Saturday, December 31, 2011
One year ago today, Damian and I shoved cake down each other's throats and then everyone applauded. Aren't weddings weird? (I think we look like we are checking each other's tonsils, in the photo below.)
We also toasted to the New Year (and each other) with mini bottles of Coca-Cola, as my nephew Isaac shouted, "I want some soda, too!" That still makes me laugh.
Oh, yeah! I almost forgot: Before we had cake and soda, we said vows and began a new stage of life, fully committed to each other. That was the best part of the day.
I love you, Damian! I'm so happy I married you, and that with each new year, we celebrate the beginning of our grand adventure.
P.S. In case you were wondering, the cake was really good. (I think it's important to address this.) Seriously, it was the best wedding cake I've ever had. In fact, my cake was so good that my family ate the top tier while Damian and I were on our honeymoon. This was one of many broken traditions: I had nothing blue. Or borrowed! C'est la vie.
P.P.S. I hope you have a happy new year, kind and gentle reader!
Friday, December 30, 2011
Damian and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary tomorrow, along with New Year's Eve. It will be low key but really, really special all the same. We are both night owls, so I imagine we'll watch the year change from 2011 to 2012, whether we want to or not.
How will you ring in the new year? Will you stay up until midnight (and beyond!) or greet the New Year with the morning light? I'd love to hear!
P.S. Thank you, Sarah, for this post, which inspired me to create a New Year's graphic.
P.P.S. This sweet video has already gone viral, but it's really fitting and adorable and I can't resist.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Confession: Damian and I have not left the apartment since we came home from celebrating Christmas at my parent's place. We wake up and play Just Dance 3 until the Wii tells us we have completed our daily fitness quota. (And yes, we both look COMPLETELY ridiculous dancing to Katy Perry.)
Then, we go to work in the office. I wear yoga pants and a t-shirt. Damian wears pajamas and a robe. He fixes computers. I write and blog.
If we aren't working, we are probably drinking hot tea or coffee, as we watch movies on Netflix and cuddle on the couch. Sometimes, we even go a little crazy and eat some cookies. We don't need to go grocery shopping, because we are stocked up on Christmas leftovers: turkey, dressing, the works. In fact, the only reason we might leave the apartment would be for church or in my case, ballet class, but ballet does not start again until the new year, and church doesn't roll around until Sunday.
However, our first wedding anniversary is New Year's Eve, so maybe, just maybe, we should try and awake from hibernation, at least long enough to brave the cold and celebrate. I mean, we are young and vibrant, after all. We should be out on the town. Living it up. Partying like rock stars.
I'm thinking Applebee's. (We have a giftcard.)
Okay, so, young and vibrant or not, maybe we are kind of like a little old couple.
(Top photo by Jess Pac; second photo by Darwin Bell)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I don't know about you guys, but I don't feel like Christmas is over yet. Our tree is still up and aglow (mainly because I am reluctant to take it down), we've had leftovers (turkey, dressing, and the works) every day this week, and today, we drank sugar plum coffee (which was delicious) with our pumpkin roll. Yeah, I'm pretty sure we are still celebrating...
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
This children's nativity, which I found the other day through Thoughts and Biro Sketches, made me laugh out loud and tear up, so I decided to poke my head into my blog for a moment this Christmas morning and share it with you. Hope you enjoy. Merry Christmas Day! :)
(The Christmas Story video from St Paul's on Vimeo)
Friday, December 23, 2011
Can you believe Christmas is this weekend? I'm amazed! Where did the season go? Time slips away. We are at my parents' house, and I am excited about the presents under the tree and all the candy my mother seems to have magically conjured (including the Best Fudge in the World).
It's a joyful occasion, but I definitely miss my sister Lizzie, who lives in the Philippines, as well as my sister Cara, her husband Chuck, and their three children Billy, Isaac and Lila, who live in Argentina. That's a lot of people to miss! I foresee many Skype parties this weekend. (Hey, Cara! Lizzie! Chuck! Get on Skype! Now! Or I'll come after you! Actually, I only wish I could come after you...).
Next Christmas, we plan to be all together again, but in the meantime, I am grateful for technology, a small window to world, and for my parents, who live so close. :)
Merry Christmas, Gentle Reader! I hope your weekend is bright, shiny, and merry and that your soul is filled with joy and thankfulness for the nativity. xoxo
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Damian and I found a $10 Christmas tree on Black Friday, but we had no ornaments, only lights and a really, really big bow...
