Last Thursday evening, Bill and I flew to Richmond, VA via New York’s JFK Airport to spend New Year’s with James, Kristen and Logan. This trip is probably the last trip we’ll take to see them before their move back to the Bay Area. The family picked us up Friday morning and we had breakfast at Bob Evans. Logan was a little cranky as he’s suffering from a cold and ear infections in both ears, one with a perforated eardrum. He has a high tolerance for pain that is a little troublesome when it comes to his ear infections. Kristen didn’t even know he had the ear infections until the ear drum had already burst. For a kid who was so sick, he was still happy and babbling away in his “Loganese.”(Kristen’s term for his little language.) He’s talking a lot now and repeats a lot of words that we say. We have to be especially mindful of our language.
After breakfast we went home and a few of us napped. With as many red-eye flights as I’ve taken, I still have a hard time sleeping on planes. This flight was a bit easier with a seat in the exit row where I was able to rest my head on the tray table. I think I caught twenty minute naps here and there that made the four and a half hour flight go by pretty fast.
Friday evening, James’ cousin, Matthew stopped by. Matthew graduated from the Henrico County Police Academy a couple of weeks ago and he wanted to say hi before going on duty.
Most of the photos I’ve taken from this trip are of Logan. I don’t mean to put anyone off, but he’s the best looking out of all of us. And since my mind and body were in full vacation mode, I’ve forgotten what days we did what. So, I’m going to guess based on the order the photos were taken. I’m also trying some new Photoshop tricks, so a few of the photos may be black and white or have weird color. Bear with me as I experiment with some new techniques.
Friday evening I think we ordered pizza for dinner… I’m pretty sure that’s what we did. Bill brought season one of the HBO show Entourage. I’d seen a few episodes from season two during a free preview of HBO and I really liked the show. But not enough to pay for the extra channels. Bill saw the DVDs for the first few seasons on sale, so he picked them up. After Logan went to sleep, we began watching season one and kicked ourselves for not bringing the rest of the DVDs with us to Richmond.
Logan was quite facinated with Bill’s laptop. He tried to help with the typing and hit the power button a few times… We had to teach him not to push “that” button. He learned.
Saturday evening we had dinner at a friend’s house as a sort-of going away dinner for James and Kristen. James used to work with the dad, Ronaldo and they became good friends. Ronaldo and his wife April have an infant son who was having a good time checking out the new people. We ordered dinner from a local place that specializes in chicken wings with over a dozen sauces to choose from. We tried to play SingStar on their Playstation 2, but Logan didn’t want to share the microphone with anyone.
It was a nice evening with lots of fun stories and good company. The main purpose for the dinner was to hang out with Ronaldo and April before the big move.
Sunday morning began with Logan awake and screaming sometime between five and six am. Bill and I both learned that evolution has given babies the ability to scream and cry at a pitch that goes right through ear plugs. James and Kristen have been working on getting him down to one nap per day with the hope that he’ll sleep in a bit. With his cold and ear infections, it wasn’t working and he continued to wakeup at five am. James got him to sleep again around seven thirty and we all got about an hour or so more sleep.
Apparently Bill wanted more sleep…
It was raining hard on Sunday and all Logan wanted to do was go outside. We didn’t want to have to walk him around a restaurant so we drove to a local country club where they have a brunch buffet that is really good. They have a large ballroom that Logan can run around in without getting hurt or lost in a crowd. It worked out really well for all of us. The food was delicious, with crispy bacon, cheese blintzs, cook-to-order omelets and Belgian waffles, chocolate fondue with strawberries, and lunch items like NY steak, garlic mashed potatoes, scallops inside a puff pastry, smoked salmon, and a seafood salad that I really liked. And, more importantly, Logan got his wiggles out running around the ballroom.
James was flipping the lights on and off and Logan thought it was pretty cool.
He thought the rain was pretty cool too.
Sunday afternoon Matthew was off and volunteered to babysit so us grown-ups could go out to dinner and a movie. Kristen hadn’t gone out with just friends in months. We went and saw Sweeney Todd which was good, but I could’ve used a lot less singing. Now, I really like musicals, but even I felt like saying, “C’mon! Get the story moving already!” The art direction and the gore was pretty cool though, along with a comedic undertone. For dinner Bill and I planned to treat James and Kristen to Maggiano’s as a Christmas gift. But they had already closed when we arrived. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory instead. The food was delicious and Kristen and I splurged and each ordered a fruity cocktail. Kristen had the Strawberry Creamsicle that contained crushed strawberries, ice cream, vodka and DiSarrono Amaretto. I had the Peach Bellini that was a blended mix of champagne, peaches and peach liqueur. They were more like desserts, but both good. Actual dessert was a wonderful Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake.
