Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Show and tell...

Every now and then (probably every 6 months or so) I try to video tape myself playing the drums. Its a painful experience...because nobody likes to see themselves on video...but one that must be done to measure a sense of accomplishment with my drumming. In watching myself drum I can quickly become discouraged..thinking about everything I have yet to learn, but then I fix this problem by looking back at the months previous and see that I have actually improved.

It has been a slow process. I've loved the drums every since I can remember. My oldest brother is a drummer and at an early age I was found drumming the basic "rock beat"...impressing all of my brothers teenage friends. As I grew older I found myself more engulfed in the world of athletics and never once pursued that childhood love of the drums.

(a picture of my in my night gown playing the drum set that my brother got for Christmas. Its a picture of a polaroid so the quality is not good)

Later on in life I found myself a bit obsessed with drummers. You can always tell who was behind the video camera at various concerts by the fact that the camera was zoomed in on the drummer the entire time! I have one friend, Nate, who is an incredible drummer and has always been one of my drumming inspirations. All of my life I have singled out the drums in every song..and in my mind always tried to figure out just what the drummer was doing with hopes of some day sitting down at a kit and being able to play.

So fast forward about 20 some odd years. I finally bit the bullet and scheduled myself drum lessons when I was 28 years old. The very first thing that I learned was that I SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT WAY SOONER! I was fortunate to be able to learn from the late Eddie Barbato...most commonly known as "Crazy Eddie". I learned a ton from him. He brought me back to the elementary school reading and I feel like I got a really good start with him. Unfortunately only a year after I started lessons with him he learned that he had cancer and had to stop giving lessons. (he passed away in February) Adding to the fact that my drum teacher was stepping down...and the fact that I had just learned that I was pregnant with Owen, I took a break from lessons.

During that time I have had the privilege of playing each week with the worship team at my church. This has proven to be a great experience for me as we play a very wide range of styles...and just being able to play live every week a great way to learn!

So anyway..back to the recording myself drumming part...

After recording myself drumming along with the song "Boom" by Toby Mac I uploaded it to my computer. While viewing it on my camera all was fine...but something happened between my camera and my computer and it caused the video to upload in hyper speed. I got the video all uploaded and then went to watch it from there and I was like "holy cow...I AM AWESOME". ha ha ha ha

I figured I would share it with you...but you'll just have to imagine it half as fast. Its good for a laugh though...

(I edited this to also point out that the drums that I am playing are the ones in my basement...not my real kit!)

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Summertime teaser and a wonderful phenomenon...

Last week was a tease of what summer is going to be like! Jessalyn was off from school and the weather was beautiful. We had a super fun week out at the parks, visiting with Nana, visiting with Karen, having friends over for BBQ's....just having a genuine good time. Now, we are back to reality...with cooler temps and a schedule revolving around school. Only a couple months and we will be into summer for real. We have so many things planned for this summer. I'm sure we won't have time for it all..but we will try our best!

A few pics from the week..

It is nice to have Josh back home..actually, "nice" is an understatement. The trip was good for him in so many ways and he is ready to pack up the entire family and move down there for good. I'd go in two seconds!

So..onto the "wonderful phenomenon"....

Many times over the course of the last couple of weeks I have had this most wonderful happy CONTENT feeling...and the thought of NOT having any more kids comes to my mind! The best part about this feeling is that it comes out of a fun time or happy moment..not out of frustration and overwhelmed moments. Things that the kids are doing and are into...and things that Owen is doing are making me think that I might just be done with the whole baby stuff! This is truly a happy feeling..I get such a sense of relief when I feel this way.

I honestly never thought that I would EVER feel like I am done having kids and the fact that it has been happening is bringing me much peace. Of course, I can totally talk myself out of it in two seconds..but the fact that these thoughts are in there somewhere is a GOOD sign! They keep popping up in my mind more and more frequently.

So..we'll see where this takes us! I'm still not quite ready for permanent decisions...but I think I might be closer to that idea!

In the meantime I will continue to enjoy my "baby" who is hardly a baby anymore! He's a total toddler now and with that is bringing so much personality and fun!

