Our Year: a short story

What a year! Obviously our most major event was Evie (though, technically that was the year previous); another was our move to MA. Evie and her role in our lives are constantly changing but we are slowly settling into MA. We are still in the midst of the renovation of our house -both large and small -but the end is near. Or nearer. The end is in sight. Sort of.

Some things I’ve learned while renovating our house:
1) Paint: Maybe it’s our walls, but we used Behr paint for most of them and I’m not impressed. Especially the white. So maybe it’s also the color. We used Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint in Vegas and we loved it… but it’s twice as much as the Behr. And Behr got top marks from Consumer Reports so i was like, sure! No. Low smell? Sure, i guess but it lingers a lot longer than Aura. Coverage? Not as good. Again, especially the white. When I have to go over the same spot five times and it still looks like i went over the same spot FIVE TIMES -no good. Well, it would be fine if that was my only experience with paint and that’s what I thought was supposed to happen. It’d be “well, that’s frustrating, but i guess that’s what happens.” But I’ve used Aura, and so i know that that doesn’t have to happen. Again. Perhaps this happens with all paint and it’s the worst with white, but i’ve not experienced this with Aura. We finally got one of our colors in the Benjamin Moore and used it and it was great. It was a light color and it covered this nasty greenish “accent” wall in one coat. The Behr couldn’t do that. Also, Behr Satin turned to Flat on our walls. And this could be, somehow, related to our walls, because the Aura Eggshell turned to nearly Flat on our walls, too. So i can’t completely be irritated about that. But there it is. My treatise on paint and my frustrations with getting crappy ones.
2) Keeping track of everything is a full time job. I’m not even talking about what a general contractor would do; i’m just talking about keeping track as a consumer and making sure that work is progressing and materials ordered are what we want, etc. And we’ve only done/are doing the kitchen and bathrooms. I can’t even imagine renovating our entire house. And what we are doing in the kitchen and bathrooms isn’t even a full out reno; we aren’t doing anything totally major like moving walls or plumbing. The thought of doing something major is mind boggling. Hats off to those who do.

Regardless, it’s been a hard but good year. We haven’t lost sight of the fact that there’s so much for which we have to be grateful, but we’ve definitely been in some new situations from which we’re trying to learn. Hopefully the lessons stick. :o)


Our little girl turned ONE!

DSC_0201We spent the day running errands; it was a sunny but cold day, and we went off to New Hampshire to make a Sam’s Club run, then to the Asian market and Trader Joe’s. Yes, that’s right. We spent the day like any other. When we got home, I made cupcakes and Macaroni and Cheese and we took Evie’s picture in her birthday dress, and then we dug in.


DSC_0227  After:DSC_0245She liked both the pasta and the cupcakes and she enjoyed opening her presents.


DSC_0221And then she went to bed. It was a nice, quiet day and she was thrilled to spend her day with us and was excited by this newfangled idea of CUPCAKES and PAPER SHE CAN DESTROY.

DSC_0220Next year (or rather, this year) perhaps we’ll have a party. Or maybe the year after, when she’ll be old enough to MAYBE have some memories of the thing, and there isn’t such a small window of time where she’ll be able to enjoy it before she’s too hungry or too tired or too overwhelmed. It was nice, though, to settle into the idea that our baby was already one. This past year went by so slow but so fast, and we all needed time to adjust to that.


Evie’s first Christmas was a quiet one, and very little paper was eaten, too.

We started the morning off with her Christmas stockings,

DSC_0059and ended the evening with presents for everyone, including Evie.

DSC_0140 DSC_0147In between there were much Christmas movies, cooking, and eating. Uncle Tim came to visit and was game to play with Evie throughout and Evie thoroughly enjoyed the extra playmate.

DSC_0122 DSC_0114Unfortunately -or fortunately, depending upon who one asks -we didn’t have a white Christmas, just a wet one. We didn’t go out and about, so snow would have made our first Christmas in New England that much more enjoyable and gorgeous. Subsequent years, though, snow will be even more fun because we can sugar Evie up, and send her outside to play it off.

