mature decorations were too intense for my little guys.  I went back without them to choose G-rated decorations and the boys LOVED helping us hang up the pumpkins, ghosts, and of course, silhouettes.  We totally flaked on making jack-o-lanterns this year...oops.  Does that make this Halloween incomplete? 

We went to a Halloween party last weekend at a friend's house and while Dash was okay wearing his lion hand-me-down costume, Julian wasn't big on wearing the actual costume but just the pirate hat.  He loved seeing all the costumes but I think he was still a little confused with them.   Dash didn't seem phased at all seeing all the different costumes but after that party he has refused to wear the costume until trick or treating tonight. 
This past weekend was supposed to be a weekend of festivities but we were snowed out on saturday.  Here is a picture of grandma's car with the slushy stuff.  It wasn't enough to impact traffic or anything but it definitely bumped the outdoor plans we had for that day.  We thought about going to the Air & Scare at the Air & Space Museum but apparently everyone had a similar idea because there was a line to PARK it was so busy.  Glad we didn't end up going.  


So instead of battling with the crowds we stayed inside, made play-doh zombies coming out of the ground (table) and had fun with costumes.

Peek a....


Last night we attended the Holistic Moms Network Annual Halloween Party and despite the cold and arriving very late to the event, it was a lot of fun!  We arrived too late for the pumpkin decorating and bobbing for apples, but we did enjoy the yummy food and company nonetheless.  Plus I got to hold a 2-week old baby so it was great night. 

I also love that with little ones they get plenty of opportunities to wear costumes between parties, class celebrations, and the actual night of Halloween.  Julian changed his mind constantly about what to be - witch, knight, pirate - and eventually settled on being a vampire because he wanted to wear my cape (I was a vampire at the party last weekend).  We went to my mother's for dinner and trick or treating since her neighborhood has a ton of little kids and the houses are closer together.  Plus, I knew that my brother and mom wanted to celebrate with the boys, too, so it was a fabulous night.  

Truly, tonight was one of those nights that I dreamed about when I had children of my own.  The boys were so excited about going door to door, they were polite, didn't take too much, and they loved seeing all the decorations.  They each got to eat one candy when we got back to my mom's (M&M's and a mini-Snickers) and they surprisingly stayed awake for the drive home.  It was such a dream of a night and I am so grateful to have my family to celebrate with us.  

Getting ready
My vampire

my lion

Julian's billowing cape

About to knock...

Getting their loot!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winston Playce open for business!!

A brain-child of daddy, we turned our playroom into a soft play room for the boys to play over the Labor Day weekend in September. "Just like My Gym!" is what Julian said as he ran into it for the first time.  Since then it has become a hit in our house and the boys - and their little friends - just LOVE it.  We are hoping to add onto the room for Christmas.  Grandma hasn't had a chance to see the room so here are some very belated pictures of the new romping room.  Folks with kiddos, you are welcome anytime!  Favorite thing to do in the room?  Obstacle courses! 

Family Music Class

We decided not to put Julian in preschool this fall and find activities to do as a family instead.  It was a hard decision as we really enjoyed our home school preschool coop last year and thought we would continue that this year, but between our Bradley playgroup that still meets weekly (since January 2008) plus my La Leche League leader commitments, we wanted to find something that we could do together as a family with minimal expectations. I did a little research and we enrolled for family swim classes through the county Parks system and a Music Together class which we started in September.

As you know, Julian has music in his bones and I really wanted a class that would teach him more about music than we do at home.  Another big bonus of the class is that it's age appropriate for both Julian AND Dash and finding a class for both of them plus mommy isn't always easy, or at least, convenient.  A friend of mine took a Music Together class with her daughter who is Julian's age and gave them a glowing review so we were very excited to start.

The class has been AWESOME.  The music caught on quickly and it has rapidly become a regular part of our CD rotation in the van.  (Also on our rotation are the Wiggles, Rocknoceros, and some Julian-selected 'rock and roll').  Daddy has also gotten in on the action at home.  Since he can't come to class with us, he learned the music to play it on the guitar so we can sing the songs together at home.  Truly, it's been a fabulous experience.

