Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Concert

The kids had a violin recital today.
I had the honor of being the primary photographer for the event.
Matt had the task of dealing with Arleigh, who was not the least bit cooperative.
So really, we actually took in very little from the event.
I hope there are more concerts to come, and at those we can sit back and enjoy.
Simply be proud.
Instead, today, we were all very very busy.

Low light and moving objects don't always agree with the camera and lens.
When she asked me to take photos,
I had actually warned off the instructor explaining that my lens and camera are limited in low light.
Though the group seemed desperate and they asked me to take photos anyway.
These are a few from the initial download. I'm anxious to review them and see what came of it all.
In the meantime, I wish I'd have had the chance to take more of my own kiddos.

Emory did a fabulous job on stage.
He happens to be the youngest of the group and he's really doing well.
That's him on the far left :)

We'll post video of the kids playing soon.
It's really amazing how far they've come in just a few months;
from not knowing how to even handle a violin,
to playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on their own.

And as for the Suzuki Method. It's in a standard all its own.
Again, many thanks to Brad and Aunt Karen for the recommendation and advice.
We have a long way to go, but in the meantime,
I'm really enjoying playing the violin with the kids.
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Getting Their Groove On

Wish I hadn't started this. Really. The elves are quite fascinated with themselves. Last one to post. Promise!

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Busy Little Elves

Since the last post, the kids have asked to watch themselves, um, I don't know, say a few
bazillion times? So for my own sanity a little variety, I had to mix it up with a new video. Enjoy!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tis the Season

Like the squirrel storing nuts for winter,
or the daffodils blooming in the spring,
or the graceful turn of colors in the fall,

Stella starts asking begging to wear her Christmas stockings.
A full blown indication to the world that this special season is upon us.
So, the decorations are out, and up, and shining as bright as ever.
The kids are bustling with excitement.
Bedtime stories have turned into Christmas stories.
Ornaments drip from the tree limbs, mostly at the bottom of the tree.
They are rearranged daily, I might add.

Addie seems to have taken on Q &A this year,
as she deems it necessary, daily, to fully inspect and certify
that all ornaments with moving parts are fully functioning.

But Oh! The pyromaniacs, who love a warm evening fire on chilly nights.
Or, really, as Emory states quite simply, and as well as any other 3 year old,
they "like to put things in there and watch them burn."
Yes, tis the Season!
Let the holiday spirit fill your heart,
and then say a prayer that they don't burn this house down.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby Knaack

Sometimes, people ask me to do a little photo shoot for them.
I don't charge anything.
Photography is more of a hobby for me and
the opportunity to take photographs for couples
and families makes for some great practice.

Her mom, exhausted from a rough week with the three older brothers,
brought her to the house for a few photos. It was a dreary day, overcast and
not much light coming in anywhere. But those big beautiful eyes just sparkled!
This little gal has a bright future no doubt.
Happy to help. Even happier to let her mom have a break,
and a few sweet photos at the end of a tough week.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

He Traded In His Crawling Shoes

With his cheering section ready and waiting, he
has proven that he's quite a capable walker.

It's the favorite family game now
"Get Arleigh to walk to me".
He's as proud as anyone too. He wears a HUGE smile
across his face as he toddles with each step.

He knows he's made big strides.
And he knows that it won't be long before
they won't be able to catch him!

Congratulations Arleigh!
May those feet take you on plenty of
amazing and wonderful journeys!
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

On that note...

On the subject of Christmas cards, if you do not create your own, or if you prefer to purchase either photo cards or traditional Christmas cards, I have a recommendation for you to consider.
This site will direct you to a full shop full of well made, colorful, artistic, joyful holiday cards as well as a variety of other items to include jewelry, books, decor, scarves, ties, umbrellas...the list goes on. What's most important about this shop, vs. most any other place that you'd purchase a box of cards, is that your purchase here, helps children with cancer.

The Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is a place where children come for cancer care.  From the website itself, you'll read that "the project's vision remains constant — to make life better for children with cancer. We constantly look to the future where hope continues to lead us. We cheer the talents of all the children whose artwork has graced our cards and gift items and we are grateful for the great strides in medical knowledge and patient care."

