Hanging out in Texas

After Christmas, Bryan and I spent a couple days hanging out with the family before venturing out on our own vacation.  I thought I’d share some pics from our fun times.  There’s a video at the end of Sylvia playing with an electric car that’s pretty cute.

This is actually on our flight to Texas on the 23rd, but I had to share these pictures because the kids were looking so silly.



Andrew had a “blue raspberry” lemonade.  He was so proud of his blue tongue!


After Christmas, Melanie gave us all some new holiday beer toppers.  Reindeer and santa hats:)


A perfect poker combo.


Bryan got sick on Christmas Day and he was out of commission most of the 26th, but by the evening of the 27th, he was back in the game…the poker game.



I don’t know if I can count the number of “tubbies” that Sylvia took while at Granny and Gradad’s.  I’m guessing it’s around 4 per day.


Bryan and Mark went golfing in the balmy Texas weather.


Here’s a cute video of Andrew and Sylvia playing with a motorized car.  I like how she gently pats it when it stops and then runs gleefully away.  So cute.


Christmas Eve frolic

On Christmas Eve, Grandad put together a really fun scavenger hunt for all us kids.  I spent a quiet December morning putting together the videos that Granny shot with the photos I took to make this Scavenger Hunt video.

After the prizes were uncovered (the traditional Christmas Eve pajamas), the kids were full of excitement and glee, and they danced together around and around and around.




Then they went to the kitchen to get some cookies and milk for Santa.


And then they gamboled together again.




Oh those two…they really crack me up!

Here’s my favorite picture from Christmas.


And a quick posed photo (with the obligatory sibling-neck-squeeze) in front of the fire place.


Ahh the excitement of being a kid on Christmas Eve.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Ballet & Tap – last class of the year

Sylvia started taking ballet in January, just before she turned 3, and she’s been enjoying her dance classes every week since the beginning.  Ballet costumes are a regular attire item here in our home.  In recent weeks, she’s decided that she’s ready for a change of activities, though, and so this December class was her last dance class for some time.  Next season, we’re trying gymnastics!

Here’s my ballerina…


Can I just admit here that there is little photography I’ve enjoyed more than photographing all these little girls in these end-of-session dance classes?



Balancing on one foot for several seconds…

12-13-11_dance_062  12-13-11_dance_078

This is one of my favorite pictures of Sylvie ever.  I love how she’s thinking and how strong and beautiful she looks in motion.


Now on to tap class…


These photos below look neat in a horizontal storyboard.





She’s on the move!


Learning to grapevine.  A good life skill.


Oh, sweetie.  She breaks my heart with how fully herself she is.  Love.


Getting our Christmas Tree

It’s a little funny to be writing this post after Christmas has come and gone, but better late than never!

We went to get our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We’d thought about going to a tree farm to cut our tree this year, but Andrew wanted to go back to Jung’s (I think he was hoping for a post-tree visit to Culver’s).  These kids are rapid tree deciders.


We picked out a Douglas Fir again this year, and we named it Ferb after Andrew’s favorite cartoon, Phineas and Ferb.


Sylvie is happy about getting a Christmas tree!  She’s practicing her high knee skipping.


Melted my heart to turn around in the car to see Andrew and Sylvia’s fingers intertwined over the top of the tree.  Life is more fun with a sibling to share it with!


We got Ferb home, and while Bryan draped it in lights, I pulled out all the boxes of Christmas decorations and our Christmas plates.  Bye bye fall, hello Christmas!


She’s loving this, isn’t she. It melts my heart.


What a fun, decorated tree!


It’s pretty fun to be three years old at Christmas time!


Bryan put up the outside lights, and poof! our home was ready for Christmas.



My mom had bought a bunch of Bitty Baby/Bitty Twins outfits, and I pulled out a few for Sylvia.  So the twins (Linda and Rose Crystal) got Christmas sweater outfits and Evie got a polar bear snow suit.  Thanks, Mom!  Sylvie loves ’em.


Ballet and tap – the cuteness pierces my heart

Sylvia has been taking ballet and tap classes at the YMCA since January, and she L.O.V.E. loves it.  It’s actually a little hard to believe that dance class is such a relatively new part of our lives.  My Sylvie girl just eats it up.

Parents get to come into the classroom to watch the last day of the session, so I was there again, cameras in hand.  Ready to capture the unbelievable cuteness of tiny kids in leotards.

It was a bit remarkable for me to see Sylvia in a class setting.  She was the kid who raises her hand ever few minutes to tell the teacher what’s on her mind.  And Ari was a very kind listener.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_004

This one cracks me up…she wanted her foot touching Ari’s during the stretches.  This is a girl who adores her teachers.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_007

Isn’t this the sweetest thing ever?  Here’s all the girls holding hands.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_010

And <ack!> my sweet one gracefully moving.  I love the stretch of the fingers, the tilt of her head, the attention she’s paying to her movements.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_017


Oh, they’re all so cute!  And I love Sylv in the background here, wrapped up in her pose.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_022

During the free dance, she was skipping about.  Check out the tongue sticking out.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_025

Attempting to skip across the room while alternating leading knees.  She’s thinking hard.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_030