If you haven't heard of Music Together before, it has a set of songs that are geared to how children hear and learn.  The music focuses on tonal intervals consistent with how children begin to talk.  Some of the songs are familiar while some are new to us so that has kept the kids quite entertained.  They have a different set of songs for each session of the year, with the summer session being "Song Favorites."  Apparently you can take a Music Together class for three years straight and never hear the same song twice.  Amazing, right?  They know their stuff for sure! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recipe: Italian Bean & Squash Soup

As some of you have seen on Facebook, we have been cooking up a STORM around here lately. After we watched Forks Over Knives, Thad has been much more open to trying a more plant-based diet.  I've been a vegetarian on and off since I was about 15 and when we met, I was eating veggie when Thad and I met 7 years ago.  He's always been supportive of my eating preference but despite my vegan/veggie books I leave laying around hasn't embraced it as much as I would have hoped.  Now, though, he's more open and I am so grateful that we can share in this journey together.  I think that how we eat, like everything else in life, is a journey.  How we choose to feed ourselves - both body and soul - is fluid and evolves.  I've decided that I am going to post successful recipes here for you all to enjoy, too, because while I wish I could share these meals with you in person, that isn't always so easy.  So enjoy and let me know what works for you, too!  Here is tonight's meal, courtesy of Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.

Italian Bean & Squash Soup

Services 6-8
Total Time: 30-40 minutes

1 T olive oil
3 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
6 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 celery stalk, preferably with some leaves, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups crushed canned tomatoes with their juice (15 oz can)
1 qt vegetable broth
1 t dried oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
4 c diced peeled butternut squash
3 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans (two 15-oz cans, rinced and drained)
1 t salt
coarsely ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated Pecorino cheese (optional)

In a large nonreactive soup pot, heat the oil on medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, oregano, and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the squash and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes.  Add the beans and salt and continue to cook until the beans are thoroughly heated.  Add black pepper to taste.  Serve hot topped with freshly grated cheese, if desired.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Abbey Road on the River

Another bonus of living in the DC area? Abbey Road on the River, of course! We promised Julian the Beatles and we provided....but honestly, I think we should wait until later years when we don't have to juggle naps and bedtimes so we can stay and enjoy the music longer. It's an annual festival- the largest Beatles-inspired festival in the country, apparently- and the boys were so excited to hear the music live! Unfortunately, the band that we ended up catching was playing 60's music so they played not only Beatles but ELO and the Temptations, but the boys still enjoyed it. Ask Julian what he thought, he'll say it was too loud. Go figure. Ask Dash what he thought, and he'll say it was stinkin' hot out. But regardless, it was a good experience for us but I don't think we'll be returning to the festival until the boys have a longer attention span!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Swimmin' and Diggin'

Grandma took off for her annual trip to New Zealand this week. She'll be gone until almost Christmastime and I told her I'd maintain our blog much better so she can see what's going on around here, so, here goes...

What a week it's been since she left! It's a transition for everyone having Mamo gone so I kept us very busy so the boys wouldn't be too sad. On wednesday we went to our Holistic Moms Network playgroup at a local park in Centreville. It was a lot of fun seeing the other moms that I know, mostly, from online posts in our local chat group. This is the same group with which we did the homeschool preschool last year and I know Julian has missed seeing his classmates this summer.

On thursday we visited Grandma Joy for a pool trip! The boys haven't been to the pool nearly as much this summer as we did in past summers since our neighborhood does not have a pool. We miss our KPW neighbors so much! Julian is not the most ... adventurous child and he hates having his face wet so the pool has always been a minor challenge. Daschel, on the other hand, is a 'do-first-think-later- kind of kid so we have to keep an eye on him in the big pool. Grandma Joy is AWESOME with swimming and kids so by the time we were done playing with her last time she had Julian floating on his back (with help) and kicking in the big pool! I'm sad we didn't get to the pool with her more this summer but hopefully next year we'll be able to do it more often.

Yesterday we headed to our farm for its annual Pancake Breakfast and Potato Dig. The thunder didn't stop us, oh no, from heading to the fields to dig up our 10+ pounds of potatoes! Julian really liked helping daddy find the potatoes! We joined this farm last year as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member wherein we get a weekly delivery of farm-fresh veggies and fruit plus free entry to the farm for our own picking and play. The boys love to play and visit the animals. Our first trip to the farm was when Julian was almost 2 and Dash was only about 6 weeks old and we've gone back regularly since. This has been a fabulous experience for our family and I am so grateful for the boys to see where food comes from. They've picked their own strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and now potatoes and we can't wait for fall picking with apples and pears! Funny note, we ran into the parents of a classmate from high school. Robinson families are everywhere!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Taking a moment

I have started so many postings that never got posted and I figured it's time to at least check in. I am hoping to keep up with the blog better after Grandma leaves for her New Zealand adventure next week since it'll probably be the best way (other than Skype) to keep up with the going ons of our little family.

