Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Request for Prayer

I just received a call from my doctor regarding some recent blood work I had done. The good news is that I don't have gestational diabetes. The more sobering news is that the anti-e antibody was found in my blood. This article gives some good information about this condition if you would like to learn more.

What this means is that my antibody levels will have to be monitored closely for the duration of the pregnancy to make sure that they are not attacking the baby since her blood type is unknown. I will have blood drawn regularly and ultrasounds performed to confirm that she is doing just fine. Furthermore, if I were to need a blood transfusion during or after delivery I would need to be given O negative blood so that I don't have any bad interaction due to my antibodies. The most likely reason I developed this is because I have O positive blood (which I do), and Trey has A positive blood (which we think he does because we know for certain that Addison is A positive). During my pregnancy with Addison I probably developed the immunity. I don't know Davis's blood type, so I have no idea if this would have even been an issue for him. The good news is that the risk of attack due to the anti-e antibody is low, and if there is an attack, the possibility of it being severe is also low. Odds are in our favor for a positive outcome. Worst case scenario the baby could develop a condition called hydrops fetalis, but this is extremely unlikely.

I would covet your prayers for our little baby girl's health. Pray that my antibody levels would remain steady and that she would continue to grow and develop normally. I am happy to report that she squirms and kicks all the time, which is always so reassuring, and so far I am still feeling pretty good and sleeping well. This is a sober reminder that, despite whatever delusions we labor under, we are not in control of our own health. Our baby is cradled in the hands of the God of the universe. There is no one else who loves her more, and from the day she is born until she goes home to be with her Maker, every breath and every heartbeat are a gift from Him.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Unexpected Mercies

Yesterday's travel to Atlanta went nothing like plan. I started checking the flight status early afternoon with some expectation of delay due to increased holiday travel and the bad weather out west. At first we were looking at a mere 20 minute delay. Then it jumped to 3 hours, scheduled take-off not until 9:00pm. We hunkered down at home and made the best of the situation knowing that at least we could relax in the comfort of our own place. Around 6:45pm we headed out to the airport. It was eerily empty when we arrived, and I got this sinking feeling. I told the lady at check-in what flight we were there for and she uninterestedly said, "That flight already left." What?!? You could have blown me over. I had been religiously checking the flight status all afternoon.

Note to self: read the fine print at the bottom of the page, even on websites. Apparently, whatever the flight status shows online could be totally wrong and is subject to immediate change. In this case the flight had left on time without warning or internet update. So now what?

We were put on standby for Saturday early afternoon with little hope for which flight would actually have room for us. Almost all of the flights for the day were very overbooked with lots of standby passengers. However, we were given a small and most helpful tip. Come for the 6:25am flight which has the highest number of no-shows due to its early nature, and, wouldn't you know it, the tip paid off. Sure enough, and in God's merciful kindness, they had 3 seats together on the 6:25am'er, making our 4:15 awaking hour worth it in the end. You should have seen the goofy grin on my face as we boarded the plane.

We are now safe and sound in Atlanta and thoroughly enjoying being with family we haven't seen in a year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9.6

It has been a happy Christmas indeed, one of the sweetest in recent memory. We have so much to share with all of you -- pictures, video, memories, but with time short and travel to Atlanta planned for tomorrow it may be a few days before I'll be back posting. In the meantime, we wish you all a beautiful Christmas from our merry clan to yours.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Claus

Another Haddon Heights Christmas tradition is Santa Claus comin' to town on a shiny, red fire engine. Usually the Saturday before Christmas Old Saint Nick makes his appearance with flashing red lights and sirens accompanied by the local firefighters bearing candy canes for the children. I had told Addison that Santa was coming this Saturday, so when I had been out shopping with my mom and sister that afternoon and disembarked from the car to the sound of sirens off in the distance, I raced upstairs to wake my napping sleepyheads lest they miss the promised candy. We bundled up and stood outside waiting for the tell-tale strains of the approaching vehicle to no avail, so into the car we piled in search of Chris Cringle. We found him a few blocks over. Davis was none too impressed, burying his head in my shoulder. Addison was far more enchanted with the fire engine and the candy than the man himself. Half an hour later, Santa wended his way down our street and Trey snapped the above photo.

