Friday, January 30, 2009

Two more reasons to like Jason

1.  This morning I was having a hard time waking up so he grabbed my iPhone from the nightstand, put on Crazy in Love by Beyonce and Jay-Z and started jumping on the bed.

2.  Don't know why this popped into my mind but a couple of weeks ago we were getting settled into bed and had just turned out the lights when Elwin Kitteh hopped up on the bed beside me.  I said "Allright, lay still and don't lick me."  Out of nowhere, Jason says "Well, that's awfully presumptuous of you."  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lucky 13

Thirteen years ago today, I met the love of my life and the man I would marry.  It was a very long and random sequence of events that led to our paths crossing.  And I'm thankful beyond all belief for every one of them.  

Jason, you're the peanut butter to my jelly.  The mac to my cheese.  The AT&T 3G network to my iPhone.  The stamp to my letter.  The charcoal to my grill.  The vodka to my tonic.  The shampoo to my conditioner.  The Timbaland to my Timberlake.

You get the idea...  I like you.  A lot.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Uh, oops?

So, I got a little Facebook-happy this weekend and started posting mobile uploads.  "Lookie here!  Look at this crazy coffee in a glass at Cup-A-Joe!"  "Ha ha!  We went to Goodberry's in our pajamas at 9:30 at night!  In the freezing cold!  Aren't we stinkers?!?"

And then I realized:  "Huh.  That was my blog material.  And I just shot my proverbial load on Facebook.  What the devil am I going to blog about now?"

Well, guess what Facebook friends.  You get to re-live my weekend in all its domestic glory.  

After catching up on several episodes of Big Love Friday night, we started Saturday with a bang.  Jason's very own special breakfast creation - a Fatboy.  I feel confident it will give the McChief a run for its money.  Lucky ducks that they are, Beth and Rino will get to experience the Fatboy live and in person when they come down for a visit in a couple of weeks.  At this juncture, I cannot disclose exactly what makes up a Fatboy.  All in good time, dear readers.  All in good time.

Saturday afternoon, we ended up in the Cameron Village/NCSU campus area of town and Jason decided he was jonesing for a coffee.  And wonder of wonders, he pulls up to the Cup-A-Joe on Hillsborough Street.  I was all "Oh for the luuuuurve of Jay-sus pleeeeeease don't make me go here.  This is where all the tragic hipsters and wanna-be anarchists hang out and discuss politics and eastern religion and stuff."  Jason was all "Get over yourself and have a latte."  

We get out of the car and as we're walking to the cafe door, we pass by a table of two on the sidewalk and I swear on all my worldly possessions, this is what the guy was saying right when we walked by:  "Yeah, you know, I just took a year off to totally re-teach myself politics.  Just cleanse my mind of everything I thought I knew before."  And the girl goes "Mmmm-hmmm.  That must have been really profound."

Are they SERIOUS?!?  Who talks like that?!?  I rolled my eyes at Jason and mouth "Told you so."

So I get a table and commence people watching and Jason eventually rocks up with his order.

And it came in a pint glass.  Those kooky kids!  What will they think of next?  Beer served in coffee mugs?

Jason starts perusing the Independent to see what's going down in Raleighwood and he says: "There's a classic movie screening tonight."
"What movie?"
"Ooh, that's nice.  We haven't seen that in a long time.  Where is it?"
"In our living room."  
"Well that's awfully convenient.  What time?"
"Says here it's dinner and a show.  Dinner will be served at about 8:30 and the screening will commence at 9:00"
"And will there be snacks later?"
"Your choice of popcorn or Ben and Jerry's Cinnamon Buns ice cream."
"Lovely.  And what is the dress code?"
"Strictly pajamas."
"Excellent.  Book us in."

