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A quick “plus and minus” recap of our weekend:

  • Left Valentine’s Day gift for Drea at work. Husband fail. (-)
  • Finished Season 4 of Lost on DVD. So much more gratifying to watch episodes back to back. (+)
  • Contact lens debacle Saturday morning. In half-awake state, rinsed my lenses with disinfectant instead of saline solution. Talk about burn. (-)
  • Nice ride with Tom and Renata up to western MD; enjoyed novelty of driving on Beltway and I-270 without will-to-live-sucking traffic. (+)
  • Skied at Whitetail with Tom. Fulfilled need to ski at least once a year. (+)
  • Drea and Renata shopped at Hagerstown outlets while Tom and I skied. Everyone wins! (+)
  • Tom forgot gloves. $50 at ski shop. (-)
  • I forgot ski goggles/sunglasses. $30 at ski shop. (-)
  • Pretty much got taken for a ride by monopoly-exploiting jerks at ski shop. (-)
  • Multiple skiing fails on my part. Highlights: not going fast enough to make it over ski jump, sliding backwards down ski jump, almost getting taken out by snowboarder behind me, coming to painful grips with shocking degree of my imcompetence, AND skiing into a fence. Not the wooden kind, the orange plastic safety net kind. But still. (-)
  • Later redeemed myself by nailing a double black diamond. Boo-ya. (+)
  • Met up with Smizz in Hagerstown after skiing/shopping excursions. (+)
  • Tried to see Mall Cop. Sold out. (-)
  • Saw Coraline instead. Good, but freaking weird and definitely not for kids, despite PG rating. (+)
  • Smizz took us to a great little place called Cafe del Sol for dinner. Salsa, nachos, Yuengling, and meat-lover’s calzone. Delish. (+)
  • Starbucks for the ride back home. (+)
  • Sore muscles the next day. Self-loathe for not being in better shape and having to groan like an old man every time I stand or sit. (-)
  • Who cares? Our weekend was off the hook. (+)
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After two great four-day weekends of staying up late, hanging out with friends, and generally goofing off, I’m going through holiday withdrawal this week. (What? A five-day work week? Are you freaking kidding me?) Ah, reality.

Our New Year’s weekend was basically off the hook from start to finish. Well, almost. Drea was in a car accident Wednesday afternoon with a guy in a pick-up truck who tailgated her for a mile or so before finally rear-ending her. But she’s fine and it looks like all our expenses, rental car included, will be covered through this guy’s insurance.

My work closed early on New Year’s Eve, which provided a little chill time before heading to the Janes home to celebrate (as was necessary as I’m becoming increasingly brain-dead after 10pm.) The festivities included homemade party hats, Renata’s homemade New Year’s version of Apples to Apples, and lots of Dance Dance Revolution, which I’m actually getting a little better at! (And “better” is a nice way of saying that, really, I just suck a little bit less at dancing.)

newyears

The gang at New Year's

The late nights didn’t end New Year’s Eve, as we spent Friday and Saturday nights hanging out with Tom and Renata and our life group, respectively. What began as a group bowling night turned into a game night at Mike’s house (bowling lanes were booked till late), playing Loaded Questions and Wii Bowling.

One New Year’s resolution of mine is to read more novels/fiction. I’ve realized recently that my reading diet is a little nonfiction-heavy. I’m about to start David Wroblewski’s novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which I’ve heard great things about. Anyone have other suggestions?

Some more of my hopes for 2009 are to be more obedient in day-to-day things: prayer, Scripture reading, intentional silence, maybe even some community service. Less thinking/talking and more doing. Our blog-friend Kate McDonald recently shared some great stuff about this on her blog.

Anyway, I hope you’re having a great new year so far. Here’s to 2009!

Christmas absolutely snuck up on us this year.  We smashed all of our Christmas shopping in one day last week!  Even still, I ended up at the mall today to make some returns and get a last minute Christmas need.  Ridiculous.  However, we are so grateful that this year, we are not stressed financially because of Christmas.  We have a sweet little place, great friends, wonderful family and we are happy.  Happy, happy, happy. :)

Despite Christmas creeping up on us, we did manage to get a Christmas card together!  We didn’t send one out last year, so it’s our first!  We didn’t send it to our local friends (sorry guys), but here it is for your viewing pleasure.

