Blog #96




37th Annual Christmas Kelly Bash



See 56 more pictures on the 37th Annual Kelly Christmas Bash page.

Also visit our Movie page for a time lapse movie from the bash.

Have a Happy New Year!


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com

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Blog #95




Singin' in the Rain


   Last night we saw "Singin' in the Rain" at the Carousel Diner Theater.  The girls were informed that we were going out to dinner and a show, but not specifically which show.  Only told that they had seen the movie, but not the play, Svea managed to guess that we were on our way to see "Singin' in the Rain".  Svea can take quite awhile to eat and often is still nibbling at her food as we clear the table.  Last night I told her that we had an hour to eat and she could take all the time she wanted.  When the show began and hundreds of tables had been cleared, however, Svea was still munching away.

   This "Singin' in the Rain" production included an on-stage rain shower and character Don Lockwood splashed and kicked water onto front row patrons.  We were provided disposable ponchos and warned when we would need to put them on.  It was a good show and we all had a lot of fun.  I doubt that it is possible, however, to match Gene Kelly's and Donald O'Conner's singing and dancing in the movie. 

   A big Thank You to cousin Shy for baby sitting Annika so that the rest of us could have a family night out.




   Just a snapshot of what I come home to everyday.  How Joan manages to cook, clean, amuse and teach the children and even remodel bathrooms while wearing a dress, high heals and pearls is beyond me. 


Earlier yesterday morning we opened gifts from Alaska; Brigitta loved the cat make-up from Uncle Mark.


Papa and Anni and her new fairy house.



Uncle Mark sent me a copy of, "The Worlds Worst Aircraft".


Uncle Mark sent Joan a variety of craft pliers.


Anni and Joan laugh it up.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #94




Merry Christmas!


   Last night we went to the 5:00 Mass and arrived 45 minutes early to ensure seats.  Brigitta and Svea were scheduled to process with nativity figures.  Brigitta hoped to carry an angel and Svea wanted baby Jesus; we were early enough that they each got to select the figure they wanted.  I was a bit concerned that they were allowed to hold their figurines for nearly 30 minutes before church began; fortunately they held on tight and did not drop them.  Annika was already starting to get bored before the Mass began so I took her to the back hall so that she could visit her sisters.  After a quick visit I asked Anni if she wanted to go back to Mommy, Papa and Nana.  She said' "Yes" and headed out of the room, down the hall and directly to her seat.  I followed several paces behind, but she knew where she was going.  After Mass and dinner we read Christmas stories and sent the children to bed while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.


   This morning everyone slept in past 8:00; which is the latest I recall all of us getting up so late.  The girls were delighted to get real presents from Santa and not coal; they have been good lately so it wasn't a major surprise.  It took forever to open the gifts and as of this evening we still have several packages unopened from Alaska.  Joan figured that the girls might appreciate things a bit more if we spread out opening them over a couple of days.  Svea and Brigitta received a number of craft gifts and have spent most of the day drawing, coloring and painting. 


   We are without snow; in fact it has been raining most of the day.  The lakes have yet to freeze this year and we have only been dusted by snow a couple of times.


   Yesterday I was on the phone with my brother Mark.  We were discussing how digital cameras change how you take pictures; it doesn't cost anything to take lots of candid pictures and sort them out later.  This morning that really hit home.  I took pictures of the kids, Joan, Bill and Harriette opening presents and then handed the camera off to Joan.  She took a few and told me that the memory card was full.  I filled a one gigabyte card with 250 images in an hour and 45 minutes.  I've only posted 18 of the pictures that I took this morning.


Svea and Brigitta distributed the gifts this morning.


This picture is my favorite; Brigitta looks like the just skipped out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

A picture of a child happy not to have received coal.


Nana opens a gift from Brigitta


Joan tells the girls about the watercolor books.


Brigitta pulls off her new fuzzy socks.


Joan and Annika amuse each other.


Brigitta's main gift from Santa was a pair of ice skates; moments after this picture was taken she asked if they were "magic" ice skates.


She was very pleased with them; she loves to ice skate.


Annika inherited her big sisters school bus and farm truck. 

She was able to identify the animals and bus.


Joan shows Annika how to use a microphone.


Papa and Nana gave Svea a crucifix; she absolutely loved it.


Svea also got a pair of "Eskimo" boots.