Friday, April 25, 2008

An AMAZING artist....

I have a cousin (who happened to be born two days before me) who is an absolutely amazing painter. I don't think any words I use to describe his work will do him justice...but the good news is that I just received a link to his new blog and website! At some point very soon you must go check out his work! In his old site he gives some credit to my mom as an early inspiration to his artwork!

Truly amazing stuff here...I promise you won't be disappointed!

Site with portfolio


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jessalyn's business.

A few months back Jessalyn and I were in McD's and we overheard the manager telling the employees how much they made during that hour (which to me was a surprisingly low number). Jessalyn was very impressed with the amount of money though and asked if they all get to split it.

I explained as best as I could to a 7 year old how businesses run and where all the money goes and all of that. With the info I gave to her she decided that she wants to own her own business one day. We talked about how she doesn't necessarily have to wait until she's older to do this and that she could start one whenever she wants.

With some suggestions from me she decided that she wanted to start a beading business. She understood that she had a certain amount of money in the bank and she wanted to use that money to start it all we planned to do this.

Fortunately, Nana (my mom) decided that she would pay for the stuff to get Jessalyn started and we had fun at the craft store picking stuff out. She quickly started making necklaces and bracelets and started taking orders for them. She is keeping a journal of what she makes and what she spends and who she needs to make something for and her general inventory. She is enjoying this very much!

Its hard for her to not give them all away. As much as it is nice..and I'm glad that its her first instinct, if she wants this to be her business then she needs to try not to give away all of her profit. Again, I think this is a good exercise for her. She did give away one so a birthday gift.

She sells them all for a different price..depending on the size and the stuff. (Actually, I'm not really sure how she determines the price..). I know that they are only a couple of if you would like to put in a special order just let us know:)

Actually though...she really does do a good job. She does well choosing colors and picking patterns. Here are a few pictures of her finished products...

We leave the strings long until she fits them on the person..just in case it doesn't fit she can fix it. She didn't want pictures taken of them with the long strings...because "they look ugly like that". Funny girl.

Oh..and she has yet to come up with a name for her little business so if anyone has any creative suggestions we'll take 'em!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...

..for this short commercial break.


I have purposely neglected to mention here on my blog the fact that Josh has been away in Mexico since last Wednesday. (I figured I would leave that minor detail out here on the "World Wide Web") I've been dreading this week since last fall...and I am glad to say that its finally almost over! He's been over there with quite a large group of people working on an building and orphanage as well as having a nightly Vacation Bible School for the children.

I'm pretty sure that in the entire 17 years that we've been together that we have not gone more than 24 hours without talking to each other. Finally I got to talk to him on the phone last night just after they crossed the border back into the US...but before that it had been a full week. I'm sure it was easier for him because everything was different, but for me it was HARD!

Otherwise we've had a good week...the weather has been nice so that helped us stay busy while he was gone.

So yeah, he comes home today!!!!!!! YIPPEEEE

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mello Yello??

I remember very clearly the day that I was allowed to walk to the store all by myself. It was a big day. I was 6 years old and for whatever reason my mom told me I could go to the store and buy myself a soda. I remember that walk..with my mom and both of my brothers standing on the stone wall watching me the entire way. It wasn't a very long walk to get to the store, but I did have to cross one major street.

I was headed to "Gary's" a little convenience store down the road from my house. (For those of you familiar with Whitefield...this store was right across the street from Nellie's house. And for those of you not familiar with Whitefield you now probably get the idea of what kind of town it is by the fact that I can say "Nellies house" and expect that people will know what I'm talking about.) I remember bringing my 50 cents with me and purchasing a much desired "Mello Yellow". I remember loving those as a kid...I'm pretty sure they don't make them anymore though.

So what does this have to do with Jessalyn you might ask?? (Since it is still "Jessalyn Week" here on this blog!)

