Good morning!  For the record, yes I feel chipper this morning. The kids *could* sleep in if they wanted to but of course, they didn’t. And me? I got up earlier than I ever need to when they are in school. They’re off for the next 2 weeks and I am so excited to have them home with me (check back with me at the end of the 2nd week and see if I still feel this way! LOL).

Last night we went to Navy Pier for Winter Wonderfest. We had a blast. It’s nice because Friday and Saturday nights they are open until 10 p.m..   The fest is one of our family’s annual little winter outings (the other is the windows on State Street) I think we’ve gone five of the past seven years. The first year the Fest was in existence, we happened upon a sign/billboard thing near Children’s Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park advertising it. We were down there visiting a physician for one of the kids when it occurred to us that this indoor thing is a better option while toting a newborn in a stroller than doing the Zoolights display at the Lincoln Park Zoo (which we still, almost seven years later, have still not done. it’s so mild temperature wise in Chicagoland these days, perhaps I should get the kids bundled up and just do it! I’ve been at the zoo more times this past year than I care to count, I think I should just take the advice of one of my clients and get a membership just for parking purposes!)

Anyway, Winter Wonderfest was amazing last night. They’ve added several attractions that weren’t there before and the girls and I went ice skating. I used to ice skate (A LOT) when I was a kid, took lessons for a number of years and entered competitions. How is it that I forgot HOW MUCH I love to skate? Seriously weird how I just totally forgot that I love skating. So last night was a great reminder of that. We went on this amazingly fun glider ride that made Maddie & I feel like we were flying. It was way cool. We did the usuals…the cookie decorating (Maddie has given the icing they use a serious thumbs down, Duane joked with her: “What did you think it’d be like?” I did everything the kids did, I love being a kid again, climbing up the inflateable HUGE slides and sliding down with no worries, riding the train, rocked on the big ginormous rocking horse…I probably was the biggest dork there. No matter, I had fun!

Here’s a few with the point & shoot camera (for the record, YES, I am still having a blast just pointing and shooting. Now that I’ve read the instruction manual (hehe) I get the camera features a bit more so I feel a little less chaotic with figuring it out.). Fair warning, I’m not doing anything to these files , just uploading them after resizing them. That’s the whole point of this little camera! 😉

Thanks for stopping in, enjoy!

All the Pretty Trees

The Big Tree

3 Girls on the Rocking Horse (and they sell the pix too, I bought one even tho this p&s shot isn’t 1/2 bad)

L Girl on Skates (for the first time)

On A Train

 

Doesn’t Maddie look THRILLED? 🙂

xoxo, Mare

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  • Elizabeth - December 23, 2007 - 7:51 am

    This looks like so much family fun… glad you all had such a great time.. and If I dont get back to you before.. I Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas

  • Joyce - December 27, 2007 - 9:33 am

    That last photo is hilarious! Merry Christmas. 🙂

Two sessions left for delivery (and only because one had a lab mix up!)  Well over 2,000 cards completed (not too shabby considering the average client card order was for 125ish cards)!  Now I’m waiting on the finale of holiday cards, our own!  This year Marmalade Photography is teaming up with the Drenthe Family card so be on the lookout for our Holiday card arriving to clients, friends & family in the coming week JUST in the nick of time!  Much like my shopping.  Also perhaps a surprise or two is in store….check back to the blog during this, the final week before Christmas for more awesomeness (I need to channel my inner Barney once in awhile).

I was really late in getting the house decked (or is it getting my halls decked?).   In the past we have always gone to the tree farm and lumberjacked ourselves a tree but this year it wasn’t to be.  With having gone to Florida for five days and rushing RUSHING to get all the client orders to them in a more than timely manner somehow our never failing family tradition well…failed.  :(  No worries, I finally got my mitts on a pre lit tree that I can put up, slam bam!  So altho I didn’t particularly want a faux tree, somehow one made it into our lives this holiday season.

