Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009: The Year In Review

Here we are at the end of another year. It’s been a wonderful but exhausting one for me and the rest of the Wood household! Here are some of the highlights of the year:

Peter’s big project

In February of 2009, I coordinated the launch of a project at work, one which was the biggest of my career so far. This project had taken up much of the year in 2008, but ultimately culminated in 2009. I also ended up getting pretty burned out from this project, and Rebecca and Catherine put up with plenty of grumpiness from me. Shortly after the project was launched, and coincidentally, we had a layoff at work. Thankfully I was spared from the layoff, but many people I knew were not, and it created added stress for us all.

Esme

Rebecca gave birth to Esme on March 5, 2009, just weeks after I completed the aforementioned big project. Interestingly, her pregnancy and this project lasted about the same length of time!. Since then, we have enjoyed watching as Esme grows up, interacts with her big sister and the world around her, and learns new things. Her latest talents are pointing at things, saying the rudiments of some words, crawling, standing, and cruising. She even has a ‘rascally’ attitude when we catch her doing something she’s not supposed to. So cute! It’s true that we have also endured many sleepless nights and the stresses of adjusting to two children, but I feel that it’s a small price to pay for a relatively short time for the privilege of raising these two girls.

July Road Trip

July saw our first big road trip as a family of four: we drove from Danvers to Stony Point, NY to attend the wedding of our friends Jenn and Matt, where Rebecca was the matron of honor, then on to Philadelphia for some sightseeing, then out to Mount Vernon, Ohio to visit my parents and for the wedding of our friends Will and Michelle, then back to Danvers with stops in Mentor, OH and Rome, NY. We had a great time being together as a family for that whole time, seeing some fascinating sights, and also a wonderful time at the weddings.

Peter R. Wood Photography

This summer, I started my photography business, Peter R. Wood Photography. I had some great clients and I’m looking forward to more in 2010. If you’re interested in getting some great portraits for just $50, head on over to prwphoto.net and check our my portfolio, services, and pricing.

Vineyard

Every summer, we get to spend time on Martha’s Vineyard at Rebecca’s parents’ summer cottage. This summer was no different, though for money-saving reasons we didn’t make as many trips as we have in the past. We went down for several weekends, the girls went down for a week while I stayed at home, and then we all came down for a week in late September as a family vacation. It’s always a relaxing time, such a nice getaway from every day life, and a welcome respite from the hectic nature of life at home.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Rebecca turned 30 on January 10, Esme turned 0 on March 5, Catherine turned 3 on May 26, and I turned 31 on October 6. That’s 64 collective years of life experience! Rebecca and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary on October 26. On April 1 we celebrated two years of living in our new home. And on May 19 I marked nine years of employment.

Financial

The biggest financial accomplishment of the year was paying off my student loan! Now we have our sights set on the car loan and Rebecca’s student loan.

In Closing

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this look back at our year of 2009. If you have any favorite memories you’ve shared with us, please leave a comment. We’d also like to hear about your year, so please feel free to link to your own site or just share your own stories in the comments.

Stay tuned for “2000s: The Decade in Review!”

Christmases of Old

Did you happen to get a look at the dress that Catherine was wearing in the photos in Peter’s last post? I’ll refresh your memory:

Isn’t it sweet? My Mom sewed the dress and smocked the pinafore! But Catherine wasn’t the original recipient! Mom made the dress for me 27ish years ago. It was loaned out and hand-me-downed and both pieces managed to find their way back to Mom just in time for Catherine to fit in them this year! I spent a good part of the 26th looking through photos trying to find one of me wearing it, but the search was unsuccessful. Maybe I’ll be able to find it by the time Esme is big enough to wear it!

In other Christmases Past news: On the suggestion of a friend, I took the girls to see the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s furniture in Avon today. We were in the neighborhood shopping at Ikea and hopped next door to take a look. I hadn’t expected a line, but we ended up waiting about 30-40 minutes before we got in the door. Luckily there was a family with little kids behind us and they and Catherine became fast playmates.

The Village was just as I remembered it, having seen it at the old Jordan Marsh store in Downtown Crossing when I was in High School. The Christmas music, festive decor and real snow falling from the ceiling put me right back in the Christmas spirit, even if the animatronic kids and animals were kind of creepy.

