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2015 Year in Review

First, I had these grand plans to post a kitchen renovation plan yesterday, but our power was out for the first half of the day and my computer was dead, soooo that will come Monday. I’m so excited for you to see what we have been working on and what we have planned!

Now, on to our 2015 Year in Review. As a warning, this is basically a short novel. For better or worse, this year, the first year of our marriage was a doozy. We had the highest highs and the lowest lows, but if it did anything it brought us closer together as a family. 


I started 2015 by chopping off 18 inches of hair and donating it in my friend’s name as she prepared for a fight against breast cancer. The chop was a long time coming, but I was glad to be able to do it for her.


Her sweet cousins hosted a “Walk Down Mammory Lane” party to support her as she prepared for a double mastectomy. We were tasked with bringing boob-themed treats, so I turned to Pinterest, obviously. A couple friends were in town and I put them to work helping me make mammo-grahams and titty-pops. I wish I had a picture of the spread at the party – it was hilarious and endearing and tasty. Somehow we managed to get it past the 12 year old kiddo (boy) what these treats were meant to resemble.


TimTheFarmer and I then embarked on our belated honeymoon to Puerto Rico. We went 4 months after our wedding to accommodate our work schedules and in the dead of winter, we were thrilled with our choice. We spent the majority of the time in a little VRBO bungalow in Vieques 4-wheeling out to Blue Beach every day, which we had all to ourselves, and it was awesome.



I then headed to Arizona for a conference and stopped in El Paso on the way home to see my sister and her family. My mom came down too and we promptly worked on digging a tunnel to Juarez and sent Benjamin exploring.


The kiddo entered our favorite beet recipe—he called them Nate’s Boyled Beets— into the Top Chef-themed cooking competition at school and got 2nd place!



The was the month our whole world changed. We lost Rose, my husband’s mother, out of the blue, and without clear cause. She was a core part of our daily life as she lived 10 minutes away and meant everything to the kiddo, and us. We barely knew how to process such a sudden loss, let alone support a 12 year old and we just hoped we were doing it half way right.

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Rose was an incredible woman, a mom, a grandma, a breast cancer survivor, the voice of a convent and retreat center, and became a best friend to me when I was living in a town far away from most of my friends and family. Her wake was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. We stood in the receiving line for four solid hours and there was a line out the door for the entire time. Every person who walked through that line told me what a kind person Rose was and how she touched his/her life. If I took anything from that day, it was that kindness really does matter. I often try to be tough and can be a bit of a ball-buster to get my way. Rose got her way, and she was always kind, so I often try to channel her and bring a softer approach to my conversations. We miss her every day.

Our friends and family rallied around us and in one of the coolest gestures, Rei, a local chef – who is seriously talented, but don’t tell him I said so – invited the kiddo to join him in the kitchen of his restaurant, Panzur as he recreated his award-winning recipe for family meal. The kiddo absolutely loved it and it was awesome to see him learn what it’s like in a kitchen.



The highlight of April was a trip to Boston. TimTheFarmer’s cousin is the head coach of the Boston College baseball team and a former minor league baseball player. He set us up with tickets to a Red Socks game and passes to get on the field during batting practice. It was awesome. Fenway Park is such an iconic field, so it was really amazing just to be there, let alone to be escorted down onto the field like VIPs! We had an insane sprint through multiple T stations to get there on time and at one point thought we’d gotten on an express commuter train that was going bypass Fenway and take us right to the ‘burbs, but somehow we walked up to the gate right on time. Having attended baseball games my whole life, it was a whole other experience to be at the level of the players and watch them at bat. During the Orioles’ warmup, we tried to catch fly balls out in right field and then settled into our seats behind home plate to enjoy the game. Thanks Mike!

April1 April2

The next day we went to watch the Boston College baseball game and the kiddo got to hang in the dugout with the college players for the whole game. Who knows what he heard in there :). He loved the whole experience and now hopes to play for BC someday. 


We ended the quick trip with a visit to the New England Aquarium – TimTheFarmer’s favorite. We then walked to the North End to a classic Italian bakery that we visit every time we’re in Boston and visited Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop on the Freedom Trail to watch the chocolate making demo, which is alway cool.



May marks the start of farming season around here. TimTheFarmer found a secret stash of ramps and foraged a few buckets in early May. Yum!


Then, the first group of piglets arrived at the farm and the boys made sure they felt at home in their new environment.



