Dylan and I played a game of Trajan last week. I won, but only by a few points (something like 145:137). Fun game. Now that we have the mechanics down, the game time really is ~30 min per player. Fun!

This year was easiest yet. Amazingly, before and after the “shoot”, Olivia was running around all over the place like a skittish rabbit. But for the fewer than 10 minutes I took pictures everyone was calm! Wonderful. Setup was simply putting PJ’s on the kids and putting a chair in front of the tree. I used an external off-camera flash sitting on the kitchen divider with a diffuser.

The only complaints were from Preston, and were along the lines of “Hey, tell her not to kiss me again!” (which resulted in another kiss) or “She’s hugging my neck!”

One of the shots I turned off the flash control by mistake – and that was quite nice of just Olivia, with flattering outdoor light streaming in the sliding glass doors to everyone’s right side. I turned the flash back on and took another. I liked the no-flash one.

I’ll let you figure out which of the pictures below was NOT used on the card this year…

Kids relaxing after Thanksgiving dinner. Before dinner we played physical board games (though I forgot to take pix). Good times!

First play of Carson City tonight, with Dylan. As usual, he professed to hating board games and then went and beat me, 48 to 36. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the game regardless of my victory point deficit.

This is a tile laying game, where you have to buy land around Carson city and build various buildings (Saloons, Hotels, Mines, Ranches, etc.). These give you varying incomes, which you use to expand your property holdings. Easy mechanic, and the game should go faster now that we know the rules. This one took about 90 minutes. Would have been shorter without a certain 3-year old absconding with playing pieces.

We recently went to a local charity event (horse show) and Preston rode a pony (many times; “Again!”). So, we took him to the local stable (they had been at the event) to check things out. This weekend he had his first real lesson, on a nice, big horse! He loved it; steered the horse himself, trotted, used proper hand position on the reins, etc. Initially the horse was on a lead (held by instructor), but later during the lesson the instructor let the horse free, so Preston navigated cones, etc. himself. The instructor was always right nearby, pointing out the direction Preston should go. It was wonderful to see him so happy, and to take to riding so quickly (I think I was 11 when I had my first lesson; Preston is just shy of 6). He kept asking the instructor when they could gallop. Great instructor, horse, venue. Wonderful afternoon. :)

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