Saturday, February 28, 2009

Where's George?

Project 365 - February 28

Jedidiah was delighted today to learn there was a card for him in the mailbox. He was even more delighted to see something peeking out of the edge. :)

This gift was from my artist friend Debbie...it's a $2 bill she received in Ohio that's been stamped and recorded on the website Where's George? She thought it would be fun for Jed to track its travels. I think so too. He thinks it will be fun to go shopping. :D

Friday, February 27, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

Project 365 - February 27

When you live somewhere new, away from family, you learn to enjoy relating with people in lots of different ways. In Missouri, our Parents as Teachers educator was like a surrogate grandmother, excited about Jed's accomplishments and encouraging to me as a mother. He also picked up a couple of special "aunties" along the way.

Here in Maine there are a few people who have filled those roles sweetly. Jedidiah adores the girl who babysits him when I have an appointment (as do I), and there is a woman in our church who hugs him so hard he nearly passes out. :) There are also 3 teenage girls in our church who dote on him, who he affectionately refers to as "those nice girls," and who he plans to marry someday (all of them) (but that's another story).

Numbered among our favorite people these days is our hair stylist. It would be hard not to love this girl...she is cute as a button and so nice. Plus she seems to genuinely like Jed, chatting with him the whole time she's clipping and even laughing at his jokes.

There's no quicker way to melt a mom's heart. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hands Up!

Project 365 - February 26

This tank is one of Jed's favorite things in Augusta. We pass it on the way to one of my favorite places in Augusta, AC Moore.
It just doesn't get any better than that. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nightly Ritual

Project 365 - February 25

If you grew up in the 60s and 70s like I did, you probably remember those blue Bible story books that were in the waiting rooms of your doctors' offices. I couldn't believe it when Tracy told me his family had actually owned a set of them when he was growing up! That's right up there with owning an Easy Bake oven; which, incidentally, I never did, an oversight for which I still harbor no small amount of bitterness. :)

Last year Tracy found a set on ebay and has been reading them to Jedidiah every night since. It's amazing how much Jed has learned from these books. It's a series of ten, and they go into quite a bit of depth for the stories they cover. He has a good foundation for an overview of the Bible, I think, and for the good news that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).

Jedidiah means beloved of the LORD. We pray he will love the LORD in return, with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Road Less Taken

Project 365 - February 24

I can hardly believe I live in the middle of this beauty. It never fails to take my breath away.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What a Storm!

Project 365 - February 23

We got a little bit of a nor'easter last night, which dumped 18+" of the fluffy white stuff we love so much. The wind was howling up a storm and blowing snow against every vertical surface of our house, even sticking to the floor-to- ceiling glass windows in the sunroom.

In Maine, if you don't have a snow blower, you hire someone to plow your driveway for you. Pickup trucks with huge plow blades mounted to the front are a staple in the winter around here. After the plow guy did our driveway around noon, Jed and I headed outside to shovel what they didn't get (they can't get close to the garage or the mailbox).

Is it child abuse to make Jed shovel snow with a sand toy?

He finally gave up on the shovel and started hauling snow by the chunks.
After Social Services called and threatened to prosecute me for violating child labor laws, I let Jed play. Here he's standing on top of the mountain created by the plow guy at the edge of the driveway.

This is the unspoiled view on the side of our house, looking out the window. It's the most magical scene in the world to me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Our Birch Bark Canoe

Project 365 - February 20

I got this cute little canoe before Christmas from The Lakeside Collection. Correction: it's not so little. I thought it would be about the size of a tree ornament. It's the first time I've ever been surprised to find a product BIGGER than I expected. :)

So what do you do with a huge canoe full of fat snowmen? Write your names on their oars, of course! I stained them first, then used stickers to spell our names and finished it off with Diamond Glaze, an adhesive that leaves a glass-like finish similar to the varnish you would find on oars.

We had an interesting conversation about which snowman represented each of us. We agreed pretty quickly that the snowman in the back looked more like a man, with his black stove pipe hat and bowtie. That left Jed and me up front. How Jed got to be first in the canoe is still a mystery to me. Tracy says it's because the front end goes down first. lol

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Outdoor Beauty

Project 365 - February 19

This is the scene we awoke to this morning. I wish I could describe the ethereal beauty of snow all around. Since I can't, I'll let Robert Frost do it for me.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Indoor Beauty

Project 365 - February 18

I was rushing around this morning getting ready to run some errands...nothing unusual about that. But as I was on my way through the dining room to the front door to leave, the striking beauty of the sun streaming through the window onto these flowers was enough to stop me dead in my tracks and take my breath away. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots of the fleeting light before I left.

