Thursday, January 30, 2014

the calm before the storm

Thanksgiving is the one break from school that Zach actually has no extra work to do so it is kind of nice that we just get to enjoy all being home together.  It would be fun to travel and see family, but I also love having one holiday that seems nice and laid back.  The weather was beautiful and Aunt Angie decided to drive over from California for a few days.
Jimmy had gotten a very fun dinosaur book at his school library before break that was filled with tons of dinosaur crafts, games, and activities.  He wanted to do them all.  Luckily his Aunt Erin is a better sport then his mom because he convinced her to help him make this:
We made a giant roadmap on the driveway and put our bikes to good use.
There were lots of stop signs and rules, but Dad didn't like to follow them.
I drew a Piston Cup track for Gus and he was happy for quite awhile.
Then the relaxing was over and it was time to enter the month of December...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

erin's birthday which also happened to be thanksgiving

Every so often my sister Erin's birthday falls on Thanksgiving.   The nicest part about this is that she usually comes to town that week so we get to celebrate with her.  Since hers is one of the most important birthdays ever, we try not to let that gluttonous American holiday overshadow it.  However, it is a good thing Erin requested turkey and all the trimmings for her birthday meal or we may have had come conflicts.  We decided to throw her a little pre-party the night before with her favorite pizza and such.  Nora tried to eat the presents, but Erin was a good sport about it.
The kids made some little acorn treat/crafts that we saw on Pinterest.  
Not exactly a Pintrocity, but I don't think we will be featured on Martha Stewart or anything.
 Since Erin's only desert request was ice cream, we got creative with where to put her candle.  
Lucy and I made a letter E out of our acorn supplies. You can barely see it here, but your aren't missing much. It was the thought that counts.
 What a bunch of crazy people...
 Erin also brought her dog Pippa who was loved by all.  
Even if she is blurry in the picture you can still tell that she is one cute dog.
She may have even stolen Erin's thunder a bit, but Erin put her in her place when needed.  
 The next day was time for the big feast! (Erin is a little demanding on how much food we needed to make for her party, but I guess you get what you want if it is your birthday and you are a first born child)
 The boys were so excited to help
 Their favorite part of the day was probably playing with Pippa and Aunt Erin in the yard. What a good Aunt.
  Nora wasn't quite as active as her brothers and opted for watching football with the old men.
She is so lazy.
 Gus enjoyed some olives to help tide him over until dinner.
 When it was finally done, we squeezed Nora into this onesie (ok it pretty much fit despite that it is for a newborn) so we could do our traditional Baby and Turkey picture.  Check Jimmy's here and Gus' here.
 Erin also demanded a "Pilgrim and Indian" theme party so Jimmy helped make some costumes.
He also got very into character
 And then he got back out of character.  I doubt there were any pilgrims this goofy...
 Then we enjoyed our Erin feast. It was delicious and we all got stuffed.
 Later that night some of our friends and Zach's co-workers came over for pie and Settlers of Catan.
Jimmy was so proud of the "Thankerchief" he made at school.  It was pretty cute.  He taught us to pass it around and sing a song that goes like this:
 "Thankerchief, Thankerchief, round you go.  
Where you stop we do not know.  
But when you do, 
Someone will say, 
What they are thankful for today."
You get the idea.  It was a hit and I think we are going to have to make it a family tradition.
I am thankful for so much! Thank you God for all the wonderful people in my life and my many blessings. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

just some portfolio process shots

My theatre design background has trained me well to take lots of pictures of my creative process for portfolio purposes. I haven't updated my actual portfolio in years, but since this blog is like the portfolio of my life, I thought I should put these process shots of our Hobbit Halloween Costumes up for archiving purposes.  Yes, I am a dork so just bear with me.
Once we finally nailed down which dwarfs the boys were going to be, we decided our first project should be Jimmy's weapon for Bofur.  It is an axe called a mattock.  We looked at tons of pictures of it and I carved it out of foam from an old computer box. Then we glued the pieces together and I coated it all in glue so that we could spray paint it (otherwise, the paint would eat away at the foam).  We attached it to a fairly strong cardboard tube.  Jimmy was eager to help with as much as possible and did a lot of the painting.  He loved when I showed him how to paint some black over the silver to make it look more like metal  Perhaps I have a little designer in the family?

