31 December 2008

Saying Goodbye to 2008

Can you believe it's the last day of 2008? It was a good year for us (personally). Fairly uneventful, but very fun. We are so lucky ... for all we have, supportive families, incredible friends and each other. This holiday season has been great -- just having some time off, and really getting to enjoy the company of my three boys. I think 2009 is going to be a good year. I don't really "do" New Year's Resolutions, but I hope to work harder on a few things in 2009:

Getting Rid of the Clutter
100 Sit-Ups Every Day

So, to all ...

Happy New Year!
May 2009 be the best year yet.

30 December 2008

Key Lime Cove

We just got back from a really fun whirlwind 24 hours. For the past couple of years, our friends Kim & Jesse bring their three kids and spend a night with us over the holidays. They live in the LA area, so this is one of few chances we get to see them during the year. But this holiday season, the timing just didn't work out. Fortunately, we got to take advantage of Plan B. They were staying at Key Lime Cove for a couple nights, so we got to meet them and one of Kim's college friends with her three children for some water park fun (5 adults, 8 children, 2 adjoining hotel rooms = good times). Besides the fact that we would have been totally bummed out if we didn't get to see them, we all had just an absolute blast. As we were leaving the parking lot, H already commented that he missed his friends already. We do too.

27 December 2008

A Visit from Milwaukee Friends

Yesterday, Irma, Greg and their gorgeous baby came to visit us. Irma and I lived together for (basically) four years in college, and it was so great to catch up. Storm was smitten by their little one.

26 December 2008

Christmas 2008

Last year, we spent our first Christmas in our own home. It was really nice -- but of course, we missed being with our families. This year, we were blessed with many visitors. Nina & Papa (my mom and dad) spent a couple nights with us. They came down on Christmas Eve., along with Pam (Brian's sister) Matt and the kids, and joined us and some friends (including the Elsmo Four and The Frigs) for a Christmas Eve. appetizer party. It was so much fun, and the food was great.
On Christmas Day, we were up at the crack of dawn to open presents. Later, Christie (my sister), Tim and the kids came down. My dad made home-made ravioli for dinner -- delicious. That night, we had a big slumber party (adults = 6, kids 12 and under = 4, dogs = 3), which was a great time. It was a really wonderful year, and it meant so much to us to have our family and friends around.

23 December 2008

Holidays 2008

Happy Holidays!

The P's

(Polaroid image created with Poladroid)

21 December 2008

Making Cookies

Yesterday we baked the cookies. Today we decorated them. We even ended up with few three-eyed stars. Not bad. (And yes, it was pajama day in our house today.)

20 December 2008

Day at the Nutcracker

Today was amazing. We met up with our friends The Frigs, and took the kids to see The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker. H had been before. But C's a different animal child, so we were not quite sure how he would do. Surprisingly, they both had a great time. Part of the reason we went was that #3 and #4 of the Elsmo Four were actually in the performance. This was #3's third time (we've seen her every year so far), and #4's first. They both did such a great job. Afterwards, we went to a little party at the Elsmo's, where we got to hang out with some old friends and meet some great new people. We even got a private performance from four of the dancers from the show.

19 December 2008

Winter Night

We went out dinner with our friends, and had fun playing in the snow on the walk there and back. My camera was on a new setting (I really need to learn how to use it correctly some day), but I kind of like what it did to the photos tonight.


I love this little letterpress and silkscreen calendar by ilee. If I could justify filling my house with calendars, I'd be buying it today. We use a $1 calendar to write on for the day-to-day activities of the PFour, and I use an electronic version for work/personal, but I still love a beautiful calendar. Last year I saw one from The Dolphin Studio, and thought about it every day this year. It is designed by a family, and I just knew I had to have the 2009 version. It's really amazing. Don't you agree?

18 December 2008

Holiday Show Number 2

I could not for the life of me get a good photo of H's holiday show today. But I really enjoyed it. What I especially love about his school, is the focus on music, the arts, culture and diversity. And the holiday performance was no exception. The 1st graders started out by singing "Make a Little Music for Chanukah" followed by "Mama, Bake the Johnnycake, Christmas Comin'." I don't know about you, but this is a far cry from the Christmas classics we always sang. H's big moment was during the johnnycake song, when he was one of five on the tambourine. Next the 4th and 5th graders sang -- and did an incredible job. The grand finale was was all the kids came out to sing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" (which is the photo where's H's head is glowing among the sea of children). Afterwards, we enjoyed a little party in the classroom.

16 December 2008

Prints on Etsy

UL ... Resting by Isabel Ferreira
UR ... Quiff Bird by K Wilson
LL ... Large Wood Type Specimen Sheet Hand Pulled Letterpress Print 1 by YeeHaw
LR ... Large Giant Suburban Bear Monster visits Chicago by Matteart

Yes, Deer

When I picked C up from school today, he and his teacher each were wearing Rudolph noses. He even had two bells around his waist so he could lead her sleigh. I told him it would be a good idea to put the nose on next time he's getting in trouble. I mean seriously, who could reprimand someone so adorable?

