Saturday, December 31, 2011

PART II Tri-State Winter Whirlwind....

PART II: Our Winter Whirlwind Consisted of Birthdays, Babies, Bows (on presents) Boots, Blue (toes, noses, etc), Below Zero, and any other alliterative way to describe our Tri-state Winter trip!

Christmas Eve Babies

There are 8 grandchildren on my side. Here are the 4 youngest. Earlier on Christmas Eve, official pictures were taken of all 8 of the grandkids, but those pictures are not ready yet. Stay tuned! Alexander is on the left, then Skylar who was born just a couple of weeks before he was, then Truper who is two, and then Caleb who is 8 months.

We read a Christmas story about the Nativity from Luke 2, and we had the kids act it out. That was quite interesting. I think at one point Alexander hit the baby Jesus doll with something. We did get it on video but we haven't viewed it yet.

Christmas Day 2011
Christmas morning the kids managed to wait until 6:30 to get up. It's a blur for me, but it consisted of a lot of wrapping paper flying around. It was a Sunday, so we then got ready to go to the one hour Sacrament meeting down the road in Etna.

Alexander was quite handsome if I do say so myself!

After church on the way home, we stopped to be "touristy". I am not happy how blurry these pictures look. Something must have gotten on the lens. It was still below zero too.
Here is Mikelle, Christian and their cousin Garon:
Other Star Valley sites that day:

Down to Utah 12/26/11
The next day, we did another caravan with Becca and Gary and their litter (kidding Becca, you know I'm just playing) from Star Valley down to Utah.

We would have gotten out of places much quicker if Chris didn't park himself inside Maverick and Chevron convenient stores and take forever to come out.
(this is how I'll know if Chris ever reads my blog) Seriously, Chris needs someone behind him with a whip to keep it moving when he goes into those places (Lara: if you're reading this, this was the kind of thing that made it so we didn't make it Vegas in a timely manner when we were meeting up with you and Joel). After 17 years, you'd think I'd be used to it, but when you're on vacation with three kids, and are also carvanning with others and don't want to hold them up, it is quite irritating. Therefore, patience isn't quite there anymore.

Afton, Wyoming. This is where Gary works.

I was excited for the roadtrip adventure, but a little sad of how ugly some parts of the way were. I didn't expect that. Sure, it was all snowy, but the southwestern corner of Wyoming was so "blah". I didn't expect that. But anyway, backing up, the route was confusing to Mikelle. We go into Idaho for a bit, then back into Wyoming, then into Utah for a bit, then back into Wyoming before you hit I-80 in Evanston (yuck, by the way) and then go back into Utah permanently.

After Evanston, Becca and Gary went onto their Utah destination and we headed to American Fork for the Henrichsen side of our family-visit tour!

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Friday, December 30, 2011

PART I Tri-State Winter Whirlwind....

Our Winter Whirlwind Consisted of Birthdays, Babies, Bows (on presents) Boots, Blue (toes, noses, etc), Below Zero, and any other alliterative way to describe our Tri-state Winter trip!

Alexander's Birthday 12-22-11
Mom and Alexander flew to Idaho Falls on his birthday, 12/22/11. We met up with Dad, Christian and Mikelle in Rexburg and celebrated Alexander's birthday at Pizza Pie Cafe! Then we went back to Grammy's house in Rexburg for cake. It was cold, but it is refreshing to have a white and cold December!
Birthday Boy At Pizza Pie Cafe
December 22, 2011

(Yes, that's a U of A jacket. Yes, Chris and I went to ASU. The jacket was nicely lent to us, and
we appreciate the gesture, so who cares that it's a U of A jacket!)

Birthday Boy At Pizza Pie Cafe. Is he the cutest in that winter hat or what?!

Alexander and his cousin Brisa

Birthday Cake for everyone else...

Alexander's First Birthday Cake - Still intact!
Birthday Boy, all stripped Down, ready to tackle that cake!

And Bye Bye Cake, Hello Bathtub!!!

That same night, we did a caravan with Becca's family from Rexburg about an hour and half east to where they live in Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming.

