Saturday, January 31, 2009


Today we checked out Will, who was playing in the local rec basketball league.

...or more like, Will checked us out...

from the moment we showed up, he couldn't take his eyes off the kids

He was even checking "Auntie Camera" out, which is very rare, he normally refuses to look in my direction when I'm "armed" (which is almost always)

I couldn't help but notice that he was looking longingly into the bleachers almost the entire time...
that is, ALMOST, the entire time:

The boy put his game face on during the moment of truth and shot this ball with every ounce of heart, soul, mind, body, and strength...

...and sunk it!

...oh, and it's just a little nostalgic that he's on the orange team...

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Big One - Oh!

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Today Dirt and I are celebrating 10 years of marital bliss.
Here are some old school pictures Dirt scanned in:

Look at Dirt's goatee - he was going for a "look" ...but I don't think he ever fully achieved it. I wore that necklace last week.

This one is classic. Circa 1997. I look like I'm emaciated and Dirt is holding a broom, like he just conquered the sidewalk, or like he just landed on the moon and was staking his claim. ...maybe he was staking his claim, as the first African American in Derry, NH?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wheek One: Wheels

Last week (during a period of heightened delirium due to 15 hour work days), Audra asked me if I wanted to participate in a photo challenge, and I agreed (speaks to the degree of my delirium).

Week One's challenge was to take 10 photographs of "wheels". I have already failed, because I only have 9 photos. Let me set the stage for you: the deadline is today, I missed daylight, and had to go dig some wheels out of the toybox. Now that your expectations are level set, here they are (and please know that I am not proud of any of these). alphabetical order:

Amaya's Wheels

Florescent Wheels

Glass Wheel

Keepin' it Wheel

Lego of my Wheel

Ocean Wheel

Playing Wheels

Square Wheel

Used Wheels

So...which one do you like best?

Side Note: I just re-read the instructions and have come to realize that I have failed this assignment on several levels:
This week's assignment is wheels - the kind that get you from one place to another!. From fire trucks to tractors to mustangs - pick one vehicle and show your best 10 images or pick 10 vehicles and show me your shots... its up to you how you do it but submit 10 images. All images must be posted on your blog Wednesday January 28th by 10AM <-- Not 10PM

Monday, January 26, 2009


A few weeks ago, out of the blue, Maya decided to re-name herself.

She chose the name "Chipmunk".

She prefers that you address her by this name. "Chipmunk"

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Saturday, January 24, 2009


Today we did Saturday.

8am Basketball
(Note: Yes, the man in the background can pat his head and rub his belly at the same time.)

9am Dance

[no photo available]

1pm Nap on Sofa (the adults)

3pm Something Fun

Today we set out on a family adventure in search of fried dough. Easy in July. Not-so-easy in January. Our mission was unsuccessful, but not disappointing. We wound up at the Salisbury Beach arcade (which, btw, is not a place you'd let your kids out of sight in). There's just something about single stray men lurking around an arcade that gives me the heebie jeebies, I mean, you're an adult, why not save your quarters and buy yourself an xbox or a wii...or a life.

4pm Something Cold

We ran around Hampton Beach, because there really is no place like the beach on a 16-degree January day.

We finished the day off with some speed grocery shopping (boys vs. girls) ...girls won - of course...even though the boys only had meat & produce and girls had the entire store to cover. ahem. I love me some speed grocery shopping.

Today was Saturday. What did you do?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Miss Summer

I'm away for work, so I'm in a "missing" mood. It's only a short trip, but I miss Dirt and the kids.

We've been traipsing around slushy Boston sidewalks for the last two days in below freezing weather.

So...I also miss summer. And cookouts. And the beach. And bare feet. And ice cream that drips while you eat it.
What do you miss?
Editorial side note:
I'm on my work computer with limited pictures, so I apologize if you've already seen these pics when I originally posted them. If I were into naming pictures, I'd call this one "cousins". ...if I were into assigning really long and detailed names to pictures, I'd call it "cousins who's mothers ran around trying to find coordinating outfits for 7 kids ten minutes before the photographer showed up and who kept warning said children not to step in dog poop during the shoot".

