Monday, December 31, 2012

Best Photos of 2012

March:  Jump Rope (at Disney)

I decided to join in and post my 12 favorite photos of Dylan from 2012.  (Link up here to participate). Wow, talk about tough!  I take a LOT of pictures.  What's your favorite?

October:  Green Eyes (Some of these are out of order, because my computer won't cooperate).

February:  Moustache Man:  This isn't the one we used for his Valentines, but it is my favorite because I can not look at it without laughing.

March:  Disney Joy

May:  Round Hill Farm

June: Picking Strawberries (Triple B Farm)

July: At The Pool

October:  Oh Those Cheeks!

July:   I Can Fly : I love this shot, because it captures the fact that at least at this age, he has no fear.

November:  Christmas Card Photo Shoot #1 (This is the one we used).

November:  Christmas Card Photo Shoot #2 (Boyce Park)

December:  Christmas Morning

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Memories 2012

There is one thing I am pretty sure we will remember from Christmas 2012... the fact that firemen were almost in attendance!  We were sitting at the table enjoying the all the delicious food, when I looked up and exclaimed, "SOMETHING IS ON FIRE IN THE OVEN!!"  Some food was left in the oven, and caught on fire.  Thank goodness Jim knew what to do and was able to put it out. (We will be buying my mother in law a fire extinguisher as soon as possible!  Do YOU have one?  If not, please get one!)
The house was full of smoke, and we had to open all the doors and windows for a while.  The kitchen drapes are ruined, but otherwise we were very lucky.  Plus, we have a story I'm sure we'll be telling for years... "the Christmas fire of 2012"!

Some other things I need to write down to remember...

Like how my sweet little six year old was so into giving this year, busily making us all gifts.

That this was the first year he picked out and bought us all gifts (at school).  (That sparkly black and silver bracelet is mine).

Dylan singing "Feliz Navidad" in the school program, being an evergreen tree, and doing a reading in church.

The Christmas Eve church service at my parent's church, and Dylan almost falling asleep.

Dylan and I making Christmas cookies for the teachers cookie exchange while Jim fought with the Christmas lights.  

How excited Dylan was that we let him go up in the attic for the first time, to "help" Jim with the Christmas decorations.

Playing the Christmas game we play every year, and everyone trying to get rid of their gifts that they didn't want!

Enjoying spending quality time with family.  

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  I'm looking forward to 2013!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Note and The Baby Spoon

(On the ride home from school last week...)

Dylan:  "Mom, I couldn't eat all my lunch today, because some kids were bothering me".

Me:  "What do you mean, bothering you?"

D:  "They kept saying stuff to me".

Me:  "What kind of stuff were they saying?"

D:  "Well, they read your note about Christmas, and they said it was wrong.  They didn't like the note".

Me:  "How was it wrong?"

D:  "You said it was only 18 more days until Christmas, and they said it is 20.  Are they right?"

Me:  "Well, maybe... Did you show them the note?"

D:  "No, they just took it, and wouldn't give it back.  One threw it in the garbage".

Me:  "Well, they shouldn't have done that!  It was your note.  Not theirs.  Next time, tell them not to touch your note, okay?"

D:  "Okay.  They said my spoon is a "baby spoon" too".

Me:  " It's not a baby spoon!"

D:  "I know!  I told them that.  I just tried to eat my lunch and ignore them".

Me:  "Actually, it's not even for kids!  It's for adults!  Who were these kids?"

D:  "I don't know them.  They're first graders".

Me:  "Did they bother you before?"

D:  "No".

Me:  "Well, I would sit by someone nice and avoid them".

D:  "I wasn't sitting by them, but they still bothered me!"

Me:  "Oh... Okay, honey.  Well, it sounds like you handled it well.  Next time, just tell them not to take your note".

D:  "Mom?  Is this tattling?"

Me:  "No, Dylan!  You can tell Daddy and I anything!  You should always tell us if you're having a problem, or if someone is being mean to you.  It's our job to help you figure out what to do.  Never be afraid to tell us anything, okay?"

