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Sunday, December 30, 2012

11 Months

We're home from Christmas in Cape Cod. Athena did pretty well on the plane coming out. We picked a flight that took off around the time that she usually grabs her first nap. The flight was then delayed, and we left the ground a bit more than 2 hours late, so that plan was rather short circuited. Where I expected her to be grumpy and crying and difficult, she instead enjoyed herself thoroughly having a leisurely lunch at the airport followed by toddling around making friends with everyone in the terminal. One woman just adored her, letting her pet her fur coat and play with her sparkly rings. Our girl is a girly girl already. I fear for my days of pink and glitter.

We arrived much later than planned, but made it back to the Cape where Athena got to meet her uncle Greg and meet Maggie, the Portugese Water Dog. Maggie was uncertain about this small creature that seemed to be soaking up her attention. Athena just giggled at Maggie and tugged on her fur. Maggie was tolerant and gentle. We all tumbled into bed in the Admiral suite, a gorgeous 500 square foot master suite at the Old Manse Inn.

We awoke to a bright December morning and met Erik's Aunt Denise and Uncle John over a breakfast of waffles and bacon and sausage. We spent a leisurely day playing Ticket to Ride with Greg and wrapping gifts and chasing Athena up the stairs. She's decided that climbing stairs is awesome. She has not yet figured out how to get down stairs. Currently, I'm very grateful there are no stairs at home. We finished the day with an amazing seafood paella.
Yum!

Christmas morning arrived and we bundled up and headed over to the inn, Athena dressed in her baby Santa dress (thank you Sarah!). She likes to tear paper, so that part was just fine by her.
Christmas morning with Daddy

Merry zerberts!

Step 1: Tear paper
Step 2: Inspect closely
Stockings with Gigi Karen and Grandpa Rich
Ornaments are fascinating!
Christmas Day stroll to the beach with Maggie (and Scott and Jess and Snickers).
She was of course showered in far too many gifts, so figured we'd have to ship things back, but we managed to squeeze it all into our luggage. Karen got me a gorgeous Queen of Holloway dress and a Tommy Bahama shirt for Erik. Erik won the day though with the best gift ever: a pin-up calendar filled with the men I love being so very very cute - Mice as a soda jerk on skates, John toasting a marshmallow, Frederik cooking in an apron and little else, Erik making cocktails with beakers and test tubes. It is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. The best part was that the men of my chosen family were so dedicated to successfully completing a creative project like this. It's possible they've totally blown their cover now and the ladies may have much higher expectations in the future. Word is that I have Joshua Brooks largely to thank. He'll get his real, full-body tackle thank you next time I see him.
Mr. October
Meanwhile, we got Greg a copy of Cards Against Humanity. Erik was a little dubious about whether or not it would be well received, but this replaced the planned afternoon of Apples to Apples and much hilarity was had, though Aunt Denise, after seeming to enjoy playing, declared that this game was what was wrong with the world and why things like the Newtown massacre happened. I think that's probably setting the bar a tad high for a card game, but there you have it.

On Boxing Day, most of the family headed out, so we went up to Province Town to see the lobster pot Christmas tree and have dinner at a delightful place called Napi. Hooray for the little artist's community, because damn that was some mighty fine crispy duck, and the Chinese dumplings with scallops were also fabulous, and the peach martini was delightful without being at all too sweet.

We topped off the visit with another leisurely day and some Thai food. Athena had perfected the procedure for getting a cookie out for Maggie and feeding it to her. Maggie never really got too sure of what to do with Athena, but definitely thought that she was great for doling out cookies.

On Friday we headed back to Boston, with a quick stop for lunch at Legal Harborside, and then scooting out to the airport. I really have the best in-laws a girl could ask for. They are warm, welcoming, and always willing to help and snuggle the baby girl. My only wish is that they lived closer so that we could do this more often. If only I could convince them to have an inn in say Half Moon Bay instead of Brewster, my life would be perfect. Instead, we hopped on a plane and came home. And babies on a plane are not really fun. To be fair, Athena did relatively well, especially considering the trip home takes 6 1/2 hours. She probably cried for maybe 15 minutes of that in total. But we had to keep walking her up and down the aisle. As miserable as it is for any of us to sit in those awful chairs for hours, an 11 month old just does not understand why she has to stay stuck there. So, I spent more time going up and down the aisle than I have in the sum total of all plane rides I've ever taken. Luckily, there were some good natured folks who played with her, making faces, sharing their own kid's books, and giving high fives. Athena has gotten very good at giving a wave on cue, and seems to even understand when I say, "Wave hi!" or "Wave bye!" This definitely charms folks when she looks out from under large dark eyelashes and waves at them.

