Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A View From The Pew

On Sunday, Shaun brought the kids to church for the first time. The following comments resulted:

Joelle: "Um, Auntie Erin...is it okay if we share seats?"
Me: "Yes, there are no rules in church"

Wendy to Mina: "How was church?"
Mina: "We had to sing songs about God and lambs"

Wendy to Will: "I like your craft"
Will: "We made it for the God"

I love these observations, they make me laugh. I remember thinking similar things before I was "churched". I thought there were a lot of rules in church, but after going regularly for the last seven years, I've realized there are actually none.

One time Dirt and I walked into our old church late, Dirt with his "large extra extra" and me slurping my iced coffee, which was all fine. ...until about half way through the sermon when the pastor mentioned that the congregation was fasting in preparation for the annual meeting. Oops!

Good times.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It Is Finished

These were Jesus' last words (John 19:30), as he hung on the cross, knowing that he was paying for the sin of the world. It is finished.

These are my words as we wrapped up the last of a 9-game, 2 tournament basketball weekend. It is finished.

Unfortunately for Avery, he actually finished mid-way through game 7, although truth be told, there were signs of an early finish during game 5.

Thursday - 1 game: 1 hour ride to NH for 6:30p game.
Friday - 2 games: 1 hour ride to NH for 6:30p game, followed by 1 hour ride back to ME for 2nd game 7:00p (already in progress, the coach literally split the team into 2 teams because of the overlap in games!. The first team arrived in time to play the 2nd half of the 2nd game!)
Saturday - 2 games (8:30a & 4:15p)
Sunday -4 games (9:30 in ME, 11:30 championship game in NH (1 hr away), 2:30 ME, & 4:00 2nd championship game)

The championship game in NH on Sunday morning was so stressful, two boys broke down into tears and Avery got hurt and needed to be carried off the floor by the coach. He had given up the will to move. They won by 3 points in overtime.

That's when the season officially ended for Avery. He did an FBI in the 2nd quarter of game 8 and within the first minute of game 9. FBI = Fake Bad Injury. He sat on the bench with an ice pack on his knee so that he wouldn't have to play again. It was a sad way to see such a great season end, but he's 9, and 9 year olds have their limits.

Overall, Avery had an amazing season. He's a talented basketball player with a great leadership on the court. He has great ball handling and ball placement. He sometimes needs to be reminded that he's not Chris Paul, but overall, he's a lot of fun to watch. He led his team in steals and assists. His team won 2 championships with undefeated records, and came in runner up in 2 championships.

This is how I found him at 5pm on Sunday afternoon:
We're so proud of you Avery!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Need Your Help

So here's the thing.

My company donated 89 jump ropes for our trip to Ethiopia. They're even the nice kind with wooden handles (which regrettably, means that they will also be used by boys an nunchucks).

I think we can all agree that this is fantastic news. I'm honestly beyond excited about it. However, there is one small hitch...
...they've asked me to blog my trip. Which of course, I was going to do anyway, right? I mean, I wasn't going to leave you all out here by yourselves while we're having all the fun in Africa. You're all coming with us, like in a virtual sense. That was the plan. That's what we all agreed to, right? We go, you guys check in. Remember, we all signed that one contract...the small print.

I digress.

Herein lies the problem. I have a job that requires me to act like a responsible adult, not the overgrown 12 year old that I actually am. The people I work with and this blog must never, ever, ever come in contact.

So, I've decided to start a new blog, just for journaling the trip. But what to name it? Wendy put forth some suggestions, none of which shall be used:

Two Girls in AA
Sheba Ain't Got Nothing on Us
Looking for Sponsors in AA
Dang it's Hot Here!
Two Hotties in the Horn
Who's Idea Was it to Bring *&@^!! Balloons?
Who Farted?
...and my personal favorite:
Do Not Feed Me That Piece of Raw Meat With Your Left Hand (in Eth, the left hand is used for "hygiene", the right is used for eating - sans forks. It's not uncommon for Ethiopians to feed each other by putting food directly into each other's mouths).

