Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday

I opened my birthday presents from my parents this morning. My folks always send my birthday presents home with me at Christmas time when I visit so I can open the packages later. I like to spread out my birthday from Christmas. Both kids helped me open my presents this morning.

There was a knitting theme to the birthday presents from Mom and Dad. How wonderful is that!? I got a new sheep from Mr. Twitter's purple shop in Rutland, Vermont. Lucas and Elleigh absolutely love the sheep too, so it must live up on a high shelf. I am officially a sheep collector now since it takes at least two to make a collection and now this is my second sheep on the book shelf.

I also got a Knit Picks gift certificate to order more yarn. I got the new Harmony cable needles from Knit Picks. The wood is so pretty and I can't wait to use them on my reversible cable scarf project. And I got the Knit Picks chart keeper to help keep me on track with my next Fair Isle knitting project. And a bottle of Vermont pear wine from the North River Winery to keep me relaxed during the tougher knitting projects. (Also good for wedding planning.)

I'm going to have a very happily knitted birthday! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our Own Christmas

We finally had our own Christmas at home tonight. We were so tired on Christmas night from having driven to Vermont on Christmas Eve, and then spending Christmas Day at Michael's parents'. We ended up going to bed early Christmas night rather than having the dogs open their gifts, or us open our gifts to each other. Lucas and Elleigh got a whole jar of Smoke House chicken poppers. Both dogs go nuts over those and Michael and I can feel good about treating them since the main ingredient is real chicken. Lucas is wearing one of his new shirts that says "Cold Nose Warm Heart." Elleigh is posing with the kids' new bottle of doggy shampoo. They just love Buddy Wash, and Mom and Dad really enjoy the Lavender & Mint scent. They got new Schnoodleware fleece tugs so they can pull each other around the house. And naughty and nice red man shapes, which Elleigh repeatedly picked the naughty man over and over again when we gave her the choice of men. They got a mint flavored Planet Dog snowball that's suppose to keep their breath minty fresh, but neither dog seems to be a fan of the ball yet. And finally, a variety of new collars from Furry Baby Fashions to wear in the new year. Elleigh got a purple paisley and other feminine collars. Lucas got a red stars, a green stars, and blue camouflage collars.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Holiday Tradition

We tried to come up with a new tradition this Christmas Eve since this was the first year that we were without Grandma Johnson. Mom came up with the idea to place milk jugs with votive candles inside them at the grave stone at dusk. One for Grandpa and one for Grandma. In years past, people have left out lighted milk jugs along Main Street and walkways in town and it looked really pretty to see driving around on Christmas Eve. Angus, Dan, Mom and I forced our way into the cemetery. The road was not plowed and was icy, but my new CR-V managed to get us up the road anyway. It made me feel better to know that Grammy would have a candle burning for her most of the night.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hustle and Bustle

I've had to curtail my blog posts this holiday due to the hustle and bustle upon our household, and I am sure your home as well. We also have a teething puppy that requires extra supervision. And because Daddy and Elleigh are still sleeping, Lucas is insisting upon helping me blog because he's so bored. Typing with puppy on your shoulder snuffling your hair isn't easy. Lucas doesn't know yet that he can walk up the stairs by himself, so he won't go up and wake Elleigh up to play.

We are preparing to drive to Vermont tomorrow to spend Christmas Eve with the Doaner side of the family. I hope that the rain coming in tonight doesn't freeze too badly in the morning and cause an icing situation. Since we have either Brandon Gap or Killington mountain to drive over tomorrow morning, we have to be extra careful when the temperatures are in the 30's and 40's. Some where in the altitude change we will hit different weather along our travels.

Tomorrow will be the first Christmas Eve of my life not with Grandma and at her Christmas Eve gathering.

On Christmas Day, we are gathering with the Abberton/LaPierre side of the family in New Hampshire.

We put up our outdoor lights up this year, but we only used our smaller artificial tree in the living room. We weren't sure what Lucas was going to do with the Christmas tree and decorations. We also know that once Christmas has passed we will be in full force wedding planning. So it will be nice to not have much Christmas stuff to put away.

I have to finish the wrapping and get ready to take Lucas to his puppy class this morning, and call Mom to finalize arrangements for Christmas Eve.

Last Minute Knitted Gifting

I've felt bad this year because I have not been able to make all the handmade gifts that I would have liked to for the holidays. But my fellow knitting blogger Caroline has posted a lovely entry called Spreading the Cheeze. The blog entry includes a web link to a site so now I can do a ton of last minute handknit gifting before Christmas day arrives. If you still need to get in last minute knitted gifts, you better check out this website to finish off your list as well. Thanks for sharing, Caroline!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

more SNOW!