Very adultly, we didn't attempt to get more candy canes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Mativity

Every year as a young girl I can remember going three blocks up the street to the Baptist church for their annual live nativity in December, or m-ativity as Addison has erroneously taken to calling it. In years past it was held for several nights. Now, however, they've consolidated it into one night, a blowout of much bigger proportions, which was held on Wednesday. I can't ever remember so many people coming to it before. Besides the requisite barn animals and holy couple, the shindig included live theater (the innkeeper's dramatic if apocryphal account of that blessed night) and special music. We stayed as long as we could reasonably keep up after two knee-high boys in dark coats in a massive crowd of people equally clad in dark outerwear. Needless to say, it was one-on-one just to make sure they didn't get lost in the mix.

They were both thoroughly enchanted with the animals and the piles of hay ready for the feeding. Poor sheep were practically force fed by my overeager little guys.

Davis adorably, if sacrilegiously, tried to feed baby Jesus some hay, just like the animals. I stifled a laugh as a horrified Mary tried to intervene. Not to worry, gentle reader. It was just a doll.

After four takes, this was the best family photo we could manage, three out of four looking at the camera and smiling. Sorry, Davis. Try to be more cooperative next time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Glamorous Life

There's nothing quite like your 22-month old proffering a big, slimy booger (bogie) attached to his index finger exclaiming, "Ewww!" in a thoroughly offended tone.

Listen, buddy, I'm not the one who put it there, K?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Greetings

As I did last year, I'm posting my annual Christmas letter with accompanying photograph on the blog for all those of you who aren't on my card list. If you would like to be added, just send me an email by viewing my profile, and I'll be more than happy to oblige for next year. Better yet, add me to your card list, and then you're sure to get one in return from a most grateful recipient. There is nothing I love better at Christmas than receiving actual cards in the mail. Our cards should be going out today. It took me a lot longer this year than I had anticipated. Although the letter was written weeks ago, signing, addressing, and stuffing the cards takes a while, not to mention the photograph debacle. I had to cancel our appointment 4 times in the last few weeks due to scheduling conflicts, illness, etc. Finally, this week with no more available time slots and a stack of cards screaming to be mailed, Trey and I decided it would be more prudent to send out one nice picture we had taken ourselves, saving the hassle of a trip to the photographer for the post-Christmas lull while we're in Atlanta like we did last year. Fittingly, as I write this afternoon, it is sleeting like crazy outside, and the 10-day forecast has snow predicted for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I'm too jaded to get my hopes up, but I can honestly say that in my 27 years on this earth, other than in my fevered mind, I have never been teased with the hope of a white Christmas by anything so "concrete" as an actual weather prognostication, and to top it all off, my amaryllis is about to bloom. The bud has just split and I can see the tiniest blush of red beneath its surface. It's going to be a good Christmas!

Christmas 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

What could be more appropriate than writing the annual Christmas letter amidst the falling snow? Here I find myself, just one week before Thanksgiving with soft, gentle flurries filling the air, making Christmas seem days, not weeks, away. The year past has been full and rich marked by the unexpected and the bittersweet. We have said goodbye to our Scottish home, Aberdeen, and returned to the only other home we have ever known as a married couple, Philadelphia. As this time of year brings deeper reflection upon the birth of our Savior, I am struck anew by how His life here began at a time of great personal uncertainty for his parents, while they were sojourners far from home. It seems only fitting to find ourselves in a similar situation. We are between graduation, jobs, homes, even children, if you will. Our lives are in a state of flux, yet despite this pervasive uncertainty, I derive daily strength in knowing that one thing never changes, our great God. In fact, the words of James 1.17, words which have brought me much comfort in the moving process, echo the Incarnation: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

Trey's year at times progressed at an almost frenetic pace. When we returned mid-January to Aberdeen from our Christmas visit, he was so energized to be done lecture preparation and to be able to actually work on his thesis again that in no short order he completed two chapters in two months. At the end of March he made a research trip down to Oxford to visit the famed and exclusive Bodleian Library and then up to Cambridge for a conference at which he presented a paper. He continued tutoring homeschool students via Skype through May, and then this summer worked diligently to complete and revise as much of his dissertation as possible before we returned to the US at the end of August. We first began discussing the possibility of coming home earlier than originally planned in the springtime. At first it seemed like a distant hypothetical, but after much thought and prayer, the catalyst for returning was the offer of an adjunct teaching opportunity with Westminster Theological Seminary in Dallas for the fall term. Both of us continue to be amazed at how clearly God has directed our path in the decision to pursue further education at the University of Aberdeen even confirming exactly when the right time was to leave by bringing a completely unsolicited teaching position into our lives. This has given us great peace as we have proceeded with our plans, feeling the hand of God directing each step of our way.