Likes and Dislikes

Have you seen Amelie? Great movie. There’s a bit in there where the narrator takes the viewer through what various characters like (aime) and don’t like (n’aime pas). Tells a lot about each character and since it amuses me to do so, I’m applying it here.

Evie Aime:
*Sucking on tags. Doesn’t matter on what -tags on blankets, changing table, dirty towels…
*Zerberts, blowing and receiving.  She hasn’t quite figured out the mechanics beyond lips to skin and that there’s blowing of air involved, but she’ll get there.
*Walks. If we’re moving, she’s happy. While we stayed on base, Evie and I walked to meet James every evening and it cured all ills. And if she had a tag to suck on? Heaven!
*Clicking her tongue. This one’s relatively new and she’s pretty good at it. Sometimes we’re not sure if she’s making her “I’m hungry” mouthing or if she’s clicking her tongue intentionally, but regardless, if we click our tongues back, she grins.
*Food. Our girl loves food and, for the most part, she’s not picky. The only times she is, it’s not because she doesn’t want the food, it’s because she’s either eating something she likes better, or she just doesn’t feel like eating it (whether that’s because of temperature of it’s not fresh, we’re not sure yet).
*Music. Right now she’s mostly into musicals; she does her little happy  dance when that type of music is on over any other. Instrumentals, regardless of whether it’s composed or a score, is a relatively close second.

Evie n’Aime pas:
*Bedtime. Sleeping in general. Sleeping past 7am. She’s getting better, but sleeping is for the weak.
*Waiting for anything, particularly food. She has this little Neanderthal sound she makes to indicate her displeasure
*There are others, but i can’t think of any right now. These two are pretty big and daily so their frequency could be overshadowing any other dislikes.

Word Crimes

I won’t mention any specific instances -and really, does it matter? It’s not like I need to provide proof that such mistakes happen (and it’s not like I’m error free). By the by, to me, my usage of the word “mistakes” implies an almost “oops, wow, didn’t mean to do that” attitude, rather than an oblivious “what’re your mean, hyuck.” And while I’m attempting to 100 percent mean the former, obviously I’m not quite to sainthood and still mean just a smidge of the latter. And really, in this e-mail-dependent world, wouldn’t life be just a little bit more pleasant if we were all a little more proficient in writing, reading, and understanding the written word?

Check it out:


Attention Grandparents et al.!

This was one of the first crawling bits. She’s way better at it now, of course, but just want to share a little of how she experienced this first bit of mobility.

Sorry -we can only attach < 5 seconds of video. When we have time, we’ll look at what the internets has to say and learn from the young kids how to post videos.

Also, something is wrong with the sound. This clip has, i think, most of the original sound, but it’s still annoying, so you might want to turn the volume down so it’s just video.

Block Island

For Thanksgiving, we went to Block Island, RI. I guess the general description of it is that it’s Martha’s Vineyard (MV) without the super chic, the ‘super chic’, and the tourists.  During the summer there are still a bazillion tourists, but apparently it’s not as bad (or not as bad for as long?) as MV. Anyway, while many of the shops open up on Black Friday and Saturday, and quite a few people came over on the ferry, we were definitely there during the off season and it was super quiet, which is how we like it. We also like when we can stay in places like this for super cheap, and being part of the military provides a few options for that, thus the mini vacation. (See, there’s this website that has a ton of 1-week vacation rentals for super cheap. For instance, on Block Island, we stayed at a timeshare place for about $300/7 nights. Anyway, makes taking a vacation a little more guilt free.)

