Saturday, May 31, 2008

What do Israel & my mother have in common?

They both turn 60 this year!

Happy Birthday Momma!
Here's a picture from young Joline's 16th? birthday party (or was it 18th?) That's my dad next to her - they go way back! ...and my Memere - she's happy for her little roller princess (oh, what, you haven't seen any roller princess pictures...let me scan one...)

...have I mentioned lately that I love my new scanner? I'm sure you'll all grow to hate it....but I love it so!

Here's the roller princess. She rocked....and rolled!

I love you Mom, happy birthday!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Mad Scanner

It's no secret that I tend to take a lot of pictures; Dirt quotes the number of images on our hard drive to be about 12,000, but really, who's counting? The problem is that this figure only represents photos taken since the digital photography age....which for me has been on again off again depending on the status of my many digital cameras throughout the years. So in addition to the 12,000 images we have on our computer, we also possess boxes and bags and albums which contain another thousand or so photographs (as in, "hard copy", imagine that?!). These are the good ones, cause they're vintage. Old school baby!

I've had it in my mind for a while that these old school images need to join my new school images, but alas, the tedious work of scanning them has deterred me for so long.

...So tonight I took one brave step forward, and here are the results:

Dirt before he was Dirty. Hampton Beach, NH. Circa July 1997.

One of my favorite pics, and not just because we were thin. It's because Dirt had the audacity to rest his hand on my booty while we were standing next to my dad! The soft yellow lighting makes us look so innocent. I was holding my hands up like that to cover a stain on my shirt (don't tell anyone)

Does it get any cuter than this? I know I'm probably not suppose to publicly oogle over my kids, but really, weren't they just the cutest things ever? Now I remember why we had another one! Unfortunately they aren't this cute any more; now they're regular kids who fight with each other every waking moment.
I'm sure there will be many more scanned images, and for that, I apologize in advance.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Dirt and I have a problem. I don’t know what the official title of the problem is, but perhaps if I describe the symptoms, you’ll be able to diagnose it. It might just be plain old retardation, if that’s the case, you don’t have to use the PC term for it, just tell us that we’re being retarded.

When we moved into our home approximately 2 years ago we began searching for two leather chairs for our mudroom. After about 9 months of sitting and searching, we finally found a chair that we liked. The problem: the standard color the chair came in (a sort of reddish brown) did not meet our needs (a sort of brownish black). The good news was that we could order the chair in a blackish color; the bad news was that it would take up to 16 weeks for delivery.

Let me repeat that: Sixteen weeks. At this point I pulled my fingers out of my pocket, started on the calculations, and deduced that we wouldn’t have the chairs until August 2007! We both agreed that the time lapse between ordering and delivery was far too great. We questioned the sales rep about the accuracy of his estimation and he answered with a fancy explanation about the leather coming from Italy…blah blah blah.

Then I figured I could outsmart the system. I cleverly asked for the brand name and model number so that I could conduct my own internet search for them. My plan was to place my order and have my chairs delivered within weeks (muahahahaha!). The salesman gladly gave me the information and we were off (I might have exclaimed, "Suckers!" as we peeled out of the parking lot).

When I arrived home I didn’t waste any time in googling the chairs. However, much to my chagrin, they were no where to be found. Blasted!

Plan B. We would forget about those chairs and continue our search for another suitable leather chair, surely we’d find something within a few weeks.

Since that time, we have stopped in and re-evaluated those same reddish brown leather chairs at least five times (approximately every four month). We love them every time. And each visit I remind Dirt that if we had ordered them during our previous visit, we’d have them sitting in our mudroom by now. We agree on this fact, yet for some reason, we can’t bring ourselves to order the chairs. It hurts.

At one point we rationalized that the chairs were probably a hair too large for our mudroom, so recently, I specked them out on paper (see above). They fit. There is no more rationalization to be done. We just need to call and place the darn order. But we can’t.

This is why there is something wrong with us. It has already been two weeks since I set these paper chairs on the mudroom floor, if I had ordered the day I realized they would fit, we’d only have 12 weeks left. Ouch.

Somebody help us!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day?

Is that an oxymoron? Aren't we suppose to be a just little forelorn today because we're remembering those who have passed on before us?

Just be glad this isn't your family tree. Ah...I gotta go get my cholesterol checked now.

