December 28, 2012

Making.

HEY LOOK! It's a new post on the all-too-quiet-of-late art website!


Click on over to my blog at jencraun.com to read the full post. Three cheers for a little art update before the New Year!

December 26, 2012

MAKING MERRY.

Christmas 2012 was especially joy-filled and relaxing for Team Craun. Christmas Eve found us up late and watching Miracle on 31st Street as a family at Grandpa + Grandma C's house. We noshed on all kinds of goodies, including my best-to-date tiramisu to celebrate and sing in honor of Dave's birthday, and we opened many presents. 

Waking up slow on Christmas morning was absolutely divine. We were downstairs around 8am to find our stockings packed full and over-brimming.


After stockings, we paused for a quick espresso while the Craunlets were occupied with their small treasures. Next we read the Christmas story from the bible as a family, and then opened the doors–at long last–to see the tree, with all the presents piled high under its branches.

This year, we decided to have our larger gifts be "family presents", so we opened all of our gifts in stages, which was really fabulous. It slowed the morning, and really oriented the day towards giving and sharing. First, the Craunlets each opened their several individual gifts. 


The Craunlets piled the papers and ribbons high on the living room floor, and enjoyed their new toys while we made pumpkin waffles for brunch. 


Next, we opened our family presents. This year's theme was indoor gaming. Our living room is now overwhelmed with many fun options for indoor winter play. We surprised the Craunlets with two larger games–skeeball and foosball–and several gorgeous table-sized wooden games, including: checkers, chess, connect four, and a marble labyrinth. Already, they are providing much indoor amusement!

Hands down, these next two pictures are my absolute favorites in capturing the essence of each of the Craunlets and their Christmas mornings respectively. 

Nathaniel:


Isabella:


That the Craunlets are still in ages of wonder and amazement, I am so grateful. It makes for a most magical Christmas experience.


It's the expectant waiting, paired with the curiosity and pleasure of opening presents, and the staying all day in pajamas and playing. Absolutely magical!

We cooked up a mighty feast for dinner, including a fresh [and local] most-delectable leg of ham roasted with carrots [completely fabulous brine, savory roasting paste + sticky sweet glaze recipe here], bubbly delicious potatoes Au' Graten, and the classic green bean casserole.

After dinner, we played our new Wii game from the Grand Dubs, and then assembled the nest to to watch The Polar Express as a family. 



Hope you made as much Merry as Team Craun, and found yourself warm and with family sharing in the joy that this season brings.

December 23, 2012

Christmas Break.

On a moment's notice, we were given 4 tickets on Thursday evening to see the Great Lakes Theater production of The Christmas Carol. In a matter of minutes, we had clean faces and Holiday outfits on the Craunlets, and we were headed downtown to Playhouse Square. Both Craunlets enjoyed the show immensely, and were completely enraptured by the bigness of theater. 


Our family watched with full attention, situated in four of the best seats in the house, perfectly front and center. It was a brilliant jump-start to Christmas break. A super late night, on the evening before the last day of school.

This last day of school before Christmas break. 

Cue the snow; it's like Christmas came on the academic calendar. 


And the Craunlets couldn't be happier. A slow and long weekend before Christmas; it's been absolutely magical already.

December 21, 2012

First Snow.

Small Craunlet footprints in our very first snow this Winter.



It's been a shaken snow globe out there all day. What a perfectly sweet start to Christmas vacation.

December 18, 2012

School.

We have every single day walked our babes to the front door of school in the morning, and met them in the exact same way every afternoon. Spring and Winter, sun and snow. Because our minutes with them are so precious short. And the days too quickly stretch into years.

This morning, both Craunlets stood at the front doors and waited for my kiss, heads leaning back expectantly. I hope this lasts forever; this wanting. This closeness.


The flag hangs lowered half way at all of our local schools this week. 

Quietly every afternoon I wait in my car to meet the Craunlets after school. They bound out of the building light on their feet excitedly, to share all the details of their days. My heart is heavy, and in prayer for the families of Newtown.

December 10, 2012

Lego Party. The Babe turns Six.

We celebrated on a grand scale yesterday, with a Lego-themed party in honor of Nathaniel's sixth birthday:


The babe. Turning Six. Time. Please. Slow. Down.


Of course, it called for a hugely big AstroTurf-come-Lego-base for the foyer...


where our two ginormous Lego mini-figure costumes [remember that fun process here, here, here, here, and here, with a final update coming soon] could stand to welcome our guests to the party.


Cheery bunches of balloons adorned the living and dining rooms.


We decorated up every last detail in Lego style, and even wrapped up some chocolates to look like bricks.


The chocolates were part of the favors, along with a rainbow of Lego mini-figure crayons, a design-your-own mini-figure coloring page, and a Lego Rubik's cube.


The birthday badge, which is seemingly becoming an annual tradition for each of the Craunlets.


Even the plates played nicely. 


Let me say, that I LOVE these plates beyond reason. I snapped them up on a super clearance from a local craft store 3 years ago. They are generously-sized, and deep enough to hold onto thick slices of cake and a few scoops of ice cream. They were originally intended for clear cookies-for-Santa plates, with a removable plastic backing that once sandwiched a holiday coloring page.  Imagine my excitement, discovering a plate with so much potential! For this party, we scanned one of our Lego bases. Easy. We printed, cut, and slid the circles into the plates. Done. Reusable party plates, custom-tailored to every party. LOVE.AT.FIRST.SIGHT. Forever and ever.

We celebrated, and we sang; Nathaniel wished and blew out all of his candles in one big breath.


Then presents. 


And continued celebrating. Until near exhaustion.


Because the babe only turns six once.

December 4, 2012

As it turns out, I can.

There was much Craunlet concern last night as we tucked them into bed. It was well known and worrisome that Daddy would be on a plane to New York before they even woke up, and they were in complete disbelief that I might be able to manage our waking up, getting ready, and timely delivery to school.

The highlight of all the worry, was when Nathaniel began to implore that Isabella wake him up. FOR WHEN I WAS SLEEPING THE MORNING AWAY. 


Well, turns out, I can set an alarm and wake up the two babes. I can even brew espresso, pour bowls of granola, pack fun lunches, and tame down a few heads of hair. All that, AND be on time for school drop off.

So, tonight–it's macaroni and a movie. ON A SCHOOL NIGHT.

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