June was a doozy of a month. First, I headed to California for a conference and our annual family reunion. I stayed with grad school friends outside San Diego and had a great time making fresh squeezed OJ from an orange tree in their yard with their daughters (for mimosas of course).


After the conference, I headed up to Newport for the family reunion where Benjamin used the piñata as a hat and we had an arm wrestling throwdown. JoJo beat Carolyn and is almost strong enough to beat me, now that he’s 18 :).June2

June3We put an offer in on our house(!) and watched the kiddo play his last year of Little League. 


A colleague got married in an event tent on campus that has a circus-carnival-cabaret feel to it and we enjoyed a date night and beautiful celebration.


I then headed to Colorado for another conference. I was thrilled to be able to head out early to spend a few days in southern Colorado in the San Luis Valley. The drive from Denver to the valley is my favorite. My stepfamily has roots in the San Luis Valley that date back to the conquistadors and it’s a place that’s truly special to me. It has a magic to it and I love visiting. My nana makes the best tortillas which I’ve missed, so it was treat to have some while I was there. We also visited a (very) rural church that my grandpa attended as a child and has worked to restore. 


After the conference, I headed up to my mom’s to spend more time with my nephews. Benjamin is just too cool for school and made an awesome paddleboarding copilot. 



July was another doozy, but for other reasons (read on). There was lots to be done to get all our ducks in a row to buy our home (which takes FOREVER in NY) and lots of berry picking. July1Through work, I volunteered with coworkers and students to count trees in NYC as part of a massive tree survey effort. It was fascinating to see how this process worked. 


The kiddo went to his first sleep-away camp. It’s run by NY DEC and is the same camp TimTheFarmer went to growing up; in fact, the kiddo ended up in the same bunkhouse as his dad! He learned all sorts of outdoors skills and to bow hunt. He loved it!


After we dropped the kiddo off at camp, we headed to Saratoga to watch the horse races (which were really fun) and then to Lake George for a night.


Then, I got Legionnaire’s Disease. I know. What?!? It’s a super bad form of pneumonia that swept through NYC’s outer boroughs this summer which I must have picked up when I was getting sprayed by air conditioner sweat while counting trees. It was awful – I’ve never been that sick. To add to it, the antibiotics, which also treat the plague and anthrax, made me hallucinate like you wouldn’t believe and I thought I was losing my mind. It confirmed my hunch that hallucinogenic drugs wouldn’t be my thing. It took weeks to get my energy and lung function back to normal.



After emerging from the fog of Legionnaire’s, we picked more fruit and made lots of peach whisky BBQ sauce. Oh, and I got a ticket for texting and driving when I WASN’T actually texting. I was SOOO mad. I’d be ok with the ticket if I’d actually been doing it. Ergh.

Aug1We saw the Zac Brown Band at Bethel Woods (the site of the original Woodstock concert) – they were amazing!


As always, we spent a couple days at the Dutchess County Fair. The kiddo is hoping for one of these pig trophies next year.


We also celebrated our one year anniversary with a peach picking date at Rose Hill Farm. We’d befriended the owners over the last few years and LOVE this farm. On this day, they told us they’d finally found a buyer for the farm and they’d suggested the new owners hire TimTheFamer to run the farm. It was no coincidence to us that this happened on our anniversary and that the name of the farm was Rose Hill. It’s taken another 4 months to come together, but we’re thrilled that starting tomorrow, TimTheFarmer is the new farm manager for Rose Hill Farm and that the new owners are super cool. More on this soon!


September & October

Phew! If you’re still with me here, you get a gold star – thanks for tagging along! In September, Matt and Lindsay (of El Paso fame) visited and we took them picking at Rose Hill Farm. We also took them to Panzur for an awesome meal and weird looking beer.


We then FINALLY closed on our house. Yippee, yippee!! 


Our last home was cozy and served to start our life as a family, but it was tiny with no closets and worse, it had a serious mold problem which has caused chronic health problems for all of us. It felt AMAZING to step into a spacious, clean home and know it was ours.


I had lots of plans for the house, but spend each fall on traveling for work, so I had to put most of them on hold. In September and October, I travelled to Philadelphia, Washington D.C. (twice), Chicago, Steamboat Springs, Fort Collins, Portland (OR), Atlanta, Milledgville, and NYC. 


While in Fort Collins (my hometown), we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday which may or may not have included the birthday girl doing a summersault to impress her grandson and cheered on the Colorado State Rams with a crew of friends and family.


I also started this blog!!

We did make some house progress like our accent wall and quick bookshelves. I also painted the bathroom, which I’ll show you soon.

