Can I brag for a minute?

These are our nieces and nephews in Birmingham: Holland, Harrison and Isacah. We will not see them this holiday season, and we miss them dearly (sniff, sniff) Aren't they cute?



New in the shop!

Well, the new year is nearly upon us, and with it I'll be kicking off a new series in the shop. Stay tuned for more of The Wild Children in 2010!



And to all a good night

Three days before Christmas, we decided to have a little sleepover with Q's cousin Victoria. We figured it was an excellent opportunity to make gingerbread from scratch, and bake far too many Christmas cookies.

Q discovered for the first time (we're not frequent cookie-bakers) the joys of eating heavily-sugared dough, and rubbing her face in the Hungarian high-altitude flour (zoom in for the flour dusting on her nose and eyebrows).

As you can see, we're of the school that likes to slather butter all over the baking pans, rather than using the spray-on shortening.

Right on cue, it began to snow just after dusk, and we all bundled up and piled into the car for a ride downtown to admire the lights.
We hadn't gone ten blocks before we came across this...
...someone's elaborate Holiday project. These people own two vintage firetrucks, which they apparently spend all their free time decorating, and then driving around the neighborhood during the Holidays.

I think they just do it for the pleasure of seeing the kids' faces light up...and oh, do they ever!
Q is now a brand spanking-new convert to the love of all things firetruck.
Downtown, we stopped into the tail end of the Sinterklaas festival for some assorted meats from various regions of Germany, Switzerland and Holland, and then a leisurely wander around the Christmas wonderland of the 16th Street mall.

In the last photo, you can see Q escaping into Forever 21, where she did a hotfoot circuit at top speed, burning linoleum and touching every faux-fur and sequin frock on the racks with her sticky little hands (mommy hot on her heels).
We took a bus ride up and down the pedestrian mall, searching (to no avail) for an available horse and carriage. At Christmastime, all the carriage horses wear their hooves painted in red glitter...which is pretty cool. But...no dice. Disappointed, we wandered listlessly into American Apparel, where the Q fell madly and vociferously in love with this ridiculously large, superbly shiny, pewter-hewed tote bag. Next to basketballs and bunnies, bags are Q's most favorite thing. She appears to have a propensity for alliteration.
Larimer Square, always a photo opportunity at this time of year.
Back at home, M. made gingerbread men from scratch using only his bare hands, a mixing bowl, and a tin sports-drink can (did I mention he's talented?), while Victoria and Q watched Mary Poppins and ate the spoils.

Q emulating Mary Poppins, and attempting to ascend to the ceiling using only a Chinese parasol. (Shortly after failing at that worthy endeavor, she attempted to ascend to the ceiling by laughing hysterically and at length. Which also did not work. Though, by all rights, it should have.)


More from Vail

This is how Q leaves the apartment on her way to go swimming. In late-December. Outdoors. At 8500 feet above sea level. In a ski resort.
Well, she did deign to put on a hat, at least, in the end.
Had to zoom in on that one. Bare feet on the brick paving, even! She's a tough one. Yes, that is snow.
Q loves hot tubs.
Any body of water, really, will do. She tried to swim in the fountain in downtown Denver tonight as a snowstorm set in. She's not picky.
Luckily our cousin Kim works at a health club, and while we were in the Vail Valley she signed us in for a day of swimming at the indoor pool, as well.
Q was delighted. But then...she kind of thinks that people just basically live to fulfill her every whim. Hmmmmmm....

This is Q trying to get cousin Kim's attention. You really need to zoom in on this series to see her expression. Obviously, she needs something. Or, she's just tired of the conversation. Or, she wants Kim to come in swimming with her. In any case, check out the laser beam focus she uses to get her target audience to make eye contact with her. And see how she points to her own chest as she comes around into Kim's field of vision, just in case her point wasn't clear? It just cracks me up. This kid will never have trouble getting her point across. Or getting things done. She is nothing if not direct, confident and authoritative.
Here she is swimming in the big pool. Her kicking has improved a great deal since last summer. Kim also pointed out that she is able to show off a bit for the camera even while trying to swim.

Then we met grandma and grandpa at Larkburger for lunch. If you're ever in the Vail Valley, don't miss Larkburger. It's a must. The truffle burger (with truffle-oil aioli) is to die for. But if you're not into red meat, there's also a turkey burger and a fresh seared tuna burger which are very nearly as good. The herbed parmesan truffle fries are incredible, and even the green salad (with field greens, edamame and a truffle/ranch dressing) is solid. Trust me, you can't go wrong.
...oh, and I hear there's one open in Boulder now, too.


Photo shoot

It's been a long time coming, but we finally have the beautiful photos that Hudson Valley portrait photographer Melissa MacDonald took of us when we were back in upstate NY over the summer. I really love this one.
It was pouring rain, but we had such fun that day, you'd never know it!
Aren't they wonderful?
Q with her LaoLao.
Just look at that face.

We'll be treasuring these for years to come.
This is Q's "excited face". Heh!