Once I got all my Radko ornaments on the main tree in our living room (coupled with an assortment of handmade ornaments courtesy of the little Marmalades), turned on the lights…I almost forgot that I don’t have a live tree (and I definitely like not having to pick up pine needles on a daily basis!).   Last year we became one of those people with two trees, one sits in our foyer, it’s very very narrow and it’s studded with all my pretty ornaments, no kid stuff.  The family tree is the messy more family oriented tree.  :)  I had to get a tree to satisfy my inner Martha (who has been sadly silenced in the past few years by my inner Ansel Adams), thus the foyer tree tradition was born.  This year the foyer tree sports an assortment of crystal ornaments, iridescent ornaments and silvery-white ornaments in the shapes of stars & snowflakes (mostly).  I love my foyer tree so much, yet surprisingly so, I got really excited to decorate the family tree and drag out all the memory laden family stuff.  I love nostalgia and looking @ Maddie’s ornaments from preschool and kindergarten and reliving Lauren’s just passed us by faster than you could say ‘whoa’ preschool days.  They grow SO quickly.

I love this time of year and although I haven’t been able to fully enjoy it as in years past I am finding a happy medium of happiness (redundant much?).  I do vow that the new year will bring some much needed help & sanity to Marmaland.

Trees, plural

 

(as a sidenote, some goof from the UK is harassing me a bit about use of Marmaland as a word.  Apparently he is a curator for the Museum of Marmalade and dresses up in superhero costumes denouncing some weirdness with evil lemon curds.  I so totally *know* I sound like I fell down the rabbit hole right now but I swear there is no recreational drug usage going on!  I would approve the blog comments if I thought anyone would understand the behind the scenes weirdness that I’m dealing with but we’re all much better off not really knowing.  FWIW, this is his site:   Marmaland  (please check out the July-ish entries in his blog which you can access at the top of his page) and you will understand if from this point forward I will continue using “Marmaland” just to make the superhero man in tights bristle a bit.  So Marmalord, if you’re reading this I’m here to tell you Marmalade and Marmaland has been mine since 2005!  A full year before you got costumed up to preach the virtues of Paddington’s former favorite love (and yeah, I agree, Marmite is a poor substitute!)).  Sothere!  Nahnahnahnah nah nah.

Ugh, sorry, I sort of fell down and relived my inner child brat.  Marmalord, you’ll just have to get over yourself.  🙂

 Now, try to dispel the thoughts of dancing men in orange tights out of your head before bedtime.

Bet you can’t!

Til next time, xoxo,

Mare (from MARMALAND) 😉

 

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  • Elizabeth Pellette - December 19, 2007 - 8:46 am

    I love your foyer tree too.. and your regular one with non martha type decorations.. they are both beautiful.. your home looks warm and inviting.. (well accept I dont think Marmalord will be invited anytime soon ) I went and checked that out.. and all I have to say is BAAAHAAAAhahahahaha.. thats freakin’ awesome.. takes all kinds doesnt it.. if life were really only just that simple.. where all you had to worry about was just Marmalade anyway girl.. Happy Holidays.. I so enjoy your blog and your inner ansel adams too

  • mare - December 20, 2007 - 3:56 pm

    yeah, i’m thinking marmalord has had his invite revoked. LOL thanks elizabeth!

  • Waynette - December 31, 2007 - 7:09 am

    the trees are beautiful. I still have mine up because I love it so. This is my favorite time of the year too. Lots of family time here. Nice break.

  • Marmalord - January 12, 2008 - 3:57 pm

    As you will see from my blog entry I have decided to ‘climb down’ from my previous position on this.
    I will not be ‘bristled’.
    Happy New Year.
    Marmalord
    P.S. “Some goof from the uk”??? How rude.

There’s still a lot of shopping to do here in Marmaland. I have been a busy elf myself trying to get orders packaged & out the door and haven’t had time to get out into the holiday mall madness to do my shopping. Nonetheless, here & there I’ve been taking breaks to get some online cruising for stuff done. I think some of it is totally share worthy!

For the writer/artist/creative soul in your life: I discovered Moleskine notebooks a few years back and really love putting my thoughts down on paper, ideas for the business, the occasional thought that actually pops through the photographic haze. I found this site today searching for the Volume II of my business ideas notebook. Hemingway can’t be wrong…right? Love these notebooks and the inspiration I feel just holding onto them. Nothing better than the smell of new ideas in a blank notebook page.