Then my mother, also known as Super Mom!, flew to the rescue with a box full of ornaments from last year's after Christmas sales. She loves a good deal (and Damian and me). Thanks, mom!
Christmas trees are all about details, I think. Here's a small detail from our tree: my mother gave me the ornament, pictured below, which reads: "Youngest Child: Mom's Favorite." Don't judge her, though, because my sister Lizzie has an ornament that says: "Middle Child: Mom's Favorite," and Cara has an ornament...I think you get the idea. :)
See the pile of presents under the tree, in the picture below? Those are mostly ballet shoes, from This Guy, the Patron of my Art, who calls himself The Shoe Fairy. One day, I checked the mail and found 12 packages. (I have over 20 pairs of pointe shoes now, with five pairs broken in, and that's not counting the new shoes under the tree). Damian is a tad jealous, because I have more presents than him. :) (Ha! I win).
Did you decorate a tree this year? If so, do you have any ornaments or other details that are special to you? Do tell! I'd love to hear. :)
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Do you know girls who walk like a ducks, stand on tiptoe more often than not, and randomly dance in public places? You know who they are, the ballet dancers in your life. If you are doing some last minute shopping for a dancer (or several) this Christmas, here are a few fun gift ideas...
(Damian, are you taking notes? Just kidding :).
This cable knit sweater (or jumper, as the British say) would be a perfect gift for a dancer. It comes in black, light blue, and the festive color of holly berry, which is my favorite. Basically, it's a ballet warm up that doubles as a Christmas sweater. Pretty awesome, right? But if you want to play it safe, you can always go with a classic shrug. I've never known a dancer to scorn a shrug. :)
Most ballet students (well, usually not the boys :) dream of tutus, and frankly, I don't know a young girl in ballet who wouldn't love one, if only for dancing around the house. (Fact of the matter is, most adult beginners, like me, would love a tutu as well, but, Shhhh! You didn't hear that from me. We are grown women, people!). The Juliett practice tutu is dreamy and affordable. It also comes in white, to summon the inner Odette. :) There is a romantic option, as well.
If you want to give a more practical gift, how about a few pairs of pointe shoes in your favorite dancer's perfect size and favorite model? Tip: five is enough for her to wear a separate pair each class, while the other, sweaty shoes dry out. That way, she won't have to deal with squishy shoes that quickly soften. Remember that pointe shoes must fit perfectly, so if you need, sneak a peak into her dance bag to find discover the right size and model. :)
Here's one more practical gift idea: a ballet pack (complete with leotard, tights, and slippers!).
P.S. More dancewear. More dance shoes. :)
This post was written by Hannah J. Holmes and brought to you by Susanna Cha on behalf of Move Dancewear.
(Top photo from the series Dancers Among Us by Jordan Matter)
Monday, December 19, 2011
Before we left for The Nutcracker (which was incredible, by the way), I wanted to take some Christmas pictures, so Damian did that awkward but delicate dance in which you stretch out your arm as long as you can and aim as best as you can, then snap a picture. I tried, too, but only got a photo of the bookshelf and the corner of Damian's forehead. Where's my photographer sister when I need her? Oh, right, she's in the Philippines. Miss you, Lizzie!
Friday, December 16, 2011
Hey! Guess what! I performed the Chinese tea variation (from The Nutcracker) en pointe! It was an in studio performance for friends and family, so I wasn't on a stage and no one threw me roses. (Damian, if you are you reading this, take note: next year, bring roses). But hey! I was dancing! On my toes! In front of people I didn't know! Can you tell how happy that makes me? (Exclamation points signify happiness, in case you didn't know).
In other news, Damian and I are going to see the Springfield Ballet's full length production of The Nutcracker this weekend. I can't wait to see the bright stage lights, colorful sets, and pre-professional (and professional) dancers. I also have no idea what to wear. What does one wear to the ballet? Anyone know?
In any case, I hope your weekend is magical. Only nine more sleeps until Christmas Day.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Just a little beauty and wonder for you on this cold December's day. I'm telling you, Christmas is what gets me through the first half of winter and the hope of spring is what gets me through the next!
