Thursday, November 3, 2016

Innocence and Blessings

I snapped this picture last week.


It's a picture of Matthew in the backseat of my van.  Every weekday morning I have to drag him out of his warm bed at 6:30a.m. so we can drive his siblings to school for early band and orchestra rehearsal.  If not for them, he wouldn't have to wake up until 8a.m.  But he never complains.  He just grabs his pillow, runs barefoot to the car, and snuggles under a blanket I've left in there for him.

Most days the ride to and from the school is quiet.  We're all in the "still-waking-up" stages and I think our voice boxes are the last to come-to.  Today was no different.  Except towards the end of our ride.  As we neared our house I heard him from the back shout so incredibly joyfully,

"Hey! We're going on a field trip today!"

The thought had just occurred to him. 
Oh.my.word.
To hear his words come out with such excitement about something so simple was nothing short of a real blessing. 

It made me stop and think.

-Of how sweet and innocent his enthusiasm was. 

-Of how blessed he is that he's able to enjoy such simple things, without any heavy cares in the world.

-Of how blessed I am to witness the joys of my kids.

Sometimes these types of things hit you like a ton of bricks, like it did for me this morning.

Don't you love it when that happens?






Monday, October 31, 2016

October Weekend Review

Our October weekends are kind of a blur in my memory.  So here I sit with my calendar beside me and pictures that I snapped to hopefully capture some special moments, for goodness sake!

*The first weekend started off with special guests.  Our nephews, 3 year old twins Eric and Jason, and their big brother, 5 year old Michael came for a visit.  We visited the nearby river for some pebble-throwing, did some pizza-making, and shared our yearly tradition of pumpkin hunting!




*The big guy celebrated a birthday this month and it fell on a weekend.  The two of us went out to dinner and then came back for cake with the kids who were patiently waiting for dessert.

Awesome Dad with his awesome kids. (special thanks to Ann who baked the cake)

*Parade Season in full swing.  Ann's very first parade.  Isn't she cute?


Tommy and Ann
 Some people are at the parades for the goodies, not necessarily to see their siblings perform.


*Soccer Season

This guy.  Boy, is he fun to watch play.  You could even say he's a Hat Trick King.



*Our last parade of the season was yesterday and both our high school and middle school march in it.  My brother, sister in law, and nephew all came to see the kids perform and then came back to our house for dinner.

 They even brought a fun, interactive dessert.  Ghosts in the graveyard.  Make your own tombstone and dig in. Yum! 

 I may or may not have had some for breakfast this morning.
My big brother, Jim.
*We had trick or treating Friday night. (our township does that for some reason). Without boring you with the details, I neglected to get a picture of Matt and Ann dressed in their costumes!!  Maybe I can coerce them into putting them on after school today.
However, the high school kids do dress up for school.  This was our sweet Mary Kate this morning, inspired by Kate Beckinsale from the Pearl Harbor movie.


So, there is some of our happenings this month.  A good one, indeed.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Everyday Happenings

We made it through September with the usual amount of crazy.  Here are some happenings that kept us on our feet.

*Back to school:

  High School

Billy and Mary (11th and 10th grade)
  Middle School
Tommy-7th grade

Ann-6th grade
 Elementary...
Matthew-3rd grade
*Football and parade season for high school band


*Cross Country Season for Billy and Mary
Cute runner and handsome spectator


*Soccer for the little one


*Dorney Park (Thanks Mom and Dad for our day passes!)





*CCD has started.  I'm teaching 1st grade again.


*Pizza making - our new family activity.

Masterpiece central

*Big brother giving haircuts.


*Oh, and this happened.



 I'm very proud of this guy of mine.


Happy Fall Everyone!




Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Desiderata

On this 17th anniversary of my dear Mother's death, I wanted to share this.

I remember back in my teens when this framed poem made it's way onto the dining room wall.  My Mom talked about how much she liked it.   I remember thinking it was "too wordy" and "over my head."