Jackson Hole and the Tetons 12-23-11
If it was cold in Idaho, it was colder in Wyoming. Below zero was a norm, and I don't remember it being two digits above zero. Still, on 12/23 we had fun heading up to Jackson ( I saw a Blad Eagle in the sky on the way up!) and seeing the Grand Tetons. Sure, it would have been nice if the sun wasn't so intense, but the sun likes to follow me around like that intense spotlight cops use for interrogations.
All of Us - Chris was taking the picture

All of Us - For Real!

After the Tetons, we saw some real buffalos on the side of the road, and then headed to Jackson to mess around. The guys took Mikelle, Christian, Garon and Brisa to see the movie Tin Tin. Becca and I got eyebrow and lip waxes only to find that Grammy disappeared from the parking lot. I actually didn't feel that cold as we looked around the Smiths Parking lot, but that wore off quickly. Maybe it was my bare lip realizing the fur was gone. Who knows.

Then after she and I got Grammy back with our three kids that were with her, we headed back to Star Valley.

Stay tuned for Part B!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Means Birthday Time!

...for AleXander! It makes me cry that an entire year has passed. He will be one year old TOMORROW, 12/22/11. This picture to the left was taken today. I caught him mid-step before he yanked the hat off his head. Too adorable, I'd say!

Even though his birthday isn't until tomorrow and that is also when most of the celebration will take place, last night he did open one present early. Technically, it was from Mikelle. And so far, he really likes it! (and also, in the future, we will NOT use Christmas paper for his birthday presents. This year we figured he wouldn't mind....This year is the "trial run")

This is also our first annual "Birthday Tree". I always wanted to do more than one Christmas tree, and Alexander's birthday is such a wonderful reason. The irony though, is the birthday tree was our "only" tree this year, due to his intense mobility. Sure, he still will be into everything a year from now, but he'll understand better about "not touching" at age almost 2, then he does now (though I'm sure we'll still be challenged by him! lol). Nevertheless, our large tree will come back out next year.

LinkThere is a tiger ornament on there because he was born the Year of the Tiger. I also saw a cute Cupcake ornament and had to make it part of the tree as it had that birthday "feel" to it. Mikelle and Christian made some fun little crafty ornaments too. I love the idea also of having two trees, because the birthday tree can have all kinds of ornaments and colors on there, and the big tree can keep the blue, silver and white theme.

Well, Alexander has come up with a new way to get my attention: Take off all his clothes including his diaper. Therefore, it's time to step away and deal with silly goofball tiger boy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Second Time is the Charm!

Last week (or something like that), the improved Gilbert Temple Motif was completed. This is one of the available prints.

New motifs for the New Year:

  • Moon Motif (similar to the one in the original Sun, Moon, Stars Motif currently available at Sundust Gallery)

  • Phoenix/Peoria AZ Temple

  • Gila Valley AZ Temple

And Speaking of "Second Time", here is the other Santa Picture from 12/5. Mikelle didn't dress to coordinate because she told me she didn't want anything to do with the Santa picture. If you recall to this entry a year ago, just having her get in for that really took some doing. However, this time around, Santa's helpers really laid it on thick and talked Mikelle into getting into the picture. And yes, that's Alexander's shoe falling off. However, his smile makes shoes unnecessary.

Ages 11, 7 1/2+, and 11 1/2 months

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why "Circle" Motifs?

I'm frequently asked Why Circles? Good question. Since as long as I can remember, I've always loved to draw and always been a doodler. No matter how much I enjoy painting with watercolor, acrylic, glazes on ceramics, and creating with other fun art mediums, I always come back to drawing.

Last March, about a month after I returned from maternity leave, I presented a project to my Basic Drawing Classes on Mandalas. At first, it was just another class art project that had plenty of history, multicultural and geographical integration. To make a long story short, the students were assigned 3 different types of Mandalas which pushed them to try different techniques while having plenty of artistic license.

This link
is another good one about Mandalas.