A little late for the prayer, don'tcha think?
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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fun at Seapoint

One of the advantages of not having any friends is the absence of invites to obligatory Memorial day cookouts. Since Dirt's "word" literally hinged on whether or not he took the kids fishing this weekend (Dirt had promised to take them last weekend), we headed off to Seapoint Beach in search of a 40lb Striper (or not).

I'm a bad mother, but my children aren't old enough to understand how bad I am. I received much joy from putting these photos together, (probably similar to the joy that the people who photoshop for Star magazine get when they put Jennifer Aniston's head on a body with lots of cellulite). Anyway, before anyone calls DSS on me, Amelle didn't actually lick her fingers right after handling the fish guts (that would've been unsanitary). There was some hand sanitizer and some Cheetos involved between the last two photos. She did, however, sniff her fingers after handling the fish guts, which I also found mildly amusing.

Work it, girl

Avery gets hooked on fishing

Dirt shows 'em how it's done.

Before our friends get offended, I was just kidding about not having any - we do have friends, we just told them all that we were going away for the holiday weekend... I'm kidding! ...see you guys don't know when I'm serious or when I'm kidding. Now you're all mixed up and you don't know what the truth is. This isn't even my family! Yes it is (except for the little one).
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Birthday William!

Will was so animated during the pinata bashing, I couldn't take my camera off of him!

No comment.

Proof that Will has a butt (we'll sort of).

What's not to love about this child?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are We Hillbillies?

We take our 2 year old on a helmet-less ATV rides (and let her drive),

We don't always comb our kids' hair

(what the hair doesn't say, the t-shirt does)

And our eldest daughter rides the ATV through the tall grass with cowboy boots and capris

...not to mention that I affectionately call my husband "Dirt", he drives a pick-up and comes home smelling like bait 3 days a week.
Just checkin'...
Photo added for Shaun:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Sailor's Life for Me

Last weekend Avery went to the Hamilton House in South Berwick for "A Sailor's Life for Me". One of the tricks they learned was how to carve soap into a "whale's tooth". Avery came home inspired and started carving all of my bar soap (much to his dismay, I am more of a liquid soap kinda girl, and the stuff I pilfered from the Wentworth a few weeks back was not as carvable as the Ivory soap he had learned on). It wasn't long before we headed out to Wally World for some Ivory soap. Then the kids went to town:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Locks of Love II

Amelle made her second generous donation to Locks of Love today. Here is the new Amelle:She loves her new hair! She has been flinging it around and running her fingers through it all afternoon. I don't think either of us expected it to be as short as it is, but we're fine with it. The fact that she gave 10 inches less than 2 years ago and is able to give 10 again (with a 2" trim in between) means that her hair grows really, really fast. So it's all good. The added benefit of course is the ease in which we'll be able to comb her hair all summer. (It took Dirt 2 hours to get through half of her head on Thursday!) Oh, and because Amelle has so much hair, she was actually able to donate 2 10-inch ponytails!

Sunday Mornin' Dancin'

Since Dirt was out gallivanting around the seacoast last night until wee hours of the morning in search of Striped Bass who was loose lipped and looking for some action, he slept in this morning...which meant that we missed early service.
The kids used this as an opportunity to play and dance.

DJ Avery spun the organ tunes on the keyboard

while Amelle and Amaya worked the dance floor

The end.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

First Catch...I Eat My Words

Remember this statement: "…It’s not that I don’t think Dirt is going to catch a fish tonight, okay, if I’m honest, actually, it is." - this is where I take it back, cause the sucker caught one last night. Normally I'd have been a little peeved that he came home at 3:30am, but I didn't want to spoil his joy ( plus I felt an eensy bit bad about publically doubting him).

So here's the proof:

Friday, May 16, 2008

8 Years, 0 Vouchers, $4 Gas

Dirt: What’s going on with your blog, you haven’t updated it lately…I kept checking it today thinking that you would update it since you were off, but nothin’.

Me: I was busy having fun with my mom. I guess I could write one now, but nothing is coming to mind. I have a few blogs floating around my head, but they don’t surface when I have time or energy to write them.

Dirt: Tomorrow you can write one about how I caught my first fish. Actually you won’t have to write anything, you can just post the pictures.

…It’s not that I don’t think Dirt is going to catch a fish tonight, okay, if I’m honest, actually, it is. So here is a forced post, inspired (okay, written largely) by my two favorite columnists: Michael Medved & Star Parker, both who I agree with 86% of the time.

