Friday, December 31, 2010

A New 365

Nathan took a few photos from our Nutcracker pop-up book, scanned in a few characters, and voila: design gold.

Happy 2011, friends.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's card outtakes

For the second year in a row, Christmas arrived before I managed to get cards sent. So on Christmas Day we attempted to get a great family shot for our second annual (Plan B) Happy New Year card. These poses didn't make the cut.

We finally managed to get a nice photo of the four of us. Nathan worked some serious, SERIOUSLY fab design mojo on them and they went out in the mail today. Picture coming soon.

Also coming soon: my thoughts on 2011. This year was absolutely amazing for me--life changing in so many ways. I have been putting much thought into the new year, setting goals and getting excited about what might be achieved. I vow each year never to make resolutions, but there is a wonderful newness each January 1 that demands some serious soul searching and goal setting.

One goal I know for sure--keep laughing at myself and this crazy family of four I am so blessed to call mine. Which brings me back to the New Year's card outtakes. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Check out mom and dad, same day.

I won't share what mom was doing to make dad lose it here. That's classified.

Are you busy setting goals for 2011? Excited yet?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 12

Christmas drawings.

There is a drawer in our art center full of crayons and markers and fun scissors and pencils. And when placed in the center of the table with the four of us around it, it can inspire some serious masterpieces.

Sunday was cold. SixTEEN degrees. The day started like this--cozy feet and hineys.

We eventually got dressed and headed to church. BRRRR! Ian wanted to make Christmas drawings when we got home, so we turned on the fireplace and some Christmas music and began.

Here is Ian's work. The outside of Santa's house on the left, the inside--the rooms of Santa and the Mrs.--on the right.

Santa's bag, by Ian.

Christmas gifts, by Ian and Nathan.

"Gingerbread Cookie Boy" by Lilly

"Frosty and Karen" by Lilly and Me

My stuff.

Fireplace by Nathan, stocking dots and rug by Ian

"O Little Town" by Nathan. Show off.

Throw some paper and crayons on your family table and draw! Happy Christmas creating!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who's in YOUR lunchbox?

Nathan's artwork on the contents of Ian's school lunches have become legendary among parents and children in Ian's class, sparking much conversation. (No kidding.)

From Batman to lightsabers to pizza slices turned into hideous creatures, Ian's baggies have displayed them all.

Why not make your child the IT kid at his lunch table this Christmas by cutting out his sandwich in the shape of a gingerbread boy, then decorating him from the outside? You might just discover your inner artist is just a Ziplock away . . .

Ginger Snaps

These cookies are crazy good. Like, prize-winning fair good. Nathan makes them every year, so I call them Nathan's Ginger Snaps. Recipe originally discovered here. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Clara in Training

The Nutcracker 2025: Here's your Clara.

Ballet, last class of the semester. Watch week. I took 100 pictures, because there's nothing sweeter than a three year old ballerina.

The poses. So precious. How many pilates poses can be mastered at age 3? These teeny ballerinas are working on a record.

Darling. Magical. A future Clara for sure, although we're not picky. We'd settle for Sugar Plum Fairy, too.

Maybe we'll make our debut in the Mouse King's army of The Little Theater in two years.

Looking forward to watching her watch our local theater's production of The Nutcracker this weekend. Front row, center, balcony. I can't wait.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Red cups and noses

Going to see the lights at Cornerstone--definitely a local tradition.

It must begin with a stop here for teeny red cup hot chocolates for Ian and Lilly. Order your Starbucks drinks at "kids' temperature" and your children can inhale them immediately, no patience required.

Driving through the route of lights is so cheery.

And it was a balmy 27 degrees outside, so why wouldn't we do the walk through, too? I confess, I waited in the car. Have I mentioned I have a cough that is keeping me up all night every night?

It wouldn't be Christmas in this town without stopping here. What's your favorite outdoor lights display?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Season of Miracles

Ian's first basketball game.

They announced the players over the mic to music one at a time as the kids ran in through a tunnel. Here he is flying in from the right.

Meet The Croaking Tree Frogs. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.

