Wednesday, December 31, 2008

365 project anyone??

I'm sure many of you have heard of, or even know, people who have done what is called a "365 project". The idea is basically to post one picture every day either on a blog or on a photo site (like Flickr) for every day of the year. Most people choose themes to work with..whether it be 365 photos of their children, or self portraits...or any other creative themes you can come up with. I thought the self portrait idea was a really cool one..but I hate pictures of myself and would cringe at the thought of 365 pictures of me and my horrible eyebrows:)

The next best thing for me was the idea that I ever so creatively (that was sarcasm) titled "Mother's Hand". My plan is to take a picture of my hand doing any of the eleventy-billion things that it does on a daily basis. I don't know, maybe it will be boring? But, at the same might be quite interesting if I were to actually finish the project and look back at all the stuff that my hands accomplished over the year! Who knows..maybe I will fail this project completely. My thought is that it shouldn't be hard to take a picture of my hands doing something every day..because they are ALWAYS doing something!

I was going to start on Jan 1st...but I figured, why not start early? I have done two days. I also considered not telling anyone about this until I had proven to myself that I would actually do it. I talked myself out of that quickly..realizing that I will need to know that people are holding me to this idea! I also thought it would be fun to talk a few of you into doing your very own!

Wouldn't it be cool to take all 365 pictures of my hands and turn them into one of those mosaic collages that photo places can make? We'll see if that actually happens. everyone think of what you are gonna do and be sure to share the link to the place where you are putting the pictures!

The link to my 365 blog.... Mother's Hand

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jessalyn's Guatemala headband!

When we first moved here, 4.5 years ago, we were helped out and very warmly welcomed by a family in the Church. Since then we have gotten to know this family quite well and treasure our relationships with them. The Keniston's (not the Heath and Kann ones) have a daughter, Charlotte, who is in Guatemala serving with the Peace Corps. Hilary (Charlotte's mom) recently was able to go visit Charlotte in Guatemala.

Hilary has been known over the years to randomly call and invite our kids out to lunch...or even sometimes a movie! (this is something that she is known to do with not only my family but other families as well!) Today was Jessalyn's day with Hilary and she came back wearing this lovely headband that Hilary brought back from Guatemala. Its the prettiest thing...and super functional! Jessalyn loves it...

You can visit Charlotte's blog about her adventures in Guatemala HERE.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The ugliest member of our family...

Welcome...."Padme Joe Grievas". mom bought the kids a little fish tank..and gave them cash for some fish. I was thinking that we could at least fit 3 fish in this little tank, but the lady at the fish store suggested only one. All four kids (well, I guess its more like 3 since Owen doesn't really have a 'say' just yet) had to decided on one fish to share..and then decide to name it.

Choosing the fish was pretty easy. They decided to go with a Betta fish since they are a bit more interesting (ugly) to look at than just a regular old goldfish. Since only one fish can go in this tank it seemed like a Betta was a good option. The ride home was interesting as they tried to decide what to name it. (I know...Heath says that as soon as you name a fish they die.)

Jessalyn was insisting on "Padme". Luke was insisting on "Joe". Ethan was insisting on "Grievas". Not one of them would this fish has been given the full name of "Padme Joe Grievas".

I was assured that a Betta fish was simple to keep alive. Room temp water, small tank, two pellets a problem. Sure enough, I thought we'd killed the little guy by Friday afternoon. (we got him on Wed..Christmas Eve). He was very sluggish..seemed quite depressed and I seriously thought he was dead a few times. I did everything the lady told me to do so I was confused. I decided to research Betta fish a bit more and learned a few things that the fish lady neglected to tell me. (keeping in mind that I told her that I have never had a fish in my entire life and that I'm quite ignorant when it comes to fish care)

So yeah...Betta fish don't like lots of bubbles or current. I had the tank crankin' out the bubbles because I thought it looked cool:) I knew that Betta's will eat each other if they are put in the same I thought that the fish seeing its reflection was practically torture. I learned while doing my research that Betta's actually enjoy the company of their reflection and other Betta's as long as they are separated by something so they don't eat each other. I also learned the part about fish needed oxygen from the top of the tank. I must be an idiot because I had no idea about that. When I put the fish in the tank the water from the bag pretty much filled the tank to the top..I didn't think anything of it.