D:  "Okay... thanks Mom".

Me:  "You're welcome.  Oh, Dylan, there's always going to be people who are mean.  The trick is knowing how to handle them.  School is hard sometimes, huh?"

D:  "Yea... sometimes".

He was quiet then, lost in thought, while looking out the car window.  I was lost in thought also, wondering , Did I say the right thing?  Did I say enough?  Too much?  Does this have to start so young?  How are we going to survive the school years?  Who are these little shits?

At dinner, I let Jim know what had happened.  I told him it seemed that Dylan handled it well.  I noticed that Dylan was listening very carefully.  I said...

Me:  "When someone isn't nice, they usually do it to get a reaction.  They like it when you get upset.  So you have to try and stay calm and act like they don't bother you.  Here, I'll show you, Dylan.  I'll pretend to be you, and you pretend to be them.  This is what to do".

D: (In a sing-songy voice)  "You have a baby spoon!  You have a baby spoon!"

Me:  (In a very calm, disinterested voice) "Actually, it's not".

D:  "You have a baby spoon!"

Me:  "Whatever". (Turning away)  "See?"

D:  (Laughing) "Yea!  Let's do it again!!"

Me:  "Okay, this time I'll show you what NOT to do".

D:  "You have a baby spoon!  You have a baby spoon!" (loving this game)

Me:  "NO I DON'T!  STOP IT!  WAH!" (pretending to cry)

D:  (Laughing...) "Again!"

Later that night, I asked him...

Me:  "Dylan, do you like the notes I put in your lunch, or would you like me to stop doing that?"

D:  "I like them!  But, Mom, you forgot to write "I Love You" today.  Can you write that each time?"

Me:  (Smiling from the inside... out)  "I sure can".

On the way to school the next day he announced that he thought it was going to be a great day.  Later, he told me those mean kids left him alone.  It WAS a great day.  I think he's got things under control.

If not, we can just do what Jim suggested and I modified a bit...

Write this on the next sticky note...

"If you're reading this and your name is not Dylan, I am watching you and I know where you little shits live".

Monday, December 3, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday: 2008 Christmas Newsletter

It's Time Warp Tuesday!  I still cannot upload any photos to my blog, and I still have no solutions that take more than the 10 minutes or so that I have, so I'm cheating this week.  Still a blast from the past... just no photos!  We got our first Christmas card on December 1st this year!  Nuts.  Don't people know they are just making me look bad?!  Here is the letter we sent out back in 2008.

I am writing this letter, to send you Christmas cheer,
and to let you all know what we've been up to this year.

What can I say about the year 2008?
Well, it wasn't just good, it was really top rate.

In January, we took a family vacation.
We took a month long cruise to many exotic locations.

In February, Dylan wrote his first symphony.
He's become quite the little composer, you see.

In March, we won the lottery, and quit our jobs,
Why am I talking to you? We're now snobs.

In April, my first book hit the best seller list,
Then came the movie deal that was too hard to resist.

In May, Oprah called, begging to have Dylan on her show,
I explained he was booked, what with Couric and Leno.

In June, we moved into our giant abode,
With a chef, a pool boy, and a marble commode.

In July, I started my own clothing line,
I call it "Your Arms Simply Can't Be Longer Than Mine".

In August, Armani sent Dylan his own suit,
On the red carpet, girls asked for his digits, and screamed "CUTE!!"

In September, I told Letterman that he is a fool,
That his jokes suck, and his interview questions aren't cool.

In October, Jim's invention hit all the best stores,
Luckily, no one was trampled, when crowds broke down the doors.

In November, he bought himself a Lamborghini, his dream car,
No one else is allowed to drive it, but we can look from afar.

In December, we bought ourselves a really big boat.
You realize I didn't write this letter to gloat.

I simply wanted to let you know what was new.
This wasn't intended to make you feel blue.

Okay, so none of it's true, as I'm sure you could guess,
But, what's Christmas, without a little holiday B.S.?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Cried In Target

(Yes, today is Tuesday, and I should be posting a picture for Time Warp Tuesday, but last night my computer informed me I have reached my quota for photos and I'm not sure what to do about that).

