Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cutest. Hedgehog. Ever.

Jamie's little fellow, Dobby.
Definitely the cutest, most fun hedgehog I have ever known.
Hedgehogs rock.
oh yeah...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Super fabulous wedding.

My super-fabulous cousin married an equally super-fabulous fellow a couple of weeks ago and they were kind enough to invite our whole team to their beautiful nuptials.
They included every single one of us, which was so sweet. I know how tough it is adding a family of 8 to the guest list so we were thrilled to attend as a whole rowdy unit. 
My dear aunt explained that the bride and groom hoped that their wedding day would include a lot of kids in their celebration. They liked the idea of a big family celebration of all ages which was completely terrific for us. It was our younger kids very first wedding, and they really loved the whole experience.  At the end of the evening, Lily remarked that she liked how the wedding was two different events. 
 This is how she explained it...
 "First it was all serious with a lot of promises and thinking and talking- and then after that was over it turned into a disco dance party. It was the most fun wedding disco dance I have ever been to!"

Some photos from the evening...

 Dave at the alter.
I really enjoyed his expression as he caught his first glimpse of Sally.
You can almost see the little thought bubble of "wowsa!" over his head.
We all agree... she is completely stunning.

Rosie and Anna
The wedding venue hosted a gorgeous view of the city, but the best photo I got of these two was in the parking lot with a light pole popping out of Rosie's little head.  Sorry, ladies.

 Rosie and her bestie enjoying their root beer floats on the patio after the cool was it that the cocktail menu included root beer floats for kids of all ages?

The ladies, taking a break from the festivities and enjoying each others company on the hillside.


The kids were all given party favors with little treasures of crayons and cameras and this very fun scavenger hunt. The kids had a great time scavenging for a list of fun items such as two shiny shoes and a beautiful smile, and then collecting those things on disposable cameras.
Did I mention that this was a night of celebration with kids in mind?

And sparklers!!!
The coolest thing was that the sparkler station was policed.. a few of the wait staff stayed close by to help the kids and make sure that they didn't catch themselves or each other, on fire. The kids sparkled for hours while their parents (me!) could leave them and know that they were well attended. Sparkle on James!

Dave's family is of Korean descent...Sally honored this by looking pretty darn spectacular in her wedding hanbok.

The guests were directed to the wedding with seriously cute signage... love this.

My girls really enjoyed the  post nuptial dancing... here are Rosie and Lily busting some moves, although their favorite songs were by Beyonce and Justin Bieber which were graciously allowed to be played. Not every brand new Mr. and Mrs. would let the Biebs come to their reception. My kids couldn't have been happier that their musical requests were actually played in public.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Somewhere in Europe...

Somewhere in Europe in July of 1979, my Mom took this photo of my Dad. 

This was NOT their rental car. 

It was an unlucky little car that he was posing with for comedic effect. Since my dad sells car insurance, they thought this pose would be especially funny. I love this photo- it totally cracks me up and I can imagine the two of them staging it.
 I also appreciate that the photo is blurry because of my mom's giggle fit as she snapped the photo. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lily and Mr. Paganini

Lily has been working on a piece by Paganini for about three months now which means that everyone else in the family has heard little parts of Paganini in addition the intensely annoyed sounds of a frustrated ten year old girl.
In short, having Mr. Paganini around has been tough on all of us. Particularly Miss Lily, of course.
When she played her school recital in May, she made what she called a "big mistake"... truthfully, I didn't notice because she continued playing and didn't seem rattled. All of the problems that happened during practice at home were accompanied by her mad little feet stamping in anger along with a teary red face. Since that didn't happen at the recital, I assumed everything was cool.
I was wrong. 
The following week she was set to play the same piece for the youth service at church. 
She practiced all week but still had a tough time getting all the way through without mistakes.
On Sunday morning, Karl (our in-house violin cop) told her that she needed to play through it twice without mistakes before she could pack up and go. 
That didn't happen- she had some problems and got upset and we figured that it would be better if she arrived at church not crying her eyes out. 
That's why it was something of a miracle when she made it through the entire piece without incident. She started playing and her eyebrows climbed really high and stayed that way. She looked scared. She didn't blink. She didn't breath. But she didn't make a mistake. When she was finished playing she paused for just a second.. took a breath and sighed "whoa."
It was by far the proudest, most relieved "whoa" I think I have ever heard.


Monday, June 13, 2011

I Need a Headshot by 4:00

"Mom... I need a headshot of myself for the show in workshop."
"Ok... when do you need it?"
 On any given day moms never know what they will be asked to produce on short notice. 
In this case I think Mary's actors headshot turned out pretty well having been taken in our impromptu back porch studio a couple hours before it needed to be in.