In the free time between trips, I made lots of cauliflower fennel soup, applesauce, and came in 4th in a local apple pie competition.

October also marked the loss of our cat, Dash. He’d been with Tim and Nate since Nate was a toddler. He took a walk into our woods one day and that was that.


We wrapped up October the boys dressing as Han Solo and Chewbacca to make the CSA deliveries to Brooklyn. #awesome.



My mom and stepdad were our first houseguests in November, so we got the guest room set up (sort of) and welcomed them, and the carload of my stuff. We put them to work painting and building shelves while they were here. 

I rewarded them for their hard work with oxtail soup, which totally freaked everyone out when they saw the tail come out of the freezer. Then, they tried the soup and couldn’t get enough. Recipe coming soon!


We scrambled to get the wooden skis my parents gifted us hung and all the moving boxes unpacked (or hidden in the basement) in preparation for hosting 2nd Thanksgiving. 


It was wonderful to host our first party with our closest friends and family!



November flew by and before we knew it, we were cutting our first tree for our new home. 

Dec1 We got the tree up and then got on a plane to El Paso for a quick trip.


When we got home, my FIL came over and we decorated the tree.


TimTheFarmer and I then headed to New Hampshire for his conference where I hoped to ski. Buuuut, it was raining and the mountains weren’t open, so I worked from the hotel and did some final Christmas shopping at the LL Bean outlet. #bust

We celebrated Penny’s first birthday (how sweet is this dress?!) and brought Otis home.


Then, it was time to celebrate Christmas!


Wow!! Are you exhausted? I am. 2015 was quite a year. Losing Rose, the stress of buying a home, and getting Legionnaire’s Disease made for some low moments, but I love doing this recap because we can look back and see all the amazing things we got to do as a family. 

We wish you and your family a wonderful New Year and can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store! 

Happiest of Holidays!

We hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas!

This was our first Christmas in our new home and we loved every minute of it! It was fun to decorate a new home and figure out where everything would go. This year was also a year for new Christmas traditions.IMG_9198Traditionally, TimTheFarmer’s parents have hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for his father’s family, but with the addition of lots of grandchildren, that tradition gave way to us hosting TimTheFarmer’s parents on Christmas Eve. Back in Colorado, our good family friends have hosted a Christmas Eve open house for 30 years that I attended throughout my childhood and until I moved to New York. This year, we thought we would combine all those family traditions to host our own Christmas Eve open house/potluck in our new home. We invited all our local friends and family and had no idea who would show up, or how Otis would handle the influx of people.

I prepared my nana’s traditional Christmas morning treat—chimichangas—and made bacon-wrapped dates and curried squash, Chinese five spice chicken wings, and a crudité with a spicy pumpkin dip and we crossed our fingers that we’d have enough food. Our open house ended up being a perfect mix of friends and family and we had about 25 people throughout the course of the evening. We can’t wait to host again next year, and I’m happy to report that Otis was the most chill party-puppy ever. He was so sweet with the kids who attended and even let Penny give him a cuddle. The sweetest!IMG_4284Tim’s dad and brother returned bright and early (although not early enough for the kiddo) for Christmas morning presents.IMG_4306The kiddo received his annual nutcracker.IMG_4307Uncle Jeff rocked an amazing Christmas sweater and tried out the 3D elf glasses. IMG_4311Otis learned that the chickens have no problem coming up to our front door.IMG_4314Taz wasn’t sure how he felt the pig sign holder being almost as big as him. IMG_4320

After the kiddo was picked up to spend the day with his mom, we enjoyed a low-key day with my FIL and BIL watching basketball, napping, picking at leftovers, walking the dogs, and trying out golf clubs. By the end of the day, the doggies were worn out and picked beds appropriately sized for them. Every time Otis gets in that purple bed, I sing “big dog in a little bed” to the tune of “fat man in a little coat” from Tommy Boy. TimTheFarmer also tried on all his new Christmas clothes which included camo long underwear, a MF Doom flat brim hat, insulated flannel plaid shirt, Darn Tough socks, and Birkenstocks. I’d get voted off the island if I posted a picture, but I think you can imagine how amazing his outfit was. IMG_4326

This has been a year of significant loss and big changes for our family. We struggled to redefine the holiday season in the heartbreaking absence of my mother-in-law, but we pulled together as a family to create new traditions in our new home, knowing she was with us throughout our celebrations. Whether this was a year of ups or downs or both for you, we wish you the best as we wrap up 2015 and can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store!