Have you ever read the book “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie?” I sort of had a moment like that today. I was thinking about these crazy gas prices, when I thought about the gas prices, it made me think about Bush and why I voted for him 3+ years ago. When I thought about why I voted for Bush I remembered the concept of school vouchers and the disgust I have for the way Dems treat minorities. Then I had a cookie and it made me want a glass of milk. No I didn’t, that was part of the original book.

Anyway, eight freakin’ years! That’s how long Bush had to get me my school vouchers and nothin. Nada. So here I am eight years later making a forced tax contribution to my local school system in addition to paying a whopping private school tuition, and to add insult to injury I’m now paying nearly 4 bucks a gallon while I drive my kids 30 miles a day to and from said private school. Vouchers were low lying fruit, I really don’t know why the President of the US couldn’t hook us up with them with the snap of a finger.

So instead of me stating my feelings in less articulate terms, here are some clippings from some columns that express my feelings and frustrations…

The liberal answer to this oppression, like all liberal answers, is simple and materialistic: You solve poverty by giving poor people money. It's considered cruel and crude to point out that long-term membership in the American underclass most often stems from dysfunctional behavior, criminality, out-of-wedlock birth, fatherless child-rearing, substance abuse, welfare dependency, television addiction, and so forth.

The black left has dominated black life and thinking for the last 50 years yet black family life is, on average, in much worse shape today than 50 years ago and black poverty persists.
Literally trillions of dollars have been spent since the 1960s to address poverty, both in the United States and in developing countries, in exactly the manner that Revs. Wallis, Sharpton, and Jackson suggest we should continue doing today. That is, to cast poverty not as something that individuals rise above and out of, but as something that bureaucrats spend other people's money on to eliminate.

…the likelihood of a black child in the United States living in poverty is five times higher if that child is living in a home headed by a single parent than in one headed by married parents. It is also true that the incidence of child poverty in homes headed by married parents is virtually no different between blacks and whites.

…[school] vouchers do not siphon off money from the public school system. However, they do cause the public school system to compete for those funds. Vouchers shift power to parents from bureaucrats.

At the heart of the problem is the failure to educate black children. And despite this clear failure, the NAACP fights change because change would challenge government control and would shift responsibility directly into our own communities and families.

Yes, it is incongruent that the nation's oldest civil rights organization opposes the right of black parents to choose where to send their child to school. And it is incongruent that those who celebrate a civil rights movement that was led by a black pastor insist that black children be trapped in schools where it is prohibited to teach Christian values.

Maybe one day the NAACP will wake up and recall that its mission is supposedly to expand not limit opportunities for black Americans.

What does all this mean?
1. Nothing
2. Dirt will probably never prompt me to write another blog post
3. I don't know who I am going to vote for because I think that all three frontrunners are losers.

Monday, May 12, 2008

From the Peanut Gallery II

Overheard from the playroom:

"Violence is not to hurt a human being Avery, and you should know this more than I do because I've never read a single word in the Bible" - Our 9 year old neighbor kid

My First Spanking

*A few months ago our family had the privilege of being invited to R & L’s house* for dinner. R & L are a warm and wonderful couple who we met at church. L is a “supermom” (not just one that is good at mothering, but I think she might literally wear a cape). She keeps an immaculately organized home, she homeschools (my dream), teaches piano, and she fosters ultra-healthful eating by grinding her own wheat, making bread that will help you poop and superfancy healthful (yet delicious) cookies that are suppose to actually help you lose weight (though I ate about 10 and didn’t lose anything). We love L.

L graciously shared* some resources on parenting and discipline, which I gobbled right up. Since I wasn’t disciplined as a child, I am always interested in learning how others go about shaping the will of their children (particularly when they have fantastically well-mannered children, like L & R do!). The topic of discipline* is actually an area that I had read up on early in my Christian walk, because by the time I got saved, I was already a parent of a “terrible two-year old” who was extremely strong willed. I dove right into James Dobson’s “Strong Willed Child” and some others by Swindoll and Tripp.

L showed me* a 12 inch glue stick with the words “use with love” written on it, that she used* to train her daughter. When her little one was willfully defiant, L would swat her hand with the stick*. After I expressed my difficulty with Maya’s temperament, L generously gave a glue stick of my own to take home.

