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Monday, December 19, 2016

Three Months

So, we've been here nearly three months and it's flown by. Also, pretty obvious my blogging took a dive once Josephine was born, so I'm hoping to catch up somewhat in this post with what our lives have looked like since around Thanksgiving.

Our parents came and visited for a week, respectively, which was awesome. Nothing like introducing your daughter to her grandparents for the first time, and watching Henry be reunited with some of his favorite people. They saw the usual sights, and we joined them on a few for the first time as well. Scott went to the National Archives (keeper of the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, and Constitution) for the first time, and I joined my parents at Arlington National Cemetery and the National Museum of American History (highlights-the replica of Julia Child's kitchen, Sesame Street Muppets, and Breaking Bad props).





 

Henry developed a really weird rash and extreme itching that I was convinced was chicken pox, even though he's been vaccinated. We've since ruled it out but it made for some stressful days attempting to run interference between him hugging Josephine ( though adorable) and overanalyzing her every sound/reaction in particular. We still don't know what it was, but thankfully, it looks to be mostly gone.

I have made some friends! And found a playgroup for Henry!

We made our first trip to the mall (very weird to have to pay for parking) and visited Santa. Also, the mall was FOUR stories-crazy town. This Santa was exceptional too. He got up from his couch and chatted with Henry before the photo opp, and did the same thing after, engaging with him and the other kids. Josephine slept the entire time.


It has gotten COLD. In fact, I saw an icon on my iPhone I hadn't seen before-a snowflake with a thermometer. Turns out, that's "freezing rain." It rained overnight last weekend and well, it froze. I had plans to go to coffee with the new friends mentioned above but with it being so cold, I considered driving. When I saw the state of our car (below) it was determined I'd be walking. I made it there with a few close calls but did slip and fall on the icy sidewalk (I'm fine) on the way home. Womp womp. It's probably time we buy an ice pick/snow brush for the car. We've been teased with the snowflake about half a dozen times now, but no snow yet.






We've stayed indoors lately because the temperatures have been so low, and I'm still a bit nervous about Josephine's exposure to the cold. It's probably all in my head because obviously people out here have babies AND there are colder climates also with newborns, but her being only 5 weeks old and 40 degrees outside causes me more worry than enjoyment. I'm summing it up to the California weather part of me-freaking out with the change.

Last night we braved the elements and bundled everyone up to view the National Christmas Tree and accompanying White House decorations. I have to say at the sake of sounding critical, South Coast Plaza's tree is more memorable!




Missing everyone back home, especially as Christmas draws closer!

Visitors

We've been lucky to have both sets of parents pay us a visit since our move out here, and it was so nice to be able to obviously introduce their newest granddaughter, but also introduce DC to them all for the first time. Like any reunion, it was hard to say goodbye, but I think they'll be making trips back in the spring to see how much their grandkids have grown and more of the area.

Scott's mom flew out on a red eye the night Josephine was born, and stayed for a week before his dad joined us. Due to recovering, I couldn't join them for much sightseeing, though since Scott was still on partial paternity leave, he was able to join them on some excursions. They definitely earned their stripes walking the streets and riding the metro like pros.

My parents arrived a week and half later, and my mom was initiated right away. After settling into their house and walking over to ours, she tripped on the awful (like, 10x worse than the worst Fullerton street) sidewalks here and got a black eye and very bruised wrist. Welcome to DC!

By the time my parents came, I was able to be up and around, thus able to take in more sights with them, and they even got to be present for Josephine's first Metro ride.



















We're very lucky to have parents willing to travel and see us during this adventure! Miss you guys!

We were also very lucky to have my longtime and very dear friend Courtney swing by during her whirlwind professional travels for an awesome morning visit!




Friday, November 25, 2016

An Ina Garten Thanksgiving

Since we spent this Thanksgiving just the four of us, I was not going to let the day pass without an attempt at making a (mostly) traditional spread. I've actually looked forward to hosting Thanksgiving for years-my house has just always been too small. So, this will be the dress rehearsal of hopefully future years in a home that has a table built for more than two!


