'Muff'in Dome

Category Archives: Holiday

4th of July Highlights

I’m finally grabbing a few free moments to edit my photos from our 4th of July trip. (Yay!!!)

We had a great time celebrating the nation’s birthday with family over the long, holiday weekend.

with Gram

It was Evelyn’s first 4th but her cousin, Danny’s second, as he came into the world last year just a few hours before the day ended. Right on time to enjoy the fireworks! 🙂

So, rightfully, we celebrated his birthday, too, with some delicious angel food cake sprinkled with blueberries (his current favorite), strawberries and whipped cream.

Danny's 1st

tasting cake

The celebration couldn’t have been better than with Gram’s paella. Done al fresco, on the barbeque, it was as stunning as it was delicious. The seconds were nearly fought over.

Gram's paella

We enjoyed taking walks with Evelyn around the lake and breathing the cool mountain air. A nice break from the over-100-degree weather we’d been having at home.

Evelyn strolling

pretty toes

through the trees


We made plenty of time for play.



splashing away!

momma and Evey


sitting with Rocky and Grandpa

with Rocky

And rest.

asleep with daddy

Daddy’s Day

We awoke to our last full day in Virginia on a very special day….

Before leaving our hotel that morning, the front desk attendant handed my husband this little gift.

awesome dad

I couldn’t agree more!! 🙂

Alexandria Steve and I

Happy Father’s Day, My Love! To the best daddy my daughter could ask for!

flying with daddy

We enjoyed Fathers’ Day meandering around old town Alexandria.

old town Alexandria

We feasted on a delicious lunch at Gadsby’s Tavern, where Steve also sipped a spruce beer made from Ben Franklin’s original recipe.

gadsby's tavern

{Evey was in a goofy mood.}

Gadsby's Evey and Daddy

Gadsby's Evey

And later had ice cream at a creamery nearby, where Daddy gave Evey her first taste of ice cream — maple nut.

Evelyn ice cream 2

She practically swallowed the spoon she was so excited.

Evelyn ice cream 3

She was diving onto it the second he pulled it out of the cup.

Evelyn ice cream 1

I love watching these two together. Stephen is such a great daddy.

Alexandria pier with daddy

Just melts my heart. <3

loves her daddy


Ended the day with a visit to a pizzeria to meet up with a couple of Steve’s friends from law school and a friend of mine from Christendom. Headed west tomorrow….

Happy Easter!

Our Easter Sunday was beautiful from start to finish.

Easter morning 1

Easter morning 2

Easter morning 3

Evelyn woke up to a basket of {wooden} Easter eggs and a little Easter book (which, to her, is better for chomping on than reading).

Easter morning 4

We had planned on attending an early Easter Mass but, instead, had a nice, leisurely breakfast of eggs, bacon, and chocolate coconut scones first before heading to church.

Evelyn Easter 1

Evelyn Easter 2

Evelyn Easter 3

All were dressed in their Easter finest before exiting the house. In addition to her new butterfly dress, Evelyn wore her new shoes for the first time — her ‘princess glass slippers’! 😉

Muff family Easter

We enjoyed a delicious Easter dinner at Stephen’s parents’ house, including a visit with Uncle Eric and Aunt Lindy who were in town from San Francisco, and some of Lindy’s extended family who came up for the day.

Aunt Lindy eats toes

Lindy, Eric, Evey Easter

giggle with Lindy

giggle with Lindy 2

Evelyn took a real liking to Lindy’s brother, Danny. They were walking about, wiggling noses, and bouncing all over the place!

Danny and Evelyn 1

Danny and Evelyn 2

standing Evey

We stopped by my parents’ on the way home to say hello. (We’ll be celebrating Easter with them this coming Sunday.) They were with my grandfather, comforting him, as all are preparing to say goodbye to my grandmother soon who is very ill and dying in the hospital. Please keep her in your prayers.

Easter tulips

A happy and holy Easter to all, from the Muffs!

Another First Christmas….

This year was Stephen’s and mine first Christmas together as a married couple. Christmastime last year we were rather preoccupied with wedding preparations and didn’t have nearly enough time to focus on the celebration of Christmas.

wedding busyness

This year, we put up our little tree at the beginning of December, hung it with a strand of lights and our few little ornaments, made an attempt at an Advent wreath (which never got lit, but at least it had a presence on our dining table), hung Christmas lights from our apartment balcony (only ones on the row), enjoyed homemade eggnog, hot buttered rum and Gluwhein on numerous occasions, created candy cane reindeer, munched peppermint candy bark, and “hung” stockings near the ‘burning log’ on the TV as we lack a fireplace.

wedding reception kiss

But most importantly, we were together commemorating this amazing first year together. I am so blessed beyond words with his love, and having him by my side with our newborn daughter was the best Christmas present ever.

Muff family at Christmas

Here’s to many, many Christmas’ with him to come!  🙂

Evelyn’s First Christmas

I loved watching Evelyn and Daddy open stockings and gifts under our tree. We did this a few days before Christmas as we planned on being at Stephen’s parents’ house on Christmas morning.

First Christmas 1

First Christmas 2

She was very excited about her new fleece jacket and hat! She loves her fleece!

First Christmas 3

One of her favorite gifts is this blanket and hat made by her Grandma Muff. She loves to snuggle inside when we go on car rides or walks in the cold.


On Christmas Eve, she got all dolled up in her party dress, but was pooped long before the party ended.

Asleep in her party dress

Grandma Munsill gave her this little silver bell with her name engraved on the side. I read the story of the Polar Express to Evelyn so she would know Santa would visit her as long as she heard its sweet sound.

