Todd Family Blog

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our First Christmas Tree!

Here's the 3rd installment in my attempt to catch up after the holidays! Be sure to check out the other recent posts below. Happy New Year!

So, in five years of marriage Brad and I had never bought a Christmas tree. Of course, traveling for the holidays and tiny California apartments and homes are not conducive to tree-buying. This year we were very excited to do an old-fashioned tree decorating day. The day after Thanksgiving, which happened to be beautiful, we went to Dulls' Christmas Tree Farm in Thorntown. What a great place. They set you up with a map and a saw and send you out to choose your tree. Apparently, we like a variety that no one else prefers, because we were the only people in our section. But that just meant that we had our pick! It didn't take us long to choose our tree, toss it in the back of the truck and get it set up at home. I'm looking forward to it being an annual tradition.

The trees at Dulls

They have lots of different barns there - this one was the Wreath Barn. There was also one with hot cocoa and coffee (and the Indiana Honey Queen - not kidding), one for buying ornaments, a feed-the-sheep station for kids, a fire pit and a big barn where they clean and rope your tree. Quite the operation.

Brad cutting down our chosen tree.

I got to wheel it up the hill back to the farm.

All decorated that night with our Costco ornaments. (We only had about 10 ornaments before running to Costco and buying a box of 85!) At the tree farm we also bought a star for the top, a cardinal ornament to commemorate our first Indiana Christmas in our home, and a Santa holding a tree to commemorate our first Christmas tree. I see why people like collecting ornaments!

Christmas for California Dogs

This is the second part of my massive attempt to catch up after two months away from the blog. Be sure to catch my first installment right below this one!

Our California dogs got their first snow experience before Thanksgiving. They were HUGE fans. After a bit of confusion they turned into big puppies and wanted to spend all their time outside. We haven’t had much snow since, but I’m sure they are crossing their paws for a blizzard sometime soon.

These videos are great - The first is their first look at snow. Lots of smelling the snow going on. The second was taken just a few minutes later. Snow is apparently a big hit! At the end Gracie and Cal go crazy playing. Luke usually joins in, but he was still too intrigued. The third is them just chilling and Gracie making a frozen treat bone her best friend.

We always like to say that Cal has a “sheep’s head”. Well, at the Christmas tree farm there were some sheep, and I think we’ve proved our point.

Okay. They were $1 at Target. What can I say? Gracie looks particularly "put upon", if you will.




One morning this fall I came home to a very shocking site. When I walked in the garage door, Gracie did her normal stretching and shaking to great me. It was only after I noticed her ear gushing with blood that I took a look around. Somehow she had managed to get a long rosebush thorn to go all the way (completely!) through her ear! It bled literally all day, and when she shook her head blood sprayed ALL OVER our mudroom and kitchen. It really looked like a crime scene. Well, I’d been looking for a reason to repaint some of the downstairs anyway. I still can’t believe I had to repaint an entire room because of a dog.

Not sure this picture fully captures what it looked like, but this is one of the walls in the mudroom right before I repainted it.

We found out that Costco is an unbelievable place for dog toys and beds. We got these three fabulous stuffed toys that make funny animal sounds. I can't believe they have lasted two weeks now! The sound makers are broken, but like the Velveteen Rabbit the dogs are only more smitten. I would have taken a photo of Luke cuddling with one, but he is more intent on throwing or destroying them (which we're trying to work on). He'd obviously never had toys before we adopted him, and he still is a bit confused to their purpose if you don't chase it or chew it. Fair enough.

As you can tell below, the duck was the biggest hit. The skunk also makes an appearance. The poor hedgehog seems to be used more for fetch. Hmmm.



My Favorite Things: Fall, Friends and Basketball

I know it’s over, but fall became even more beautiful just before winter arrived. Since it’s our first fall in this house I didn’t know what all our trees would look like. Late in the season the bright oranges and yellows came in and were so beautiful.

This was the sunset on Thanksgiving - hard to capture and do it justice, but gorgeous.

