For a majority of the past dozen years, we have celebrated Ron's and Linda's birthdays at dinner in Chicago on a Saturday night in December. The past two years, we have done so at Erie Cafe; this year's dinner was especially delicious. And, it's always wonderful to be with our former boating pals. (No, I didn't take this picture. I took one of the outside of the restaurant that wasn't as pretty.)
Could Portia and Cinna have posed under the tree any better?
It's pomegranate season. Annalee is in heaven!
Ron proudly wears a necklace Zelda made him for his birthday. And, then we teased him that he was showing a little too much skin.
Can you see Cinna tucked under Ron's arm while Ron edits a document for work?
This was a gimme picture for the day.
For Zelda's holiday party at school, she got decked out in her new Christmas outfit and antlers.
On my mom's side of the family, we have six birthdays to celebrate between Dec. 7 and Jan. 4. We sang the Happy Birthday song six times and each birthday person got his/her own candle and cupcake. Ron, Zelda and Wyatt are among the celebrants.
For the first time, I made an advent wreath. We had it on the kitchen table and would light it during dinner. (We missed at least the first 10 days of advent while I was sick and then went searching for blue candles.) We found dining by candlelight very calming; it gave us an opportunity to talk about history and to be reflective. Though the top image is rather dark, I love the glow of the candles with Ron just behind them. We all enjoyed looking at the shadows on the ceiling the first evening when we turned off all the electric lights.
The flag at the park district remained at half staff following the shooting at the school in Newtown, Conn.
After visiting with Santa at the Yorktown mall, Zelda takes a ride (make that six rides) on the little train.
I came out from seeing my napropath/chiropractor to find Zelda upside down on the chair. I'm not sure this helped her adjustment all too much.
For math class, Annalee had to do a project about a number. She chose 65 because the dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago. She worked really hard on the poster and all the data it contained.
The evening of the same day the poster was due, Annalee had her first band concert. She is the only person in fourth-grade beginner band playing the xylophone. At the start of the concert, the director invited one student to demonstrate each instrument to the audience. Annalee played a scale.
Our elf on the shelf, Jack, hid in Zelda's stocking.
I went searching for the kittens one day and found them sleeping together on the top of the dress-up clothes bin.
Jackie displaced our handmade angel to hang out at the top of the tree.
When I asked the girls which cookies they most wanted to have during Christmas, these (non-PC named) Arabian hats topped Annalee's list. I woke up early on Christmas Eve to bake them.
During the latter half of our Christmas Eve service, we sing Silent Night by candlelight.
I neglected to take any pictures during our Christmas Eve gathering of friends and family. But, just before the Crowleys left, I got all five girls in front of the tree for this fine portrait.
We have had an on-and-off tradition of popping British crackers as we start our Christmas dinner. Everybody has to wear their crowns. If we were to give an award for wearing the crown the longest, mom would have won. She had hers on into the evening.
This is the last picture taken of Zelda as a four-year-old. After I took it, she began crying about not being four any more.
She managed to be all smiles the next morning when she began opening her gifts.
I took the girls to Brookfield Zoo to enjoy the holiday lights display. It didn't have quite the winter holiday feel without snow on the ground.
Rather than a traditional cake, I made birthday cake balls for Zelda's birthday party. I thought they looked as good as anything coming out of a bakery (if I do say so myself).
Zelda got to blow out candles twice on her birthday, one with her little friends and one with family. She had a Hello Kitty pajama party with her friends and kept on her pajamas for the entire day (and the next day, too!).
We were very happy to be witnesses to friends Louisa and kClare's blessed union.
It was 'Comfy Day' at church, so the girls wore their pajamas. Annalee was all smiles about it, though she did start to feel conspicuous when we went out for breakfast after the service.