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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nutcracker Weekend

Yesterday was a big day around the Holmes Household. Emma had dress rehearsal for the Ballet Center's production of the Nutcracker for several hours in the morning, and we were allowed to watch and take photos which I did. I got some good ones. but I didn't want to use a flash and I really need a different lens for low light and movement to get better ones. Maybe I will get one with Christmas money -- though I want a telephoto one also. The photo above is from the end of dress rehearsal when the director, Miss Garance, was giving the older girls some notes. I love how Emma is looking right at her and so obviously is really into the experience. (I also love how the Nutcracker attended as well).

Even though I had watched dress rehearsal I saw so much more at the performance -- the camera really blocks my view of the show as an entire whole. I know I am probably bias, but Emma was fantastic. She really brought the part of the naughty big sister to life and really led the children in the party scene. Clara's character was more of a meek, quiet child. I found myself laughing (in a good way) at many of her facial expressions and gestures. She's really animated and vibrant on stage. The cast as a whole was great too and the production was the usual high quality Ballet Center fare. They did the show exclusively with Ballet Center students from age five on up through High School. The director tweaked the male roles to be female roles so the Nutcracker was the Nutcrackerette and Herr Droselmyer was Frau Droselmyer. The soldiers were majorettes and Emma's role is usually Clara's brother Fritz. The costumes were terrific as were the sets -- just a colorful, fun Christmas experience.

Several friends, both mine and Emma's, were able to come too and I had everyone over to our house first for some light refreshments. That made the event even more festive and I'm glad I stretched out of my comfort zone and entertained.

Emma is very tired today, but not too tired to go see her friend dance in another studio's performance of the Nutcracker this afternoon. She and her friend Katie M. went by themselves  after I dropped them off -- it was cool to watch them walk into the theater together all by themselves -- they are growing up.

Emma and I also went to see Festival Ballet's Nutcracker last weekend in Providence to see her friend Ally dance, so it's safe to say we are all Nutcrackered out for this season.

There are more photos in my Picasa web album at this link

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween at the Holmes House

Pumpkin Emma decorated at her friend Katie's Halloween party

It was quiet again at our house on Monday -- Halloween Night.  We live on a dead end street with only 16 houses on it so we don't get many visitors. The kids on our street all come and there are quite a few but they tend to all come in a clump and this year they started out so early I missed them and Emma answered the door -- I think they were there at 5:30 -- it wasn't dark yet and I was looking for a candle for our jack-o-lantern. We got a late start on carving it this year and had just finished. Emma's friend from around the corner stopped by with her brother and sister as did some of the kids from the Sweetbriar neighborhood behind us. Emma went out at about 6:15 with her friend Olivia next door. Olivia's in 5th grade and her Dad tagged a long a bit behind them. They didn't get back until 7:30 or so and she had a huge haul of stuff in her orange Dunkin Donuts bag we got free last year when we bought doughnuts for her birthday party. I'd forgotten about it, but it makes a great bag. It's bright orange with a purple spider web and large black spider on it. She dressed up as a Nerd using her costume from last Spring's Jazz dancing performance to "It's Hip to be Square". She paired it with a pink and orange argyle sweater she has -- she asked me if they looked okay together -- I said they clash horribly, but that just makes the costume better!

Our front porch decorated for Fall/Halloween. I love these luminaries I got from Target in the $ bins. They have pumpkin and ghost cut outs and look great lit up with candles in them. They are tins.
Hanging up the ghosts we made
Emma in her nerd costume ready to go trick-or-treating
Ready for visitors
Even though Halloween night was quiet I did get my fill of kids in costumes on Saturday. We were invited to a party for family's at my friend Amy's house. They went all out and she had tons of activities for the kids and all the adults dressed up too. I was sort of a cowgirl wearing my half cowboy boots and Emma's straw cowboy hat. Emma went to this party as a ballerina because she wasn't sure the little kids would get the nerd concept. She was the oldest kid there, but enjoyed looking after/playing with the little kids. I am still thinking about the mini-pumpkin cup cakes with chocolate frosting that my friend Alisa made. Yum, perfect bite sized treat and not too sweet. I also enjoyed the hot apple cider with a hint of rum! It was raining so the pumpkin carving contest was held in the garage. I chose to stay in the warm house with my friend Jen and her daughter/my God-daughter Rose. It was neat to see the finished jack-o-lanterns though and we had a fun contest to pick the winner -- everyone voted even the 2 year olds.

Jen and my God-daughter

Emma eating at the kids table. She wanted to. Really!

The yummy pumpkin cup cakes

Emma reading to my God-daughter Rose wearing her Uncle's lumberjack hat.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We survived the 12th Birthday Sleep-over Party

Emma hosted a sleep-over party for her 12th birthday this past weekend. It went really well. The whole theme/concept was Emma's and she made a lot of the decorations and her invitations herself. The theme was Hollywood/Movie Theatre and she transformed our sunroom/dining room into a movie theatre complete with things like a sign on the bathroom. We managed to find some cool movie themed things at iParty as well included a red carpet and a fake Oscar to use as a centerpiece. I enjoyed photographing their silly fashion photo shoot, but other than that and preparing dinner -- which was hotdogs and french fries -- Emma pretty much ran the show. They are a great group of girls and they were quiet, if not asleep, by 11pm.

The red carpet

Birthday cake from Stop & Shop. It was really delicious!

Place tags and photo holders. I printed out a photo of all the girls and put them in these holders for everyone to take one home with them as their party favor.

