Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Chronicles 2011 (Part 1): Visiting Crystal Bridges.


I feel like I need to start out this little shindig by sincerely apologizing for falling off the blogging bandwagon this past week. We had Drew's family in for Christmas, so obviously I was preoccupied with family events. Then after Christmas we have just enjoyed plain ol' family time. Drew, me and the boys. It's been so fun having Drew off of work and school, even though I will tell you that we've spent a majority of the week cleaning/decluttering our house (more on that later). Considering the fact that it's taken me almost a week to review our Christmas, I have to tell you that some of the pictures you'll see are SOOC (straight out of camera). I try very hard to edit all of the pictures on this here ol' blog, but since time got away from me, something's gotta give. And it's probably a good thing too, considering Flickr took AGES to actually upload the oodles of pictures I have taken. OK, now that I have written my disclaimer, on with the show.

Drew's parents came in town for Christmas. We were so blessed to have them here to spend the holiday with. We decided that since Doug is a musician/artist by trade, that it would only be fitting to bring them to see the new art museum in town: Crystal Bridges. If you're local, then you know what I am talking about when I mention Crystal Bridges. If you are not local, you might still know what I'm talking about, since Crystal Bridges has basically put Northwest Arkansas on the worldwide map (as if Walmart wasn't enough). Travel+Leisure (the magazine) ranked Crystal Bridges as one of the top 12 places to visit... in the world.  Amazing. Anyways, we decided to go on the 23rd. Thankfully my aunt had enough forethought to persuade me to leave the boys with her and my cousins while we visted the museum. Apparently I was on some type of drug when I made our reservations and thought that we could bring Brayden and Connor to the museum. Not that children aren't allowed to go, because they are. But bringing bulls into a china cabinet, even if they are allowed, is typically not considering a good plan. Thank you Aunt Kelly and girls for watching our boys!

When we walked into Crystal Bridges, Doug said "oh, this is an ART museum?!" Ahahaha. I love it. He had no idea and thought we were just bringing him to some ol' museum. Needless to say, he was in heaven. I'm not even a huge art fan and was captivated by some of the artwork. My favorite areas were the colonial era artwork and then the seasonal exhibit, which was modern works. You'll see why both of these were my fave in a minute. The architecture is stunning, and I can't wait to go back with Drew to go on a fancy date night. I also can't wait to go back in the spring with my camera. There's a trail there called Dogwood trail-- it's lined by 500 dogwoods that are set to bloom near Easter. Be still my photographer soul. And now that I've rambled on about the artwork and architecture, enjoy the picture show.


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George Washington. I've seen so many pictures of him, that at first I didn't really think twice about this painting. That is ofcourse, until I realized, that I was standing in a room full of ORIGINAL paintings. That means that this was basically the equivalent of a photograph of our first president. That's when the awe set in of what I was staring at.
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I probably should have gotten someone to stand next to this painting for some scale. This was almost life size. This is a painting of Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of Treasury.
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Doug, studying the artwork.
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I asked Doug if he wanted his picture taken with anything. He smiled and said "maybe if I see a Thomas Moran." The one on the right of this picture is a Moran, and the portrait on the left is someone else, but Doug and Dottie liked it equally, so we fit it all in one :)
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I think being in Crystal Bridges made me want a wide angle lens for the first time. My 24mm does not do the architecture justice.
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I thought this was a funny painting. Notice Darwin's thesis in the monkey's hand?
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This painting was so realistic to me (there were several from this artist). Standing a few feet away it actually looked like a 3D shadow box or something. What was most interesting about this piece however, was more than just the artwork. It was the meaning behind the artwork. Here's the information that was posted next to the painting:
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Funny how over 100 years later, Republicans and Democrats still fight about the same things :)
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There was this one little room that was from a famous photographer who studied Indians. It was probably my favorite aside from the previous exhibits I have mentioned. This portrait was captivating to me. The lighting is awesome, the lines on the woman's face. It's perfect. And to think that capturing a shot like that was far more difficult back then that it is now. I sat and wondering what that photographer might think about the advances in his field now.
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Drew and his momma taking a break. We needed lots of them! It took over 3 hours to view the whole thing!
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again, I need a wide angle lens to capture the awesomeness of the architecture. This was outside (they are working on the pond-- there's a leak and so it's not functional right now).
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Doug and Dottie enjoying some fresh air.
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I thought these were cool. I've always been interested in the history of politics.
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Drew and I took pictures of each other. I totally felt like I was on my honeymoon again, taking individual pictures of each other because no one else was there to take our picture (Doug and Dottie had wandered to another exhibit I think, otherwise I guess they could've taken a shot of us).
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A Norman Rockwell original. Amazing.
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this was a GINORMOUS sculpture made of wood.
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then we got to modern art. I really, really don't get modern art. I mean, how in the world is this art? It looks like Brayden did it! ha!
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Dolly.
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I didn't know that square painting could get you into a world class museum.
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perhaps I should melt all of our broken crayons and see if they'll accept it?
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a view from the restaurant