I am so glad to be doing Project 365...it's making me stop and look a little more closely, which is a grand thing to be doing. Thanks for getting me started, ScrappyGurl!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An Art Day

Project 365 - February 17

I made a foray into the world of jewelry making today, and I think I'm going to enjoy it.

One of my nieces that visited recently loves art like I do and she got so excited when I showed her a picture of a bracelet my artist friend Debbie made. It's based on Edgar Allen Poe, and unbeknownst to me, my niece is a huge Poe fan also, so I'm going to try to make a bracelet for her like Debbie's.

One of the things I love about art is the freedom and pure joy I experience, both in the process and with the end result. It's one of the few areas of my life where I am happy with pretty much any effort, sometimes even when I know it didn't turn out particularly well.

But hopefully this bracelet won't be one of those times. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Apple of Their Eyes

video

Project 365 – February 16

Jed asked me this morning if I thought his Grandma and Grandpa still remember him. There’s nothing quite like having your heart ripped out like that to make you stop your mad rush to get out the door and take a minute to reassure your little guy that his Grandma and Grandpa remember him and love him very much. But just in case Grandpa and Grandma’s memories are fading the tiniest little bit, here’s something to help them remember why Jed’s chicken nuggets are so tasty. :)

As a side note, Jed learned the very important life skill of coin spinning today, which I’m sure will serve him well in the days to come. lol

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Project 365 - February 15

Today is my birthday. I am now a young woman of 23 years. I know what you're thinking: I hardly look a day over 44. :)

I'll never forget what happened that day in 1986. I was driving north on Hwy 29, heading towards Danville, VA, where I would turn onto Hwy 58 and drive 200 miles to my parents' home in Portsmouth. My son Brad, 2 years old at the time, was visiting with them and I was on my way to pick him up. The car radio was broken and I was in such emotional turmoil and mental anguish, the idea of spending 10 hours in the car with nothing to listen to but my own thoughts was enough to drive me to distraction. I was desperate so I took along a set of tapes my Mom had loaned me a year earlier (which she was eager for me to listen to), congratulating myself on my cleverness...I would entertain myself with them and get my mom off my back at the same time. :) I had no idea what I was in for.

I popped the first tape in the player and started listening to a woman teaching about what it means to be a Christian woman. Having grown up in a Christian home, I didn't expect to learn anything new, and maybe I didn't, but God used this teaching to do something incredible: He showed me, kindly, gently and firmly, what His standard was, and then He did something even kinder: rather than standing over me telling me how wretched I was, He let me see for myself just how far I had missed the mark of His standard. I wasn't even 30 minutes into my drive, not even to the VA border, before I was beside myself with regret and crying out to God to forgive me for sins too numerous to recount.

I had no idea at the time what had just happened, but I knew something had, because immediately a weight lifted off me and peace flooded my heart and mind. I returned to my same old home the next day, but it was the only thing that was the same...I was a new creature with a new life. Now, 23 years later, I am still praising God for choosing the likes of me to shower His mercy upon, hurrying on to endless pain as I was. I am truly a trophy of His grace if ever the world saw one.

My Valentines

Project 365 - February 14

Seeing as how we didn't make reservations two weeks ago, we decided to forego the mad rush to a restaurant and celebrate Valentine's Day with a nice dinner at home (thanks to take-out from Marguerita's, the local Mexican joint). We ate early, got Jed to bed, and watched Sleepless in Seattle. That may sound like a typical evening for most couples, but we hardly ever watch TV, much less together, and it was quite romantic to cuddle on the couch in the dark.

Sleepless in Seattle is one of my favorite movies, and we had an interesting conversation about the plot afterwards. My husband said it was a bit farfetched that Sam would see Annie in the airport, that they would speak to each other outside Sam's house, yada yada yada...but then I reminded him of some things about the beginning of our relationship (and before) that were just as odd, and he had to agree.

Serendipity happens.

These are a few of my favorite things...

Project 365 - February 13

Some of Jed's favorite things: his Pooh sweater, sledding, and warming up with hot chocolate...especially when it's served in the mug Auntie Diane made for him.

My favorite things? This little boy is definitely one of them. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Call for Help, Part 2

Thank you to everyone who responded to yesterday's post asking for help with a couple of blogger problems. Since that was so successful, I'd like to ask for your help with one more issue.

The name of my blog is not the same as what shows on the url when I'm on my blog. I'd like to change the url, but I can't find that name anywhere when looking at my google account. Is it possible to do this?

The same art freebie applies!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Call for Help

If anyone reading this knows more about blogger than I do (which would mean just about anyone reading this) (and if you know less than I do, man, do I feel sorry for you), I have a couple of problems I'd love some help with.

