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holiday hope

2017 December 9
by Becky

I’ve been silent out here for a while, only posting quick and harmless little bits here and there for the last six moths or so. We’ve been busy with getting settled in our new city and house and writing here has felt like a burden that didn’t really matter much. It felt like I’d be dishonest if I posted pictures of me painting or cooking or exploring because those seem so perfect and easy when in reality this move has taken more adjustment time than I’d ever anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, we love our new setup, but we miss the old one too. We miss our friends and hangouts and the familiar feel of St. Louis. Getting settled, really feeling at home, takes time. But we’re getting there.

Then, on November 17th, Stu’s dad, Greg, passed away very unexpectedly. Just a few days shy of his 60th birthday. We had no idea how weak his body had become after years of treating vasculitis, an inflammatory disease we never considered would result in his death. And since then, or really since the emergency open heart surgery he had just ten days before his death, stories about our life and house and adventures seem so unimportant. So disconnected from what we’re really feeling. As if there’s no way they can matter when something so tragic has hit our family.


When people ask how we’re doing, I usually say “We are ok. It comes in waves.” For me, those waves crest when it’s quiet in the house, such as nap time. Or at night after Stu heads to bed. The times I typically use to get a hundred things done without Finn on my heels. But if I’m not quick to turn on some up-beat music or if I sit down a little two long to eat lunch, the emotions overflow. I’m overcome by the loss of a wonderful father-in-law, loving spouse, and caring father. It still seems impossible  to believe he’s gone.

After the funeral in Nebraska, we arrived home to a neighborhood in the midst of celebration. The annual Scottish Walk parade ended just hours before we landed, the houses were being decorated, the boat parade about to begin, and throngs of people were walking the streets of Old Town to soak up it’s historic holiday cuteness. We tried to join in, walking to the Torpedo Factory to peek at Santa, not braving the looooooong line of strollers containing tiny people waiting for their turn with him. We woke up Sunday morning, walked to Misha’s for coffee and bagels, then braved losing our parking spot for a trip to our storage unit to retrieve our holiday decorations. Back at the house we worked diligently for hours, Stu on the outside lights, me and the kids on the tree and garlands inside…like it was our mission to get into the spirit of the season. Our decoration collection, designed to perfectly fit our St. Louis house, is trickier in this space, but we’re making it work, it’s looking good. I also realized, in an unwarranted panic, that we had no plans to see Santa, had barely talked about the guy. Our three year old is being slightly neglected in true second-child style. But we’ll fix it. This weekend. Finn can’t wait to ask St. Nick for a Power Rangers sword and costume.

Luckily, Thanksgiving was saved by our friends the Cooks. Six months ago, when we initially floated the possibility of moving back to DC, the Cooks said they were coming for Thanksgiving. It was a prize we’d had in our eyes since their declaration. Turns out, they not only made our holiday wonderful, their presence was just the support we needed while coping with our family’s loss. We had five days to show off the sights of the city, talk over delicious food, and watch our kids play together again. There was also a little girly shopping and spa time of course. It was busy and relaxing and exactly how we wanted to spend the holiday.


So I’m on a mission to seek out all the things that make me smile…cheesy holiday music, the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, my friend Kristin telling an incredible story about her daughter meeting Leslie Odom Jr., the giant Christmas tree in front of the Capitol Building, baking five kinds of cookies, hearing my friend Kate share the details of her new job, extra morning snuggles with the boys. And maybe a little more writing out here will help too. I miss it. This tiny corner of the over-saturated internet is still a place I can call mine.

Thank you for all the texts, cards, and calls of sympathy, your words are very much appreciated. And thank you for the holiday cards! They are one of my favorite things about this time of year, each day the mail brings more of our favorite smiling faces. We were somehow ahead of the game this year and got card together early. I had my heart set on a picture in the Lee Street Tunnel, one of our favorite neighborhood spots. Nailed it.


Our holiday spirit is catching up. Rudolph has been watched. The Christmas books are in heavy bedtime rotation. My parents and brother arrive in less than two weeks. Even sooner the kids will be out of school. No one in this house will be sad to see 2017 end, nonetheless, we have a lot to be thankful for. And while I can’t promise Christmas perfection, I can promise our holiday will be joyful.

What I’m Watching Lately

2017 November 12
by Becky

What I'm Watching Nov 2017

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Stranger Things is back!!!

We’ve watched the previews, we’ve been waiting to see what the heck will happen in the next fantastic season of this incredible show that snuck up out of nowhere in 2016. It was worth the wait and did not disappoint. I’ve heard mixed reviews but I’m here to say it’s great, we loved seeing this gang of adorable kids back together. I’m totally satisfied.

And the music budget was clearly enormous because they played SO MANY incredible 80’s songs.

In honor of this very exciting cinematic event, and since the colder weather is finally upon us and I see more nights by the fire/tv in our future, I figured I’d share some of the other things I’ve been watching. Some movies, some shows, stuff I’ve enjoyed in the last six months or so. I hope you’ll share a few with me!

