December felt like such a long month. I was working out of the house part-time, and crushing pet portraits from home to make up the rest of a full-time schedule. I also started doing crossfit again, helped implement a week of holiday programming at the pop-up park in my town, prepared for the holidays, had a visit from my best friend, hung out with a lot of little buddies and took a trip home for the holidays. It felt both like a whirlwind and also sort of isolating since I spent a lot of time alone working through drawings for long stretches at a time. I usually come out of winter feeling like I haven’t seen anyone in months. I’m actively trying to push back on that a little this winter. Who knows if I’ll be very successful at it. On to the pictures.
The first week of December, at a solo show Mikey played at PhilaMOCA
A visit from Daniel, that following weekend.
Daniel still lives in NYC and it’s a shame how little time we make to actually visit each other, but he continues to be the busiest person in my life and spends half the time out of town. It always feels so nice to actually get to catch up in a real way beyond silly group text messages.
A show that night at Nachohouse. I can’t remember this band’s name but they were from Michigan.
Mikey’s other band, the Afterglows, also played.
The following morning, walking to brunch in town.
That same weekend was the monthly community potluck at the pop-up park I have volunteered on all year. I think that’s mostly missing from my photoblog. I helped put together a pop-up park and community space in my town called the Lansdowne Landing. I was on the planters committee and the PR/Programming committees so I spent a lot of time doing construction/hands on work and a lot of time doing social media and event planning. It’s been an on-going project this entire year. One recurring event we put on was a monthly community potluck.
Even all the way into December, plenty of people came and it was a great way to get to know people in my little town. Volunteering on that park project really was a game changer for us and made Lansdowne feel like our home instead of a random town we just moved to/live in.
Marge playing their last show before going on hiatus.
Christmas tree day!
Yet another perk of having a pickup truck.
Maple wondering why the heck there was suddenly a tree in the middle of our house. It’s funny that we just do things around them and dogs have to try to figure it out constantly.
Heading to a monthly planning meeting for the Landing. There will be a vote by city council in January on whether the park will become a permanent fixture in town, so we’ve been trying to prepare a presentation to make at a town meeting. “We” meaning mostly Susan, our fearless leader on city council, who has spent hundreds of hours on this project, with occasional feedback and help from the rest of us. 😉
That’s Susan down on the end!
Back home, super cozy holiday vibes.
A day at work earlier in the month. Meet baby Olive! She was just about two months when I took this picture, and is shy of three months now. I’ll be kicking in full-time in the next couple weeks with this noodle and her older sister, Hazel, who is two and a half.
I’ve spent the fall hanging out with Hazel. She’s really quirky, smart, funny and has a really big personality. A total firecracker.
Showing off the fruits of a morning project, baking and decorating holiday cookies one morning.
And of course, any time I pull out my camera in front of a toddler, they get to take a picture too.
At some bud’s housewarming party in mid-December.
A visit from Leo and his family in Lansdowne!
A photo Leo took of me and Mikey.
He also took this one of his parent’s and baby sister.
I’m realizing that the more kids we know, the more it means we should have at least a few toys in our house that we can bust out when they come over. But at least we have a lot of instruments they can play around on.
One of the first big snows of the year. Maple is pretty happy to play in the snow.
Babysitting for Alora, my next door neighbor. She’s two now and expecting a baby sibling in March! Alora is one of Maple’s best friends.
Spent a lot of time with this view as I worked through drawings. My new drawing spot was right in front of the fireplace. I’d sit on the floor and pull the coffee table over to draw on while I watched hours of bad tv. (you can’t watch good tv or movies while you draw, too distracting!)
A special play date day watching Leo, while my friend Emi watched Naomi. We took them on the bus to Reading Terminal Market to see the holiday model trains and eat Beilers donuts. It’s always nice to get those two back together.
More holiday stuff at home. We really leaned into it this year and it made December feel really nice.
The Heart of Te Fiti! (the necklace, from Moana) which Hazel always says in a dramatic whisper, no matter how many times she’s said it already that day.
and of course, the picture that Hazel took after I took out my camera. A true portrait of me, since that’s also my truck parked in the background.
Have I mentioned how much I love babies? I LOVE babies, and I haven’t gotten to work with one in almost three years! I’m so excited to get to hang with Olive all the time. Never thought I’d be a baby person, but I really am.
We had a holiday party at our house just before Christmas. Here’s baby Violet attending our party
I really slowed down with taking pics toward the end of the month and only snapped a few quick ones at our party and the setting on my camera wasn’t very good. Haha.
People decorated some funny cookies at our party, and we made latkes too. It was the last day of Hanukkah.
The fireplace wind down after most people had gone home.
Little plant friends, gifts from Emi.
Then we set out for the long drive to Michigan. The thing that made it long was that we took Maple and she has pretty high anxiety about riding in the car and meeting new people. She was pretty on edge for our whole trip.
The first day, visiting my dad at the farm where I grew up, where he still lives. It was a vineyard my whole life, but he recently (in the past 7 years) converted it to a chestnut tree farm. Maple earned herself a good romp on the farm after that stressful car ride.
The best part is that 66 acres of the farm is fully fenced in (to keep deer out) so it’s totally stress free letting her go wild.
Mikey looking like a city slicker on the farm.
Painting ornaments with my nephews, Asher and Thomas.
We spend a lot of our time with them playing big games of hide and seek around the house.
A family photo at my dad’s house on Christmas Eve. From L to R, that’s Mikey, me, my older brother Abe, my older sister Rosemary, my Dad, My oldest sister Rachel, my dad’s wife Sue, my brother Abe’s wife Ivy, my younger brother R. And down in front are my nephews Thomas and Asher. We’re a big crew.
Mom soothing Maple’s nerves before we left the house.
A family photo at my mom’s house on Christmas morning. L-R: Mikey, my sister-in law Ivy, my older brother Abe, my oldest sister Rachel, my mom, my older sister Rosemary, and my younger brother R. We tried to get Maple to sit for the photo but it wasn’t happening.
Here’s a funny outtake from that one!
The first day of our trip was pretty warm for the time of year, and then suddenly the temperature dropped to single digits and it was a snow storm for the following four days of the visit.
Following Christmas day brunch at my mom’s.
More christmas cookie decorations, this time decorated by my nephews and siblings.
Dad plowing his driveway.
For the drive home we found some calming dog treats meant for stressful situations and they worked like a charm. Maple mostly just sat there calmly or slept the whole drive home. On the way up she whimpered for a solid two hours of it before even sitting down. I don’t know why this picture is rotating but I’m keeping it in anyway.
I really slowed down with pics at the end of the month, so I’m supplementing with some from my phone. On New Years Eve day we went to go see the nutcracker ballet with Pat and Gabby at the Academy of Music. It was fun! I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid.
Then we did our typical New Years Eve day tradition of going to the James Turrell permanent skyspace installation at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. It’s a really meditative way to end the year, 40 minutes of watching the sunset through a hole in the ceiling in silence in a room full of people. Unfortunately it was too cold for them to open the hole in the ceiling this year, so they played a closed loop light installation that was similar, but not quite the same.
We went home and ate take out and then popped over to Emi’s house at 10pm for hot cocoa and hung out with her and her roommies talking about intentions for the new year and then did tarot cards after midnight. It was a really nice way to close out the year.