When I started this blog before Julian was born, I figured it'd be a good way to pass around what's happening here for our family and friends far away. The more and more time passes, I realize that I think this blog is more for my own journal of our family so that we have something to look back on and remember it all. Although, thank God for digital photos, too. :) That said, I want to chronicle something that happened yesterday.

We went to breakfast at our favorite breakfast place, Le Pain Quotidien, in Clarendon. We try to get out there about once a month but this summer has been so busy I don't think we've been there since at least May, if not April. Anyways, we went and then after breakfast we decided to go to Roosevelt Island for a little nature walk before the hurricane hit. On our way to the island we were driving past Arlington Cemetery and since today would have been my dad's 59th birthday, I wanted to stop and visit with the family.

Julian and Dash had been there before but it was colder out and the fountain wasn't running. This time the fountain was running and they were ready to jump in! It didn't help that the day before we went to the Fountain at Fairfax Corner so they were fresh off of a public fountain frolicking. After explaining to them that this fountain is not appropriate for swimming, we walked over to my dad's location. Arlington National Cemetery is a beautiful cemetery and I am very pleased with how they maintain the space.

We got to my dad's spot and here is what happened:

Me: Julian, tomorrow would be grandpa's birthday. Do you want to sing to him? He would love it.
Julian: *points to grave stone* Is he in there?
Me: Yes.
Julian: But he can't come out and say "yay!"?
Me: No, he can't, but mommy and daddy will clap for you.

Julian proceeded to sing happy birthday to my father and, with tears, I clapped and hugged him. I haven't known how to explain to him and Dash that they can't meet my father. I never met my mother's father, either, as he passed away a year before I was born, but I never felt disconnected to him. Through my mom's stories of him I never felt the gaping hole that I'm sure my mother felt with his absence. I just assumed that my stories of my father would fill whatever hole or gap that my boys may feel without my father being here, but here I am and I realize that whatever story I tell them or whatever pictures I show them, I'll never quite be able to express just how beautiful a person he was, or just how much he meant to me.

I'd give anything in the whole world to have my father meet my family. I can only hope that by keeping him as a verbal part of our life, and by having somewhere concrete to visit that is 'my father's space' that the boys can see, they'll understand that while he may not be here, he's out there somewhere loving them as much as I do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

drive by posting

We are sitting downstairs watching "So You Think You Can Dance" and we hear, 'I want to come and watch this, it looks funny, you know,' come from around the corner. Julian decided to come by and say hello despite needing to be in bed at this very late hour for a toddler. Thad just brought him back up but I wanted to share a little story from my evening tonight.

Julian and I were sharing a quick cuddle in the kitchen just after dinner. I sang a little song to him that I've sang to him since he was a baby, a special Julian song that we share together. He looked up at me, smile, and sang the song back to me but switched out his name for 'mommy.' He's never done this before, not so sincerely or as genuinely as he did tonight. It made me cry. One of those perfect mommy moments that I hope to keep tucked away in my memory forever (which is one of the reasons I have this blog).

Thank you, Julian, for teaching me about unconditional love. And thank you for sharing your laughter with me. .... Now go back to bed and, if you could, please sleep past 5am? Thank you. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The little house that love built

Today was the day. It was inevitable as we’ve been battling the real estate market for what feels like forever. Our decision to purchase another home prior to selling our townhouse was the best decision we ever could have made but gee, it was a gamble. For all we knew we could have ended up sitting with double mortgages for months before our townhouse sold but in the end our lovely home was picked up after only 5 days on the market (this time around). Third time’s a charm, right? We had put our house on the market back in 2006 for a hot second (literally only about 4-6 weeks) just “to see” if it would be scooped up. Obviously it wasn’t and we decided not to deal with the “keeping-the-whole-house-clean” thing unless we absolutely had to. Then there was last year. I wouldn’t wish what we did upon my worst enemy and I can’t believe Dash spent his first few months on planet Earth dealing with the stress of having the house on the market. What were we thinking?! In the end, our dream house became available and our house was picked up by a lovely woman that, if given the opportunity, I’d love to be her friend.