First, I can't figure out why some of my posts won't show spaces between the paragraphs, no matter how many times I try to fix them.

Second, I think I have inadvertently created two Google accounts (sounds hard to believe, I know, but if you've read the second post of this blog, you know I created the blog by accident as well, so it's not quite so farfetched). This is a problem because I'm trying to change my e-mail address and it's saying someone already has an account with that address. How do I go about finding the other account and merging the two?

Although it's no great bargain, in addition to my undying gratitude, I would be happy to reciprocate with a little something made especially for the person who can help with either of these problems.

What a Life

Project 365 - February 12

I know this picture is horribly out of focus, but I love it so here it is. :)

Jed takes swim lessons on Thursday mornings at the Y and it is his absolute favorite thing. This morning his instructor gave me his progress report (can you believe that? lol) and he is ready to move up to the next level. This, from a boy who didn't even want to be in the water without me when we started the lessons a little over a year ago. Today is the first time I've seen him float without his floatie. :)

He's growing up right before my eyes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Right Way to Floss

Project 365 - February 11

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and to celebrate this auspicious occasion, we met with a homeschooling family from our church at a mutual friend's house, who happens to be a dental hygienist. She gives talks to elementary schools regarding good dental habits, and she did the same for our kiddos today. They had a ball...the fake teeth were a big hit. :) Thank you, Miss Cherri!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Apple of My Eye

Project 365 - February 10

Although Jedidiah usually has pajamas on when he goes to bed, most nights he sheds them at some point during his sleep. For some reason I fail to understand, he loves to run around in his underwear when he gets up in the morning, even in the dead of winter. With his blanket for warmth, of course. I mean, we are in Maine. It's not exactly warm here, you know. :)

Note the Little Bill game he's playing on the computer - we just discovered Little Bill and are in love!

The Bane of My Existence

Project 365 - February 9

It is now February 10. I would have posted this picture on the right day, February 9, but I was too worn out from spending the entire day chasing squirrels away from my birdfeeders.

I know squirrels have to eat, but at the risk of offending PETA, I have to say that nothing frustrates me more than trying to keep the squirrels away from the birdseed.

Here's my thinking on the matter: God created squirrels with an innate desire to gather nuts in the fall and store them away for their winter food. Since we are surrounded by woods here, I am assuming there are plenty of nuts/acorns/whathaveyou for them to gather. So when the squirrels visit my feeders in the winter, they are leaving behind a storehouse of food that they are either hoarding or bored with.

God did not make birds, however, with the same instincts, and they do not store away food for the winter, relying instead on their Heavenly Father to feed them (Matthew 6:26). Every seed the squirrels take from my feeder, they're taking directly from the mouth of a bird that has no other source of food.

I wouldn't mind sharing with the squirrels and giving them a little treat once in a while (I mean, how long can even a squirrel be happy with just acorns?), but they aren't satisfied till they've emptied the entire feeder. They also aren't that into sharing, which isn't exactly endearing; there were 5 squirrels in my yard yesterday, chasing each other away before attempting to mount the feeders, at which time I would chase the winner away. It was quite the game, for all of us.

Now that I think of it, I shouldn't be too hard on them...they sound a lot like us, don't they? Of course, it's hard to be sympathetic to them when one just now bounced up on the porch and scared away the finches and chickadees again. I've got to run...I have some chasing to do. I can see I'm going to have to reimplement my squirrel relocation program soon.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

House Finches

Project 365 - February 7

It warmed up to almost freezing today, and our feeders were quite the hot spot. We've seen mostly chickadees and goldfinches this winter, with the occasional blue jay or cardinal...there haven't been many house finches, so it was nice to have them around for a short while.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Newest Members of the Family

Project 365 - February 6

Grandma and Grandpa got this aquarium for Jed last Christmas. We were so excited, and I lost no time in getting it set up, only I couldn't get the water chemistry right. I fooled with it for months...there's no telling how many times I broke it down completely and started over. Finally the levels were close enough to right to try it out...that seemed like a good idea until we lost three consecutive sets of tetras.

So the manager of the fish department at our local Petco gave up on the tetras and suggested that we try these guys. I don't even know what they are...truthfully, I've paid them very little attention, as it has been more traumatic than I would have thought to lose so many fish recently, and I didn't want to get attached. However, they've managed to live for a couple of months now so it looks like it's about time to make them official members of the family and give them names.

Suggestions would be appreciated. :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Testosterone Alert

Project 365 - February 5

My husband has been wishing for a man cave for a while, so I gave him one for Christmas.