Table set for dinner

Voting for which movie to watch

iParty supplies ready to go

Backyard photo shot: Fish Face Fashion

Ally and Emma

Mary Kate and Emma


Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to my baby girl Emma. 

I can't believe she is 12 already. I love the woman that she is growing into and I am privileged to be her Mom. I thought it would be fun to take a look at how she has changed over the years. Enjoy.

Emma at age 1. Belmont, MA
 Emma at age 3. Athens, GA
Emma at age 6. Athens, GA
 Emma at age 9. Barrington, RI

Emma at age almost 12, with her cousin Mia spending Labor Day weekend in Stone Harbor, NJ.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years After

This photo of Emma was taken on September 9, 2001. Two days before everything changed ten years ago. I've been wondering over the last couple of days why I was resisting thinking about 911. I was wondering if I was callous or unfeeling or indifferent. Then today in church one of our congregation spoke during the time when we usually have a sermon. She spent many hours volunteering with other members of our church, and many others at St. David's Chapel by Ground Zero in the months after 911 during the recovery operations. Hearing her recollections lead me back to thinking about what I was doing and feeling ten years ago. That's when I remembered that I was four months pregnant with  my son Sam who would later be stillborn at 38 weeks -- just one week before he was scheduled to be delivered via C-section on February 14th, 2002. I also had this beautiful and innocent 23 month old named Emma to care for. So, that started me wondering if that's why I didn't want to go back to 911. That was a rough year for me and one I don't like to go back and dwell on. I know it was a rougher year for many many others. I know Jim and I wished we could have done something to help after 911, but we were so far away in Athens, GA. So, I will remember by posting this photo and loving and cherishing my family and friends, and continuing to ask how I can be God's minister in this world -- what is he leading me to do -- how am I meant to share my talents in big and/or small ways.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Latest Digital Scrapbook Pages

My friend Wendy and I decided to get together and work on scrapbook pages at my house this year rather than going to the Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooking Conference in Valley Forge, PA -- which we have done for a couple of Summers. We've been busy today and here's what I've managed to finish. The two page Garden Party layout was mostly done already, but the Party layout is all from today.  Enjoy.

It's a real treat to have some dedicated time to work on scrapbooking and chat with a friend with out kids or husbands interrupting -- just Chloe snoring under the table.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's good to be back in the South: Garden Party

On Sunday, Jim, Emma, Chloe and I transitioned from a week with my sister and her family at my Mom's beach house in Stone Harbor to my Dad and Hazel's home in Snow Hill on the eastern shore of Maryland. We took the ferry from Cape May NJ to Lewes DE across the Delaware Bay. We had great clear weather and Emma and Jim saw porpoises following the ship. Chloe made it through her first boat ride with flying colors too. After driving for a little under an hour through Delaware we crossed over into Maryland and were in the south again. I don't really get that "southern" feeling from Baltimore, but the Eastern Shore of Maryland is a whole other world, and definitely feels southern to me.
After relaxing at Dad's for an hour or so we got a bit dressed up to go to a "Garden Party" in Temperenceville, VA about a half hour from Dad's across the border in Virginia.

The invitation was to "Supper in the Garden at Queen Hive, home of Mr and Mrs. Terry Thomas. They run Thomas' Garden Center and do this party every year for all of there best customers which includes Dad and Hazel. There home is a lovely 1730s farm house and outbuildings and gardens. We arrived with lots of other people, including ladies in lovely Summer dresses, while a fiddle player and accordian duo who serenaded us. With glass of white wine in hand we wandered the gardens which were fantastic. Then we settled down to eat BBQ and wonderful tomato salad with locally grown tomatoes. The duo played while we ate as the sun went down across the soybean fields. I felt like I was in a period piece on Masterpiece Theatre. I also loved hearing all those wonderful Virginian accents. Yes, we were back in the South. Here are some photos that attempt to capture the evening.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ladies Dinner Out

I know -- two blogs posts in one day! I just wanted to share this photo I took on Tuesday evening. I was out to dinner with a lovely group of friends. We've been trying to do this once a month. They all have younger kids than Emma so it's definitely a needed treat for them to get away. This Tuesday the weather was fabulous so we decided to head down to Bristol and have dinner outside on the water. We tried Agave. The food was quite good as was the service. You absolutely cannot beat the view -- certainly not without flying off on a vacation somewhere. We watched the sunset over the Bristol Harbor as we talked, drank wine, ate yummy food and then indulged in desert as well! This is one of my favorite montly outings. Thanks Ladies!
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Father's Day in Rhode Island

We celebrated Father's Day this year with Brunch at one of our favorite little places in Warren, which is the next town over from Barrington. The weather was fantastic and we lucked out and got a table outside on the patio without even having to wait! The brunch was Emma's idea -- she woke up a few days before dreaming of pancakes and asked if we could take Daddy to brunch for Father's Day.

I had this very delicious eggs florentine benefict, with home fries. Jim and I also celebrated with a couple of Mimosas.

All the tables on the patio have these wonderful colorful umbrellas. I love them.

The East Bay is getting ready for the Fourth of July, not just in Bristol where they have the oldest Fourth of July parade in the country, but also next door in Warren. Lots and lots of flags everywhere.

Contemplative Daddy -- or Daddy who doesn't want his picture taken?
 Amazingly enough Emma didn't mind having her photo taken. You never can tell with her these days. I hope you all had lovely Father's Days as well if you celebrated.

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