Archive for September, 2008

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Ice Time

September 30, 2008

Today was total chaos. I had a chiropractic appointment at 9:30, but my car needed to have new tires and be inspected, so we dropped it off near the chiro. office and hoofed it. The guy called to inform me that pieces of metal were missing from the inside of my rotors, so they obviously wouldn’t pass the inspection. My MIL came to collect us from the chiropractor’s office, then we went to her house while we waited for the guys to finish with my car. By this time it was nearing lunch time, so we went and had lunch, picked up the car, and I finally got home around 3 pm. Jeff got home around 5:30 and we left around 6 to take his car to our mechanic’s house. Jeff’s car needs brakes, a CV boot, and possibly a new CV joint. After dropping the car off, we grabbed a snack at the store, and went to drop Sarah off for dance. We finally got home for the night around 9 pm. Phew! I am tired!

I meant to post these pictures yesterday, but somehow the day got away from me. Jeff and I took the kids skating on Saturday. Instead of skating, like we usually do, we just let the kids skate while we watched.

This picture perfectly captures the pure joy that Erin experiences when she skates. As you can see from the motion in the background, Erin was moving across my field of view from left to right. I thought this was a neat capture.

Sarah was also enjoying herself.

The whole time we were there, the most people on the ice were 3 young people, my 3 kids, a rink guard, and one father and son. The kids had a blast because they essentially had the ice to themselves.

This little one caught my attention. He was just so darn cute in his little equipment.

As Erin skates around the rink, she often jumps over each of the lines she encounters. I was trying to get a picture of her in the air, but I failed. Instead you get a picture of her as she is landing. Check out that form.

This was the first time that the kids were allowed to go skating without gloves and helmets. Sarah was down to just hockey gloves, but Erin was still wearing a helmet and gloves. She was thrilled, ecstatic even, when Jeff told her she could just wear winter gloves and no helmet. We have required a certain degree of protective equipment for the kids to protect their heads and fingers for serious injury.  Although they have always complied with our requirements, they were quite excited when it was decided that they could go without.

A fun time was had by all, until Erin’s knee met with the ice. She apparently fell directly on her knee cap and had to be helped off the ice. In the short time it took to get from the ice to the bench, her knee had already bruised. Yesterday she claimed to feel fine, but today she complained a lot about her leg hurting. She is one tough cookie!

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Ten Things I Love That Begin With “F”

September 29, 2008

Silly me, I asked my Mom to give me a letter, and she gave me “f”! This may be difficult! These are not listed in any particular order…

1) Freedom has to go at the top of this list. I feel very fortunate to live in a country in which I am free to believe what I want, live wherever I want, have as many children as I want, as well as many other freedoms that I probably take for granted.

2) Foreign accents: I could sit and listen to foreign accents all day long. Among my favorites are South African and Scottish accents.

3) Family definitely makes the list. Without family, I don’t know where I would be. I feel bad for those who either have no family or don’t get along well with their families. My family is extremely important to me.

4) Fotografia: Hey, I didn’t see any rules about the words being in English! For those who need translation, that’s photography in Spanish. Taking pictures gives me great satisfaction. When I am grumpy (almost never, LOL!) taking pictures is soothing and tends to improve my mood. I love trying to capture a moment and have it speak volumes.

5) Funny: I love funny things. Not hurtful funny, just funny. I like to laugh and funny things make me laugh.

6) Fiction: I really enjoy reading, and among my favorite things to read are Christian fiction, historical fiction, science fiction…I really like fiction.

7) Friends: I don’t have a lot of friends, but I have started reconnecting with old friends, which has been a lot of fun.

8) Fog: Sorry Mom! I don’t like driving in it, but I love the serene almost eerie feeling of fog. I particularly like fog over water, although I would not want to be in the fog on a boat.

9) Farm Markets: I like to walk around and see what everyone has to sell. There is something very satisfying about buying homemade things, fresh produce, etc. at a farmer’s market.

10) Fall: No, not falling, Fall, autumn! It is my absolute favorite time of the year! The smell of wood smoke from chimneys in the evening, the cool crisp nights and early mornings that warm to a comfortable, cool temperature during the day. The smell that I can’t really describe, wonderful colors, Thanksgiving, and especially pumpkin pie!

Well, I guess that wasn’t too hard! It definitely made me think though.

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Crazy Birds

September 27, 2008

Mr. Joe needed some puppy treats and a new bed, so we set out for Country Max. Although there is one locally, I had not been there before. What a treat. Jeff and the kids disappeared as I searched for things for Joe. I found what I was looking for, then found them. Here is what they were checking out.

I stepped in for a closer look, and one of the birds took a closer look as well.

This guy was following Kyle’s every move.

As I moved closer, he hopped onto my arm…

Then he hopped onto Jeff’s arm and was checking out his watch. In fact, he liked Jeff’s watch so much that we had a hard time getting him back on top of his cage when we were ready to leave. As we walked past his cage, it looked as though he was about to hop back up on one of us.

We decided that this store is much more fun than where we usually go to get Joe’s food. Since it is also closer to our house, we will likely be going there again.

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Joe finds Elmo

September 23, 2008

The kids and I have been cleaning the front porch for the last several days. The front proch is the catch all for things with no real homes. We have gone through all the homeless belongings and found new homes for, or donated many of them. The rest is being organized and stored more appropriately than in a massive pile on the porch.

