Monday, January 16, 2012

Luke and Lucy Lou 2

Doesn't Lucy look like she has just figured out how to escape from the sled?

Luke and Lucy Lou

Luca and Lucia are only about 2 months apart in age, so we hope they will be great friends. In the meantime, we are forcing them to spend some quality time together on a sled in the middle of a sea of deep snow--they have no choice but to hang out together!

Mama and Luca

Me and my baby pausing for a quick photo!

I can't put my arms down!

Here's Luca toddling around in his snow gear--he was so puffy he couldn't turn his head and could barely walk, but he still had a blast! He kept walking around, pointing, and saying "No, No!" (Snow, Snow!)

Snow, sweet snow!

Kids in the snow, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

It finally snowed here in the Midwest and the kids got a chance to use their winter gear. We went up to MI for a quick visit and the kids had a blast playing in the snow--even the babies!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Grandma and Grandpa got in on one last shot!

Brothers, wives, and kids

Here we are all posing together!

Chins out, tummies in!

The three brothers posing together on our last night in Reno. We had a great time seeing everyone there! Hope we can come out again soon, only next time, there will be one MORE of us!

Ferris Wheel 3

Whoa! They were up high! I was glad to be on solid ground with Luca. Heights and I don't get along!

Ferris Wheel 2

There they go!

Ferris Wheel

Here's Luca waiting to see Norah and Daddy get on the big Ferris wheel at Scheel's in Reno.


Norah and her grandma and great-grandma!


James and Adam had a competition to see who could build the tallest tower. They did not factor in the "Luke factor," which is to say, they didn't plan on him coming by and knocking down the towers with one quick swipe of his toddler hand! Poor Adam!

Norah and Ahpah

Here are Norah and her great-grandmother (Ahpah) having a hug!

Train Museum!

We went to Sacramento for a few days to visit the Morgan side of the family, and, while there, we visited the Sacramento Train Museum with Uncle Adam and Aunt Cassie. The kids had a lot of fun looking at and playing on the old trains!

Back in time

There was one Model T that the kids could actually climb into and play. They had dress-up hats for them to wear. Don't they look quaint?

Car Museum

We went to the National Automobile Museum one day to check out the cars. The kids had fun looking at all the old cars.

All the cars (or at least most) came from Harrah's (of Harrah's casinos) car collection; his criteria for collecting was that he wanted cars that were extremely rare, or that were one-of-a-kind. So, there were some pretty spectacular cars there.

At the park

We had another fantastic day in the high 40's, so we took the kids down the hill to a nice little park. It is so great that we can spend so much time outdoors in the winter! I am not ready for winter to really begin!

Christmas cookies

Aunt Liz helped Norah and Jacob decorate (and eat) some Christmas cookies. They had a lot of fun!

Christmas 3

Here are Norah and Jacob checking out some other toys. You might be wondering where Luca is...he was taking a nap! In fact, he didn't open his gifts till about a week later--there never was a good time! Luckily, he was none-the-wiser that he had been passed over on Christmas!

Christmas 2

Norah got this cool bath set in its own clawfoot tub, which she now uses for her mini princess dolls!


On Christmas Day, we got to finally open the gifts (Norah was very patient!) Jacob got this cool firetruck and pretty much only played with this toy for the rest of the day! He had no interest in opening his other toys!

Ice Skating 5

Peter and Liz are pros, so they took Norah around the rink FAST! She loved it!

Ice Skating 4

Here they come!

Ice Skating 3

Norah and Daddy making their way (carefully) around the rink.

Ice Skating 2

Here's the group--the best group shot I could get!

Ice Skating

Norah, Daddy, Uncle Peter, Aunt Liz, and Jacob went ice skating one day. Norah fell a lot, but she was such a trooper. Last year, she would have started crying and would have wanted to quit. This year, she has been telling me, "I want to walk on the ice with those special shoes" so she was determined to give it her all. We were very impressed!

The three of us

Mommy the nervous, Norah the brave, and Luca the indifferent!

Another Norah shot

It's almost impossible to take a bad photo when in such a beautiful place!


James is positively an instigator (he loves to see my reactions to his crazy decisions) and Luca looks positively bored to be standing on top of this rock!

Heart attack!

While I was snapping that last photo of Norah, I ASSUMED James was bringing my baby back to me, unharmed. I looked up, and there, about 8 feet above me, was James balancing precariously with my precious baby! All air left my lungs, and my heart skipped a beat (or 2 or 3), and then I yelled at him and snapped this photo!

Norah the daring

Norah climbed another one near the water's edge and I snapped this photo of her. What a cutie, if I do say so myself!

Making mommy nervous is fun!

James loves making me nervous, so he took my two beloved children and walked them down close to the water to touch the big boulder. I was so nervous that he would trip and send Luca plunging into the icy water!

Can I climb one, too?

Luca wanted more than anything to climb the boulders, too. His puffy coat was not ideal for climbing (and he is 18 mos. old!), so he was not able to scale this one...

Norah climbs her first boulder

On the way to Lake Tahoe, we were trying to explain to Norah what 'boulders' are, and I don't think she really got it until she climbed one!

On the shores of Lake Tahoe

The water in Lake Tahoe is crystal clear--just beautiful. See those boulders back there? We will be climbing them soon!

That's about it

It didn't snow AT ALL when we were in Reno. In fact, one day, it got up to 70 degrees! The ski resorts were using machines to pump snow out on their runs, since Christmas time is their peak season...they were not happy with the weather. I was delighted with the weather because driving over (usually snowy) mountain passes, which is usually a time when my blood pressure goes through the roof, was a calm and lovely experience this year!

Mommy and kids

My turn with my lovelies!

Norah the explorer

Doesn't Norah look like an intrepid explorer, surveying her discovery?

We are holding their feet!

Because of the rocky cliff, I insisted that James hold their feet while I quickly snapped the photo!

Daddy and kids

Still enjoying the lookout above Lake Tahoe...on the other side of this wall, there is a sheer rocky cliff down a couple hundred feet. I was a nervous wreck while the kids were up there!

Lake Tahoe, you are beautiful!

Here's the Family Band at an overlook at Lake Tahoe. We drove over the pass one day because the weather was so mild and we wanted a change of scenery. Norah did not want to go at first, but soon, she was begging us not to leave (once she got a chance to climb some boulders...see coming photos)!

Miracle of miracles

One night after dinner, as the daughters-in-law were cleaning up dishes, we didn't hear any screaming from the kids so we looked over only to find the 3 Hemsley brothers each reading a book to one child! How helpful!

Luca's cars

James got Luca these little construction cars for our plane trip out to Reno, NV. He loves them and can identify them when asked. He even says 'bulldozer' in his own Luca way.

Speaking of Reno, we flew out for a couple weeks to spend time with the Hemsley clan. Norah was a superstar (as usual) on the plane; Luca earned a C- on the way there. He would not fall asleep until the very end and spent a lot of time kicking and writhing. But, we made it, and had a great time once there!