Did you ever cry in a Target?  I did today.  This past weekend, my husband bought my six year old some Angry Bird decals to put on his bedroom walls.  He already had a sports themed bedroom, with footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, and basketball decals on his walls, so now the room is a bit confusing... and overwhelming, but that's another story.  This morning he asked if he could "Please, please go to Target after school, so I can get some more Angry Bird stickers with my birthday money?"  I explained that there probably wasn't any more room on his walls for more stickers, and he said he would like to put them on paper and make a book.  "Hey, it's your money!", I answered.

Now, this is the flashback part of the story, and when I say flashback, I mean WAY BACK.  Like, me in elementary school back.  There's cute little me, standing there awkwardly, looking like I wish I could shrivel up and disappear.  I'm standing in line, waiting to be picked to play kickball.  Gym class - I'm sure some kids enjoyed it, but I was never one of them.  I would stand there, praying in my head, "Please don't let them pick me last... Please don't let them pick me last...", looking down, so they wouldn't see the desperation in my eyes.  I was awful at kickball.  Really awful.  I kicked it up every single time, and I got out almost every single time.  I can still hear the taunts of "Easy out!"  Also, I certainly wasn't popular.  I always had friends, but never in the popular crowd.  From my memory, we played kickball A LOT, and the popular kids were always chosen to be the "pickers".  Maybe gym teachers were popular kids, because they certainly never seem to understand the plight of the unpopular.

Back to the present.  I picked up my son, and started asking him the same ridiculous questions and getting the same ridiculous answers.

"How was school?"
"What did you do?"
"I don't remember".

Today, though, was a conversation that completely shook me, and one I don't want to ever forget.

"How was gym class?"
"Good... We played hockey again... I got two goals!"
"Two goals huh?  Good job!"
"I was finally on the blue team today!"
"Oh yea?  How did you get on the blue team today?"
"Alyssa picked me.  She was the captain on the blue team".
"Cool!  I'm glad she picked you.  Did she pick you first?"
"No, I think I was picked last".
"She picked you last?!  That stinks!" (my brain flashing back to cute little me again)
"It's okay.  I usually get picked last".
"You do?!"  (trying to keep the hysteria out of my voice and not punch my hand through the dashboard)
"Does that bother you?"
"What do you mean, bother me?"
"Does it make you sad when you get picked last?"
"It makes ME sad that you get picked last"!
"It's not my fault, Mom".
(Instant tears welling up in my eyes) "Oh honey, I know that!  Of course it's not your fault!  I'm not mad at you.  It just makes me sad because I used to be picked last in gym class and I didn't like it".

I was going to let it end there.  I really was, but I just kept thinking about my sweet boy standing there waiting and waiting to be picked.

"Dylan?  Who do you like the most in school?"
"I don't know.  Maybe Alyssa?"
"Who do you think likes you the most?"
"I don't know".
"Do you think Alyssa likes you the most?"
"I don't know.  I think she likes me, but maybe not the most".
"Who does she play with the most?"
"I don't know".
"Who does Arjun play with the most?"
"I don't know".
"Dylan!  Don't you pay attention to the other kids?  Maybe if you paid attention more, they would play with you more!"
"I like to play by myself sometimes, Mom".
"I know... but..."
(He already knew what I was thinking and what I was going to say).  "That's just how YOU feel. I'm sorry, Mom.  That's just how I am".

I felt like someone was squeezing my heart.  I couldn't breathe for a minute.  As I fought back a full on sob fest, I grabbed Dylan in my arms and hugged him.
"Dylan, you don't have to apologize for who you are.  I love you just the way you are.  I am SO sorry.  I guess I just worry about you having friends so much, because I just want you to be happy".
When his little eyes looked up at me and he said "I AM happy", I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.

