Saturday, January 31, 2015

50 years and 50 friends.

With much birthday fanfare... my dear Karl turned 50. 
And we celebrated his first and next 50 years with gusto and good cheer...
A good rule of thumb while planning a kids party is to match the number of guests to the birthday boys age. This party advice works as well when you are 5 as 50, and Karl celebrated his day with 50 of his nearest and dearest friends. 
Including his very first friend in the world... his father made the journey south to wish him a happy day. 
And so did his next oldest friend and brother... celebrity guest Tom, journeyed the furthest from Rhode Island to be there for his big bro. 
Which made Karl very happy. 
It should be noted that this photo was taken in the wee hours of the party morning when both the icy 50 and my cute husbands party eyes were a little droopy. 
Tom looks like he's about 17... he always has a youthful glow to him.    
Karl again looking bright eyed and celebratory with his former roomies and forever friends 
(do dudes say forever friends? probably not)
Matt and Jon and their amazing wives, Karen and Suzann. 
For the record... Matt also holds the claim to fame of being my Bradley Hall resident advisor way back when in our Buckeye days.  
There was a lot of reminiscing and cracking up in the kitchen as my hubby was roasted by his pals.. of course party girl Ro is in the middle of the action
We are very lucky to have a couple of young friends too.. and even luckier to have wonderfully talented young friends who have mad musical skills and play beautifully while plopped down on our front steps.
Here is the wonderful duo Genevieve and the Giant Peach (aka Gen and Josh) playing their fun and lively party music. 
And then this happened.
Karl's very best birthday gift was a song that Josh and Rosie wrote together. Josh wrote the music and Rosie wrote the lyrics. While Josh was helping Rosie brainstorm on ideas on how great her dad is, he asked what the best thing he ever did for her was. 
So Karl's birthday song is appropriately titled, The Best Most Awesome-est Dad and it opens with "Daddy, thank you for adopting me..."  
And then she sang it... and it really was the best most awesome-set thing that could ever happen to a dad on his birthday.  
    Because it was a weekend of 50's for us.. it also happened to be about 50 degrees outside, which was very nice for January, but also a hardship for the Big 50 ice sculpture which didn't make it to the end of the  weekend.
The following morning, as the big ice 50 was puddling on our front porch, Karl and I spent a lot of time recounting the fun party events of the night and being completely amazed by our good fortune. We have many (50!) truly remarkable friends from different times and places in our lives... having them together at the same time was a true blessing as well as a whole lot of fun.
Happy 50th to you Karl!    

Monday, January 26, 2015

14 years of Lilly!


Our Lilly is now 14!!!
And very happily celebrated this milestone with her best buddies...
who were able to join her in a night of music, movies, and of course, a night time ice cream adventure to Aglamesis. 
Which is our family's choice spot to celebrate happy milestones, or everyday happenings. 
Really, Aglamesis is the perfect all occasion venue for all things good.  
Here is my favorite middle school girl gang enjoying an ice cream birthday toast.
And posing in the parking lot in from of the giant blue manatee.
It might be noted that Lily has chosen to celebrate her birthday in a fez.
I'm not sure why.
But I have leaned not to ask to many fashion questions and the birthday fez seems like one of those questions not to be asked.
Wishing our sweet, kind and funny Lillian the best and brightest year ahead.
Happy 14th Lilly... you are much loved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Billions of Santas.

Rosie with one of the billions...
Rosie has developed her own theory about Santa and I really like it.
She very strongly BELIEVES that there are BILLIONS of Santas in the universe. 
They live and work in all corners of the earth, even outer space, to do good and nice things for everyone. 
Some are in disguise to look like regular people and some wear the Santa suits, but they all teach kids about love and kindness. And peace.
These billions of Santas are in the habit of giving presents because they want everyone in the world to get nice surprises. They also want everyone to be nice and give each other presents instead of saying mean things.
The billions of Santas are really awesome.
Wishing you all a peaceful holiday filled with love and kindness. 

 
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Tables...Kids V. Grownups.

Thanksgiving at the Gieseke house offered offered some awesome symmetry this year... two tables of 11 each.
11 kids and 11 grown ups.
(a very math-y dinner)
And for the record, Anna at age 23 is still a kid on Thanksgiving.
I really like this photo because I think it captures the great hilarity that was happening over at the kids table.
I'm pretty sure that if this photo had a sound track, there would be plenty of bodily function jokes- because few things are more hysterical than fart jokes at the Thanksgiving dinner kid table.
 