I explained to L that although I knew from my reading that I should use something besides my hand to spank (so that the child would associate the pain with the “thing” and not me), I always opted to use my hand. I had never been spanked as a child, so when I began disciplining my kids, I felt that I needed to use my hand to help me gage the pain I was inflicting on their little bottoms. (Dirt laughs at my early attempts at spanking which essentially amounted to me tapping Avery’s butt with his diaper padding on.)

I accepted the glue stick*, but asked L to show me*, how she would use it*. She smiled awkwardly, hesitated, and asked me if I was sure. I was. I held out my hand and she turned it palm-side up and gently grasped my fingertips. Then she took her little “use with love” glue stick and slapped my* fingers with it*. My eyes got real big and I bit my lip, but before I knew it, she was going back for more! Two more strikes! Holy cow! I didn’t know it was a three-part deal! I tried to remain composed, “Yes, I see how that would be an effective deterrent” I managed to mutter out while I was assessing the throbbing pain in my left hand*. Then she shared with me that discipline is always done as an act of love and she always spends time holding her children afterward. I wanted to cry and be held, but I thought it would’ve been awkward, so I just bit my lip.

The reason why this blog is coming so many months later is because to this day whenever I think of L or the spanking incident I get tingling in the left side of my brain down to my hand. I am serious. In fact, as I starting typing this post I put an asterisk (*) every time I got the sensation so you could see how effective* the glue stick spanking methodology is! For a while I thought that maybe I had some neurological damage, but then Dirt laughed and told me that it was because I had never been spanked before. Then I acknowledged that not only had I never been spanked, but I had never been punished (no time outs, no groundings, nothing, nada, no consequences for actions).

…And you definitely don’t want to raise a child like me.

Editor's note: Though I haven’t actually used the glue stick to swat my kids, I did find that showing it to them and explaining the pain that it can cause and letting them know that I’m not afraid to use it on them, has been a wonderful deterrent.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Take me out to the ball game...

...More like "take me out of my misery". No, I know, that's not right. It's not the watching 8 - 10 year olds play baseball for 2+ hours that I find painstaking, it's the bugs, really it is. But why so many innings, I just have to ask.
Anyway, I borrowed Shaun's lens to see if I could get a close up of Avery. I am unhappy with these shots, but I figured that I would publicly post my failure instead of keeping it all to myself. See how incredibly selfless I am?

3rd base, not bad considering that the "base positions" usually go to the coaches kids (this particular team has 5 coaches, Dirt not being one of them)

..first in the batting order.

Favorite play of the game: Avery gets a double, then steals third after the 2nd baseman fumbles the ball, then he steals home (yes, somebody does need to teach this child how to slide). I start cheering "Good job Avery, way to go!", then the coach makes him go back to 3rd because the rule is that you can only steal one base when there is a fumble. I suck at cheering. It seems like every time I cheer, the play gets recalled or there is a foul involved. I'm working against the system, even though I don't mean to be. Last year Shaun scolded me for cheering when Avery stole the ball from another player during basketball (cause the kid who he stole the ball from has feelings too). Clearly I should just keep my mouth shut at all children's sporting events and let my "Go Avery" t-shirts do the talking for me.

Editor's note: For the record, I do know that fumble is generally a football term, but I wasn't sure what it's called in baseball.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Season Opener

Yesterday was the official season opener for our family: 1st trip to Fort Foster and Dirt's 1st fishing excusion.

Here are some shots of the kids swinging like there's no tomorrow.

Oh, and as I side note, Dirt didn't catch any fish, but he did pull in a 6 inch lobster (no, we didn't eat it)

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Avery's Favorite Commercial

I have to agree.

Makes me feel thankful to God for creating this amazing place for us!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Me? Conservative?

A few weeks ago while having lunch with Audra & Matt at O’Naturals in Portland, the following conversation ensued:

[Audra and Matt snuggling and sharing food similar to below pic]
A: It’s a good thing Shaun didn’t come to lunch with us
E: Yeah, he’d be horrified by all the PDA
M: Is your brother conservative?
E: Very, he’s the polar opposite of me.
M: Oh, then he’s liberal?
E: [dazed look on face while processing Matt’s inference] …still processing. Hmmm…how did I become the conservative one, especially compared to Shaun? I then tried to step outside of myself and see what Matt was seeing: I looked down at my starched white button down shirt, my black calf-length skirt, mary janes, and no make-up – I was a poster child for the Amish. I took a quick inventory of my life, hmm…married, Christian, professional, 3 kids …all by the same daddy – yup, pretty conservative.
E: Yeah, well I guess if the shoe fits….but Shaun is more conservative than me, just not politically.
M: [look of “whatever”]

How could I have been so caught off guard by this label?