I cried in Target.  I would like to think that crying in Target would be so memorable that I will be changed from this moment on.  I like to think I will stop trying to force my child to be the person I want him to be, but if I'm being honest, I'm not sure that is the case.  Why do we do that?  Why do we try to change our children, instead of accepting that they are perfect exactly the way they are?  Why do we project our fears, goals, and dreams onto them?  It's a heavy weight for their little shoulders to carry.  We tell ourselves we just want them to be happy, but they already are.  They are happy, just the way they are.  I'm going to read this post every time I need to remember that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

To Dylan On His 6th Birthday

Dear Dylan,

Today you are six!  This fact seems bizarre to me, and yet at the same time... completely right.  Something started happening back in September.  You suddenly seemed so much taller, leaner, and more mature.  Maybe it has something to do with school?  You are in kindergarten now, and it seems to be going very well.  You don't complain about going, like you used to do with preschool.  You tell me more about your day, although I usually have to ask a lot of questions to get the information out of you.  You don't want to get up in the morning, though!  You are "SO tired" that Daddy usually drags you out of bed.  You don't seem to mind wearing the uniform, even on chapel days, when you have to wear a tie.  One of the things you hate to do, though, is change your clothes when you get home.  To you, this is a huge chore, and a waste of valuable play time.

Play time has become very sacred to you since you have less of it now.  There are times that you are content to play on your own, busily carrying out one of your plans.  Your play often involves recreating things you've done or seen.

You love a challenge.  When we got you a hula hoop, and your friend next door, could do it better than you could, you practiced and practiced until you were a pro.  When you saw a show about Speed Stackers you wanted to buy them and learn to stack the cups yourself.  Then, we had to get a paddle ball (also on that show), so you could try that.  You love to try new things and go new places.  You are not afraid to take risks.  Not many things scare you.  In fact, I'm not sure I can think of anything!

Although you don't giggle as much as you used to, you still like to laugh, and you have a good sense of humor.  I love it when we share an inside joke, like "Chicken!", or "How Not To Feed Your Family Dinner".  "Chicken!" came about when Daddy and I were deep in conversation at the dinner table on evening, and you suddenly blurted out "Chicken!"  You wanted to say something about Chicken Little, but forgot what you wanted to say.  "How Not To Feed Your Family Dinner" came about when I forgot to turn on the crock pot one night and we came home to an uncooked meal.  You thought of a great name for a cookbook and made us laugh when you said "Yummies for Dummies".

You are really a good reader these days!  The books sent home from school (and the rest of the homework for that matter) are too easy for you, but that's how you like it.  That way, you can get it done quickly and get back to playing!

You still love math and sports.  You played t-ball in the spring, and soccer this fall.  You enjoyed t-ball, but soccer seems to be a better fit for you.  At this age, the coaches don't keep score, but of course, you do.

You are such a sweet boy, Dylan.  One day, Daddy told you the story about the time he sent me flowers at work and someone stole them.  You got up and drew me a picture of flowers saying that I should have flowers.  You are so sweet to Daddy, too.  When we are out, you often ask if we can buy him a Hershey bar, since he loves them, rather than asking for candy for yourself.

You have an innocence and a sweetness that I hope you keep for a while longer.  You still climb in my lap occasionally for a snuggle, and even though your long limbs are barely contained in the space, those moments are my favorite and I cherish them.  I love you so much and I am so proud of you.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday - Birthdays

For Time Warp Tuesday this week, (over at Juggling Life), I wanted to look back at Dylan's birthdays. We'll be celebrating his 6th next week, so here is a blast from the past 5.


First Birthday Party - in a hotel party room - we learned that blue icing is a bad idea.

Second Birthday Party - At Steel City All Stars (gym)

We had the Third Birthday Party at our new house.

Fourth Birthday Party - at SeaBase (indoor play area)

The Fifth Birthday Party was at another gym! (Gymkhana)

We are looking forward to birthday number 6!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Lunch Notes

My mom used to pack my lunches for school.  Every day, she would pack a healthy lunch, and add a little note inside.  I'm not sure when she started doing it, or when she stopped doing it.  I don't even really remember what the notes said.  To my memory, I never commented on the notes, and I certainly never thanked her for them.  I bet she wondered sometimes, "Why am I even doing this?  She doesn't appreciate it.  She doesn't care".