15 December 2008

Teacher Gifts

Each year, the boys make their teachers a holiday gift. Over the years, we've done really easy ones such as stamped note card sets and bookmarks, and some not so easy ones, like paper bowls. (They were not hard, but took a very long time to dry.) Anyhow, this year we made yarn vases, as seen on Design*Sponge (one of my favorite blogs, by the way). It was not as hands-on as I typically like for the boys -- but I will say that they were easy to do, and H & C had fun designing every single one. I think they turned out great. Our house will definitely be getting one too.


Wouldn't these macaroons by Sucré be great to get as a gift? I'm just saying ...

14 December 2008

Gingerbread Houses

When I was a little girl, I loved gingerbread houses. (Ok, I still love gingerbread houses.) And I'll never forget one year during the holidays when my mom surprised us and made one. By hand. I'm sure she was up all night long, but I loved it. H & C think gingerbread houses are pretty cool too, which is why -- while I'm not up all night long thanks to store-bought gingerbread house kits -- this is our third year making one. Let's just say, I don't love it. I'm just way too impatient, and piping icing is not on my list of favorite things to do. Thankfully I've learned that the more icing, the better it all sticks, so we just kind of goop it on. And most importantly, the kids are thrilled.

13 December 2008

Holiday Show Number 1

This afternoon was C's holiday party and performance at his school. Besides wandering away for a couple minutes to read a book, he did a great job. H had fun visiting his old school and playing with a bunch of friends he hasn't seen in awhile. They had a blast.

12 December 2008

Deer Heads

I'm slightly obessessed with fake deer head. (Although, we do have a real mounted one in our mess of a basement. It was from my grandfather, requested by Brian -- don't ask.) These, from etsy, are much better if you ask me.

UL ... Typeface - Handmade Wilderness Project by Rubys Lounge
UR ... Trophy Series, Whitetail Deer brooch (sorry, sold out) by Touch the Dutch
LL ... Deer Head Wooden Sketchbook by Just Another Day
LR ... Mini Deer Plaque by Nice

09 December 2008

Etsy Kids Gifts

UL ... Twelve Month Subscription to Play Dough of the Month by DoSiDough
UR ... Flying Mosquito Wooden Mobile Toy by Flying Zoo Toys
LL ... Any of the books at Vintage Kids' Books
LR ... Felt Sandwich - Peanut Butter and Jelly by Ginger Blossoms

Magic the Elf

We came back from Wisconsin this weekend with a new holiday tradition -- the Elf on the Shelf -- who H named Magic. Every night, Magic goes back to the North Pole to report to Santa on how the boys are doing. By morning, he's back home with us -- but never in the same spot. The kids love him, and H in particular in totally in awe of how this little guy does it.

08 December 2008

Winter Berry

I have no idea what this little plant is outside of my parents house, but I love the little burst of red and green peaking it's way through the cold, cold, snow.

07 December 2008

Visit with Santa

Ever since H has been 9 months old, we have been coming up to Wisconsin for a brunch with Santa with my family. It's always a really nice day. But honestly, you never know what you'll get when it comes to time with Santa. H tends to be very serious (he asked for games for his Nintendo DS) and C was just stopped in his tracks and couldn't even say one word to the big guy. But they did great. And it was probably the best year yet, but don't just ask me:

Jake's Restaurant

We're up in Wisconsin again, and this time, got to meet up at Jake's Restaurant with Scott & Ali, and Andrew & Shelly. Food was great, and the company even better.

06 December 2008

St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas visited our house last night. He doesn't visit many homes in our area -- in fact, most people have not heard of him. So for those folks, here's a little history (courtesy of Wikipedia) of the tradition we continue to celebrate in our house.

"The tradition Saint Nicholas Day, usually on December 6, is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts."

"While feasts of Saint Nicholas are not observed nationally, cities with strong German influences like Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and St. Louis celebrate St. Nick's Day on a scale similar to the German custom.On the previous night, children put one empty shoe (or sock) outside, and, on the following morning of December 6, the children awake to find that St. Nick has filled their previously empty footwear with candy and small presents (if the children have been "good") or coal (if not). For these children, the relationship between St. Nick and Santa Claus is not clearly defined, although St. Nick is usually explained to be a helper of Santa."

Guess the boys have been good (even Storm got some treats).

05 December 2008

The Holidays

Earlier this week, I went to the Christkindlmarket (again) with my co-workers. We were talking about Christmas pyramids, so I remembered to pull ours out of the box. My family always had one, and when I was in Germany with my mom and sister and few years back, we each picked one up. Well, ours burst into flames after a couple uses, but the company gave me a coupon to pick up another. Thankfully, they have a store at the German market in Chicago, so I picked one up that I liked even better (seen above). So there's a long story about nothing, really, but something we enjoy and that brings back good memories of the holidays as a child.

We started off our weekend having a blast. Our friends The Frigs came over for our weekly pizza dinner. I feel like I haven't seen them forever (probably a couple weeks, but they live across the street, so it seems strange). It was really fun and great to catch up.

04 December 2008

Tree Warmers

I don't know what the background is of why these are here, or who made them ... but I find these tree warmers extremely charming. About five lucky trees in our town won't be so cold this winter.