As we were going through some things yesterday, I asked Erin if we could get rid of the Elmo chair that she had as a toddler; yeah, she’s 9 and it was still on the porch! She agreed and I tossed it to the get rid of pile, when Joe spotted it. The chair is now in the living room. I’ll let the pictures explain…

Apparently Joe has a fondness for Elmo. He has been sitting in the darn thing every chance he gets! I REALLY wanted to get rid of it…

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Awesome Textures

September 18, 2008

On Labor Day, I know it was almost 3 weeks ago, we went to a local park to have a picnic. While there, I decided to go for a walk. First of all, it was an absolutely perfect day for a picnic. The weather was fantastic, not too warm, but beautifully sunny.

As I began my short journey, alone, I encountered a woman and her dog playing in the water. As I put the camera up to take the picture, the dog dropped it’s ball and posed. It was the funniest thing. I imagine this dog would be tons of fun to photograph, as it was a very willing subject!

I had really only intended to look at the water, but then a path caught my attention. Not being able to resist, I began wandering and found some wonderful things to photograph. In fact, I ran into another photographer with a Nikon D80, a long lens, and a monopod. Frequently I wish I owned a long lens, but I was enjoying myself too much to really care at that time.

These offerings may be a bit boring to some…I was truly looking for textures more than anything else. In looking at the photos earlier, I determined that 1) I am a texture freak and 2) My “eye” for a good composition has improved greatly. Enjoy them, if you can…

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American Spirit!

September 15, 2008

On Saturday we went to a wonderful show put on by the United States Army, Spirit of America. The show gives a history of the US Army as well as demonstrations by the Fife and Drum Corps, the US Army Drill Team, the US Army Band, Pershing’s Own, and Company A, The Old Guard. I took several photos but the quality is not great as I was sitting way in the back of the Arena and the lighting was very low so the pictures are quite grainy.

The opening of the show with Company A presenting the flag.

The Fife and Drum Corps, which was absolutely amazing!

The orchestra performed a number of military songs during the ceremony.

The two people in the middle of all the “values” were the hosts of the show. I thought the values on the floor were pretty neat, hence the photo.

The U.S. Army Drill Team was incredible. The four gentlemen standing in the middle, surrounding the man in the middle demonstrated their skills with bayonet-tipped Springfield rifles weighing 10 1/2 pounds. They performed intricate skills while their Sergeant stood in the middle of them. Their rifles sailed in the air and around their bodies, all the time narrowly missing their Sergeant. It was definitely an impressive display.

If you enlarge the picture above, you can see a few rows of young people all wearing blue and tan t-shirts, sitting right behind the camera guy. Those were new recruits that were sworn in after the intermission. I was amazed at the number of young woman in the group. The men and women behind them in fatigues are recruiters.

This is half of the group that performed…

…and here is the other half.

The show was great and we all enjoyed it.

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Sarah Turned 13…Two Teens in the House!!!

September 15, 2008

Last weekend Sarah celebrated her 13th birthday.

On Saturday, Sept. 6, Sarah’s actual birthday, we went to Red Lobster for Sarah’s birthday dinner. She had requested a whole lobster and my MIL and I both decided we couldn’t bring ourselves to throw a living thing in boiling water. Red Lobster apparently has no qualms about that though, so we let them do the cooking. The were amazing about making sure that Sarah got nothing with soy. The waitress was extremely attentive and went to ask the chef whenever she wasn’t sure about something.

So here are a few pictures of her dinner…

One of her favorite presents above. She is often asked if her name is with an “h,” so Grandma bought her a shirt and put her name on it with an explanation of it’s spelling.

Yes, she did eat the whole thing and she thoroughly enjoyed it! I tried really hard not to scowl…I HATE seafood, except for tuna (from a can) and the occasional swordfish steak.

On Sunday afternoon, we took her to the Irish Festival to see the Dady Brothers perform. We also got to see some Irish dancing which made Sarah anxious to begin dancing again (classes start tonight). I took a few pictures to share…

Didn’t you know all Irish girls grow green ribbon mustaches?

I went up close to take a picture of the Dady Brothers and their friend (center) and caught Joe’s attention. He gave me a huge grin. I didn’t mean to interrupt… Their friend was in from Pittsburgh to bury his dad, and decided to join the Dady’s for part of their performance.

This young lady was invited on stage to help Joe play the violin. See where the bow is? Yes, she is holding it in her teeth. Afterwards, she took the violin from Joe and showed us her talent, and what a talent it is!

Erin enjoyed some of the show from a great vantage point…Dad’s shoulders.

After the show, we were all hungry, so we went to a local Japanese restaurant for dinner. As we were leaving the restaurant, this is what the sky had to offer…

Finally, we went to my in-laws to have cake…cookie cake.

Sarah wanted something related to Lord of the Rings on her cake, but I couldn’t seem to come up with anything that I could freehand. I decided I would find the One Ring inscription and put it on her cake. Then I decided it would be cool to write it in the Tengwar script that Tolkien created for Middle-Earth. Then I wrote the transliteration of part of it, and finally I looked up how to say “Happy Birthday” in Elven.  Above is the result.

Sarah was thrilled with the end result, and I was relieved to be done with the kids birthdays for this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, but their birthdays all fall within a 6 week time frame and it is a bit hectic!