These wonderful photos are from Jordan Matter's photo series Dancers Among Us. Matter was inspired one day as she and her son played with a toy bus: "As I played with my son, I thought about creating photographs that would show the world as if through the fantastical eyes of a child. The people in the images would be alive and in the moment, celebrating all aspects and emotions of everyday life."
And so, who did Matter choose to be subjects of her photographs? Dancers. Now, doesn't that make you want to dance?
Monday, December 12, 2011
All married couples argue, at least a little bit. You know it's true.
It's part and parcel of throwing a wedding and taking vows. Next thing you now, you're standing at the Red Box and fuming, because your dear and darling husband chooses movies based on ratios of explosions to gun fights (with his preference on explosions) even though you're aching to watch Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks fall in love for the upteenth hundredth time (which is a basic need, really).
Actually, Damian and I don't argue about movies (much). After Damian watched approximately 1,456 romantic comedies while we were dating, he admitted that he liked them a little bit (but Shhhh! I'm not allowed to tell you that!).
We mainly fight about housework.
I am scatterbrained and messy by nature, but Damian has this weird idea about respecting your belongings and being a good steward of what God has given you. I say, Pish Posh! I'd rather roll around in piles of my own junk, thankyouverymuch.
Only problem is, Damian cannot relax if there is clutter on the book shelves, belongings on the floor, or dishes in the sink. He gets a little (or a lot) irritable, because he feels uncomfortable and anxious, until the house is clean.
I never foresaw this day. In college, Damian's dorm was rank. Why is it that when boys live together there is a distinct boy smell? It got especially gross during finals week.
Now that we are married, Damian suddenly expects us to keep a tidy home. How silly!
Before I continue, let me say: we are both all about gender equality. Equal distribution of domestic duties? Yes, please! However, as with most things, it's not that simple. Damian works full time, and I barely work at all, so, regardless of hundreds of years of social oppression and new ideas about the way men and women interact, I should probably be the one doing most of the housework. Logically. Since, you know, I am usually either prancing about in pointe shoes or twiddling my thumbs; theoretically, I could squeeze in ample time for house cleaning.
However, I have this rare disease that causes me to be completely oblivious to messes.
I am also rather lazy (when it comes to tasks that are boring and dull, like housework). I blame this on my ridiculously high IQ. I cannot abide with any task that does not require the full capacity of my ENORMOUS brain.
Okay, fine, you caught me.
My IQ is only somewhat above average, and I don't have any rare diseases, either.
I just need to grow up (or start doing housework en pointe).
P.S. Do you ever feel like this on laundry day? I do.
P.P.S. Here's how domestic I am: I have pointe shoes in the oven but not dinner. I feel bad, because Damian keeps thinking he smells food. You may ask, why, Hannah, WHY are there pointe shoes in your oven? Well, I tried to dye a pair but used too much water, and now, the shoes are soft, squishy, and not strong enough to support me. So, I am trying to dry them out. Eek. Live and learn? And, in the meantime, accept the glamorous titles of Stupidest Ballerina on the Planet and Least Domestic Wife EVER.
(Top photo of ballet dancer Marianela Nuñez by Tristam Kenton via The Guardian; Last photo via The Kaleidoscope Project)
On Saturday, Damian and I went with my parents to the Fort Smith National Cemetery, where both of my maternal grandparents were put to rest. (My grandfather was in WWII). We were there for the ceremony of the wreaths, which takes place in national cemeteries across America every second Saturday of December.
There was hot chocolate, prayer, a children's choir, a flyover by the Air National Guard, a 21 gun salute, and two trumpeters, who played taps. It was emotional but also beautiful and joyful, as I sensed unified feelings of respect, honor, and gratitude.
My mother officially declared the ceremony of the wreaths a new family tradition. She's The Mom. She can do that. :)
You can read more about the ceremony here, if you like.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
You know how, sometimes, you might be washing the dishes, straightening up the living room, working at the office, or doing whatever you do for a living and you start to think, Wow, this is it? This is life?
Then you feel sort of bummed and like, Why do even I bother? So, you leave the office early or stop washing the dishes and go prop up your feet and watch T.V., because you are an adult and no one is going to scold you if the dishes aren't done. Ha!
Yeah, sometimes, I do that.
I mean, there is the bulk of life, which is spent cleaning the house, at the office, or in my case, in the relentless pursuit of becoming a professional writer or anything that pays, you know, money--hey, you, want to hire me?--and I somehow end up spending a lot of my time resizing photos.
