Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 accomplishments

One of my favorite annual posts is where I gather together all the books I read over the preceding year. I had been in somewhat of a reading slump, so for 2011 one of my resolutions was to read more. I got a Nook for Christmas last year, and that has helped a lot--text as big as I want and pages that turn with the click of a button. I've also started listening to audiobooks on my one-hour commute back and forth to Kansas City 3 days a week. This year's collection:

I started off 2011 hoping to do one Shutterfly photo book per month. This proved to be way too ambitious, but I did get through several. I made 3 family yearbooks, starting with 2010, then 2009, and then 2008. Then I also made smaller albums for our Spring Break trip to Europe and our 2009 trip to Jamaica. My most recent accomplishment is a little book about Annabelle's 2008 summer show Beauty and the Beast:

Click here to view this photo book larger

2011 was also a great year for knitting! I finished my red sweater early on, which gave me a nice start. Then I did a pair of socks for my mom's birthday:

I also made Annabelle a really awesome pair of skull-and-crossbones socks:

And then just today I finished up this scarf:

It's modeled after the one that Dolores Umbridge wore in the last Harry Potter movie:

I used this amazing free pattern.

My one creative disappointment for 2011 is that the blog kind of fell by the wayside. This happened for a variety of reasons--time, energy, etc.--and then once I fell out of the habit, it got easier and easier to put it off. I still do want to go back and put pictures at least in at the proper spots because I do like being able to have speedy access to those.

So for 2012: more reading, more photo books, and more knitting and a new, improved blog. I'll drink to that!

Saturday, December 03, 2011


Annabelle tried out for and made it into the District Honor Choir. This is a huge accomplishment, as our district is a really competitive one. The concert was this afternoon, and Fred and I were blown away by how good they were. I've spent this evening uploading clips to YouTube so that you can see the whole thing. Annabelle is in the back row, sixth to the right of the REALLY TALL (you'll see what I'm talking about) boy.

"Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal":

"Calm on the Listening Ear of Night":

"The Word Was God":

"Ne Imami Iniya Pomoshchi":

"I'm Running On":

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Godspell!

I've been really busy the past few days, finishing an indexing project and getting ready for Thanksgiving. I've managed though to upload a couple of clips from the show to YouTube. This little non-musical snippet is one of my favorite parts, where you can really see Annabelle hamming it up:

And here are the first 2 musical numbers from the show:

Our poor old video camera, which was such cutting-edge technology 10 years ago, is an absolute dinosaur now, so I borrowed a high-def handycam from a friend to shoot the show. I'm very impressed with the quality of the recording when it's on the computer, but unfortunately when I burn it to DVD, it loses its high-def-ness and looks decidedly meh. I'm thinking there may be a Blu-Ray burner in my not-so-distant future.

As much fun as it is to see the production, it's also fun to watch Annabelle and her friends celebrating after the show. They sure are a loving, happy bunch!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Opening night: Godspell

I've decided the only way to get back into blogging is to just dive in where I'm at. I've spent the past 2 months thinking I would get all caught up, but instead I just get further and further behind. I can't think of a better reason to fire up the ol' blog than opening night of Leavenworth High School's fall musical, Godspell.

Annabelle has been a fan of this show for ages and was very excited to be a part of it. I loved Grease last year, but I have to say, I think this show is even better.

I borrowed a high-def video camera from a friend but I wound up not recording so that I could just sit back and enjoy the show. I found a new (to me) setting on my regular camera and took a few shots in each song. They're not great, but they're better than anything I've ever taken before in that sort of lighting condition, and it'll give Annabelle something to remember the show by.

This is Annabelle being tormented by the Village People:

And as one of a trio of rather freaky angels:

Check out my Flickr account for the rest of tonight's photos:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Fun fact: The Leavenworth County Veteran's Day parade is "the oldest Veterans Day observance in the nation and the largest parade west of the Mississippi." Here's the Leavenworth High School marching band participating in this year's parade:

Look for Annabelle and her bari sax!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Central States Marching Festival

Remember how 2007 was the last time Leavenworth High's band scored a 1 at the Washburn competition? Well, today marks the first time since 2004 that they scored a 1 at this festival, held at Kansas State! And nobody knows the last time that they scored 1's at both, but it happened this year!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Capitol City Marching Festival

According to the band director, this was the first time since 2007 that Leavenworth High scored a 1 at this festival, held at Washburn University!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Homecoming 2011

The past 2 weeks were homecoming for the high school. They had a variety of dress-up spirit days. Annabelle participated in a couple of those, such as "generations day," in which juniors dressed as little kids:

And "would you be my friend if I wore this day":

Unfortunately, I didn't get up early and take pictures on "identity theft day," in which she poofed her hair and donned a black blazer and flag pin and went as Sarah Palin. I hear she had some of the teachers in stitches with her spot-on impersonation!

