Christmas Take One

(For some reason my camera will not release a slew of great pictures taken over Thanksgiving and Christmas. So until I figure out how to crack the secret code or pay the ransom, this is what I've got...)

Call us crazy, but we decided to save some money this year and drive instead of fly to Texas to celebrate Christmas with our families. That's 20 long hours in a car with a two-year-old. And that's only one way. After is was all said and done, we decided that it wasn't as bad as we had thought it would be. But that's probably because we expecting the very, very worse.

First stop, Christmas with DeDe and Poppy and Penelope's cousins, Cade and Ella. I think some form of food was used to bribe the wee ones into posing for this picture.

The cousins enjoying the loot Christmas morning. 

Stories by the fireside with DeDe

Poor Ella got a little beat up during the "Cousins under the Christmas tree" photo shoot.

The older cousins stole Ella's gifts and started Cade's Beauty Shop. All walk-ins welcome. 

After lots more fun family time  (the documentation of which my camera continues to hold hostage), we packed it all up and headed to Dallas to celebrate with my family.

Penelope and Evie and I playing with even more Christmas loot. By this point Penelope thought that every morning she woke up she would be greeted with more presents to open.

Evie and Penelope spent some quality cousin time hanging out in the red wagon in the entry way.
"Might I interest you in a sticker ma'am?"

"Excellent choice."

A trip to the Ft. Worth Zoo

Concerned that the tiger was getting a bit too close.

A rare pic of mother and daughter

Grandma and Grandpa figured out how to get Penelope to smile for a picture

The next crocodile hunter

The women hard at work making Christmas dinner

Patience darling. Good food takes time.

Meanwhile, the others are arguing over who is the greatest pool shark. Clearly Grandpa thinks he is.

But T.J. begs to differ

A trip to Uncle T's and Aunt Ali's new digs and neighborhood park. Who says you're to old to go for a swing? (Apparently Uncle T still needs someone to push him.)

Penelope and Evie hanging out on the slide.

A partial view of the growing baby bump.

Forget Christmas presents. Grandpa found the way to Penelope's heart.


San Fran

Thanks to grandparents who graciously volunteered to take care of Penelope, last November we were able to turn a work conference in San Francisco into a much-needed getaway for two. Besides my unrelenting morning sickness, we had a blast exploring the city together and spending time alone sans child  in tow.

While interviews and presentations tied up my other half for part of the trip, I went out exploring the city on my own. It was so refreshing to be back in a bustling city and be able to walk or take public transportation to get to where I wanted to go. This is what I miss most after living in Germany! I also used the time to practice my photography skills. Here are a few of my favorite shots...

Saturday morning farmer's market at the Ferry Building. This building has the best food selection every day of the week, but I was overwhelmed at all of the gorgeous produce on display while the farmer's market was taking place. I bought a bagful of clementines, apples and pears and snacked on them throughout our stay to help keep the morning sickness at bay. Delicious!

At the Musée Mécanique. A funny little museum of antique arcade machines. I would love to bring Penelope back here and let her insert a few coins into the machines and watch her face light up! 
The crooked street, hilly neighborhoods, hills in the distance and a view of the bay. Such a unique city!

Strolling around the city and admiring the architecture was one of my favorite things to do (except when it involved going up steep hills).

The Golden Gate bridge. So much more impressive in person than either of us had imagined. We had planned on biking the bridge our last day, but alas, nausea prevented this.

Chinatown. Vibrant and colorful. Our favorite part was walking into Chinese medicine stores and trying to figure out what everything was. Shark fins anyone?

My hot date and a view of Alcatraz
A day trip to Napa Valley and a few wine tastings rounded out the trip.


Fall Fotos

I love the fall! A couple years in Houston without one made me appreciate it all the more. One day this past fall I grabbed my camera and headed to the neighborhood park with Penelope to capture a few fall moments on film.

Frolicking like only little girls can do

A game of leap frogs on the rocks.

No success in getting a smile for the camera

Tutus and rock collecting = signature Penelope style

My subject giving me a little attitude

The bad thing about fall is that the two 100-year-old oak trees that sit in front of our house produce billions of brown leaves that are still sitting in piles around my yard. If your're looking for us this weekend, that's what we'll be taking care of.


Swan Fairy

After nearly five months of morning/evening sickness wrecking havoc on my blogging life, I am proud to announce that the hiatus is over and we are back in business! (And just in case you're not in the loop: Baby Boy is on schedule to arrive at the end of June!)

So let's start by revisiting Halloween 2011.

As you can see, the swan costume didn't work out. 

Penelope de-beaked and de-feathered the swan outfit I had assembled. So we added the pink fairy wings and just went with it.

She celebrated with her friends at school and had her fill of candy corns. Unfortunately we backed out of the trick-or-treating at the last minute due to the rainstorm. (Thankfully P didn't know the difference. Not sure that we'll be able to pull that off next year.)