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.    

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Very First Violin Recital.

Rosie was able to play in her very first violin recital last night and remained very composed and focused throughout her entire piece.
It was a musical milestone for our girl.
And afterwards, I made her pose in front of the beautifully decorated alter in the chapel and then had a  flashback of another young violinist who posed very similarly years ago.
Sure enough...after only a little bit of research I found this photo of her big sister Lily, post recital in the chapel rocking the very same red dress as a second grader in 2008.
I really love that these two sisters are able to share so much... and I don't think there is a better way to begin the holiday season than a first grade violin recital.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Big City Chicago Visit to Mary.

Happiness is watching your kid doing good works in something that they love and take great pride in.
I was thrilled to have a chance to see Mary in her element... assistant stage directing a production with her theater pals. 
Although this photo is blurry and grainy, I love it very much.
At the end of this show, the cast and crew of 7 gifted theater majors raised their hands in the air with a raucous cheer of "Mary-Mary!" in appreciation for her work and help. 
It was awesome. 
The play was called Amazons and their Men and was a gorgeous production full of love and fear and the despair of trying to create something beautiful in the middle of wartime. 
It was moving and lovely and the mom in me wanted to hug each fabulous young actor afterwards and tell them how extremely excellent they are.
And so I did. 
And to her credit, my Mary was not even embarrassed.
 Because I was only in town for a night, Mary's dear roomies were gracious enough to let me stay with them in their very cool Chicago apartment. 
And so I made her pose with this throw pillow that I gave her of the state of Ohio in silhouette with a sweetheart on her hometown.
Did I mention that I gave her the Cincinnati pillow to keep with with her always?
Mary was indeed very patient with her mom. 
Train station selfie with my kid... 
So proud of my girl for carving out a happy niche amongst the bright lights of the big Chicago go-go, Mary-Mary!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Summit Silver Knights... 3rd and 4th grade Football Champions!

Today is a very happy Monday for the most important football team in our family...yesterday the  3rd and 4th grade Summit team won their championship game, their very own Super Bowl. 
Which is very cool and not something that happens everyday, or really hardly EVER in the lives of 9 and ten year old boys. 
And Henry was very, very excited to be a part of this team.  
My favorite part about this group of guys is that because they are so few in numbers, they really need to work together to be successful. 
There are 12 fellows on the team... which means that almost every guy plays every down and have to learn how to play on both offense and defense. 
Which is great because each guy gets a lot of playing time, but is also exhausting to play for so long without a break...each boy needs to play well with the others. True teamwork at it's best.  
During the week before the big game, the school held a pep rally where the high school team visited to give our little guys some words of wisdom and encouragement. 
The high school team captains stood up in from the the entire primary school and told them that they were proud of them for playing hard and working together.
What could be better to a 4th grader than to have a big high school kid say that they are proud of you? 
Our team is extremely fortunate to have coaches who truly brought out the best in the boys. They have taught them the right skills and give them the right kind of support...the emphasis was always on playing well and enjoying the game rather than winning. 
This type of perspective and positive attitude makes for very happy players and even parents. 
Thank you coach Greg McGrath for leading our boys and also assistant coaches, Tom Schaefer, and Joe Kidd... you are truly appreciated, by both players and parents. 
The team during the school pep rally... 3rd and 4th graders in front... high school team backing them up.  
Congratulations Henry and all of the 3rd and 4th grade Summit Silver Knights... were are all proud of you for doing your best and staying strong until the end!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rosie's Broken Wing.

Our Rose is now the proud owner of the cutest cast on our block… thanks to the very kind and accommodating medical staff at Cincinnati Children's. 
Rosie is all about accessories, and really, a neon pink and green cast makes the ultimate first grade fashion statement.  
She broke her wrist following a heated discussion while riding her best pony pal Cocoa Puff. 
Cocoa Puff is a very sweet pony, but she is also strong and smart and has about 20 years on 6 year old Ro.
This gentle bestie friends photo was taken about a week before their argument…happily, they are back on good terms again.

After the promise of a cool cast, the second best thing about a broken wrist it that you get to have an arm X-ray. 
Rosie is fascinated by the bones in her arm and will share it with anyone who shows even a smidge of interest.
As she was in the casting room at Children's, she was asked if she was interested in rainbow glitter being added to her cast while it was still wet.
"Glitter, please!"
Rosie's personal motto is always say a very big "YES!" to glitter.  
My girl is now one week into a 4 week cast. 
She is doing very well and has self diagnosed her wrist as just fine, completely healed and not hurty anymore. 
"Feels just like my regular old arm... I'm ready for the cast to come off... I need to ride again before I forget how." 
Unfortunately, her docs don't quite agree… but a few more weeks of "taking it easy" and she will be back in full action again.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ohio State 4-Miler-Finish on the 50!

My college gal pals and I were very excited to be four of the more than 12,000 runners/ walkers that participated in the Ohio State 4 Miler to benefit cancer research not too long ago.
When we registered for the event way back in July, we were excited to be a part of it, but then we saw this notation amongst the less important race day information. 
"Unique Finisher's Medel to Feature Iconic Buckeye Football Helmet"
And you better believe that we all signed up as fast as we could type because as a group, we really do appreciate our iconic Buckeye Football Helmet bling. 
The goal was to finish on the 50, which we all did very well… so maybe we didn't run, but each of us walked super briskly, and felt super sporty for 4 miles in a row.
I asked my fellow sporty gal pal Terry to take this photo under the goal post instead of on the 50 yard line… because it's not so often I have a chance to strike a pretend TD pose in the Buckeye end zone.   
The race was really fun, but even more hilarious was spending time with friends from way back… a lot of life has happened since the OSU Bradley Hall days including the group acquisition of reading glasses to order from a menu in a lowlight restaurant. 
Here we are all striking a glamour pose in our oh so stylish readers.
How Firm Thy Friendship…

Monday, September 29, 2014

Giant Grinning Dog.