He was so eager to make every part of his costume (and quite frankly completely nervous that I wasn't going to get it done in time because I was just not working on it often enough).  He actually had created his own version of the costume using all things he found around the house one day.  It was pretty darn cute, but he really wanted "the real thing."  He was always happy to try on whatever pieces we had as soon as they were ready.

We did some test runs on facepaint using blue and red so we wouldn't waste the colors we actually needed.  
I could go into the details of how I made Gus' wig, but I think it would just take me too long.  Let's just say, it was the most time consuming and yet my favorite thing.  It helps that he is adorable in it. 
There were a few items that I can't rightfully include in my own portfolio such as the awesome scarf and gloves Aunt Cathy knitted for the boys.  I was super impressed.
Emily and I decided to do a trade because she had originally made the Bofur hat for Dot to wear, but Dot wanted nothing to do with it and was legitimately scared of it.  She would say, "No, no." and shake her finger at it.  So when Jimmy decided to be Bofur instead, I agreed to make Dot a cute cape so she could be a little Hobbit girl.  Gus ended up being my model.   He loved it because he thought it was a super hero cape.  I guess I need to make him a real super hero cape now.
And like a the theatre design dork that I am, I took all these pictures for posterity.
Bofur Costume:
Bombur Costume:
Smaug Costume:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

some november happenings and snapshots

November is always a nice month.  We finally slow down a bit more than October, but it is still have enough going on that it is fun.  Since Thanksgiving was late this year we had time to get ready for it, but then Advent snuck up super fast.  Here are a few things from November before the rush of the holiday season...

We went to a Day of the Dead party and made skull bread and other fun creations.
 We got a fun care package treats from out cousins in Germany including a Gummy Pizza and Kinder Eggs!
It was a thank you for us sending them our Star Wars Halloween costumes which I was happy to see get some more use.
 Needless to say the boys were very excited about this gift and put it's contents to good use...
On November 15 we celebrated what would have been my mom's 67th birthday.
It is always hard to find a way to celebrate, but we do our best. 
A few days before I had been up at St. Mary's High School and stopped by the brick that has mom's name on it so that Gus could see.
Emily and I went over to Mimi's house with Gus, Dot, and Nora.  Mimi had gotten doughnuts since "Nona" loved them.
 We are so blessed that we have my mom's best friend to share her memory with.
 That same day also happened to be Jimmy's Jog-a-thon at school.  We was so excited for it and very proud of his 45 laps!  After school Zoyo yogurt was doing a special fundraiser for the school so we went there with our cousins and some friends and dozens of other families from school.
 Mornings do seem much slower as it starts to be darker earlier.  It sure gets harder to get the boys up and it seems like we are slowly a little later to school all the time.  During these early mornings when Gus would rather be sleeping still, he likes to just hug the potty for awhile.  He is just too tired to stand up and pee I guess.  Based on how often I clean that toilet and how many little boys pee in it on a regular basis, I am positive that this is not sanitary:
 I don't know what they were watching below, but I love the expressions.  
I looks kind of like they are showing her Star Wars for the first time and she is unimpressed.  Of course, some girls may act that way, but not my daughter so it must have been something else.
She just continues to be a joyful little bundle of love who makes us all laugh with her crazy tongue.
She begged me to help her make this sign for her friend she hasn't met yet, but plans on rooming with in college:
 She sure get lots of love from her brothers and she sure seems to love them back.  They just love to make her smile and laugh. 
They all love each other so much and I love that so much!