Last weekend I went to Boston to spend the weekend with my brother and his cute family to have a pre-first birthday celebration for the most beautiful girl in the world (in my non-biased opinion) - my niece Regina!
Luck was sort of on my side Friday night despite poor weather and what I anticipated would be crazy traffic leaving town on a Friday night. I had a semi-emergency memo to get out at the last minute before I left work and finished two minutes before my car picked me up to go to the airport. My flight was scheduled for 8:30 out of LaGuardia but given the weather and my fear of Friday night traffic out of the City, I left my office at 6:45 and somehow arrived at the airport and was through security by 7:15. So I rushed to the gate of the 7:30 shuttle flight to Boston and I was welcomed aboard. Unfortunately, we sat on the tarmac until 8:15. Ugh. I hadn't eaten anything since 1230 and was exhausted. Not my best combo. But after we took off we were given a snack - a real snack that included an apple, cheese, crackers and a cookie. A good Pepperidge Farm cookie. There were several extra flight attendants on board who pitched in to help distribute the snack packs and drinks. And the pilots went full speed and we arrived in Boston in about 30 minutes. Thank you Delta. And New Yorkers for not going to the airport Friday night.
Since Regina had already retired for the evening, I stayed up late catching up with Jason and Nadia exploring their new apartment and ransacking their kitchen for a late meal. We had an interesting political discussion and just enjoyed catching up after 6 months without a visit. In fact, we were all so eager to catch up, we didn't go to bed until 2 am - right after I got to say a brief hello to a very groggy baby who needed a mid-night changing.
The late evening made it difficult to get up as early in the morning as Regina. But I roused myself not long after I heard her first babble in the next room. I made a quick stop in the bathroom and Regina was at the door to greet me when I finished up. She is the happiest, more friendly baby I have ever encountered. She immediately accepted me as her buddy. I wish I had been coherent enough to pull my camera out that morning (not that I didn't take a million pictures) because she was absolutely delightful. I especially wish I could have recorded her reaction when I gave her my first gift (you better believe I gave her many - she is my only niece!). I bought this cute monkey from babysteals.com last April and didn't have an opportunity to give it to her before this weekend (mainly because I was too lazy to mail it). Well, it was worth the wait. Little G immediately reached out for the monkey and gave him a tight squeeze and cooed at her new friend.
It was nice to have a low-key Saturday that revolved around Regina. We all took naps and helped Regina practice walking. She would take a step or two but kept trying to make things more difficult by turning. Silly girl. We made a trip to Target and braved the rain and crowds and had dinner and Jason and Nadia's favorite Italian place - Sweet Basil. If you find yourself in Needham (I think), check this place out. It was delicious. The pesto dip for the bread was amazing as was the gouda baked in filo on greens with berries. A risky order that seriously wowed me. But I'm an easy sell when it comes to cheese. My ravioli was good too . . . until I took a bite of my brother's pasta. I wish I could remember what it was called because it blew my meal out of the water with its unexpected smokiness. Yum.
I let Regina open one of her presents from me before she went to bed - some adorable clothes from FAO Schwartz in turquoise, orange and brown florals and stripes. Very fun.
After Regina went to bed we decided to watch a movie. After some debate I chose North & South, a BBC production. I loved it and watched both complete dvds. While I cannot say it was better than Pride & Prejudice, it is up there in quality of production, acting and story line. In fact, the story line had several parallels. I highly recommend it when you feel like curling up on your couch for a while.
Sunday was church and more chasing Regina around with a camera and another nap and more rain. Regina's walking improved remarkably from Saturday to Sunday and I caught some of her talent on camera. Unfortunately I am usually talking to her in an unnaturally high voice I would like to claim belongs to someone else. Regina opened more presents - some from me and a couple from my mom and sister.
I also made her a pre-birthday bundt cake that came out of the oven looking like a giant cupcake. I will blame the error on unfamiliar equipment. Regina wasn't a huge fan but after a delicious dinner of chili verde and rice, she seemed tired and full. I had a great time getting to know this fascinating creature and discovering her love for books and puppies - we are so alike! - and hearing her sweet little voice eagerly greet me with hi! I look forward to seeing her again soon. Happy birthday Regina! I love you! Some (okay, many) slides for the family:
P.S. If anyone has tips on how to load video on blogger with a mac, they would be much appreciated. I didn't have this problem with my old PC but for some reason blogger won't load video for me anymore. I have tried twice and all it does is spin and tell me "Uploading video . . ." for hours! I am giving up - just visualize a fun video of Regina opening a present right here.