I know it’s not a very Christmas-y picture, but hey, we like it. :)  

We also got our tree!  We got another one from Home Depot this year (they are cheap and great).  When we went to look, the trees were all tied up.  We picked one according to height and didn’t bother to check the width.  When we untied it, we discovered it was as wide as it was tall!  So, it’s more like a Christmas bush.  Very stout indeed.

Drew did this.

Since we moved into a new place, we decided the best way to get motivated and put our house together was to host our small group’s Christmas party.  We had 3x the amount of food needed.  It was awesome.  We also did a white elephant gift exchange, which proved to be the hit of the night.  I got a singing bear puppet, and Drew got a set of plastic golf clubs which were used to play a continuous tournament of golf the rest of the night.  

Janaiha got a fabulous pair of socks.  I was so jealous.

Beth got this wonderfully oversized hat, which we all tried on.  Tim was a great model.

Tim and Beth brought Honey Buns, Iced Honey Buns and Nutter Butter bars!  Delish!

Our group is the best!  (Mike, there was a spot reserved for you right above Lewis.  The shadow on the wall is either your presence…or maybe the Holy Spirit.)

And we got the chance to do this:

Have a very merry Christmas!

We’re always trying to expand our music library, and Christmas music is no exception! Hence, we’d like some recommendations. What is your favorite Christmas album? (My current favorites are Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God and James Taylor At Christmas.)

Go.

Does it count as “writing a blog” if I only post a video? :)

Being friends with Tom and Renata, Drea and I usually get in a little bit of parenting training with their kids when we get together to hang out. This weekend was no exception.

On Friday we all went over to my parents’ house in Dunkirk for Halloween duty, as my parents were on vacation in Utah. While Tom and Renata took the almost-2-year-old Hayden out for his first trick-or-treating excursion, Drea and I stayed behind to hand out candy and keep an eye on Jack.

This was when I had probably my first extended experience feeding an infant from a bottle. This was more of a challenge than I anticipated, as Jack engaged himself in an all-but-uninterrupted farting extravaganza the whole time, which resulting in a considerable amount of crying and allowing the bottle’s contents to dribble down his chin and neck. But I think I did OK for a rookie! (Diaper duty was averted as I realized that Jack had soiled himself only seconds before Tom and Renata returned. Score!)

The four of us ordered Chinese and debated over which movie to order. (The usually gore-averse Drea wanted to watch Interview With the Vampire – WHAT?) We eventually decided on Run, Fat Boy, Run, whose funny, off-beat humor made up for a somewhat predictable plot.

On Saturday night, Tom and I ended up driving to Lexington Park and back (110 miles roundtrip) because Drea and Renata lost their car keys at a wedding they were shooting down there. After dropping off a spare key, we grabbed some Taco Bell on the way back home with Hayden and Jack in tow. This is not unusual, as our wives are often off together on photo shoots on the weekends. We joke about how seeing two guys together with two kids probably leads some people to make incorrect assumptions about our lifestyle.

The weekend was topped off by meeting up with our life group people on Sunday night for a bonfire/pumpkin carving/fondue/Wii shindig, and much fun was had by all.

Life is good. Weekends are the bomb now. We miss living in Annapolis a little bit, but being closer to so many of our friends, and to our church, definitely makes weekends more relaxing and enjoyable. The fall colors are particularly stunning in our neck of the woods this week, and the weather is crisp and cool. AND (thank goodness) the Presidential race is over today! I’ve enjoyed the political conversations, debates, etc., but I’m definitely ready for it to be over.

Til next time, folks!

A great Labor Day weekend it has been.  Drea and I spent Friday evening at my parents’ house for one of the last “family nights” for a while with all family members present.  My youngest sister Adrienne went off to Montclair State University yesterday in what may be the most gutsy leaving-for-college of the four Ackermann children.  Montclair is in New Jersey, just outside NYC, and Adrienne doesn’t know a soul there.  Talk about expanding your horizons!  I think we all know she’ll do great.

In lieu of our typical “movie night”, our family watched Barack Obama’s inspiring acceptance speech that my dad had taped the night before.  Not all of us are Obama fans, but it was still cool to watch together as our country named its first black man as a major party’s Presidential nominee.  What a cool time to be an American.

