Sunday, January 31, 2010

Crazier Things Have Happened.....

The year 2000 was one to remember.
We bought our first house and moved in that September.

The circle was pretty quiet and we had projects beyond belief.
But soon enough we became friends with our neighbors the Chiefs.

Jack and Stephen (aka Little Chief) became the best of cohorts
With their big blue eyes and love for all sports.

Our neighborhood friendship has grown stronger each year
With new family additions, tons of ball playing and beer.

Our Chica was born six years into the fun
A new bond emerged with Lil Chief and our precious new one

In his eyes it appeared she could never do wrong.
His attentiveness and playfulness she adored before long.

He’s never afraid to give her big hugs,
Or contently sit with her and play games on the rug.

We’ve all grown to appreciate Little Chief’s well-roundedness
He’s sweet, smart, athletic with mad dance skills that impress

So I started to think Chica could have a future with this catch.
They certainly would make an incredible match.

I know it’s a little early to think this far ahead
But maybe, just maybe someday they will wed!?!

Jack would be thrilled having his bud as a ‘bro
The Dads could forever watch football with coolers in tow.

And the rest of our crews would be just as pleased
Because we all get along like carrots and peas.

So my fingers are crossed that this plan just might take
If not for the two of them, then for the rest of our sakes.

Can you just imagine the oohs, ahhhs, laughs and tears
When I play the slideshow of pictures taken over the years?

(All in good fun.....but crazier things have happened......)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

P is for Perfectly Precious Picture Project

Although I had a big blogging low back in November and December, I was working on a couple different photo-related projects. I finally sat down and made a few different photobooks using Blurb. I learned about Blurb from a friend and was immediately interested when she told me you could use Blurb to print out your blog. Still haven't done that yet, but I did undertake some photobooks for the boys' baseball team, my nephew's baseball career and a special book for Chica for Christmas.

I've made many photobooks over the years using Shutterfly and Snapfish. The books come out great but the layouts are very limited. With Blurb you can alter their layouts or come up with your own layouts. The capabilities are endless.

I was on the Blurb site one day and was looking at some books made by others and I came across the most adorable ABC book that somebody made for their child. Immediately I knew I wanted to make one for Chica for Christmas. She has so much fun identifying letters and I knew I could come up with the photos I needed. I wrote out the letters and jotted down my thoughts and then went to work creating the book.

I am in love with the end result and know that even if Chica doesn't truly appreciate it now, she will have it forever and especially appreciate it when she becomes a mother herself!

Here is the cover and some of my favorite pages!!









I had the book printed with the image-wrap cover and in the 7X7 size, just perfect for Chica's little hands. The print quality was excellent. It is one of the favorite gifts I ever given!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Visitor

I knew there had to be some creature outside the other day when Buddy went crazy and whined pitifully to go outside. I looked all around the back woods hoping to spot a fox or coyote or bobcat but couldn't see anything. Then I looked up to find this chubby hawk contently resting on a branch. Apparently he hasn't missed any mice, rabbit, chipmunk or squirrel buffets lately. Let's just hope he doesn't have a taste for red cockapoos.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Skating into the New Year

This New Year's Eve we spent with our great friends. The D's have an awesome new ice rink and my kids are insanely excited to skate there. So we had a casual evening of skating by the fire, awesome bread bowls of chilly, drinks and hanging out. We were home before 11 and all was quiet when the New Year actually rang in.

There was a large group out on the ice but it didn't seem to matter. Chica pushed a chair around the perimeter and by the end of the night I had to glide with my boots to keep up with her. She loved it!

The temperature was perfect, the fire was cozy, the kids had a blast and the parents got some good laughs.

Here was the scene:










Not real clear photos, but duly documented!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Post-Christmas Wrap

The Christmas holiday went really well this year. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in this household that experienced any stress. But the kids just love this holiday, so their smiles certainly were worth it.

