recovering | the sick house

this sums up the goings-ons at our house for the past two weeks.

poor lillian got so sick during our move – the sickest i’ve seen her. and, just as she made her recovery, bradford and i got caught the bug. coughing – check. sneezing – check. drainage – check. yuck.

thankfully, we have all pretty much recovered (knock on wood). so, expect more posts. they are a coming.

skillet pizza | deliciousness in a pan

(picture courtesy of kitchen konfidence dot com)

a few nights ago, i tried my hand at cast-iron skillet pizza. and, dang, was it ever good.

i got the recipe here:

i used whole foods dough, organic tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese (don’t cheap out here folks – fresh is best), and cherry tomatoes. divine.

let me warn you, this recipe instructs you to lightly flour a wood cutting board and then to make your pizza on top of that. yeah, i didn’t do that. instead, i made my pizza on our granite counter top, without any flour, like an idiot. because, after you make your pizza, you have to transfer it to the hot as fire cast iron skillet. that didn’t go so well for me. in fact, it was a bit of a disaster. but, we worked it out… eventually. and, the end result was so delicious it didn’t even matter. my point – do what this guy says. he is right. my method was wrong. so wrong.

best of luck with your skillet pizzas!

always the villain | hook

you know what I love, when given the choice, lillian always chooses the villain.

today, she declared herself captain hook. aargh. she said we could be pirates to if we wanted. fun times.

in all seriousness, it seems we have dodged the pink princess bullet (at least with lillian and for now). this makes me happy. its not that i think pink princesses are necessarily a bad thing…they just make me uncomfortable in a way that a one-armed, pan-obsessed pirate with a weird mustache doesn’t. but, that’s another post for another time.

still alive | whaa

but barely. this move – and lillian’s sickness (yes, she has been so sick for the duration of our move)- have been incredibly stressful. on friday, i was at my limit. today, i am feeling better. morale has been low, folks. i haven’t much felt like blogging (or doing anything really – other than burying myself in a deep dark hole and never coming out), which accounts for the lack of updates (that, and the fact that we just got internet up and running).

(goodness, i realize how pathetic i sound. bought a beautiful home – whaa. had to move – whaa. tired because i’m blessed with a second pregnancy – whaa. my problems are not even problems, but sometimes you need to throw a pity party).

anyway, things are looking up. i will give a full update in the next day or so.

our new old house | work begins

as you know, we bought a house. yikes.

our new house is a 1920 dutch colonel. 3 bedrooms. 2 bathrooms. 2 sunrooms, which have been incorporated into the main house through past renovation.

we fell in love with the charm of this house. its small alcoves, numerous windows, original wood floors, and quirky nature spoke to us. its location didn’t hurt either. we are now arlingtonians. top-notch public schools. close proximity to the metro and the district. a more urban feel. a true coffee shop that can’t be beat just a few blocks away. check. we also have a charming neighborhood park/playground (which includes a sprayground in the summer!) that lillian loves. yay for this.

our new house is in wonderful condition (for an old house). its previous occupants bought the home in 1970ish and took such great care of it. it has been loved.

but, we do want (and need) to do several things before we move in.

project number 1 – the master bedroom and hallway. this part of the home was added at some point many years ago – and it looks like an addition. it lacks the charm of the rest of the house. instead, it has (in some cases had) an ugly drop ceiling, dark knotty pine paneling, and outdated fixtures. the paneling isn’t ugly in and of itself – it’s just so very dark. the ceiling – fugly. we rated this room “needs significant improvement.”

the day we closed on the house, we brought workers in to begin drywalling and painting the ceiling. i am happy to report that the ugly drop ceiling is now gone. thank goodness. i’m not going to lie – it hurts a little bit to spend so much money simply “normalizing” (or, “deuglitizing”) a room. i mean, drywalling the ceiling – not a fun/sexy home improvement project. but, it looks so much better.

now, we (meaning bradford) has started work on the paneling. our plan is to paint it (color yet to be finalized). listen people, painting paneling (especially knotty oak paneling) is not easy work. poor bradford. but, we wanted to do it ourselves so that we could allocate money to other projects. now bradford is suffering the consequences of that decision.

here he is – doing his thing.

lillian, while cuter than a spotted puppy under a turnip leaf, is not a good assistant – bless her. she tries to be helpful, but fails miserably. needless to say, between my being pregnant (and fat and tired and unable to inhale fumes for any period of time) and lillian being, well, two, bradford is on his own for now.

updates will follow. wish us luck getting this house ready for our big move next weekend.

happy saturday.