I have no idea how much snow we actually have. Living up on the hill, everything blows all around. Sometimes we can't open the side door even with 6 inches of snow because the wind blows the snow right up onto the door. It seemed to snow again all day today. Michael dug a walking area out for the dogs when he got home from work. He's made a little area where the dogs almost have their own "fenced" in yard with snow walls to run around in and do their business. I was just out there with Lucas and the "walls" are at least as high as my knees. Unfortunately, I heard possible rain and ice for Christmas Eve weekend. That's just not acceptable since our plan is to be in Vermont for Christmas Eve day.

Have I mentioned how happy I am about having my new CR-V? This was definitely the winter to buy a vehicle with 4WD and I am very glad I didn't wait until spring.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I ordered my passport from the Concord post office at the very end of the business day on 11/28/07. I was nervous that I was going to be worrying just before the honeymoon, waiting for the passport to show up so I could travel somewhere warm and tropical. I had seen on the news not that long ago that people were waiting months for their passports to show up. I am happy to report that I got my passport on December 13th, just two weeks. And everything even looks correct. Apparently, the government has figured out a way to process the passport requests promptly now.

Snow Day!!!

I actually haven't been outdoors in hours, so I am not sure if we are still getting snow or if it turned to sleet and ice as predicted. It was actually nice to be shut in today. With all that Michael and I have going with the new puppy, the wedding and the holidays, I think we really needed a day to just hang out. Puppy Obedience class was cancelled and I didn't brave the drive in to knitting group. I suspect none of the knitters went. Michael and I played with the dogs, clipped their nails, wrote out a bunch of Christmas cards, watched the Patriots continue their winning streak, napped, and of course ate. I even spoke to my Mother and my Mother-in-law-to-be on the phone. Apparently the dogs needed a "day off" too as they napped hard themselves.
Unfortunately, Lucas has outgrown his Santa Suit, and doesn't have many more days he will be able to fit in the "Nice" T-shirt. But luckily, I found a new outfit for him in the cheap bins at the front of the Hooksett Target a week or two ago. So he still has something that demonstrates his holiday cheer. I had fun dressing him up in his reindeer costume and just laughing at him this afternoon. He's such a trooper. We definitely got our $2 worth of laugh out of this little costume.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Michael and I went Tuxedo shopping today. We ended up going to Mr. Tux in Concord, after a very unpleasant experience at a shop in Meredith that supposedly sells attire for "special moments." I wanted to use the Lakes Region store because of the Laconia location proximity to Lake Opechee Inn. And my bridesmaid Nancy had ordered her dress through that same Laconia shop and had reported no problems. I will spare you the details of Saturday's experience, but everything works out for the best, I guess. I need to do some follow up calling on Monday though, as I am a bit concerned about whether they really did order Nancy's bridesmaid dress and try to get a delivery confirmation date for her.

Mr. Tux is being purchased by Men's Warehouse. As of January 1st, the two companies will merge and the tuxedo rental part will be known as MW Tux. The Mr. Tux website is being changed now to reflect the change in ownership, so you can't get on the currently. And the new products that Men's Warehouse will be offering through the old Mr. Tux locations won't be available to look at until after January 1st. So, Michael found a 2 button Calvin Klein black tuxedo that will definitely be available in 2008 that he liked. He looked very handsome in it too, I might add. And it is visible on the Men's Warehouse website right now. It is the lighter wool, so not as stiff and scratchy as the winter weight tuxedo. And then we found a brown vest and tie set that has the dark chocolate color of Kim's, Shaelyn's and Nancy's dresses, but also a lighter brown in it so that the brown and the black together in the tuxedo actually look a lot nicer than I had originally pictured. (I think maybe Gram had instilled in me that brown and black don't go together in fashion, so I was feeling weird putting them together in a suit.) I am thinking matching bow ties instead of the ties for the boys, Angus and Ryan. There is a really pretty pink vest and tie option that matched Jacinda's dress swatch that I am still trying to talk Michael into for himself to keep him a bit separate from the other guys, but he's not sure why he can't look the same as all the other guys. I think he will do the pink if I insist, but it won't be his first pick. I originally wanted the tuxedos to be rented out of a shop in Laconia, so it would be right near Lake Opechee Inn and I thought easier for the out of state guys to collect the day before the wedding. But using MW Tux may work out better in the end. I have double checked the Men's Warehouse website store locater and it appears that by zip code that there is a Men's Warehouse rental location 2 miles from Brian in Tennessee and 8 miles from Bill in Pennsylvania. There is a location in Williston, Vermont, that's not too far for Ryan. I think my folks will have the longest drive to a store location from Brandon to Williston. The tuxedos can be picked up from any MW Tux location and dropped off at any MW tuxedo location. So the guys can get measured and pick up the tuxedos at a location near their homes and bring the suits with them, or use the Concord location. And then all can be dropped off together after the wedding in Concord no matter where the tuxedos were picked up. Michael and I plan to go back right after the new year and finalize the style and the vest color, etc., and make sure that MW Tux will still be carrying all of the components we picked out today. I also want to see what Men's Warehouse adds to the rental line in the pink and chocolate brown color scheme too after the merger. The Concord Manager said there should be plenty of time still to order all of the tuxedos for the wedding if the measurements are all received by the beginning of February.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Naughty or Nice

