'Muff'in Dome

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!

Laurel’s Goals for 2013

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I aim for New Year’s GOALS, a few things to work towards throughout the year. Saying ‘Exercise every day’ isn’t very motivating, but saying ‘Run a 10-K’ gives you a reason to run.

Laurel photography

* I want to work on my photography more this year, learning how to use my Nikon DSLR better in manual mode and practice composition techniques. (Perhaps to start a photography business in the future???) To help achieve this goal, I started a 365 Project on a little side blog — http://laurels365project.blogspot.com — which I intend to post a photo on every day for a year. Please stop by! 🙂

Eiffel at night blurry

* I would like to be fluent in French by the end of the year so I’m going to start working on Rosetta Stone at least 5 times a week. I still need to determine a reasonable amount of time each day to work on it. Another aid to gaining French fluency? I’d like to read “Les Miserables” in French from cover-to-cover but I’m not sure I’m up to the task just yet. (This is a lifetime goal for me.)

holding daddy's hand

* My brother gave me a scrapbook for Christmas that I am turning into a baby book for Evelyn. I’m planning on fixing at least 2 pages a month, updating it with milestones and photos. It is my intention to have it filled out by the end of the year to commemorate her first year.

running on the beach

* I have some exercise goals that I’m still hashing out as I’ve just begun to get back on my feet after giving birth. Starting out this time around after an exercise hiatus is a bit different with my body having changed from pregnancy as it never has before. I’m doing some research on good exercises to restrengthen my core and beginning to walk daily with Evelyn before I begin running again.

March - Steve and Laurel

* I love to spend quality time with the people in my life that I love……especially my husband! 🙂 On that note, we are making it a priority to have a date night (or morning or afternoon) every Monday. My husband has the day off and many places are empty of people since it is during the normal work week. Our little ‘third wheel’ may be along for the ride most of the time for now, but it’s important that we have some time together despite our lack of ‘alone time.’

I will come up with more things as the year rolls on but it is always good to get things off to a good start in the New Year!

Mommy, what are you doing?

Mommy, what are you doing?

I love this photo. 🙂

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!

The Gown

I took a few moments the other day after Evelyn’s bath and redressed her in her baptismal gown. My good friend, Lizzie, who lives on the other side of the country, sent it to her, so I wanted to capture a few close-up shots for her to see and to memorialize my beautiful daughter in this beautiful gown.











One month!

We’ve reached the one month milestone. It is incredible how much Evelyn has grown each day! Every day her personality is a little more revealed, she becomes slightly more alert and attentive, and comes closer and closer to filling out her bassinet.

Evelyn is completely infatuated with lights. Being born near Christmastime was rather fortuitous as she has plenty of opportunity to catch a glimpse of twinkling lights. We sit for hours every day staring up at the lights sparkling on the Christmas tree. It’s her favorite thing to do at 4 am right now. I’m trying to convince her there are better times of the day to do such things….

She’s recently discovered her tongue and loves to sit with Daddy flicking her tongue in and out of her mouth at him. He responds in kind. She’s also inherited the trait of being able to roll her tongue like a hot dog. 🙂

We’ve taken her on a couple walks but she doesn’t stay awake long once we get moving. I hope she enjoys being outdoors as much as Mommy and Daddy do. I certainly anticipate many hours at the park with her in the future as she loves to MOVE!

I’ve been attempting to coordinate a nap or two of hers with getting a few things done, but she loves to be right alongside Mommy (or Daddy, but he’s at work during the day) at all times. I recently introduced her to the Ergobaby when we’ve been out and about. She was all smiles the first time I put her inside and enjoys the close snuggles. I’m going to try her inside to get a few chores done here soon.

Right now, I’m typing this one-handed as I hold her in the other. (I’m getting better at this every day! ;)) She started off napping right next to me on the couch, but I could only satisfy her with that for so long….

Evelyn is Baptized!

Yesterday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. That is the day that Catholics remember Mary’s birth and how she was preserved from Original Sin. When the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and said “Hail, full of grace!” the word “full” means bestowed upon. God bestowed His grace upon her, and she never rejected it. What a beautiful day to have our child baptized! God, through baptism, bestowed His grace upon our daughter that day. As Mary was the first Christian (quite literally saying “yes” to Christ, and accepting Him into her life), we pray our daughter looks to her as as model of faith.

Our friends and family joined us at St. Stephen the First Martyr parish in Sacramento for this momentous occasion, when our daughter entered the Church. We are looking forward to watching her grow! Here are some pictures – click on them to see larger versions!

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.

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