2011 | happenings

2011 is gone.


the past few years have been filled with so much change – most of it truly marvelous. each year i think that my life can’t possibly get any better or be any fuller, and, yet, it does. i am thankful (but not thankful enough).

i took the past few days to reflect on 2011 and decided to put together a video of our personal photos from the past year. so many family and friends comment that they don’t see photos of lillian (or us) often enough. this is probably fair. to be honest, i admonish myself on a regular basis for failing to have my camera out to capture personal moments. you see, sometimes it just feels like work. i also feel a little left out of the action when i am the one behind the camera. i am there – but not. striking a balance here is something i am working on.

one of my New Year’s resolutions is to take more personal photos, to share more of them with family and friends (both in digital and print form), and to keep them more organized for my own purposes. wish me luck.

(i will say that, in putting together this video, i realized that i do take a fair number of photos. the problem is that i feel the need to edit them and to judge them with a professional photographer’s eye. this leads to them sitting on my computer – neglected. lame.)

while going through our photos, two things became obvious: (1) lillian is an extremely happy little girl; (2) we live a charmed life indeed.

this year, we took full advantage of living in the dc metro area. we frequented local tourist attractions (the air and space museum, the museum of natural history, the building museum, and the zoo being among some of our favorites) and took day trips to places like cumberland, ocean city, annapolis, and harper’s ferry. we enrolled lillian in an art class, which she really enjoyed and which sparked a creative fire under our butts – much paint and many crafts followed. we welcomed visits from family and friends (thanks to all who made the trip. we love your visits.) lillian attended del fest for the first time. del yeah. needless to say, she fit right in! we potty-trained (as you will no doubt notice in the slideshow). we vacationed with bradford’s side of the family in july on tybee island, which turned out to be eventful in many ways and a trip we won’t soon forget. lillian fell in love with her cousin hardin during this trip (a love that time and distance could not fade – she was over the moon when we visited mobile in december . . . they never missed a beat). i had skin cancer removed later that month, which was tough. but, it reminded me of how precious life is and served as a catalyst for a lot of soul-searching on my part. more on this later. on august 5, we found out we were expecting baby number 2. shock. awe. excitement. love. joy. (terror? yes, a little). later that month, i witnessed (and photographed) the birth of june elizabeth denson. (if i were making a top 10 list of experiences in 2011, this would be on it.) in september, our little baby lillian started preschool at beth el jewish preschool. i cried. she was overjoyed at her new found freedom. you can read more about that here. in october, lillian turned 2. we celebrated at our house with friends and family (and a thomas the train theme). the two years of her life have been the best two years of mine. she is growing into an intelligent, funny, charismatic, beautiful, adventurous child (if i do say so myself). so far, the twos are treating us nicely. we occupied lee street (in old town, alexandria) for halloween. lillian dressed up as a monster and courageously walked the block (and braved the crowd!) for treats. needless to say, her first trick-or-treating experience was an amazing one. the first home we visited went all out. lillian walked right in without us (we, of course, could see her at all times) and took a picture with the woman giving out candy (who was dressed to the nines). before the night was over, she was very loudly shouting “THANK YOU” to everyone who handed her candy. she loved halloween. she now talks non-stop about witches, skeletons, ghosts, and the like (she even insisted on calling christmas lights “halloween decorations” for a while). what’s next? oh yes, november. on november 17, we found out that “it’s a girl!”. exciting stuff. we spent a quiet thanksgiving at home in anticipation of our christmas travel. i made a great meal, and we enjoyed each other’s company immensely. we also committed to living in the dc metro area for the long haul and bought a home! more on this later – because this is big news. we wrapped up the year with a whirlwind of activities – getting things prepared for closing on our new home, travel to enterprise and mobile (where we fit in a baby shower (which was awesome – thanks everyone!!!)), long overdue visits with friends and family, a date night and an exploreum visit), and travel back to dc. a few days before new year, we closed on our first family home. i can’t wait to share pictures and updates on renovations and things.

so, there is our year in a nutshell. i could never mention all of the significant things that happened this year (or even those insignificant things that are truly what daily life is made of), but i thought i would give a summary of events a go.

before this post becomes one of the longest in all my history of blogging, let me cut myself off. but, not without saying first how truly thankful i am for every single piece of my life on this earth.

farewell 2011.

enjoy the video (just press play).

the hardin family | 2011 from Crystal Hardin on Vimeo.