27 December 2010

Christmas ain't Christmas till somebody cries.

A priceless quote from Donkey in 'Shrek the Halls.' I must have said it 25 times this holiday season. Which I suppose got old for those hanging out with me. But hey, I was never the one crying.

(And because my mom will call me wanting to know WHAT IS WRONG WITH MIMI in that picture, I will explain that she is upset that she is supposed to stand somewhere for two seconds and let me take her picture. But I told her if she sat prettily she could have a sucker afterward, which I was a little surprised she understood perfectly.)

Sucker Bribe

And here our pictures turned out great. Maybe you got one in the mail. MAYBE you were that lucky. If you didn't, it may be that I have an old address for you, forgot to put a stamp on (2008 debacle), or possibly we are only blog friends--to you I say, Happy Holidays!

Christmas Picture

All those pictures were taken in nine minutes. I checked the time stamps. So in case you ever stop by the house at 7:15 pm and I'm drinking wine in my pajamas, now you know why. Kids don't hold still for two seconds. 

Here we are not holding still at Christmas.

On the trampoline!

We got them a trampoline. So they can bounce and get tired and go to bed on time without fussing. Oops, I mean, so they can have fun. We even managed to shoehorn it into the playroom, a feat which took us about half a day to figure out.

Pretty adorable in their matching "Nana Nighties," huh? They like to match. It is very sweet. Last night Emily had on footie pajamas until she saw Bella in her Nana nightie, and then cried and went and got hers and wanted to switch. (Which we did). 

Oh and speaking of matching, I think this is the only picture I got of Emily and her matching dolly.

Emily and her "baby"

Why only one picture? Where's the mosaic? Excellent questions. Please ask Emily. She apparently has some opinions on this topic. (I can pretty much sum them up for you: "NO!")

Bella was a little disappointed Santa only ate four of the ten cookies she left him. She is like a little grandma, "Only four cookies? Didn't he like them?" But she was otherwise very pleased with Christmas morning. Her favorite gift was the purple unicorn pillow pet from Emily. 

And the girls were excited to give Daddy the present they picked out themselves: root beer and a new cup to drink it out of. I don't know how they think this stuff up. Now whenever Brent cracks open a bottle of anything, he has to ceremoniously pour it into his new red, plastic cup and make lots of comments about what a wonderful cup he has and how handy and beautiful and red it is!

I hope you had a handy, beautiful, red Christmas! 

12 December 2010

Snow day!


Brent and I usually argue over who gets to blow the driveway. (Mainly so I can make a lot of 'good blow' jokes. But also because snowblowers are fun). Not this time! Be my guest, sweetie! I will stay inside where it is 70 degrees warmer and wave to you. HI! YOU LOOK COLD! I'LL MAKE YOU GUILT HOT CHOCOLATE! (with extra marshmallows)

Christmas Tree

The girls and I were happy to stay in our pajamas and trim the tree, play carols on the piano, make ornaments, and watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." It was just the kind of snow day you would plan, if you could plan these things.


And Mimi in a santa hat--it makes you overlook all her mischief-making, ornament moving/removing, and demands for non-stop "Jingle Bell Rock."

Santa Emily


Mimi trims the tree

Later that night, I did some online christmas shopping and fired up the old Warcraft account.

Bella said that she thought the snow was from Santa, to make it look Christmas-y. So sweet!

09 November 2010

A Trip to Paris

Paris! One of the greatest cities in the world! Where do I even begin?
How about with the vending machine at the airport.

Elusive White Twix

Le WHITE TWIX. We are walking around in a just-landed-in-a-foreign-country daze and I go over to study the delightfully exotic vending machine offerings at the airport and spy this edition limitee Twix White. I didn't have any euro coins yet. No problem, we'll get it later!
I looked in every vending machine we saw in Paris. EVERY VENDING MACHINE. The albino Twix was nowhere to be found. At least I got a picture of it so I know I am not totally insane. Oh who am I kidding. Totally Insane.