Earlier this month we enjoyed another visit to Dickens followed by dinner hosted by the Lund's.
Our family at Dickens
Soup night at their house has rapidly become my favorite part of the holiday season. It's simple, but Rebecca's parents are such delightful hosts, and the laughter and stories remind me so thoroughly what an amazing group of friends I have.

Thank you!
Since Becky is expecting a new arrival of her own in May, it was great to have Athena toddle around and find all the not-quite-baby-proof things in the house for them. Athena even tried the butternut squash soup that Becky made and this year I got to drink the hot buttered rum, complete with Andrea's Panty-Peeler rum. Yum!!!

The next day we checked out the Mythbusters exhibit at the Tech Museum with Cyrus and Athena.
Cliff hanging
The first part is a lovely view of Mythbusters artifacts. The second part is do-it-yourself Mythbusting, including dodging a bullet, running or walking through rain, yanking a table cloth, hanging from a ledge, toast dropping butter side up, driving blind, and so on. Athena toured it all in her City Mini and stayed awake and engaged til we headed to lunch, where she promptly passed out and let share a meal together. We finished with a tour of Christmas in the Park and bumped into a pair of storm troopers. Only my baby has gotten so many pictures with storm troopers before her first birthday.
Storm troopers with festive hats!
Athena also had her first ear infection. At daycare, she's been suffering a series of colds. It's sort of the normal consequence of daycare. One cough got bad enough that we decided to haul her in to the doctor. The doc wasn't too worried about the cough, but discovered she had infections in both ears. She didn't mention that to us! So we gave her a dose of antibiotics twice a day for 10 days, and soon she was all recovered, ears and cough and all. We're just really glad we caught it before getting on the plane!

My mom drove down to watch Athena so that we could work at Gaskell. We've had to admit that we can't really continue to *work* Gaskell. We told the committee that we were going to have to give up being part of the committee. This is a loss for us, because I really want to help the ball succeed. I've been going for nearly 20 years now, and I dearly love it. But we don't make money doing it, and we can't really work it while wrangling Athena, so barring my mom coming down every time we need to work it, we can't really afford to spend $200 on babysitting to make it happen. So this was our last ball as official members of the committee. At least we went out with a lovely December ball and I got to wield my favorite card from the Hallelujah Chorus.


We also had another round of adventures in house hunting. We finally saw another place we really liked, but the location wasn't ideal, so after a few days of dithering, we opted not to place an offer after all. Then our realtor got an inquiry from someone in just the right neighborhood who was considering putting his place up for sale. We went and looked and while it had some issues with dry rot on the gutters and needed a kitchen remodel badly, it could work, so we moved ahead. However, the owner had a fairly overinflated idea of what his place was worth. He believed that his 2 bedroom + loft, 1600 square foot home on a 4000 square foot lot was comparable to a 4 bedroom, 2200 square foot home on an 8000 square foot lot with a gorgeous remodel and a Viking stove in the kitchen and... well, yeah, that didn't work out. So, back to the drawing board. We keep hunting.

Just before heading to Cape Cod, we went to a holiday party at Matt and Michelle's house. This was just the sort of thing I needed - a low-keyed party with lots of folks and lots of kids. The kids played with the toys and the adults enjoyed food and drink and talking. It was just perfect. Michelle wanted to give Connor's Radio Flyer Rocket to Athena since Connor had lately outgrown it and Athena was a baby girl with a space-themed room.
Why yes, I am ready for Jupiter!
Athena got to try it out the next morning and immediately figured out that if she pushed it around the house, she didn't have to crawl. She could just lean over and use it as a walker. Soon she was using it to roll all over the house. We suspect we've got less than a month before she's just running on her own, but she doesn't quite have the balance for it yet.

The day after getting home, we headed straight up to Sacramento for Christmas with my family. Now our holiday travels are done. Whew! Now to let Athena play with the toys, unpack, and get ready for the new year.

And now, your moment of zen:

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