Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Or otherwise titled: "The Slacker Blog Writer Finally Gets Christmas 2010 on Her Blog".

This brings a whole new meaning to "I'll tell you later, Betty" a lot later, it seems.

"Who's gonna read it? Who cares now? It's a waste of your time!" -Patrick Kiley

And I reply, "It's the principle of the thing...I've just gotta get it up...uh, I mean posted".

I'm imagining when my children are sitting by the fireplace, reminiscing about their childhood to my grandchildren (leaving out all the ugly dysfunction, of course) they'll say, "Oh, hey, what fun it would be to read mom's blog...a trip down memory lane!" Then they get to Winter 2010/2011 and wonder if Santa forgot about them that year...or perhaps Gavin never really turned ten in January 2011.

So here I am in the Spring of 2011 typing a post about Christmas 2010. Lame, really. But necessary to my psyche. So please indulge me, dear readers. I'm sure at least one of you can relate. The rest of you can make fun of me. But please do it behind my back so I can keep what dignity I have left intact.

Of course, the Clinton Christmas Parade, now the third one we've attended, continues to be a train wreck that I can't seem to turn my head from. I must capture this crazy thing they call a Christmas parade.

Let's start with the Shriner Hill Billies...always a hit...but I'm skeptical about the clownish nature of the whole thing.


This year, Wendy and her girlfriends were in the parade...dear lord, that is one ugly Wendy or a straight man in drag (my apologies to the local "Wendy" should you read this and, indeed, are a girl)

This float is in the parade every year and every year it takes me by surprise...note: the Shriner is not a mannequin.

Cute high school boy holds snowman's head in the land where snow rarely falls.

Somebody call the DSS...CPS...

I guess one of us considers themselves a "Clintonian"..."Clintonite"...from here...and she looks like she's having a heck of a time throwing candy at the locals.

And then, finally, nothing says Christmas like the Clinton High School Mascot, The Red Devil...not to be confused with the Pink Devil or the Chartreuse Devil.

It would be remiss of me not to challenge you, my friends and family, to come up with some captions for these photos. Really, I didn't do them justice. So in the comments sections leave your captions to my photos. There's sure to be a winner.

That concludes this long over due pictorial of the 2010 Clinton (say it with me: klin-uhn) Christmas Parade. Alas, our ancient Mac Book that had all our Christmas photos died before I could upload them. But now we have a shiny new iMac this makes me very happy.
Photo on 2011-04-21 at 21.13 #2

But I did manage to upload to Flikr these two little video clips...variations on a theme.

Variation One: The North

Variation Two: The South
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Virtuoso in the Making?


It is too soon to tell. But in our house she is a virtuoso. Uh, just as long as she keeps playing "I Like Chocolate Ice Cream". Anna started violin lessons last fall and I must say it is absolutely adorable seeing her with her little violin. When she practices her bow for the audience I about want to melt in that sweet cutie goodness.

So her first recital was in December. I promise I won't post every recital on here. It could prove to be torturous. But this one is easy on the ears. And will provide a good "before" to her amazing performances later. Can you all sing along with me? "She's got high hopes. She's got high hopes. She's got high apple pie in the sky hopes!"

Any hopes of me being a videographer sadly are not worth having. But you get the jist...cute little girl in a cute dress playing second fiddle to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

We also got to hear several of our friends' kids play too.


Anna's instructor, Nancy Ditto, is an instructor of violin at Presbyterian College. She is so good with the little ones. She is just Miss Nancy to us. We love Miss Nancy and the way she makes playing so much fun for Anna. I think Anna would do just about anything for that woman...especially if there is chocolate or stickers involved.


Come to think of it I've been known to do just about anything for some chocolate. Like mother like daughter...
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Revolutionary Holiday - Thanksgiving Part Two

Only in South Carolina would they name a town, Ninety Six. Where do you live? Oh, Ninety Six. It's like saying you live in Letter "P". The history of the name is unclear. There are several speculations as to why they named it Ninety Six. As I type this I'm beginning to reconsider the "only in South Carolina" theory. Case in point: Hoosier. Need I say more? Maybe my home state and my current state have something in common...say it ain't so Joe.