Time has matured me and now I do understand it's meaning.  It really is beautiful.  I'm going to print a copy and hang it on my dining room wall.  It will not only remind me of how she lived her own life, but I think it will also serve as the silent guidance from her that I've been missing all these years.



Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence. 

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.


Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.


Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
 

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
 

Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.


Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.


Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
 

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.


Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy. 




Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

6/20/98





Monday, September 26, 2016

My First Photo Shoot And Stitchfix Review

Oh my word.  Have you heard of Stitchfix?  My friend Marianne was telling me about this amazing website recently.  I wish she hadn't because I can see an addiction headed my way. 

Stitchfix is an online personal shopping experience.  You go to the website, enter information about yourself such as your height and weight.  You answer questions about your clothing style and what your likes and dislikes are.  You can be very specific too and tell them you don't like to show your arms or that you like to wear stripes, etc.  They even ask you for an amount you'd like to spend. 

When I started my own profile, I told my "stylist" that I love wearing jeans, but I can't wear them to work.  I said I wanted to look polished but also wanted to be comfortable since I work in a school and spend a lot of time in the school yard and cafeteria. I also chose the "As little as possible" option for how much I'd like to spend.  They take your credit card information and keep it on file.

Now, the fun part.  Stitchfix sends you a pretty little box with 5 items in it.

I was gitty with excitement when I got this. ( I don't get out much. )

Inside were three tops, one pair of pants, and one necklace.  You take a look at everything, keep what you like and Stitchfix charges your account.  Whatever you don't want to keep, you send back, free of charge, in an envelope they have supplied for you.  So easy.  You just have to make sure you do this within 3 days, otherwise everything will get charged to your account.

If you keep all 5 items, you get a 25% discount on your box. 

Ann and Mary totally indulged me and were my photographers for my photo shoot.  Want to see my new clothes?

Item #1 Renee C Lyzbeth Crew Neck Top ($48)


The print is so pretty and I love the detail around the arms with the little pop of color.  Below is the back view with Item #2 Liverpool Anita Skinny Pant ($78)
These black pants are super soft and comfortable and they fit perfectly.  Very pricey, but it will be such a well-used item in my wardrobe that I may be able to justify it. (?) 

Item #3 41 Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan. ($48)
 
I was glad to see a cardigan in the box since two of the tops that were sent were sleeveless and here we are headed into the Fall.  I may have overlooked this color in a store, but now that it appeared in my box and goes so well with the other items, I was all over it.  Cute, right?

Item #4 41 Hawthorn Montgomery Cross Front Knit Top ($48)

 
This top is so comfortable.  I did have to pin it so it wouldn't fly open but then it stayed put.  And along with that is Item #5 Zad Lily Hammered Double Bar Collar Necklace. ($28)

I never would have picked this out on my own, but it's "edgy" for me so I embraced the change.

And there you have it. I'm keeping everything. A splurge for sure, but in adding everything up and then subtracting the 25% off for keeping all five items, and less the $20 styling fee (you need to pay that if you send back everything. But it will be taken off of what you do keep), my grand total for five items is $167.

It has been such a fun experience.  The only thing more fun was my photo shoot with the girls.  

OUTTAKES








 And that's a wrap.

{For those of you who would like to try Stitchfix, we can both receive a discount if you use the following link with your order.

stitchfix.com/referral/9085432}

 








Monday, September 5, 2016

Avalon Vacation Video 2016

Avalon, New Jersey is my happy place.  (so is Home Goods, but this is my vacation post, so we're not talking about that right now.)

Our family of seven and my brother and nephew celebrated our 5th year vacationing together.  The house we rented for the first four years was sold last year and the new owner decided not to rent. (However, I did spy on the house just to make sure.)



The house we rented this year was around the corner and it worked out just fine for our crew.


This year Bill's brother Mike and his family were there the same week as we were.  Bill's other brother Joe and his two daughter's came down one of the days as well.  We had quite a nice little compound going on at the beach that day, that's for sure.

Here's my little recap of the week.  Enjoy!



Until next time, Avalon....