I hung a very masculine metal curtain rod inside this doorway which leads to a little sunroom that is our office, then I strung curtain rod clips on it. The curtain hangs by the clips, and the loops which are strung through the rod slide easily. (Since my desk is in the office too I wanted easy access into the man cave. Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? ha)

I found a man cave stencil on ebay and painted the insulated curtain with Lumiere's fabric paint, which are the yummiest paints you can imagine...every one of them is either metallic or pearlescent and they are gorgeous. I used metallic bronze for this, which is one of my favorites, along with metallic olive.

I like the idea of a man cave. Afer all, everyone needs some time alone once in a while. I've been planning my time alone for several years now and I'm sure it will be great when it finally comes. lol

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful

Project 365 - February 4

Well, at least the icicles are. These are by far the largest ones I've ever seen. The longest one of the bunch, the third one from the right, is well on its way to reaching the ground. It's interesting to shoot icicles at different times of the day, as the lighting changes...this pic was taken in the morning as the sun was shining directly on them.

The World's Largest Lobster

Project 365 - February 3

This is a must-see attraction worthy of a 100 mile detour if you find yourself traveling in Maine. I had no idea it would have Christmas lights strung on it...I must say, that takes away a bit from the ferociousness of the oversized crustacean...but it remains a worthy opponent, not to be taken lightly. The kids were quite frightened.

A Grand Entrance

Project 365 - February 2

On another sightseeing tour, we took our guests to Camden, home of the Norumbega Inn, Maine's castle by the sea. It is a grand bed and breakfast, built as a private residence in 1886. As impressive as the exterior is, it is absolutely stunning inside!

Here's Looking at You, Kids

Project 365 - February 1

My husband's sister and her family visited us for a few days recently and we had a ball!

On our way out this afternoon to do some sightseeing, I noticed a package hanging on my mailbox so I grabbed it and threw it in the car. I couldn't resist opening it while we were en route, as it was from my friend Debbie, a gifted artist who sends me art supplies from her stash once in a while that she thinks I would enjoy. Sometimes she includes a piece or two of her own art as well, which is always a thrill as everything she does is gorgeous (sorry for the shameless plug, but it's true).

This time, in addition to one of her most beautiful pieces of art to date, she included a little bit of fun for Jed. He and my neices had quite the time with the fake moustaches. :)

The Race is On!

Project 365 - January 31

Last winter the swing in our backyard was my measuring stick to track the depth of the snow we recieved (120+"). I was so hoping it would completely cover the entire swing, but alas, it only got up to the bottom of the top rung on the back of the swing. It we get a couple more good storms, this thing will be covered this year! Check back for progress reports. :)

A Bird in the Bush

Project 365 - January 27

I haven't seen as many cardinals here in Maine as I did in Missouri and North Carolina, so I was delighted to find this one perched in the bush underneath the bird feeders. He and his mate hung around for a couple of days, picking at the seeds which had fallen on the snow. A nice splash of color in an otherwise white world.

Kung Fu Kid

Project 365 - January 22

Jedidiah and his buddy Elijah tried out a Kung Fu class this evening. It's offered free of charge as a ministry of a local church, with the interesting twist that the kids have to memorize Bible verses as well as Kung Fu moves in order to earn their belts. Too bad Jed hated it so bad he never wants to go back. :)

Hmm.....

Project 365 - January 21

Jedidiah had his eyes checked for the first time today, and as is his wont, he enjoyed it very much. Until the eye drops, anyway. :)

It's Deja Vu all over again

Project 365 - January 19

The mailbox is getting buried again, although it's not as bad yet as last winter, when only the door was visible at one point.

Wau Bulan Batik

Project 365 - January 17

My artist friend Azlina has a card-making business that has expanded to beaded work as well, including jewelry and bookmarks. She makes the most exquisite cards, featuring embellishments that she hand cuts and attaches individually.

Azlina put out a call for artists to participate in a pay-it-forward endeavor, and I jumped at the chance to join. The deal is that you receive a handmade gift from an artist and in turn send out a handmade gift to three other artists. I received her package recently and it was filled with her beautiful cards and beaded bookmarks as well as a couple of items she picked up at local fairs where she lives in Malaysia. One of them is this batik hankie, made in the design of the wau bulan, one of Malaysia's national symbols. It is a large, intricately designed kite that is traditionally flown by men in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. It is also called a moon-kite as it resembles a crescent rising while flying.

One of the things I love about the internet is the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. It is exciting to learn about the cultures of other countries from folks who actually live there. The pictures Azlina has sent me of her family, her surroundings and the events she enjoys make it easy to daydream about places far different from where I call home.