Setting up the shot:

And he SCORED!!!! He scored!! We were shocked. We were stunned. We (I) were airborne for a moment. Mostly, we were thrilled and proud for him.

There is definitely some magic floating in the air this season.

(*Note: these blog posts do not correspond with the dates in the countdown, in case you haven't noticed!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dickens would be Proud

Ian decided he needed an office. He rearranged furniture, cut a make-shift round window from cardboard and taped it to the wall, organized his clips, writing utensils and papers, and began working. Isn't he the cutest thing? Since Lilly has to do what Ian does, you see she, too now has an office.
Meanwhile, daddy disappeared. When daddy disappears this time of year, you know he's up to something for somebody.

Sure enough, he'd snuck away to the kids' rooms to cover their headboards in Christmas lights, a tradition since Ian's first year in his big boy bed. This is Lilly's first year.

She was pleased.

How many reasons can you have for loving one human being? When I met Nathan more than a decade ago, he re-introduced me to Christmas. To keeping it. Really keeping it. And loving every second of it. The lights, the smells, the music, the traditions--even the cold! An example: making cocoa in December isn't just making cocoa to him. It's putting on the right holiday music, inviting family, choosing special mugs, and doing some decorating. You get the idea. The man knows how to celebrate Christmas.

Ian and Lilly, the purpose of this blog is for you to know your life as I saw it--as the four of us saw it. So when you're all grown up and reading this, know that the reasons I loved your father were infinite, and remember your daddy at Christmas.

Peace on earth.

Christmas Tunes, Anyone?

The Aunt Rebekah thing has worked out very well for me these past 14 years. Sam keeps us laughing and guessing and learning all the time. Caleb keeps our calendars full with his first chair youth symphony gigs, church cello appearances, and school concerts.

Here he is singing at his Christmas concert. What a wonderful night. I love the shot Nathan captured of my dad giving my mama some lovin'.

And now, a special treat . . . Nathan's favorite Christmas tunes:
1. Hands down, all time favorite: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Good for anytime listening
2. An Old English Christmas by Craig Duncan
Nice for quieter/calmer listening
3. A mix of Harry Connick/Tony Bennett/Nat King Cole/Wynton Marsalis/Ella Fitzgerald
Perfect for shopping or parties--make your own mix (he did)

Coldplay!! Free on their site, the single "Christmas Lights". Listen + watch the video here.

Finally, have you seen this? Since it has about 5 million youtube views then I'm guessing yes, but I just saw it for the first time tonight, thanks to Nathan. Hilarious.

What are you listening to this Christmas season?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

She's Mine

Sweet Yee takes after her daddy in some ways.
She inherited his insanely high levels of serotonin and, going along with that, an incredible ability to take life in stride with a giant grin. Speaking of . . . she has his smile.

But in many ways, she is so me.

Christmas Craft Day at her preschool. Adult attendance and participation? Mandatory.

Seven craft stations, spread throughout the different classrooms. Each room had a giant easel, decorated beautifully with directions posted for the particular craft in that room.

Supplies were meticulously labeled and organized. Teachers were standing by to answer questions and spread holiday cheer. When the mad rush of crafting got too much, we could head to a lovely refreshment room for yummy Christmas snacks. And this isn't even the party+Christmas program day. That comes next week.

This preschool should write the book on how to do preschool.

Lots of Oriental Trading goodness and paint and glitter. All preschools should be well stocked in BOTH. Kids need to get messy. Moms and dads need to get messy.

This was my favorite. We started with half of the ornament. Bowls were lined up with teaspoons to measure out the different fillings. After filling it up, we snapped it together and added a chenille stem, curling it on a pencil. So cute. We'll be copying this for Ian's Christmas party at school.

This was a crafting MARATHON. I noticed a few children throughout the morning losing interest. Not us. Not my Lill. We were the last ones to leave. Literally, the last ones. Because she is so me, and when it comes to crafts, she can cut, glue and decoupage with the best of 'em. Now we have seven beautiful Christmas projects adorning the tree, house and walls. Merry Christmas.