Days 345 – 351

We left Florida a little early to beat the big storm bearing down on Rhode Island.

Welcome home. New England Style.


Snow day!
We got an extra day of vacation so we rotated our couch around in our bay window and made a “snow nook”. Andrew read books and I read blogs while we sipped hot chocolate and watched the snow fall. It was awesome.



Once we were settled and unpacked and made it through the busy work week, we exchanged Christmas gifts with each other and opened presents we had received in the mail.




Day 344

Christmas 2010











Later that day we headed to my dad’s for Christmas dinner.IMG_56020



Days 335 – 343

We headed down to Florida for Christmas. 

One of our first stops was visiting family in Sun City and seeing the manatees. Each time we visit Florida we try to find a new animal for Andrew to see. Alligators. Check. Dolphins. Check. Manatees... Check! teco

the power station’s discharge canal, where saltwater – taken from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4 – flowed, clean and warm, back to the bay.

In the wintertime, the manatees gather in the canal near the warm water discharge at the Big Bend Power Station in Tampa. The area is now a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary and we are told the discharge water is clean (saltwater is taken in to cool the plant and warm water flows back to the bay). There were hundreds of manatees in the canal!IMG_51900


Andrew, Mom and I on the boardwalk overlooking the manatees.IMG_52350


Back at my mom’s house: Christmas ornaments on the tree—shout out to Rollins and U of I:)IMG_52490


We met up with Becka and Reagan. And of course, Mr. Andrew was the hit of the party.catch

The whole family gathered to celebrate Grandma’s 84th birthday. IMG_5404

Days 324 – 334

Saturday morning breakfast.
This week we went to the Liberty Elm Diner. We had heard some bad reviews of the food and service, but we were pleasantly surprised. The service was good, the food was decent, and the diner atmosphere was fun.




We made treats and had friends over.

Adorable Baby


The week ended with a birthday celebration of breakfast and presents.IMG_51210

Days 316 – 323

We received a pizza stone from Andrew’s parents for Christmas. It’s something that we have wanted for a while and couldn’t wait to use. So we attempted to use it as soon as we got home. Fail.
When it says to preheat the stone and to use cornmeal, perhaps those directions should be taken a little more seriously.
IMG_48200[Note: Despite the disaster of our first attempt, we were able to rectify the situation and have cleaned the stone and successfully used it with cornmeal.] 


We began decorating for Christmas.IMG_48270


We went out and got our first Christmas tree! We were hoping to cut it down ourselves, but in RI you can only select your tree and someone else cuts it for you. Andrew was really disappointed, but I was secretly happy that we didn’t have to carry it out of the forest ourselves;)tree_farm


We brought the tree home and immediately began decorating it:)IMG_49000


And this was our final product! We had bought some ornaments last year on clearance after the new year so our tree was red, white and silver themed.IMG_49470

Days 308 – 315

We spent the week of Thanksgiving in Illinois with Andrew’s family.
His parent’s picked us up at the airport in Chicago and after a quick trip into the city we headed north for Wisconsin.
We met up with his sister Rebecca and her fiancé Brad for a short family weekend in Kohler.



For those of you unfamiliar with Kohler it’s the factory town of it’s namesake which manufactures bathroom and kitchen products.

We explored the showrooms and all the cool gadgets that were in them.


When we got back to Illinois, we spent some time with Andrew’s grandparents. I learned how to knit from Grandma Pierson—I’ve got a long way to go before I start knitting sweaters or scarves (see product below), but I was excited to learn. I had learned to crochet as a kid from my grandma and knitting was something I was interested in learning.knitting[I was supposed to be making a square washcloth, but it turned out looking like a pair of bloomers!]

Then we prepared for Thanksgiving.table


And Uncle Jeff prepared the turkey.turkey00


The fam polished off dinner and then relaxed for a bit.


Early on Thanksgiving morning I had gone with Andrew’s mom to a Thanksgiving Day boot camp. I had no idea how sore I would be. I was unbelievably sore for the next three days (3 days!!). The below photos are from day 1, post-camp. It wasn’t pretty. I could barely walk down the stairs without my quads trying to give way. It was pathetic!stretch


Eventually I hobbled all the way down stairs where we were exchanging Christmas gifts with Andrew’s family since we wouldn’t be there for Christmas.IMG_47430


My favorite gift was a camera lens that I had been drooling over for months. The pictures below were taken with the new lens as soon as I opened it:)thanksgivmas0


We had such a great Thanksgiving and Pre-Christmas celebration. Thanks so much for everything, Jeff and Deanne!

Days 301 – 307


We met Andrew’s mom, her friend Molly, and Little Andrew in Boston. They flew in from Chicago for the weekend to hang out with us and go on the Polar Express. We walked them to the car and loaded their bags before hiking around Boston for the day.


We crossed the river to check out
the children’s museum,
Flour Bakery,
& seafood.


First stop, Flour Bakery.
You’ve got to try it!
Run. Don’t walk.
There are long lines and big crowds for a reason:)flour_bakery


Little Andrew was such a good sport walking all over town. Especially with Andrew and I who tend to walk too far and too much.


Downtown Boston.IMG_43650


 big & little andrew

While we waited for our table at dinner Big Andrew entertained Little Andrew by counting how many times he could jump back and forth over the curb without stopping; Little Andrew jumped up and down and cheered. I prayed that he didn’t fall and knock all his teeth out. Fortunately, the mission was accomplished without injury. big_andrew_jumpin


Dinner at The Barking Crab.

Andrew’s mom and Molly split a seafood dinner. We also had some clam chowder and lobster bisque. Andrew loves seafood and when visitors come he gets his fill of it and more!


Later that weekend we took them to our new favorite fall spot: the harbor seals viewing point.


And Little Andrew put on the charm.


Big Andrew gave Little Andrew a belated birthday gift: a Lego building of the Sears Willis Tower. Little Andrew was a wiz with it and put it together and took it apart multiple times before leaving.
Lego architecture

Thanks for coming to visit! We promise to spend more time shopping in Newport if you come back:)