Saturday, January 5, 2008

Stop and Enjoy the Butterflies

The boys and I went to the Durham Museum of Life Sciences today. We have a membership. The last time we were there was 9/1/2007. And, on 1/13/2007, we went with Patricia, Jacob and Timmy.
It's always a really fun time there. They have a great outside playhouse area including a fireman's pole. There's a red caboose to hang out in. If you're in the mood for sand, there's a sandbox complete with Tonka trucks. There's even an exhibit where the kids can make 'music'. My boys excel at that one!

You can also visit with some farmyard animals, ride the train, or visit the butterfly house. In the main building, you can learn about the space race (NASA stuff) or do a lot of neat scientific experiments.

Like I said, it's always a really fun time, and one of the hilights for us is always riding the train. The train engineer was kind enough to offer to take a pic of me with the boys.

I also took time today to build with the wooden blocks that they always have. Seems like we've never had time before. I found it to be quite relaxing, and the boys were enjoying watching me build. I had it going so good that I was laying down blocks with my left and right hands at the same time...FAST:-)

If you haven't been in a while (or ever), dontcha want to go now?

Today's Pics

September 2007 Pics

Friday, January 4, 2008

Why I Like Rocks

When Dad had the house in Trenton built, he either told the builder to leave the big rock in the middle of the front yard, or they left it because it wasn't movable...not sure. Dad?

I LOVED that big rock growing up. I can't find a good picture of it, but there was the most beautiful mimosa tree next to it. You know, the tree with the pink feather flowers and the long seed pods. As you can see in the pic with my dog, Shawnee, I spent a lot of time just sitting on that rock thinking as a kid. The warmth of the sun would radiate off the rock in the spring and fall and feel so good.

Poppop, my mother's father, spent some time in Williamsport, PA working one year. We hauled home smooth round rocks to put around the foundation of the house in Trenton. They were pretty purples and reds. Wish we'd moved them.

When I moved into the house in Willow Spring, I was thrilled to find BIG rocks in the woods behind the house. I spent many a day going down to the creek a couple hundred yards behind the house and carrying, pushing, pulling...moving anyway that I could...big quartz rocks up to the main yard. It didn't matter that I had carpal tunnel. It didn't matter that it was uphill. It didn't matter that some of them were 100lbs. Sometimes I had to ask for help. Nobody quite understood my need to get the rocks up to the yard.

Here's a picture of the garage side pond right after I installed it in 1999. All the rocks around the pond came from the woods nearby.

Joey in September 2006. The rocks behind him are all from the woods too.

I'm still trying to fill some gaps in the line of rocks on the garage side of the house, so Debbie and I have come back from yard saling with rocks too (November 2007).

There's a big quartz rock lying on the side of the road on Kildaire Farm Road where they are expanding the road. If there was a place to park and a way I thought I could quickly lift it alone, it would be mine! Realistically, this one is too big and the area it is in is unsafe to stop in. But, the next time you see a big rock as you drive down the road, think of me, and if you can possibly stop and grab it, I'd love to have it;-)

It's a Beautiful Sunset

Well, the song goes..."It's a beautiful morning..." but you get the gist.

I saw some whispy looking clouds to the west coming in from preschool with the boys today around 1:30PM, and that motivated me to go back out at 4:30PM in search of great sunset pictures. I tell Joey that we're going to 'chase' the sunset 'cause that's essentially what we do. We get in the car late afternoon and search for an interesting location with a good view of the horizon and some cool trees silouhetted in front of the son.

Today we headed out the back of the neighborhood down Barber Bridge Road and onto Rock Service Station Road. We hadn't gone this way before. We left with plenty of time to spot out a few locations and move between them. Sometimes I have to get crafty about where to park the van. Often I don't get out. However, I do have to fuss at Johnny not to kick my seat while I'm trying to shoot. Can you imagine the blur?

I'm happy to say that I was able to find some cool spots and get some pics that I'm proud of. Mostly, we just had fun.

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them for you to look at.

Sunset Pics

Mommom's House Continued

I spent some time scanning in the shots I took on my trip to New Jersey over Christmas break in 1991.

I captured most of Mommom's house, my old neighborhood, the town near my childhood home, and the elementary school that I went to. I also have a few pics of a visit to see Barabara and John Szerszen and their son Douglas. Barbara and John lived across the street and were very good to me. Maybe by the 20 year anniversary of these pics I'll make it back up there and see how things have changed.

If you'll expand 'more info' on the right as you scroll through the pics in the album, you'll see detailed filename descriptions of what you're looking at vs. comments.

You Know It's Cold in NC When...

You know it's cold when...

All the kids at the nearest bus stop are waiting for the bus in their parents' heated cars.

All the camelias have wilted leaves. Don't worry. They perk up as soon as the sun hits them.

Seriously, this dog walking thing at 7:30AM when it's 19 degrees out is nothing short of dedication.

Pictured is what REALLY cold really looks like. It was so cold in New Jersey in the winter of 1977 that the Delaware froze over! I had fun walking on the ice as Dad took pictures. Somehow I have this memory of Dad joking about taking the Pontiac out on the ice to test how solid it really was. Gulp! We had recently traded in the 68 for the 77. No way! The Delaware does not freeze over every year near Trenton! This was news even in NJ.

