Screaming Mandrakes and Dying Elves.

Three months?!?  I haven’t posted anything on this page in three whole months! Lazy! The exclamation points are probably unnecessary as it doesn’t come as a shock to me (or likely any other parent) that I’ve been unsuccessful in my few attempts to find the time to write here.  The little bit of free time I’ve had over the last few months has been consumed with getting ready for the holidays, napping, and planning out activities during any and all future free time.  Sure, I’ve still found enough free time to binge watch Netflix regularly…going forward I’m going to make a real effort to spend less time in front of the TV and more time reading and writing.  Until the month before the final season of Game of Thrones is scheduled to air, at which point it’ll obviously be time to re-watch all previous seasons for the third time.  My wife is a lucky gal.  I’ll have to remind her of that tonight.

What’s been happening in the last three months?  So much.

For Halloween my wife and I dressed as Hogwarts students and Addie dressed as a Mandrake.  It was ADORABLE, and she certainly nailed the screaming portion of it.  I was really proud of how committed to being in character she was.  Even now she’ll occasionally rehearse her Mandrake lines.  Sometimes in the middle of the night.  Sometimes early in the morning.  Sometimes when her mouth is right by my ear.  Truly dedicated.  Again, really proud.  The costumes made for some great pics (see below) but we were all only in costume for about five minutes.  I’m looking forward to future Halloweens when she can have some input on what our costumes should be, (remind me I said this when I’m dressed up as a Disney Princess) and for when she’s old enough to take trick or treating.  I’ll probably tell her she’s allergic to Sour Patch kids…maybe Skittles too.  Daddy’s got to eat, you know?

Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is exhausting right?  I love it, as it’s the official kick off to the Christmas season as far as I’m concerned, but between the shenanigans the night before (which are much more tame now – we ate at a friggin’ Applebee’s before going home, having some wine, and falling asleep), the Turkey Trot (I won a best costume trophy this year), the cooking, the driving to see multiple families, and now taking care of the babe throughout all of it – completely beat!  It seemed like it took days to recover this year.  And not because of a hangover like previous years!  We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We spent time with family, ate delicious home cooked food, and Addie got to wear the snazzy dress pictured below.  We are fortunate enough to have family in the area that host Thanksgiving dinner, so our contribution to the meal was minimal – whipped up a couple of side dishes and that was it.  Bringing the baby seems to count as contributing in situations like this so that does save us some cooking!  Although at a certain age I’m sure that won’t be enough, and we’ll be expected to do more…that’ll be the right time for baby #2 I suppose.  I can’t imagine the planning/effort that goes into hosting Thanksgiving dinner and having a little one around, but I’m sure we’ll have to figure it out soon enough.  Everyone good with Chinese food and boxed wine?!?! Good.

CHRISTMAS!!!! The most magical time of the year!  We took Addison out to chop down her first Christmas tree at Bob’s Tree Farm in Galway.  If you’re not getting your tree there, you should.  We hike out, spend too much time hunting for the perfect tree, cut that sucker down, and drag it back to the car. Very Griswoldy.  It’s especially fun when it’s still mildly warm out and consequently muddy.  REALLY adds to the experience.  Great fun.  Especially for the ‘drag it back to the car’ part.  If you’re not into all of that they do have a nice sized selection of freshly cut trees to choose from as well.  Where’s the fun in that though?  If you’re the artificial tree type – do you even Christmas?  Ick! Just say no to fake trees.  Every time someone puts up an artificial tree an elf dies.  That’s what I’m telling Addie anyway.

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As it was our first Christmas with our daughter we had a lot of stuff planned this Christmas season.  Christmas outfits, Christmas cookies, Christmas decorating, Christmas movies, Lights in the Park, Christmas socks, Christmas ties, Christmas PJ’s, Christmas presents, our first family Christmas card, Christmas visits with friends/family, and so on.  For the most part we were successful in getting it all done, but it was stressful.  In looking back at the month of December it’s all one big blur of diapers, Christmas lights, Eggnog, confectionary sugar, and wrapping paper.  Not all was successful.

I bought an Elf on the Shelf to use this year.  I knew Addie wouldn’t have any idea what it was, but I wanted to get a practice year in, and some pics for the ole gram naturally.  Totally put her in the tree the first night and forgot all about her until taking the tree down.  FAIL.

We went through Lights in the Park twice this year.  Once with child, once without.  The time we did take Addie was the Sunday before Christmas.  This was a mistake.  Never again.  I love lights in the park.  If you haven’t been, head over to Washington park during the Christmas season, fork over $20, and take a magical trip through the park and gaze at all the wonderful (and some not so wonderful) light displays.  Don’t go two nights before Christmas with a baby though.  The line WILL be outrageously long, she WILL get hungry, she WILL need a diaper change, and she will NOT care about the lights whatsoever after 35 minutes of waiting in line.  That was my fault.  I knew better and we went anyway.  Next year we’ll bring her earlier in the season.  Last year we were able to walk through the lights in the park, which would have been a lot of fun this year too, but I wasn’t sure when or if they were doing that again.

