Nov 292011
 

I feel like this whole NaBloPoMo exercise has been me posting every day about how I don’t have time to post and I’ll post more tomorrow. Which I’m kinda doing today, too, because you know that feeling of overwhelmed-ness when you get back home after almost six days away, and you have a crapload of stuff still to unpack, and now you have a crapload of Christmas stuff to put away after dragging all your decorations out, and your plans of starting to get caught up on email/Facebook/Twitter were thwarted by your internet being down for a chunk of the day, and you’re starting to mentally put together your to-list for December and Christmas which is making you freak out just a wee bit? Yeah, that one.

But those six days away, where we went to Carterville and Champaign to celebrate Thanksgiving, and which I’ve already mentioned a little bit here on the ol’ blog, were lots of fun. The gist of it: sleep in, eat, nap, eat, read, some fun activity, nap, hang out with family, eat, eat, sleep. I’ve already posted lots of iPhone photos from the trip (the fancypants camera was brought along but never made it out of the camera bag), but why don’t I show you some of the others that got snapped? Consider it the extra bonus DVD in your box set. Maybe I should put together a blooper reel, too.

Pre-travel preparations involved a lot of packing, and Millie was my packing supervisor. Man, she’s a tough boss.

When we were in Carterville, I continued my recent tradition of dragging out my old toys, and got out my Barbies after much begging by Eleanor. I was a little sad to discover that I am old enough now that my Barbie clothes are all back in style. There were dolman-esque sleeves galore, and one-shouldered dresses, wedge heels, and some rockin’ ’70s jumpsuits.

A treat for Andy and I was attending the SIU basketball game on Friday night.

The crowd was sparse due to the holiday, giving us plenty of room to enjoy the beautifully remodeled arena, and especially the large photos adorning the walls.

While in Champaign, Henry took some more photos.

Another treat for Andy and I was sneaking out to see The Muppets on Sunday night. We enjoyed both it and the lobby decorations.

We got home yesterday afternoon and immediately segued from Thanksgiving into Christmas. I don’t like decorating before December 1, but once again Henry and Eleanor won out.

And thus ends your Trip Through Jennifer’s iPhone. See you tomorrow for the last day of NaBloPoMo!

Nov 222011
 

I know that eventually Henry and Eleanor will develop their own interests, and probably reject anything that heaven forbid their mom and dad think is cool. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to share with them things that I liked in childhood (and beyond), and when it matches up with stuff they’re currently into? Even better.

Henry somehow caught wind of the fact that I had my Star Wars toys at our house, and has been begging every day to play with them. Today was a rainy, stay-in-our-jammies kind of day, so I caved and dug them out of the garage.

And yes, R2D2, Chewbacca and the gang had to share space with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Growing up, my girly side and my nerdy side lived in harmony. Don’t YOU want your wookiees to smell like fruit?

I opened up the cases and Henry and Eleanor’s eyes grew wide. Then I whipped out a Millennium Falcon I found at the Goodwill Outlet and immediately won the Best Mom Ever title for life.

Watching your kids’ excitement over your most cherished toys is such a wonderful perk of parenting. Henry and Eleanor played Star Wars all day until we finally had to shut the lid on the big strawberry and send them off to bed. Who knows, someday they’ll probably think I’m a big dork, but for now, the Force nerdiness is strong in these two.

Nov 162011
 

The art world is abuzz over the sale last week of this Andreas Gursky photograph for a record-setting $4.3 million. Now, I think that it’s great that photography is getting treated like serious artwork, but c’mon. Really? It has beautiful, fantastic composition, but really? Really?


Photo: Rhine II by Andreas Gursky
/CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2011

Admittedly, I’ve never had any formal art training, so I tend not to “get” modern art. This means my standard criteria on which I judge it is, “could I do that?” I looked at this photo and thought, “yeah, I could.” And in this economy, who doesn’t want to make some extra money? So I grabbed my trusty camera, gave myself a five-minute time limit, and created the following.


Deck Rail with Knothole VIII, $1.7 million


Plant Stand/Dirty Siding
, $2.3 million


Who Wrote on the Easel with A Sharpie?, $3.6 million


Please Pick Up Your Toys, $2.8 million

Because I love my readers, I’ll give you first crack at these masterpieces before I turn them over to Christie’s. I thank you, and my children’s non-existent trust fund thanks you.

Nov 152011
 

So, Halloween. We basically celebrated it for the entire month of October. This year, the kids were very excited to count down the days on our Halloween advent tree, which belonged to a dear family friend. The first thing they did each morning was go find the ornament for that day.

What did we dress up as?

I was a witch, mostly so I could wear fun socks.

Andy was Tim Tebow.

Henry and Eleanor were a firefighter and princess (preschool party), Spiderman and Supergirl (preschool on Halloween day), and owls for everything else. I found cute owl masks by Jessica of Opposite of Far, and let me just detour this post for a second and say that Jessica is awesome, because she will let you place a last-minute order even though she had temporarily halted mask orders on Etsy, and will have the masks ready for you at the Halloween festival, and then will sell you another mask when you sprint back to the craft tent minutes before the costume parade because you thought Henry had lost his first mask, and then after the first mask turns up at the lost-and-found tent, when you run into her in front of the pizza place where you just had supper, she will let you return the second mask.

The rest of the owl costume? Sewn by yours truly. I cut up clothes from the Goodwill Outlet into feathers, and sewed them onto a long-sleeve t-shirt. I hardly ever sew, so I had an up-until-2-am, Tim Gunn “make it work” moment. But now I can say that I’ve made them Halloween costumes. That means I can shop in the Target costume aisle guilt-free next year, right?

How did we celebrate?

By going to the pumpkin patch with preschool.

By playing with friends, listening to music, bouncing, and marching in the costume parade at the Irvington Halloween Festival. This was our third year attending; it’s a fun tradition we’re forming with Henry and Eleanor.

Another tradition we’ve started is going to Zoo Boo, so we headed there for trick-or-treating, sticking our heads through cut-outs, looking at animals, and more bouncing.

This year it was impossible to get any good photos of Henry and Eleanor in their costumes. They were so into the holiday and wanted to go and see and do and be with their friends.

The pre-trick-or-treating photoshoot on the driveway? Didn’t happen. The kids were too obsessed with catching up with the pack of neighborhood kids that they idolize. This was pretty much Andy’s and my view of the kids that night.

We still have candy left, if anyone would like a piece.

Henry and Eleanor had so much fun this season, and Andy and I had so much fun watching the kids have fun. I know everyone’s starting to get all fired up for Christmas, but in my book, Halloween’s the best, hands down.

Oct 082011
 

I had a lot on my to-do list today: clean/laundry/paint the guest room/organize/yardwork. But we discovered that Andy’s new favorite band (Polkaboy) was playing at a local farm, so off we went to the Trader’s Point Oktoberfest for an afternoon of fun.

It was a MUCH better use of our day, don’tcha think?