Naturally, when menu planning, I decided to follow the guidance of entertaining extraordinaire and my personal food hero, Ina Garten. She hasn't failed me with any recipes yet, and even though I'm "entertaining" someone who already enjoys my cooking and a picky three-year-old, I still want to experience the foods of the holiday in celebration of the day. I'm keeping it simple and will miss some favorite sides but I only packed so many dishes, pots, and pans, and well, we always have Christmas to add in any missing favorites (like this-mushroom leek bread pudding-make and thank me later.)

Thanksgiving 2016 Menu:


I can't believe how simple this was and SO flavorful too. Leave it to Ina for simplicity and ultimate flavor.

In my opinion, haricot verts are always fancier than your average green beans, and when they are tossed with the gremolata, tasty! (I did forget pine nuts though, so they could have been even better.)

Full disclosure-I couldn't source the truffle butter in time, otherwise these would have been authentic Truffled Mashed Potatoes.

Cranberry Sauce and Stuffing*
Not pictured above. Trader Joe's fresh cranberry sauce and stuffing-because I'm the only one who likes them and,  #convenient.

Black Beans*
Not pictured above. Because the male Haseltons requested them...I find this so strange for a Thanksgiving spread... But, in the words of Henry: "Mom, I don't like green beans, I like BLACK beans!" Ok, kid.

As evident in the picture, there was some level of failure in the production of this pie. The crust was made a little big for the pan, and the filling made more than the pie could handle so the cup overrunneth when transporting to the oven. However, was my first pumpkin pie and taste was not compromised!

A good looking and tasting plate if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful

Custom art created by my super talented friend Virginia :)
Baby GIRL (I still can't believe it!) Josephine arrived earlier than expected this month and is a total delight. I was truly convinced we were having a boy, and minutes before we went into the OR, the doctor went over last minute instructions about getting "him" out safely and how "he" should be fine, etc. So, as I said to Scott, cat was out of the bag. He asked me if I wanted confirmation and I said I didn't need when it just got it. He asked again and I said, ok, and it was then that he told me we were having a girl. I still couldn't believe it-she had said boy several times (and prior to this day as well) so I didn't believe him.  I thought perhaps at the time of the sonogram it did appear to be a girl but they can be wrong, so I figured things had changed. It was not until they were actually taking her out that I heard the doctor say "Dad, why don't you tell her what it is" and he smiled and said it was a girl. I cried (though, full disclosure, I would have cried if it were a boy too-this was my child!) and couldn't believe it. I still can't, and often wake up thinking "I have a daughter!"


Henry adores her and loves hugging and helping her (which I'm going to file away in my pictures and mental archives knowing full well it won't last forever!) and was particularly fascinated by her umbilical cord. 

With her full term due date being Thanksgiving, I think we are all feeling very thankful for her safe (yet surprising and a bit crazy) arrival, and that Scott's mom was able to come out so quickly to help care for Henry, that his dad later joined us, and that my parents will be here next week to meet their first granddaughter. 

While we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving on our own as a family of four this year, we will certainly be missing our families and wish you all a happy and healthy holiday. We certainly have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This is Halloween

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday-it encompasses all of the qualities that to me, make a great holiday--dressing up in costumes, decorations, pumpkin-flavored foods, generally colder weather, dressing up kids in costumes, and no gifts.

At three years old, this was the first year that Henry declared his costume desires when I started asking in the spring (when I generally start scheming for myself). He very clearly said he wanted to be a hammer, me to be a screwdriver, and Scott to be a toolbox or a saxophone. For the past six months he has very much remained dedicated to this hammer costume so I knew I had to bring it to life.

Moving across country provided ample boxes to choose from, since my internet searching revealed about four adult hammer-tool costumes yet plenty of MC Hammer options. I'm a maker anyway, so I knew I was going to construct it somehow, and figured cardboard was probably going to be the best material. Of the four inspirational images, I found, this one was the one that seemed the most appropriate and able to be replicated.

This was probably the cheapest costume I will ever construct too, because all it included were three moving boxes, duct tape, silver spray paint, a few staples, and two sheets of poster board.
Though I felt bad I didn't deliver on my own screwdriver, he was
agreeable to my modified themed costume. 