Brrrr....

Project 365 - January 16

Check out the temp on that thermo-meter! It was a wee bit chilly this morning in Maine.

Daily Constitutional

Project 365 - January 15

We've been enjoying some beautiful walks down our road to the end of the point. With the leaves off the trees, the views are spectacular. Our favorite is seeing snowmobilers on the frozen lake....it's hard not to get excited watching them fly.

Winter Wonderland

Project 365 - January 14

This is the view that greets us as we turn down the lane towards Jedidiah's speech therapist twice a week. I feel like I know this road like the back of my hand, every bump and twist in it. It's a welcoming sight before the hard work of the next hour begins.

Birds of a Feather

Project 365 - January 13

A slight snow shower greeted our avian friends this morning as they tried to get to the sunflower seeds already buried by Sunday's snow storm. If I was a better person, I would have cleaned that snow out of the feeder. It's embarrassing that I didn't even think of it till just now. I imagine there'll be opportunities to make it up to them, though. :)

Little Science Guy

Project 365 - January 12

Jedidiah is taking a preschool science class on Monday evenings, which he is loving even though he has a bit of an aversion to touching slimy stuff. His expression says it all...pleasure with a side of anxiety. lol

Sending a Boy Out to do a Man's Job

Project 365 - January 11

We woke up this Sunday morning to a snowstorm that lasted all day and dumped over a foot of snow. Normally Jedidiah enjoys his job of fetching the paper...this particular day, I'm not so sure. He has the bag with him to put the paper in, as he is prone to picking it up by the crease and dribbling out the contents all the way back to the house.

It's taken a long time to train him properly, but it's starting to pay off. :)

An Invitation to the King's Banquet

Project 365 - January 10

Imagine receiving an invitation to dine with the king at his banqueting table...it's not such a stretch anymore for the ladies in my Bible study group. The host church turned a very ordinary room in a very old church building into an exquisite Persian dining hall, and we enjoyed an evening fit for a queen. All this, to kick off our new study in the book of Esther. I wish I was a better photographer with a better camera...I'd love for you to see the elegant place settings complete with royal favors, the lovely servant girls, the delectable delights. Definitely an evening to remember.

Child's Play

Project 365 - January 8

This picture is rather grainy, but I think it adds a little to the atmosphere of the shot. I mean, what could be dreamier than being comfortable enough in your own skin to run around and play in your underwear? And what better way to play than with a moving box and crayons? :)

Twilight Time

Project 365 - January 5

This is the view from my desk...my computer's not the only reason I never want to leave it. :)

I'm a Happy Boy

Project 365 - January 3

Jedidiah is a sweet-natured, happy boy, but you'd never know if from his photographs. He is uncomfortable in front of the camera and assumes the most hideous fake smiles you've ever seen when asked to pose. Unfortunately, I don't have a high-speed camera, so catching him smiling and laughing unawares is a challenge...thus, our photo albums are full of shots such as this. I sometimes wonder what his descendents will think of this solemn little boy when they look at the pictures of my happy little boy.

*Extra credit to anyone who recognized the title of this post as the title of a song and can name the singer!

Oh, the Humanity!

Project 365 - January 2

My parents are visiting us from Virginia for the holidays, so we took them to see some of the sights we hadn't covered in their first two visits. One of them was the Maine State Museum, which we took them to on January 2, and which Tracy and I had enjoyed very much on a previous visit. However, we had somehow managed to overlook this hideous piece of propoganda. It's a good thing Tracy wasn't there to see it in person...I shudder to think what a scene it would have been when the security guards threw him out.

Click on the image to read it, but brace yourself first if you're a Southerner.

A New Year, A New Project

Project 365 - January 1

ScrappyGurl started Project 365 this year, which involves taking a photograph each day and journaling. What a treasure that scrapbook will be in years to come!...snapshots and details of a year in the life of her family.

She agreed to post them on her blog so I could keep up with her life from a distance, and I decided to return the favor. Not that it's much of a bargain for her, seeing as how she is married to a rock star and has rock star kids, but one thing I have that she doesn't have is three feet of snow on the ground outside my windows! :) If there's nothing else interesting to photograph some days, I'll let her, and you, have a peek at the seasons in Maine...winter, mud, 4th of July and fall.

Since I'm a little late getting started, I'm going to post pics from as many days in January as I have. This first one is the motley crew that is my family, assembled for our annual New Year's Day meal, a true Southern delicacy....ham, for plenty...turnip greens, for prosperity...black-eyed peas for good luck...and cornbread and stewed tomatoes, just because they're good. So far, it all seems to be working. :)