The girls seemed to have a good time. Catherine studied each vignette intently and would point out one or two things to me before we’d move on. “Look, Mama! That bear has a pickle!” “I see a boy on a bicycle.” “That one is the Papa Bear because he is playing a cello.”

[There are more (not great) photos from the Enchanted Village here]

Christmas Past

We finished up Christmas with the Lowes on Saturday. We woke up and had a lazy morning, playing with the girls, watching TV, having breakfast, making cupcakes…

The ladies in the kitchen

The ladies in the kitchen

We also took the opportunity to sit down for some family Christmas photos:

Ken and Dianne

Ken and Dianne

Ken, Dianne, Catherine and Esme

Ken, Dianne, Catherine and Esme

Rebecca, Peter, Catherine and Esme

Rebecca, Peter, Catherine and Esme

You can see all of the photos from the day after Christmas in our gallery.

In the afternoon, Rebecca’s aunt and uncle Gabi and Tom came over, along with their boys, and Corey and Vicky came back as well for a little post-Christmas get-together. Catherine had a ton of fun with “her brothers” as she calls them (they’re actually first cousins once removed, but since we have a photo of them on our refrigerator and we told her that they’re brothers, she calls them her brothers). We then had to pack our car full of luggage and loot (it really was full to the max) and head home. We stopped at “Pote-cho-le” on the way home, got the essentials unpacked, and since Saturday evening we’ve been in the process of unpacking, sorting out the gifts, deciding what to do with everything, and getting the house cleaned up. The holiday has been tiring, but it’s always good to be with your loved ones, to share some good food and laughs, and have some other people around whose names your kid can call on other than you (COREY! VICKY! NONNI! GRANDPA!!!).

I hope that all of our readers had a great Christmas! Feel free to share your own Christmas stories in our comments, or links to your own blog posts, photos, status updates, etc. If you hadn’t already, you can read about Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, pt. 1, and Christmas Day, pt. 2.

Christmas Day, continued

Everyone else is asleep, and I should be getting to sleep too… but I wanted to post a final update on Christmas Day.

Rebecca and Esme took a nice four-hour nap this afternoon, a Christmas present of sorts for the tired Mama who hardly ever has a chance to catch up on sleep. Shortly thereafter, Corey and Vicky arrived for Christmas Dinner! Dianne cooked up some delicious food: ham, cheesy noodles, mashed sweet potato, cranberry sauce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, fresh baked bread. The ham was flavored and stuffed with something green and tasty, but the people who might be able to remind me of what it is are asleep at the moment.

After dinner, we opened up the rest of the presents. Catherine had an interesting way of finding presents. She preferred to start all the way in the back of the tree, and then crawl out from underneath:

Catherine's technique

Catherine's technique

One highlight was this sweater which Rebecca knit for Vicky:

Sweater for Vicky

Sweater for Vicky

After dinner, we enjoyed a dessert of Crème brûlée, prepared by Dianne:

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée

We’re here in Townsend for tonight and tomorrow, when we’ll have some more festivities with some of the Lowe side of Rebecca’s family. Then we’ll be heading home to unpack and get ready for the new year!

P.S. We have all of the photos from Christmas Day in our gallery.

Christmas Day so far

Catherine was the first of us to wake up this morning, and shortly thereafter she woke me up: “It’s daytime, Papa! It’s Christmas day!” I returned the greeting with a kiss and a little joke: “Merry Kiss-mas!” Catherine went and woke Rebecca and Esme up, and then we all headed downstairs.

Opening stockings was the first order of business.

Stockings

Stockings

After stockings, it was the traditional breakfast of waffles. Very filling!

Full of Waffles

Full of Waffles

After breakfast, it was time to start opening presents. Here’s Nonni opening her new printer/scanner/copier.

Multifunction joy

Multifunction joy

Of special note to Build Guild folks was the knitted mustache that Rebecca made for me:

KnitStache

KnitStache

Catherine actually got a bit overwhelmed with the gift opening, so we’re taking a break right now. We’ll have some lunch, possibly some naps, and open the rest of the gifts later. Corey and Vicky will be here later on today for more celebration.

So far it’s been a great Christmas day – and a great first Christmas for Esme!

