February 15, 2013

Fashion Friday - 2012 retrospective

Ellie says, in 2012, matching outfits were in.
According to Wren, bows were out.

For Christmas, I wanted to get a couple nice portraits of the girls. You know, something they could look back on in 30 years and cherish. I was really aiming for a classic one of the sisters together. And since I'm a photographer I thought, "No problem. I'll shoot these myself and it will be great. Who needs JC Penny or other lame photo services? Not me. I'll get loads of pictures like these":
But when it came to the photo of the two of them together, they were...less than cooperative. 10 minutes into it and I would have paid big bucks for a cheesy background and a stuffed animal above the tripod to get those girls to look in the same direction. Joe was the stylist/wrangler for this shoot and he gave the girls a good talking to about our expectations for their modeling.
I don't think they took him very seriously.
So instead of a single photo of the two of them looking at the camera and smiling,
what I got was a whole lot of outtakes.
Those girls. They have more spunk than they know what to do with.
And we love them for it.
OK, sometimes in spite of it.

February 12, 2013

Sending Thumb Love

I don't know if we'll ever send Christmas cards again. With the births of two girls and one member of the Godhead to commemorate, December is too crazy for me to think about sending cards to loved ones. Valentine's Day, though - I could really go for some crafting to break of the monotony of February. So this year I made some cards (with the help of Ellie's thumb) for some family members.
Pretty great, right? Seriously, I don't think I accomplished a single thing of real value in the month of January, so this kind of concerted effort has got me feeling mighty impressed with myself. I just love the idea of handcrafting a special note to the people who mean the most to me - sending a little love through the mail. I like this idea so much, I just might solidify it as Hardie Family Tradition.
Originally the idea was to make a little portrait of our family on the front of each card, but sometimes Ellie went rogue with her thumb printing responsibilities and I was left to improvise. Poor Wren always got the short end of the stick with this arrangement.
Here she is as a buck-toothed toddler boy.
And here she is again - our little slug baby.
Funny renditions of Wren aside, though, the real beauty of Valentine's Cards are witty puns.
True genius struck me after 8pm when I found a rubber stamp of a maple leaf in my craft drawer. That's right, I can't leaf without you. Ba-haha! Surely there's an arborist society somewhere that will hire me to make Valentines fundraising cards.

Get crafting, friends - nothing brings out the Valentine's spirit like glue sticks and paper doilies.

February 1, 2013

Christmas Magic

In case you were wondering, February first is a perfectly appropriate day write about Christmas memories.

This Christmas was very low key for our family. Low pressure - just what we needed. It was quiet and simple, but still filled with the right kind of magic. There are a few scattered memories I want to preserve about our Christmas in 2012.

Thinking back on December, it was so great to have Joe home from school and to have days and days on end to spend as a family. That was easily the best part of this holiday - having so much unstructured time to be together.
Our big adventure this year was an outing to the Dicken's Festival in Skaneateles, NY. It was freezing that day! Snow was blowing across the fields and covering the roads. We almost got stuck in a drift on our way out to this tiny town on one of the finger lakes. But we made it, and we were not disappointed. (Well, I was a little disappointed but I tend to have suuuuper high expectations) The Cratchit family was there, as well as Father Christmas, and a large band of cheerful carolers. We froze our butts off, but it was still charming and fun.
Although Ellie was not wearing her snow gear, she insisted on playing in the giant drifts on the sidewalk before we got in the car. Against my better judgement, I caved and let her go for it.
It was all fun and games until somebody realized how freezing it was. Then we had to listen to her complaints for a good while on the way home.
I treasure the nights we spent cuddled up, watching Christmas movies and sipping hot chocolate. One night we went driving to see Christmas lights - and I fell in love with the candles in the window and wreaths on the door. Holiday decor up here is fairly understated - but so very classic. Ellie's voice was drifting from the back seat as she showed us how well she's learned to sing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. At first I was disappointed that I hadn't prepared cocoa to pass around, that I hadn't made this adventure as picture perfect as I had wanted it to be. But then I realized that perfect is not what we need. Good enough is what we need. Time together. Simple traditions that don't photograph well or make great blog posts. Things we do just to have fun and smile together. That was the lesson I took away from this Christmas: to just be. And to let that be enough.

Joe hosted a party for making gingerbread houses.

Many nights we cut snowflakes together, and Ellie proudly hung them all over the tree.

We finally had the most awesome gift at a white elephant party.

Christmas Eve was spent with some new friends in our ward, and the children's excitement was contagious to every parent there.

Ellie told everyone that Santa was going to bring her a pink kitty and a pink leash.

And on our trip down to NYC we got to see the big man in the flesh. Macy's Santa Land was better than we had expected, and so were our girls' reactions to that jolly old elf.

Ellie and Santa - best friends forever. Such a big difference from last year's reaction.

I love how Eleanor is looking up to the heavens in this photo. At some point during December, she started praying to Santa. We tried to correct her, but it can be pretty confusing. Two loving, all knowing mystical men who give you things you ask for. How do you tell them apart? So we just let it slide for a bit and she seemed to forget about Santa-God once the holiday hype was over.

I for one, will not forget the simple joys of this year's holiday. We had the love of our small family and the company of friends old and new. It was a perfectly imperfect, quiet, magical Christmas.