Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Smiles

Before we move on to other things (like airplane pictures), let's take one last look at Eoin and Evie. I'm afraid the boy got short shrift in the last couple of posts, but that's because Evie is older and more interactive at this moment.

That doesn't mean Eoin is a wallflower. As I mentioned yesterday his personality is coming out and he is indeed a (mostly) happy boy. This shot of him playing on his fire engine is ample evidence of that.

On the subject of toys, it absolutely amazes me the amount of stuff middle-class kids get these days! And Mike and Evie are relatively modest in what they buy their children. Tina and I lean toward clothes, movies, books and donations to their respective college funds, so it's not us. It's Christie' mom and her side of the family that really goes to town in the toy department. If I was a kid I'd be in hog heaven.

The upside is they have plenty of neat things to keep them occupied. The down side is where on earth do you store all those things? And what they got was not small. Many of the toys had multiple parts and pieces, too. Walking around the living room proved to be a real challenge at times.

I am happy to say that neither child seems overwhelmed or adversely affected by the mass of presents. Indeed, Evie finds joy in simple things, too, like paper cutout penguins and felt reindeer antlers. It's fun to watch her revel in the small as well as the big.

I think as long as her parents are well grounded - and they seem to be - then it's a good chance she and Eoin will be, too. She certainly appears that way to me.

We can only hope.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Helping Hand

One of the most enjoyable parts of watching Evie and Eoin at this stage in their lives is seeing their interaction as siblings. Evie, who likes to tell everyone that she's all grown up now, seems to really like helping out with taking care of little brother. She has been known to give Nana careful instructions on how to change Eoin - even to the point of bossiness!

Eoin, on the other hand, is developing his personality and his playfulness. But you have to watch carefully to notice as he can be a sly little devil. For instance, the above photo was taken at our favorite sushi restaurant in Colorado Springs (yes, I know that sounds weird, but it really is good!). Eoin was fussing because he was hungry. Evie, who has never met a carb she didn't like, was eating steamed rice while we were waiting for our sushi to arrive.

Being the ever helpful girl she is, Evie tried to supplement the Cheerios and yogurt his parents had been feeding Eoin with some of her rice. He gladly accepted the spoonfuls, even as both parents and grandparents belatedly reached for their cameras.

The photos turned out pretty good, but the video was classic. Since Eoin was getting sated by now, he turned playful. Notice how he teases his sister by pretending to take a bite, then turning his head away. Normally you'd think he was fussing, but then he turns back to face her and starts to grin and laugh. It was a game, and both were having fun!

It was truly delightful to watch, albeit a bit messy. The arguments and tears will follow as they always seem to do between siblings, but for now all is happiness and peace. And are we ever thankful for that!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In the Kitchen With Evie

Tina enjoys baking. Whether because of that or from other influences, Christie and Mike also enjoy baking. Personally I enjoy eating their baking, but beyond that I'm pleased to report that Evie seems to be following the family tradition.

While we were back there for the holidays Mike, Christie and Tina decided sugar cookies would be nice to have for New Year's Eve. Tina and Mike made the dough and let it chill. I ended up rolling out the dough and Evie helped me use the cookie cutters to make a large quantity of festive shapes. As can be seen in the first photo, Tina then showed Evie how to make the frosting.

Evie wanted color sprinkles on the cookies, so she took charge and began the decorating process.

"Sprinkling" consisted of pouring a bunch into her hand and dumping them onto the cookies.

As can be expected, she went through quite a bit of sprinkles. A lot ended up on the cookies, but a lot ended up on the counter.

Those, of course, were free for the sampling. I'm not sure if that was the ultimate plan or not, but it worked out that way. She was a happy camper and buzzed around the house for hours afterwords. The final product can be seen below. Not a bad looking batch, and they tasted pretty good, too, for sugar cookies. The fun and memories were priceless!

This was my first use of the new flash I bought for my Canon camera. I'd been unhappy with my old one as I found that it tended to blow out images with the light, even if used in a fill mode. A piece of tissue really helped, but looked really cheesy. Not exactly a professional-looking solution. The new flash has a flip-down diffuser panel that softens the light. I was quite happy with the results of both the cookies and the photos.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pas de Deux

December was a very busy month. End of the year orders as various persons of note retired made for very, very long work days. It also made it imperative that I take two weeks off at the end of the year just to recover from the 12-14 hour shifts, not including travel time.

While we did get some rest, we also spent ten days in Colorado Springs visiting Christie and Mike and the grandkids. It was tons of fun, but not totally restful as you can imagine. We did have a few days to relax at home before work started up again, but then it was another mad rush as the lingering retirees-to-be had their parties in January. As before, the bulk of the farewell gifts were made by our shop.

Needless to say I've not had much time to write. But I have had some time to reflect on the visit and the rapidly growing Miss Evelyn.

I have always been struck by the similarity between Christie and her daughter in their physical appearances at the same relative ages. It is unnerving to me, sometimes, to see how close they are. Genetics will do that for you, I know, but it is truly a case of deja' vu all over again for me.

Case in point is the two photos in this post, the first a screen capture from a video I shot of Evie, the other from an unknown pro doing Christie's class pictures. Both were about the same age when the images were taken, and both involve dance. Yes, the hair styles are different and Evie is in practice garb and Christie is in performance costume, but the likeness in their faces and forms is staggering. It never ceases to amaze me.

Evie has also become much more confident in her speech and attitude in the last few months. She will also tell you that she is now all grown up and is going to marry one of her classmates. Interestingly enough, the boy in question knows about these plans and so far has not distanced himself from the arrangement. Since neither one of them has gone through the "girls/boys are icky" stage, I'm reasonably confident we'll not be attending nuptials anytime soon.