So, needless to say, I'm starting from scratch in picking out a name for the blog. Think responsible adult. I work for a health care company that cares about humanitarian effort. Let that be your guide, your inspiration.

Go! Create! Leave comments with your suggestions!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Animal Experimentation

Wendy had this great idea for us to learn how to make balloon animals for the kids in Ethiopia.



So we researched the special balloons needed and got ourselves about 500 of them and a fancy little balloon pump, so we could be all professional-like.



The problem we've run into is that money can't buy skill.



Dirt laughed at me for even thinking that I could learn to manipulate these things into animals. I just figured, "how hard can it be, clowns can do it!?".

Pictured above, is a little creation I like to call "bunch of butt cheeks"



...and this one shall go unnamed, for if I were to name it, I would not be allowed to work with children.

Yes, I will continue to practice. My goal is to perfect the dog, the giraffe, and the "flying mouse" - which are all variations of the same technique.

Pray for me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Geez

Now I feel bad about complaining...
'cause victory sure is sweet!

The trophy moment!

Celebrating with teammates

Celebrating with coach

Tales of a 4th Grade Basketball Mom

This is our weekend.

Every weekend.


I'm not complaining


I'm just sayin'.


3 games yesterday


2 games today



...an hour drive into the deep woods of New Hampshire



the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning

...it's all suffering



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Real Life

Real life. It ain't always pretty.



I like this photo because it's so Saturday. It's so regular life.

Have you ever played that game where you look at a picture and try to pick out all the things wrong with it? ..like a man is wearing a monkey on his head, and the sun is actually an orange. This is like one of those pictures, it's wrong on so many levels - but it's just a captured moment of our life. ...and life isn't perfect, but I think that's why it's so good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Week 7: The Weekend

This week's photo challenge was "the weekend".



I just don't typically see things like this during the week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jump Ropes, Crayons, Vitamins, Oh My!

We're officially less than one month away from our departure for Ethiopia! We'll be visiting 5 orphanages, where we'll spend time with 500+ orphans! (boy, my 3 kids will be a piece of cake after this trip!)

So many people have asked what they can do or how they can contribute to this trip, so we’ve researched and corresponded with folks who are there and those who have been, and have come up with the following list of items that we’d like to bring to Ethiopia with us:

Children’s Underwear (new - sorry, it never hurts to state the obvious)
Flip Flops
Balls
(soccer or bouncy – as long as they can be deflated for travel) – we’re bringing a hand pump!
Jump Ropes
School Supplies (educational posters, flash cards, crayons, pencils/sharpeners & books) – in English.
First Aid Supplies (band aids, Neosporin, hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment packets, antiseptic wipe packets, etc.)
Children’s Vitamins (non-gummy)

We are also accepting financial donations that can be used one of two ways:
1) given directly to the orphanage director, or
2) to purchase Ethiopian coffee, spices, or keepsakes to bring home for you. We’d like to spend as much money as possible while we’re there so that we can help bring American dollars into their economy.

Thank you for wanting to support "the least of these".

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why I Care: Flora

From Kay Warren's "Dangerous Surrender":

Flora lived in a tiny house, but at least it was a house. She cried softly as she told me her story. Her husband had an affair and got his mistress pregnant. He discovered that he was HIV positive, his mistress was HIV positive, and their newborn baby was HIV positive. Then Flora found out that she was HIV positive as well; her husband’s unfaithfulness had brought HIV home. To add insult to injury, her unfaithful husband insisted that his mistress and her baby move into the tiny house with him, Flora, and their three children. When I met her, Flora was living in that dreadful situation.

Once again, my faith had not prepared me to minister to anyone facing the challenges she faced. I managed to croak out the words, ‘How can I pray for you? I’m going back to my country, and I would like to tell my friends about you. What can I ask them to pray for?”

I expected her to say, “Pray that my rat of a husband kicks his mistress out of my house”, or “Please ask your friends to send me some money for medication”, or "Would you ask them to pray that I get well?” Instead, she made the heart-wrenching request I’ve heard repeated by mothers around the world, “Would you ask them to pray for my children? Who will take care of them? No one will want them when they find out I’ve died of AIDS”.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Confirmed

Santa Claus does not actually reside at the North Pole, but in Kittery, Maine.



