Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jaiden, the Christmas Pianist

Jaiden has been taking piano lessons for a few months now and recently had her very first opportunity to play in front of a crowd -- at the Wynfrey, no less!

A few fellow students and her piano teacher had a little mini Christmas concert at the grand piano in the foyer.

Jaiden played "Frosty the Snowman," with her teacher playing the accompaniment. She did an OUTSTANDING job! We are so proud and so thrilled that she loves piano!

(You can "pause" the music on the left so you can play the video!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Cookie Swap -- #5

The fifth annual Christmas cookie swap party took place at our house recently, despite a lack of vim and vigor for the Christmas decorating this year... being 9 months pregnant and all! ;)
BUT, we all know, the cookie swap is about THE COOKIES! And there were a LOT of delicious ones, as usual!

There were also fun games, story swapping and munching on goodies.

Cookie swap "newbie," Susan, won for most festive display, with a gorgeous, decorative basket filled with wrapped cookies and Christmas ornaments; and The Alcazars -- again! -- won for most creative display, with their miniature Christmas tree decorated in Spritz cookie ornaments.

All in all, it was a Christmas cookie exchange success! (And we are STILL enjoying the benefits and rewards!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas ornament swap

Friday, December 4, brought together a very merry bunch of my neighbors (tacky Christmas wear and all!) for a first-ever Christmas ornament exchange party!

We "oooohed" and "ahhhed" over the gorgeous Christmas decorations at our hostess' home while sharing stories, listening to Christmas music and munching on a variety of home-baked goodies. (And most of us, including me, decided that we should all rethink our own Christmas decorations.... since Brandi makes everything look designer-magazine perfect!)

The atmosphere was nothing less than festive, creating a warm, lively tone for the ornament swap that took place a little after 8:00. Done in the "Dirty Santa" style, we swap participants picked numbers at random and selected a wrapped Christmas ornament, one at a time.

All was calm and mild as happy present openers discovered beautiful ornaments for their trees... until the "Dirty Santa" part kicked in, and suddenly, people were snatching ornaments from one another and quickly unwrapping replacements, only to get those picked up by someone else moments later! (Ah, yes, don't you just LOVE Dirty Santa?!?! *sigh)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jaiden's 2nd grade Christmas program

Ah, yes...the yearly tradition continues.... the ridiculously crowded lunch room, standing room only, with bored, antsy toddlers and pre-schoolers running amok and parents straining to catch a glimpse of their children and snap a few decent photos without capturing someone else's head, arms or video equipment in the shot....

I'm talking about Jaiden's Christmas program at school. As usual, we weren't in the best location for pictures. (I'm not sure Jaiden even spotted us this year.) But it was cute, nonetheless, and I do have a few random shots of weird expressions and open mouths as the kiddies sang their arrangement of holiday songs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Talented Balloon Artist

No, I have not fallen off the face of the planet.... and no, the baby is not quite here yet! So, what's my excuse for being absent from blog world? Nothing really..... (Can I blame it on pregnancy in general!?!)
At any rate, just give me a chance to play a little catch up with some random thoughts, pictures and more.... starting with THIS shot of a unique creation that a balloon artist made for me at a craft fair. Is that not amazing?!!?! Who would have thought you could make such a CUTE little stork (carrying the baby boy bundle and all) from some balloons!?!?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Neighborhood Gals at Sips n' Strokes

I got to paint the town red... ok, I got to pain my canvass a little bit red, mixed with some other stuff... the other night when some of us girls from the neighborhood went to Sips n' Strokes! Except for Season, it was the first trip for the rest of us, so Cathryn, Tina, Cara and I were not quite sure what to expect. In preparation, I made sure I had plenty of caffeine and sugar... since the painting fun ended up going waaaaay past my bedtime! ;)

Here we are getting paint.

Here is the blank canvass.... how intimidating! ;)

Here are the works in progress.

And here are our final paintings!