So there Thad and I were this weekend doing our final sweep through the old house and I found myself in tears standing in the foyer, thinking about the last almost 7 years of my life. In spring of 2004 my lease was ending at what has famously been referred to as “Cedar House” and I needed to make some decisions about what I was going to do. Was I going to stay with IBM? Travel? Go back to school? It is the dreaded question for any 20-something: “what are you going to do with your life?” My mom and I figured that if I was ever to go back for a Master’s degree my job would hopefully pay for it. Real estate at the time was the best place to invest some money, so that was where we went. We found this house with my agent not long after it had been on the market and we scooped it up very quickly. It wasn’t going to be available until August so we did a rent back after closing in June and I lived with my mom for the overlapping months.

Thad and I met the night before I moved into this house so as far as I’m concerned, he’s always been a part of it. My friend, Shannon, helped me move in and my friend, Melisa, helped me put my IKEA tables together. I mean, really, did someone really say it was okay for this 22-year old to own a house? Apparently so and I loved it. A 4-bedroom house was a big bit for me on my own so the first year in the house was spent with some lovely roommates. There was Scott and Levi, both of whom I found on roommates.com. My mom wasn’t big on me living with perfect strangers who are men that I found on a website but after background checks and some leases drawn up, my mom figured I had to figure things out on my own. Scott was awesome. He lived with me for a year and he was the best roommate. He was quiet, he kept to himself, and he has the best sense of humor. He moved out in September 2005 right before Thad moved in. Levi was not awesome. He was evicted after approximately 5 months of living together. He was stressful, inconsiderate, and he bit one of my friends. Yup, you read that correctly: he bit her. After Levi moved out in spring of 2005 my good friend from college, Lauren, moved in and was with us in the house until Thad and I got engaged in the fall of 2006. Even though she’s moved into her own apartment in Arlington now, we still say that she can live with us anytime she wants.

Most of all, the house was the stage for the evolution of my relationship with Thad and truly the first home we ever had. On our third date Thad and I laid on the carpet in my very empty house and listened to music for hours. After Thad moved in October 2005, a month later we got 2 kittens and a puppy. Oh boy did we get ourselves into a big mess. Neither of us had any idea how to care for a puppy and the kittens were 2 furry mysteries to me as I had never had cats before either. Poor Lauren had to deal with crying kittens at her door the first week they were here and a barking dog that didn’t know where to poop…oh, the mess.

In the fall of 2006 we got engaged and three weeks later got married with a justice of the peace in the City of Fairfax. Our post-marriage celebration was spent standing around our kitchen island with my brother, Thad’s sister, and her then-boyfriend-now-husband over beers and crackers. In the fall of 2007 we got pregnant with our first little bundle and over the next couple years settled in even more to our home together. In the spring of 2008 his mom moved in with us for what we thought was a temporary arrangement but has evolved into a long-term plan. We are so grateful to have a multi-generational home in a place where it isn’t common anymore. We were especially grateful to have help within walking distance from both of our moms after our second little bundle arrived in the spring of 2010 in our master bedroom.

As I walked around the empty townhouse on Sunday afternoon I could see the faint pictures of events past: House parties with friends and that time that a friend spilled a cranberry-vodka on my white carpet. Drunk stair sliding on slippery pants. The time when I hosted a big Filipino food party and I had friends all over the house chowing down on pancit, watching a Filipino movie, and drinking beers in the backyard. Making Halloween costumes with my girlfriends for a weekend of back-to-back costume parties. Unwrapping wedding gifts with Thad and being surrounded by white boxes, greeting cards, and oodles of love from our family and friends. Painting what would be Julian’s room a Winnie-the-Pooh yellow and wondering how our lives would change with his arrival. Taking a pregnancy test and walking through the house to show Thad the proof that our little family was indeed growing. Laboring in my living room surrounded by my amazing birth team and cursing at whoever put so many stairs in my house. Welcoming our son at the foot of our bed with our other son asleep down the hall. Watching my boys cuddle on the couch on Christmas morning….

