Archive for the ‘family’ Category

I have a 14 month old tiny toddler She is amazing, wonderful, fun, and has been a very easy baby. I can’t take credit for her being easy, we just got lucky, but I’d like to think not being stressed out because we felt well prepared have helped.

messy livingroom baby stuff

This is as messy as I ever let the living room get. Otherwise I’d go BONKERS!

Here are some items that have helped us feel like prepared, confident new parents. I’ll try to list them in age order of when they’re most useful :)


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Here are some of her favorite foods at 10 months old:



Pears or apples cut into 1 cm pieces with a crinkle cut knife

Grapes or cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters the long way)

Turkey and spinach meatballs

Glazed carrots

Matzo balls made with real schmaltz

The veggies that cooked with brisket or pot roast

Spinach kugel or spanikopita filler

Chicken soup (not the broth, just the stuff)

Tsimmies with chunks of turkey thigh

Roasted cauliflower and/or sweet potatoes

Baked ziti

Stewed prunes


Chewing on a roasted green bean at 6 months

She never really ate purees/baby food, but has always sat at the table with us for meals in her Stokke high chair and played with toys and we’d sometimes let her play with food too (like the green bean above). At 7 months she grabbed a pizza crust off my plate while I was out with my mom and I thought she’d just gum on it, but she ATE 2 INCHES OF PIZZA CRUST! I thought it was fluke, so when Ben came home a few days later and we went out for Indian food we gave her a piece of naan to chew on and she ate that too and flapped her little arms for more! She ended up eating naan, raisins from the saffron rice, and some peas from my curry that night.

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Hello blog-y people! I haven’t blogged in FOOOOOOOREEEEEEVVVVEEEEEEEER (now, go watch Goonies again if you need to). Apparently when I’m gainfully employed and not lonely (i.e. have enough friends/social activities to keep me from getting restless), I just don’t blog much.

Yep. Living in Rockville, Maryland and working in aviation regulatory law in DC has been good for me. Currently we are living in Northern Virginia, in my parents’ house (but in the guest room, not my old room, that would be weird) while Ben works on securing continual funding for more AMO physics research. Dr. Smarty-Pants!

Anyway, the real reason I’m blogging today is to dump all the photos and a few videos I took of today’s flyover off of Ben’s phone (we swapped today because I left the big camera at home, even though I’d gotten it out to take to work with me today).

Want more info about the WWII war plan flyover to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE day?

Schedule and route:       http://ww2flyover.org/general-information/flyover-schedule-and-route/

Great write-up of some of the pilots and their planes:     http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/pilots-prepare-for-historic-wwii-flyover-of-mall/article/2563250

Here are the photos from the lower terrace of the Kennedy Center (no filter, just a Moto G cell phone doing whatever it wants), I know they’re not the best, but PLANES! (There is a video on my Facebook page, but not on here because I’m cheap.)

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BKS building the sukkah

Ben and I built our first ever sukkah this year. It is HUGE (8×12′), big enough to fit our 6′ table and four comfy chairs around it. It is awesome. We mail ordered the 6×8′ s’chach from The Sukkah Project and built the frame from 2x4s (and two 1x2s) from Home Depot and some metal framing braces.

best sukkah ever

Here’s a photo of our sukkah all lit up and set for a nice dinner. Lovely! The back wall (up against the parking garage) looked bland, so I picked up a plastic shower curtain from the BB&B clearance section to hang up there and it really helps it look less blocky and more festive.

A friend from Interlochen, JMV, came down from New York for the first day of sukkot and I had to remind my new bosses that I wasn’t kidding when I said that there were 3 major Jewish holidays in 3 weeks (really 4 in 4 weeks, but I usually only fully observe two of them, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). Ben worked his spousal magic and had a wonderful dinner waiting for us when we got home (picking up cupcakes at the train station, en route home) for Erev Sukkot (the night before the first day). We had a great time and ate too much together. JMV and I spent the first day of Sukkot living in the sukkah (i.e. vegging out, the weather was lovely!).