However, through our Mandala Unit, I discovered that my usual "doodling" and drawing really took a different turn when I put them into the circular shape. It especially took hold when I was showing one of my students a fun way to use pen and ink in one of their "free design" Mandalas. I also showed them this YouTube in addition to my demonstrations.
I soon found myself addicted to using the circles.

I never thought it would take me to where I am in just a short amount of time, but here we are!

The Mandalas on this entry are from March-May when I began using the circles.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tuck the Traveling Turtle and Framed Flemish Favors

Okay, the second part of this title isn't technically Flemish. It's actually Dutch, but Dutch doesn't go alliteratively with "framed".

Tuck the Traveling Turtle
Anyway, back to the Traveling Turtle. Friday, Christian brought home Tuck the Traveling Turtle from school. Tuck is a stuffed animal that comes home for the weekend with different students in Christian's class. This time it was Christian's turn! During the weekend, the student writes down what they did together in a journal that came home with Tuck and even add a picture. What is also funny, is we have the exact same turtle. It was given to Alexander when he was born! We added these two pictures to the journal. Tuck is the one with the red and white Arizona Diamondbacks shirt. It's a good thing, because otherwise, we wouldn't be able to tell these two twins apart.

Therefore, here is one of Christian's entries:

Friday December 9, 2011
I've got good news. Right now Tuck has an identical twin! Now Tuck can have fun even if no one is around.

Tuck is going to have fun this weekend with his friends! (his twin and Christian!)

Alexander, our Turtle, Tuck the Turtle and Christian

Framed Flemish Favors
As for the Framed "Dutch" Favors, here is an example of one of the locale Circle Motifs beautifully framed! This one is of the Holland Tribute:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alexander's First Time Seeing Santa

Even though this won't officially be Alexander's first Christmas, being that he was 3 days old for his first one, this passed Monday was his first experience seeing Santa Claus. He sat on his lap with his big brother Christian (who will be 8 in March).

Mikelle, being 11, didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, so I didn't insist she coordinate her clothing for the picture. However, the Santa's Helpers did talk her into getting into a picture. I have gone online to order that particular picture, but I bought this one first because it captures the first time Alexander saw Santa Claus.

He was a little hesitant, as in the last couple of weeks, Alexander hasn't gone to other people as easily as he did before. However, he noticed Santa's beard and really focused and studied it.

After Santa hung out with the boys for a bit and talked to Christian, Christian wrote a letter to Santa (to put in the mailbox there). I took a picture with the cell phone, so it doesn't show up very well.

His list said he forgot to mention a few things he wanted for Christmas:

1) Ink Cartridges - color and black and white 2)A Wi-Fi network that will hook up to the whole internet 3) An Electric Scooter 4) A DSI with 10 cartridges.

If Christian's letter to Santa isn't amazing enough, today he got out a screwdriver and fixed the baby proofing latches on the kitchen cupboards (I DID NOT ask him to do this). The ones from when Christian was a roaming toddler (and the term roaming really means pillaging and destroying) have long been broken off and ineffective. Christian got a screwdriver, changed them out for new latches that were sitting in the package. This kid is 7!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

First onto the NEXT one

Well, I finished the Gilbert Temple Circle Motif, but it just isn't right. I already started a new one for the Gilbert Temple.

The temps around here have been perfect for winter time! Yesterday is barely cracked the mid-50s and the day before was the same with winter rain. And luckily, it's going to stay in the 50s and 60s this week!

Sadly, despite the seasonal weather, it's not so seasonal inside. No Christmas decorations are up. Part of it is AleXander is so very mobile. It's already been difficult with the "usual" things. He is one curious and determined little guy! Therefore, the big tree won't be going up this year.

However, we won't be tree-less. Because he was born on 12/22 we're starting a tradition of having a small "birthday" tree. It's a 4-ft tree that we put in the office/den. I know, why there? Well, that's the room blocked by the baby gate. The office needs to straightening up so it's not so office-like in it's clutter. Having the festivity in the room is certainly a lot of motivation to get the office to a more worthy appearance for the little birthday tree!

In the meantime, stand-by for the improved Gilbert Temple motif, and hopefully around here we'll have a much happier looking office!