Ari’s technique for helping the girls learn how to jump high is to be a tree and they are trying to pick the fruit off her hand.  This is my favorite pic of the morning!10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_040


Wait, maybe these next two are my favorites.  My chest has this involuntary heave when I look at her pointed toe and her straight fingers.  Oh my, what a curtsey, Sylvie.10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_043



After ballet is tap class.  The energy and movements are so much bigger, and Sylv was so delightedly caught up in the excitement of it all.  An hour is a long time for a three year old to stay focused!10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_049

Think she’s enjoying herself?  She kept signaling for me to take her picture.  Love this picture of the girl on the right too!10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_057




10-25-11_ballet-and-tap_069Ahhh, I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did.  If you need a cuteness fix, just bookmark those pictures so you can come back to them.  They are sure to improve almost any day.

Breaking it down with Eli and Celia

One afternoon in late October, we had Eli and Celia over, and all the kids engaged in a little dance show.  The boys were caped wonders, dancing fiercely and courageously with ninja moves and powerful dances.


The girls seemed to prefer a more flowing dance style.  Yet they still had a lot of power in their sometimes cute, sometimes where-did-you-learn-how-to-move-like-that (!!) too-sultry-for-three-year-olds dance numbers.


Celia brandishes her cape with a flourish.


Then of course, there were the combined dances.  Fortunately, there were no collisions.

Here’s all the dancers after the final bow…10-18-11_untitled_052

Jessica, it’s so fun to watch these kiddos play and move and grow together over time.  Thank you for sharing your amazing kids with Andrew, Sylvia, and me!

Playing with Evelyn, Amalia, and Alex

My friend Heather’s little girl Evelyn was in Wisconsin with Heather’s parents (her first solo visit!), and we got to join them for a play date at the Dream Park.  Here’s Sylvie, Evie, and Celia on the tire swing together.10-18-11_untitled_006

There’s Evie on the swings.10-18-11_untitled_007

Three girls eating carrots on the playground bench.

We had a picnic, and the girls ate lots of pb&j sandwiches with grapes.  Then toes and fingers got cold, and it was time to pack it in!10-18-11_untitled_021

A few days later, Heather and Michael drove up to Madison from their new home in Indiana.  They brought with them two little munchkins whom I <aaarrrggghhh> haven’t yet met.  Here’s me holding darling Amalia.  I was relieved that she looked like her pictures.  It felt nice to recognize them.  Amalia is a bit of a clone of her sister appearance-wise.10-20-11_untitled_059

How lucky was I to have a baby fall asleep on me?10-20-11_untitled_060

Oh, the sleeping sweetness.10-20-11_untitled_062

And there’s Mr. Alex.  Such a charmer and so full of personality.  I love this little mister and all his sweet tiny fingers and toes!10-20-11_untitled_065

Here’s Amalia taking nap #2 of the morning in a sling.  10-20-11_untitled_069

The next day, I met up with Heather and her family to take photos with Heather’s grandma.  Such a treat it was to spend hours together!  Thanks, Heather and Michael, for making the trip north!  I’ll try to get down to Indiana to see you this winter.



Purple jacket

I just wanted to share a few pictures of this beautiful purple jacket that Bryan’s mom made for Sylvia.  It’s so cute, I kinda want to hang it on my wall.  Oh, and there’s a matching hat that I’ve been remiss in not photographing.  You’ll have to trust me when I say it’s adorable:)10-03-11_SylviasCoat_001

After not wanting me to touch her hair for years, Sylv is not letting me put it in braids or pigtails from time to time.  Soooo sweet!10-03-11_SylviasCoat_002

There’s our girl.  She’s off to Donna’s for the day!  Chow sweetie!10-03-11_SylviasCoat_009

School this fall

Here’s Andrew, with his first grade teacher, Maestra Samaca.  He’s so happy about his classmates, and I’m just so thankful that school continues to feel to him like a huge treat that he gets to do five days a week.  He goes to school with a smile on his face and comes home with a happy glow.

09-20-11_RenFair_002I’m going to be volunteering in the classroom once a week during the class they have in English – Geology.  Andrew is so excited that I get to come to his school and he can introduce me to his friends.  They’ve been studying rocks in science class – looking at them with magnified glasses, getting the rocks wet and letting them dry, scratching the rocks and seeing what happens.  Andrew tells me almost every day that he loves being a geologist!

Here’s a video of Sylvia walking to school the first week.  She is loving her preschool class with Sue and Jodi – she goes in the mornings twice a week and stays for Lunch Bunch.  I can’t tell you how happy she is to finally be a big girl and get to go to school all by herself.

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She’s also been going to daycare at Donna’s twice a week this past month, and then she has ballet and tap on our free day.  Given my heavy photography workload this fall, it’s been a great schedule, and Miss Sylv is just thriving on the many activities.

Jump around

Happy Monday morning.  I know it can take a bit to get going on a Monday after a beautiful weekend, so here’s a video of Andrew and Sylvia to help you start your day with a chuckle.

They’re at a Badger’s women’s soccer game, dancing to the song Jump Around.  Where they learned how to:

  • shake their booties like that
  • do the robot dance

I don’t know:)

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