A water main break at the building where I work meant I worked half the day from home on Tuesday the 1st. The 3rd we headed over to The Barns at Wolf Trap to see Girlyman put on a great show (hadn’t seen them in a while and they’ve got some great new songs). Nina sat that one out with Grandma. The 5th brought a house concert in Herndon, featuring Stuart and his friend Sue opening for Maura Jensen (Jill and Nina made a brief appearance).

Nina Shanty

On Friday the 11th, I was off and picked up Dominic and Melissa from Dulles. They came down as they’re Nina’s godparents and that weekend was her christening.

Nina Melissa

That night, we ordered takeout from 100 Degree again; the first time I was disappointed in a meal from them (but in retrospect shouldn’t have expected excitement from a “lamb casserole”). Saturday Sharon came in and I picked her up at Dulles as well. That evening she ran out to visit a friend, but Jill’s dad and his wife came to visit. After socializing ran later than expected, it was a little late to cook so we did takeout again, this time from nearby Flippin’ Pizza (best chain pizza around).


Sunday was the big baptism, and we got to church early so Nina could be dressed and we could take pictures outside. She was remarkably well behaved during the event (although I took her out soon after when she started to fuss), and was happy to be walked around the rest of the morning. After we shared cake and other treats with the congregation, we headed home where we had more food with all our families.


Later that afternoon I returned to Dulles (which was the most crowded I’d ever seen it), and tried a Peruvian chicken recipe for us and Sharon. Sharon flew out of National the next day, so I got up early to get her on a bus over there.

Our first big road trip with Nina started on Saturday the 19th. We’d planned on trying to get an early start after her last feeding during the night, but all of us slept in, not getting up ’til 7 and not hitting the road until 9AM (I’d dropped off Illa at the kennel the previous afternoon). The first five hours of the drive went pretty well as Nina slept in her seat. We stopped at a NJ Turnpike rest stop to feed her (and get Nathan’s for us), then stopped again at a White Castle just before Newark (area was a little sketchy, but ok).

Once we passed into Connecticut, Nina was awake and unhappy and let us know. Eventually Jill was forced to sit in the back seat next to her (which forced an interesting luggage reconfiguration). We finally arrived in Boston around 6PM. The Cannons were just finishing dinner, and had made enough tasty chili to feed us as well. We got to socialize a bit before the kiddos all headed to bed, and then some more after that before we all were feeling the exhaustion.

Sunday morning Jess made pancakes, then Chris and I took his two older girls to the playground at their nearby school (and I found out I can still do at least one pull-up). For lunch, we were recommended to try Anthonys Roast Beef & Pizza. I went with the roast beef since it’s what they’re known for, and Jill had the fish sandwich.

P & Nina

Once we got on the road it was a quick trip to Holyoke. In the afternoon, Jill’s mom Sue hosted a bunch of family and had a cake to celebrate Nina’s baptism, then we had pizza for dinner. Nina got to meet Gram, her first great-grandparent.

Monday we headed over to Jill’s grandparents on her dad’s side where her dad and his wife met us and we all had lunch together. Nina saw her two remaining great-grandparents, and many pictures were shown and taken. Later on Sue was tired (her hours are crazy this time of year) and I cooked breaded pork chops for dinner.


Tuesday I picked my Mom up from the Hartford Airport. We picked up dinner at Antonio’s in Easthampton (Jill and I both had some spicy wings).


Wednesday we went and took Jill’s nephew Jake out. We had lunch at and then shopped for books at. Table and Vine. Sharon and Robin came around dinnertime and Sue made Shepherd’s Pie.

Nina Robin

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Sue was the chef, so I mostly stayed out of her way. The dinner was the classic lineup, the stuffing was particularly good, as were the pies (way too many to count). After dinner I got to disassemble both turkeys, which took quite a while. Most people came after dinner for dessert, and after that there was a round of board games.


Friday we went to Northampton for breakfast with Robin at Sylvester’s, where I had a nice Eggs Benedict. After that, Jill shopped at Webs with Nina, while I shopped in Turn It Up. We visited Robin in her new house and got the tour, then visited Jill’s friends Jude and Jen and their daughter and son. For dinner, we headed to Opa-Opa and got some tasty meat and all their wonderful seasonal beers (the pumpkin and Winter Warmer are recommended).

Nina Robin

Saturday was picture day, and all kinds of folks were over in their nicest clothes. Afterwards Sue had made pasta, and we cleaned her out (I only got a half serving since I had salad first, had to fill up on leftover pizza).


Sunday we had an early Christmas at Jill’s sister’s house. Nina’s not quite ready for gifts (she likes sparkly lights much better), but I got a couple nice ones, including some Rush playing cards. Dinner was homemade spaghetti and lasagna.

early Xmas

Monday morning we tried to make another early start, and did leave by 5AM. We skirted around New York City, and had an early lunch at a Sonic in Edison, NJ (it must truly be the fast food mecca: both a White Castle and a Sonic). We had to stop at the last three rest areas in Jersey as Nina was awake and fussy, so once again Jill sat with her. But after that the trip went smoothly – we even took a free ride on the ICC to skip Beltway traffic. We made it home by 3PM and I went and picked up Illa from the kennel

It was a pretty good month, but it closed on a sad note. On Tuesday the 29th, I went to a funeral for the born too soon and too ill daughter of my friend Eric. The coffin was just too tiny, but at least the rain seemed appropriate.