Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Edition: You Know You Have a Little Boy When... get him a cute Nativity set to play with...

...and he fills it with bugs.

I guess they have the right to see Baby Jesus too.

And with that joyful and uplifting image to leave you with, I sincerely wish you the happiest of holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: Santa Cruise

Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea by Mary Higgins Clark

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I thought this would be a fun, light read for Christmas, but I couldn't get into it. I didn't get past Chapter 3; I stopped reading when a "bad guy" named "Bull's-Eye" was introduced. What is this, third grade? I think I'm outgrowing these books. I'm finding them to be formulaic, predictable, and boring. I still like Mary Higgins Clark but I think her books are better when she writes on her own.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snow and Ballet in Boston

Last year, all I wanted for Christmas was to go to Boston Ballet's wonderful world-famous production of The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. I hadn't seen it in over ten years and I really wanted to go again. Well, thanks to my obliging husband, I got to spend a snowy, magical weekend with him in the city so that we could go to the ballet. I never got around to posting anything about it, and now that it's almost exactly one year time like the present!

We had to beat out a big Nor'easter to get to Boston before it hit. We made it! It was so cool to be there during a snowstorm. The city kind of shut down for the evening, so restaurants and shops were much less crowded than usual and there weren't many cars on the streets. It was the most quiet and peaceful that I've ever seen Boston.

We were in the city from Friday to Saturday. We went to the ballet on Friday night. It was at the Boston Opera House, which is very beautiful and majestic inside. We sat in the first row, so we got to see the dancers up close, and the orchestra pit was directly below us, so the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky drifted right up. It was cultural heaven!

On Saturday morning, it was still snowing. So we went "walkin' in a winter wonderland," city-style!

One of the things I love about Boston is that it combines the old with the new so well. Everything blends together rather seamlessly, making history a physical part of the present. We took a walk through Boston Common, which dates back to before the American Revolution. Now it's surrounded by high-rises!

A lot of history happened on the Common: among many other things, the British set up camp there after the Boston Tea Party, George Washington met there with his victorious troops in 1776, and Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke there in the 1960s. It's neat to be in places where such significant things happened. I think elements of past events still linger in historic places.

The gold-domed State House can be seen across the Common through the trees. It was once my dream to work there. I guess it still kind of is. Maybe someday!

I thought this old building was so cool-looking and authentic, built in 1868. Right in the background is a skyscraper. History + modernity = one cool city!

It was a great Christmas present--a fantastic ballet and a snowstorm in one of my favorite cities.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book Review (of a cool book about witches!)

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book; I think the author did a wonderful job with it. It brought the Salem witch trials to life in great historical detail, and the approach was an effective one--interweaving between the 1600s and the present-day, with the main character being the descendant of an accused "witch." This is the first book about the witch trials I've read that presents the very interesting possibility that witchcraft actually was being practiced at the time. I've always wondered about that and the book brings that possibility to life (with the added bonus that the author did a lot of research to back up this theory, as she explains in her postscript. The author is also descended from two of the accused witches). A few parts of the storyline are a little hokey, but overall it was a very good read that combined history, mystery, magic, science, and religion together very well.

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P.S. This is a new thing I'm trying out here on my blog--adding some of my book reviews that I write up on GoodReads. I love books and reading and this is a fun and easy way to include that here on the blog.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meeting Uncle Ben

During Thanksgiving weekend, we went up to Massachusetts to see my family. Sam, who was nine weeks old, met my brother, his Uncle Ben, for the first time. I ended up getting a perfect sequence of pictures to illustrate how this meeting went:

So far, so good...

Uh oh...
This may be my most favorite trio of pictures ever. Ha ha!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Close Encounters of the Merry Kind

Last year, at the age of three, John would have nothing to do with Santa. When we took him to see him, he got upset and tried to hide under a nearby row of chairs. This year, I am happy to say, was much different. I guess the age of four brings with it growing maturity and understanding about such important matters!

On Saturday we went to meet Santa at our town's annual Winter Wonderland event. John was excited about it. He finally understands that Santa brings presents, fills up stockings, eats cookies, and flies through the air in a sleigh. And that now makes Santa one very acceptable, very cool person!

Here he is waiting in line to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus:

When it was John's turn to meet the man of the hour, he ran right up to him and threw his arms around his neck and gave him the biggest hug. It was very sweet! And pleasantly surprising. I wish I'd gotten a picture of it. His excitement and enthusiasm were truly genuine.

John was thrilled! Sam was happy too, even though he, of course, had no idea what was going on. At 11 weeks old, he was probably the youngest child to sit on Santa's lap that day. People in line behind us went "Awwww" when they saw him with Santa.

"Santa, I've been a good boy this year. (!!??) Can I please have a skateboard for Christmas?" Meanwhile, Sam was trying to give Santa's beard a tug to see if it was the real thing. Maybe babies understand more than we realize!

A (blurry) family photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

This Saturday we're going to a Christmas Breakfast on a farm where John will get to see Santa and Mrs. Claus again, along with Frosty the Snowman, some reindeer, and his personal favorite, the Grinch. (I'm not joking...his hero is the Grinch!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Newborn Photo Shoot

At the end of September, when Sam was a mere nine days old, he starred in his very own photo shoot! I've always liked the well-known Anne Geddes-style baby pictures, so I jumped at the chance to have Sam's photos done in similar fashion when I found out that my new friend Jessica is a photographer who specializes in baby and child photography. These are some of my favorite photos that she took of my own little "Anne Geddes baby."

(Little cuties!)