Papa and Esme

Papa and Esme

Christmas Eve

Being a family with grandparents in two different parts of the country, we tend to spend Christmas in differing locations each year. Every other year we switch between Rebecca’s parents and my parents. This year would normally be a year with my parents, but we won’t be able to see them in person. That’s because they’re visiting my sister and brother-in-law in the Middle East. So as our Christmas Eve is winding down, they’re already celebrating Christmas morning! We really miss having the chance to see them this year, but hopefully we’ll get to see them fairly soon once they get back.

So this year, we’re spending Christmas with Rebecca’s parents. I’m writing from Townsend, Mass right now. Catherine is asleep upstairs, Rebecca, Esme, Ken and Dianne are out at the Christmas eve midnight service, and I’m here at home to watch over Catherine. I’m watching the midnight mass at the Vatican on TV, and uploading some photos from today’s events.

We drove out to Townsend earlier today, and had an hour or so to get our things settled, before we had to get ready to leave again.

Esme in Christmas garb

Esme in Christmas garb

We headed out to Charlton, Mass for the annual Christmas eve get-together for Rebecca’s mom’s side of the family, the Quitadamos. We really enjoyed the chance to see everyone from that side, and the girls definitely had fun with their cousins (first cousins once removed and second cousins alike).

Esme checks out her gifts

Esme checks out her gifts

You can see all of my photos from Christmas Eve.

As this writing has taken me into Christmas Day, I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas! I hope that you are able to spend it with loved ones and in a way that is peaceful and wonderful and meaningful to you. We’ll be spending the next two days here in Townsend, then heading home.

Snowy Service at Dane Street

Today we braved the snow (not too hard thanks to our trusty Subaru and its all-wheel drive) and drove to Dane Street for church this morning. There were a few dozen brave souls there, and we all congregated a bit closer together than usual. Catherine bounced around from pew to pew, hanging out with various friends during the service (as there was no children’s church today).

Catherine with Susie and Kelsey

It may have taken a bit more work to get out than normal, but we wanted to be sure to go, since we’re going to be out in Townsend with Rebecca’s family for Christmas Eve and will be missing our own church’s service. It was a great last Sunday service before Christmas.

More pics here.

Snowy Sunday

Rebecca is outside engaging in one of her favorite winter pastimes, shoveling snow. I’m not lying – she loves pushing around that chilly white stuff. So I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of the ‘Category 4 Kill Storm’ as our friend Christine calls it.

Shoveling Pro

More photos in our Gallery.

Any snow in your neck of the woods? We are planning to head to church as usual this morning (not cancelled). Should be interesting to see who else makes the journey out.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It is definitely looking a bit like Christmas here at the Wood Homestead, thanks to three new Christmas Garlands we’ve recently hung.

The first is a New Englandy Cranberry and Popcorn garland that adorns the front windows:

The second, a traditional construction paper Paper Chain garland. It is hung above harm’s reach in the archway between the dining room and kitchen. Catherine’s new found stapling skills were a huge help in making this garland.

And finally, a snowflakey, starry garland hung to disguise the lamp cord above the dining room table. I knit the stars using this pattern (here’s mine on Ravelry for you ravelers) and then strung them all together.

Party Weekend!

It’s getting closer to Christmas, and that means more parties! This weekend we trekked to two!

First was the Lowes’ traditional Christmas brunch in Townsend, MA on Saturday. Rebecca’s parents put this event on every year, and it’s one of my favorites. 🙂 Dianne cooks a ton of delicious food, and their house is filled with many friends from Townsend. One of my favorites from this year was the pineapple souffle. Mmmmmhmmm.

Deliciousness

Deliciousness

It’s also good to catch up with the folks in Townsend, and this year there were three new babies on the scene.

New babies!

New babies!

More photos from the brunch here.

Today our friends Zach and Andrea had a Christmas party at their home in Quincy, and we headed down for that as well. We ran into some of the same folks from the Lowes’ party, including the same babies. 🙂 Catherine and Esme enjoyed joining the other kids in the limelight and got plenty of attention from their Uncle Corey.

Corey and his Nieces

Corey and his Nieces

More photos from Zach and Andrea’s party here.

Now we just have a few weeks left before Christmas and all of the get-togethers surrounding it. Nothing planned for next weekend – yet!