Meet Tony.
He belongs to my parents and is roughly the size of a small polar bear. 
Tony is a sweet dog with a really great skill.
He smiles.
He will wrinkle up his nose and grin broadly if you ask him nicely. 
But only if he is in a happy mood. 
Thankfully for the universe, Tony is often feeling good enough to share his smile upon polite request. 
And really, the world is a far better place with this giant grinning dog, 
celebrating all that makes his golden retriever-ish heart happy.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Holy Moly, My kid is 23!

Anna and Nate and Henry
Summer of 2014.

 My dear Anna, my kid…my first kid. The kid who turned me into a mom is now 23 YEARS OLD!!!
That seems kind of crazy to me. But…true fact, my kid has a job, an apartment and a whole awesome life in a different state than mine.
So my kid is now a grown up.
So happy happy birthday to grown up Anna!
Summer of 1992

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Young Bucks!

A little Ohio State football advice for Buckeye parents everywhere...
Go to the alumni band day for three times as much of a band and pick a game with the potential for a lot of scoring. 
We took this crew to Columbus last weekend where we got to cheer for a 66-0 Buckeye win AND watch the most amazing half time show ever with five times the band with the addition of the alumni band.
The black uniformed band around the giant flag is the student band, all of the red shirts are the more than awesome alumni band. 
It was beyond impressive to see everyone marching on the same field.
My kiddos also had a great time semi stalking the OSU cheerios, who didn't seem to mind the attention from their youngest fans.
This photo was organized in approximately 3 and a half seconds…. 
"girls each hold a pom, buddy, take this megaphone, ok here we go... GO BUCKS!"
I think the Ohio state cheer squad should contract themselves out as wedding and event photographers, they can pose a photo in record time. 
There is something about seeing your kids at a football game that make you think forward a few years.
I can imagine Ryan in this same pose in about 12 years and enjoying it even more.

And I can see Rosie and Lucy having too much fun together in the not so distant future while Lily and Mia are on hand to keep things a little bit regulated. 
Until then, these two are enjoying their new Buckeye fanship and are happy to prove that you don't need to be born in Ohio to be a Buckeye…O-H-I-O!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thank You IMPACT 100!

 Laura Jekel and John Morris Russell, a most remarkable duo, delivered an OUTSTANDING presentation last night asking the women of Impact 100 for their support. 
And this afternoon when they meet, the young musicians of MYCincinnati will receive some amazing news.
 They will learn that their dedicated teachers did whatever they could to make sure that they will have instruments in their hands and a safe place to practice everyday after school and now their program is even stronger than it was yesterday. 
They will KNOW without doubt that the people of Cincinnati believe in them just as much as their teachers. 
These hardworking students will also know that their very good friend John Morris Russell, will stand by those teachers and ask anyone who will listen to help support these young musicians in bringing something beautiful into our corner of the world.   
Thank you women of Impact 100, for agreeing with Laura and John and offering your support. 
This is truly a transformative gift that will make an enormous difference in the future of Cincinnati's most dedicated young musicians.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Pony Rides.

I am a very lucky mom for many reasons, but on this happy Tuesday morning I am feeling especially fortunate to have been able to celebrate my birthday weekend 
(why just one single day?) 
doing something I really love with my favorite people in the universe. 
I got to take Lyle to a horse show at the Kentucky Horse Park, which is the most gorgeous place to ride ever, and, even more terrific, my mom and my rider girls came too.
So really, very much like my 5th birthday party in 1972, I got to have pony rides with my mom for my birthday.
Rosie is fortunate to be taught by the most patient and kindest trainer ever, it was a treat to watch Jess get my girl ready for the ring in the early morning light…Kentucky sunrises are the best. 
Rosie got to ride sweet and patient Cocoa Puff over walk trot poles on the same grounds as where the best riders in the country train… and very likely started out with these types of "jumps" too. 
Somehow Lily went from being a kid to a really brave rider over the summer… it's been so fun watching her and I'll admit, I'm more than a little envious of her strong teenage body and brain that can remember more than three things at once. 
Here are Lily and Seville posing with their ears up and smiling… 
For my birthday dinner, Mom, Rosie, Lily and I celebrated with utter gusto at a Kentucky Cracker Barrel, which was completely full of awesome.  
And then, to continue the celebration, my guys (well, Karl mostly) made an I Heart Mom birthday cake from scratch which was waiting for me when we arrived home from Lexington.
I was so excited about their thoughtfulness and baking skills, that I bossily insisted that Karl take my picture hugging my party cake before anyone touched it. 
(pretty cool, right?)
But then I was able to step away from the cake for long enough to gain perspective and ask Karl to take a photo that included the kids instead of just cake.
And my youngest wombats were really nice about standing close to their momma and smiling for the camera even after playing second string to dessert.
Thank you dear family for making my birthday weekend perfect in every way!