That’s the latest from here. I’ll try and catch up on my photos from Boulder and then tell you all about my new J-O-B soon!


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We went out to visit my Gramma, in Solomon’s Island. The weather was BEAUTIFUL Sunday and Monday (low 70s and slightly breezy), so instead of spending the day in the car, we stopped at some wineries (nothing worth noting), and at the Cyprus Swamp visitor center and went on a nature walk – I adore nature walks with boardwalks. Then we went for dinner at CD Cafe, walked the boardwalk, and then went home to Gramma’s and tried to see the planets grouping. There were too many trees and her dock access pointed the wrong way, so we only saw what we think was Jupiter. Oh well, at least there were no mosquitos out yet!

Today we had a lazy brunch of cheese omelets (Ben is a GREAT cook!), toast, and apple slices. Then we raided Gramma’s bookshelves (she claims she’s trying to pare down her collection, but I saw the bag of new books by the front door), and set out for the Calvert Marine Museum and Lighthouse. It is SO much bigger than I remember as a kid. We didn’t get there until about 12:30 and then we met for lunch at 2 at Kim’s Key Lime Pies for another tasty meal in town before hurrying back to the museum for the 3 PM boarding of the Wm. B. Tennison cruise around the island! It was so nice to get out on the open water, and we almost had the boat to ourselves. I guess everyone had started heading home already at that point.

We’ll have to go back; there are entire buildings more of the museum to see, and we never did make it to visit my Gramma at Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, where she volunteers, more wineries to visit, and there’s a Railway Museum that I didn’t know existed!

Maybe we’ll become weekend [subsidized] people ;-)


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Apparently my wedding dress was on-trend when I bought it (I’m watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on TV right now). Herminone’s dress from Slugworth’s Christmas party is like a v-neck version of my wedding dress in pink, BEAUTIFUL!

Who knew that I could be trendy? I think of myself as fairly conservative, and possibly frumpy when it comes to fashion. I prefer a boxy college t-shirt and/or hoodie and Levi’s to most other forms of clothing for everyday-wear.

Ben’s parents were in town for the week of Sukkot. There was a LOT of eating out, and Ben and his dad had a lot of time to chat about Ben’s papers that are in the cue for publication and his forthcoming thesis and defense presentation. While they were here, I feel like I ate more in8 days than I usually eat in 14!

To celebrate our anniversary Ben’s parents took us out to dinner at Jill’s, the restaurant at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa, where we were married. It was yummy! The flambé cart that they purchased for our wedding dessert is in regular rotation in the dining room with table-side bananas foster on the dessert menu (along with shrimp scampi and a table-side preparation of Caesar salad too). It was a yummy night on the town.

As soon as it gets here, I’ll publish some photos of our anniversary present to ourselves. I used a Groupon (and spent a $10 voucher I had) to buy a print of one of our wedding photos on aluminum. It should be pretty cool.

We don’t have a single wedding print framed in the house! When I had a desk I had one of our engagement photos framed on my desk, but the only wedding prints we have are in our de facto wedding album! I figured that two years later it was time to fix that.

Dang. I don’t seem to have a digital copy of the engagement photo I used to have on my desk. Here’s a paint version:

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Like many Jewish people who are originally from the East Coast, I make a yearly pilgrimage home to the DC area for the first night seder every year. I’ve missed it only twice in my life, once my freshman year of college when I though going to my friend Steve’s parents’ house would be an acceptable alternative (it wasn’t), missing the one and only time my mom’s cousin Nancy hosted in CT; and once when Passover was so late in the year as to be only 2 weeks before final exams and I stayed in Colorado to volunteer at the Hillel seder to make it what I needed while having time to study, missing the only time seder was held at my grandparents’ retirement McMansion in Solomon, Maryland.

reform passover table setting

This year, as we’ve done since I graduated from college, Ben and I split Passover between our families. This is an awesome way to do it for many reasons, Shabbat with my parents is spiritually very unsatisfying (it may as well be Sunday, no one there cares), seeing our families at least once a year in their native habitats reminds us how much we’ve become citizens of the People’s Republic of Boulder, and most of all we don’t have to kasher our kitchen if we won’t be home to use it!