For the new mom: LittleJules makes the most beautiful handcrafted jewelry. I love the “for mom” bracelet for $99. Lovely, novel and sweet yet fashionable enough for the more discerning new mom!

 

Even nicer for the new mom that likes to be spoiled a bit…the Silver Rectangle Gate Locket by The Fine Art of Family is very beautiful and very unique in the old style world of lockets. Very posh! I also love that there is a 3 image variation.

For the arty mom…or the mom who loves her children’s fine art! Magic Dog Studio has the most amazing creations, well your children have the most amazing creations however Magic Dog Studio will take your kids artwork OFF THE FRIDGE and onto you! I adore this idea (and think I may be having a bracelet created especially for me in the very near future!!)

Isn’t it precious?

For the crafty kid, I found the coolest site: Madallie Much of the site is aimed at the roadtripping family, however I spotted this very cool Hip Hoop Knitting Set for the >9 yr old girl (or boy if they are into that 😉 ) set.

Crib Rock, need I say more? Brad & Angelina can’t be wrong!! LOL For the new rocking parent, something appropos to their lifestyle. I think I’ve linked to them before and I can’t help but link again. The Three Blind Mice are going on tour again! W00T! And would it be rock without the videos? I think not! You must check out Gwen Stuffuny’s Mulberry Bush (wow, that sounded dirty).

Since we’re on the topic of “rock”, how about something for the golf loving/rock loving dad? How about beating off the sweat with the Fairway to Heaven (gah, even that pun sickened me, so sorry). And since we’re at Planetmom’s site, what about the gold diggers in your life? (ok, I swear, enough with the play on words).

Well, I really do have tons of shopping (and decorating too!) to do. In the next few days I’ll explore the decorating for the holidays side of the spectrum. Until then, keep warm!

xoxo, Mare

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  • Elizabeth - December 13, 2007 - 8:33 am

    What great ideas… awesome finds there girl.

  • Marmalord - December 16, 2007 - 4:42 pm

    Take a peek into Marmaland? How dare you.

    There is only one Marmaland, and as Ruler of Marmaland (the worlds first Museum of Marmalade) I the Marmalord, write to you to politely request that you cease referring to your Marmalade Photography site as Marmaland.

    But be warned…You dont want to make an enemy of The Marmalord…. we will wage war on you, and you will be crushed like the Evil Lemon Curds!

    Your move.

hi!  we’re back home in the rainy cold weather of chicagoland…it was sad to leave the land of mickey and donald but i’m certain we’ll be back there in the next few years (we were stupid smart and got a 10 visit, no time frame pass last time we went to the magic kingdom 2 years ago).  this time, interestingly enough, things were not really about the princesses (sad actually) but more about tomorrowland and haunted mansion and the pirates of the caribbean (which was my favorite because not only was it really cool it was also really funny).  i have never ever seen cinderella’s castle so BRILLIANTLY and beautifully lit, it was truly magical.  and altho i do mock the disney lovers of this world from time to time (you know who you are you winnie the pooh sweatshirt wearing 44 year old moms!) i really did feel the magic.  dare to dream and the overall message that disney sends is warm, wonderful and truly inspiring if you take the time to listen.

so that’s my blog post for today.  here’s a couple of images taken with my point & shoot.  i like being able to just point & shoot but at the same time i missed the versatility of knowing that i control the camera (and not the other way around).  but let’s just say not lugging about 10 lbs of camera around my neck was truly a vacation indeed!

cinderella’s castle

the show

the gallows

it’s a small world afterall…

 

thanks for stopping in!  see you real soon! 😉

xoxo, Mare

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  • Elizabeth Pellette - December 12, 2007 - 10:06 am

    OMG look at that castle.. and thats with a point and shoot? my photos always suck with a point and shoot.. this is grand girl.. wow… looks like you had an awesome time.. and your daughter is a doll in the stockade. ( oh quick note.. I still cant get to you on Flickr? not sure why only when you post new photos can I comment )

  • Mare - December 12, 2007 - 8:28 pm

    aw thanks E.

