Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 09 III

On December 26th, we celebrated Christmas with my family.

My mom and Lawrence.

Lawrence is always enjoying the magazines we have in the house. He and Abram have similar interests within science. I thought this picture was an appropriate one for him.

Matthew and Joel
Joel's wearing the sweater we gave him for Christmas.


He's having a great discussion with Rachel about seeing hippos in the zoo and how they are going to scare them!

We tried a new tradition with my family this year. We decided to adapt Yankee Swap. We wanted a theme that all ages could work with; the theme became books and music. Everyone chose something from either category. The tradition of giving out numbers and being able to trade stayed the same as a traditional Yankee Swap. It was a lot of fun. Everyone laughed at their gifts, hid ones they wanted to keep, tried to reject those they didn't want to receive in a swap. The hardest part was thinking about what might a 8 year old like and someone whose in their fifties. I think we were successful.

Here, Rachel is protecting the book she opened.

Here, Lawrence has opened survival guide which he immediately exchanged for a math theory book Abram put into the swap knowing that either he or Lawrence would like to read it . Tobin opened the math theory book first, but willingly gave it up for the funny survival guide book.

I cannot remember which book Carmen opened here, but I do know she quickly swapped it!

Two years ago, Noah hand sewed a little creature for Rachel. This Christmas, Rachel chose to recreate one for him. She gave her guy green eyes to match her own. Noah is holding both up. It was a wonderful surprise.

I love this photo for two reasons. First Rachel looks a bit evil with flames emanating from her head. But mainly because you can see how much fun she and Noah are having together. We don't get to see all of my brothers together much during the year (even though they all live in NE).

Carmen created a special gift for Joel. She enjoys creating things with fun foam and hot glue. She made two snowmen sledding together to represent Joel and herself.

Now for some fun pictures taken after our gift swap.

I love my mom. She is always great at being funny with my kids. Abram had the camera at the time and took this picture. (I was asked to remove this picture from the blog, but it's here for the memory book.)

Rachel asked me to take a picture of this night. This is her representation of the night. Silly cards, a bear that gave her a gift card to shop with and a gift she got from the Yankee Swap.

Here's Tobin posing with his new Johny Cupcake t-shirt.

I had to include this photo Abram took. It is amazing to me that I am much, much smaller than my brother Joel. I should have been wearing my 3" heels for this picture!

It was a wonderful night.

Christmas 09 part II

We went to Chip and Marie's house in the afternoon to see many other relatives for dinner and more gift giving. I took many portrait pictures this evening. You will see how much I am enjoying the new lens.

Here are Jesse and Nico. Even though I am across the room from them you cannot see that Nico's dress matched Jesse's top. Regardless, it is a great picture of them.

Jacob was back from school.

Here's the story behind this picture: we ran out of wine glasses, so Mira improvised with a sundae glass!

Max working intently on something for dinner or dessert.
Here's Miss Claus, She's wearing all her new clothes. She received basketball shorts and HAD to wear them out in the cold.
Pensive Luke

It is hard to get more than one person in the picture. in order to get this I had to be on the opposite side of the room in the far corner near the living room!
An elegant picture of Sarai.

Chinese Checkers was a big game this night. Here you see Marita and Zoe contemplating their moves.

Hats were the theme this year.

Tobin drew Jacinta's name for the Christmas gift pool. Jacinta said she'd like a "love toy"; something you can love. In our search for a gift to fit this description we saw pillow pals. Tobin chose a duck. Jacinta received a cow, which you see with Aidan, on Christmas morning and the duck from Tobin in the evening. It is impressive that asking for a "love toy" would translate into the same item for different people.
I never was able to get Jacinta in any pictures that were not blurry. I did capture Aidan using the love toy and the pillow pals together.

Here's the happy trio.

Carmen and Sophie were inseparable all evening. Here are several pictures of them doing what the do best: smile and hang out together.

Rachel made a no-sew-blanket for Leah. Of course it had a cat print fleece front and a pink backing. I had to include Cappi enjoying the blanket before it was wrapped up. My cats love material and always lie on anything I or the girls create.

Leah and Steve enjoyed the blanket too. I missed getting a picture of Steve using it during the night. Good choice of a gift, Rachel.
Aidan loves music. He stayed here and played the piano for a long time. He was "playing" the piano with Jacinta for a bit, but I couldn't get a good picture of her with him. She moves too quickly.