Looking after two active, inquisitive, and tireless little boys fills all my days to the brim. Watching Davis grow from a little baby to a sturdy toddler, seeing Addison progress from chattering toddler to inquiring boy at an almost imperceptible daily rate which cumulatively builds to unbelievable overall change and development thrills and delights while simultaneously saddening me, which is why, I guess, I keep having babies. Yes, the big news in my life is the expected arrival of our third child in March next year, and just a few weeks ago we learned that baby #3 is a girl. It is hard to imagine another female in the Holloway household, a home in which the boys have long outnumbered the girls, but I am confident we will adapt swimmingly. While still in Aberdeen, I became very involved this past year in helping to organize and develop a Baby and Toddler Playgroup at our church, Gilcomston South. I watched it grow from a fledgling group from the church to an ever-expanding array of new families from the community. The mother's prayer group which met monthly at my house had lifted this outreach opportunity up before the throne many times, and just as we were leaving Aberdeen it gave me such joy to see those prayers answered. I was also very involved this past year in developing and writing for the new Aberdeen Women's Fellowship website, an online resource for international families moving to Aberdeen. It was the brain child of a few committed women with a heart for all the people, like us, who sacrifice so much to study abroad. The Knit Wits, my monthly knitting circle, also continued, and when we moved back to Philadelphia I scoped out some interested parties here. Thus, the South Jersey franchise is now thriving alongside its Scottish counterpart, and with the news of our expected baby girl, I am thrilled to delve into the countless girl knitting patterns upon which until now I had only wistfully glanced.

Davis continues to amaze us with his individuality. After slow first year growth, he has steadily climbed the charts his second year in both weight and height, defying all conventional wisdom for children's growth patterns. He took his jolly old time deciding to walk, but when he finally did at 16 months, he lost no time in adding fearless climbing to his skills. He is now agile beyond his age. The same has proven true with his speech. For a long time I wondered when he was going to say anything at all, but, practically skipping the individual words stage, he went right to little phrases. He loves to sit quietly and flip through colorful picture books or line up his cars and trains along the table edge and run them back and forth. I love his independence, tenacity, and elfish smile. He is stubborn yet even-keeled, compliant but no pushover. He loves to tackle his brother when they are getting changed in the morning or for bed, and I can hear their priceless chatter long past lights out at night. The deep bond between these two polar opposite boys is strong and growing all the time. I am eager to see how he reacts to a new baby in the house. He seems to have been blessed with that pleasant adaptability inherent to not being born first, and the caring instincts I see in him as he lovingly kisses my belly or cradles his cars, which he has dubbed his "babies", lead me to believe he will embrace his new role with enthusiasm.

The great milestone of this past year for Addison, and highlight for me, was potty training, which occurred right around his third birthday thanks to a little egg timer and a cup full of Smarties. It marked a real transition from babyness into childhood, and I can't say I'm sorry to see that aspect go. Above all, Addison loves to talk and as his mind has developed the questions have come at such a lightening pace I quickly run out of answers. His gregarious nature has continued to blossom, and it's as though the old adage was written with him in mind. The world is, indeed, his oyster. From the meter reader at the door to the sweet old lady in the grocery store, Addison readily embraces all people with the innocent acceptance of early childhood. He asks them questions about themselves and tries to engage them as though they were old friends. It is both hilarious and, at times, completely embarrassing, like when he informed the boozy old man who reeked of cigarettes sitting next to us on the bus, "You are coughing," or when he asked one of the painters at my parents' house, "Will you hold me?" He loves all vehicles, trains, planes, automobiles, buses, and taxis, and took great delight in sampling all such modes of transportation this past year in our travels in, around, to, and from Scotland. With the same alacrity of two years ago, Addison easily adapted to our new life back in the US, quickly making new best friends in his Sunday School classes and rediscovering the joys of regularly riding in the car, but above all, he has basked in the glow of all the loved ones he gets to see so often now.

