We started the new year with a 3 day weekend. Sunday the 1st the Norwoods hosted a big brood of folks for their New Year’s brunch – delicious and good to catch up with folks. Monday the second I made Pecan Toffee Sticky Buns – a big hit (a lot of work, but worth it), then Sue and I took Nina and Illa on a walk around Lake Audobon to walk them off.

Nina Sue

The 3rd we went over to Barnett’s after work as Akaemi had hurt her foot and brought over a ground beef hash brown casserole for her and Josh. Nina was very good, and the casserole wasn’t bad. Jill went back to work on the 4th, and there was much sadness. Sue watched Nina on the days Jill worked (and tried to work herself) and kept Nina nice and warm on their walks.


On Saturday the 7th, my company had its annual party, this year with an ’80s prom theme. A bit odd, but we did our best to dress up. It actually turned out to be one of the better ones, as the band they got was pretty good. The food was the same as it was every year, but at least I know what to expect.

me and Jill

The 9th we opened all the Christmas gifts we hadn’t received on Christmas. Nina got her first “Alice In Wonderland” book from Sue, and enjoyed the panda from her Pepe and Meme.


Friday the 13th was not bad besides some typical traffic getting to Arlandria. We went to Pork Barrel BBQ for a quick delicious dinner (rivals Willard’s), then saw Eddie From Ohio with the Jewells at the Birchmere. Great show, including some nice new covers and a hilarious new Michael Clem song. The next day we took a big ol’ family walk around Lake Thoreau.


I got Nina all to myself on Monday the 16th (Jill worked and Sue went visiting), so of course I took her to Target and Chick-fil-A. Friday the 20th we got a late start (somebody didn’t want to go to sleep) but saw most of Red Molly at Wolf Trap. It doesn’t matter if I’m expecting it or not, it’s weird to come out of a concert and see snow on the ground where there was none, but the drive home was fine.

The next night all of us headed down to DC for an early dinner at AGAINN. I was way too overconfident about Nina in restaurants – we narrowly avoided a full meltdown by Sue driving her around the block 4 times until she fell asleep. She woke up again before we left, and went to bed 2 hours late that night. The food was well worth the trip, though (charcuterie was delicious). Sunday we had a delicious dinner of boiled bacon thanks to Hannah, then we did a family shop at Wegman’s, then finished watching the two excellent football conference championship games. Tuesday Sue had an informal photo session of Nina, got some great photos (most of the photos here she took).


Our vacation started on Saturday the 28th. We took a nice walk in the afternoon, then had Dad over for dinner, made roasted chicken and bought a delicious butternut squash and crab soup from Whole Foods. The next day Jill had a baby shower in the morning, then we finished packing (2 cars, but that included 4 people, 2 sets of ski equipment and a dog), then headed down to Massanutten in the late afternoon. We got there just after dark, unpacked and I headed over to the Food Lion for provisions and got takeout from Log Cabin Barbecue (very good ribs and sides).

Nina Dad

Monday the 30th Jill and I headed over to the slopes to ski. She had some equipment issues and didn’t go for too long, I stayed out for about 4 hours, and it was awesome (first time skiing this season, plus I skipped last season). That night Nina had her first pool experience, and seemed to enjoy it.

Nina pool

The next day we headed to Charlottesville. It was a weird week for weather – the previous day it started well below freezing, but by late morning Tuesday it was in the 60s (I wore a t-shirt all day). We spent most of our time at the downtown mall, in shops and then lunch at Bizou (I wanted to try their fried chicken but needed a light lunch, nice compromise with their chicken Caesar salad). We also got some takeout fried chicken to save for the next day (couldn’t resist a repeat visit to Wayside Takeout) and filled some growlers at Whole Foods on the way out of town (with a quick stop for me at Plan 9).

Jill Nina

Later that night Jill and I went to a beer dinner in Massanutten, and got lucky – it was an evening of all New Belgian brews, with introductions of each one by their East Coast head (who let us know they’ll be opening a second brewery in this area). We went to a beer dinner at our previous visit to Massanutten, and didn’t regret doing that again.