There's a rotating portion of the museum that will only last a couple of months and then new artwork will come in. The one on display right now is called Modern Works (or something like that). This was by far my favorite area of the museum. Here's why.
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for some reason this painting cracked me up. A cat watching a billion birds.
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this was all puzzle pieces...
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now this. this is my most favorite piece of artwork I have ever seen. Amazing. Doesn't seem amazing to you? Sometimes all it takes is some perspective. Let me give some to you. You see, this crystal ball is about the size of a baseball. It allows you to see this:
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can you tell what it is? It's the Lord's Supper, upside down. But what makes it REALLY unique is that it's a bunch of metal rods that have spools of thread on them.
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unreal yall. This spans a wall that is several walls long.
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here's Doug taking his turn looking through the crystal ball.
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this was a room that from first glance doesn't seem like much.
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until you walk in and realize that the entire room is wood inlays. wowzers.
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this old man didn't really like me taking his picture.
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or Drew picking his nose. haha!
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isn't that freaky?!?! It seemed so real, other than the fact that it was way bigger than life size scale.
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this was another cool piece...
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...made up of tiny pieces.
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I had one of these growing up!
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a little weird, yet I couldn't quit staring at it.


And that was our visit to Crystal Bridges. If you ever come and visit me, we can go visit it together. Because the best part about Crystal Bridges is that IT'S FREE!

Next up... Christmas Eve....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Little Guy....

.... he just wants everyone to know that he may or may not have suckered Santa into putting him on the nice list just by his eyes. Merry Christmas Yall!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Card 2011.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
christmas card

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Annual White Elephant Christmas Party.

For the past 5 or so years, our "community group" (I say that loosely because what once started as ONE community group has morphed into SEVERAL community groups and over 40 children!) has gotten together for food, fellowship and good white elephant gift-giving fun. Due to not knowing if we would even be going or not, we did not participate in the ugly sweater competition. Although, seeing the competition first hand, I'm not even sure we would have been on the same level as some of our friends. They brought it! As usual, the gifts were great-- some "serious" gifts (giftcards are always a hit!) and some prank gifts, including some that have recirculated for several years :)

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Mere may have won best sweater, but Candice had her beat on hairbow ;)
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Remember little baby Cooper???? He's not so little anymore!
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Landon won the best gag gift (which was eventually stollen by David)... a "bottle of Viagra" and a nice... ummmm... pair of underwear :)
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this was Rach figuring out that she had won one of the annual gag gifts (that we had brought)...
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...but we always sweeten our gifts with a little Sonic :)
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Robbie won a nice felt wreath
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Justin got a little crazy at the end with his sweater... and then won this book. HILARIOUS.
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I know this pic is blurry, but this is Alaina realizing she won the conche.
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isn't it BEA-UTIFUL? haha! We also brought this one (we got stuck with them last year), and also sweetened it with some Sonic too :)
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Mr. And Mrs. Ugly Sweater 2011
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the male finalist in the ugly sweater comp.
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Jason went home with the conch (and Sonic giftcard).
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the boys played this game that shocks you. Boys are so strange.
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And look who decided to hold 3 of the controllers at once.
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