Guess what else I scoured Paris for? I stopped at dozens of magazine stands in pursuit of Vogue a la Francais.  I couldn't tell if it was sold out or if it didn't exist or if my Scottish French* wasn't clear. We found Italian Vogue, Spanish Vogue, British Vogue, American Vogue. Do French women not read Vogue? Seriously? What kind of hypocrisy are they selling the world?! And then, at the airport waiting to go home, I come out of the bathroom and there's Brent, casually reading French Vogue.

*Before my trip I listened to "Coffee Break French" podcasts, which were taught by Scottish people.

In order to adequately canvas the city's magazine stands and vending machines, I did go see some sites. The first day, we walked to the Eiffel Tower. We were following the conventional wisdom that you must stay up the day of your arrival to avoid jetlag.

Funny headline the next day in the paper:
American Zombie Tourists Lurch Towards Tower Moaning for Brains or Actually Anything Costing Less Than 20 Euros

Eiffel Tower

See? "BRAaaINS!"

At the Eiffel Tower

My pictures of the Eiffel Tower are pretty hilariously bad. I only brought my fixed 50mm lens, so it was like, do you want the tippy top, the upper half of the middle, the lower half of the middle, or one leg? Which is also why you can't see the Eiffel Tower in the picture of us AT THE FREAKING EIFFEL TOWER.

I did see this moss. Which fit into my lens. And which looks kind of like brains. But more importantly, MOSS!

Moss delivery

We went on a beautiful walk back from the Tower to our hotel in the opera district. We were going to take a boat ride but I stroked out at the price. Same thing happened to me in Venice with those gondolier guys. SIXTY BUCKS? I'LL WALK! I'm a class act overseas, let me tell you.

Paris Window

Glad to see these particular Parisians haven't switched to CF bulbs. (Notre Dame has and it looks weird)

Champs Elysees

We just happened upon these guys laying cobblestone pavers. What a dying art that probably is.

Laying the stones

Here's our hotel.

Le Grand Hotel


Pretty fancy! We enjoyed our stay there, especially the French speaking elevators and the breakfast, which had approximately 14 different kinds of bread.

I was really wanting some wifi access that afternoon, to send the grandparents an email, so we ended up at McDonald's. I know. Foreign country for 6 hours and we're at McDonald's. But look, we got French stuff! McEspressos and McMacarons!

Snack at McDonald's

Macarons! How come I didn't know about these before? In the fancy stores they are displayed on a tree. I don't know why. I was excited to find out they were delicious since I was already signed up for a Making Macarons class on Wednesday.

Laduree's Macarons

That picture was taken at Printemps, the department store where I found a perfect beret. It's black and cashmere and cost a fortune and I got it in Paris. I think I will wear it for the rest of my life.

Later that day, we (my new friend Chrys and I) found a store with a felt mushroom sewing kit in the window. Which I immediately bought. So that was awesome.

Now we continue with our moss tour. Here is moss behind Notre Dame.

Moss behind Notre Dame

Brent, me, and Chrys went to Ile de Cite on Sunday to see the flower market.

Flower Market

Flower Market

Here I am in a French flower market, wearing my French beret. FRENCH FANTASY OVERLOAD!

Flower Market

Look what else they have at the Flower Market. Bunjour!


T-oui-t t-oui-t!

Sunday Bird Market

Another memorable experience--a visit to Anick Goutal, a perfumer. Where I was perfumed! Ooo la la! Reeking American Tourists! The clerk gave me a little sample of the perfume that she picked for me. I wore it the next day and when I came back to the fancypants hotel, it was gone. And that talking elevator wasn't saying a word.

Annick Goutal

Luxemburg Gardens. What can I say! Look at this.


Kids. Sailing. Boats!! SO PARISIAN!!

Crepe Stand

Crepe Stand! Are you dying yet? SO PARISIAN!!


The Rodin Museum was another highlight. We only went to the garden. Which is all I wanted to see anyway.

Look, moss!

Moss in Musee Rodin

And moss with my super cute shoes!

Shoes on moss

Catacombs. No moss. And very hard to take pictures without a flash! But otherwise I thought these were very cool.


