dyker heights

weekend update: christmas shopping, light displays and historic houses

So, it’s Sunday night and I’m actually writing a weekend update post.

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Friday I took the day off of work so that I could uphold the tradition (and necessary evil) of going Christmas shopping with my mom, aunt, and cousins. When I say necessary evil, it’s the crowds and the pressure of getting it all done that I hate, not the company. The mall we went to had a huge Christmas tree in the middle and if anyone thought they would get out of taking a selfie in front of it while I was around, they were sadly mistaken.

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Saturday was tree day, where my mom picked out the best Christmas tree we’ve ever had. It’s tall and it’s fat. It’s like Rockefeller Center right there in my living room. The whole house smells like pine and I truly can’t understand how people can prefer fake ones. No judgment, it’s just once you go real, you know the deal. The decorating crew (my mom) hasn’t worked its magic yet but it will soon so keep checking my instagram┬áto see it in all of its glory.

I also finally got my flu shot on Saturday because I think my father was convinced if I didn’t get it, the flu was coming for me and the strains are terrible this year, or so I’ve heard… repeatedly. It takes 2 weeks to take effect, but after that COME AT ME, FLU. I’M READY.

Saturday night, Nicole and I decided to brave the snow and take a ride over to Dyker Heights and see the lights. We couldn’t believe that there were actual tour buses parked just on the outskirts of the activity. I had heard the crowds were getting a little out of control, but I never expected designated tour bus parking areas. Anyway, we figured the snow might have kept people away, but obviously, that wasn’t the case. We did two blocks and decided to move on to another, lesser populated part of the neighborhood, whose lights are just as pretty.

I’ve shared pictures of the lights in Dyker Heights before but I’ve never gone in the snow, and I think it adds sort of a magical element. So if these look vaguely familiar, that’s why.

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I love a good light display.

Our neighborhood is home to the Lott House, which was built in the 1700’s and was rumored to have been a rest stop for George Washington at some point during the war. It was also believed to be a stop on the Underground Railroad. The house fell into disrepair somewhere in the 80’s when whoever was living there either moved or died. Finally, when I was in 7th or 8th grade, a historical society came in and started to clean up the place. That Christmas season, they did a tree lighting and invited the neighborhood into the house for a quick glimpse of a few rooms. I remember it being very dark because it was very early on into the restoration and they hadn’t done anything with the electricity yet. I remember they had set up some of the things they found in the house, like dolls and plates. I can’t confirm that they were from the time period that George Washington spent the night, but I like to think that they were.

For a while, they worked tirelessly to fix up the house and the land around it. In recent years, they’ve been holding events in the garden in the summer, they were selling tickets to see the inside of the house again during the Fall, and most recently, they had another tree lighting ceremony. I missed this one because 1) it was Friday and I was shopping and 2) I had a strong feeling that my crush from 7th grade wouldn’t be there, which was my main reason of going the first time. The magic was gone.

I took the opportunity of the snow, the dark and the absence of crowds to pass the house and get a picture of it with the tree.

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I’ve been wanting for years to write a post about the Lott House because, even if George Washington never stayed there, I still think it’s pretty cool that right here, in the middle of little old Marine Park, there’s a 300ish-year-old house that’s still standing and on its original plot of land (or some of it, at least). I keep (kept) meaning to go over and take a few pictures and then sit down and research it so I don’t sound like a blithering idiot, but none of that ever happened so consider this that post. In case I’ve piqued your interest, here’s a small article from Untapped Cities complete with a video showing some of the inside of the house.

Circling back from that tangent, my Sunday was spent reading, napping, and watching Netflix. I finished The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis. It’s a historical fiction about the Barbizon Hotel. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend.

And that’s all, folks!

 

What did you do this weekend? See any great light displays?

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need a little Christmas, right this very minute!

This year it’s been hard to get myself into the Christmas spirit. I’ve been circling the rabbit hole and sometimes my foot hovers over it, but I can’t get myself to jump in. I mean, I’m excited for the holiday, but I’m overwhelmed. There’s so much I want to do with seemingly no time to do it. Also, we’re having new windows put in on our sun porch but due to the horrible monsoon like rains we’ve been having, the company keeps rescheduling. Which means that everything that was out on our sun porch is now in the dining room. We look like we belong on Hoarders. It’s starting to drive me nuts.