Last, but not least, in July we took a 3-day family holiday to London to see that great city which we just couldn't miss before we left the island. It was an unforgettable adventure, staying in a youth hostel, navigating the streets and double-decker buses with our double buggy, and soaking in as many of the sights as two small boys and three short days would allow. Even so we managed to see among others the Aquarium, the Tower, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, take a city bus tour and a Thames boat cruise, ride the Eye, and attend Evensong at St. Paul's. What a send-off!

As I peer into the future, I can hardly anticipate what the coming year will hold. Some years the months seem to stretch out with a degree of certainty and monotony, but like its immediate predecessor, that's not true of this year. We don't know where we will be moving or even when we will, and so ever more tenaciously we cling to the promise of our Savior in Jeremiah 29.11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" For us that assurance means enjoying the now, the opportunity to be with family so readily, and to visit familiar and beloved places. We rest in the knowledge that our great King is on His throne and we wish for you the comfort and peace that comes with knowing, "My times are in your hand." (Psalm 31.15) We wish you a joyful, relaxing Christmas and a prosperous, peaceful new year.

Lots of love,
Becky
(for all the Holloways)

Friday, December 12, 2008

NYC

The Empire State Building.


One of the perks of living near New York City is its accessibility. I've lost track of how many times I've been either on business, for pleasure, or driving through on my way somewhere else. Trey and I were struggling just to number the times we've been there in our 9 years together. Over the years we've made it a habit to try to go up at Christmas, a particularly beautiful and festive time in the city even with the throngs of tourists and shoppers that pack the streets.

The train into the city might have fooled you into thinking we would encounter mobs of people. Not so. It was admittedly crowded but less so than I recall in previous years, and there was a noticeable lack of pedestrians with shopping bags. We think the trains were so crowded in part because people were day-tripping into the city and not spending the money to stay overnight, signs of these tough economic times.

Our first stop was the one we knew would take the longest, the Empire State Building. Trey and I had last been nearly five years ago and at night when we breezed right to the top, no lines, no wait. Christmas is quite another story. We waited forty minutes to go through security, and then another hour to make it all the way to the top even with the foresight of purchasing our tickets online. It was all worth it in the end, however, as the views across Manhattan were clear and breathtaking.

A glowing view of lower Manhattan from 86 stories up.

Upper west side.

I was amazed at the flock of pigeons perched on the ledge high above the city. Did they really fly 86 stories to hang with the tourists and sightseers?

Me in front of one of the Christmas trees in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

Our next stop was the Staten Island Ferry, which amazingly is completely free to ride. Apparently, we weren't the only people trying to save a buck. When we arrived at the Whitehall Terminal, my heart sank at the throng of people waiting to board. Trey remained undaunted, and miraculously every single person fit on the ferry with seats to spare. Of course, most of us tried to press to the back for the best views of the Statue of Liberty on the ride out and Lower Manhattan on the return trip. The picture above shows our sister ferry passing us and gives you an idea of what our vessel looked like.

Lady Liberty.

The view of the southern tip of the island was stunning. Sadly, our photographs don't do it justice as we returned during dusk when the light was fading fast.

Rockefeller Center is just three blocks from where we were having dinner, so we made a quick stop before our reservation. The tree was the most beautiful I ever remember seeing, and as a former employee in the lighting industry, I immediately recognized that it was illuminated by LED lights, the latest in energy-efficient technology. They have a very distinctive, cool color to them and it made the tree look as if it were lit with colored icicles.

Skaters at the ice rink. The Plaza was so jammed with people that it was really difficult to see anything, let alone take a decent photo. We didn't stay long.

The GE building, the famous home of Saturday Night Live.

The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, one of our favorite places to stay in New York, and the home of the Bull and Bear where we dined.

Being so fresh from Scotland, it was nostalgic to eat here, the first place we ever tried Angus beef. Little did we know back then that we would spend two years in that great land with her delicious cattle and renowned whisky.

