November 29, 2013

Field Trip – Keller Style, Part 2

Alrighty.  First stop on Keller tour d’DC was The National Gallery of Art.nga-1 nga-2 nganga-3 Everything in DC is sooooo big.  Big buildings, big pillars …nga-4 nga-5 Big, domed atriums …nga-6 nga-7 nga-8 Big art.  Little docents (grin).  I could have taken her picture all day long.  She was a hoot.nga-9 nga-10 nga-11 Little Dude was photographing everything he liked.  He liked a lot.nga-12 nga-13nga-14 nga-15 nga-16 Gotta love a little Rembrandt lighting.  Especially on a selfie…nga-17 nga-18 nga-19 nga-20 nga-21 Can you tell Middle Dude is done about now?nga-22 So done.  nga-23 More pieces of art to come … (Little Dude isn’t the only one who liked a lot – grin).

November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Proclamation


Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

November 27, 2013

Field Trip – Keller Style, Part 1

aka Going Back to our Roots, Homeschool History & Art, Planes/Trains/&-Automobiles, The Kellers Do DC …IMG_3360 8a in Washington DC (or, more specifically, somewhere in Maryland) is 5a California-time …IMG_3362 Nevertheless, time is limited.  Off to the Metro station.  Where we puzzled over the pricing, ended up buying a week pass, and ultimately paid more than we would have with single tickets, but never again had to hassle the machine.  (Tip to travelers … buy your one-week “Smart Trip ” card at CVS for $2, instead of at Metro for $10, and then load it with 7-day Short Trip Pass).IMG_3365 IMG_3367 Hitting the streets.  The COLD, windy streets.  Yes, those hoody-sweatshirts do pass as coats … in California.IMG_3369 IMG_3370 The Smithsonian Castle … now houses admin & information for all Smithsonian museums.IMG_3373 There was just a little bit of Fall left.  So pretty.little bit of fall leftThe Mall, looking towards the Capital.IMG_3383 Looking towards the [scaffolded] Washington Monument…IMG_3385 wash monumentIMG_3388 IMG_3390 First destination:  National Gallery of Art.IMG_3395   TBC …

November 20, 2013

Send a Photo Christmas Card–Just Do It!!!

I fear that as “social media” and our lives on the internet grow (and also as postage rates rise), people see less and less value in sending an annual, tangible holiday card. And I’m here to admit that that makes me very sad. I am that lunatic who eagerly runs to the mailbox every day during the month of December, rejoicing mightily if I’ve received a card, and falling into the pits of despair if I’ve not. (And I’m only being slightly dramatic here). I love getting cards. A Lot.

So I want to be the one to encourage you … STRONGLY urge you … crawl through this computer to twist your arm … to send a card this year. To brighten the mailboxes of all those whom you love and hold dear. Just do it. Spread the joy. Oh, and when I say “card”, what I really mean is: a card WITH pictures and maybe a note. Because, if I’m going to be honest, a card with no picture, no note, and a mere signature, is almost akin to receiving nothing.

So in the spirit of encouraging [urging, arm-twisting] you, I want to break down your objections. Here goes …

But I didn’t get professional pictures done this year.
Neither did I! In fact, in the twenty years I’ve been married, we’ve sent out exactly one picture card with professional pictures. If you do get annual professional family pictures, be sure to schedule your session way before December (summer or September is not too early!), so you can get your pictures/cards ready in time. In lieu of professional family pictures, I’ve been known to design Christmas cards around a roadtrip or vacation theme, or a self-timer shot at the beach, or a mishmash of favorite pictures/portraits from the year. Last year my whole card was Instagrams. I always try to include a picture of myself amongst all the pictures of my dudes. And you should be sure to include pictures of yourself, too.
2010 card front

But I don’t like pictures of myself.
Please. Get over this. Your friends and family LOVE you and they love to SEE you. And I wrote a whole post a couple years ago making the assertion that regular photographic doses of yourself is way better than Botox.

I don’t like designing my card. It’s too labor-intensive. I’m not creative. It’s too hard.
There are oodles of companies online that have ready-made cards designed – all you have to do is drag & drop your own pictures in. Off the top of my head … CostcoPhotoCenter, Vistaprint, MyPublisher, Minted, Peartree, TinyPrints … all varieties, all ends of the pricing spectrum.

Photo cards are too expensive.
The cards I make each year cost less than the stamp I put on them (envelope inclusive). Costco photo cards (6x7in single side, photo paper, envelope) come in at $.25 each. Overnight Prints (8x5in double side, press-printed, glossy both sides, envelope) come in at $.32 each (I always wait for a sale). The card below was from Overnight Prints. The gloss made the orange rocks and blue skies really pop.

2011 card back

I don’t like to write notes.
Neither do I (grin). Thus, for the last couple years I’ve had my oldest son write our annual letter. Best delegating I’ve done EVER. He actually likes writing and he’s way funnier than I am. And our friends/family get a kick out of reading about our family through his perspective. Other ideas: ask each family member to list their favorite hobbies/books/sports/etc.; make a top-ten highlights of the year list; or skip the narrative and let your pictures do your talking (a la my instagram card below). I have sometimes put our whole letter on the back of our postcard. Sometimes I have printed the letter on our home printer. My son tends to be rather verbose (understatement), so the last couple years I found online b/w & color printers who were super reasonable. This year’s letter is double-sided, color, $.12 ea.

2012 instagram card

The holidays are just too busy. I don’t need even one more thing to do.
I hear you. I don’t like unnecessary busy-ness during the holidays, either. In fact, I especially like to slow down and smell the proverbial roses in December. So I designed and ordered my Christmas cards in October, right before I attended the I Heart Faces 2013 Conference J. And my son finished our letter at the beginning of November (what about future events? My genius child referred to them, but left out specific details, claiming he was no Dr. Who). I intend to address all my envelopes sometime this week. See? I really, really detest feeling busy and pressured in December. Therefore, I make sure all the “work” happens early, and all I’m left with in December is mailing my stash of cards Dec 1st and then running daily like a lunatic to my mailbox to check for goodies.

2013 card front

Galaxy-ography: the Tidepools edition

Yes, sometimes I do kick myself for not having my big girl camera with me.  This night was one of THOSE nights.  The phone did the best it could (which was pretty good), but still … shoulda/woulda/coulda…

tidepools galaxy version all pics courtesy Samsung Galaxy III

November 18, 2013

Not a Lot of Noise.

A few nights ago a couple of my friends dropped by.  We were busy gabbing away, not particularly paying attention to our surroundings, when they both suddenly asked, “Hey!  Is it always this quiet here?  Don’t you have three BOYS?!?”  And yes, I do have three boys.  And, yes, they were all home at the time.  We were all, in fact, in the same general space.  Reach out and touch each other close.  And yes, it was quiet.  It usually is.  We Kellers are not noisy.IMG_3060 IMG_3067 IMG_3068 IMG_3073 IMG_3142IMG_3141IMG_3144 IMG_3146 IMG_2921 IMG_2926 IMG_2929 IMG_2909 IMG_2948 About the only time it gets noisy is when all the dudes (Big Dude inclusive) are watching some dude-flick with crashes, explosions, and loud, obnoxious, electronic, deep-base music.  At those times, there is no place in the house I can go to escape the noise.

But, for the most part, life in Kellerville is peacefully quiet.