Fast-forward to post-dinner.  I realize we have forgotten to pick up the Ben and Jerry's and voice my concerns to Jason.  He very chivalrously offers to run to the grocery store and pick it up.  I demure and tell him that's unnecessary.  Especially as we're already dressed for the show.  A few minutes of silence... and then... the best suggestion ever.  Why don't we just go to Goodberry's?  Jason reasons that it's January and nobody will be there so let's just go in our pj's.  Count me in.  And so we go.

And Sunday.  Well, you have to ask someone else about Sunday because it's certainly not my place to tell the blogging community that someone signed us up for a Williams-Sonoma cooking class and someone said it was at 11:00 but it turned out that it was really at 1:00 and that we were banging on the doors of Williams-Sonoma at 10:55 all indignant-like.  "Hey!  We're here to COOK, fools!  Let us in!  We did not rock up to an empty mall on a Sunday morning for any other reason than to learn us some cooking SKILLZ."  

Except that's exactly what we did.  Oh well.  So we headed to Starbucks and chatted it up for about an hour while waiting for Saks to open so we could go down there and man-handle some Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs bags.  Not a total loss then...  But I can't tell you anything about any of what I just told you.  You'll have to ask someone else about all that.

Pssstttt!  Don't tell anyone, but it was HER:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow Watch '09

Monday night 9:00pm - The mood is tense. I'm perched by the window hoping to catch sight of the first flake, even though the weather guy says it won't start till about midnight. Jason says it's not happening. I tell him to shut it or the snow fairy will hear and then we really won't get any snow.

Monday night 11:45 pm - Jason checks the online weather center for an update. They've adjusted the originally predicted 4 - 6 inches down to 2 - 4 inches. Jason says "See? They're already pulling back. It's not happening." I say "Why are you being so negative?!? Of course it's happening! Just you wait!"

Monday night 12:00 midnight - I hop out of bed and look outside. No snow. Jason says "It's not happening." I say "Shut up."

Tuesday morning 7:00 am - I dance around the house singing "I told you so! I told you so! I told you so!"

Tuesday afternoon 3:00-ish - The snow finally stops. After Jason finishes his conference call, we decide to take a spin around the 'hood.

Well, we attempt to take a walk. What really happens is that Jason immediately has flashbacks of his frozen New England childhood and constantly pelts me with snowballs.

Our twee little house...

Some scenes around the neighborhood...

And today, we were left with this death trap, perched conveniently over my front porch, willing and ready to take out any errant salespeople or bible beaters that dare darken my doorstep. You've been warned.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In with the new

So much promise.  So much responsibility.  So much hope. 
Please don't let us down, Mr. President.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Saturday is my favorite day

Sunday used to be my favorite day.  Sunday always seemed like it was made for relaxing.  I mean, even the big J.C. says that Sunday is a day of rest so who am I to disagree?  But there was always one tiny cloud hanging over Sunday...  No matter how relaxing Sunday was, you always knew in the back of your mind that it was back to business as usual the next day.  

So lately, I've changed my favorite day to Saturday.  Saturday is full of promise.  All day Saturday, you know you have a whole 'nother day of weekend coming.  

And this past Saturday was exceptional.  It was just as lazy as any Sunday ever was.  But we did manage to drag ourselves out to Cary to pick up a bookcase so we decided to reward ourselves for a task well completed with a trip to Gypsy's Shiny Diner.  

An interesting tidbit of information about Gypsy's (from their website):  
Gypsy's was constructed in Florida and trucked to NC on six over-sized tractor-trailers up I-95 and then onto I-40. Once the trucks reached the NC border, they were met by 2 state highway patrol cars for an escort (required by NC law for super over-sized loads). Once the diner reached Cary, the state patrol assisted the Cary police department in stopping traffic while an over-sized crane set the diner on its foundation.
Another interesting tidbit about Gypsy's (taken from my belly):  
The food at Gypsy's is freaking AWESOME.

You can even play songs on the jukebox right from your table.  Jason spends his quarter carefully and eventually decides on Sinatra.  (Big surprise.)  