We live pretty much a stones throw (well..if you have a good arm) away from the Church. Right now I can see the building, although that will probably change as soon as the leaves start filling out the trees. Jessalyn had One Voice practice last night. I went ahead and called down to the church to give someone (DL) a heads up that she was on her way...and you know, let me know if she doesn't arrive in about 2 minutes. (I'm a little freaked out by letting her go that far without me!)

Anyway..she was very excited about this little trip. She had a nice little walk all by herself and turns out right now I could actually see her until she walked through the door of the church.

I wonder if she will remember he first solo walk as much as I remember mine??

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Jessalyn Week" (part 1)

Did the mailman come yet??

So today is the first official day of April vacation. As it turns out..its a nice sunny, 70 degree day. Jessalyn and I had fun today just relaxing outside blowing bubbles:) The whole time we were out there Jessalyn was being silly asking if the mailman had come case she missed it while her back was turned to the street:) She is always eager for the mailman because she is the one that gets to go out to the box and get the mail..which is hardly ever for her, but exciting just the same.

Sure enough, as we were entertaining ourselves blowing bubbles and taking pictures of them, the mailman arrived. I had my camera in hand so I started taking pictures as she retrieved the mail. It turned out perfectly because the mail that was in the box was actually for her!

This is what it looks like when a 7 year old gets a letter in the mail...

(It was a sticker exchange chain letter from her friends Rachel and Abby!)

Here are some pictures of the bubble blowing..

..oops. Bubble in the eye.

"Everybody at the same time...1, 2, 3...blow!"

The perfect bubble..

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fun in the sun...

I don't have a specific story to share today. We've been busy enjoying the sunshine this week. Its funny because I can be a bit of a neat freak about my house...but absolutely LOVE the look of kids who have been playing outside in the summer! I love their dirty feet, dirty faces, dirty clothes. I love how tired they get after playing outside all day..and then having a nice bath in the evening and having them crash in their beds from exhaustion. Of course, bath time during the summer involves lots of the "Don't wash my boo-boo"...but we work that out:)

Yesterday felt like one of those days for all of us. I was busy raking and making the front yard at least a little bit better looking. There is still tons of work to do..but I try to take it one chunk of property at a time and hopefully then won't get overwhelmed. I'm almost done raking the front..and then will move onto the side...and then hopefully by then all the snow will be gone in the back.

Of course, the kids enjoy the time that I'm outside because then they are outside too. Ethan and Luke run around pretending they are super heroes or Transformers or something. They love the stone wall between our property and the neighbors...its proving for quite a few bumps and bruises, but they're boys so its just par for the course I suppose. Owen still hasn't figured out that he can move outside..which is quite nice for me right now. It won't be long and I will be chasing him all over trying to save his life before he jumps off the wall into the driveway or heads down the concrete steps. Until then I will get as much work done as possible..and then will have to save the work for his naps.

Trying to decide which "Mini-Con" to "pew" (for some reason instead of saying "shoot" my boys say "pew")

Its getting there..

The rocks are hard to clean up..there is SO much leaves and gunk in there.

Then we had a nice little "Pipmic" (as Luke calls it) for lunch..

So next week is school vacation. I think I'm gonna have "Jessalyn Week" on my know, like "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel. I think by reading this blog it might appear like I only have three kids. Poor Jessalyn is at school all day and often misses out on all these little "daily life" stories. Starting on Monday its going to be "Jessalyn Week" so look forward to entries specifically about her each day!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Its a miracle!

We were headed out the door to go meet my mom for lunch. I happened to grab my camera on the way out. The big boys were playing outside so I sat Owen down on the front step to take a picture and then suggested that Ethan and Luke come over and take a picture with Owen. I snapped two pictures real quick and was so pleased to get one that looks like this...

I look at this picture and just can't get over the fact that they are all not only looking at the camera, but all of their eyes are open, they have happy looks on their faces...there aren't any dirty faces or boogery noses. Its a miracle.

Its a good thing for pictures like these though. I can always go back and look at that picture during times like these....