So, in case you can't come up with a perfect gift. Or you don't have time to assemble cards. Please consider the shop at MD Anderson Cancer Center. A gift that keeps on giving, you just can't go wrong!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Emory's comments on 'Grow-ning' Up

I hope they make you smile too...

1) "When you're all growned up, and then you're three like me, you can wear fancy shoes too!"
2) "When I'm all growned up, I want to be a snowman."
3) "I'm going to help all the people in the world to be nice to each other and be happy."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Family Christmas Card Tradition

We have an ocassionally painful but rather fun family tradition of coming up with and making our
own Christmas cards each year.
We began making our own Christmas cards when Addie was born.
It has simply been an experience. Since we're working on the 2009 card,
just for the heck of it, I thought I'd post covers and photos of past cards.
This card had a soft effect with vellum
and opened to say "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

This one featured a clip from "Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus"

Then there was the 'Polar Express' card featuring a little jingle bell in each card.
A design flaw that made postage astronomical.
I hope all who received it 'heard the bell ring'.

Then there was the
 "Stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that a new sibling soon would be there."

(those hopes must have worked,
 cause Emory arrived just 1 week prior to Christmas)

Then Guam-
where the kids sunglasses reflected Santa on the beach.

Jamie, our favorite photographer, took this for our "Rejoice"
card as daddy's homecoming, after almost a full year of deployment,
 was only a few weeks prior to Christmas.
Jamie you're amazing!

Along came Arleigh, and in the chaos (and sleepless nights),
we decided upon a nativity scene. It was a lot of fun dressing the kids up.

I can't wait to finalize the cards for 2009!

On to this year....

This year's card....

moves our Christmas cards to a whole new level.
(Yes, we always start early on this project, as it takes
quite a bit of time to assemble over 100 cards.
Additionally, holiday festivities begin early here with the kick off of
St. Nick's Day, Dec 6th.)
Though I digress. The photo taking was
a blast, while the kids posed as bakers.
I'm having trouble choosing which one is my favorite.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Fun

Belgium has beautiful parks.
Today we 'hiked' through a park with miles of trails and bike routes.
Our trip was meant to emphasize to the kids how fun fall can be.
Leaves, colors, and lots of things to find in the woods....

The kids left with pockets full of treasures. We left satisfied that after 3 years under palm trees, we finally got to jump in the leaves with the kids. Some serious fall fun.

What to do? What to do?

Aunt Julie and Mr Pete left us.
We simply don't know what to do with ourselves,
as apparent from this post.

Someone needs to send this to Matt's boss.
Do you get a bonus for being able to do a headstand?

I hasten to add, Stella has caught on rather quickly to her new trick.
Now, what to do?
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That's not dirt, or chocolate, or the remnants of her latest art project.
This is in fact, the result of a faceplant.
Aunt Julie was waiting for Stella after school.
Stella took off running to greet her aunt.
Stella tripped. In slow motion, I swear,
she landed face first in the cement, at Aunt Julie's feet.
Enough blood oozed from her 5 year old mouth to supply the American Red Cross for a year.
She survived, and is trying hard to get over her latest facial features.

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The Pomp and Circumstance of Dressing

Before bed each night, he lays his clothing out for the next day.
It's quite a ceremony.
First all the shirts from the drawer are displayed in a neat circle around him on the floor.
Then he contemplates which shirt to wear.
After much deliberation, the official garment is selected.

Then the "boy on the floor" procedure begins.
This is the part of the event where he lays out each piece of clothing on the floor
as he says "like a little boy is wearing it".
Underwear first, the pants on top, then the official shirt.
Socks are last but not least.

This clothing selection takes place each evening
with much pomp and circumstance.
It's a serious matter, all before the official donning of the clothes 12 hours later.
Approximately 30 minutes after he has dressed, he eats a morning meal.
Then jelly, or peanut butter, or syrup, or some other sticky food is smeared, dropped,
spread, or dripped upon the official garments of the day and a
new outfit is selected in a matter of 5 minutes.
And so his day begins...
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