Our post-catacombs lunch. Hiking through bones makes you hungry.

Gail eats lunch


And finally, my macarons class. I am so glad I did it. I was fulfilling my Sabrina fantasies. "A woman happy in love, she burns the souffle!"

Macarons out of the oven

When I came out of the class, the sun was setting over Ile de Cite. I watched it until it was almost dark. My last sunset in Paris! We had a wonderful last evening, we went out for Indian food with great company.

Then it was home to the girls. A sight for sore eyes! Look at them in their new berets. I was so glad to be home.

Ooo la la!

What a trip. I can't quite believe it was real!

21 October 2010

Bon Voyage


Here's what you have to take if you're going to Paris France
Mary Jane button hook
Consomme container
Hotel kit

Here's what else you have to take

I always pack by parachute
I always wear my foreign identification tag
whenever I go to Paris
which is a picture of me on one side
and a mirror on the other
for me to see who I am if I need to

I am usually me ELOISE

--Eloise in Paris

*note Brent sleeping while I am packing, because I am doing it at the last minute, which is so typical of me AMY

18 September 2010


Guess where we went today?

Wench, little wench, and mini wench

I couldn't wait to get us all dressed in our wench outfits. Aren't we cute? I was hoping Mimi could wear Bella's and I would make a new one for Bella, but alas I ended up sewing a little one for Mimi which will never get worn again. Oh well! It's cute!

The littlest wench!

I didn't use a pattern for this one, I just sort of traced Bella's vest in a smaller size. I can hardly be bothered with patterns anymore. In fact, I can hardly be bothered with pins or matching thread anymore. Rebel without a cause!

Daddy and his girls

Brent says he'll wear a costume if I make him some ring mail. And when he says "ring mail," I'll just assume he means "kilt."

My favorite part of the Renaissance is the fairy hike through the woods.

Fairy Hike through the woods

Bella's favorite was the pickle.

Pickle Princess

Emily's favorite was dancing to minstrel music. She also liked clutching wood chips picked up from the ground.

Mimi Fairy

The girls loved dancing with the butterfly fairy.

Butterfly Fairy

She was wonderful! She had the girls twirling and dancing. It was right at the end of our day--what a great way to leave.

But I get ahead of myself. We enjoyed much in between pickles and the butterfly fairy! We made a wand and rode the butterfly carousel. And bought some butterfly wings.

Butterfly Carousel

We loved the parade--live snakes! Belly dancers! Royalty! Then we ate some fish and chips and beer cheese soup in a bread bowl and watched some shows. It was pretty great. Bella even got knighted. Which I thought was kind of a guy thing, but I didn't want to reveal my ignorance.

Bella gets Knighted

Brent and I had a heated discussion about whether Harry Potter re-enactors belong at the Renaissance. I said no but he said yes. Why? "Because they use wands." Usually I defer to him on the fantasy stuff but that is just wrong. Why don't we just have Buffy the Vampire Slayer walking around too? She has a stake! Sheesh.

But it was a stupendous day, as you can imagine. You can't go wrong with those two super cute girls, a beautiful day, and a magical place like the Renaissance!

16 September 2010

How fun was that

What a day for the apple orchard! Look at this cute little family.

Apple Orchard Picnic

We had intended to go to Costco and buy toilet paper and cheese. But then Aunt Sally called and had the great idea to go to the apple orchard!

Sweet Sisters

We went to Pine Tree Apple Orchard, which is kind of like a movie set apple orchard since you're not allowed to touch any apples. But they have apple donuts. NUFF SAID.

View from the Hayride

We went on the hayride! What a beautiful view of the sparkly lake. We got some caramel apples for a snack.

Caramel Apple Picnic

Then, we frolic.

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

I am no stranger to the apple orchard (an apple whorechard, if you will?), but this weather... this WEATHER! Amazing! I've never had apple orchard weather like that. Nobody wanted to leave. 

We got home in time for leftovers for supper and movie night. And we still need toilet paper and cheese!