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As this whole cereal fiasco was happening I was literally laughing. Both boys are crying over the spilled milk and although I was not thrilled with the idea of cleaning it all up I couldn't stop laughing at the situation. Of course, this led to an impromptu mopping of both the kitchen and dining room floor because I couldn't get out the mop and bucket and only do a portion of the room. If you include the mopping, that mess took atleast 45 minutes to clean up. Crazy boys.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My mom found a gem...

She was going through some old stuff when she found a poster that I made when I was in third grade. It was poison prevention week at school and we had to enter a poster indicating some ideas for poison prevention into a contest. I remember this quite clearly and I specifically remember winning the competition. I got to go with my mom to a banquet at the local hospital and it was quite a big deal.

We had a real good laugh while looking at the poster that I won with.

I took pictures of each part of the poster. I hope that this will do it justice..

(Bathroom: "Keep cabinet doors locked")

(Living Room: "Do not leave cigarets out on a table" with pictures labeled "cigarats" and "ashtray")

(Kitchen: "Do not leave detergent out" with a pictured labeled "ALL")

(Bedroom: "Don't leave purfume or lipstick out on a desk" With pictures labeled "purfume" and a mirror with drawings labeled "pictures" on the corners.)

And I save the BEST for last.

(Kitchen: "Do not leave boose or things on the table")

Funny how times have changed. I actually WON with this poster!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I have some fun things to blog about...

a couple of funny stories and such...but I just don't have time to sit down and do it right now.

Until then, I will leave you all with a picture I couldn't help but take yesterday while we were at Walmart.

This is my view while shopping...and this was MINUS a kid (who was at school at the time).

No wonder I can't seem to find the "good deals". I can hardly see passed my cart!

My friend Karen and I were having this discussion about how she went grocery shopping without her kids and swears to have saved at least $50. I completely believe that. Josh gives me a hard time about how I practically run down the isle and grab the first thing that remotely resembles what I need. I am notorious for getting the wrong grabbing the sodium free Ritz (which just don't taste like regular Ritz!) or getting SEEDED rye bread rather than SEEDLESS (which we prefer). The thing is that when you shop with 3 or 4 (or any really) kids your time is quite limited and at ANY moment the meltdowns can begin. Its best to get in and out as quickly as possible..and if that means spending an extra $100 on the WRONG stuff then SO BE IT!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Birthday Party!

We finally had Owens party today. It was actually a very nice little party. We kept it very simple. Its so easy for us to go crazy with inviting people...because there are so many people that are 'key' in our lives, especially the lives of our kids! I have been finding that the I enjoy parties much more when we keep them simple. It makes it possible for me to focus more of my time on the birthday kid rather than entertaining a bunch of other people. I some point they are going to insist on having their friends and until then I am going to make it nice and easy on myself!

Owen could care less about opening his gifts. The highlight of his party for him was most definitely the cake! We knew it would be. Owen eats like crazy and we just knew he would devour the cake. He didn't let us down. It was fun to watch him, he enjoyed every bite of it. He let very little go to waste.

He loves it when you sing happy birthday to him. He will stop what he's doing and laugh and dance and try to sing along. It was too cute. He knew it was special and he got right into it!

I have pictures...and video.

Paul and Dona-Lynn got him the little Cars chair..and Paul made him the birthday poster. It was too cute.

Josh and Owen both got cool Red Sox hats (to match the ones that Ethan, Luke and Jessalyn already have!) is Owen checking out Josh's hat..

Video of gift opening...

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Video of cake eating...

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Owen!!! (...and Josh)

Poor Josh...his birthday has forever been over-taken! I suppose, since he is turning that terribly old age of 30, its probably a good thing. He loves that Owen was born on his birthday! They have a really really cool thing to share with each other.

So yeah. I am terribly hormonal today...and last I think back to the events of this time last year.

I was 5 days beyond my due date which apparently is a theme for me. I like to think that its a good thing that I went passed my due date with all four kids. It was a Tuesday night and after having days of sporadic contractions I had a feeling that it was going to happen very soon. My feelings were being more and more confirmed as we watched American Idol and I found myself becoming increasingly more uncomfortable..but, I still wasn't completely convinced.

