Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

As Linus and Sally were not big enough to carve, David and I went to Grisamore Farms to pick out some pumpkins for carving. I found a Groupon deal that allowed us to get $20 dollars worth of pumpkins for $10; this amounted to 60 pounds worth of pumpkins!

Here is David holding the pumpkin he picked out to carve.

Here is me (pretending to) pull the wagon with our three 20ish pound pumpkins. These pumpkins were so heavy I could barely lift them individually, let alone pull three of them.

We invited Karen (a post-doc in my lab) over to carve with us since we had an extra pumpkin (and she loves Halloween). The pumpkin I carved is obvious - nothing makes me happier than carving a smiley pumpkin every year - but Karen carved "Happy Halloween" and David carved the spider web pumpkin.

Our pumpkins all lit up in the dark.

Tonight we will inevitably be visited by many trick or treaters. I hope that they 1) say "trick or treat!" (many of them just stand there and wait for candy which I find both entitled and way less fun) and 2) save me at least one bag of Reese's Pieces!! (Maybe I will have to eat one before they start arriving, just to be safe.)

UPDATE: We were not visited by very many trick or treaters, which means we do have leftover candy! Also - the kids that stopped by were very polite, which was a nice change from last year. There were even high schoolers collecting cans for a food drive instead of candy! And now I must eat my words above with a slice of humble pie and a few bags of Reese's Pieces...

Friday, October 28, 2011

The last harvest

Ithaca had its first snowfall yesterday, which means our gardening days are over. We have packed up The Danger Zone after an incredibly successful year.

This is the parting shot of the Danger Zone before we tore it down. From afar it still looks like we had quite a bit still growing, but do not let this picture fool you - the already cold temperatures damaged most of what we had left.

Once thing that we wanted to try to harvest was our potato plants, which we planted later (and sort of haphazardly) in the season after our onions failed to produce anything. This is a picture of David beginning to dig out the plant...

...but sadly, we found only the remains of potatoes that had rotted. I guess we waited too long to harvest them. We will know better next year.

We brought Ipita on our last journey to the garden. I think he will miss his trips outside! I will certainly feel guilty when we take him in the car next because he will be tricked into thinking he is going on an adventure (when really, he will be going to the vet for some shots).

So long, Danger Zone!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ben's baptism

Ben's baptism was held at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, October 2 in Durham. It was such a special day for everyone! Amanda and Paul got a really neat outfit for Ben to wear during the ceremony - part baptism gown, part romper - and I thought he looked adorable.

Here is a nice shot of father and son before we left for the church.

During the ceremony, the children of the church were invited to come forward to make the sign of the cross on Ben's forehead and welcome him to the church. I have never seen this done before and I thought it was a really nice sentiment, but their church really does need to start providing a chair for the person holding the baby being baptized!! Poor Paul got so tired holding Ben at an angle that was low enough for all of those children! Amanda had originally wanted me to hold Ben during the beginning of the ceremony, but I passed this job over to Paul for fear that my noodle arms would not be strong enough to manage 21-pound Ben for a long period of time. I definitely made the right decision! You can see Amanda, Erik (the godfather), and me laughing as the line of children kept getting longer and longer. (I swear they started bringing random children in from the street to meet Ben, because it didn't seem like there were that many children in attendance when the receiving line for Ben was initiated.) I never would have had the arm strength to make it through the entire line of kids!

Instead, I got the job of holding Ben during the actual baptizing part. When we were getting set up for this part of the ceremony, I thought I could just hold Ben close to my body (easier on the arms) with his head facing into the water.

However, the priest motioned for me to bring Ben over the center of the baptismal font, and when I began to move him, my arms began to droop. I was very relieved that I chose to wear a short-sleeved dress for the ceremony, because if I hadn't, it would have been very obvious to all of the bystanders that I skimmed the surface of the water with Ben while moving him to the center of the baptismal font (dampening his backside and soaking my arm). Ben's near-drowning was only temporary though, and I soon got Ben stabilized where he wasn't partially lying in the water. (But now all readers of this blog are thinking twice before granting me repeat godmother duties...)

My favorite part of the modern Catholic baptism is the end of the baptism, or what I like to call "the Simba moment." This is where the newly baptized baby is held up by the priest for the entire congregation to see (just like the beginning sequence of Disney's The Lion King). Ben nearly missed his - he was being fussy after being doused with water, and so Amanda made a break for the church lobby to calm him down instead of joining our candle-lit procession to the front of the church for the Simba moment! It was one of those spontaneous mishaps that we will all remember and laugh about in the years to come. The priest clearly thought we were total amateurs, but it was not our fault we were unprepared. The Catholic Church has rehearsals for many of the other sacraments (First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage), and baptisms should be no exception. How is anyone supposed to keep everything straight on the fly with a squirming, wet (because they were partially drowned by their godmother) baby on their hands?

Godfather Erik, Godmother Sarah, Paul, Amanda, and little baptized Ben.

I am thrilled and honored that Amanda and Paul asked me to be Ben's godmother! I am looking forward to all of the memories we will continue to share together.