I caught him outside of his home this morning.

This is obviously the real Santa, because it's the middle of March, and we all know that by March, all things Christmas are put away.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Next Week's Photography Challenge


Here's the IM message:

Moore, Erin:
What's this week's photography challenge? The people want to know. They demand to know.
Bayette, Audra:
This weeks challenge is "The Weekend"
Moore, Erin:
What does that mean? More detail
Bayette, Audra:
Nope - that is it


Go, be fruitful, let your photographs multiply!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dear Wendy,

Please don't make me wear this when we go to Ethiopia.

Love,
Truly Horrified

P.S. Dirt is already plotting to steal this from me for fishing purposes, he says he has no shame when it comes to fishing (but we already knew this, ahem, bike-riding to remote fishing spot)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Week 6: I Hate Cooking

This week's photography challenge was food.

Since I hate cooking and waited until the last minute to take pictures (and it was rainy and overcast in Maine today) this is what you're stuck with:

Dinner

(just kidding)

(maybe)


Jello

Cold Gold





Chocolate Cross

Weird, I know. But this isn't a new theme, people. Chocolate and crosses have gone together since the beginning of the commercialization of Easter. This is simply a new twist on an old concept. That's all. Nothing more.
Okay, I know you hate it, but have you ever tried to make a cross on a wrist using Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips? Well, then don't judge. Maybe it was fun. Especially when the chips kept slipping off as I was yelling at reminding Avery to be still and he was laughing and more chips were falling off, and chocolate was starting to melt and well...you had to be there, it was a nice mother/son bonding experience.

Lips

Can you guess what food she's eating? (It's not ice cream)

Check out some of the others who are playing along with this ridiculous challenge. Go for it, check 'em out. You made it past the chocolate cross, I'm quite certain the worst is over:

Nancy

Audra

Erica (scroll down)

Trish

Mae

Monday, March 09, 2009

Then & Now

Saturday:



Today:



Spring, where art thou? Why hath thou foresaken me?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Little Pinch

Today Wendy and I ventured out to the local travel clinic to get our vaccinations for Africa.
The doctor handed each of us a 4 pound stack of papers and spent 45 minutes describing every imaginable disease, most of which are marked by either diarrhea or death.
After learning about so many different ailments, we were actually relieved when the nurse came in armed with 9 shots.

We were each vaccinated against 7 diseases, which required 5 shots (Wendy only needed 4 because she already had a tetanus booster), and a prescription (we opted for the pill Typhoid vaccination over the shot).
Avoiding the remaining diseases will be need to be accomplished by prudent travel practices, like staying away from all water, food, people, insects, and animals.
No problem.

Friday, March 06, 2009

My Brudah

Last week Ariel (who is now 15 - can you believe it?) spent the week with us. One day, while she was watching the kids there was a minor "incident". I can't even begin to tell you what actually happened because there are several versions of the story, none which are noteworthy nor fully believable.



However, there is one fact that all four eyewitnesses agree on.



The "incident" culminated with Avery and Ariel arguing back and forth.

...we later found out that during the entire exchange, Maya stood by Avery's side, shooting Ariel with nerf bullets.

Don't mess with her "brudha".

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Oh Jermaine...

This post may fall under the category of “only funny to the writer” or “had to be there”, and honestly I’m not sure if I can even write well enough to convey this story, but here goes.

We’ve been attending our current church, since we moved to Maine 2 ½ years ago. Our church may have one other black guy besides Dirt, but I think he goes to the 2nd service. Furthermore, Dirt thinks that guy is actually biracial, I don’t know. For all I know, Dirt may just be trying to preserve his status as the only full blooded African American at our church, but I’m not here to speculate.

Early on, Dirt was approached by a 65ish year old woman. She introduced herself and asked Dirt his name. She told him that she was sure she would remember it because he’s the only black guy at church. She hugged him and welcomed him warmly.