After American Idol I decided that I should probably go lay down in bed to try to get some rest before the 'real deal' starts happening. I laid down in bed and had one contraction that told me "THIS IS the real deal". Up until this point I hadn't had one that was convincing like this so I got back up and went to the living room. I had another contraction that Josh witnessed and he said to me "You have that look on your face. I think we should call my mom.". I agreed..hesitantly, since I had only had 2 painful contractions. Josh has been with me through this a few times so I take his word for it!

Somewhere between 9 and 10 pm Granny arrives. I think I had one more contraction at home before we headed to the hospital. I call them on the way to let them know I was coming. We left for the hospital at about 10:30 (Josh was half way through an episode of Law and Order at this point).

We were in our room at the hospital by 11:15..and still I wasn't convinced this was real labor. The nurse checked me and I was still 3 cm (I had been walking around for the last 3 weeks at 3 cm). She didn't want to admit me just yet because she wasn't convinced either. She said she would come back in and check me at 1 am..and if I was making progress they would admit me. I started worrying that we were gonna be in for a looong night. I was already very tired..just from the normal daily routine of being pregnant and having three kids.

The contractions were quite regular and I was getting very uncomfortable at this time. I kept apologizing for being such a whimp, but for some reason I just couldn't get on top of them. I didn't feel in control of them and that was bothering me. I have gone through this 3 times before and always felt in control.

Finally I looked at Josh and said.."I need the nurse to come back and check me because I am feeling pressure and the urge to push". (This was somewhere after midnight..only an hour or so after she initially checked me).

I am so glad I recognized the feelings I was having because sure enough she came back and checked me and I was 9 cm!! I went from 3 to 9 in about an hour. No wonder I couldn't get control of them! It was intense. So at this point the nurse is running around frantically trying to call the doc and get everything else ready. (meanwhile, I am still not officially admitted!).

The doc comes quickly and I am at 10cm. I didn't start pushing...but proclaimed the fact that the baby was NOW. The doc wasn't ready yet so the nurse (Abby) was literally holding his head in....I remember that feeling quite well. NOT FUN. I'm trying not to push..but it didn't matter. Pushing or not..he was coming. Finally the doc was ready and I gave one push and he was out!

I couldn't believe how fast it was. I mean..Ethan and Luke were pretty fast..but not THAT fast! I was just so relieved and excited and saying over and over again "I can't believe he is out already". It felt like we had JUST gotten there. It was awesome.

After he was born they finally admitted me..and I had to sign all these papers that you would normally fill out before the baby was born. You know..the "in an event of emergency I allow whatever to happen" type stuff. It was funny. I signed away..especially knowing that he was already born and perfect.

He was screaming and pink and got perfect scores on his apgars. He was pretty mad though. He screamed for quite some time..even when I was holding him. He just didn't want to settle down right away. He had a hard time latching on as well..he was just too worked up.

We called my mom who was surprised to hear that he was already born..she thought I was calling to tell her that we were headed to the hospital! Owen was our only baby born in the middle of the night. We actually enjoyed this. It was so quiet and we really had quite a bit of time with just the three of us to make a final decision on his name and to just enjoy him. It was very relaxing after. We were in our PP room by 3:30am and I was out like a light by 4! I LOVE sleeping after just having a baby. I am so comfortable without my huge belly!

We got up bright and early the next morning and started making all the phone calls (to the people who didn't get texts in the middle of the night!).

Nana and Granny brought the kids over in the morning to visit. Poor Luke was sick so he had to keep his distance..but they were all very excited. Papa was also sick so he wasn't able to make it to the hospital to visit. Kirsten, Shara and Ben came to visit at different points during the day and then we went home on Thursday.

Overall it was an amazing birth experience. As everyone is well aware..I would do it again in a second!

Of course...lots of pictures!!

Owen Matthew
8 lbs 1 oz
19.5 inches...I think. (yes..4th kid..I'm not 100% sure on the length!)

Holding him right after he came out..

Since Luke was so sick he had to keep his distance...