The major event that happened while we were there was that I got a tick bite! Five months away from the high desert and I’ve already gotten attacked. Let me put this into perspective: James grew up in the Northwest, right? Theoretically a plethora of opportunities to get a tick bite. So in the thirteen or so years he was in such an area, guess how many times he’s been bitten? Once. Yeah, i know, zero would have made my point better and would have been a little funnier, but still. 1/13 years v. 1/5 months. Or, to use the same units: 1/13 v. 1/0.032 (1/156 v. 1/5).  It also seems like it’s something i should be ashamed of. I mean, I’m not, but it seems like it’s one of those things that one speaks about in whispers and only to one’s closest friends. Not like a mosquito bite; a mosquito bite is all about “dag nabbit! I got bit!” but a tick bite is more like “i was bitten by a tick” in tiny, all lowercase letters, like i’ve done something naughty. But perhaps this is because I grew up in an area where tick bites are rare to nonexistent. My fear of insects is greater than any fear of pain I might have, so i encouraged James to dig around to get every last bit of the thing out of my shoulder. He couldn’t, but still. And if it had to happen (i mean HAD TO HAPPEN) i’m glad I’M the one who experienced this blessed event because the other two options were:
a) Evie getting one -need I say more?
b) James getting it and ME having to do the digging. NONONONO!
But it’s all okay, because James called the clinic and was told that it was the wrong type of tick for Lyme disease. BUT if I do have Lyme disease, i’ve watched Joan of Arcadia, so I know that if i start seeing God in the form of random people (e.g., a cute boy, a kindly, elderly woman), I’ll know to go straight to the hospital.

But let’s not obsess over this. Back to Block Island. So I like the TV movies Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (true fans know it’s not Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables, the sequel. Ick.), and this place reminded me quite a bit of the scenery of Prince Edward Island, if that helps one to picture it. Quite a bit of the island is protected, which helps with the general beauty of the place. It also, apparently, has an infestation of deer (hence the tick bite, reference above). However, we did not see or hit a single deer and we drove the 10 square mile island quite a bit.

Probably one of the coolest things was North Light Fiber (http://www.northlightfibers.com/); it’s this farm/mill/store that produces wool, mostly from alpaca, but they also have yak, and I don’t even remember what else. We got to have a short tour of the mill -super fascinating and completely awesome. I got my beanie from there (see below), which was about the only thing i could afford, and if i was a knitter, i would have been in heaven. The yarn was GORGEOUS and as it was, it made me want to learn how to knit.

The weather was amazingly nice, for the most part. I mean, it wasn’t shorts and t-shirt weather, but when it was rainy, it was mid-50s warm, and when it was cold, there was only one day of crazy wind chill. The coldest day was the first real day we were there.

Southeast LightThis is the Southeast Light (lighthouse); since it faces the Atlantic, it’s got a huge light. Lamp? Anyway, looks lovely out, right? See below:

DSC_0004This isn’t to sneak a picture of me in; take a look at the mini flag and my hair. It was so windy, which made it SO COLD. I felt like i was back in the AV.

But the rest of the time, when it was cold, it was crisp, which is how we like it, DSC_0029or rainy (which we also like, when we’re inside with hot chocolate, maybe some sort of liquor, and a board game) DSC_0041Also, there was a lobster trap Christmas tree.

DSC_0045DSC_0096And we had some fun with the camera and the tripod:

DSC_0108This was too funny to pass up:


Moving In

We have been in the house since 23 September and we are still moving in. This is driving me nuts. However, the reason is because we’re renovating our kitchen and 1.5 bathrooms, and we’re waiting on solid wood bookshelves we ordered because particle board just doesn’t cut it (if i had a picture to present that illustrated the hilarious ineptitude of our previous shelves, I’d present it as exhibit A). The shelves should be in this week, and the kitchen and half bath should be done sometime around the second and or third week of December. The full bath won’t be started until after the New Year.

Have I mentioned that this is driving me nuts? Well it is. It’s also why there hasn’t been much correspondence or “hey, we’ve moved in!” announcements, etc. I can handle only so much chaos before I just stop caring about various things, and some things I’ve already pitched to keep my boat from sinking. Showering and general hygiene may or may not be at the bottom of my I Give Up list. Changing from my pjs might be at the top.

One comment about the house: We have painted or want/need to paint everything. Ceilings, walls, baseboards. The previous owners were also fans of the “accent wall,” which is totally cool when used well, but these were more like “eh, we were too lazy to paint anything else” or “we’re too afraid of color to commit,” the latter of which is totally cool, but then it’s like, don’t paint.