Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Completed Project

I've been wanting to make a Christmas album for a long time now.

Unfortunately, I've never lived anywhere long enough to establish a tradition of taking a picture in the same spot each year as my boys were/are growing up. I think that would be a wonderful way to see how they've grown and matured each year, but it is not to be in my family. However, that's no reason not to make something that my family will enjoy for years to come, regardless of the number of address changes.

I started with an album I bought for $2.99. Can't beat that! I love the kraft paper cover and pages, and the leaves on the cover and pages. I added the red jewels to make it a little more Christmasy.

Then I went through all my old photo albums of Brad and chose four pictures from each Christmas to use. I made copies of them with my Epson Stylus CX9400 - this is such an awesome printer, the copies actually look as good as the originals. After those were done I printed pictures of Jed's Christmases from my computer files.

Side note: aren't digital cameras and printer/copiers two of the greatest inventions of all time?!

The last part was to record the date, the child's age, and where we celebrated each year. I'll go back later and journal a bit about each Christmas, but this will do for now. I have enough pages remaining to get Jed up to age 20...I just hope I live to see it! :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Somebody Help the Boy

This is what it looks like...

when a baby eats cottage cheese...

by himself.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Something is Afoot

We got a lovely snow shower today, and I was intrigued by the outlines it left in the mossy areas of our brick walkway to the backyard, which was left exposed after Monday's warm rains.

Starting today, I'm giving up Project 365 and going off on my own.

I loved having a structure for blogging to begin with, but my mom and dad are such big fans now, I no longer feel the need for it. :)

Actually, I'm finding it interferes with blogging more than it helps these days. The guilt I feel when I don't post a daily photograph, or when I use one taken on a previous day, is too overwhelming to allow it to continue any longer.

Now I can enjoy blogging with a clear conscience and devote more energy to the guilt I should be feeling for not exercising or eating right. hehe

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Morning

Project 365 - January 27

There's nothing like dropping off the face of the earth for a week.

Not much has happened in the past week worth writing about, except for the completion of a couple of art projects that I can't post yet. In the meantime, it rained all day Monday while it was in the 40s, so we lost a lot of snow.

I've been depressed ever since.

As if that wasn't enough, I chose that day to put away the Christmas decorations.


That's why I was so excited when Mrs. Smith asked if we wanted to go snowshoeing today. Who could pass up an opportunity like that? Not me.

Our first stop was the fort in the Smiths' backyard, where Jed and Elijah were standing their ground.

I was in charge of pulling Caleb in the sled.

It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. :)

Josiah was a real trooper.

And a ham. :)

And this is the woman who made it all possible - providing the boys, the woods and the snow for one of the funnest snowshoeing adventures ever.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Love Maine!

Project 365 - January 20

We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland.

I can't think of a better way to wake up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guess What? Staley Style

Project 365 - January 19

Not even three weeks into the new year and I'm cheating already.


So this was taken yesterday.

Any guesses as to what it is?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Snowshoeing, Part V: Work

Project 365 - January 18

By the time we got home, the snow had just about stopped. Time to shovel the path to the propane tank again.

Jed was unbelievably cheerful about it. There's nothing that boy likes better than hard work.

His dad's the same way...he loves hard work...he could sit and watch it all day. :D

The End

Snowshoeing, Part IV: Play

Project 365 - January 18

Watching out for the local wildlife.

Pleading for mercy.

Sweet, sweet revenge.

Snowshoeing, Part III: Progress

Project 365 - January 18

Family photo.

Jed taking a break.

Only in Maine will you find a duck-taped tree branch! :D

You wouldn't believe how thirsty you get snow-

Although this is a hideous picture of me, I laughed my head off when I saw the background and had to post it. On the other side of the point, someone had dragged a hockey goal and a picnic table out on the lake, and this was the condition in which we found the picnic table. Apparently the spectators of the games need libations to keep warm. I didn't consider the view when I took this self-portrait; I look like I might have done a little imbibing myself, eh? :D

Snowshoeing, Part II: Weather

Project 365 - January 18

The weather was frightful by the time we got out on the lake behind our house. We've never seen white-out conditions, but this seemed vaguely similar.

You can barely see the other side of the lake behind Tracy.

After hiking a ways, of all the strange things to happen - the sun tried to come out - while it was still snowing!

The lighthouse is just barely visible a little to the left of the center of this shot.

This was taken after we rounded the point, which is a good little hike for Jed. He was feeling it by this time. :) But I was marveling at the sun still trying to shine in a sky completely full of dark clouds and snow.

Snowshoeing, Part I: Commencing

Project 365 - January 18

We woke up this morning to SNOW!

All I can say is, it's about time. :)

We haven't gotten a good snow in 2 or 3 weeks now, and with unseasonably warm temperatures in between, we lost a good bit of what we had.

Since today was a holiday and Tracy was home, we planned to do some snowshoeing when it stopped snowing. Only it wouldn't stop. (yippee!) So we decided to buck up and head out in the storm.

