Saturday, January 5, 2013

A December to Remember

I can't believe December, one of my favorite months, came and went without a post. Actually, I can. It was an action-packed month filled with holiday parties, visitors and visits and an amazing trip to Paris. Before I delve into 2013, let me recap the highlights of the past four weeks. 

Camden, Colette & Edie post party

Jeff and I are suckers for travel and parties so of course we couldn't turn down an invitation to the Edmand’s annual Christmas party in Waltham, MA. We've attended this party for as long as I can remember, perhaps 8 years, and every year, even with rising expectations and the introduction of babies, it's always a blast. Michelle and Jay, with their tots Camden and Shane falling behind them in their snow tracks have a love for Christmas, decorations, Santa, and holiday jingles that only rivals Will Ferrell's character from the movie Elf. We always spend the night, and every time I'm little surprised to wake up in the morning and find that they're serving egg sandwiches and coffee, and not maple syrup with sugar cookies. They are the most warm and inviting family and it truly doesn't feel like the holidays without a visit to their home. 

Our bedroom mantel. 
Feeling inspired by the Edmands, I used every opportunity I could to score holiday decorations at Marshall's, Etsy and few local shops. Our new apartment has much more closet space than our previous one, so I finally feel freed to buy more than stockings and a string a lights. Jeff thinks I went overboard and he's a little nervous that I'm going to start decorating for President's Day and Yom Kippur. I'm like, "uh, we have a few extra shelves in the linen closet, how much damage can I do?" Meanwhile, I'm turning our wine bar into a Nativity scene, dusting our bedroom with scented pine needles and lugging an 8' Christmas tree home in a grocery cart. I freaking love Christmas and all the glitter that goes along with it. When we finally move into a house, that's when Jeff will have to worry about me decorating for all the secondary holidays and filling our attic with life-sized reindeer figurines.
A typical Dyker Heights home

To further throw myself into the holiday spirit, my Sister Shawna and I went to the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City (which was spectacular and something I’ve wanted to do for years), and spent the day checking out Brooklyn’s craft and flea markets and crossing off our shopping lists. Later in the month, Jeff, Colette and I took drive over to Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, where we witnessed competitive house decorating at it’s very best.

The one seasonal thing we didn’t do was take Colette to see Santa.  It wasn’t deliberate; it just never came up in conversation. After a friend mentioned that she’d taken her toddler to every Santa in the city, I felt like a bad mom and that I had missed out on a special moment.  I thought about it a little more, and although I have no qualms with Santa, really, I love him, I’m nearly certain Colette would not be into him or his lap and I’m totally certain that I have no patience for standing in lines. Shit, with all the decorating I was doing, for all I know, Colette might even think we are Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Just hide and squeekin' her eggs
The holiday really kicked into high gear when we headed home to Connecticut on a few days before Christmas. There was one family party followed by another.  The most fun was watching Colette play with her cousins, Edie and Camden and also watching her interact with her besties, my parents, my parents’ dog Shiloh, my brother-in-law Dave and cousin-in-law Jay.  She was like a pinball, bouncing from one nutty uncle to the other.  We didn’t get her too many presents, but her favorites were the doll stroller from her Meme, Hide & Squeak Eggs from Aunt Shawna and some finger puppets from her Great Aunt Denise.

On December 26th, Jeff and I left Colette in my parents’ expert care and boarded a flight to Paris.  We’ve wanted to go to Paris for a while now, but the timing never seemed right and our priorities lied elsewhere (50-state challenge, pregnancy, infant and nursing, friend’s weddings across country, etc.).  We’ve both been before as students, but wanted to experience it together, and as adults without a teenagers taste and budget.  We both had vacation time, Colette’s day care was closed for the holiday, as was my Mom’s school. With all the resources aligned, there was no way to pass up the opportunity.

The trip was relaxing, romantic and just plain awesome. Jeff and I travel well together and have similar agendas; eat, drink, walk everywhere, avoid tourist traps and soak up the culture.  On our first day, we overslept by four hours, missed our scheduled bike tour but rocked the day anyway. We shrugged it off, grabbed a cafĂ© creme and pain au chocolat and walked over 10 miles to check out (er, have a drink in/near) Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and lots of other cutie neighborhoods.  We capped the day off by having dinner at a swanky restaurant and a cigarette on our balcony. Each day followed in a similar fashion. We drank vin chaud (hot wine) everywhere, ate stinky cheeses, truffles, duck liver and whatever else came recommended. Our hotel, Le Petit Paris, in the Latin Quarter next to the Luxembourg Garden was amazing with the friendliest staff. It was definitely a vacation we will treasure forever and try to recreate in the years to come. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better way to ring in 2013!

Our hotel living room
Unreal window shopping
Notre Dame, around the corner from our hotel
Again, the window shopping has nothing on NYC!
View from Eiffel Tower
On the Seine

The bike tour, we eventually made it to