Photography fun with mirrors while we wait for our food...

Maybe this can give you an idea of how small it is...  There are just a few booths and a small counter.
Jason took the opportunity to butter me up with diner food then pounce on me in my moment of culinary euphoria.  He suggested a trip to the Asian market since we were just right around the corner from it.  He knows I hate the Asian market.  It is the number one weirdest smelling place in the world.  It smells like China Town in London and makes me gag.

At least I was able to entertain myself with trying to find oddities scattered throughout the store...  So let me get this straight.  You fry the fish.  Then you grind it up.  Then you put it in a can.  Mmmmm!  Sounds delicious!

Aloe vera - it's not just for burns anymore.  It's what's for dessert!

Well, I've never considered vacuum packing my corn on the cob.  I guess that's one way to do it.

I'm sure there were stranger things, but this was the best I could do with the few things that actually had English on the packaging.  And lest anyone think I'm a dumb hick who thinks that "them there folks from China and Japan and whatnot sure eat some weird stuff", rest assured that I'm well aware there are a few strange things on the shelves in southern grocery stores as well.  (I'm looking at you, pickled pig feet.)  Although I've never met an actual person who eats any of it...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh yes, it's ladies night

Catherine and I hadn't been able to get together since before Christmas so last night we decided to meet up for a proper gift exchange and dinner. Poor Catherine had a rough go of it with my present this year. It took her three attempts.

First, she'd gotten me Burberry earmuffs. Then she saw my Asheville photos on the blog where I was wearing Burberry earmuffs. So she had to return them. Next she got me a Carolina Panthers jersey. Then the Panthers suffered a humiliating, season-ending loss last weekend. So she decided that there was no way she could give me that so soon after they blew it in the playoffs because it would be so depressing. (For the record, I still would have loved it.) Finally, she landed on a goldmine with my new "career" as a fashion writer. So she got me a hefty stack of writing and fashion books! How very thoughtful... Only problem is, I can't stop reading them long enought to write anything. Excellent choices.

Anyway, moving on to dinner... We decided on Michael Dean's since our old standby favorite - Stonewood Grill - had closed. And what luck! It was ladies night! $4.99 cocktails and martinis! We had a look at the drinks menu and saw they had a "North Raleigh" martini and considering yesterday's blog post and subsequent argument, a couple of these were certainly in order. Have you ever wanted to know what North Raleigh in a glass looked like? Well, here you go...

Interestingly enough, there was no "Midtown Raleigh" martini. Thank you, Michael Dean's, for not conforming to this forced rebranding of Raleigh.

My how the mighty have fallen. From a martini to a...Bud light? You can dress her up and order her a fancy cocktail, but apparently you can't take her out. She even knows the error of her ways. She hid her redneck beer behind the menu and was trying to be all incognito but nothing escapes my iPhone.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will do Cat a solid here and tell you that she ordered chicken wings and it turned out that they were very hot so she needed a cold carbonated bevy to wash 'em down. Chicken wings and Bud Light - dinner of redneck champions.

And speaking of Carolina teams letting us down this year, here's what Jason got up to while I was working my way through the martini menu at Michael Dean's - a Hurricanes hockey game with his brother Joe. Aren't they precious in their matching jerseys? Despite a mean comeback in the 3rd period, the 'Canes lost. Again. GET IT TOGETHER BOYS! You brought home the freaking STANLEY CUP in 2006 for crying out loud!

That is all. Carry on.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stop trying to rebrand my city!

While we were in London, I'd occassionally get word from my friends back home that Raleigh was changing. Or trying to change, anyway. I kept hearing that people were starting to call the Glenwood South area 'GloSo', for example. In an attempt to create a 'SoHo' type of feel, I assume. I was all "Wha??? Seriously??? That's so f-ing lame."

Then I heard they were rebranding 'downtown' as 'uptown'. And I was all "Wha??? Seriously??? That makes no f-ing sense. It's either downtown or it's uptown and you don't get to just arbitrarily decide. It's determined by DIRECTION, am I right??? This is so f-ing lame."