But I digress. Let's get back to our visit to Ninety Six National Historic Site while the Kileys ventured to the whoopee cushion of America. Oh man, I should have greeted them with my clown shoes and water squirting boutonniere when they arrived. Damn, another opportunity missed.

Well, South Carolina is chock full of National historic sites featuring either Revolutionary War battles or Civil War battles. And Ninety Six used to be a village in the 1700s that was eventually burned to the ground by the Loyalists. At the site they have trails explaining how the battles there were fought. There are also a few buildings that assist in recreating the village feel. For those of you who have been to Conner Prairie in Indiana just imagine a tiny little part of the living village...itty bitty. The weekend the Hoosier Kileys were here Nine-Six was having a Colonial Holiday Reenactment and it was free. There was something for everybody.

When we first arrived we met this soldier. I can't remember whose side he was on. I've slept since then. I really look interested don't I?
2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 17
Actually, I was more interested in this little guy right by his foot.


Now before you all rush to the comments to leave dirty jokes, I must stop you. For I am truly intrigued with the variety of mushrooms in South Carolina. This one is called "stinkhorn" I guess the heat and humidity create the perfect breeding ground for fungi. This guy lost his life to the revolutionary soldier who was telling us all about his, cough, cough, fire arm.

Soon we were off to the trail.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 18

The kids tried their hands at making pomanders the Colonial way.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 22

In the cabin we got to experience what it would have been like at the inn during the 1700's complete with Styrofoam cups.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 23

And the innkeeper's wife...


But quite honestly we had had enough of the kids. Something had to be done. Perhaps they had the answer to unruly children 1700's style.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 25

It was a great way to start the holidays...simply and with family.


I hope yours was just as memorable as ours this year.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Over the Mountains and through the rain...

[I know, dear readers, that Thanksgiving has come and gone. Alas, so did the time I had for blogging when I began full time employment...heavy sigh.]

Indiana came to Clinton for Thanksgiving for the first time. The Kileys all climbed in their cars and made the nine hour trek through rain and mountains to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with us.

The table was festively set...

And we all set down to a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.
2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 02

One thing we were grateful for is that the kids' table was in another room.
2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 01

The cousins had a great time together. The top fun thing to do was the next door neighbor's zip line. The adults were bummed that it was not designed hold our weight minus thanksgiving dinner.
2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 09

The girls played dress up and created works of art.
2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 03

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 15

Jack was channeling his inner Rambo...
2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 05

Really. See...

We've got a great old Magnolia tree in the front yard. I think every single cousin and maybe even a stray aunt or uncle were in this tree at some point during the weekend.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 08

The Hampton Inn's hot tub was a hit with all the kids since the pool wasn't heated.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 07

And Christmas came to early to the Kiley cousins.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 10

Jack gets to explore all things great and small

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 11

The girls and their American girls got matching dresses

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 12

Best of all, the professor and I were lucky enough to be given a yodeling pickle...ah, the memories.

2010-11 Thanksgiving in Clinton - 13

Please enjoy the yodeling as we did and still do.

I know you'll be tempted to play this over and is mesmerizing. But please practice some restraint. And, instead, anticipate Thanksgiving Part Two: Ninety Six - A 1700's Holiday. Hopefully I'll get it posted before 2700.
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The Tooth Fairy found Maple Street

first tooth lost
Miss Monkey Mae wiggled the heck out of that tooth. She was determined to meet the Tooth Fairy. But alas, sleep took her out of the running to be the first one to meet her.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let the Demolition Begin...

Bathroom of your nightmares be gone!
Coming soon: "After" pictures.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Love Affair continues...

The clouds parted.
The sun shined down on the deprived people of Clinton.
(uh, that would be Betty and the professor)
For unto us a store has opened.

I took a little field trip on my day off from saving postal souls. I traveled the 40 minutes up 385 to reunite with my long lost love, Trader Joe.
And he did not disappoint.

Upon entering the store I was met by these lovely specimens.


And the eye candy (and tummy candy) went on and on. I wandered the aisles fondly remembering why I missed him so much. Oh, Trader Joe I'm so glad you are back in my life...never go away again or I might have to boil a bunny.


And now for your viewing pleasure, a music video about my impressive boyfriend.