So after a few adjustments it seems that the fish is becoming accustomed to its new surroundings. The kids enjoy taking turns feeding him/her (for now) and he lives right on the counter where he gets lots of interaction:) I had no idea that fish had such personalities. He perked right up and came over to the side of the tank when I got out his food this morning to feed him. He also likes to interact with a toy dinosaur that Josh put next to the tank one day. They are buddies. He is either threatened by the camera..or is a natural born model because he was quite interested and doing lots of tricks while I had the camera out. It was kind of funny actually:) He seems to have perked up a bit..although, I've never seen a fish sleep like this little guy does. He hangs out at the bottom of the tank..just chillin'. I'm like a new mother...going over to make sure his little gill's are moving. Luke wakes up in the morning and proclaims "Hey! The fish is still alive!". I think all the kids are well aware of what could possibly happen to him..since we are all new to this fish thing.

They have all agreed that they want to pool their Christmas money and get a 'real' tank...with some more fish. I figure we will let Padme Joe be our test...if we can keep him alive then just maybe we will move on to bigger and better things:)

He's attacking his reflection...

Monday, December 22, 2008

My love/hate relationship with New England.

Its that "four seasons" thing that everyone talks about. I love the spring, I love the summer, I love the fall...and then there is winter. Winter is such a love/hate thing. I mean, really, its beautiful. There is a good feeling when its a blizzard outside and the snow is piling up while you are sitting inside at a friends house taking a nap in front of their fire. (that was a picture of me at Karens yesterday!). Its so nice in cozy know, "the fire is so delightful". If only we could live in New England during this time of year and not ever HAVE to go out in it. Of course, its nice to bundle up and make snowmen and have snowball fights but that is by choice. Its not until you actually HAVE to go outside and head somewhere like, or bringing kids to and from school, when it becomes dreadful.

Its at this point that the snow becomes nothing but a hassle. The big puffy coats, the cold car...the snow all over the place. Not to mention the shoveling! Now, I am very fortunate in this department to have a husband who is able to take care of this part. My husband doesn't have a love/hate relationship with winter..his relationship is pure hate/hate...and MORE hate. I mean, when you have to get up early to shovel this entire drivway before you head to the job that is extremely manual labor (lots of time outside or in a chilly garage), its just hard to find any love in that.

But all at the same time, this kind of living really does build character. It makes us really really appreciate the times of year when its warm. We all try hard not to complain that it is TOO hot (unless I've just walked 2 miles pushing a bunch of kids in a double stroller at the soulfest!). Its only in New England where you get a storm that brings in something like 14 inches of snow and we still only get a 2 hour delay from school the next morning. Its because we've built character...because we're New Englanders!

This was my drive to school this morning...not bad really...

...and besides where else besides New England do you get to view images like these...

I, for one, am a fan of the snow angels...especially those done after touchdowns.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jessalyn's new glasses..

A picture for my mom..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have I ever mentioned how cool our youth group is??

I haven't written anything here for a long time...again, not because I don't have anything to say, but because I have way too much going on and don't know where to start as far as blogging goes. I went downstairs today to take a picture of the Youth Group Christmas tree (so that I could make it into flair:) ) and I was reminded of the fact that we have the best youth group ever. I figured that would be a great thing to blog about today!

I have found many things that I love about each one of the teens that attend our youth group...and I have found many things that I love about them as a group as well. One thing that I love about them is that they have a pretty balanced temperment. They are definitely not obnoxious (most of the time!)...but at the same time they are not "too cool for school" either. This is a group of teenagers who loves to have fun..and don't mind being rediculously silly to do it. It really doesn't take much to entertain them. It seems like as long as they have each other they are pretty happy.