Bundle up this morning...again.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Quest for Treasure

I love to yard sale and go to thrift stores. It's no secret to anyone that knows me. Most Saturdays of the year, I get up at 5AM to meet up with my good friend, Debbie, at daylight to head out looking for a bargain. I don't even get up that early to go to work or to get the kids to school! You can tell I'm motivated. I love that Debbie goes with me, we have a really good time together, but sometimes she can't go...I usually go anyway. Sometimes I even try to snare some other innocent friend to give up their Saturday morning with a promise of what can be found. Rarely do we come home empty handed. And, we always have fun.

The picture above is from September 2006. Debbie and I had a great haul that morning. The bike went to Eli. We've since moved up to taking the Odyssey instead of the CRV. I'm over it being new and big and we need the space!

Now, what I really wanted you to know is that this comes from my mom's Mommom. You see, we went to her house at least one day a weekend most weekends as long as we lived in NJ which was about the first 10 years of my life. She supported by collecting yard sale (she called it rummage) stuff in her garage and then holding a big sale as a fund raiser when she had an ample supply of items. As a little kid, I automatically gravitated to the hidden treasures in the garage when we visited. There were many plastic bags and boxes that generous people donated. I don't remember any thrift stores...just Mommom's garage.

It seemed like I would spend hours in that garage. The adults would all be talking and doing their thing. It probably wasn't as long as I remember. But, I'd come in all excited with the latest cool thing I'd found in this bag or that box. I imagine I talked then about as fast as Joey does these days about his finds...a sparkle in my eye. By the end of the visit, I had a nice pile. Mommom would go through the stuff with me and let me take most of what I wanted...then she'd put in a generous donation for what the stuff was worth.

Mommom and I had some troubles later on in life, but I'll always remember her fondly for her passion of helping others and letting a little girl search for treasure.

Mommom with her hair down (and bat in her hand at my birthday party...

The garage... The house...

Unfortunately, Mommom (and Poppop) has passed away, and her house has been sold. A truly low point in my life. Somehow I always thought I could keep that 'Cinderella' house intact forever. I didn't want this vase or that chair...I wanted it to stay as it was forver. It was 1991 when I last saw the house. I'm sure it's changed a lot with the new owner, but I hope to see it again...and remember among other things...searching for treasure.

More entries about good childhood memories there are sure to come. If you're interested in seeing more pictures of the house, you can look here:

Happy TLG Kids

Thursday is The Little Gym (TLG) day and CFA (Chick-fil-A) day at our house. Just like school, the kids had been on break from TLG for 2 weeks. The 5:30 class slot on Thursday nights (Funny Bugs) hasn't worked out quite as good for the kids as when we were going during the day. They're either tired or hungry. But, I'm happy to say that after a two week break that they seemed to have a super time tonight. They went right in when it was time and stayed on task the entire hour. Wow! The cutest thing about tonight's class was that they had the kids line up on their color dots and do various skills back and forth across the gym in a line. Things like forward rolls, skipping, running, cartwheels, etc. They're actually getting old enough to mostly stay in their own lanes. And, they did this for nearly 15 minutes. Neat! We're into our 3rd year going to the gym now, and it's been great.

See Today's Pictures

The Force Is With Us

I was treated to a conversation with Darth Joe today. This mask is really cool. If you press a button on the chest box, it transforms your voice into the voice of Darth Vader. Even a 5 year old can sound breathy and formidable. It also plays several canned Darth tracks like, "Luke, I am your father." Pretty neat! "The force is strong with this one."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Let there be no doubt...It's cold out there!

Weatherbug says it's 25 with a windchill around 15 and 30mph gusts. I could hear the wind beating up the wind chimes as I put on my jacket (and hat!) in preparation for walking Blaze. No nice soft jingles coming from the front porch today! I forced myself to take Blaze for her walk, but it was one of the fastest walks ever. Yes, it's cold. Yes, it's windy. No, it does not feel like 25! For those other daring souls out there this morning, at least you'll be treated to a view of a pretty crescent moon. Now that I'm warmed back up, I can take Sugar and Honey out...oh joy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Legos and Apple Pie

That's what we did with big boy Legos and make apple pie.

See Today's Pictures

Although Joey is still enjoying his Duplo Legos, he's also very into the 'big boy (quatro I think) Legos now. We got out a huge bin of loose pieces and mixed sets that I'd picked up at a yard sale and been storing in the attic. With some of the Christmas stuff put away, there was even room for the used mini Lego table too. Joey really had fun dumping the 1000+ pieces and searching for treasure. Me too!

The boys and I made two apple pies. I was pleased that Joey was able to peel an entire apple by himself. He stuck with it a long time. I peeled the rest while he worked on that one! Boy did we eat a lot of apples along the way too;-) The pie is from a Pillsbury cookbook and is essentially apples, cinnamon, sugar and flour stirred together and put in pie shells with a streusel topping that's made out of cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, and butter...lots of butter. YUM!

Me Too!

Several of my friends (you know who you are!) created blogs today. Not wanting to be left out, I answered the call to the darkside and created one too! Seriously, with me sending out Picasa e-mails and picture links every night, it's about time I created a blog. Look for lots of cool stuff in 2008!