Last week my best friend Daniel came to visit from Chicago. I hadn’t seen him in a few months, which is a really long time for us. We’ve been best friends for 9 years now, which is kind of mindblowing. We also happened to date for a majority of that time. I had to work on Monday, but D met up with me during my nanny day and got to meet Smasher, the little dude I watch.
Daniel loves babies and little kids. This is a known fact about him. He’s a teacher and has much younger brothers. The dude is very excited to be a dad eventually. Ladies and gents, eligible bachelor right here.
I mean seriously…
I went back to nanny house to find a Christmas present waiting for me. They have my aesthetic totally nailed.
It’s nice to work for individuals rather than companies because I end up getting amazing little gifts like this. Clearly, they pay attention to my interests.
After work on Monday, D met me downtown and we went to a Crossfit class at my gym. Afterward, we got salads and sat outside to eat them because it was strangely warm out all week.
We took a stroll around downtown Philly which I never do at night time. It was a nice change of of scenery.
We also drank hot cocoa and walked through “Christmas Village.”
Most of his visit was totally lazy. We watched a lot of movies, had quiet drawing/reading time, and slept in til noon every day. I took the rest of the week off work.
Daniel was in New York the week before he was in Philly and got really pretty tattoo work done on his chest above the Morrisey tattoo he already had there.
One day we met up with Karen and Bob for coffee at Ultimo.
Ultimo probably has the best coffee in Philly, at least by reputation and by what I’ve tried so far.
It was really grey and rainy for a few days but at least it was nearly 60 degrees out the whole time.
After Ultimo we went to the Taproom for food/drinks. Bob’s friend Chris, another photographer, met up with us as well.
That night we also went to the Marvelous to see Cat Vet’s last. Parasol started the show and they were really good.
Aye Nako also played and they’re always great.
We spent most of the following day being totally lazy. We watched Dazed and Confused and a documentary about the U.S. education system. Then we had a date night since it was D’s last night in town.
We got drinks at a place called the Farmer’s Table that was super cozy and charming. There was even a live ragtime performer playing the piano and singing. D and I always do a fancy date night when we see each other now. It’s fun to suspend reality for a little while and do something way beyond our means every now and then.
Then we went to a restaurant called Barbuzzo for dinner. We got a lot of food and all of it was incredible.
The following day, Daniel just packed up and got ready to leave, then we walked over to the Greenline for lattes.
The walk home. For some reason it was 60 degrees out!
After Daniel took off to head back to Chicago, I just spent the day catching up on little stuff and packing for Michigan. Late in the evening my friend Matt picked me up and brought me to his parent’s house in the suburbs where Jamie, Brie, Matt and I all hung out and had a little sleepover.
In the morning, Matt took Jamie and I to the airport because we both had flights back to Chicago that day. My flight left a little later though, so Matt and I went to the Philly Diner after dropping Jamie off. It’s always good to catch up on Chicago talk with Matt.
I arrived in Michigan in the afternoon and went out to dinner with my dad and his wife, Sue
and Sue’s son Ian and his partner Chris. We went to a place called Chinn Chinn’s, which is a strangely delicious gourmet style restaurant for the middle of nowhere midwest.
On Saturday, I went shopping with my mom and sister for last minute Christmas gifts and groceries.
A stray dog by my sister’s apartment. He looks like he’s snarling here but I actually just caught him mid-bite while eating a dog treat that I had tossed to him. He’s too timid to actually come up to people but he seems like a sweet dog. He just lives outside around this apartment complex.
Much better. He looks like a little fox.
I spent the rest of the day at my mom’s house being lazy, watching tv, drawing, and wasting time on the internet. My sister was making a sim and I realized it looked just like my friend DJ. Haha.
We also wrapped all our presents for our parents that night.
and I broke in the boots that I got myself as a Christmas present. I decided to splurge a little since my every day shoes were worn through and starting to hurt my feet when I wear them.
My favorite Christmas decoration when I was a kid. The heat from the candles rises and makes the whole thing spin.
While we were wrapping presents we planned a really silly prank on my dad involving a push broom, which is something he asked for. We wrapped a fake broom so he would make the joke ‘well i wonder what THAT could be’ and then he would unwrap it and be wrong. Haha. It was actually a stick and a skinny box taped together.
Then we got carried away. We decided to take it a step further and rather than hand him the real one at that point, we would hand him a second fake one! And then once he was faked out twice, we would hand him what seemed like a reeeal push broom, but it was actually his old dirty broom from his garage. It was really silly and worked like a charm. Everyone thought it was funny.
On Christmas morning at my mom’s house, my brother skyped us from Taiwan, where he and his girlfriend live. He then facetimed my dad so we were talking to my dad, who lives across town by way of taiwan.
My nephew, Thomas, opening his stocking. He’s my oldest sister’s son. He’s 4!
Thomas with a stocking present from Grandma
Asher, my second nephew. Thomas’ younger brother.
My mom showing off the spanakopita that she made to my brother in Taiwan because he asked what we were having for Christmas brunch.
My younger brother, R, helping the boys with a present.
Most of my family, (my two sisters, my brother, my two nephews, and my mom)
Thomas got some tattoos in his stocking. He said he wanted one on his neck.
Little Ash is starting to pull himself up on things and can almost walk. He can take a good 5-10 steps in a row before falling. This also means he’s getting into all sorts of things he shouldn’t.
My younger brother R. Yeah, that’s his full first name.
After settling down at Mom’s and when Asher was done with his catnap, we all drove over to my dad’s house, which is just across my tiny town of Paw Paw, MI. This is “downtown” Paw Paw.
There’s a lake downtown, Maple Lake. Two of my best friends grew up on this lake, and we would drive a pontoon boat from their house to these docks downtown. It was an easy way to get into town before we had our licenses!
I was slightly surprised and sad to learn that the 100 acre vineyard I grew up on is no longer a vineyard. They pulled out all the grapevines this summer so my dad can plant something else that might be less of a money pit. It was sad to see though, considering that vineyard had been there for at least 100 years.
The vines are just laying in big piles now until next season when they put something in.
My siblings, over at my dad’s house. That’s my dad.
My dad’s wife’s whole family comes over for that Christmas. She has three adult kids and they all have families so it’s a big gathering.
Kid’s table, with my dad, sister, and my step brother and his partner
My dad and his newest step grandson.
A lot of dessert!
The present pile was a little extreme…
Thomas got this crazy rocking horse because my dad loves to buy toys. The grandkids are all showered with presents.
Christmas aftermath. My dad and his wife just got a fancy new tv for Christmas and it has 3D as a function? So everyone sat around with funny 3D glasses on watching the polar express… haha.