One of their favorite activies is "ultimate pookie"....or any game that involves the use of "pookie". We (Josh and I) admit to not having created the idea of ultimate pookie. This game has been handed down through the previous youth leader, Heath. "Pookie" is a stuffed animal that is used to play many games. He has become sort of a mascot for the youth. In Ultimate Pookie, "Pookie" is used in the same fashion as the frisbee would be. Pookie gets thrown around, fought over and ultimately thrown into a goal. Needless to say, there has been more than one pookie. Right now he is more affectionately known as "headless pookie" because his head got ripped off. (I do believe that his head is actually being used as the dry erase marker holder).

Last week the youth group had fun decorating a Christmas Tree for the youth room. Being the super cool creative youth group that that they are they thought of using 'headless pookie' as the angel on our Christmas tree. Genius really:) Not only that..but someone put the Santa hat on pookies headless body.

I can't wait till next Thursday when we have our Christmas party and Yankee swap!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just a test.

Just wondering if I can actually post an entry on my blog from my phone. I've never tried before. I'm in the van with some teens, Kirsten and Josh who is horrifying eveyone by singing "honestly" by stryper at the top of his lungs with his super falsetto. Its pretty awesome... something that only few have witnessed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Uncle of the Year Award!

The first annual "Uncle of the Year Award" is presented to.....

UNCLE MICAH!!!! (he has a blog HERE)

Everyday as we pile out of the van after school, Jessalyn heads to the mailbox to grab the mail for me. Today she was super surprised to find some mail addressed to her! She was very excited as she opened her mail and read the letter.

This past summer, while the fam was visiting for Joel's wedding, Micah and Jenn (and the kids) stayed here with us. Jessalyn had a chance to make her famous pancakes for them..and Micah (being "Micah") requested a heart shaped one. Jessalyn somehow managed to get something that almost resembled a heart...but you really had to use your imagination.

Today, Jessalyn got a heart shaped pancake shaper from Micah and she couldn't be any more excited about it! She even mentioned the fact that it was very nice of Micah to think of her when he saw it..and then to send it to her.

Thanks Micah. That was really very thoughtful and definitely made our day:)

(Funny how everyone mentions to me that certain things are dishwasher safe. Ya. EVERYTHING is dishwasher safe when you have the kind of dishwasher that we have here. *grumble grumble grumble*)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My 100th post...

I love to overhear the conversations that Ethan and Luke have together. I was giggling at Luke today as he said (while plugging his ears)...

"I need a piece of quiet"

With that I will leave you with some silly pictures of the kids....

Jessalyn being goofy...

Ethan being mad...

Luke looking confused..... with his translucent ears:)....

Owen..where are your ears??...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is what I get. (I can't believe I'm about to tell this story)

On Sunday my friend Mel was telling me a story about how she was chasing her brother in the dark and totally bit it after tripping on a ramp...and has the bruises to prove it. I felt bad for her seeing the bruises on her arm, but admit to having laughed at her (with her) about the story. It was a good story. It was just yesterday when we sort of re-hashed the story....with me laughing, again. let me paint this picture for you.

Today (less than 30 min. ago) I was dropping Ethan off at school. We were sitting in the van when Ethan informed me that he had to poop. Jessalyn is already on the playground at this time, so I went over to the fence to ask her if she could help bring him inside to the bathroom. In the mean time other cars were parked all around waiting to drop their kindergarteners as well.

This is where the story gets good. I turned around to sort of jog back to the car to tell Ethan to go with Sissy and somehow managed to trip on the sidewalk between the fence and my van. In a few seconds I find myself speeding up as I try to regain my balance but just it just wasn't going to happen. The next thing I know I am going headfirst into the van...but my hands and knees on the pavement broke my fall first. It was NOT pretty. When I hit the ground I'm pretty sure I skidded quite a bit with my feet flying above me, or at least that's what it felt like. I honestly wished I couldn't have witnessed from a bystander point of view. I'm sure it was a hilarious sight. I was a bit stunned and then rolled over onto my butt and saw the looks on the faces of Jessalyn and her friend Grace. Priceless. Their jaws were dropped to the ground and then Jessalyn asks "are you ok?". At the same time the voices from above me are asking the same question as Ethan and Luke were both hanging out of the passenger side window looking down at me with complete looks of horror on their faces.

