Wednesday, December 30, 2009

christmas morning

began with yummy chocolate croissants:

then the girls discovered their sled!
which seemed rather innocuous to summer without that wretched snow.

here's a peek in on all the action:

my mother's necklace from bryan (a surprise gift he picked out himself, no less):

happy christmas to all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

twas the night before

we see christmas eve lights:

and eat christmas eve thai:

then santa's elves bring christmas eve jammies:

and a christmas eve game:

we make christmas eve cookies for santa (and summer):

and then it's off to bed with a christmas eve kiss!

snow day

bryan and i often scheme up what we believe to be exciting outings and activities for our girls. however, summer has a very delicate inner balance that does not tolerate the "new" and "exciting" very well. we know this, of course, from past experience, but still, it has not hindered our attempts at creating memories through good, clean, forced family fun.

so for christmas this year, we got the girls a pull sled and fully outfitted them for the snow. we drove up snoqualmie pass to the snow park and naively expected a grande olde time.

afton, as usual, was a champ. she loved being bundled and pulled and carried in her dad's pack.

summer, though, had other plans.

at first, she was thrilled. she loved getting on her gear, and she soon ran up the snow bank to frolic and, naturally, eat some snow. but somewhere in the midst of all this seemingly happy behavior, it happened. she flipped the switch. an unknown, unnamed force disturbed her zen.

she wretched and threw herself onto the snow. she screamed. she cried. she refused her gloves. nothing could calm her. nothing could quell her newfound, deep-rooted hate for all things snow.

it was over.

so we went home.

i imagine we'll give our sweet summer a week's worth of respite before beginning the torture anew.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the croquembouche

'twouldn't be christmas without the wheelers undertaking a potentially disastrous culinary endeavor.

behold:  the croquembouche.
a french dessert of choux buns, artfully arranged, and covered in caramel.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

happy holidays

from the wheelers
bryan, emily, summer & afton

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


first, we had to pick out the candy:

then, we baked the pieces:

and bryan masterminded it's assembly:

and finally, it was time to decorate:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

headless holiday

looks like summer has been busy spreading her holiday cheer:

Friday, December 18, 2009


at last, after waiting two full years (she is so like her father), summer loves me.

or so she finally says.

her term? lubby (a patented combination of "love" and "you").

she lubbies me in the morning, she lubbies me before bed, and she lubbies me as it strikes her fancy throughout the day.

but when does she lubby me most?

well, for all her mischievousness, summer HATES getting in trouble. so for example, like today, when she had her crayon privileges revoked *yet again* for gratuitously breaking her crayons in half, she just stood there, tears running down her cheeks, sobbing, “lubby! lubby!”

it's not so much that she wanted her crayons back (because despite my lecturing, she may still not quite understand what words like "privileges" and "revoked" actually mean), she just needs to feel lubbied.

don't we all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

down santa claus lane

summer's feelings for santa apparently haven't changed since last year.
afton, for her part, seemed unimpressed and slept through the whole ordeal.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

o tannenbaum

after enjoying duvall's christmas tree lighting ceremony:

we decided to save our social consciousness for next year and went ahead and visited our old standby tree farm to cut down our very own fresh douglas fir:

then we went home, turned on some merry tunes, and enjoyed delicious egg nog and bryan's homemade doughnuts:

as always, our girls were very helpful. afton made things cheery and bright, and summer shook the doughnuts in cinnamon and sugar:

i know we're a bit behind some more festive families out there (you know who you are), but it's finally christmastime at the wheelers!

Saturday, December 05, 2009


as a general rule, all we like to bring back from our vacations is photographs and memories.

but summer just looked way too cute in this cowgirl hat from the grand ole opry that mere mere broke down and got it for her.

our little country star in training.

Friday, December 04, 2009


a week shy of her fifth month, we packed up afton's
3-6 month clothes and got out the next installment.

here she is in her first six month outfit.

in other afton news, we have recently coined a term to describe her particular temperament:  she’s a great “show baby.”  whenever we take her places, everyone wants to come up and interact with her because she is so SMILEY. 
i have a 99% guarantee that she will smile at you if you smile at her. 
and who doesn’t just need to see a smile sometimes?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

lucky thirteen

what happens when your five hour connection from charlottesville to seattle is delayed five hours?

well, two things, really:

1) you don't get home until 3:30am. which is 5:30am in the time zone you just left.

2) you never, EVER fly US Airways again. ever.

shout out to both summer and afton who handled the situation superbly. we really could not have asked for better behaved children.

and while we were the only ones on the flight with children two and under--let alone TWO children two and under, we seemed to be amongst the more "chill" of the group upon receiving the bad news of the delay (first a one hour delay...then two...then three...then, well, you've all been there).

security even had to come and take away one elderly gentleman with anger management issues. we never saw him again.

anyway, our friendly reminder to those who were so distraught (yes, we're talking to you college students returning from a trip to the bahamas and able to go to sleep and get up whenever you feel like it): things could be worse, you could be us.

and for us? well, when i was feeling pretty low, bryan handed me this picker-upper: we could be in darfur.

indeed, we counted our blessings.

also, see that poor kid in the background by my right shoulder? he had the unfortunate luck of sitting across from me not once, but twice while i breastfed afton. who knows, maybe i kept him entertained.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

sightseeing in music city

while our nashville nights were filled with hot tubbing, cooking, eating, and of course, playing more games back at the cabin, our days were spent hoofing it around music city. here are a few highlights:

visiting the grand ole opry house.
sadly, the backstage portion of the tour was unavailable.
which according to the opry hostesses (and the new york times), is the only reason to come.
thanks for making us feel better about ourselves, hostesses.

2009-11-27 Nashville Thanksgiving2

the nashville zoo.
zoos have a long and illustrious history in young family lore,
so we thought it only fitting to visit one during our reunion.
while the animals were all remarkably well behaved,
it was summer that treated us all (and by "all" i mean the entire zoo)
to a 15 minute five-alarm tantrum (where, for the first time ever,
she literally pulled out her hair) during lunch.
2009-11-29 Nashville Zoo2
apparently dormant during her first trip to a petting zoo,
summer discovers a hidden love for goats.
2009-11-29 Nashville Zoo1

enjoying super yummy treats at las paletas.
sample popsicle flavors: avocado, peanut butter banana, hot chocolate with peppers, hibiscus, rose petal, butter pecan, mexican caramel, and cucumbers with chiles.

2009-11-29 Nashville Zoo

a nashville thanksgiving

for this year's thanksgiving celebration, the young family -- in its entirety for the first time in two years -- rented a cabin in the sticks of tennessee, ate turkey, played games, watched football, and argued about the significance of jim bowie and davy crockett.

'twas as if we'd never been apart.

Friday, November 27, 2009