Annika's big gift from Santa was this Little Tykes doll house.  Santa included a note explaining that this dollhouse was from the Island of Misfit Toys.


From the doll's point of view.



Photographic evidence that Brigitta can spin so fast that even her own tongue can't keep up.


Harriette really needed a new blue shirt.


Santa brought me a neat and very tiny remote control airplane.


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Blog #93




Merry Christmas Eve!




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Blog #92



Hall Family Website: 1 Year Old


   Yesterday our family website turned one year old.  I began this site mainly as a way to let our family and friends in Alaska and throughout Ohio and the US see what we've been up to.  It's also become a diary, photo album and hobby.  My love of photography and graphics has been rekindled and inspired through working on the site.  With 92 blogs in one year, I've blogged on the average of once every four days.  This site contains nearly 3,000 files (mostly images) and is organized in 200 folders.  In terms of disk space, 1.05 of the 1.18 gigabytes that make up hallbuzz.com consists of movie files.  The main hallbuzz.com page has received 4,450 hits and the blog pages have received 2,900 hits.   So far this month 1.3 gigabytes of data have already been downloaded from hallbuzz.com.  This month our site has received hits from: US Commercial, US Network, Poland, US Military, Finland, US Educational, US Government, New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Non-Profit Organization, Denmark, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Norway, Iceland, United States, Switzerland, India, & Japan.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #91




Brigitta's Birthday Party




Brigitta's main gift from Joan and I was this Magical Mr. Mistoffelees outfit.  Joan bought a unitard and some great fake fur for me to sew.  Brigitta loves it and slept in it last night.  This picture was taken just before the CATS theme party began.


Brigitta waiting for her guests.


Brigitta's eyes stun me nearly every day.


Joan baked the cake.


Brigitta and her guests watched the beginning of CATS.


The girls listen to Joan as she describes the craft.


Creating wooden cat magnets.


The girls took turns dropping goldfish into a bowl; everyone cheered when a fish went in.


They played "Pin the Tail on the Cat", only Svea was the cat and they used tape instead of pins.


A guest taped a furry tail to Svea's tongue.


It stuck surprisingly well.  Svea was a great sport but eventually hacked up the hairball.


Everyone really enjoyed this game.


Who wants chocolate ice cream?


I cued up the movie to Magical Mr. Mistoffelees, which is Britta's favorite song.  Joan had fixed a net full of balloons to the ceiling; they dropped during the song.


Brigitta reads a card.


Brigitta opening gifts.


Brigitta hugs Grace.


Papa and I set up the Air Jumper in the Garage last night.  At the end of the party the girls took turns jumping and blowing bubbles.  Brigitta appears to be getting a good bounce in this shot.


Brigitta and guests bouncing.


   Tonight we drove to Blossom Music Center to drive through and view the Christmas lights.  The wait to get in was about a half an hour.  The light displays were the typical cheesy kind that you see in neighborhoods.  There were a gazillion of them, however.  The girls seemed to enjoy them, which is what it was all about.  I brought the Nikon along hoping to get some funky blurry multi-color shots.  Most shots were terrible but a few were interesting.


I think that thing on the left is a train.


At the end there was a light tunnel; this is where I got my best shots.

Click here to view in 1024x768 resolution.


Industrial Light and Magic: eat your heart out.

Click here to view in 1024x768 resolution.


A friend said that I was on the cover of the Tallmadge Express; so I am.  It usually comes out on Sundays but was in our paper box when we got home Saturday night.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #90




Happy Birthday Brigitta!


Brigitta opened gifts from her family last night.  Since she is having a party and cake today, she opted for candles in a stack of finger Jell-O for desert. 


Brigitta and Annika loved the Jell-O


Annika experiences the tactile joy of Jell-O.


Like her sister before her, even strangers stop to tell us how beautiful Brigitta is.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #89




Happy Saint Lucia Day!


   Brigitta's preschool class has been studying different holiday customs.  Since Brigitta's name is Swedish and her birthday is coming up she was asked to dress as Saint Lucia today.  Joan made her crown.  The electric candles were not quite bright enough to show up well in this picture; we just couldn't see setting our four-year-old's head on fire.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #88




These hats were just an excuse to take pictures of the girls.  They are getting much better about looking at the camera when asked.  Pictures by Joan.


Be sure to check out new pictures on the Good Old Days pages (link on the main homepage).


Click here to view in 1024x768 resolution.