One of my favorite memories from this holiday season was driving downstate to Larchmont, NY to visit my Aunt and Uncle, my Grandmother, and my cousins.  Up until this trip Addison had yet to meet any of them.  It was very important to me that Addison get the chance to meet my Grandmother, her Great Grandmother, Mom-Mom this year.  Of course, it was important to me for her to meet everyone, but at 97 years old meeting Mom-Mom was absolutely a priority.  She’s doing wonderfully but her memory certainly isn’t what it used to be, and well, 97 is 97.  She did great with the baby – showering her with love and affection.  Addison enjoyed her and every second of the attention very much.  Hopefully Mom-Mom is around to make more memories and spend more time with Addison but no matter what, we captured some gorgeous moments (thanks to my cousins) that I will cherish forever.  I haven’t been as close to my family in recent years as I’d like to have been.  I suppose maybe that’s normal for most families as they grow older, but something about having a daughter, has me wanting to be closer to my family.  It’s silly really, they live a couple of hours downstate and we hardly ever see each other.  That’s something I’d like to try to remedy going forward.  Family is important, and I want Addison to know her family, to trust her family, and to have fond memories of her family.  Even if it means we have to leave upstate every once in a while!  We love visiting NYC anyways so it’s crazy that I haven’t coordinated better with the fam.

I was worried about money this holiday season, as most are, but especially because I was unsure how much we would end up spending on presents for Addison.  The most magical time of the year needs to be perfect for the baby girl!  And what makes Christmas so magical?!?!? The MOST important thing about Christmas time?!? PRESENTS! Duh! Turns out, 5-month olds don’t need much on Christmas.  She was thrilled to be grabbing and shredding the wrapping paper, being cuddled and loved by family, and all the lights and sounds that come along with the celebration.  It didn’t hurt that she has wonderful Grandparents (and other family members) who love her very much and bought her more stuff than we know what to do with.  Santa was very good to all of us this year, and we had a wonderful time celebrating with our family.   Though I’m almost positive Addison asked for a PS4 and an iMac that Santa failed to deliver.  Who knows what she spoke to him about though when we took her to Colonie Center (the better mall for just about everything) to meet him.  I’ll have to have a chat with the big guy before next Christmas.

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I can’t tell you how many ‘baby’s first Christmas ornaments’ we received this year, but if I had to guess it was roughly 10 or 11.  A very thoughtful gesture/gift from many friends and family but left me feeling a little bummed.  If it sounds bratty and ungrateful, maybe it is…I’m a brat.  A family tradition of mine has always been that each year you get a new Christmas ornament, that you open on Christmas eve.  A tradition that has provided me and my siblings with our own collection of Christmas ornaments for when we moved out of the house.  I’ve forced my wife into this tradition (as well as many other holiday traditions – she’s a good sport) and I was very much looking forward to us giving Addison her first Christmas ornament.  I think we had already received six by the time we settled on which one we were going to give to her.  It’s not a big deal, she has no idea, and even if she did her only concern would be, “How can I fit all of these into my mouth at once?”  But it has left me wondering if any other parents have experienced this or something similar?  A ‘first’ that you were hoping to do with or for your child, that family or friends did before you were able to?  Again, it’s not anything serious at all, and I love all the ornaments, but it does have me thinking that when I get presents or plan on doing something for other people’s children I may start taking this into consideration: Is this something intimate that they may want to do first?  I’m going lie to her and tell her we bought hers first anyhow, she won’t know.

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How many times have I said I’m going to lie to my daughter in this one post?  Jeeze, what a terrible Dad…I mean I’m kidding, mostly.  Little white lies are fine right?  Especially if they make Mommy and Daddy look like the best parents in the world yeah? Yeah.

I don’t have much to write about in regarding New Year’s Eve.  We stayed in, reminisced about what an amazing year 2018 was for our family, and talked about the things we are looking forward to in 2019.  We sipped some Champagne and even little miss Addie woke up to watch the ball drop at midnight.  It was the perfect way to ring in the new year, with the two most perfect ladies in the world.

So that’s the rundown on what has happened in the last three months.  There have been plenty of ‘firsts,’ and Addison has been growing, learning, and changing so much.  And so have we.  I plan on posting about all of that immediately, but plans change on a moment’s notice, especially with a baby.  Maybe you’ll hear from me soon, maybe another three months, who knows?

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