Now, my little boy is going to kindergarten, and I am packing his lunches.  Yes, they are healthy, and yes, each lunch since the first day of school has had a little note inside.  There are days when I stand there for several minutes, trying to decide what to write,  thinking  "Why am I even doing this?  He doesn't appreciate it.  He doesn't care".

There are so many "little" things we do as parents that we might feel go unnoticed.  Pats on the back of encouragement, home cooked meals, bedtime rituals, countless car rides, birthday balloons, snuggling in bed on a Saturday morning, patiently answering question after question.  We don't often hear "Thank you".  We aren't always sure those "little" things are making an impact.

Sometimes, though, if we are lucky, we get a reminder.

Yesterday, my son wanted to play "school".  He said that I was going to go to school, but first he had to pack me a lunch.  When I saw my lunch, I knew...

All those "little" things?  They do matter.  A lot.

(Mom, thank you for the healthy lunches, the notes, and the countless other "little" ways you showed your love).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday : Love at First Sight

It's Time Warp Tuesday time again, over at Juggling Life!  As I mentioned in my last post, after two very long years, two lines had finally appeared on the stick.  As I sat there staring at it, it hit me that I would never be the same.  It was a huge moment.  So was the moment I heard his little heart beat for the first time.  Truly, though, the moment I saw this little profile was when I realized I was in love...

When I was in elementary school, I wrote this poem..

My dream came true, almost 6 years ago...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Photo A Day Challenge : October 2012

I finished my newest challenge for myself - The Photo A Day Challenge over at "A Grande Life".
I am happy to report that for the most part I didn't cheat.  I kept to the daily theme, and only forgot to take a picture one day (the 25th, so that picture was taken the next day).  I found some prompts harder than others, but for the most part, I am really glad I decided to participate.  It made me realize that I've been missing taking pictures, and missing the creative part of myself.

(The big one is a close-up of my favorite of these - Black & White - It's the little girl I'm a nanny for).

October 1-Leaves / 2-In My Cup / 3-Shoes / 4-Up / 5-Light / 6-Orange / 7-Flower / 8-Shadow / 9-Me / 10-Up Close / 11-The Letter A / 12-Black & White / 13-Happiness / 14-Pumpkin / 15-Good Nt. Moon

October 16-Guilty Pleasure (I keep kissing my sweet boy's cheeks, even though at this point, he doesn't like it.  He usually gives me that tiny smile that says he'll let it slide this once.  But look at them!  How can I help myself?!) / 17-Comfy / 18-Hands / 19-Laugh / 20-Something Old / 21-Home / 22-Grass /
23-Busy / 24-Pretty / 25-Something You Made / 26-Dots / 27-Your Pick / 28-Simple / 29-9:15 am /
30-Pillow / 31-Boo!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday: The Announcement

I don't trust the media.  They've cried "WOLF!" so many times, that I tend to ignore most talk of "emergencies", so I wasn't too concerned about Frankenstorm Sandy.  It was my friends' Facebook posts yesterday that finally got me concerned.  When Jim got home last night I was in full freak out mode, gathering batteries, filling containers of water and ice, and searching for firewood.  The one thing "WE" didn't do?  Secure the trampoline.

This morning when I looked outside to see if there were any tree limbs in the yard, I noticed something was missing right away - our trampoline!!  To make a long story short, we got extremely lucky and it was stopped just feet away from our neighbor's house by a tree.  I went out in the pouring rain and somehow managed to roll the dumb thing from their yard back into ours and secure it to our tree.  It's ruined, but I still feel pretty lucky.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming... Jenn's Time Warp Tuesday!  If you get a chance, head over there and check out the other participants and leave them some comment love.

Since my sweet boy is turning SIX(?!?) in three weeks, I wanted to show this photo...