I photo-documented our trip so if our bodies weren't found till Spring, the authorities would be able to retrace our steps from this fateful day. :D

Don't worry, I'm not going to post all 92 pictures. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What's on My Nightstand

Project 365 - January 17

Since seeing Michael Card in concert last month, I've learned quite a bit about him that I never knew.

He has released many more albums than I thought (20+), and has authored/co-authored 14 books, none of which I knew about. Considering how significant the lyrics are in the few albums I've heard, I am eager to read his books.

The first one to catch my eye was The Hidden Face of God. In it, Michael proposes the "recovery of the profound, biblical practice of lament." I have a really hard time with this because I don't know where the line is between lamenting and complaining, and that's not a line I want to cross, not when God has lavished so much kindness and grace on me.

However, there are hurts that burden me, and I've been noticing verses like this lately in my reading:

  • Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8
  • I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. Psalm 142:2
  • Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lamentations 2:19

After walking with the Lord 24 years, I still have much to learn. However, I do know the most important thing: Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nose to the Grindstone Again

Project 365 - January 16

I've been trying to think of something to do for the children in our church when their birthdays roll around.

I finally decided to make name magnet sets with the little tins I have stored away, and I made the first set today for the first birthday boy of the new year, Elisha.

One of my goals the last few months has been to use up what I have on hand whenever possible, instead of hording it like I am prone to do. So I was pretty excited when I discovered I had 24 tins and 24 children, who just happen to have 24 birthdays. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Deep Philosophy

Project 365 - January 15

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

The world may never know.

I know I won't...this is about the smallest I've ever gotten one before biting.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Saga Continues

Project 365 - January 14

If only I could lose weight as quickly as Jedidiah loses teeth! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Newton's Law of Density

Project 365 - January 13

We resumed our science lessons with the Smiths this morning.

Today's lesson started out as an experiment in buoyancy. However, due to instructor nescience, Mrs. Smith took over and saved the day with a discussion about density, which the students seemed to grasp much more readily.

Mrs. Smith is one smart cookie.

Case in point: only seriously intelligent people have Shakespeare bobble-heads.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nectar of the gods

Project 365 - January 12

I've never been a big fan of eggnog.

In fact, I thought it was absolutely horrid when I was a youngster.

However, my parents love it, so I bought a small container for them to enjoy during their recent visit.

Of course, in the spirit of the season, I joined them in their revelry. And for some inexplicable reason, I actually...liked it.

That's a Christmas miracle if ever I heard of one.

After polishing off another container purchased after their visit, I made the mistake of reading the nutritional information.

Thank goodness Christmas only comes once a year.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A New Beginning

Project 365 - January 11

Last month I planned out a major overhaul of our home-
schooling agenda and we started implement-
ing it today.

Change #1: Instead of doing the household chores by myself while Jed entertains himself, he will now be helping me. I expect this to be a slow teaching process, but it will be good for him, and he was actually quite excited about dusting today. I expect that to last for approximately two more weeks. :)

Change #2: We started using a new curriculum called Five in a Row, which has lessons in the subjects of social studies, language arts, math, science and art, all based on classic children's literature. You read the same children's book each day for a week and study one subject each day, with several lessons in each subject to choose from. We started today with the book The Story About Ping, and our subject was social studies, so we located China on the globe and map, talked about how far away from Maine it is, how many people live there, how long the Yangtze River is (almost 4,000 miles!), and a little about their culture. I think I'm going to like this curriculum.

Change #3: We started a PE program as well. Today's exercise consisted of shoveling snow. I would elaborate on that, but I'm too tired. :D

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Guess Who? Staley Style

Project 365 - January 10

One of Tracy's sisters had a most excellent idea. Brilliant, really.

Since Jed has not had much opportunity to get to know his dad's family, Angel bought the game Guess Who? and added pictures of all Jed's aunts, uncles and cousins.

Instead of making guesses based on the physical characteristics of the original cards, we're asking questions designed to help Jed learn who these people are.

And in the process we're learning a bit more ourselves. Tracy has been entertaining us with stories of his siblings, and I've been bringing him up to date on the ages of his nieces and nephews, since they're not still the little kids he remembers them being.

A perfect gift for a long-distance cousin.

Maybe someday he won't be.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hospitality New England Style

Project 365 - January 9

Set a spell.

Take your shoes off.

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Heart of the Home

Project 365 - January 8

This fireplace is the thing I love best about our home.

I lit the candles last night, lay down on the couch and drank it in. There's not much that surpasses the beauty of candlelight on stone.

Note: if you're confused about the lay/laid controversy, here's a website that explains it better than anything else I've come across.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Living the High Life

Project 365 - January 7

Our family recently acquired a new recreational vehicle.

This is the only model within budget, but it's a doozy!

Note the handy overhead storage for bicycles and surfboards.

And a handy ladder to reach them.

I've never seen a feature this cool before...the sides actually separate for easy access to the cozy dining table.

This shot reveals the built-in HDTV.

Time to catch some shut-eye? Your choice of upper or lower. Single occupancy only.

If the little lady is still tired in the morning, she can sleep in style to their next vacation destination.

All this luxury brought to you courtesy of this young man.

Thanks Grandpa and Grandma!