Saturday, March 28, 2015

Actually, Totally, True Fact Cousin Breakfast.

I was thrilled to start my Happy Friday with a fun breakfast with these two cousins this morning.
They were so happy to be together and had a lot to catch up on since they saw each other yesterday and this morning the discussion was based mostly on "gone teeth" and friends who didn't believe that they were "actually, totally cousins- true fact." 
Ella is very proud of her new smile and her "gone tooth" 
and reported that the going rate of a cute tooth is 200 cents!
Rosie did some fast and fancy math and realized that she got the exact same amount only in "dollar format." 
And they're off... post pancakes and ready for another exciting day of first grade. 
Happy Friday friends!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Aunt Donna and the Little Sheep.

I made this photo of my Aunt Donna years ago, and while I can't remember exactly what I said at the time, it was probably something like "hey Aunt Donna, will you please hold this baby sheep and let me take your picture?"
 And then my fabulous Aunt opened up her arms without question and happily hugged that little sheep with love and tenderness... because thats exactly how she rolls. 
My Aunt Donna is in the habit of embracing everyone and everything, little lambs included, with a full heart and open arms. In fact, to know my Aunt Donna is to feel a bit like this dear little lamb... safe and happy in the arms of someone warm and loving. 
She always, always, always holds tightly onto all of the goodness that the world has to offer. With that same might, she joyfully nurtures all of that love and hope into something greater than any of us. 
Her heart is enormous and full and fierce...I love her like crazy and she knows it. 
Aunt Donna personifies all that is great kindness and generosity and love...I am honored be a part of her family and know that we are all better people with her in our world. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

#ArtsWave Post it Challenge.

My pal Laura tagged me in a challenge.
On behalf of Artswave, she asked me to note why the arts are important in our community. And since one of my favorite things about Cincinnati are the many fantastic opportunities for kids to get involved in the arts, I asked a couple of my kids for their thoughts. 
As a part of the challenge, you are to write why the arts are important to you on a Post it, take a photo and then post and tag your Artswave wave... here is Jamie and his Artswave wave.

Jamie is the most dedicated artist our family. He usually has a pencil in his hand and a Sharpie marker in his pocket and draws whenever and wherever he can. 
He loses track of time and everything else and can draw for hours if he isn't interrupted. 
He loves it and I can't imagine him going a single day without art. 
And when I asked him to explain, this was his answer....
"It makes me think about things differently, I look at something once and thats not good enough, to draw something you need to really look closely at the parts and how they work together to make something bigger."
When I spoke to Rosie about making music, she was less thoughtful and more about the party.
"I like playing music because its fun. Playing music is super fun and playing the violin is my jam."

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'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.