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Review: From Ashes to Africa

I don’t think I’ve ever actually reviewed a book on this blog before. I know I’ve certainly shared my opinions on lots of other things, like PT Cruisers, McDonald’s Sweet Tea, Walmart and T-shirts that feed orphans to name a few, but interestingly, I don’t think I’ve done a book review before.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, I plotted and planned a blog about David EggersWhat is The What” last year, but never wrote it. It’s work to write a review – it’s much easier to slap up some pictures of Dirt wearing a pink shower cap and call it a day. Lazy blogger I am.

However, I recently purchased a book called “From Ashes to Africa” by Josh and Amy Bottomly. They are “regular people” (you know I love regular people) who wrote a memoir about their adoption experience. This peeked my interest because 1) they adopted from Ethiopia, and 2) I have been privately journaling my adoption (or not to adoption) experience as well. It’s such a warranted book because people in the process of adopting are voracious for details and in need of material to pass time quickly as they wait for their referrals, etc.

When I received the book on Friday there was a bookmark note inside asking "the recipient" to blog about the book once they finished reading it. The book was signed simply by “Josh” and “Amy". The ordering (which I did via e-mail) , the note, the signatures; zero pretension. I loved everything about receiving this book and could tell it was going to be authentic.

However, I have to be honest and admit that my first inclination was to put the book away for a while because I have been feeling disheartened about my own adoption/not to adoption experience and I didn’t want to be confronted with someone else’s "happily ever after" story. Plus, I had a book by Kay Warren on my nightstand that was suppose to be next in line. “From Ashes to Africa” would just have to wait.

On Saturday, while carrying the book upstairs to my nightstand for its place in the queue, I thumbed through it. It was written in short chapters, one by Josh, the next by Amy. By the time I had made it to my nightstand I had already thoroughly examined all of the photographs in the center of the book and read three chapters.

At that point I decided that I would just read this book first - real quick. In fact, I decided that I’d just start reading in the “Africa” section (the second half of the book), since “Ashes” really didn't really apply to me, clearly there is nothing about being infertile that I could relate to. (btw, I do that with books. I skip around. If I’m bored with something the author is getting at, I have no problem skipping a sentence, a paragraph or chapter. That’s how I read. Don’t judge me.)

I set the book down on my nightstand for later.

I headed to bed early Saturday night anticipating my new book. I opened the front of the book and started with the reviews, then the dedication, then the acknowledgements, then the table of contents, then the introduction, and before I knew it, I had read 100 pages.

Even though I've never experienced anything remotely close to infertility, I could relate to the Ashes section. This book isn't a "la la la - look how perfect our life is" story - Amy and Josh are real about their marital struggles, hopes, fears, triumphs, failures - and I was right there with them, relating. I was so impressed with their transparency. I found understanding about some aspects of my marriage through their understanding of theirs.

I finished the last 80 pages of the book on Sunday afternoon, less than 16 hours after starting the book (and less than 17 hours after deciding that I wasn't going to read it right away). I loved reading about the details of their adoption experience, from the "gotcha moment" to meeting Silas' young birth mom. This book was straight from the heart; it made me smile and well up with tears. I definitely recommend this book. You can learn more about it here, or keep up with the Bottomlys via their blog…the second journey looks like it is about to commence!

…”I had this deep down intuitional feeling that our time in Africa would equate to crossing the Rubicon and passing beyond a point of return. Both Amy and I were excited and terrified about this” - Josh

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Have a Problem

..several problems really, but this one I didn't know about until today.

I'm a book hoarder.

There, I said it. That felt good. The first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

I know that I enjoy a good book every now and then. Okay, maybe a little more than that. I devour books, like a T-Rex eating a Big Mac. This is how it works: I start reading a book and get obsessed with finishing it. Once I finish it, I hunger for the next. I often buy two or three books at a time and line them up to read.

I am also acutely aware that I like my books in paper form. I have no interest in Kindle or online books. I want good old fashioned paperback books. I love the smell of books, I walk into bookstores and inhale deeply, soaking in the perfect marriage between paper and ink.

I didn't realize that my little hobby had blossomed into a legitimate problem until I embarked on a mission to clean my nightstand, which I knew was getting unruly because last night, when I when to put my book down on it, I had to skillfully balance it on top of a multitude of other books, like a house of cards, or a high-rolling game of Jenga.

I'm not proud of this. And looking at this picture now, I'm not sure how I slept with this mess just inches from my head. (Sorry Mom).

