home again for a happy new year.

After our time in Kamloops, we headed back down the beautiful Coquihalla Pass toward Vancouver. The scenery was breathtaking.

In Vancouver, we had MORE POUTINE (at La Belle Patate) and a quick visit with Rick. After driving for what seemed like way too long, we reached Seattle and checked into Hotel Max for a minute before heading out to dinner at Coastal Kitchen with Jordan. I’ve been really into mussels lately and as I smelled mussels as soon as I walked in the door, that’s what I ordered. Delicious. Afterward we met up with Laurie and friends at Smith for some laid-back drinks and catching up. I miss that lady and have high hopes for her visiting Richmond sometime soon. We realized while talking that we just passed the 10th anniversary of meeting each other (partying late-night on the roof of Red Zero and in search of grilled cheese sandwiches).

In the morning we had a decent flight out of Seattle but were delayed in Charlotte and didn’t walk into our sweet, sweet home until midnight. I think that delay put me over the edge as far as jet lag goes, and I’ve been pretty tired all this week. Trying to rest up and reset myself this weekend.

Back in Richmond, it appeared that the latest edition of R Home magazine had come out, and Susan’s “Modern Gothic” article about our house was making the rounds in print and online. The beautiful photos (by Barry Fitzgerald) were a hit, and it’s just really nice to see Church Hill North (NoBro?) in general get the attention it deserves.

Last weekend and most of this week have been a scramble to catch up at work and with household chores, but it was broken up with a really nice New Year’s Eve (and Day). Both Kathryn and Nicole were in town and staying with us, so the four of us had a classic-us dinner at Ipanema (vegan caesars were ordered: shocker) and then spent some time at Deanna’s hanging out with her and the newly-re-Richmonded Jordan, where we were introduced to the “Hot Cheetos and Takis” Youtube video. And I also actually had Takis for the first time. Good, but not as good as Hot Cheetos.

From there we went to Matt White’s, where we met up with half of Richmond and eventually drinks were consumed and people started dancing and I just caught up loudly with friends over my ginger ales. After midnight kisses, the entire party emptied en masse and adjourned to DJ Doug’s place, a neighbor’s secret lair / raver paradise stuffed into the back of an unassuming West End house. It was epic in the not-overusing-that-word way. The whole experience just defied logic, with the legendary, hospitable older gentleman on the 1s and 2s, blacklights and disco ball raging, velvet paintings a-go-go, palm tree light sculptures, neon jello shots — the whole 9 yards. I wandered around glassy-eyed and took photos of everything. After the blacklight-sensitive face paint came out, it was time to go and I rounded up my troops and carted them safely home.

In the morning we walked to WPA and met Jenny, Matt, Emily, and babies for breakfast treats. “Pie for breakfast! Starting the new year right!” exclaimed Nicole. After our guests had left, Dan and I went to Leah and Jeremiah’s for a pig pickin’ / potluck and spent the afternoon lazily watching the children play in the backyard. Back at home, Dan got in a kitchen-project mood and made pickles, so I took the opportunity to finally make the coconut ganache bourbon balls I’d been wanting to make for a while. Both have been a hit.

Yesterday we had another prenatal appointment, which was pretty uneventful. I had some more blood taken and ate some broccoli and cheese soup from Au Bon Pain — which in an of itself is a reason to choose VCU when choosing hospitals. We’ll have another ultrasound at the end of this month, so we’re looking forward to that and finally knowing with some degree of certainty what the sex of the baby is. I’m still feeling good and super energetic, other than this past week’s jet lag. I’m itchy, my eyesight is a bit worse lately, and a tiny bit of heartburn continues. All normal pregnancy things according to the books. Not much else is happening in this arena, other than me finally finishing my first draft of our baby registry with  0% personal experience and 100% advice from friends and Amazon. Seriously, it is overwhelming how many products are out there for pregnancies and babies. Unreal. Trying to stay focused on the basics (keeping baby safe and warm and well-fed while it’s getting to know the world) instead of the extravagances (ridiculously personalized baby accoutrements and gray damask crib skirts).

One night Dan and I went to Babies R’ Us just to look around and try out in-person some of the strollers available. We poked around all the car seats and pulled out a few of the non-entirely-hideous strollers we saw and drove them around a bit. I think I want the one with the built-in speaker for your iPod (or in my case, my phone with podcasts playing) because WHY NOT. Speaking of overwhelming, the number of accessories you can attach to or hang from your stroller is staggering. I think that place is half-full of useless items, but we did go up and down every aisle and get a little bit more excited before the visit was over. “See, there are some cool clothes for little boys!” Dan pointed out as we noticed a onesie with a formal-ish tie print on the front. Then we went to Target and bought a puzzle and went home and worked on it while snacking. A perfect evening.

2013 is off to a good start and if it improves on 2012 even a little bit, it’ll be out of this world since 2012 improved on 2011 like 800%. Here’s a post-office-yoga photo of me on Jan. 2, the first day back to work after the holidays. Ready to do this 2013 thing.


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