The first night of Passover this year was on a Friday night, meaning that there were TWO shabbat dinners during Passover this year. This was awesome for us because we were able to spend the first night with my family, the second night at a Kehilat Shalom’s second night community seder, and then travel up to the Boston area for a few days to sight see and spend Shabbat with Ben’s family.

If you’re counting that means that we flew out to DC the Wednesday before Passover started, and up to Boston a week later, flying back to Colorado on Sunday, after the end of Passover. We were gone for 10 days. My limit for family. I usually have a 5 day tolerance for family, but we were able to extend it to 7 days by staying in the basement and letting gramma stay in my room. It is MUCH quieter in the basement.

Why were we in DC for so long, you might ask. Because Ben gave his first talk in anticipation of looking for a PostDoc position this coming December! He spoke at NIST Gaithersburg, the main location of which the Boulder labs are just a branch. He had an awesome backwards commute fro McLean, up 495 and out 270 to super-suburban Maryland. I’m not sure if could be happy living out there, but I’m sure we could find somewhere to bunker down for 2-4 if he ends up working there. Other programs he’s interested in are at NIST Boulder, Yale, Harvard, and MIT. My husband is no slouch!

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I hate uploading photos because I hate resizing them/exporting them and my web provider makes me do all the work! How lame. Anyway. I own the internets photos from my bridal show and from DJ & J’s wedding. I’ll start with DJ & J’s wedding because it was kind of epically huge. 320 people attended the reception!

Here’s the rehash I wrote for my parents, who asked what lessons I learned from DJ & J’s wedding that I might be able to apply to my own (my parents were at my youngest brother’s college graduation, instead of the wedding):

On their wedding day we got to the church 30 minutes early to take some photos with the Illinois family. We were in just a few, but we had to take 2 sets, one in front of the St. Peter the Apostle’s Catholic Church sign, and the same ones next to (but not including) the sign, to send to our shared gramma. We were also in few photographs after dinner, but I’m sure a look a little disheveled form dancing in those and I know J was exhausted because it was 10:30PM and she was quietly whining about how her feet hurt.

One thing I learned that we can apply to our wedding: have someone video tape the ceremony and any toasts that people give. I’m sure I’d have be too hopped up on adrenaline to listen well and Father Dominick had a lovely sermon prepared and I’m sure they’ll want to be able to listen to it later (thanfully they did have a videographer/video stalker). He talked about how a marriage is the joining of two families and how DJ is going to have a lot to learn about joining an Italian family and how he’ll never have to pay retail again and J is marrying a Boy Scout and that she’ll have to be OK with him coming home with pockets full of stuff, holes in his pockets from too much stuff, and odd fascination with all things small/useful/lightweight, and an expectation that when he does something well that he deserves a merit badge (he somehow tied this to the bedroom in an church friendly way, but I’m not sure how). He also said something about how when he undoes his belt, his pants will drop to the floor like a dead weight because his pockets are so full of stuff that she’ll never be able to imagine why he’s carrying it or that she’d ever want to carry herself.

Their wedding was just so different from ours that I’m not sure there were many lessons to learn…..

DJ married into the Sicilian mafia and had a 2PM Saturday mass wedding. The ceremony lasted until about 3:15, then we all trekked over to her parents house for “snacks” where Janine’s mother’s friends from work made sandwiches, mixed/poured drinks, and kept plying us with cookies and cheese for almost 2 hours while Janine and DJ and their escorts took photos at the church and at the park down the street.

At the smaller ballroom of the banquet hall (with painted ceilings and marble floor) we were greeting by a HUGE seafood buffet that included focaccias, calamari (fried and in a salad), a wheel of parmesan cheese broken into bite size bits [see photos], fried polenta, shrimp cocktail, some sort of fried oyster thing with tomato sauce, fried rice/cheese/meat balls, lots of cured meats, and an open bad fully stocked with premium liquors and any mixer you could think of.

