Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Costumes and Christmas

Phew, almost caught up with the past 6 months of blogging. Next up is Halloween.

Remember our home-grown pumpkin? Vanessa decided that she wanted to design a jack-o-lantern. So she drew the lines and I did the cutting. I think that was the right parent order there...

She poses with her handiwork.

Now the girls love Rapunzel and Tangled. In fact, they told Sarah that they both really wanted to be Rapunzel for Halloween. So Sarah, being the costume guru that she is, makes perfect Rapunzel costumes for them. And what does Vanessa decide on Halloween morning? That she wants to be a witch. Needless to say, we convinced that she could fly around the house as a witch for a bit, but that she should really wear the Rapunzel costume at night.

That ended up being a good compromise.

Don't they look cute?

Of course, at the last minute they insisted that Sarah being Mother Gothel. So Sarah threw this together in a couple of minutes. I'm impressed.
Of course, playing dress-up is a year round activity in this house. Here, the two cowgirls ride off into the sunset.

Love the boots.

Jumping ahead a little bit, we were lucky to have my grandparents in town for Christmas. We had family and friends over to make gingerbread houses, well graham cracker houses.

Here my grandma and mom help the girls with their houses.

On Christmas morning, Vanessa was very excited to get purple handtowels in her stocking.

Elizabeth is digging deep for hers.

After Christmas morning at home, we went over to my parents for more presents and lunch.

Elizabeth waits patiently while Sarah helps open her and Vanessa's new collection of Disney princess dolls.

Elizabeth really liked the Christmas tree.

We even got a couple of pictures with them in my grandparents. We're always bad about taking photos when family is over, so we were glad to get a couple in.

Sarah and I join the picture while we let my mom use my camera phone. That's always an adventure.

Then Vanessa wanted to show off her balancing skills.

During that week off from Christmas, I took the kids down to Williamsburg to hang out at my parents' place there. We went to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. The girls waited patiently with me in line for over an hour to go on the Skyride through the Christmas lights at night.

Finally, Elizabeth got some bouncing time with her grandpa. We're so thankful that Grandma and Grandpa Webb make the time to see us so frequently!

Baltimore, Richmond, and New York City Part II

In the spirit of Back to the Future (see the DeLorean at the end of these photos), we're going to jump around in time a bit.

We were trying to think of something to do one weekend in August and we decided to head to Baltimore. Of course, by the time we got there we learned that they were running an Indy car race through the city (the first Baltimore Grand Prix), and that traffic would be a mess. We managed to find parking on the southside and walked over to the science museum.

The girls loved the dinosaur bone excavation exhibit.

Vanessa wanted just a couple more minutes every time we told her it was time to move on to the next exhibit.

The girls really liked the green screen exhibit where they could see themselves on TV.

And of course, what are cooler than dinosaurs?

We were able to watch a little bit of the race. The girls were amazed of how fast they were going and how loud they were. I tried taking a picture with my iPhone, but I couldn't press the button in time before they car zipped around the corner. Maybe next year.

Skipping ahead to December, Sarah has started working part-time in IT. She worked a couple of days over Christmas break, so I took the girls to the Children's Museum in Richmond.

Here Elizabeth gets some practice working on the farm.

Vanessa gets a little practice on the farm too.

Truck is all loaded up, ready to go!

Hmm, where did the other half of this picture go?

There it is!

Besides playing farm, the girls enjoyed playing at school. Ah, to be young and still enjoy being at school. ;)

Vanessa takes over the classroom.

When school was out, it was time to put on a show. But before the show, we had to have an opening act of reading a story.

Elizabeth didn't like the first costume, so a change was in order.

It was a pretty good show, even with the boys in the back trying to mess it up.

Now that we went forward in time for more kids fun, let's go back in time to October where Mommy and Daddy went to NYC again, this time with James' high school friend Dean. We went to the New York City Comic Book Convention and saw two shows, the Book of Mormon and Anything Goes. Not many people have wives who are willing to be dragged to an epicenter of geek culture, but Sarah was game.

Of course, being in NYC meant that Sarah could play with Muppets at FAO Schwarz. This one was trying to make a move on my wife. Muppets, just can't trust them.

Walking around, we stopped in front of the New York Public Library, also used in the beginning of the movie Ghostbusters.

Ah, now we get to the real geekiness. NYCC was about as interesting people watching as one could get. Many people came in costume. Here, we got to pose in front of one the original DeLorean cars from Back to the Future with some well dressed extras.

This is Batmobile from the old 1960s Batman. POW!

Here is the sleaker Batmobile used in Tim Burton's Batman from the 90s.

Of course, what is a comic book convention without Star Wars fanboys. Here is a working remote control replica of R2-D2 that someone built in a year in their free time. It moves, spins it head, lights up, and plays all kinds of sounds. Very very cool.

Of the course the coolest part for me was meeting Mark Hamill for about 30 seconds. For those who are failing pretty much any geek test out there, Mr. Hamill is best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies and as the voice of the Joker in the Batman Animated Series of the 1990s.

Summer ends and fall begins

Elizabeth and Vanessa's birthdays sort of mark the beginning and ending of summer respectively. This August Vanessa turned 5 and started Kindergarten while Elizabeth started preschool. They're growing so quickly one can hardly believe it.

Vanessa's birthday party is always a good time. This time, Sarah had the idea for the kids at her party to create their own Rapunzel tower since V and E love the movie Tangled.

Elizabeth gets in on the tower action.

Of course what's a party without some cake?

Right after Vanessa's birthday was the first preseason game of the year, so we took Elizabeth to her first game.

Elizabeth hikes the ball to Sarah as Vanessa goes out for a pass.

I made the mistake of mentioning to Elizabeth that there would be fireworks before kickoff. She proceeded to cover her ears for 20 minutes in anticipation. We lasted about a quarter and a half, which was about enough time to get some chicken fingers and ice cream. ;)

The start of fall means the start of school. Here the girls explore Vanessa's kindergarten class on back to school night.

They really liked the open space in the gym for running. Vanessa also liked the idea of using that rock climbing wall at some point.

Here are both girls on their first day of school.

And of course Vanessa is a model student.

Besides starting school, they also started new activities. Here Vanessa shows off her new karate robes.

Elizabeth opted for dance class and shows off her beam work.

Vanessa gets to work doing push-ups.

Time to stretch. If only Daddy could stretch that far.

Elizabeth doing some more beam work.

And finally, the end of summer marks the end of the harvest season. This year was a bumper year for squash.

The girls loved picking carrots for their dinner.

I'm not sure what we did differently this year with carrots, but they turned out much better than in years past.

We even managed to grow a 6 foot tall sunflower.

Lots of squash, including a huge pumpkin. We harvested the pumpkin a bit early in August as we were worried about the deer eating it while we were out of town at the beach. If we had let it grow another month it would have been enormous!

Here are the deer we had to worry about. Not all of them can be seen in this picture, but there were 6 of them in our backyard when I took this photo. I routinely had to chase away groups of 4-6 deer every couple of weeks. A tamborine was much more effective than my dog barking ability.

We even got a stag back there. With horns like that this one, I let it find its own way out of our yard.