The following week she approached Dirt again and asked him his name, she had forgotten. He smiled and told her his name and she said, “Boy, you’d think I’d remember, since you’re the only black guy here”. Hug.

By the third or fourth week she had gotten it, “Jermaine”. This was the first week I had the privilege of meeting her and I even gave her a memorization tip, “Jermaine in Maine”. She asked me my name and I told her. We all celebrated her success in remembering Dirt’s name, she gave hugs and all was well.

By the six month mark she would pursue Dirt with open arms and proudly say “Hello Jermaine (extra emphasis on the Jermaine), I betcha didn’t think I would remember your name”. Hug.

By the end of the first year, we would spend the last moments of service praying that we wouldn’t see her on the way out. You get the picture. The charade was getting old.

Last week after bible study on Wednesday night she spotted him. She smiled and came right over to us.
“You’ll never believe this” she dangled.
Not being one to placate people for the sake of social grace, I blurted out, “You know his name”. Then evil thoughts crept in: Lady, it’s been over 2 years, it’s no longer a surprise that you know his name. Know what would really be a surprise? If you knew mine.
“It’s Jermaine!” she exclaimed, my comment obviously had no bearing on the course of the conversation. The show would go on as planned; there was no stopping it.
Then Dirt, in a desperate attempt to shift her focus off of him, give her a new challenge, “I bet you don’t know her name” he said, pointing to me.
“Can you believe it?” she said, completely ignoring him. “I finally remembered! ..It’s only taken me like, what, a year? ..and how many other black guys are there?”.
Then predictably, she opened her arms and went in for the hug. That’s when I figured it out. The name thing is just a ploy to get the hug. She’s after the hug.

Tonight as we were exiting bible study, Dirt headed down the hall towards the foyer. He spotted her and quickly turned around and headed back into our bible study room until the coast was clear. As he turned the corner to the room he heard it, “oooohhh Jerrrmmmmaiiinnnnee…” she called down the hall. Dirt boldly ignored it and frantically searched for someone to strike up a quick conversation with. She called again, “Jerrrmmmaiiinnneee”. He turned and she was coming after him with arms wide open.

Dirt and I have conjured up all sorts of deviations that we’d like play on her. Our favorite one to rehearse is telling her that his name is not actually Jermaine, that it’s Jimmy or Frank.

Another version of that game is to get all offended and flip the race card on her, "What? Just because I’m black you think I have an ethnic name?”

Another one is Dirt pinching her butt when she goes into hug him. I mean, it’s been 21/2 years and they’re still on first base, let’s progress this thing. Okay, this one is my idea.

So much for tonight’s bible study lesson on loving others. Uhg. I need Jesus.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Randomography"

Since there is no photo challenge this week, I thought I'd post some random photography, or as Reverb likes to call it, "randomography".

Down the street
This lighthouse is not far from our house. I haven't seen it since fall. I miss it.


60 Degrees of Separation
We don't get all that many 80 degree days in Maine, lately it feels like all we've stuck in a 20 degree day rut! ...but when we do get 80 degree days, this is how they're spent. I miss 80 degree days.


Hard & Soft
What's hard and soft at the same time? Beach Rocks! I love them. They are all over my house. I think I literally have at least one beach rock in every room of my house. Wow, weird, I never thought about that until just now. The kids and I always try to find heart-shaped ones - those are THE BEST! I miss searching for heart-shaped beach rocks.



Lunch Break
This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. Sadly this one was lost during the hard drive crash of 2008. Fortunately I was able to salvage it from my blog, but the resolution isn't that great. I loved this day - I was working from home and the kids and I skipped out for a quick picnic lunch. It was fabulously windy by the ocean and I bribed the kids (with ice cream) to run around with their towels while I snapped away the kids just frolicked carelessly along the grassy, sailboat littered shoreline. I miss having lunch by the ocean.

Chillin'
No summer time outing is complete without ice cream. New Englanders are crazy about ice cream in the summer. Must be something about finding comfort in all things cold...I don't know. I love when the kids have to furiously lick the sides of their ice cream cones because the heat is melting the ice cream so quickly that it's running down the side of the cone, drenching their cheap little 1-ply napkins, and making their fingers sticky. It's a bit of frenzy, but I miss it.

