Kids & Pets

New Year, New Calendar

It was December 30th when it struck me: “Cripes, we don’t have our 2013 calendar ready.” So I spent a couple of hours on New Year’s Eve morning and a couple more the next evening cranking out our fourth homemade calendar – and as always we’re sharing the file so you guys can download it too (and sub in your own pics and quotes to personalize it for yourself) just like we’ve done last year, the year before, and the year before that.

I’ll be honest, over the years these calendars have proven more decorative than functional. At this point they may just be considered a tradition. It started back in 2010 and for the past three years it has been a variation on a similar formula: long skinny layout + brightly colored text. Back in 2010 we used funny phrases/ inside jokes, in 2011 we tied each month’s number to a personal fact, and in 2012 we went a bit bolder and included photos for the first time (borrowing a favorite black & white snapshot from that month the previous year).

This year’s formula sort of became a culmination of all of the past years – funny phrases + something personal + b&w photos.

I’m probably biased, but this calendar is my favorite so far. It makes me so all sappy about how much I adore our little lady. Cue the collective aww. But seriously, the quotes from her (which we cherrypicked from the Clara Conversations that Sherry’s documents over on Young House Life) remind me just how hilarious she is. And although the Instagram pic along with each quote wasn’t taken at the same moment as it was spoken, together I think they paint a pretty great picture of our chatty girl. For example, there’s this one where Sherry said “Helmets keep the head safe” and then Clara screamed “Helmets keep the head face!”

As in past years, I’ve also created a stripped down version of our calendar for you to download. You’ll need Photoshop to edit it by adding your own text and pictures (dude, it’s free right here for anyone who wants it – Update: whoops turns out its not, see the comments for more info). And you can download the scripty “The Only Exception” font here (also for free). You won’t need the other font (“Homestead”) since that’s already set as each month (which won’t need to be altered) but here’s where I got it if you want it for another project (it requires a donation to download).

As for how to edit the document, each layer is a month (so showing one layer and adding your pic, altering the quote, and then printing just that layer before showing and editing the next one is the way to go). If you’re not quite the Photoshop master yet, there are some great tutorials online and a few books on the subject at the library/bookstore.

Here’s all twelve months at a glance.

And since I know not all of the Clara quotes are readable at that size, here’s a quick rundown for ya – starting with January:

Oh yeah, and we just print each page on some cardstock paper using our home printer (we have an HP Photosmart C4780). Then it just needs a little trim with the scissors and a hole punch at the top and it’s ready to hang.

So what about you guys? What’s your go-to calendar this year? Do you keep a decorative calendar in one place and a functional one elsewhere? Or are you entirely digital with your date-keeping?



Who Got Who What

Update: We just learned that Chop Suey Books here in Richmond (in Carytown) is having a sale this Saturday with 10% off all local books (including signed copies of ours). Just wanted to save you some money if you’re still in the market for it. 

Yup, it’s time for the annual gifts-we-got-each-other post. Allow me to do some voice exercises. Mimimimi. Ok. Onnn the first day of Christmassss, my true love gave to meeeee… well, we’ll get to that in a moment. In general we like to treat the holidays as an awesome time to spend with friends and family while being grateful for what we have, so it’s really not all about gifts at our house (people over things and all that). But our tradition is to make Clara a few handmade items – like her fridge and her latchboard – and then we get each other a few “tokens” of our affection (we usually spend around $100 on each other over a few different items, give or take). But before we get to those, let’s recap Clara receiving the play fridge that we made for her.

If you saw our Instagram pics on Christmas morning you already got a taste of how happy the bean was about what Santa brought her. Of all the stuff that we had set out for her that morning (we moved everything into the living room so it’d be near the tree to “open”) – the things she loved the most were the play eggs. Which makes sense, since she had specifically asked Santa for “eggs and ice cream.” No joke.

And of course, since she was so hilarious last year, we video taped the whole thing.

So here’s a little edited-down and subtitled version of how the morning went. It started off a bit rocky when she wondered where her Santa balloon was (the grocery store only had a snowman this year) but things picked up when the eggs were discovered…

After about 20 minutes of play kitchen time, we migrated back over to the Christmas tree to see what else was in store for us. Note: about 70% of those presents were for or from friends/family members since we usually just exchange a few things each.

Clara ripped through a couple of gifts from other family members – stickers, markers, clothes, Legos, and a warm winter hat that she already calls her “pigtails” (thanks to those long braids on the sides).

And Burger got a bag full of his favorite bone treats among a few other tasty delights. He loves them so much he even got out of bed before noon for them. What a guy.

When the “kids” were sufficiently distracted by their bounty, Sherry and I took a moment to exchange ours. Sherry picked up on my recent declaration that I need new t-shirts and gifted me a nice stack of tees from (my recent go-to source for them). I love Virginia, mazes, bikes, and NY, so it was pretty cool that they all had some meaning while still just being comfy T-shirts that made me want to hug my wife with gratitude for not buying me a tie.

Sherry’s recently been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo (I’m 99% sure she’s just messing with me), so (you know, to mess with her back) I got her some temporary ones from Tattly just for fun.

I even threw in a kids’ monster pack for Clara to enjoy with us. That ended up being the biggest hit, and within a few minutes we were all sporting matching ink on our arms.

I also got her one of these porcelain cottage lanterns from Ballard Designs that she mentioned in her lady-gift roundup (they’re no longer available, but they’re similar to these). I got her the big one and my sister and mom got her the other two smaller ones. Could white ceramic buildings be the new white ceramic animal? Sherry cooed over them for a while, and now they live on our mantel so I’d venture to say they were a hit.

Sherry’s very good at dropping specific hints (think emails entitled “think Santa knows that I love this?”) so I astutely picked up on the notion that she’d love this colorful pillow from House of Pillows on Etsy.

And last but not least, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Sherry getting some earrings. So I got her these emerald-colored ones from Kendra Scott (they look a little more teal in this picture than they are in real life). She loves that they’re giant and colorful and I love that they look like arrowheads. Everyone wins.

The picture above is actually at my mom and dad’s house, where we moseyed over to after our small-family-present-opening activities wrapped up (Christmas pun!) at our place. Over there we had a casual Christmas lunch with my parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, nephews, and even my aunt, uncle, cousins and their kids came down for the day from Northern Virginia. And yes, there was more present opening.

Clara’s favorite gift from “second Christmas” were these Make-A-Face stickers from her cousin Elsa.

It actually may be my new favorite present too, because watching the faces Clara puts together is HIGH-larious. Above you can see Sherry helping her with the placement of that first eye, but we soon learned that it’s far more fun to let her do it all. So we help her get the stickers off the sticker page, but the placement on the faces is all hers:

But like any Christmas, the best part was the family time that we got to spend through it all. Here’s Clara clocking some quality girl time with her cousin Elsa.

And here we are after discovering that we were accidentally dressed somewhat similarly. Minus the fur boots.

And perhaps the most amusing /unusual part of the day was the makeshift indoor playground that my dad set up in his garage to help keep all of the little kids occupied (there were 6 kids under the age five here, mind you) and out of the lunch-maker’s way in the house. As weird as it looks, it was a great way to let them burn off some energy (yes that’s a slow slide leading to an empty baby pool). So if ever you mistake us for being super classy or remarkably fancy, just remember this was part of our Christmas. And it was totally awesome.

That was pretty much how our Christmas looked. And you already got the drill about Christmas dinner at our house on Monday.

So, how’d your holidays go? What did you give/get? Did any special family events occur (we learned two of our cousins are pregnant!) or were any new traditions started?