This, however, was the biggest blow of all. Renaming North Raleigh (my 'hood) 'midtown'. The first time we saw it was on the website for a new hotel/luxury condo that was being built. It kept saying things like "Midtown Raleigh's only luxury highrise living destination" and "Live in ultimate style in Raleigh's Midtown" and "Mingle with hotel guests and fellow residents on the rooftop bar overlooking Midtown Raleigh".

I was all "Wha??? Seriously??? Don't you need an uptown and a downtown before you can have a midtown??? And what in the holy lord's name do they think they're overlooking?? Crabtree Valley Mall is what! Who wants to enjoy a cocktail and mingle while looking at Crabtree Valley Mall and its parking deck??? That's so f-ing lame. It'll never stick."

Well, it looks like the News & Observer (or the News & Disturber as it's affectionately called round these parts) has gotten behind this cause. We noticed when we moved back into our house that a newspaper was being thrown on our lawn every Wednesday. We never gave it much notice. To be honest - it usually ended up in the recycling pile, unread. Until yesterday morning...

Jason brought it inside on his way back home from the gym and we perused it while we had our coffee together. It was only then that we noticed the name of the paper:

GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! Whoever is behind this is going to such great lengths to rebrand us that they're willing to pay the N&O to deliver a free newspaper once a week.

Well, I say NO WAY. I'm not biting. And just as soon as I get a new Sharpie, I'm going to get up early every Wednesday and change the name on all the neighbors' papers too.

Raleigh, it pains me to do this because in my heart of hearts, you know I love you so. But you're getting a little too big for your britches. You're officially On Notice.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Jason acts like he's soooooo intellectual. All smarty blah blah this. And economy jibber jabber that. And stock market whosie whatsits this. And health care crisis bleh ppfftt that. You know the type*. But Saturday morning at Starbucks, I stealthily took this photo with my trusty iPhone.

Comics! Mr. Smarty Pants reads the comics!

I have no time for this nonsense**. I have important news to catch up on. What's this? Unemployment is on the rise?!? The stock market is in trouble?!? Hey, why's that big red graph plunging into oblivion?!? That can't be good. Aw, shit.

*For those of you who don't actually know Jason, please rest assured that this is a joke. While he is very smart indeed - he is most certainly not of the "smug smarty" variety.

**For those of you who don't actually know me, please know that this is also a joke. I'd rather read comics than the economy section of the paper any day.

Monday, January 12, 2009


So, I've officially "launched" my fashion blog - The Raleigh Fashionista.  Please do check it out if you are so inclined.

I also started  a Facebook page where you can become a fan if that's your thing.

Thanks for all your supportive comments in my posts below.  You guys really have no idea what it means to me and how it spurs me on.  

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...  

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The irony. It slays me.

So, for the record, I just want to reassure everyone that I am aware that I am guilty of misappropriation of apostrophe on two accounts in my post below. You know the post I mean? The one where I talk about embarking on a career as a WRITER?? I was proofreading it a few minutes ago and I noticed it then.

I know that Manolo does not own "if" and I was not trying to create suspense on the other one at the end of the sentence. I know someone was out there thinking "I don't know Manolo's WHAT??? Manolo's vision?? Manolo's superior craftsmanship??? Manolo's price point?? WHAT? It's killing me!"

As a general rule, I think writers should have a pretty basic grasp on PUNCTUATION. And I just want to make sure everybody knows that my error was a typo, not lack of punctuation skillzz. There are a few routine typos I make, even though I know the correct usage. And adding an apostrophe is one of them. I do it sometimes on "its/it's" and I don't often realize it until much later.