When I dismantled the top of my nightstand this morning, I inventoried 26 books, 5 magazines, a stack of adoption brochures and paperwork, a lamp, a candle, a clock, a box of tissues, and a framed photo.

The reading material on my nightstand was not without rhyme or reason. Clockwise from the top left, we have an assortment of magazines, next is an assortment of books I've either just read or am about to read, then three Christian books I like to have handy for "pick up reading", then an assortment of Children's literature for my writing, and then an assortment of adoption-related materials. All very pertinent, but not all needed on my nightstand.

...but that's not all...

My three-drawered nightstand also contained books and magazines. Six more books and five more magazines to be exact.

When I arranged all of the reading materials on my nightstand in this fashion, it did seem to be a bit much.

But this story is not without a happy ending. I relocated the adoption brochures to one of the drawers, all of the magazines to the trash, and all of the other books (except for the one I am reading and the one I plan to read next) to the "family library" - in Dirt's office. Okay, I held on to my three Christian pick up books as well. But all in all, I'm okay with having 5 books in my nightstand (by the end of the day it'll only be four). Yay me!

So what's on your bedside table?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mr. Mom

You may've noticed that I've had a busy week (due to my apparent blog abandonment). It's been one of those weeks where work won the work/life balance battle.

This has resulted in Dirt having to take on more of what is normally the mommy role in our household.
The thing is...Dirt has his own way of "mothering" the kids.
...and these pictures are proof of that.
This is how Dirt watches the kids:

Right here, he's playing XBox Football with Avery. He has no idea what the girls are doing, but he senses that they are close by, and therefore safe.
He also senses that his eyebrows are extremely greasy.

But he won't know why until he checks this blog.

Happy Belated Birthday Baby! You're the best husband and dad ever!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tagged! Meme Monday:

This post is brought to you in part by ChurchPunkMom, who tagged me for a little Monday Meme:

Here are the rules:
1. go to your documents/pictures
2. go to your 6th file.
3. go to your 6th picture.
4. blog about it.
5. tag 6 people to do the same.
6. smile (I added a 6th rule, since the theme was sixes, I thought it was appropriate to have a sixth rule).

Okay, so this is a little lame, but at least it's not a picture of Dirt in his underwear (not that I have any of those - ahem).

This picture was taken for my book, Pilot and the Pea Pod. I was going to put together a "special edition" for Avery and Mina, who were my inspiration. This picture reminds me that I still need to do that.

When I get home I'll post the 6th from my home computer, maybe it'll be more exciting, or maybe it'll remind me about something else that has fallen off my to do list.

Update: Here's the 6th picture from my home computer:

Avery showing off his mad crazy dribbling skillz. Mad crazy, I say. (look at that blond kid in the background, his jaw dropped open, like "man how DOES that brother do that"?) OR, perhaps this shot is just me showing off my inadequate photography skillz. Seriously though, you try to take an indoor gymnasium shot of a bunch of 9-year olds running around like lightening, without flash, WITH a 3 year old hanging off your arm. Not that I'm making excuses or anything. Truth be told, I don't know how to get my camera to take this shot. I have about 100 pictures just like this on my computer, and you didn't even know that Avery was playing basketball because all of them are blurry...and not the good kind of blurry, either. You knew about football (outdoors), you knew about baseball (outdoors), sledding (outdoors), donut-eating (outdoors) - but not basketball. I've tried everything to get this shot sans flash. Everything. Audra, any words of photography wisdom for me here (aside from getting Maya to use her dad's arm as a monkey bar while I try to shoot)?

I'm tagging:


Smart Mouth Broad

Have fun ladies, you're "it"!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Last Hoorah

Dirt's dad is genius.

Either that, or he's just sort of disorganized, but let's go with genius.

The kids received a package from him in the mail today.

Christmas presents!

First, who doesn't like getting an unexpected package in the mail? Second, there was joy unspeakable as the kids tore through the box and opened their cards/gifts.

Here's the genius part: if those gifts had arrived on December 24th and had been placed under the Christmas tree along with all the other Christmas gifts, they wouldn't have been unexpected, and shamefully, the kids probably wouldn't even know who they were from.

But on January 10th, even the cards mattered. In fact...

...they were scrutinized. Here Amelle questions Dirt's dad's writing: "He writes small!"

...oh, and the musical Hannah Montana Christmas card - it must be killed....soon.