I didn't know what to I started laughing. I sat there laughing for a bit..and then tried to play it off, but I knew that at least 4 or 5 people witnessed this magnificent occasion. I am completely embarrassed and actually kind of hurt as well...but I tried to brush it off the best I could. The only thing I could think was "coulda done without that"...(you know, Tommy Boy, when Chris Farley sits on the bench and it breaks.).

So as I'm driving away I call Josh thinking I could keep it together...but I was laughing so hard and wheezing and crying all at the same time, while trying to drive. He could hardly understand me.

So Mel...I guess this is what I get for making fun of you....and now I can totally feel your pain. At least we can both laugh about it, right? It sure does make for a funny story.

Here is a picture that can give a bit of a visual. This was not from today...but I was parked in this exact spot, the boys were in this exact position and Jessalyn was too. Just imagine it with more kids on the playground and cars parked all around.

...its ok, you can laugh.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This is not good.

In our house there are very few places where you can put things to keep them safe. I will put things on top of the entertainment center and on top of the piano but I really try hard not to do this because I also hate it when stuff gets cluttered in these places. The dining room table is not considered safe because 1. Owen can get into it and 2. it will likely get spilled on.

This leaves the counter in the kitchen. This is pretty much the only place where I can put things that are out of reach for him. (I still risk the 'getting spilled on' part, but that's a risk I have to be willing to take). I tend to put everything here because it is 'reachable' (I think I just made that word up) to everyone else....for example, the boys' leftover Hi-C's from McD's. Its a good place for them, because they can get to them and Owen cannot...

...until now. UGH. I came out of the bathroom the other night to find this....

Ya. This is not good. He is super proud of this. I think he feels like he fits in with Ethan and Luke who are always sitting up there together. Not only do I fear for the things that I'm trying to keep safe up there..but I fear for Owen. I have now witnessed him get up onto these stools many times...but have yet to see him try to get down on his own (because I always rescue him before hand). I can picture it now though...It will likely go down like this..

Owen scoots off the seat and thinks his feet are going to hit the floor but instead he hits his chin on the counter while he falls and his feet slip under the stool and his hands grab the top of the stool so that both he and the stool fall backwards resulting in Owen hitting the back of his head on the floor and then the stool landing on his forehead. I will be sure to post pics of his bumps after this occasion.

In the meantime, I took a few pics of him sitting up there sipping away on Ethan and Luke's 'soda' and had to laugh. Notice that in each of the following pictures he is drinking a different soda. It was like he hit the jackpot...or was some sort of addict that found a stash. He was going from one to the other..taking swig after swig as fast as possible knowing that I was going to put an end to it very soon.

He's a little "sninamanisaac". (This is what my mom calls him)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I think I've shared this before..

but I just have to share the link again. Its my cousins blog. He has his newest painting up and it is wicked cool:)
Adams Blog

Friday, November 14, 2008

It was an exciting day...

I think it was Tuesday night. Josh and I were sitting on the couch as we witnessed the event. It was down to the wire. Both characters were down to their last ounce of life and I feared the worst. I hid my head in my hands because I just couldn't watch. The anticipation of what might happen was getting the best of me. Josh stayed strong, he kept encouraging. Then it finally happened. One last swing of the light saber and it was over. I didn't dare look up from hiding my face...but I had a feeling that the outcome was a good one. It was.

At this moment Ethan (our 5 year old) was able to enjoy the feeling that comes with beating a video game...The Force Unleashed for the Wii. He has played many games but he has never played a game from beginning to end until this day. He worked hard for it. Darth Vader gave him a run for his money..but Ethan overcame him. It was down to Ethan and the Emperor (I think?) and again, was having a hard time. He even had to pause the game to get his composure as he was getting a bit frustrated. Josh cheered him on as he tried again. It took quite a long time..but he did it, without a single bit of help from anyone.

I'm not even sure if he knew that the Emperor was last guy. In fact, it was interesting to see the look on his face when he saw the credits of the game. It was one of both excitement and disappointment because the game was over. I have felt that feeling..and Josh (being the bigger gamer around here) has definitely felt that way too. You work so hard to beat a game and then to have it be over so quickly is quite anti-climactic, but then you remember the feeling of satisfaction of having conquered a game and its ultimately a happy feeling.