Evelyn's silver bell

For someone so little, she certainly had a big Christmas! 🙂

I Was Home For Christmas!


This was, by far, the best Christmas ever.

I didn’t celebrate the birth of Our Lord as a bachelor, and I didn’t celebrate it as a man running around preparing for his wedding on February 4th. Nope. This year, I celebrated it with my wife and our little daughter. We had the blessing of enjoying the time together, as well as the time with both of our parents, my aunt and uncle from Texas, my brother and his wife, my sister and her husband and their little boy Danny (a few months older than Evelyn), and Laurel’s eight brothers and two of Laurel’s sister-in-laws. Oh, and let’s not forget our 4-year-old nephew and 1 year-old niece!

My parents were gracious enough to open their house to the entire Munsill clan. It was definitely busy, but in the end, everyone enjoyed themselves. Elliot, my sister’s husband, played Christmas songs on the guitar with Johnny, Laurel’s brother. Everyone joined in singing. Laurel and I spent the night at my parents’. Evelyn gave me and Laurel a wonderful gift– she slept through the night! In the morning, we opened presents, had a delicious brunch, and lounged about the house.


Mid-afternoon, we left for the Munsills’. Laurel helped her mom prepare the food for dinner while I enjoyed a beer with her brothers and did my best to entertain little Evelyn. Laurel’s family draws names at Thanksgiving, so each person only has to buy a gift for one person (unless they opt for more). I received a fine bottle of Scotch, my second that day, and Laurel received a scrapbook that she intends to make into a baby book for little Evelyn.

More than all the gifts and good food, we thoroughly enjoyed seeing our families and spending time together. We are very blessed to live near most of our family members and look forward to holidays to come!

Happy New Year!

We’re taking a little breather after a wonderful rush of holiday celebrations! We have many things to share but only a few moments now to write….

happy Evelyn!

The Muff family wishes each and every one of you a Happy New Year! May 2013 bring many adventures, joy and blessings!

A Most Wonderful Christmas Carol

The Christmas Spirits

After reading what I’m about to write, you might offer a few suggestions: that I see a priest, that I see a psychologist, or that I see a paranormal investigator. You see, on Christmas, three Spirits visited me. This was truly a life-changing experience.

First, the Spirit of Christmas Captain Morgan visited me. He came in the rare form of Hot Buttered Rum. This brought me into the past. In law school, a man from Tennessee conjured up this Spirit, which was the last time I saw it. It’s perfect on a cold winter day. This time, my wife summoned forth this Spirit. Her incantations were as powerful as any Midwesterner. The Good Captain, along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract is enough to make even the most stoic man nostalgic – and fat.

Second, the Spirit of Christmas Aberlour visited me. This Spirit arose from the Highlands of Scotland in a small but powerful region of Speyside. In 2006, I crossed the River Spey when traveling along the coast of Scotland by train with three friends. I never met this Spirit before, but knowing the sheer, rugged beauty and goodness of its homeland is enough to guarantee its place in the near future of my life. When my parents introduced me to this Spirit, I was not afraid; I was honored. People have enjoyed this Spirit’s company for 186 years. I reckon that I shall see this spirit before my head hits the pillow tonight.

Finally, the Spirit of Christmas Glenrothes visited me. Hailing from the same Speyside region as her older cousin, Aberlour, this Spirit is slightly sweeter, but still has the same gold aura. My brother-in-law – wise and discerning – allowed me the pleasure to test this Spirit, and she was good. Laurel agrees! I imagine our future will include invitations to the Spirit of Glenrothes to grace our Christmas season’s table.

This Christmas, I have learned not to be a Scrooge and to share what I have. Well, these Spirits have not disappeared yet, and I look forward to inviting a few friends over so that I can introduce them and share their splendor. In fact, I should go do that right now!

Advent is Here!

Yesterday, my wife and I brought our daughter to Gram and Grandpa Muff’s house. My dad and I wandered into the woods and we chopped down a little Christmas tree for my apartment. Laurel and I brought it home and decorated it tonight. It’s borderline a Charlie Brown tree. It doesn’t matter, though. With lights on the balcony rail and the tree decorated and lit up, our place is ready for the holidays!

With warm Christmas adult-beverages such as Gluhwein and Eggnog (recipes and descriptions to come later), we need to keep in mind the season. Today was the first Sunday of Advent – a penitential season to reflect upon the coming of Christ into the world. Songs such as O Come Emmanuel and Gabriel’s Message remind us to keep in mind how we want Christ to find us when He comes into the world again.

Along with our other reflections this season, it is time for remembrance of our blessings. This year is my first Christmas with Laurel as my wife. Last year, we were very busy preparing for our upcoming wedding in February. This year, we get to relax. Well, a little bit. Someone else joined us. Evelyn is here! I’m not sure how much relaxing we’ll get, but it’s nice nonetheless. My wife and my daughter are my two greatest blessings this year. I am looking forward to each moment I get to spend with them this season.

Halloween fun

We didn’t attend any Halloween parties this year, but Steve had the occasion to dress up in costume for work. Once he had settled on a Clark Kent/Superman costume (due to a number of comments on his resemblance to the superhero), he discovered his desk mate at work would be donning the same attire.

So, no go.

We scouted out the local Halloween store and ran across an Angry Bird beanie. Turned out to be a win-win situation — great Halloween costume and excellent head cover in the upcoming winter months. It’s always a plus when you can get more than one wear out of a costume.

We both decided that the red sweatshirt and beanie combo was a stellar choice to the expensive, round polyester version for sale.

He pulls off the Angry Bird look pretty well. 😉

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