I was scrolling through my Bloglovin’ feed (you can click on the snazzy gold button on the right to follow me on there. it’s the one with the + sign.) and I came across a Christmas survey of sorts that Allie from Allieology did.  I stole borrowed it because I figured it would be fun to do and maybe help to throw myself down that rabbit hole.

Without further ado…

Talk about finding out Santa wasn’t real. How did it happen? What did you feel?
Honestly, Santa just faded out. I believed in him for a long time, but after a while I just wrote letters and stuff for the hell of it. I think my cousins kept it up for each other, not quite sure if the others believed anymore. When my youngest cousin announced that Santa was mommy and daddy, the jig was up. I also remember in maybe 4th grade one of my classmates asked me if I still believed. I was so conflicted because I whole-heartedly did at that point, but I felt like I was being set up and I didn’t want to be made fun of. So I coolly answered, “Um. a little.” And then nervously asked, “Do you?” My classmate smiled and said “Yea, a little too”. And then I exhaled.
I still leave cookies out, though. I have a cookies for Santa plate that’s been around my whole life so instead of putting it away for my children (it may never see the light of day again if i did that), I throw some cookies and a carrot (for Rudolph) on it, and set it down next to a nice glass of eggnog. My parents are such good sports because there is always a cookie or two missing, a bite mark in the carrot, and the glass of eggnog is empty.

How do you countdown the days until Christmas? Tell us about your advent calendar. 
I take 25 and subtract it from whatever day it is at the moment. Nothing fancy.
I don’t have an Advent calendar, never have. In Sunday school we had the wreath and the teacher lit the candles but that’s where my advent experience stops.

Share a tradition you want to start in your own home one day. 
I love going to look at the lights. So where ever I live I will find the biggest light display and make sure my husband and kids go every year. Or just me and my husband. Or just me and my cats. (actually, I’m not a pet person, but I’m covering all of my bases.)


Christmas in Brooklyn – it’s the best!

Holiday decor home tour. (Because you know we want to see it) 
I’ll show you my tree because my house is a mess and my mom would kill me if I showed anything else. My mom does a great job every year decorating whatever tree we pick out. Our tree always was (and always will be, as long as i win the yearly fight) a real tree. This year she keeps saying that this tree is too wide. I think it’s perfect. big is beautiful

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This one is my little “Kate Spade” tree in my bedroom. It’s not exactly what I envisioned, but for $5 from Five Below, it will do.

What is your Christmas music policy? When is it allowed to be listened to? What are your favorite artists? Hymns or more recent songs?  
Sometimes I’ll “allow” Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but usually my rule of thumb is that it should start the day after. everyone needs to have their shining moment.
My favorite Christmas albums are Mariah Carey’s (the original one) and N’SYNC’s (if the Backstreet Boys came out with one, Justin and Co. would have gotten the boot). I also love the traditional songs from Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc. They remind me of my grandmother. Alternatively, whenever I hear a regular Frank or Dino song, it reminds me of Christmas.

Every family has an odd, interesting, unique Christmas day tradition. What’s yours? 
It’s not a tradition but, something I can count on is my mom takes foooorrrreevvverrrrr to get ready to come downstairs to open gifts. She gets up, goes to the bathroom, brushes her teeth, brushes her hair, washes her face, changes into different pajamas. Then she finally comes downstairs and wants to make coffee, take out things she might need for breakfast (not that she makes a gourmet meal. it’s usually bagels and coffee). Then finally, she’s ready for presents. This process takes between 30 and 45 minutes. I make sure I have nothing in my eyes, teeth, or on my face, grab the camera and I’m ready. My father smoothes his hair and he’s good. I mean, really.
The only real tradition we (my parents and i) have is that we eat fish on Christmas Eve. I think it’s an Italian thing. We don’t do all of the seven fishes (i don’t even know what they are), but we have some and it’s my favorite meal of the week, maybe even the month. hands down.
My mom and I also bundle up and take a ride to this house that’s next to a funeral home near my house that does a whole light display. It usually isn’t crowded because we go on Christmas Eve after dinner. We’re usually gone for no more than a half an hour, but it’s something I look forward to every year.

As far as traditions with the rest of my family, we have a few.
annual cousins Christmas picture
my oldest cousin always says grace (i’m second in line and hate doing it.)
the “kids” open gifts first (except now we do a secret santa)
eggplant parmigiana and artichokes no matter how big the rest of the meal is

I like to make sure I watch Miracle on 34th Street and/or Home Alone 2. I can’t find my Miracle DVD and I’m having withdrawals.tumblr_mekngoOe3U1qa5etko1_500See you soon!

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