Click here to view in 1024x768 resolution.


Click here to view in 1024x768 resolution.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #87




That's Going To Leave A Mark!


Or: "Why you shouldn't decorate a 48 foot spruce tree in high winds."

We decided to make the best of our fallen tree before we chopped it up.  Joan suggested decorating it with lights and I took the idea one step further.  So far the folks in our neighborhood seem to be getting a kick out of it.


Wilstermans and Halls

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Silly Wilstermans and Halls

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Blog #86




Georgia Wilsterman's Visit


Joan's brother John took this picture of our family last night.  It's nice to have another photographer visit and capture the five of us.


Kira, Svea, Joan, Jean, Luke and John decorating traditional Wilsterman/German ammonia cookies.

Ammonia is a leavening agent that was used in Europe before the advent of baking powder. This powder was historically made from the antlers of the deer, but it has the smell of a household cleaner. The ammonia odor evaporates as the cookies cook, but the first whiff as the oven door opens will truly clear your sinuses. These German cookies are a Christmas tradition passed down through Joan's paternal grandmother.  We decorate them with a light frosting and a variety of colored sugar.


Annika had her own little corner to decorate cookies; mostly she just ate the sugar.


Decorating involves much reaching.


Svea was very proud of her creations.


I usually just take pictures, but John took this one.


Saliva + colored sugar = sticky mess

After rubbing much of this in her hair Annika earned a shower.


Kira shuttled the finished cookies from the porch table to the dining room table.


Kira, Luke, Svea, Brigitta and I went skating at the Kent State ice arena.  John went with us to visit his old alma-matter and to take pictures.


After only three lessons the girls didn't need to hold onto the wall much but were willing to pose for a picture.  Fearless Brigitta is an especially good skater and can skate on her own at a relatively quick pace.


Brigitta gets a pointer from Luke while Svea hitches a ride from Kira.


David and Kira towing Svea


Last night we went to the German Family Society's Kindergruppe Christmas program and dinner.  The girls danced between dinner and the program.  Annika has a knack for attracting an audience.


Svea and Annika made great dancing partners.


Svea and Luke danced as well.


Papa and Annika


Anni just knows when to pose.


Brigitta and Svea dressed as angels and sang with the Kindergruppe. 

They each nailed their solo lines, in German.


Afterwards Santa came!  I'd like to point out that this picture is not a collage; all three girls managed to look at once (well, Britta was almost looking). 


Svea tells Santa that she doesn't know she wants for Christmas while Brigitta waits her turn.  Annika was playing peek-a-boo with Kira.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #85




"Tree... Go Down... Ha Ha Ha Ha"

~ Annika December 1st 2006 ~



   Bill planted this spruce tree by hand when it was only 18" tall, a big wind storm took it down today.  It has been the landmark of our front yard and marker of our driveway for decades; I'm sure that I will drive by our home many times before I learn to locate it without the tree.  The tree falling onto Atwood Drive was the minor problem; the big issue was that it ripped the gas meter out of the ground and severed the main gas line.  To add to the excitement, Joan's brother John, his wife Jean, and John's children, Kira and Luke, are visiting from Atlanta.  I was at work and Joan was picking up Svea from school during the initial excitement.  John took charge and ensured that the police, fire department, gas company and plumbers were called.  Our gas was out from 2:00 PM to 8:30 PM so Chinese take-out substituted our planned dinner.  By the time the tree is removed the bill might surpass my monthly take-home pay, but our home owner's insurance should help out with a big chunk of the cost.


 The back-hoe shoves the tree onto our yard, clearing Atwood Drive.


 Kira celebrates our fallen tree


 Fat Annika - A few days ago I put Svea's Pajamas on Annika and stuffed pillows inside.  In spite of not being able to walk, sit up or roll over she loved it and didn't want to take it off.



 Annika in the Santa hat


 Brigitta in the Santa hat


Brigitta in the Santa hat


  Svea in the Santa hat


Our family with Santa hats on the living room wall.


   Joan's mirror frame - We have been remodeling our bathroom which includes a new medicine cabinet/mirror.  Joan made, fired and glazed about 600 black and white ceramic tiles for the inside and outside border.  The main part is made of about 400 multi-colored polymer tiles.   Everyone helped out making tiles, especially Brigitta.  Joan arranged all of the tiles by color and glued them to boards which were screwed to the wall.


Close up of some tiles.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


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