There are fun aspects of my life, too, like writing and design. I mean, I get to do a lot of that.
But mostly I resize photos.
So, even if I were living the dream and there were rows of advertisements in the right and left sidebars of this web site, or even if I had a magazine column, I'd still be resizing photos. All of the flipping time.
I'd also be talking business with advertisers, which would leave even less time for writing and design.
What's my point?
Well, there's the bulk of life, which can feel monotonous at times, and then there are these weird little moments. Today, for instance, I'm getting ready for ballet class (four hours early so I can practice--eager much?) and I notice there is already a hole in my new tights, on the bottom of the left foot.
And I'm like, Aw, man, really? That hole is going to get bigger and bigger, until I am left with nothing but a pile of thread. (Okay, my thoughts on the matter may have been a bit dramatic, but you know what I mean--holes are annoying.)
So, I look at the box of twenty new pairs of tights, courtesy of the Patron of My Art, and I'm tempted to just get another pair. Then I think, Just because a random person is being ridiculously nice to you by giving you 20 pairs of tights is no reason to be wasteful.
So, I sit down with a needle and thread and start stitching. No need to take off the tights--just gotta be careful not to poke my foot with the needle. And the fabric is so close to my skin that I feel kind of like I am sewing a rip in my foot, instead of the tights, which is a little scary but not really. And I think of that moment in Peter Pan (both the movie and the book) when Wendy sews Peter's shadow to his feet. And I smile. And feel sort of like a kid again. Sitting on the floor and sewing my shadow back on.
And then I think: Life is sweet.
(Photo by Lizzie)
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
This evening, I gave a presentation to a group of children from my church on what's it like to grow up as a missionary's kid in Suriname, South America. I decided to share my slideshow here. Be forewarned: it's fourteen slides, so it's a lot more content than I typically publish in one post. In any case, I hope you enjoy!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
While we were away in Mississippi, Damian kept up with the forecast for Nixa, and towards the end of our trip, snow was predicted almost daily. Damian and I were both eager to leave for home in hopes of seeing a snow fall, but alas, when we arrived, there was none.
Damian was a bit melancholy yesterday, and though I kept urging him to tell me what was wrong, he was unwilling. Finally, he declared, "It didn't snow!"
You might think it silly to be upset about no snow, especially since we both work from home and have no hope of a day off, but growing up in Mississippi, Damian only saw snow once--maybe twice--in his entire life. Hence the disappointment.
This morning, however, I woke up to a ridiculously happy man swinging open the curtains and crying, "Look!"
As Damian said earlier today, the winter is dull, boring, and colorless, until snow starts to fall and the world becomes magical.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Yesterday Damian and I arrived home after a long--over a week--trip to Mississippi. While we were away, we ate Thanksgiving leftovers (multiple times), threw an early birthday party for Damian's sister, helped decorate his parents house for Christmas, and played this trippy Xbox game with a cat who wore a jetpack and dodged floating objects, as unicorns ran by below. There were rainbows, comets, and techno music. You should try it.
Anyway. It's good to be home. We even put up our tree yesterday--our first Christmas tree!--but we don't own any ornaments yet. Needless to say, the tree is looking pretty lonely. Maybe I'll hang a ballet shoe from a branch.
Friday, December 2, 2011
If you didn't win the black pearl necklace, guess what? You now have a chance to win a white pearl necklace! As before, this giveaway is brought to you by my sister Lizzie from The Same Plate. Lizzie is offering one lucky reader the white pearl necklace pictured above, which is made from real fresh water pearls from the Philippine islands.
As always, to enter, you must be a public follower of Hannah J. Holmes via Google Friend Connect and leave a comment on this post. For extra entries, you can...
- Follow The Same Plate (publicly, via Google Friend Connect).
- Follow @hannahjholmes on twitter.
- Like Hannah J. Holmes on Facebook.
- Tweet about the giveaway.
- Share the giveaway on Facebook.
- Link to the giveaway in a blog post.
Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry.
And...here's the fine print: this giveaway is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address, and the winner will be selected at random on Friday December 9th.
Good luck, everyone!
Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats, Stacy P.! Thanks to everyone who played.
Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats, Stacy P.! Thanks to everyone who played.