The hammer "head" was clearly the piece de resistance, and I'm certain the Smithsonian is going to be calling wanting it for their American History of Halloween showcase exhibit that is still seeking funding sources. The "handle" was a bit more of a challenge in that I thought poster board would provide the best sturdy construction, but it did prove to be hard for him to go up and down stairs due to the restrictive nature. In hindsight, felt or a fabric might have been a better option...you know, for my next tool costume.

Our trial run with the costume-Hilloween on Friday.
Costume improvements were made for the big day.

Obviously, it's extremely gratifying to hear strangers compliment your costume and share how it's their favorite and how you don't see costumes like that anymore, but I was really just a defining mom moment to bring his vision to life. He owned it and watching him walk down the street and hear him make his "trick or treat" requests just makes Halloween even more of an epic holiday to experience it through his eyes. And, I think he may have equally enjoyed handing out candy as much as receiving it. Once we were home, he'd meet adults at the sidewalk and give them candy to which they were always delighted to receive from this very gracious little boy.

Halloween in DC was pretty epic itself-which was a huge relief to me, wanting to provide Henry the experience that he knows. It reminded me of certain neighborhoods in Fullerton where kids are bussed in and the streets are flooded with parents and costumed children. The neighbors are gathered outside in many cases, enjoying the social aspect of the holiday, and the decorations are over the top.  Besides our own street we went to a few blocks over to a small one-way street where the neighborhood really collaborates and hangs lights across the street as well as includes very theatrical decorations. Makes for really efficient trick-or-treating!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween themselves! Only 364 days until next year!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Resident Tourists: The Kennedy Center

While I was certainly familiar with The Kennedy Center and its fame as a world-class performing arts venue, my dear friend Ashley, who lives in Washington state, sent me some great information about free nightly programs on their Millenium Stage, as part of a "arts for everyone" initiative, that she read about in her Rachael Ray magazine. So thanks Ashley and Rachael for sharing!

I found a performance that looked like something Henry might enjoy on a night we were free, and so a date night was put in the books.

Henry and I hopped on the metro and then walked about a half mile through the Foggy Bottom/George Washington University neighborhood (my date had some whiny moments as we were sans stroller) to the Center, which is quite grand-and that was after I started walking up to the Saudi Arabian Embassy, its next door neighbor, on accident. Whoops!


Since we had the show to catch, I wasn't able to take in much of the Center's features and know they offer daily tours, that I'd really like to come back and enjoy.







The performance featured an Italian troupe from New York City as part of the "Kids Euro Festival" that performed Italian fables and stories in both Italian and English, which was fun to hear.

At the risk of sounding like a total snob, the show was so-so, but did a great job being a guinea pig for our first trip and to check out the venue itself, transportation, and to gauge Henry's interest. The free nightly programs range from music to dance to theater, so no doubt we will be back for something else as much as a headlining performance in their main theater. My fingers are crossed that this Christmas, they or another theater will feature the Nutcracker, as Henry loves Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker's music specifically, so allowing him to see a children's version of the ballet would be a total holiday highlight. 


Following the performance I discovered there was a free shuttle to and from the metro so my date didn't have to walk back to the subway-he seemed pretty grateful for my ability to read, and discovering such conveniences!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pumpkin Patching

There is no denying that fall on the east coast is beautiful. We drove from DC to Whitehall Farm in Fairfax, Virginia, and it could not have been more picturesque with the leaves changing and the 60-degree temperatures. Having endured so many hot falls at home, it's been a welcome to change to wear a sweater and need to keep it on past 10 a.m.!

The farm delivered everything we (namely Henry) could have wanted out of a pumpkin patch trip--farm animals that needed feeding, pumpkins to pick, a pumpkin sling shot, bounce houses, hay ride, tractors to watch, corn hole, and a corn maze. It was a great day :)





I will admit, the patch wasn't as bountiful as I would have imagined!








Slinging pumpkins at nearly nine months pregnant!

video




Henry feeding the farm's mascot, Henry the Cow.













This boy loves anything "cute and tiny"...pumpkins included!









One of our pumpkins has fallen victim to a bushy-tailed rodent, so this carefully selected squash will be living indoors until next weekend when it's carved and put outside!