Saturday morning I met up with Mike, Tom, and Patrick for a greasy breakfast at Al’s and some kayaking on the Patuxent.  It was good to hang out with just the guys, as being married tends to make “man time” increasingly scarce.  However, I must admit for good measure that as the other three enjoyed cigars on the river, I instead snacked on a granola bar.  A less manly choice, one might argue, but certainly a healthier one!  I’ll be throwing it in their faces decades from now when they’re all hacking up a lung while I win a triathlon.  :)

Drea and I met up with Allison and Rich, two of our most favorite people, hands down.  We grabbed dinner at TGI Fridays, followed by one of those meanderings through Barnes & Noble where you spend an hour flipping through books and sitting in their comfy chairs, and then walk out without buying a thing.  (Nowadays, I pretty much only go into B&N to “preview” books I will later order used on half.com.   Dude, I love Barnes & Noble.)

In other news, Drea officially launched her photography website and blog, proving once again her passion and fast-growing competence for photography.  In less than a year, she’s made an impressive foray into a brand-new field, built up her clientele base, and seen her business quickly blossom, largely by word-of-mouth.  People, my wife is just cool.

As I type, it’s 9:00 and we’re about to start a movie.  This is an atypical Sunday night for us, as we’re usually in bed by 10.  But such is the glory of holiday weekends, where we can stay up late and sleep in, just because we can.

Hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day!

Well, friends, we have broken the two week posting streak :) I think this is a good thing…it means we are too busy with life to blog about it!

We have been up to so much the past few weeks! Our first married Christmas snuck up and nailed us. Man, I have never been so busy! Christmas has always been a relaxing time for me – I’ve had a break from school and nothing to do but chill out. This year, however, between full-time jobs, Christmas photography clients :), choir concerts, getting gifts, Christmas parties, wrapping, and all the normal stuff we already keep busy with, Christmas was a little crazy. We enjoyed it though. We kept reminding each other of the specialness of the holiday for us by referring to it as “this our first Christmas”. Christmas Eve was great; we went to service at 7 and then spent the night at our place alone to enjoy it. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much as I did on Christmas Day. We exchanged gifts at Drew’s parents’ house and had brunch, then we headed to my parents’ house for more gifts and lunch, then to Drew’s uncle’s house for dinner – 3 gigantinormous meals. Glorious.

We decided that we would only get each other one gift this year, with a price limit. Drew figured out a way to get me a sweet camera lens I had been coveting by getting his family in on the gift. Oh man, that lens is great. I got Drew tickets to see his favorite piece of classical music, Mozart’s Requiem, in Boston over Valentine’s Day. He loved it.

The day after Christmas, we did absolutely nothing. It. Was. So. Great. Then, Thursday, we left for a Poconos vacation with the Ackermanns. We spent the past four days in a cabin in the Poconos, lounging in the hot tub, playing games with the family and just enjoying being together! It was awesome! I got to experience skiing the first time. My official statement: I hate skiing. I sucked at it and I am so, so sore. But I’m glad I went, and do not regret anything about the vacation :)

Now, we are home and it’s back to real life. As I type this, poor Drew is at work (who works on New Year’s Eve?!). Tonight, we are going to our friend Kristen’s house for a partaaay and tomorrow we will be sleeping in and trying to enjoy our last day of vacation.

I promise to post pictures of “this our first Christmas” as soon as possible :)

Happy New Year!

(No, Randi, this is not an ode to you. :) ) 

So, this being our first Christmas, I absolutely insisted that we get a real tree. My dad is allergic to a lot of things, one of them being pine trees, so I have never had a real tree! I am enjoying watering the tree and dustbusting the pine needles waaaay too much.

We had planned on getting a tree right after Thanksgiving. We ended up getting it this past Monday. We had planned on going to a tree farm and cutting it down (for me to get the whole real tree experience). We bought one for $20 at Home Depot. :) I think it’s great! It’s the perfect little tree and looks just perfect in our apartment. And it smells glorious!

In other holiday news, this has been the busiest holiday season of my life! Last weekend was non-stop; we both took off work Monday and poor Drew got really sick. But we are loving life and our first Christmas together :)

So Drea and I, along with our friends Mike and Tom, will be playing some Christmas music at Starbucks on West Street in Annapolis, located here…

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We’re playing this Saturday, Dec. 15 from 5 – 7pm. Hopefully we’ll sound at least half-decent. I SINCERELY hope that we won’t sound anything like this. So, if you’re free, come on out!