Thursday, January 30, 2014

January Wrap-Up

Here's a quick spin through the remainder of my January photos, most of which were taken during the second half of our visit to Nebraska over Christmas vacation and are presented below in no particular order.
No picture of our children is ever taken without someone
either dancing or making faces directly behind my head.
This picture of me, Tom, Laura, Tim, Jenna, and Ferrell at Jenna
and Ferrell's engagement party is one of my favorites from our trip.
On our L…O…N…G drive home from Nebraska we stopped for
dinner at a diner-less Waffle House. Initially the kids were angry
we'd bypassed both McDonalds, but once they realized how fun
an empty restaurant could be, they had a blast.
Oh, and there was a juke box, which they LOVED. They "danced
like no one was watching", and were so entertaining that one lady-
who'd since joined us in the restaurant - took a video of them dancing.
A quick stop in Carver-Hawkeye Arena...
…and in front of Kinnick Stadium.
Getting a good workout indoors can be tough.
With Grandma at the Husker Women's basketball game.
Go Big Red! 
My toothless wonder.
The Ferris girls.
Here's the end of January. Bring it, February!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So Long, Farewell

I could barely contain my excitement when I heard that NBC planned to stage a live production of the stage version of The Sound of Music. I loved everything about the original - the music, the children, and Julie Andrews especially - and knew that I'd love NBC's version of the show as well. 

It wasn't perfect, but nothing "live"- or with children involved, for that matter - ever is. I delighted in the singing (especially Carrie's) and dancing; enjoyed the costumes and sets; and was genuinely moved by the actors' commitment to and respect for the almost sacred material with which they worked. I also commend the network for taking a risk on programming that didn't fall into the category of "crappy reality television".

The hope when remaking movies is that doing so will bring old stories to new generations, and so while many critics knocked Carrie's performance, I thought she accomplished exactly what (I assume) the network wanted her to do: bring the story of the Von Trapp family to a new generation…a generation that wouldn't have tuned in without her in the leading role. I treasured the opportunity to introduce Will and Hallie to this iconic musical through the magic of television.

Hallie found Maria and the children mesmerizing, and now that she and I have watched the entire three-hour program three (?) times and play the soundtrack on repeat, she's a Sound of Music singing machine. She's an especially big fan of The Lonely Goatherd, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, and "the Goodbye Song" (when the children sing "so long, farewell…" on their way out of their father's party), and now she's started to bring the Sound of Music into her everyday life as well…

She's changed the words of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" to "I am 35 going on 55" in what she tells me is my honor. Funny how I just don't feel honored.

If you recall, Captain Von Trapp calls for his children using a whistle. Midway through a little chitchat with Grandpa, Hallie had to "go take care of something". As she walked away she turned to Grandpa and said, "Grandpa, when I whistle for you, get up and come to me". 

AJ and Ferrell's engagement party lasted late into the evening, but because the kids were behaving themselves, Tom and I let them stay up until long past their bedtime. When we finally decided they should hit the hay, I helped them change into their pajamas and brush their teeth and then I sent them upstairs to the party to say goodnight. Will walked quickly through the guests, hugging Grandma, Grandpa, AJ, and Ferrell, and then went back downstairs to bed. Hallie, on the other hand, breezed back into the party with a flourish. Tom gestured across the room, in the direction of AJ and Ferrell, and asked her to dole out her hugs. She slowly assessed crowd, took a deep breath, and with determination in her voice, replied, "wow, that's a lot of hugs". She then proceeded to hug every single partygoer, most of whom she'd never met before. 

Finally, as she and I headed toward the stairs after the hugging marathon, she tugged on my arm and asked, "Mama, do you think I should sing myself out?"

The world is her stage, and for the rest of my days I'll be sitting front and center in the audience.
The hills are alive with the sound of music.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Time to Shine

Since September, every trip to Target has included a lengthy stop in front of the toy department's Disney princess display. It wasn't the costumes, the accessories, or even the dolls themselves that Hallie found so enticing…it was a plastic, purse-shaped, purple karaoke machine of sorts that played songs sung by the newest Disney princess, Sofia.

Months of practice in the Target aisles meant that when Santa delivered Time to Shine on Christmas morning, Hallie Claire already knew just what to do with her new toy.

Sofia music played on repeat every day of our stay in Nebraska - many who'd never previously heard of Sofia now know all of the words to all of her songs - and now that we're back home, we still listen to Hallie sing duets with Sofia every morning before and every afternoon after school.

We're starting to tire of some of the songs, but if the lyrics, "it's time to rise and shine, wake up and make the world mine" get that child out of bed on time on school mornings she can sing them all she wants.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Christmas 2013

The four of us spent nearly all of our 2013 Christmas vacation in Lincoln, Nebraska with Grandpa Mike, Grandma Susie, AJ, and Ferrell.

After driving for two straight days through a horrific ice storm, we arrived - with our sanity just barely intact - at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Saturday night. We spent the days leading up to Christmas shopping, baking, touring the city's Christmas lights, playing lots and lots of football, and just .

She shopped until she dropped, which shocked us all because she NEVER, EVER falls asleep anywhere except her bed and/or at any point in time other than at least 20 minutes after being tucked into bed for the third time.

The Christmas Light Critics (me, AJ, and Kelsey) stepped up their game this year. They created a tagline and official team name (neither of which I can remember as I type this), made snowman-themed awards, and secretly delivered the awards to the "best" decorated homes in Lincoln.

Football. So. Much. Football.

After church on Christmas Eve, we spent the rest of both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day napping, reading, watching movies, enjoying each other's company, playing with our new gifts, baking, and eating our baked goods. Oh, and playing lots more football. So. Much. Football.

Taking "formal" photos after church on Christmas Even.

Showing off their new Nintendo 3DS game systems.

Just two men - with vastly different clothing styles - grilling up some delicious wings and enjoying a few drinks.

The week after Christmas revolved around a bit of partying (AJ and Ferrell's engagement party), watching nearly all of the NCAA football bowl games, and trying to come up with ways for Will and Hallie to expend all of their pent-up energy inside the house, since the temperatures dropped significantly and made outdoor activities nearly impossible on most days. 

Me, Tom, Laura, Tim, AJ, and Ferrell at the engagement party.

Huskers and Hawkeyes and Aggies, Oh My!

Pretty girl in the snow.

Yes, we ran them on the treadmill. A LOT.

We had a wonderful two-week vacation from school and work (well, Tom's vacation from work only lasted about two days, not two weeks), but were glad to get home. I was even happier when Monday rolled around, despite having to rise and shine early in the morning, and we returned to "regularly scheduled programming". Two weeks of less-than-full nights sleep + lots of time inside + lots of time screen time = tired, grumpy, nasty kids! (And a tired, grumpy mama as well.)

Merry Christmas!