After two of the longest years of my life, "trying" to get pregnant, it had finally happened.  When we went to my parent's house for Easter, we were taking pictures and asked both sets of parents to get together for a shot.  Jim stood off to the side, and I was taking the shot.  I think I said, "Say Cheese!  No, that one wasn't good.  This time... say... "Jen's Pregnant!!"  Then I snapped this shot.  Jim's mom was asking Jim, "Is she serious?"  My mom was looking at Jim to see his reaction.  My dad was in disbelief... or shock.  Jim's dad seemed to be the only one who immediately got it.

It is a moment I'll never forget, and I'm so glad I have this picture!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday 2

Well, it's Time Warp Tuesday, over at Jenn's again already?!  Man, that week flew by, didn't it?  I'm putting this together at the last minute, (big surprise!), so please excuse the horrendous photos of photos.  There's glare.  There's reflections.  There's blur.  But, I made it to the party, and that's what counts, right?

Since I'm going in order, in my house we jump from Jim and I as kids to the "Fun Couple Frames".  The "Fun Couple Frames" came about when we had only been married a couple years.  I was working as a nanny for a young, adventurous couple with a baby girl.  I came home one day and told Jim... "They have these frames of them as a couple, doing all these fun things.  It's really cool".  Jim said, "Hey!  We're a fun couple too!  Why don't WE have Fun Couple Frames?  We should have Fun Couple Frames!  We should make some!"  (By the way, if you're new here, Jim likes to say "WE" when he means ME).

So, since we indeed are a "fun couple", I made the frames to prove it.

Here's a closer look... (Oh, and yes, the walls in that room are still white.  Let's not talk about that... okay?!)

Parasailing in Ocean City, Maryland, and vacationing in Cancun, Mexico.

In the photo booth at Kennywood, dancing at Jim's cousin's wedding, at a fireworks Pirate game, and snorkeling in Cancun.

At a Halloween party as Wrestler Chyna, and Edward Scissorhands (Jim made the whole costume himself and won a prize for it!)

Getting married in Jamaica

At my grandparent's house - I love it when I make Jim laugh so hard, his face turns this red!

I changed his costume a bit, to become Mrs. Edward Scissorhands.  This was at a nightclub, where I stood on a stage and came in third in a costume contest.  Oh, hello flat stomach!  I miss you so.

Jet skiing in North Carolina while visiting friends.  (Great story... Jim crashed into my jet ski, and had to pay $300.  Ask Jim about it sometime... so I can see his face turn all red again).

At our "reception", which was months after we got married, and had a very casual, tropical theme.
A shot of my 30th birthday.

In Jamaica, enjoying the honeymoon.

The "Muriel's Wedding shot"

We're still a "fun couple".  We just have a different kind of fun these days.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Photo A Day Challenge : Week 2

Oct. 8 - SHADOW

Oct. 9 - ME

Oct. 10 - UP CLOSE

Oct. 11 - THE LETTER "A"

Oct. 12 - BLACK & WHITE


Oct. 14 - PUMPKIN

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday : 1

My buddy, Jenn, over at Juggling Life had the idea to do a weekly feature of some of the displayed photos in her home.  She's a social kind of gal, so she asked us to join her.  Want to come to the party?  Hi!  I'm Jen.  I'm the one who always arrives late, looking out of breath, and disheveled.

For the first week, I figured why not start at the (almost) beginning?  Here's two shots that are proudly displayed in my family room (or the play room, depending on who you're asking)... (Can you guess who they are?

If you're stumped, or if it is your first time here, here's a hint...

Yep, it's me and Jim, (my gorgeous husband).  I usually smile with my mouth open, or at least with a big old mouth of teeth.  Jim does NOT.  Some things never change I guess.  By the way, if you look at the kid shots again, can't you just imagine me saying "Jim!  I have this great idea!", and Jim saying "Oh, no... what now, Jen?" (He's smiling in that adorable way that says he really loves my ideas).

I think it is a good idea to have pictures of you and your spouse as children displayed in your home.  It helps you to remember how you felt at that age when someone said "You did such a great job!", or when they said "You are in SO much trouble" (of course no one EVER said that to Jim!).  It's good to remember that you were once that small.