Our last stop before heading home was the Chrysler building. Our evening couldn't have ended anymore perfectly with a gentle dusting of light flurries fluttering down in a bustling city which never sleeps.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tea

Our man Davis has a new passion in his life. Tea. It began when we moved back to my parents house. My dad is an avid tea drinker consuming a minimum of three cups in the morning alone, and he regularly brings a pot down into his office for sustenance throughout the day. Davis is a little scavenger, not of my food or drink so much because he is always met with a firm and resounding, "No!" when he pleads, "'N bite!" (trans. want bite) However, the men in his life, Daddy and Papa, are much softer and more generous sharing bits of toast and sips of soda. In my dad's case, he introduced Davis to tea, and it has blossomed into a huge obsession. Now every morning when Papa has his tea, Davis sidles over and says with his booming voice, "'N tea!" At first, I thought the beverage would be too hot for his pallet, but he remained undaunted somehow managing the rather adult technique of sipping in cold air with hot tea to keep from burning his little tongue.

Yesterday, Addison came down with a mild touch of the stomach bug. With all the liquid leaving his body and little entering as replacement, I tried to get creative in my rehydration efforts. Tea, I figured. So yesterday morning I made them each a sippy cup full of tea, half milk, sugar, and the rest fresh brewed Red Rose. They both loved it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

Last Friday we went to Exley's Nursery in Sewell, NJ to buy our Christmas tree. Trey and I had gotten our tree one year at this particular location, but I had forgotten, until my mom reminded me, that they had a huge train display specially set up for Christmas. That sealed the deal. What could be better than Christmas AND trains?

video

This elaborate display takes 3 weeks to construct including all the wiring. In fact, Mr. Exley likes to do a unique display every year. It would be a gross understatement to say that this was little boy heaven.

Addison happily amused himself running in and out of the forest of evergreens while we selected the one to take home.

Two cheerful elves and a blossoming mama walking back to the car after a successful outing.

The finished product.

The mantel bedecked in greenery, lights, and baubles.

I bought some hideous battery-operated LED lights that I thought could be used for the mantel not knowing how ugly they would actually prove. In the end, rather than return them, I put them up in the boys' room. They, of course, think they're as beautiful as a dream. Addison's only request was that we put lights around the other windows in the room, an oddly balanced aesthetic for one so young. I got the string of colored lights seen in this picture to oblige him, and here you have a typical pre-bedtime scene reading The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes before lights out.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Trey and I have the day off. Today we finally head up to NYC for a day together, no children, just us. I can't remember the last time we had a whole day to ourselves. I think it was when we went to Edinburgh for Trey's birthday two years ago before Davis was even born. We have a full day planned, including a first stop at the Empire State Building. Then onto the Staten Island Ferry for a FREE cruise along the harbor and hopefully some great skyline shots. Then, if we have time, we'll walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Dinner reservations are at 6:00. This is a real treat. The skies are blue. The air is very cold, and the day is ahead of us.

We got our Christmas tree yesterday and put it up last night. I don't have time to blog about it and post pictures just yet, but I wanted to leave you with this one priceless story that I know will stick with me for a long time. As I've mentioned before, Addison loves Christmas. He wanted to help as much as he could yesterday even when "helping" wasn't actually helping. After I cut the netting off the tree and started to let the boughs settle, Addison said to me, "Mom, we need to put a blanket on it." "A blanket?" I asked confused. "Yeah, like Linus dooed (trans. does) in Charlie Brown." Ah, the light bulb went on. In his precious little mind and with only 3 Christmases under his belt so far none of which he's helped me put up the tree, he remembered that in A Charlie Brown Christmas at the end Linus lovingly wraps his priceless blanket around the base of their sad little tree. Addison ran quickly upstairs to retrieve one of his blankets, his favorite one. How touching, I thought. But wait, the story doesn't end there. After we wrapped the blanket around the tree and I started to put the lights on it, Addison noticed the needles that began to accumulate on the blanket. "Mom, please take those things off it." Things? Oh, the needles. "Addison," I tried to explain, "that's what happens to the blanket under the tree. Would you rather put the red blanket under there?" (The red blanket is the actual tree skirt.) "Yes!" he answered emphatically, pulling his away and shaking it methodically if a little obsessively to remove all the offending needles.