Then there was dinner! The chairs were all covered and tied with green sashes, and there were matching satin minty green napkins on the tables. Every other table had an elaborate/tall centerpiece and the others had glass pillars of varying heights with submerged flowers and floating candles on top surrounded by little candles. The table was set funny though, fork and knife together on the left and only one fork for all the courses. There was a teaspoon and a steak knife on the top, where I would put a butter knife. Dinner as a meal was quite the affair, 2 pastas, salad w/ your choice of dressing, lemon ice, veal steak with baked mashed potatoes and asparagus, then a dessert table with cake, italian pastries, and lots of fresh fruit and some chocolates, a woman scooping lemon ice and making nutella ice cream sandwiches on demand (so the cake “buns” didn’t get soggy), and coffee. After the main course servers came around with carts to collect the plates and offer you a togo box if you needed one (Ben and I gifted our steaks to DJ’s coworker us who’s wife couldn’t come because they had babysitter issues). The cake was also cut up into to go boxes as well as set out on plates on the dessert buffet table.

I’m pretty sure our budget would have just covered their bar tab, and possibly the band too, or at least the donation to the church they were married in and to the school, where Father Dominick (the drama and communications teacher from DJ’s HS) came from.

PS- I think my tummy might be all stretched out from the food baby I stuffed in there over the weekend. I was constantly hungry yesterday and today! I wish I had taken pictures of Ben and myself all dressed up but I forgot. There was a photographer there taking photos in the back of the hall, but I’m not sure if/when those photos will come in. 

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I originally wanted a smaller wedding so that it wouldn’t turn into a family reunion. Ben wants a larger wedding precisely so that it will turn into a family reunion. This wasn’t something I felt was worth fighting for, and agreed to invite almost everyone we’re related to (grandparents, parents, sibs, aunts and uncles, first cousins, parents’ first cousins) and about 20 family friends on each side and 20 friends for each of us. This has ballooned to 215 people who are invited and probably 150 who will come. Ugh. There were a few over 30 people at my bridal shower and I was kinda overwhelmed and unable to talk to everyone; how are we going to manage at our wedding?!

I realize that as one of the two stars of the day I won’t meet my worst party fear: feeling alone in a crowd; but how am I supposed to get any decent face time with anyone?

Preliminary solution: satellite parties!

Friday night kabbalat shabbat dinner with immediate family (parents, sibs, grandparents, aunts and uncles, first cousins)

Saturday, kiddush after services for the congregation and anyone else in town who wants to come

Saturday evening some sort of potluck/dessert gathering with lots of low alcohol wine (sorry lowlanders, I don’t trust you to hold your liquor at over a mile high)

Sunday daytime- WEDDING

Sunday evening – after party for friends (note to self: talk to Walnut Brewery about private parties)

this schedule should give us enough face time with family and friends, but not family friends. Sad. Oh well, you win some you loose some. I guess we’ll just have to go home more often and see them then.

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Today is the 3 year anniversary of our first date. So, we went back to where that was: Taste of Colorado. Roasted corn, rubbed with butter is amazing….. Anyway, while we were sitting (with Becca) chatting about nothing at Keegan Gerhart‘s demo some lady asked us if we were related, like brother and sister or something. Um, no. As far as I know, we don’t look much alike other than with my hair all sun bleached, our hair is about the same color in the shade.

I find this especially funny because just the other night we were being sappy dorks and staring at each other while thinking out loud: I wonder what our kids will look like. Light eyes? My high cheekbones? His wider jaw? My pointy-ish chin? His chin dimple? Big hands? My baby-size hands?

Either way, I wonder if we should worry about getting genetic testing done. I know neither of my parents are carriers for Tay-Sachs, but I also know there are other diseases that happen in higher percentages in the Jewish population as well. is it worth it to know what to worry about before we have to worry about it?

midnight confession: I used a website where you can upload 2 photos and morph them together to see what your children might look like, apparently we’re having hideous babies with neck growths and wagging tongues. OOPS.

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