I love being in a different room and having the ability to capture people's candid feelings during an event. I try to capture the mood of the day with my pictures. It was a full night with many visitors, not all of which I could capture well unfortunately.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 09, part I

I realized last night that this blog has been in my draft folder for a very long time. I am planning on making this year's blog into a photo album. I will be adding blogs from the beach (better late than never), summer pictures and Christmas blogs. It will happen, I just don't know how quickly! Today we have a basketball game at 10am, 12pm, 1pm, a soccer game at 3, Tobin is running a leagues 2 mile race at 1pm in Fitchburg (that's a 45 minute drive from our house), Sarai has travel basketball practice at 6:30, Carmen has a birthday party at 6ish and Abram and I are trying to go out for a valentine's day party in the evening. As you can see, our Saturdays are packed. This is a small reason why the blog is not kept up, but when I do we have a lot to share with you!

Christmas celebrations lasted for over 48 hours, so it will be broken up into at least 3 separate blogs. Enjoy, we did!

It all began at our house on Christmas Eve. For the first time we went to midnight mass. Tobin and Carmen were assigned to serve at the midnight mass. In our parish midnight mass is actually at midnight, unlike others when "midnight" mass is held at 10pm! We weren't sure when to arrive for mass so we called a friend in the parish who frequents this mass time. The message taken by Tobin said to arrive no later than 11:15. We tried to take a nap in the late evening, most of us were unsuccessful. We arrived at the church parking lot at 11:10 to find only two other cars in the lot! We were very early. Tobin and Carmen could not light any candles until 11:30. Most of the choir singers began arriving around 11:20ish. It is laughable, but we will never forget that you don't have to arrive very early for midnight mass again! Midnight mass was beautiful. The trumpets and drums kept everyone awake.

Sleeping in the next day only lasted until 7:30. I get excited about Christmas still. I needed my coffee, but I wanted to wake up before the kids so I could see them come into the room and open stockings.

You will notice how full of wonderful gifts our tree is. The Boylston Dancy's (that's our new name for Isaac and Jenna) celebrated Christmas morning over our house. Isaac, Jenna and Aidan came over by 8. There's no sleeping in with Aidan either.

One of the biggest gifts for Tobin and Sarai were new cell phones. Tobin and I had independent servers prior to Christmas. We decided to get a family plan when we needed to add Sarai to the pool of phones.

My wonderful gift this Christmas was a new lens. Abram wrote about it the previous blog. It is often called a portrait lens because it has a fantastic zoom allowing you to view the subject close up even though you are far away. I enjoy how crisp the pictures are inside.

Aidan loved banging this toy. It was actually difficult to capture Aidan playing because the lens has a zoom built in.

I love how Aidan's pj's match the wrapping Isaac is undoing.

Abram found these great helicopters for Rachel, himself and Isaac to play with. Isaac can navigate around his living room. I've heard that Aidan loves watching it fly. Rachel is good at flying it around. We have a blue helicopter and Isaac has a red one.

Jenna now has an embroidery and quilting sewing machine. She is going to help me embroider Tobin's name on some jackets so it will look like his track jackets. I cannot wait to learn how.

Tobin is a dedicated runner; if you haven't learned that yet from our blogs! This Christmas Isaac and Jenna gave him a runners log for 2010. He has written in it since Christmas day!

Carmen is a great model. She is always ready to smile when someone has the camera. Clothing was a theme this year.

Every time Abram gets the camera he takes a number of picture of me. I am flattered, but I don't usually smile well. He did capture a good one of me with the new lens and I thought I'd include it in the blog for him.

Aidan had pulled Sarai's name for the Dancy gift giving. He gave her Celtic slippers. They are huge, but soooo warm. Sarai loves them!

Rachel was disappointed to notice that I had few pictures of her from Christmas morning. I will end this blog with her wearing new pj bottoms. She was in many of the pictures from Christmas evening which is the next blog.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sarai is 14!

Happy Birthday Sarai!

December 21st, was her 14th birthday. She did have school. Many of her friends remembered her birthday and serenaded her often. She didn't have basketball practice so she could have a few friends over after school.

The afternoon consisted of hanging out and making gingerbread houses. Constructing the houses was challenging, but all seemed to have fun.
From left to right: Caroline, Liz Benbenick, Jess, Liz Belden and Sarai.

Liz Belden, Sarai and Rachel.

Liz Benbenick and Jess.

One of her friends gave her a pig calendar! Yes, she has a thing for pigs. I made her a gluten free dinner, rice pasta and chicken caciatore. She requested I make the Dancy pudding dessert: butterscotch pudding layered with gluten free graham crackers and chocolate pudding. she was in heaven!
She opened family gifts after dinner. Here she is showing off the wall tattoo of her name.
Tobin gave her a High School Colonials sweatshirt. He's getting her ready for next year!
It was a school night, so Rachel still had her writing work to finish during the festivities. She loves to write in this journal.
Isaac, Jenna and Aidan showed up for dessert. They brought over a chocolate cheesecake. Work had given out Cheese Cake Factory cheese cakes to all the employees. Yummy, but sooo rich.
I think Aidan likes chocolate almost as much as mom and dad!