We hosted Christmas Eve and had a great time visiting with family from both sides. Christmas dinner was at Nini's house and then we headed to Auntie Sara's for more celebration on Saturday. So we were ready for some relaxation when the 'vacation' week began.

The kids did well by Santa again this year, as always. He got a little punchy this year and left some of his gifts in our bathroom for the kids to find. The kids and we were wondering why the tree looked a little bare.

Chica was loving Christmas. She got a Loving Family doll house with accessories and has enjoyed playing with that. She also has been enjoying her new Leapster and her Candy Shoppe playdough set.

Jack was ecstatic that he got the street hockey goalie pad set he was praying for. I can guarantee that set will get lots of use over the years! He's also been digging his new ice skates and video games.

Luke received his first ever Nerf gun and that was a big hit along with his new Lego sets and Indiana Jones Wii game.

And Ben finally got the DS that he has been asking for for the last few years....along with a couple of games. The extra bonus with that is that he can play head-to-head with Jack on his DS. Ben's also digging his new Tim Thomas shirt.

The boys have all been wrapped up in their new fleece blankets from Mom and reading their new books too!

Buddy was beyond thrilled with his bone and his nose is still recovering from being scraped off during his digging/hiding episodes.


Chewie got more of his favorite balls which have already rolled under couches and other furniture.

I would say it was a near perfect holiday season!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Eighth Show

On Chica's last day of preschool before the long Christmas break, I attended her first Christmas show. The show was her first....and my eighth in eight consecutive years. The show is usually a little bit of a secret, but Chica loves the music so much she was singing the songs to herself at home for the couple weeks before the show.

The morning of the show she didn't give me any hassles about getting her dressed or making her hair presentable. She wore this adorable Christmas sweater handed down by our friends (thanks again, Lisa!!).

The children all come out together after the attendees are settled. They excitedly look for their family and give a wave or a smile. Chica looked a little shy but went right to her seat to get ready for the show.

The children sang a bunch of cute songs and Chica sang and performed each one. In particular she loved Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and belted that one out louder than anyone else.

Here are some shots of the performance:

Christmas cookies and holiday hearts......

All aboard the Christmas train - clickety clack clack clack down the track, track, track....

Frosty the Snowman!

He'll be comin' down the chimney when he comes...

And one last pose!

I'm always amazed when these little ones perform! It was a great start to a great holiday season!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Finally in the Top 10!

I made my first Top 10 in Boston.com's monthly photo contests! This is exciting news for me. And I have to thank my son, Jack, who came outside with me in the frigid temperatures on New Year's Eve to set up the football guys. This was no easy task because our fingers were freezing and the little linemen kept toppling over on the unstable ground.

This was the first month that both the Top 25 and the Top 10 were decided by the judge alone instead public voting. I was surprised that a few of my favorites did not make the Top 10.

The Top 10 are here if you are interested in taking a look!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back on Track

After a couple of months of minimal blog posting, I hope to be getting back on track for some more frequent updates. The holidays were much more time consuming than I expected and I spent a lot of time on my first few blurb books (more on that later) instead of taking and blogging photos.

I just updated my blog header with a free design I found on this website recommended by Deb. There are lots of cool tutorials and free stuff so I plan on going back there soon. The new header has me re-motivated to learn more!

December's photo contest on Boston.com's RAW was Toys. I didn't think I was going to come up with something to submit because it had to be taken in the month of December. But on that last chilly day of December Jack pulled out his set of football guys and we played around with them a bit. I took some shots inside but then decided to try outside for real lighting. There was a small flurry of snow that came down and sprinkled the field mat.

So I went with the above picture and was pumped to find out it was selected for the Top 25. They only picked 25 this month since the number of submissions was low. There are a handful of really neat photos (see the Top 25 here.) I believe they have done away with voting and the Top 10 will be selected by that month's judge. I guess we'll know Tuesday how things shake out.

January's theme is "What's That?". Another tough one for me. A macro lens would sure be helpful!