Bob Todd has become the somewhat official head of the Butler viewing parties at the Brewhouse in Zionsville. The alumni office even posts the gatherings on the website, announces them on the radio, gave him decorations, and Bob puts together a trivia game for half-time! We’re all so proud of Brad Stevens, doing so well with his young team, now ranked the #1 mid-major! Brad (Todd) and I have attended a couple home games and I just love going to Hinkle Fieldhouse again. It's maybe the best place in the country to watch a college game.
Go Dawgs!

Monique and Ryan Metzing

Winning an exciting game at Hinkle against Big Ten opponent Northwestern.

Everyone gathering at the Brewhouse. That's Brad Stevens' mom, Jan, in the front, and Bob in the hat.

One of my favorite things about living in the Indy area again is the ability to casually meet up for drinks with friends. We met Lauren and Jason Brown in Fishers a while back. I couldn’t help snapping a picture of Jason with his drink order – the lemon martinis were on special. Not what I expected.

We had a lovely dinner at Ali and Kyle Yancey’s this fall, too. It’s so hard for us all to find time to get together, and it was wonderful to have a whole evening to catch up. We also loved spending time with their very handsome and happy little boy, Isaac, as well as enjoying Ali’s wonderful food and their cuddly St. Bernard, Annabelle. Hope to see you guys again soon!

This November Brad and I celebrated our 5th anniversary! We had a great weekend planned downtown – lunch at Goose the Market, drinks at Palomino, staying at the 5 star Conrad, dinner at a great new restaurant,14 West, and finally a Colts game to cap it off!

I must say, the Colts game is probably the best sports event I have ever been to. The new stadium is BEAUTIFUL and a wonderful place to watch a game. They take the family atmosphere extremely seriously - crazy drunkenness, fighting, swearing, etc., just aren't tolerated. I couldn't believe how fast security showed up if someone got annoying! And EVERYONE was there for kickoff and had at least one thing on that was blue. That crowd really, really knows how to watch a game – screaming like crazy when the opposing offense is on the field (I almost lost my voice!), then so quite it is almost spooky when Peyton is calling our offensive plays. Seriously, you almost want to shush people when our offense is on the field. I could not have been more impressed or more excited to actually be watching a game at home. Now we’re approaching the playoffs! Go Colts!

Everyone walking in for the game.

I had ordered a replica of our cake top for our anniversary. It turned out beautifully and tasted SO good. I highly recommend Classic Cakes in Carmel!

The weekend before Thanksgiving we went to Nashville for the wedding of Ashley Evans, a good family friend of the Todds. (Ashley’s Dad is one of Bob’s closest friends.) If you are ever in Nashville, go to Pancake Pantry. No matter how long the wait is (and there is ALWAYS a wait), it is worth it. Bob was like a little kid – his favorite restaurant and getting to see one of his best friends! It was a fun weekend. And on the way home we got to see my great aunt Anna May, who lives in Clarksville, TN. She’s 92, lives alone, and just stopped mowing her yard herself. Crazy. I hope I have those genes! I do know that I have her accent. Brad made fun of me the whole time I was talking to her. That southern side of me is alive and well.

Bob and his good friend, Bill Evans.

Brad and me with Anna May.

We had a wonderful family Thanksgiving at the Todds’ this year. Bonnie realized it was also the first time she had hosted at that house since moving to Zionsville when Brad was in 4th Grade! And we couldn’t get over the fact that all we had to do was drive 15 minutes down the street to get to a family holiday. Quite the revelation.
The food was so good, it’s possible that Brad and Bob overdid it a bit. I like the “before and after” quality to these pictures.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend The Flying Toasters were playing at a Zionsville bar. So many of our friends happened to be in town, so we threw together a fun night out. What a great time! It was WONDERFUL to see everyone together. Now that most of our weddings are behind us, these opportunities are very few and far between. Miriam also joined us, and it always makes me happy to see how well everyone gets along – Zionsville friends, College friends, the wives, etc. It’s just a great group. Miss you all!

Me, Miriam and Monique

Ryan, Brad, Chad

Kate and me

Me, Adrienne, Amanda and Kate

Nate and Amanda Crisel