Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Ah, December. Doesn't it seem to go by faster every year? I would really like to spend most of my time cuddling up with Jude and watching TV (though Teletubbies might not be my first choice) but instead I have been rather productive this month.

Isobel has had a bunch of exciting firsts: Attending Disney on Ice with Azucena, having a big girl date (lunch at Liberty Oak and then The Nutcracker) with the Lufts, and performing with her class in the school's annual Chanukah Show.

Jude sat on Santa's lap for the first time today but other than that he's mainly been a passenger/spectator or the one at home with a babysitter. It's a good thing he's so laid back- he doesn't care (or doesn't realize) he's missing out. He did get to watch the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with me and Isobel tonight (another first for both of them).

Brooke and I attended our first ever Roller Derby Bout last weekend and IT WAS TOTALLY WICKED. People, here's some advice: look up your local Roller Derby. Attend a bout. You will enjoy yourself!

The next few days will be exciting, too- lots of dinners with friends and Aunt Allison coming to visit (yay!) before we head up to Pennsylvania. Isobel is most excited about visiting Safari Nation tomorrow.

So, without further ado, photos from The Nutcracker! These appear courtesy of Dani, since I (as usual) forgot the camera. Isobel and Shaina got to meet Clara!

And a video of Kitat Nitzan performing The Dreidel Song. This is a professional one, and the quality is 100 times better than the one I took and posted on facebook. Isobel and friends come on at about the 6 minute mark.

And finally...
Happy Holidays, everybody!

Friday, December 2, 2011

School Portraits

Those are my children! MY children! I almost didn't bother having them take school portraits this year because the prints are so ridiculously expensive and I feel like I can generally get better photos myself. But there's something special about that cheesy blue background, maybe because I remember having similar pictures of myself taken every year.
And I have to admit that I'm happy with these pictures. Doesn't Isobel look so grown up? I feel like that chapped lip is the only thing in the photo that makes her look four instead of fourteen. Jude looks so handsome with his rockstar hair. I'm so proud of these babies!


As has become our habit, we spent Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania with Brooke's family. We had a really nice visit, lots of quality family time, and even a midnight showing of a certain movie.

Thanksgiving morning we went to a park for a walk and some kickball/frisbee play time. I hope this will become a new tradition; it was so nice to get out and get some fresh air and exercise before all the cooking and then the feast. Of course, this year it helped that the weather cooperated. It was a perfectly crisp (but not cold) Fall day, and everybody had fun. Of course I forgot the camera, so Instagram saved the day as usual.

Nicole let me fool around with her camera and I got lucky and snapped a new favorite of Jude. Look at that cutie-pie! Just look at him! :)
And while you're looking, you can also take a peek at our feast, provided by Brooke's mom and dad. We ate like kings (thankfully, of course).

And finally, here is Isobel raising a potato masher in triumph!

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Brooke went to New York on business and I got to tag along! Isobel and Jude had a great time here in Greensboro with Brooke's parents, who came down to watch them. Lucky, lucky, lucky!

I haven't spent much time in New York, but I love what I've seen of it. Highlights this time included visiting my friend Claire in Brooklyn, eating incredible French food at Les Halles, hearing Jeffrey Eugenides (a favorite author) read at the 92nd Street Y, and seeing a tiny fraction of the amazingness that is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a fantastic trip.

AND I got new boots. Yaaaaay!

Monday, November 7, 2011

RenFest Instagram Photo Dump

Saturday last we did with joye partake in ye olde Carolina Renaissance Festival. Forsooth, the Shiffleren did party like 'twas 1499! Feast thine eyes anon!

(ok, a few explanations: Isobel rode the camel with total strangers because we were too cheap to pay another $5 for Brooke or me to ride with her. She was also asked to dance on stage with some rather unenthusiastic child performers who were accompanied by their father on the lute. And she got to hold a very sweet goose or duck or something and pet it. Brooke bought me a stem of beautiful orchids. It was a good time for all.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October IV: Halloween

For the last few years, we haven't made Jack-o-Lanterns. It makes a mess, it's one more thing to do in a busy afternoon before trick-or-treating, and (this is the main reason) I'm not very good at it. But this year Isobel was old enough to know that pumpkin carving is a part of this holiday, and she really wanted to do it. When I asked what kind of face she wanted to do, she requested "sneaky." So I tried, but we wound up with something that looked kinda like a demented hillbilly baby. The photo above doesn't really capture it. I guess that's one good thing about jack-o-lanterns: I am so clumsy with a knife that I usually wind up with something way weirder-looking (and, hence, creepier) than I intended.

Hope you had a safe and happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October III: Grandma and Papa Visit

Brooke's parents came to celebrate Isobel's birthday, too, a few days after the fact. It has been a whole month of celebrating Iso!
We had several outings with Grandma and Papa. One was the Lexington BBQ Festival. As you might remember from this post, Lexington is a town south of here that is famous for its own special style of barbeque. I expected the festival to be sort of a small-town podunk affair, with various local barbeque restaurants hawking their pulled pork.
Boy oh boy, was I wrong. It stretched on for blocks and blocks! We never even found any actual barbeque, there were multiple stages set up for ongoing live music, and there were all kinds of vendors. It brought on flashbacks of the State Fair experience last year. I kinda regret passing on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste deep fried butter.
Another outing with Grandma and Papa: our pumpkin patch expedition. This was our third year visiting this farm and, as always I took lots of photos.

Isobel and Jude had a great time. I get a little sentimental when I see my kids frolicking on a farm, and especially running through a cornfield. Even though I don't really have a rural background myself, it still feels like going back to our roots somehow.

And finally, a few recent photos I'm proud of:

(The old tree stump in our back yard has erupted with mushrooms. They are the perfect subjects)

(one more from the farm)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October II: Isobel's Birthday Party

Here we are in the second installment of the Brookstinobelude October series! Huzzah!

We held Isobel's birthday at Artquest, an art studio for kids downtown. Last year was a church friends party, so this year was a school friends party. And I'm not gonna lie, it was so much easier to do it somewhere other than our house. Artquest had a party coordinator who kept the kids pretty well entertained. They made birthday crowns, then ate pizza, then made play-dough, then had cake and finis! Very low stress for mommy and the other parents, and lots of fun for the chilrens. So without further ado, the photos:

I love looking at these photos! Isobel is lucky to have so many good friends to celebrate with her. Yesterday she said "Mommy, I wish I could go to school every single day," and I know it's because she loves all of her friends (and her teacher) so much. I can't believe she's four already! Such a big girl. I am so proud of her.
P.S. - Note which hand Jude is using to stab that play-dough! I suspect him of being a southpaw.