Now, that is a true Addison moment.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Longwood Gardens

Tuesday my mom, dad, and I traveled down to Longwood Gardens to hear my brother Nathaniel and his fiance Joanna perform a Christmas program with the Temple University Concert Choir. Nathaniel had two different solos during the evening, and despite the fact that he was battling a chest cold, his voice was magnificent. He continues to make me so proud.

I haven't been to Longwood Gardens since a Biology class field trip when I was 15 or so, and I've never been at Christmas time. As a true lover of all things Christmas, it was like a little slice of heaven. The trees all over the grounds were tightly wrapped in white and multi-colored lights. The fountain was specially lit and choreographed to various Christmas carols. The Conservatory was awash in paperwhites, poinsettias, and and every other variation of red, green, and white you can imagine. I really hope we can take Addison and Davis down sometime this month before Christmas comes. Every evening they have an outdoor ice skating performance, which I think the kids would love, not to mention the dazzling lights. I can just see Addison's eyes now in my mind.

This pool of water in the Conservatory was filled with approximately 400,000 cranberries weighing over 800 lbs. Cranberries, being the buoyant fruit that they are, float in water and gave the reflecting pool a speckled red-carpet appearance. The picture hardly does it justice but our 4 year-old Canon point and shoot was no match for the ambient evening lighting. My immediate question when the guide told us about the cranberries was to inquire whether they would need replacing throughout the month. She said she didn't know since this was the first year they'd tried it. Hmmm...that could be a lot of spoiled cranberries. I'm betting though that they'll last the month. Cranberries are fairly hearty.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Aquarium in Pictures

Philadelphia skyline from the Delaware River. The Adventure Aquarium lies directly across the river in Camden, NJ.

Trey with the boys and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in the background.

Me with the boys.

Addison in front of the hammerhead shark sign outside the aquarium. This aquarium is one of only 2 in the nation to house a hammerhead shark.

One of the viewing windows. It was like a movie theater with an aquarium for a screen.

A tank of jellies.

Davis in front of the Jersey shore tank. It was full of indigenous fish and sea creatures and smelled just like the ocean.

Colorful tropical fish.

The highlight of our trip for Addison was this plastic shark that you could climb into. He has not stopped talking about it since. Can't you just see the sheer delight on his face?

Here is a little video compilation of some of the amazing sights in the aquarium. It opens with us walking through the shark tunnel, an exhibit that permits you to walk through and, as you will see firsthand, narrowly under the swimming sharks. Take special note around 1:30 at the giant stingray which swims directly above scuba Santa and his friend's heads. Black Friday kicked off Fishmas (a fairly un-clever play on fish and Christmas) at the aquarium, which meant a Rudolph scavenger hunt for the kids complete with 3D glasses and hidden clues in the tanks and a scuba diving Santa who waved to the amazed if slightly confused children. You can enjoy the rest of our photos in the Adventure Aquarium 2008 album in the right-hand column.

Sorry about the audio cutting out at the end of the video. I've been having problems with it all morning and can't seem to get to the bottom of it. I will try to fix it soon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving Day was lovely minus the fact that I came down that very day with my third cold since returning home. By the end of the day my head throbbed, my nose ran, and I was virtually unrecognizable. That being said, the meal was delicious and we had quite a crowd to share it with, 23 including children. The wine flowed freely, games of Scrabble were played all day long, and the laughs continued into the dark hours of the evening.

The quietness of the blog recently can partially be attributed to my illness but also to the busyness of late. I have been diligently finishing the blog book to get it ordered before Christmas and then moved onto a good deal of editing for Trey's thesis. Now I'm working on Christmas cards. We go Thursday to get the boys' portraits taken for said cards. Then there's the shopping and wrapping and all the rest that comes with this time of year. I think we'll be getting the tree Friday even though my mother thinks it's far too early. If it were left up to her, we'd be getting it Christmas Eve.

We did manage to get out on Black Friday, despite my general yuckiness, not to shop of course. Instead, we headed over to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. Apparently, every other family in South Jersey had the same idea. Even so it was great fun. I have a ton of video and pictures from the outing which I simply have not had time to download and sort through. I promise a full accounting later this week.