Ethan was excited to see what new things he'd unlocked and then realized he could play through the game as a different character.

I think only gamers (or wives of gamers) can completely understand the excitement of events like these:) It was quite the event around here!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Guys like girls who.....

How would you answer this question? This was one of the first questions posed upon the teenagers at Revolve.

...but before I get to the answer, I'll tell you about getting there first!

First of all, this weekend was amazing. It was extremely fun and to my surprise not the least bit stressful. Well, I shouldn't say not at all...because standing in an arena with 10,000 teenage girls SCREAMING at the tops of their lungs was a bit stressful...but other than that it was great. Our girls were, thankfully, not obnoxious screamers, they had fun..but they were not acting at all like crazy teenyboppers.

We started out the morning at 7:30am on Friday. The kids watched me walk down to the was sad for me:(

We met at the Church, loaded our stuff prayed with Papa and headed out on time as scheduled.

The trip down was absolutely uneventful..which was awesome. I had no trouble getting around in the 15 passenger van and along with Kirsten's amazing navigational skills (her GPS) we didn't have any trouble finding our way around. Besides always picking the EZPASS lanes at the toll booths we didn't have any trouble. (For the record..the signage for these stinking things is REALLY bad!)

After a couple of potty breaks and a lunch break we made it to Philly right on schedule. Connecticut is still in foliage season so it was beautiful to drive through. I wanted to stop to take pictures..but I didn't. It was hard...but I managed. We drove through NYC during a pretty time of day as well. We learned that you could probably pay this countries national debt with all the tolls in Jersey...and we had a lovely saranade of the theme song for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air while driving into Philly. (You know how it goes..."in West Philadelphia born and raised...". Pretty much every girl in the van knew all the words and we had a good laugh about it).

We arrived at the Spectrum quite early actually...and found a nice parking spot in the lot at the Eagles Stadium (and here's me..wearing my Pats jacket. I thought sure we would come back to the van with no tires or something). We were able to walk around a bit and it was quite quiet. The sun was setting and it really was very pretty. We had a nice time stretching our legs after an 8 or so hour car ride before we headed into the Spectrum. (The girls had a great time making fun of me for my tree obsession...I will post those pics on the photoblog.)

The doors opened at 5:30 and were were the first in line to go in. We found our seats and enjoyed an empty stadium for a little while. We found out quickly that poor Jessey is deathly afraid of heights...she wanted a seatbelt:)

It didn't take long for the place to fill up and soon after the Tour officially started. It was pretty exciting. Friday night was pretty much an introduction to everyone that we would be listening to on Saturday. It was a good taste of what was to come in the morning. We headed back to our Suite in NJ after it was over..again, another wonderfully uneventful trip.

We were quite happy while checking into our place. Our suites were pretty sweet:) I don't think anyone had any trouble falling we had plans for a fairly early wake up in the morning.
On Saturday morning we woke up to a nice little breakfast at the hotel..and then headed back to Philly for the day long conference.

The music was entertaining and the speakers were really really good. Basically it was a two part type of conference. One part was the issue of boys...pretty much the biggest issues for teenage girls, obviously. I liked how the speaker, Chad Eastham, broke it down. Long story short...he went through what it is like to be a teenage boy and what it is that boys are really into. boiled down to "boys like girls who....are comfortable with themselves". Boys don't like girls who are over the top, who are trying to be something they are not...but boys like girls who are balanced in their lives. I tend to agree with this. Of course, there were many angles in which he went at this subject, but that was pretty much the overall idea of it.

Another one of the main speakers was Jenna Lucado (Max Lucado's daughter). She brought them into the more spiritual aspect of their lives and used an illustration of her with a ginormous chocolate heart....with a wrapper on. Again..this is the very basic idea..but she came to the story of herself standing there really really hungry holding onto this chocolate. Her friends think she's crazy..."why don't you just eat the chocolate?" they would ask. She related this idea to our relationship with God and how alot of time we have him there...but that there is some sort of wrapper getting between us and him..not allowing us to really 'dig in' and enjoy him. This wrapper being any number of the things that teenagers are dealing with on a daily basis.

