2016 Christmas Photos

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We got our Christmas pictures taken last month. It’s the second year we’ve had Vanessa Brooke take them for us and I absolutely love them. I don’t care what kind of middle-class, white-woman bandwagon, marketing ploy I’m on…it’s just cool to take family pictures every year and since I design Christmas cards for a living (well, at least one month of the year I do) I might as well make some for us too!  So that’s why I still send Christmas cards. Don’t judge.

I love seeing how much the girls change from year to year. It’s going to be hard to take last year’s photos off the wall because last year’s were really cool too. I haven’t aged as well as I’d like and I think I look better last year but whatever, right?! Time marches on!  I only have so much wall space. Next year I’ll probably feel the same way about this year’s.

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Last year (I can’t find my old post on last year’s photos. Did I not post them? Musta been on Facebook only.) we had our pictures taken out in the country, walking through brush and amongst oak trees. It was so pretty. I love how the magical sunset time of day makes everyone seem all aglow.

This year Vanessa asked us if we wanted to do country, city or beach and the kids picked beach of course. I was voting for city but obviously my vote means zip. I was stressing big time too because the beach kinda knocks out all my favorite shoes. I was planning on wearing my boots, that I wear every day with everything, but that’s not gonna work with sand and surf. Flip flops seemed too casual and heels were obviously not an option.

Thankfully the day we took these photos turned out to be unseasonably warm and I wouldn’t have wanted to wear boots anyway. In fact, we all made completely different outfit choices because it was so hot! But I like it. It’s more representative of our usual Southern California lifestyle.  We don’t dress up. No Christmas sweaters here. Sometimes a random outfit from the back of the closet shows a better slice of life than some perfectly chosen one.

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The orange loafers that I chose out of desperation last minute are probably my favorite thing about our Christmas card photo this year. Sometimes the wrong thing is just right.

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Like kids pretending to get along just for a photo. Just kidding. They actually got along great this day because, duh we were at the beach and there were about a thousand Pokemon creatures to catch that we’d never seen before.

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Most of my favorite shots are of us on this rock where you can’t even see the ocean. I don’t mind though. I love the rough texture of the rock and the colors.

November is prime beach-photo-taking season and everywhere you looked there were other families doing the exact same thing. It was hard for Vanessa to get a shot of us with the ocean in the background without having to do hours and hours of photoshop to clone out everyone else. But she managed.

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Then the sun went down and we got this goober shot.

Thank you Vanessa!

Bug Gets a Chalkboard in her Room.

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From time to time I like to rearrange things in my house and purge out all the unnecessary flotsam and jetsam that gets piled up without anyone really noticing it. This past weekend Bug got her turn. I’ve been nagging her to clean up her room but it always seemed to be impossible for her because she never has enough room to put everything.

You know what that means! Add on another room? Nope! It’s time to purge because there must be a place for everything and everything must be in it’s place. I am so much fun that way.

So we decided to rearrange! She’s really into gaming and she does her homework in her room now with her computer so she needed more desk space. We needed to make a little office in her room so we did what we always do: we flipped the expedit bookcase! It was vertical (see below).

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Now it’s horizontal! And since space is tight we put her desk on top of the expedit bookcase, creating a tiny little nook with some slide-around work space to the side of her. It’s tight but super functional. Especially since we moved the rug over that was seriously hindering her chair-sliding mobility.

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Then, since we were fixing things, we decided to take the old frame that used to be Bug’s faux headboard (That thing has nine lives.) and make it into a chalkboard, which is something she’s wanted since day one. It was really cool as a headboard but unfortunately it was never bolted in correctly and every time the bed got pushed up against it too hard, it would wedge out dangerously. It was just kind of a pain in the head.

We had bought the chalkboard paint way back when we first painted Bug’s room but we ended up not using it because we were worried about chalk dust and it just looked weird painting a square randomly on the wall. Now, however, we had this big picture frame just sitting around waiting for a new use so we decided to use it to frame in the chalkboard. We’re still worried about chalk dust but using this frame kind of keeps the dust contained a little. Bug can just wipe the bottom of the frame with a damp cloth instead of her floor and bed which is much easier.

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Payam bolted the frame into studs in the wall so it really won’t budge and then Bug and Payam got busy with the black chalkboard paint. We waited a day for the paint to cure properly and then Bug primed it with a layer of chalk. It wasn’t as much work as I was worried it would be.

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Now her room is much tidier (we got rid of a ton of out-grown clothes and books that she doesn’t read) and it looks a tiny bit better. She still has a ton of stuff but what can you do with a ten-year-old pack rat? Actually, she has gotten so much better at throwing stuff out. She used to be super attached to anything that had a face, no matter what it was. Now she at least can pass things on to people she knows will appreciate them as much as she did.bugs-chalkboard-1

That’s that!  Bug is happy as a clam with her new chalkboard! Now it’s time to make one for Joon.