We've decided to try to make things as simple as possible for Santa this year. So we have been labeling the children so Santa can easily tell which one has been naughty and which one has been nice. I found these matching T-shirts at Old Navy. How Cute!? Unfortunately, Lucas is getting big so fast that he won't be able to squeeze into his shirt much longer. Luckily, I have already found him something else festive to wear as he grows to the next size.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh my God, it's almost Christmas knitting marathon!!!

Alison had the whole knitting gang over to her new condo on Saturday the 8th for a knitting marathon. (I'm a bit late in getting the photos downloaded from the camera and then uploaded to the blog.) This is knitting Alison, not Allison the bridesmaid, or Alison the non-knitter who just had a birthday.

The idea was to set aside a whole day for us to knit on all of the Christmas gift projects that might not be quite done yet. There's nothing worse than knitting on a deadline.

Our honorary knitting manservant, Fred, attended to keep us adequately hydrated and fed. He was pretty jolly in his Santa hat and apron. He even took out the trash! He's such a great cook and spoils us something rotten... holiday pound cake, baked and stuffed cheese in puff pastry, chex mix, spinach stuffed phyllo dough triangles, homemade liver pate, wine, champagne, and I'm sure he whipped something else up that I am forgetting.

Meanwhile, as if there wasn't already enough food, everyone brought at least one food or drink item to share. And since we are compulsive knitting people, most actually brought more than one food item. So in addition to Fred's feast, we had Jacque's bakery desserts and decorated cookies, stuffed mushrooms, fried ravioli, cream puffs, eclairs, chocolate nut fudge, white chicken chili, red chili, macaroons, veggie platter, fruit platter, soda, apple brandied egg nog, chips and salsa, cheese from Butters, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, Swedish Fish and Christmas candy, and I know I am forgetting something. We ate, and ate, and ate until we started complaining because our stomachs hurt.

I brought each of the girls (and Anthony) a little magnet from Cafepress that proclaimed them all Yarnoholics. Here's Nancy showing off her new magnet. I'm sure Nancy is just pleased I have blogged her photo.

I didn't do any Christmas knitting myself. I am committed to finish Brandi's white cabled wedding afghan. Brandi was married last spring and knows she is getting this afghan, but she'd probably like to have it this winter to use to keep herself and her puppies warm in the evening when they snuggle.

We all brought Alison ornaments. This is her first tree in her own place, and we were afraid she wouldn't have enough ornaments, or even a tree for that matter. But one of Alison's neighbors gave her this cute little tree, so she ended up being all set with ornaments and Christmas cheer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Santa Claus Came To Town

Michael's company, SHA, had their family holiday party at the Concord Country Club tonight. After a lovely buffet dinner, a special guest arrived. Santa stopped in to visit all of the girls and boys on both the naughty and nice lists, get an update on what the kids wanted for Christmas, and to give each of the kids a book on recycling. SHA is an environmental engineering firm, thus the recycling books. Santa even checked in with both Michael and I to see how we were coming on the wedding plans. I took over 200 photos of the kids as they spoke to Santa and the plan is to burn them to a CD tonight so that the photos can be distributed to the parents tomorrow at work.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shaelyn, Lucas & Elleigh

Michael, Lucas, Elleigh and I drove south last night to see our friends Shaelyn and Karen. We brought Shaelyn her belated birthday present and her Christmas present. It was fun to watch Elleigh and Lucas run around Karen's house and stick their nose in all the corners. Shaelyn was like one big squeaky toy as far as Elleigh and Lucas were concerned. Here's a cute photo that Karen snapped that made the three all look angelic. Both Michael and I think Shaelyn makes Lucas look big because Shaelyn is a pip squeek herself. I have never seen a Christmas tree with the girth on it that Karen's tree has! Shaelyn made us a Christmas tree ornament which we have already proudly displayed on our tree.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

6 pounds and 6 ounces

Michael took Lucas to the puppy pediatrician on Saturday for his follow up series of vaccinations. He is still doing great, but getting big quickly. Michael reports he took his shots with no problem and the medical staff weighed him in at 6 lbs and 6 ounces. We think he is going to be a little bigger than Elleigh at this rate. He's already grown too big for his Naughty black down vest. And his ears are starting to stand up, but right now they are not consistently staying up. Sometimes one of them is flopped over while the other is up straight, but it makes for great puppy photos. After playing much of the day with Daddy and Elleigh, Lucas passed out on the couch. So Daddy got the camera out this time and snapped photos of Lucas.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Secret Santa

We had our Human Resources annual Holiday party on Friday night. We got Italian take out and went to our co-worker Iris' house in Concord. We've gone to Iris' house for the past several years and she makes our party so homey and comfortable.