There were many other testimonies of different experiences. I'm pretty sure that everyone of the teens was able to relate specifically to these different testimonies. The drama team was amazing..and had a great way of putting the two concepts together, using regular daily struggles and using different angles of bringing our spiritual lives into the picture.

Overall it was very well done. There were a few points that we tried to clarify with the girls later and we had good discussion about what we had heard during this time. Just like any girly gettogether..we had both laughter and tears and ultimately a great time.

After the conference on Saturday we headed to the King of Prussia Mall...pretty much the biggest mall I've ever been to. I don't know where it rates among the sizes of malls..but it has to be up there with one of the biggest. We were brave and let Melissa lead our way to get to the food court...

We were also brave and let the girls head out for a few hours with instructions to stay with atleast one other person..and to be back at a specific time. During that time one of my best friends who lives in Lancaster came to the mall to visit me. Megan had a baby 7 months ago and I got to meet her for the first time. We sat and visited the entire time and it was nice. Her husband is one of my most favorite drummers out there..he was the one to inspire me to finally do it myself. They both came and we had a great time visiting..and cuddling with baby Naomi!

The girls were amazing..and were all back 4 minutes before the time we told them..and then they had to wait for me while I did a little shopping at Old Navy:)

We headed back through Philly to NJ to our hotel. This was probably the most "eventful" part of our trip because we did manage to get a bit lost. The girls were WIRED from the day and were having fits of laughter in the back..which caused Kirsten and I to not hear what the GPS was telling us. We ended up somehow taking a wrong turn...but it was no big deal. A few trips around the Ghetto in Philly with the Church van (haha) and we were back on track:) Did I mention how much I love the GPS??!!

During this time...the girls in the back were wild and crazy. At one point Jessey (our quiet little Jessey) had actually crawled under the seats in the van to grab Lacy's feet. It really was hilarious...and of course pictures were taken. (and no..I didn't actually take the picture because I was driving!) ..and only Jessey would be able to get this good of a picture of herself while being squished under a row of van seats!

We headed back for some debriefing at the hotel...and pretty much went straight to bed. We woke up to another breakfast...a couple friendly games of knockout and we were off.

Another completely uneventful trip home (PTL) and we drove into the church as if we had just won the state championships. We handed over a bunch of wild and crazy girls to their parents...and headed home!

I can't wait to do it again next year!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall is coming to and end.

I know that winter doesn't technically begin until December 21st (or somewhere around there)...but as we find ourselves deeper into November here in NH it tends to feel more and more like winter, rather than fall. Not only does it start feeling that way, but it starts looking that way as well.

What once was multicolored leaves on the trees slowly becomes a mixture of multicolored lives on the ground and on trees (which is beautiful as well)..and continues into pretty leaves on the ground with bare trees..and eventually becomes nothing but dead leaves all over the ground and mostly naked trees.

There are days like today when the weather doesn't quite match the scenery around us. It is a beautiful day. As I was taking pictures of the kids playing today it sort of felt like the calm before the storm. I got the shovel out so that I could carry the rotting pumpkins off of our porch and throw them in the woods..and then after made sure that I didn't put the shovel completely away because I know I will likely need it before the end of the month.

As I looked around, I was noticing all of the toys laying around that will get buried in snow if I don't get to them first.

As I was taking this picture all I could think about was how far up that post the snow would get this winter.

As I was outside trying to soak up the last of the nice weather, I was sort of mourning the loss of the summer but at the exact same time eager to move onto the next season of Thanksgiving and eventually Christmas. I was picturing our family all cozy inside decorating our Christmas tree while enjoying Christmas music and watching the snow fall outside.

This is why I live in New England. I embrace change. Change is what gets me through the monotony of everyday life. I like each new season as it arrives and am eager for the next season when the time is near.

Today is just one of those days I we bring close to one season and welcome the next. Until then, we will try to soak up whatever life is left of this fall season...

...and enjoy today!