The Love Affair continues...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Inaugural Halloween Party

The weather was perfect.
The company was entertaining.
The costumes were fabulous.
How could we not have a great time?
My creation
The kids' excitement and energy were contagious. Although there were eyeballs (doughnut holes dipped in white chocolate), jello brain, gummy teeth,mummy cupcakes and yummy dogs & chips, they barely ate a thing. The little hooligans were content to climb the magnolia, chase each other around the yard and toss the football. I don't know how we managed to herd them all to get a picture but I'm so glad they complied.


All too soon we were off to trick and treat. Tinker Bell had enough glitter spray on her to keep Peter Pan in Never,never Land for eternity. Harry Potter decided he didn't want to wear his glasses...but his mother insisted on them for the pictures.


We returned home where the adults enjoyed some wine and leftover eyeballs while the kids surveyed their booty. As the evening came to a close, I found myself thinking about next Halloween and how to add to the fun we had this year. And, if you know me well, you could guess I was also wondering where to go for the best Halloween clearance.

Boo to you!
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hello Miren...Goodbye Matthew

We had an unexpected trip back home last month. Less than a week after welcoming Miren Elizabeth to the family, Matt got his orders that he was being deployed to Afghanistan within the week. So we hightailed it up north to say our "farewells" and "be safes" to Matt and we got to say our "hellos" and "welcome to the worlds" to Miren as a bonus. So without further adieu, here are some pictures commemorating our hellos and goodbyes.

New parents...welcome to the club.

My creation
There's more hair on that baby girl than both my kid's had at their first haircuts! Parents, Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents and cousins are all smitten with the silken haired babe.

The best. cousin. picture. ever.

The bond between these two boys makes my heart swell.

This is the look of nine year old boy contentment.

Who can resist a sweet baby foot?

The Kiley Family 2010

Be safe Matt. We love you and your cynical self. I bet we'll still have the same old computer when you get back. I hope you can stand it.
Welcome to the family, Miren. Fasten your buckle, girl. We may be crazy but we're nothing if we're not entertaining.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Long Live Harold Lee Miller Photography!


When I was pregnant with Anna over five year ago now, I wanted a professional picture of me and my pregnant belly. And lucky me, I was (and still am) friends with a commercial photographer who was willing to take some photographs. Flash forward, it is now the Summer of 2010 and I want an accompanying photo of the dear girl that once was a baby in that handy dandy uterus of mine. I'd also like to capture the two of our kids together, if that is humanly possible.

Enter Harold Lee Miller. I can't say enough about the man. He is an artist first and foremost. But one word is not enough. He is a story teller, a visionary, an entrepreneur, a fabulous cook, a gentle man, a funny guy, a patient husband, a loving father and an amazing photographer. He's a got a wife, too, who I love to pieces and is one of the few people who I can name as a true friend. She gets me and I'm okay with it. Quite a combo. These two people are a power house of creativity. Sometimes, I just bask in it. Other times, I covet it. But I never get tired of it.

So we're in Indiana for a Summer visit. Now that we officially live nine hours away from my closest and dearest peeps it is impossible to see them all in a five day period. And, I'll tell you what, it makes me grumpy. But that is another post. This is about the photo shoot we squeezed in while partaking in the annual Hoosier-palooza (advance tickets on sale now for next year...get your time with Kelly reserved a year in advance...ugh.).

Harold's studio is in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. You can't help but feel hip or tragically inferior (take your pick) when stepping into his space. He designed the building himself and then set out to become an interior designer as well. The studio has some fabulous mid-century pieces that fit the space perfectly making you feel like you truly are in a place reserved for creative pursuits.

When we arrived the kids immediately went running to Sam to play. Meanwhile Grace assisted Harold with getting the lighting set up. And then the photo shoot began. I have to say, I'm biased, I think Anna is beautiful. But, Harold can make a fence post look beautiful. So I'm calling this Anna's first photo shoot.

Here's collage of a few of the shots Harold captured of Anna Mae.
anna mosaic

And somehow,Harold, managed to get our two kids to stand next to each other and look like they might actually like each other, just a little bit, for a minute.
Gavin & Anna Mosaic

If you want to see some of these photos individually check out my Flickr account. And while you're at it head over to Facebook and become a fan of Harold Lee Miller Photography. Thank you Harold for capturing the essence of our kids so beautifully!
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