And then things calmed down just enough for me to get a quick photo of about half of the fun table willing to look at the camera.
The conversation at our table was a bit more polite, but the 
Grandpa duo at the far end seemed to be having a great time in this photo.
Then I went around the table and took superfast photos of all in trios and pairs... I think it worked well... these two look both relaxed and happy.
(and I don't think it has anything to do with the very fancypants elements of Hudepol and Reddiwhip on the table)    
Same with my bro Charlie, with his funky new frames and my cute sis in law, Christine.
My brother John, Karl and Debby flashing their big Thanksgiving grins. 
Turkey received a birthday smooch from his Grandma to celebrate his happy 12th birthday.
We were honored to have celebrity guest musician friends, Josh and Genevieve who are young and strong enough to meet all of our family craziness with grace and goodwill.  
At some point my mom made it to the kid table to smile with her grand girls... she brought her glass of red with her...it's not Rosie's wine...
We got in the picture too!
Christine took this photo of Karl and I.
Mom happily posed with more grand girls ... Mary and Anna showed off their knitting projects.
The kids were too squirrely to hang out at the table- but I did catch the 8 youngest as they ran through the kitchen not long after dinner.
And thats a wrap...
Hope your Thanksgiving was full of family, friends and a gratitude for the abundance of life's many blessings.
Happy day to all.    

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Very First Violin Recital.

Rosie was able to play in her very first violin recital last night and remained very composed and focused throughout her entire piece.
It was a musical milestone for our girl.
And afterwards, I made her pose in front of the beautifully decorated alter in the chapel and then had a  flashback of another young violinist who posed very similarly years ago.
Sure enough...after only a little bit of research I found this photo of her big sister Lily, post recital in the chapel rocking the very same red dress as a second grader in 2008.
I really love that these two sisters are able to share so much... and I don't think there is a better way to begin the holiday season than a first grade violin recital.

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Big City Chicago Visit to Mary.

Happiness is watching your kid doing good works in something that they love and take great pride in.
I was thrilled to have a chance to see Mary in her element... assistant stage directing a production with her theater pals. 
Although this photo is blurry and grainy, I love it very much.
At the end of this show, the cast and crew of 7 gifted theater majors raised their hands in the air with a raucous cheer of "Mary-Mary!" in appreciation for her work and help. 
It was awesome. 
The play was called Amazons and their Men and was a gorgeous production full of love and fear and the despair of trying to create something beautiful in the middle of wartime. 
It was moving and lovely and the mom in me wanted to hug each fabulous young actor afterwards and tell them how extremely excellent they are.
And so I did. 
And to her credit, my Mary was not even embarrassed.
 Because I was only in town for a night, Mary's dear roomies were gracious enough to let me stay with them in their very cool Chicago apartment. 
And so I made her pose with this throw pillow that I gave her of the state of Ohio in silhouette with a sweetheart on her hometown.
Did I mention that I gave her the Cincinnati pillow to keep with with her always?
Mary was indeed very patient with her mom. 
Train station selfie with my kid... 
So proud of my girl for carving out a happy niche amongst the bright lights of the big Chicago city...you go-go, Mary-Mary!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Summit Silver Knights... 3rd and 4th grade Football Champions!

Today is a very happy Monday for the most important football team in our family...yesterday the  3rd and 4th grade Summit team won their championship game, their very own Super Bowl. 
Which is very cool and not something that happens everyday, or really hardly EVER in the lives of 9 and ten year old boys. 
And Henry was very, very excited to be a part of this team.  
My favorite part about this group of guys is that because they are so few in numbers, they really need to work together to be successful. 
There are 12 fellows on the team... which means that almost every guy plays every down and have to learn how to play on both offense and defense. 
Which is great because each guy gets a lot of playing time, but is also exhausting to play for so long without a break...each boy needs to play well with the others. True teamwork at it's best.  
During the week before the big game, the school held a pep rally where the high school team visited to give our little guys some words of wisdom and encouragement. 
The high school team captains stood up in from the the entire primary school and told them that they were proud of them for playing hard and working together.
What could be better to a 4th grader than to have a big high school kid say that they are proud of you? 
Our team is extremely fortunate to have coaches who truly brought out the best in the boys. They have taught them the right skills and give them the right kind of support...the emphasis was always on playing well and enjoying the game rather than winning. 
This type of perspective and positive attitude makes for very happy players and even parents. 
Thank you coach Greg McGrath for leading our boys and also assistant coaches, Tom Schaefer, and Joe Kidd... you are truly appreciated, by both players and parents. 
The team during the school pep rally... 3rd and 4th graders in front... high school team backing them up.  
Congratulations Henry and all of the 3rd and 4th grade Summit Silver Knights... were are all proud of you for doing your best and staying strong until the end!