Friday night was the homecoming parade and game. The band performed their show before the game (along with the national anthem and school song) since half-time would be all about the homecoming court. I recorded it with my dinky little camera, but I found a better recording on YouTube (Annabelle starts off on the right-hand 45-yard line, in case you want to try to follow her):

Here's a still shot of part of the band. You can click to make it bigger, the better to see Annabelle standing on the 40-yard line:

Saturday night was all about the dance, which she went to with a group of friends. They met at one friend's house for sparkling cider:

and pictures, first inside:

then outside:

and finally, outside with a touch of crazy:

Then they set off for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant before going to the dance. We picked her up at 11, and she reported that it was a great evening but that her feet were killing her!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Playing tourist

We had a great time this past weekend! My friends Pat and Melissa came up from Texas for a business trip and planned a couple extra days for hanging out with us.

On Sunday we drove over to Kansas City to visit the World War I museum, which was fascinating. The museum itself is underneath the Liberty Memorial:

After we wandered around inside and looked at all the exhibits, we went to the top of the memorial for some really great views of the city:

We thought this was interesting. We drove past it on our way in, and it looked like a stack of random shipping containers. If you look at it kind of squinty though from a distance, it sends a message:

Here we are up at the top, Fred and me:

Pat and Melissa:

After the museum, we went over to Union Station, which you can see just beyond the green lawn in this picture:

Today Melissa and I were able to squeeze in one last lunch together:

We need to not wait 8 years to get together next time!

I've heard of a guard dog before.

But a guard grasshopper?

That's just ridiculous.

Brace yourself!

Braces on:

Braces off:

It's a big day for the Taylor family! I think we've had one kid or the other in some sort of orthodontic treatment for the past 5 years.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Here comes the band!

After many exhausting, painful, and sweaty hours spent at band practice over the past month, Annabelle finally got her first taste of a marching performance and loved it! The band performed for the first time this year at the football game last Friday night.

Here is part of the band lined up for the pre-game show:

This is a close-up of the same view. Annabelle is the one with the big-ass saxophone:

Here's a video of them playing the National Anthem:

Some sky-divers landed before the game, including the LHS mascot, Pioneer Pete:

Annabelle's friends Ben and Edd accompanied us to the game. Ben is also Annabelle's saxophone teacher:

Lined up on the sidelines, waiting for halftime:

And here is the halftime show:

We lost the game, but the consensus among people who know these things was that we did better than expected. Can't wait for the next game!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Never too old for a first day of school pic!

Mike had a great first day of his sophomore year at FSU:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tea party (the good kind)

Annabelle and I went to a tea party yesterday at the home of our British neighbors. We decided to wear dresses just in case the queen was there (she wasn't, but one never knows). Annabelle looked so pretty that I had to stop on the porch and snap a picture:

The party itself was wonderful, with finger sandwiches and scones (oh, the scones!) and these adorable miniature apple pies. And Pimms! Did I mention the Pimms? So yummy! One of my fellow tea-partiers (again, the good kind) described it as British sangria, which seems about right.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Fred and Mike left at the crack of dawn this morning to take Mike back to FSU for his sophomore year. The last report I heard had them somewhere north of Birmingham, but I suspect that by now they are at or getting close to Fred's parents' house.

They put in a long day on the road today so that they can roll into Tally by early afternoon tomorrow. This will give them tomorrow afternoon, all of Friday, and then Saturday morning to get Mike settled in before Fred flies home Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Annabelle came home from school today, did her pre-calculus homework, ate a quick supper, opened birthday presents, and left for marching band practice, thinking that her birthday was pretty much over. Nuh UH!

Little did she know that we've been scheming to bring cupcakes to the end of band practice. As soon as we dropped her off at the school, Fred and Mike and I went over to Walmart to pick up the goodies. We set up shop at the end of the stadium and enjoyed watching the last 20 minutes of practice. We caught the kids as they were coming off the field, and they stopped to sing "Happy Birthday." One girl even chimed in on her saxophone:

Here are some miscellaneous pictures from the celebration:

Tra la-la-la-la la-la-la-la

Where have 16 years gone?! I would swear this photo was taken just a few years ago:

But no, it was 16 years ago and marks the arrival of Annabelle and the completion of our family.

We've been celebrating for several days now. Mike gave her the DVD of Tangled on Friday so that we could all watch it together before he left for school. And then on Sunday the 4 of us went to Kansas City (where everything's up to date) and watched a film of Stephen Sondheim's Company, followed by supper at California Pizza Kitchen. Presents this afternoon!

Happy birthday, Sweet Sixteen!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy first day of school!

Today is the first day of Annabelle's junior year! Here are a couple of shots as she left this morning:

She got off to kind of a rocky start. schoolbus procedures changed for this year, and the kids are supposed to have a card that they scan to get on the bus. Somehow we failed to get that memo, and the driver wouldn't let her on the bus this morning. I have visited the transportation office and been assured that she should be good to go for the ride home this afternoon.

I can't wait for her to get home! Mostly so I can hear about the rest of her day but also because I am looking forward to our traditional first-day-of-school cookies. (These are not to be confused with brownie Friday, which is going to be brownie Wednesday this year due to a change in my work schedule.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baby Bird is 19!

Hard to believe that Mike is already 19. Time flies blah blah blah! I spent some time with my scanner this morning and scanned in (in something like 8 separate passes, which I then lovingly stitched together in Photoshop Elements) the 2-page spread I made of his first birthday (click to see it bigger):

Also, I don't believe I have ever shared his birth announcement on here:

Weren't Fred and I terribly clever (not to mention young looking!) back in the day?