Curb Your Enthusiasm. Talk about a come back, OMG! Curb! I had no idea how much I missed LD till the first new episode aired a few weeks ago. Things haven’t changed much, the situations are still as relatable and uncomfortable as ever, and Leon is still as incredibly entertaining as I remember…J.B. Smoove is funny doing anything. The golf course episode was maybe our favorite.

Master of None. I feel like I’ve gushed about this ridiculously good show before, but there’s a new season out and I now love it—and it’s star Aziz Ansari—ten times more. Opening in a dream-like life Dev has created for himself in Italy that involves lots of food and an adventure with an old friend where they get a tiny car stuck between two buildings, the show tackles some extremely interesting topics with such a creative eye. I Love New York and Thanksgiving were my clear favorites, but I cherished every episode. Dev’s family (Aziz’s real mom and dad) and friends are the best kinds of characters, ones I could watch forever. Even if you aren’t a “comedian” fan, please give this a try. Oh and foodies rejoice, this show is for us especially. Get ready to drool.

White Famous. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been so instantly hooked on a show like I am on White Famous. The story is great, it’s funny, but the cast is what I love most, these lead characters are intoxicating. You might recognized Jay Pharoah from SNL, but honestly he shines so bright in this roll it was like watching him for the first time. He’s complimented brilliantly by his love interest, Cleopatra Coleman—my new girl crush—and his manager/roommate, who’s name is Balls and is played by Jacob Ming-Trent, someone new to me but a person I want to see in lots more stuffOnly three episodes in, I can’t wait to see where this goes.

Parks and Recreation. Ok I know this is pretty late in the game to be watching this show, but it went on my list after reading Amy Polher’s book a couple years ago and the last few months seemed like the perfect unpacking/photo editing/family album-making background entertainment. Plus, there were like 400 episodes which is fun…felt like it was never going to end and I didn’t want it to. I haven’t really watched a cable show like this since The Office and 30 Rock, but I really enjoyed it and found myself sneaking in episodes whenever I could.

Insecure. Issa Rae created and stars in this hilarious and incredibly interesting tale of 20-something black women navigating relationships, careers, and friendship in LA. The writing is superb, I couldn’t wait to see what Issa and Molly did next. I cried like a baby at the Season Two finale because the ending was an emotional rollercoaster…especially as a #teamlawrence flip-flopper…I just couldn’t decide how I wanted things to go, but I loved watching the story unfold. Issa’s mirror/inner monolog rap sessions were the best.

Comet. I don’t know how I happened upon this gem, but it was probably on a night Stu was gone and I was searching for something interesting to watch. I love Emma Rosen (she is incredible in Shameless) and I have a soft spot for Justin Long, so I figured they would be pretty awesome together. It’s a story you can’t predict and would never imagine but it’s very entertaining. Right now it is free on Showtime, no sure where else it’s streaming.

Hidden Figures. Of course you know exactly what this is, everyone was talking about it last year and for good reason, it’s a gut wrenchingly wonderful movie telling a phenomenal story the women who broke race and gender barriers with courage and persistence…and gigantic brains. The three leads—Octavia Jackson, Taraji P Henson, and Janelle Monae—were delightful to watch even when the real-life tale was hard to swallow. My long-time love Kevin Costner was his usual hero self, grumpy but lovable, and I cried like baby for the last 1/4 of the movie (or maybe more). This one is going on the future must-watch list for the boys.

Gypsy is another Netflix series that I flew through this summer. It’s easy to watch and you have no clue what the complex and troubled main character, played by Naomi Watts, has up her sleeve. She’s a therapist who gets waaaay too involved in her patients’ lives. At the beginning I was on the fence, is she good or bad? Give it a watch to see what you think.

The People vs. OJ Simpson is surely the best true crime series I’ve ever watched. We’d heard rave reviews and couldn’t wait for it to stream on Netflix. Every accolade was spot on, watching the details of this trial play out helped put all those pieces together, the ones I heard in the background as a Freshman in high school. The characters are brilliantly played, the story horrifying to hear, the verdict no less shocking.

Handmaids Tale has been all the buzz but seriously, it should be at the top of your list if you haven’t seen it. Everything about this show is perfect, down to the last detail. Yes, I read the book, but it’s not necessary because the show is so well written and takes the original story farther than the book in the absolute best ways. Sign up for Hulu for a month or so and watch it!!

Ok clearly I could go on for a while so here’s a quick list of some others I loved over the summer:

Arrival – get ready to be glued to your seat before you ugly cry. This is my favorite kind of sci-fi.
Being Mary Jane – Gabriel Union is on fire! Tons of episodes on Netflix, another season coming soon I hope!
The Incredible Jessica James – mostly because I hear Jessica Williams.
Get Out – Creepy, crazy, and just awesome. Streaming on HBO!
Spielberg – take a trip to your childhood and leave in absolute awe of Mr. Spielberg. On HBO.
SMILF – A new Showtime show I’m diggin, great female lead playing a young single mama.
Catastrophe – Loved the third season of this hilarious Amazon Prime show.
Friends from College – an easy, funny, and well cast Netflix original. Keegan-Michale Key and Fred Savage!!

Alright, gimme some new stuff. What MUST I watch now?