Here is the progress of our attempts in getting a keeper.

We thought too "picture day-ish" for the theater.

Ok... less picture day but a little too posey.

I think this will work, but Mary thinks it might need to be in black and white...

Yay for digital, where the black and white option is a click away!

Here is my own personal refrigerator copy.

 Ok... so I may have coerced her a bit into autographing one with the "best mom ever" stuff- but I do have some demands of my own.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shoes and Mags

 Shoes and Mags at age 13

My teenage nickname was always Mags... by besty bud's nickname was Shoes. No one knows for for how the name "Shoes" was acquired but there are a few different theories... likely, it was given to her because her true last name sounds similar to "shoes" but two more possibilities exist...
  Erika often misplaced her Shoes (who doesn't?) resulting in impromptu song with the lyrics "...where are Erika's shoes?" 
Or, Erika could have become Shoes been from this strange but true on vacation request from my brother's friend Todd... 
"Quick- Erika, give me your shoe, there is a squirrel on the patio and I want to see if I can whack it..."
Erika happily obliged and gave him her shoe... I can't remember if Todd beaned the squirrel, (probably not) but the nickname stuck.


While on that same historic vacation to Hilton Head, Shoes and I at age 13 were both itching for adventure and, I'm sure driving my parents to the brink of drink after a few days of family togetherness. So they did what any wise parents would do and put us on an all day boat trip to Daufuskie Island, a rustic little Gullah island across the sound from Hilton Head.   

We armed ourselves with my new Polaroid One Step camera, a backpack style oversize purse, and cute sweaters and boarded a tour boat called the Vagabond for our hour long boat ride to adventure. 

 I had just read the The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy and also had seen the John Voight movie based on the movie so I am sure I considered myself an island expert and was super obnoxious with my new found knowledge. I'm surprised Shoes didn't throw me off the Vagabond before we arrived on the island. 

When we arrived, we entertained ourselves by taking photos of each other in the parking lot. Shoes is a far better poser rockin' her gym shorts.
I was less good...why did I ever think this was a fun/cool pose?

I think that I was trying to show the correlation between the size of the outhouse and the abandoned Daufuskie home.  I am sure that I thought of this Polaroid photography as poignant social commentary that might upset the world with the truths I was uncovering. 
Shoes and I were very edgy.

"Hey Shoes take my picture in front of this abandoned house...

 and now I'll take yours." 

I love that Shoes then autographed her Polaroid... how cool is that?

There are a few dates that you learn during your childhood that you will never forget. For me June 8th is one of those days to remember because it is my best bud's birthday.
Have a great final day of teaching those lucky first graders-
then at 3:30 this afternoon...

Shoes and Mags at age 13 + 30 years

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


The Most Awesome BabyChicken Ever!
We recently discovered that I am quite the terrible hen and Karl, not such a great rooster, when it comes to the number of chickens we can hatch, but we are very good when it comes to chicken quality.

Meet our new awesome chick, gender yet to be determined.

As an interesting science-y experiment, we thought we could hatch chicken eggs in our basement incubator. We had fabulous success a few years ago when 11 out of 12 bumblebee size quail happily emerged from their tiny little specked eggs on their due date. So easy, so fun, we thought.
Not so much with the "assorted bantam eggs" that we ordered, received via US Mail and set in the incubator with far too much confidence.
Only one little guy hatched...or perhaps gal, we don't know know his gender yet, but are hoping for a girl. The lady chickens at Ping's future flock (or any chicken flock, really) have a more practical skill set as egg layers whereas the roosters just strut about and cause problems. Consequently the fellows have a waaaaay shorter lifespan.
The kids named him Ping and have been completely doting on him ever since he hatched. He has done his job as a good little chick and has not died after 2 weeks of being extremely well loved by his surrogate kid parents.
Of course they wanted to take him to school to show off his cuteness and because they have kind and patient teachers... the chicken spent a day in the second grade.

I have heard that only children do better in academic situations and tend to score higher on tests. Maybe due to more parental involvement and coaching, don't know for sure.  However, I do think that if tested, Ping would definitely score in a higher percentile then his chicken peers.

Proud papa Jamie and young Ping... 
(pay no attention to the little girl in the background possibly deleting vital school data) 

Ping's newly hatched photo... surrounded by his lesser brother and sister eggs.  
Ping at 2 days... adorable and lonely for the chicken siblings he will soon meet in his new flock.