In the book that I am reading right now the main character talks a lot about houses and homes. He comes from a nomadic people and he says a couple of times that a house is like a shoe. If it’s too big, it will slide and chafe. If it’s too small, it’ll squeeze and blister. While I hate to think that we left the townhouse because we had outgrown it, it’s the truth of the matter. It is, though, forever be a perfect home to me. And so it is. The little house that love built will live in my heart forever and I am glad that another family can enjoy the space as much as we did. They may not know where all the dings on the walls came from, or about the flood we had in the basement, or how Julian learned to walk on those floors, but that’s okay. I am grateful to the house for being our home.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A year old...when did that happen?

Not sure when it happened but a year has passed since our little dude joined our family. I feel like I was just waddling around IKEA yesterday waiting for his arrival. We got home from IKEA about 2 hours before I went into labor. Consequently, we went to IKEA today, too. I had this great plan to chronicle what life has been like as a family of four- well, in greater detail than I have- but, alas, I guess this is what happens when you add another child into the mix. Kudos to anyone who can maintain a blog better than I have.

Not gonna lie, those first 3 months were rocky and crazy. It probably didn't help things when we decided to put the house on the market for three months. Come to think of it, since Dash's birth it has been a non-stop crazy train ride for us. Perhaps it's a testament to the presence that he has created in our lives....the kid is a bulldozer and I say that with lots of love. He's a loud, playful,
crawling, toothless wonder with lots of energy and a very devilish smile...I wonder where
he got it from?

He and Julian are BEST buds and we are so excited to see just how much fun they have together. Julian is so kind with Dash. He watches over him to make sure he doesn't play with toys that are not safe for him and makes sure to take them away and replace them with toys that are safe. It's so helpful to have a watchful big brother around!! He even makes sure Dash doesn't crawl towards the stairs. If Dash does, Julian goes, "No Dash, don't go to the stairs!" and runs and gives Dash a big bear hug and lays on top of him to make sure he doesn't go anywhere. ( I'm really glad we only have one staircase in the new house. :)) A big part of our motivation to have another child was to give Julian a sibling and after seeing them together over this past year, I am so grateful that they have each other. Where Julian is a sensitive, relatively calm, and pensive child, Daschel is proving himself to be a tasmanian devil and we are excited to see what kind of personality comes out of him as he gets older.

So happy birthday to my little rogue, my little devil. It's been an awesome year getting to know you and I am excited to see what this next year has to offer. Here he is enjoying his first ever sweet treat today. See anything funny about this picture? ;) Happy birthday, chuck!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Catching up

Family picture taken at the Abby's Lane (cloth diaper store) grand opening in Manassas

Holy cow, has it really been over a month since I wrote last?! Time has flown by....time to catch up:

-Thad's new job. He started the first week of December at his new company, American Wind Energy Association, as their Director of Strategic Technology Services. He had been with his previous employer for just over 5 years and the change has invigorated him. He's very busy but I think he's happy there. Not only was the work change needed, but I think working for a cause like wind power is very cool. We came up with a really cool wind ad for next year's Super Bowl...how cool if it made it that far!

-"Okay, germs, you can go away now...." Sickness. Two days before Christmas we all got sick with the flu. First my mom, then me, then Dash and Thad on Christmas day, then Julian the day after Christmas. Between respiratory flu, then suspected food poisoning/stomach flu, and colds, the whole house felt better for a hot second at the end of January but now we're back into a cold with me and Dash. Gosh I can't wait until warm weather and we can run around outside again and open the windows!!!

Attempting to make dinner....right before Julian threw up all over the kitchen.

-My birthday. For my 29th birthday, my husband brought me to this amazing Belgian restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. If you are ever in the area and in search of a delicious dinner with amazing service, check out Brabo. 10 points if you can tell me where the name comes from....hint, the chef's parents are from Antwerp. It was a wonderful night out and very needed, it was our first date since right before Dash was born almost a year ago.

-New house. You heard that right. In the middle of the holidays and a job change, we bought a new house! We closed on the 28th so just in time for my birthday (between my minivan last year for our anniversary and our house this year for my birthday, Thad has a lot to live up to next year *wink*) and we are moving in officially on the 19th of February, just in time for Dash's first birthday. We didn't want to book movers for Jan in case we had snow, which we did, so this gives us a couple week buffer to pack up the townhouse and then move in. Hopefully our townhouse will be on the market the first week of March. Anyone want a townhouse in Fairfax? If you do, let me know!!! We've got a nice one for you!!