I'm going to correct it now but just to preserve my idiocy for future generations of blog readers, here's the original mistake:
You know how they say to 'write what you know'. Well, how am I supposed to WRITE about Manolo's if I don't KNOW Manolo's??
Now, carry on.  Nothing to see here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Working Girl

Ok, I realize this is something of a cop-out post but I actually have nothing else to report at the moment. And this blog will never be one of those "So, I didn't do much today really. I got up, had a cup of coffee, watched the Today show for a while and then played with my cat Sparky until lunch time. For lunch, I had a ham sandwich. With mustard. It was okay. After lunch, I took a nap and then played the Wii until dinner time. For dinner, I had a turkey sandwich. With mayo. It was great. Then I watched some Friends reruns. That Chandler cracks me up every time. Then I went to bed. So, you know. Just the usual. I'll report back tomorrow." kind of blogs.

But here's what I've been working on... Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook know that I'm working on a fashion blog which I hope to parlay into a proper freelance writing career. It's a long shot, I know. I am fully aware that there are scads of people out there who think they can write and who are all trying to get published or at the very least, be freelance writers. I am also aware that there are scads of people out there who can write far better than I.

So, this is just a little something that I'm trying out. At the very least, it will give me an excuse to trawl and for hours on end every day. "Honey, it's WORK. I need these shoes for RESEARCH. You know how they say to 'write what you know'. Well, how am I supposed to WRITE about Manolos if I don't KNOW Manolos?? How am I supposed to WRITE about the designer boutiques in Raleigh if I don't SHOP at the designer boutiques in Raleigh?? I ask you!!"

My goal is to get the site ready to "launch" for Monday. I just have a few more things I want to tweak. If you like me, wish me luck. If you don't, please just don't put a pox on my house or anything.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

What did you get for Christmas?

I got a loophole.  Yes, that's right - a loophole.  I'll explain...  Jason and I took a cue from our anniversary and had an agreement to spend only $20 on each other.  So when it came time to open our gifts, I received a pair of hiking socks and hiking poles.  (Hiking was something we sort of discovered we enjoyed during our many trips to the English countryside and we've talked about wanting to make a proper hobby of it.)  But wait, that's not all.  Jason pulls out his iPhone, which he had already navigated to the Grove Park Inn's website and showed me what he had booked for us for New Year's Day:

A couple's spa retreat and two nights at one of the most gorgeous resort hotels in the United States.  Oh, the humanity!  The sweet sweet humanity!  After the full-blown insanity of the holidays, have you any idea how good this sounded?

However, after the initial euphoria wore off, I was all - "Hey!  You totally cheated!  You spent like a thousand dollars!  No fair!  How can my puny little gifts to you compare to this??"  But of course, Jason reminded me that this wasn't just my gift.  It was for him too.  So it didn't count towards the budget.  The loophole.

So all that was left now was to eagerly look forward to our departure.  We stayed in on New Year's Eve and went to bed relatively early so we could get the earliest possible departure the next day.  

We arrived in Asheville and pulled up to the Inn at around lunch time.  Doesn't it look like something out of a fairy tale??

A quick bit of history on the Inn...  Construction began in July of 1912 and once the resort was completed, it pretty quickly became a fashionable place for wealthy people and high society to summer.  One of their most infamous guests was F. Scott Fitzgerald. During the summers of 1935 and 1936, he occupied rooms 441 and 443.

The mission of the Grove Park Inn was "to provide its guests with a unique respite from the outside world".  Some of the methods used to encourage this restful environment were possibly a bit unorthodox.  Guests were discouraged from bringing children without the manager's approval and if people in The Great Hall got to talking too loudly, they were discreetly handed cards asking them to quiet down.  (I personally wish they would reinstitute that last practice.)

The Inn is like a tourist attraction within itself.  We spent a couple of hours walking all around it, admiring the antiques and holiday decorations.  They had dozens and dozens of Christmas trees, all with different themes.  My favorite was obviously the wine tree.  I only wish I'd brought my tiny corkscrew along...

Outside on the porch overlooking the golf course and mountains.