The story actually began nearly forty years ago when my mother gave birth to a beautiful blonde haired bouncing baby boy. “He’s just perfect!” she proclaimed to my father as they cradled him in their arms. Shortly after my brother came along my mom had some health complications, which left her ½ of a kidney. (I’m sure I’m breaching all kinds of HIPAA laws here, but as you will learn, I’m the lawless one). Anyway, the doctors gave my mom some unfortunate news: “no more kids for you, with only a half of a kidney left, it’s not wise for you to carry any more babies”. My mom protested, “We really need to have another one, you see, the one we have is so perfect and so compliant, I’m afraid that we’ll never grow in our parenting skills if we only have this one flawless child”.

So…in an act of defiance, my mom got pregnant with me. Nine months later out I came (breach, of course), a screaming bundle of black hair (and I’m not talking just on my head, it was all over my body). My mom insisted that I was not hers because her son, who had been born just a few years before, was a beautiful blonde angel. The nurse re-checked the tag on my foot, apologized, and handed me back to my mother, who forced a polite smile.

Eventually the black hair fell out and my parents came to recognize me as their own. I grew up in the shadow of an older brother who was tall, handsome (except for the braces years), athletic, smart, polite, charming and most of all, normal. I, on the other hand, was a bit more “quirky”: there were the Madonna years, the hamburger years, the slamming my bedroom door years, the exercise years, the vegetarian years, the years I wore my clothes inside out, the punk rock years, the alcohol experimentation years, the yelling at my mother years, the no pork years, the pronouncing myself an atheist years, the tattoo year, the 3 colleges in 3 years years, the dropping out of college year, the ghetto dating years, the bartending in Key West year, the topless sunbathing year, the 2nd tattoo year, the Buddhist years, the movin’ to Boston year, the nose ring year, the movin’ to Philadelphia year, the million-mom march year, the walking over hot coals year, the meditation-channeling-universal-energy year….and then the year my family found strangest of all: the year I became a Christian.

I suspect the transformation to normal actually started around the time I got married and popped out baby #1. If you’re not careful, I mean, really cognizant of maintaining your composure, then marriage and babies can easily take you over and the next thing you know all of your shirts are stained and you refer to yourself as “mommy” (even to your husband).

The nail in the coffin for me was probably Christianity. Ironically for me, it was my open-mindedness that got me “to believe” in the first place. I was perfectly content being a atheist meditation positive energy person, but in the spirit of “open-mindedness”, I listened to what the Christian doctrine was all about because there is no harm in learning about what others believe. After it became obvious to me that I wasn’t God, I eventually acknowledged the true and living God and parted ways with some of my personal beliefs, which were mostly all “liberal”.

Just to demonstrate my point, let’s take homosexuality for example. I personally don’t care what gay people do, I don’t care if they get married, I don’t care if they hold hands in public, I don’t care if they make out on park benches, or dance to techno-music, or wear argyle socks, I really don’t care. I love gay people. However, according to my Bible, homosexuality is a sin. Therefore I can’t condone something that is a sin in the eyes of our Creator, just like I can’t condone stealing or adultery or hatred or any other sin (my own included). So its not that I’m being closed minded, it’s that I’m deferring to God’s judgment about certain things because I believe that as the Creator of everything, He really knows what's best. I’m not God, so what do I know?

Ironically, when I joined "the mainstream", I realized that the political correctness movement had taken over and although I was now officially “regular”, I wasn’t free to express my new Christian viewpoints without hearing about intolerance or how I was forcing my beliefs on others. I found it far more accepting to be “different” than it is to be “Christian”. Curious, right?

So here I am. I am declaring my normalness, my Christianity, my nuclear-family, and my social conservatism (but we’ll save that for another time).

As for answering Matt’s question about Shaun, I guess I don’t know what to say about him. He’s conservative in so many ways, but then liberal in others I suppose. I maintain that we are very much opposites, probably in the ways he is conservative, I'm liberal (PDA) and in the ways he's liberal, I'm conservative (welfare reform).