    Not sure what the deal is with Flickr (I was about to call is f-er which is appropriate right now! LOL)

  • Stacey Woods - January 7, 2008 - 11:31 am

    Oh Mare!! I wish I’d have known you were coming to Florida. You were only 90 minutes from me! 🙁 I would have loved to have met up with you for some chitchat! Looks like you had a marvelous time though. Your p&s shot of the castle is AMAZING! xoxo, Stacey

This past summer I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Francesca and her lovely family. Francesca is so adorable and now I have the answer on how she remains so cute & skinny!! Marathon running!! Congrats on an awesome 2007 to Francesca and to her family on the new news!

Pricess

Princesses Like to be Read To…

Casting a Spell of Love


My name is…… FRANCESCA M.
My home is….(location) NORTH CENTER, CHICAGO
I grew up in…. GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR

I am most thankful for…MY GROWING FAMILY… AND VIDEO CONFERENCING. OTHERWISE MY PHONE BILLS TALKING TO MY FAMILY IN ECUADOR WOULD BE INSANE.

The best thing that 2007 brought was… A CHANCE TO FINISH THE CHICAGO MARATHON

Overall this year 2007 was truly about…TRYING TO BE THE BEST MOM I CAN BE

My hopes for 2008 are…TO DELIVER A HEALTHY BABY (I’M PREGNANT AGAIN BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE YET) AND TO HELP SOFIA BECOME A LOVING BIG SISTER…SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME. (sidenote: CONGRATS to Francesca!!)

The thing *I* want most for the Holidays this year is… A PAIR OF COOL BOOTS I SAW ONLINE AND A PHOTO WORKSHOP LEAD BY LADY MARMALADE (I HAD TO SNEAK THAT IN THERE)
If my husband were to get me something on a whim (gift wise) it would likely be… SHOES (THE KIND YOU DONT WEAR WHEN YOU’RE PREGNANT AND RUNNING AFTER A TODDLER… THE BEST KIND OF SHOES!!!)
My best gift to give is….PICTURES OF MY DAUGHTER SOFIA
My favorite gift I got as a child was….and because… I HAVE SO MANY AMAZING AND HAPPY MEMORIES OF CHRISTMAS GROWING UP THAT THIS IS THE HARDEST QUESTION TO ANSWER. I REMEMBER THINKING AS A LITTLE GIRL THAT THERE WASN’T ANYTHING THAT I WANTED THAT I DIDNT GET. GROWING UP IN ECUADOR WHERE WE HAD SUMMY AND WARM CHRISTMASES, IT WAS GREAT TO SPEND THE DAY OUTSIDE ENJOYING YOUR GIFTS. BUT IF I HAD TO NAME A COUPLE OF MY FAVORITES IT WOULD HAVE TO BE THE BARBIE HEAD THAT YOU COULD STYLE AND PUT MAKE UP ON. DO YOU GIRLS REMEMBER THAT ONE? OF COURSE I ALSO ADORED THE CABBAGE PATCH PLAYHOUSE EVEN THOUGH I WAS A LITTLE OLDER FOR THAT ONE. IN RETROSPECT, ONE OF MY MORE MEANINGFUL GIFTS WAS A PAIR OF AWESOME RUNNING SHOES THAT I WORE FOR THE FIRST TIME TO GO OUT ON MY FIRST RUN WITH MY DAD. WHAT CAN BEAT THAT???

My dream for my children’s holidays are…FOR THEM TO BE AS HAPPY AND AS CARE FREE AS I WAS WHEN I WAS GROWING UP.

Lucky Sofia, she is growing up with wonderful parents and a happy home, Francesca’s wish is definitely coming true!!

Front Porch

Thank you Francesca for your wonderful responses!! I loved working with you and the rest of your family and was so thrilled you all were part of a wonderful Marmalade 2007!

xoxo, Mare

 

p.s. Goodness, I almost forgot…we leave for a warmer place starting this evening. I will be out of the office starting, oh right about now 🙂 until Tuesday afternoon. I *may* update the blog from the land of mice and talking ducks but I’m not certain about that. If I don’t get back to update the blog before Tuesday… keep warm and have a safe weekend.

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  • Elizabeth - December 7, 2007 - 4:45 pm

    Loved this post.. Congrats to Francesca and her family on thier new addition (shhh) love these images Mare and enjoy your warm weather getaway