Later, we headed into downtown Asheville to look around.  It's such a cute and interesting little city with a thriving arts community.  There were gorgeous murals or "controlled graffiti" everywhere.

A quiet back street...

The Grove Arcade, a historic public market.

And once we got too cold to be outside anymore, we headed back to the Inn to relax.  We found a quiet corner with a gorgeous view of the mountains and read and drank wine for a few hours.  We saw the most gorgeous sunset but couldn't capture it on film.  It was, quite possibly, the most relaxing day I've had since our trip to Croatia.

After sunset, we headed to The Great Hall to enjoy the roaring fire and the Christmas tree and the excellent people watching.  Oh yes, and some more wine.

Perhaps a little too much wine?  I have no idea what happened here.  This is how I woke up the next morning.  Even the deer seem confused.  Good thing Friday was an all-day-spa-day.

And what a spa day it was...  Even though our treatments weren't until late, we spent the whole day there, lounging and going from pool to pool.  The whole spa is made to look like a cave, with stone walls and massive rocks hanging from the ceiling.  There are lots of different pools, all different temperatures and two of the indoors ones are theraputic whirlpools with underwater music and waterfalls.  They even had a huge outdoor whirlpool which felt amazing against the contrast of the cold mountain air.  There were also big fire pits outside where you could be totally comfortable and warm in just your spa robe.

For obvious reasons, photos aren't allowed in the spa but I found a couple of pictures online.  Pretty amazing, huh?

Just to give you some perspective on exactly how big those fireplaces in The Great Hall are...

They're large enough to burn 12-foot logs and also contain a hand-operated elevator each.  My favorite thing about them are the inspirational quotes engraved into some of the massive stones.

A last word on Asheville: eats.  Do not - I repeat DO NOT - dare go to Asheville and come back and tell me you did not have a meal at at least one of these fine establishments.  Mayfel's is an adorably quirky little place where the waitstaff were wearing pajamas and you can get a biscuit with gravy, home fries and bacon at pretty much any hour of the day.  My only regret is that I was not able to try their cornbread and pimento cheese melt.  I bet that thing is all kinds of smack-yo'-mama good.  Problem is, it's only on the weekday menu and we were only there for the holiday and weekend menu.

The other was this (also adorably quirky) diner-type place called Early Girl Eatery.  They have a lot of vegetarian items on the menu but also plenty for meat eaters.  Jason got the Early Girl Benny which was their version of a Benedict - grit cakes topped with tomato, spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy and avocado.  I went with an old stand-by create your own omelet and a biscuit with herb gravy.  Deeee-lish.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Merry Christmas to all

And to all a happy new year. Well, I think this is a new record for me. My Christmas post is up before Valentine's Day. It's amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn't have a post-holiday transatlantic flight and subsequent jetlag to deal with.

As per our usual routine when we visit my family, Jason and I stayed in the gorgeous Rockford Inn. Hannah and Doug, the owners, always have it decorated beautifully and it's such a cosy place to spend the holidays.

A couple shots of Rockford in the early Christmas morning fog and sun... Beautiful.

Christmas morning with my family has really gone to the dogs. Specifically, to my brother's dog, Spike. Spike can hardly contain his excitement over the festivities.

It's also gone to the cats. Smokey was alternately terrified of and in love with the balls of wrapping paper we kept tossing her way.

Spike wouldn't let up until he got his Christmas kiss.

I think Smokey's in there somewhere...

Moving swiftly on to Christmas evening back in Raleigh... Katie was very excited to open gifts but patiently waited while we did our Secret Santa exchange.

This one, not so much.

Damn Jenny and Ryan. The won the annual "Whose gift makes Charles the happiest?" competition this year. Duke tailgating chairs! Jason and I had this on lockdown for a couple of years but evidently, we're losing our edge.

Awesome Uncle Jason scares the crap out of the kids with "Crazy Christmas Cracker Fingers Man". Rawr!