We all had a lot of fun, and I think ALL our paintings turned out really well!

But... I have no idea where to put my first painting ever. It does not match the colors in my house, so it may be relegated to the stairway coming up from the garage.... that way I can paint more pictures that don't match my decor and hang them all there.... in my very own art gallery!?!?! ;)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We're Down With Brown!

I admire my hubby a lot and am proud of him for MANY reasons. One of those reasons is his amazing martial arts skills (said in Napoleon Dynamite voice). Currently, Sean is involved with Aikido... "a Japanese art of self-defense that employs joint locks, holds and pressure points and uses the principles of nonresistance in order to debilitate the strength of the opponent." And he recently completed his test to be promoted from purple belt to brown belt. And, WOW, what a test! Sean was whirling and spinning and dodging and pinning.... (Was that too rhyme-y?!?! Too Dr. Seuss, perhaps!?!) So it was no surprise that he received his belt.

Here is the proud moment... (That's Sean on the left, of course, and Sensei Morgan on the right.)

And here is the moment of belt changing.... which is not quite as proud, since you have to quickly and discreetly remove one belt and put the other on in the back of the class! ;) (He looks kind of giddy here, doesn't he?)

Sean now will be preparing for his red belt.... then on to black (and the coveted -- and respected -- black hakama pants.... which, to me, still look like weird, poofy coolots, or gauchos... a la Hammer style)!
I, in the meantime, am still a lowly green belt. But, pregnant and all, I have been practicing a bit and hope to return one day to test for my blue belt... which is not quite as lowly as green... ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bye Bye Belly... Hello Iain!

My sister-in-law, Corinne, along with my mom, mom-in-law and friends Season, Stacie and Fran threw us a baby shower on Sunday!
It was SO much fun!

Here we are, all smiles... and, thankfully, not too much belly in the shot! ;)

Here is the baby shower cake... (made by Season; it's supposedly me -- with a much cuter pregnant figure than I'm sporting; it says "Bye bye belly... Hello Iain!"
Isn't is spectacularly adorable!?!?)

Here is the diaper cake... (made by Stacie; complete with our colors, brown and blue, and cute animals all around! It's just the cutest thing! I'd hate to dismantle it! Hopefully I don't have any diaper shortages....)

Here is the food... (made by Corinne and Susie... Deliciously YUMMY, of course! Meatballs, pigs in a blanket, bugles and dip, punch....)

Here are the gifts... (WOW! Thanks so very much to everyone! We are soooooo grateful for you and for your thoughtfulness at this exciting time!)

And here is the crazy diaper-sniffing game we played!
Yes... diaper SNIFFING game.
Thanks to Stacie, who pulled this one off quite well, we had five diapers, each with a mystery melted chocolate inside. We had to sniff the icky goo and determine which brand/kind of chocolate it was.

Yeah... talk about a MIND BLOCK when you pulled this thing up to your nose to take a whiff! ACK! I had to convince myself over and over again that it was JUST CHOCOLATE!!!

You can see that others had some issues with the "dirty diapers" as well. Here is my mother-in-law giving it a visual inspection first!

And here is my mom, diving in -- nose first! (She may look like a pro at this, but the eyes give her away!)

Sean even had a chance to try out his sniffing skills after the party. He was gung-ho about giving it a whiff. But his expression seems to say... "On second thought.... this is a little too realistic for me!" (Excuse his dirt and grime; he was working in the garage all day! He did not get "poo" from the diapers all over his clothing, face and hair!)

For a little after-party fun, we played guess the baby part....
OK. Not really. But folks did have some fun feeling Iain squirming and kicking. Could have been all the sugar I consumed!

And, no, I am not sure what I am doing/saying here.
Something like.... "Mommy eats so much chocolate, perhaps you WILL have diapers like the ones we had in our game -- all sugary-sweet, chocolatey goodness!" ;)

Yeah... right....