Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

After a one year hiatus, the Morris Family Christmas Lip Syncers are at it again. This year featuring a two year old (who was strongly bribed  encouraged to smile- note her initial enthusiasm) and her doggy purse who *needed* to be in the video. And...take ten, from the top! Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Cutting of the Christmas Tree

We got our very first Christmas tree! We'd never had one before since we've always been in California with our families enjoying their trees and decorations. We're doing the holidays by ourselves this year so we have to make up some new traditions.
 A couple days after Thanksgiving we went out to a farm just across the Massachusetts border and got ourselves the best tree we could find. 

  It was freezing cold and we accidentally walked around the back way, through all the baby trees, so by the time we got to the full grown ones we were like yup sure that one looks good. 
"Here daddy, some snow. Try it, it's good!"

(Also we can talk about how none of my winter coats can button or zip around the baby belly. Thank goodness for the extra layer of fat to keep me warm through the winter)
We were expecting the sawing process to take awhile. I had this vision of us sawing away into the night, having to take turns sawing then warming our hands until we could finally yell "Tiiiimmmmbeeerrr!" I mean cutting down a tree with a handsaw sounds hard, right? It took about 30 seconds; by the time I caught up with Mariah, Matt already had the tree on the ground.

Mighty fine lumberjack.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 + Matt's Birthday

Matt's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. We celebrated his birthday Turkey Day Style, which meant he got to go play football in the morning and came home with a battle wound injury to the hand. It's been almost a month and I think he's finally recovered now.

Since we were spending Thanksgiving with a group of friends, everything was divvied up and we were in charge of cranberry sauce, a dessert, and loaded mashed potatoes. I did two ways- 1) caramelized onions and roasted garlic with parmesan, and 2) bacon and white cheddar. For our dessert I chose a cranberry orange upside down cake, and Matt requested Oreo truffles for his birthday treat. I spent most of the day in the kitchen. 

I cried buckets of tears chopping up these bad boys. Sweat and tears went into food prep, thankfully no blood this time.

Kids table!

 Adult table

 Turkey man Nathan made a beautiful bird. He did one roasted and one smoked turkey.

 SO much fooooood. 

 Everyone shared leftovers, and I think we might have actually come home with just as much food as we brought. We had thanksgiving feasts for the next three days.

Happy 32 to Matt!

I really did miss sharing the day with family. We've been without our immediate family on several Thanksgivings, but it was our first time being away from extended family too. Everyone was invited to share their own family traditions with the group to make it feel more like home. Our contribution was reading Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation. It was fun sharing in our friends' traditions too; we're lucky we got to spend the day with a great group of people.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First Snow of the Season

The day before Thanksgiving we had our first snow storm of the season, complete with a short power outage and everything. As soon as the snow started falling, Mariah was asking to "go make a noman outside wif daddy!" Matt was working from home due to the weather, so when there was enough snow on the ground that was exactly what they did.

The cutest vague representation of a snowman. Mariah was so proud and talked about it for days. 

Teaching her how to make snow angels. My heart melted.

Bonus: I got to watch from the warmth and comfort of our apartment while I made paleo pumpkin cookies (actually I used acorn squash). I am of the mindset that the best kind of winter activities are the kind that don't involve really touching any snow.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Keene Pumpkin Festival

In mid-October we drove up to Keene, New Hampshire to see the Pumpkin Festival. I can't explain to you how excited I was about this. I just get really amped about a LOT of something all in one place. In 2013, the festival broke the Guinness World Record with over 30,000 lit jack-o-lanterns, and they were hoping for a repeat this year.

Normally Keene is a really small little town (population around 20k), so having about 4 times that many people crammed in their little town square is a site to behold in itself.

The highlight of the day for Mariah was riding in a school bus from the parking lot to the festival.  My highlight was seeing all the pumpkin headgear and costumes.

The giant jack-o-lantern tower!

 There were so many thousands and thousands of pumpkins lining the streets it's hard to really capture it, but there were some really fun carvings, like Botticelli's Venus in pumpkin form.

We went there with the Giffords; here we are escaping the crowds for dinner on a side street.

Around dusk, people starting lighting their pumpkins. It took a few hours just to get everything lit. There were official counters going around, marking X's on the pumpkins as they were counted.

When the time came, they made everybody stay really really still and quiet so as not to disturb any jack-o-lantern flames while they did the final count. This was serious business.

 There were live bands playing in the pavillion and everyone was really into it. It actually made me kind of love Halloween for a day. The whole thing totally reminded me of Punxsutawny in the movie Groundhog Day.

When we got home, we saw on the news that there were actually violent riots at the festival- we had no idea. We had seen a bunch of police cars but we thought it was just regular crowd control. We were really lucky and came right after the riots had broken out, and left the festival before things got crazy I guess. We never noticed anything.

The next day, we heard that the world record had been broken, but then several days after that we found out that too many pumpkins were disqualified for being unlit at the official count time. So, better luck next year Keene!

(And, in case you were worried about pumpkin waste, they actually have a team contest right after the festival for cleaning up the jack-o-lanterns and then they're all donated to farmers to use as pig food.)