Monday morning went about the same way as Sunday morning. This time Kristen got Logan back to sleep.
Around lunchtime, Kristen dropped him off at day care and the four of us had a late lunch at a small place called Cuisines where they serve an incredibly good crab bisque. After lunch Kristen had to go into work for a couple of hours. I was dropped off at the house where I began prepping one bathroom and its walls for primer while Bill and James met up with a friend, Colin, to pick up some dry wall. We were helping James and Kristen give their two bathrooms a facelift. The ceiling in their upstairs bathroom was some strange and poorly-applied texture where the mud was flaking and peeling off. So they replaced the sheetrock… with difficulty since there was only one joist running through the middle of the bathroom. Yet another item in their house that made us wonder if the inspectors were paying attention when the house was built. The downstairs bathroom is just about done with the walls repainted, a new mirror, light and vanity installed and the tub tiles re-finished with a white paint… that’s meant for tiles. It actually looks really good and it’s something that Bill and I are thinking about for one of our bathrooms.
Later that afternoon Bill and I went grocery shopping for our New Year’s Eve dinner. The menu was pork tenderloin, venison tenderloin, butter lettuce green salad, oven roasted herbed potatoes, and a crusty italian bread. Dessert was some sort of apple tart in puff pastry.
Our friend Kevin came over with his new girlfriend Caroline to spend the evening with us. This was the first time I got to meet Caroline. She’s great with a sense of humor that matches ours. She even joined in whenever we made fun of Kevin. While Bill was preparing dinner Kevin kept Logan occupied and eventually barricaded the kitchen to keep him out.
As you can see by his pajamas/cape, Kristen was trying to get Logan ready for bed.
One of Logan’s new things, if you ask him for a smile, he shows you all of his teeth in a somewhat evil-looking grin.
Bill’s dinner was really delicious. The pork was perfectly cooked and topped with a reduced sauce that contained the pork drippings, shallots, garlic and Merlot. The venison tenderloin, which was the result of Kevin’s first deer hunting experience, was prepared the same way and was just as delicious. During dinner we watched random episodes of How I Met Your Mother and were successful in getting Caroline hooked on the show.
After dinner I prepared an apple dessert. When deciding on dessert, I noticed that there were almost a dozen apples in the refrigerator. I guess Kristen got them from a local orchard and Logan wasn’t eating them. I picked up some puff pastry shells and consulted with my personal pastry chef (Patrick). The result was actually pretty good. I cut up the apples into small chunks and tossed them in a bowl with some cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar and melted butter. I spooned the middle of each pastry shell with apple filling trying to make them somewhat tall. I let them bake for a little while and prepared a crumble topping of brown sugar, cinnamon, oatmeal and melted butter. After the pasty had risen for a bit but wasn’t turning brown yet, I spooned the crumbly topping on top along with a half a pat of butter. I also brushed a bit of melted apricot preserves along the top of the pastry to add a shiny glaze. I cranked up the broiler for a couple of minutes until everything was GBD and served them with a scoop of Breyer’s French Vanilla. I think even impressed myself. The topping was carmelized and crunchy, the apples were soft but not mushy and the pasty was light and flaky, and cooked all the way through. I’ll have to make that one again. I apologize for not having any photos, we were all preoccupied.
Around 11:30 we turned on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve special and decided if it was really him or an android that replaced him about ten years ago. Bill poured some champagne and Kristen got Logan out of bed for a few minutes of celebration.
We toasted and joked how well we all made it to midnight without falling asleep.
Here we all are, minus the kid.
We gave Kevin the aviators for Christmas. He really liked them and will happily wear them when he’s on duty.
A slightly more genuine smile… or is it?
Tuesday morning we were up to have a quick breakfast a Shoney’s before dropping me off at the airport. Bill had some work to do in IAD, so he planned to pick up a rental and drive up to DC from Richmond. I needed to be at work today, so I planned to fly home Tuesday. Well, New Year’s Day proved to be a busy travel day. The 11:15 flight to JFK had two empty seats and I had my fingers crossed hoping that the family of three that was ahead of me on the list wouldn’t want to split up. They did and I was out of luck. So, I went with Bill to pick up a rental and relisted for the flight from DC to Long Beach instead. Since Bill had to be up there, I might as well go with him. We visited with the family for a bit before heading out…
That’s a smile, not a growl…
Here Logan wants to help Bill write Louie’s review:
No, I can do it better!
Hmmm, he’s gone. Wonder what this button will do…
I’ll just change his administrator password and wire his savings into my college fund… and give Louie a pay cut…
Oh, he’s back! ….I just wanted to see pictures of airplanes and trucks….
He’ll never know…