Jump!
The kids are fortunate to have four grandparents who are willing to play infinite rounds of the jump game, no matter how sore their arms will be the following day. I miss Grandparents.

It must be March in Maine. March is the worst month of the year. It's still very much winter in Maine, but everyone is tired of the cold & snow, and ready for spring. However, Spring is actually the first three days of June in Maine, so we have a long way to go. Blah. I miss summer!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Blog Love

I love you girls. I know boys read this too, but I love the girls today, specifically the ones who commented on Sunday’s post.

There was just so much man trashing (and rightfully so) in the comments section of that post - seriously, it needed to come with a warning to men!

The other thing I loved was that 50% of the comments told me not to “sneeze at” my little 17.5 pounds. Dirt and I laughed about this, we wondered about the affiliation between scoffing at weight loss and sneezing, or did you all just fall into some group think?

“But hey, Missy, 17 1/2 lbs is nothing to sneeze at either.”

“Seventeen and a half pounds is nothing to sneeze at sistah”

“17.5 pounds is nothing to sneeze at”


In any event, I promise to take some Benedryl before I complain about my weight loss in front of you sisters again.

They say that people berate other people because it makes them feel better about themselves. I think this actually works! Not that I'm endorsing this as a self-preservation strategy, but Dirt was a little down last night but I was feeling great, I even did some karate kicks around the house yesterday (which is probably why my butt is sore today). ..or maybe Dirt retaliated by spanking me while I slept last night? Hmmm.

Anyway, thanks for the encouragement.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t at least try to stick up for Dirt a little bit – the man did go to the gym 6 days a week for 12 weeks, I’ll give him a little credit. Here it is: credit.

Okay, and here's another "before" picture of Dirt, hopefully this one is a little less "Shrek"...

------>

Separated at birth? You decide:

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Time's Up!

I read a lot of blogs where the wives portray undying love for their husbands, well I'm here to keep it real, I hate Dirt.

On December 1st, Dirt and I began "a 90-day program" to each drop 30 pounds. We were both at our highest personal weights and it was clearly time to take some sort of action. Dirt picked a program that seemed to suit him (Body for Life) and I picked a program that I could live with (Weight Watchers).

This is where that hate part comes in.

The first week on the program Dirt lost 9 pounds. NINE pounds. I lost 2. Yeah, TWO. And so the weeks passed...I finally reached the 9 pound mark after 7 weeks of dieting.

Dirt would try to hide his weight loss from me, while I celebrated every single pound. One day when I was particularly discouraged, he offered a suggestion, "Babe, why don't you try cutting down on your carbs, I've heard that some people just don't process carbs like others do and maybe that's you, maybe carbs are your enemy".

"Oh really? So I should go on an all-vegetable diet, is that it? [feel the sarcasm]. Since I don't eat meat, if I were to cut out carbs then there would be nothing but vegetables left, I guess that would be an effective weight loss plan, but I'm not doing it. It's not sustainable. I hate you, you...you...you weightLOSER!" Okay, I didn't actually say that last part, but I thought it.

Dirt didn't try to give me any additional weight loss tips after the low-carb suggestion.

So today is goal day - the big 3 month mark. Dirt has lost 35 pounds, and I...well I lost half that much.

I'd love to show you before and after pictures, but Dirt's were taken while he was in his underwear and frankly, Dirt at 240 pounds in his underwear is not something you want to see. I mean, 240 pounds is a lot of hotness to handle and I'm not sure you people are ready for that. I'm going to take his "after" picture today, but I won't be posting that either, because he really is kinda hot now and well, he's all mine.
***here are the before and after pics of Dirt (I cropped out most of his hotness for you):

Oh, and me, I really just look the same.

So we're taking today off and hopping back on the plan tomorrow. This way of eating/exercising really just needs to be our way of life. Neither of us has reached our goal weights (though Dirt is very close), but we're better off than we were before.

Now you see why I hate the man I love. Wouldn't you?