This year, my Secret Santa was Sue N. from the front office, and she did an incredible job surprising me. I received Sox Stix in size 2 for knitting socks, and a skein of Lang Lawoll sock yarn. And how wonderful is a skein of sock yarn that comes with matching reinforcing thread for the heels and toes stuffed up inside!? I also got a primitive snowman ornament and some Christmas scented candles. I must have been really, really good this year!

I did cast on a sock Friday night, and did about 3 inches of the sock. The pattern of the Jawoll is really nice, but the size 2 is a bit too big for this specific sock yarn. But the size 2 will be perfect for my J. Knits, Mountain colors, or Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. The Sox Stix are so smooth that I felt like I was able to cruise through my sock stitches.

The part of the Secret Santa that was the biggest surprise was that Sue spent the better part of the last week or so telling me that my Secret Santa was (sorry to stereotype) but one of the guys and that I shouldn't expect much effort or creativity. She had me completely thrown off on who my real Secret Santa was.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

If Santa Was Looking...

If Santa was looking in on our little family this week, he would have seen a whole lot of nice going on. Lucas and Elleigh enjoy snuggling with each other.

They also share one bone occasionally, taking turns chewing on it and other times both chewing at the same time. And they keep each other warm while sleeping on the couch. So, okay, it's just a lot harder to catch the naughty stuff on the camera because they run so fast from one end of the house to other. It's much easier to snap their photos once they have passed out. Lucas is getting big so fast! And he's so pretty with all of his brindle. And Elleigh has far exceeded our expectations as a good big sister. There's going to be plenty under the tree for this good little boy and girl.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

my new car

I loved my Honda Civic, but it wasn't the best car in the snow. It slid around in the slush and my tires spun trying to go up hills, and worse yet, trying to stop at the bottom of hills. So on Monday night, after the first big snow storm of the season, I went and bought myself a new silver CR-V from Grappone Honda. I had been thinking about getting a CR-V since last summer, and watching my Civic's blue book value, and checking out the Honda commercials for any specials on the CR-V. So it wasn't really a compulsive purchase. Ideally, I was going to wait until after the wedding. But finally decided that I don't want to suffer through another long winter without 4WD. And now I don't have to worry about inspecting my car this month, as the new car comes with an inspection. I have thoroughly enjoyed driving around on Tuesday and Wednesday with my 4 WD in the snow remnants with no fear at all about sliding around. I will never get stuck in the driveway again! The only thing I am not impressed with is the gas mileage. I filled my Civic up once, maybe twice, a month. So I am a bit in shock in how fast the gas gauge goes down with the CR-V. Though, it still has one of the best gas mileages of all the small SUV's. Can't wait to give you a ride!

Monday, December 3, 2007

First Snow

It was our first snow of the season today, which is always a little magical for the first minute or two before the cold sets in. But more importantly, today was Lucas' first introduction to snow. He got up just after 6 am while it was still dark out. I dressed him in his jacket and he went out for his first potty in the snow. We're pretty sure he is not impressed. He didn't have much clearance this morning between the top of the snow and his belly, and the snow was deeper than his back by this evening. Lucas rushes through his business and then heads back to the door to get inside as quickly as possible. He did follow me through the snow when I made a path for him, but he was more trying to jump on the back of my legs trying to get me to pick him up than he was strolling through the snow. The snow ended up all over Lucas' head and body just from his movements in the snow and the wind. Elleigh was a bit more excited with the first snow as she ran around and acted sassy for a while. I think Lucas would like a pair of big yellow boots like Daddy has.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Alison's Birthday

I can't believe it is December 1st, but it was so cold tonight walking down the streets of Manchester to get to the Piccola Italia Ristorante that it felt like bitter cold January. And the weather forecast is indicating there is a potential for significant snow starting Sunday night into Monday.

Michael and I met up with Jacinda, Matt, Nancy, Dale, Alison and Glenn for a little dinner celebration for Alison's recent birthday. I'm not a big fan of restaurant Italian food. I don't think I have the discriminating pallet needed to fully appreciate it. I liked the sourdough bread and the olive oil for dipping. Michael enjoyed his tortellini. My eggplant parmigiana was okay. Glenn brought in a beautiful, red velvet cake from Jacques for dessert. Alison seemed to enjoy her gifts and to be having a good time. You'll have to ask her directly what was in the pretty black and white bag.