Let the Dirty Santa festivities begin! Ryan chooses carefully.

Tie for the top two funniest gifts - a lovely self-portrait of Joe, lovingly captured in a holiday frame (and recycled from last year's exchange)...

And the rapping penguin, Joe's contribution to the gift pile, appropriately enough. I have a feeling both of these will show up at next year's Dirty Santa exchange.

This is where things start to go slightly downhill. We had our annual Cry Till You Look Like Rocky girls' movie night planned for the night after Christmas, even though we were one sister down. We even had on our matching pj's. Unfortunately, we lost another sister (and her husband) to a round of the pukes. Even more unfortunately, this was the sister that has two little girls that needed to be put to bed.

Super Aunts to the rescue! Jason walked in and thought he was seeing double, what with everyone in their matchies. (Jenny wanted to make sure I pointed out here that she was very great with child in this picture, lest someone mistake that belly for an extra christmas ham or two.)

The next evening, tragedy struck in my own home. I got the pukes that were slowly making their way around the family. And since we were hosting guests, I had to hibernate in our bedroom so I wouldn't spread my pukey germs everywhere. So I took my movies and my laptop and retreated. I was especially disappointed because Katie and Anna were coming over that night and I wouldn't get to hang out with them. To make matters worse, when they walked in the door, I heard Katie immediately ask "Where's Heather?" Jason had to tell her I was sick but he brought her to the door of the bedroom to say hi.

Showing first was Uptown Girls. Holy crap. If you have a little girl in your life, this movie will rip your heart out. I fell asleep somewhere in the middle for 20 minutes or so and when Jason came in later, the movie was just coming to the part at the end where Ray does her ballet solo and oh my God, I'm getting choked up just writing about it now... Anyway, Jason came in and I was a hot mess. Bawling crying. Then he tells me that Katie asked if she could come in to say goodbye and to tell me she hoped I felt better soon and I missed it because I was asleep. I started (completely irrationally) crying harder and telling him he should have woken me up. Umm, over-emotional much?

After Uptown Girls, I put on the Sex and the City movie. Once again, Jason picked the worst moment to come in to the bedroom because I was just at the part where Carrie takes the subway and walks through the snow on New Year's Eve to Miranda's apartment in Brooklyn, getting there just in time for the ball drop at midnight and tells her "You're not alone... You're not alone." He took one look at me and says "Oh my God, you're a wreck." And then, of course he gets the camera. All this amounted to my very own personal Cry Till You Look Like Rocky night.

All the while I was sick, this is what was going down in the living room. More gifts. Anna enjoyed the dollhouse Grandpa brought but she really had her eyes on the other gift from Grandpa.

The drum kit!

You would be amazed at the amount of noise this little thing can produce.

By the next day, I was fully recovered from the 12 Hour Pukes so we all took the girls to play at the park.

Two gorgeous shots of Katie and Anna... (Taken by Joe and Amy)

Since Liam didn't make it in time for the festivities, we decided to go about his first Christmas photo in a less traditional fashion. We call this one "Liam's first Christmas - in utero."

Katie decided Jason also needed a turn with the "Baby's First Christmas" hat. How thrilled he looks.

Once Katie got ahold of the camera, it was madness. Rudolph noses and Christmas hats all around.

Addison looks almost as thrilled as Jason to be wearing the baby hat.

Katie even disappeared upstairs and apparently discovered the art of the self portrait.

And last but not least, here's Chef Jason hard at work putting the final touches on our final Christmas dinner.

A traditional holiday...paella? Yes, paella. It's festive, right? It's got green peas and red peppers, doesn't it?

Well that just about wraps up this year's festivities. There's only the tiny matter of our TOTALLY AWESOME AND INCREDIBLY RELAXING POST-CHRISTMAS MOUNTAIN SPA GETAWAY. Subtitled: I have the BEST HUSBAND EVER. Coming soon...