I just realized that I never posted my favorite pictures from the winter. I think subconsciously I was waiting until it was actually nice out to reflect back on the winter but since I don't think that's ever going to happen, I will settle for the last day of March instead. Not that there are a ton of pictures (I don't think that I have done anything picture taking worthy since oh mid-January maybe?). Anyway, here are some of my favorites from this never-ending, brutally cold, pretty much tortuous winter! Although now that I think of it, it wasn't all bad: we all got together on Christmas, we did get a sledding day in, I met the wonderful McGibbon family, we surprised my sister-in-law with a party, my daughter really did well in her first season of gymnastics, we welcomed a new baby into the family, I got to hang with the incomparable Chase, there was that one really nice day that we went to the beach and we got to see the basketball hall of fame. Ok when I look at it that way, it wasn't bad at all (yeah, right). Happy last day of March! Since there is a coating of snow on the ground, it is safe to say that it came in like a lion and went out like a lion :( Hopefully April will be a little friendlier.
I am preempting my normal Saturday morning cartoon feature to bring you something much more special. My niece went to her junior prom last night and kindly invited me down to take some pictures. Well that's not completely accurate, she mentioned that the prom was coming up when I saw her in February and I pretty much begged her and her mom to allow me to come and take some pictures and she was nice enough to take me up on it. That's kind of like being invited, right?? She went with her long time (well, long time in teenage time) boyfriend. I love when kids get the opportunity to go to a prom with someone special in their life (I know, this sounds a little weird coming from someone whose kids are thinking of starting a prom-stitute business but..). They are such a cute couple and seem very well suited for each other.
One of her friends was kind enough to invite a "few" of the couples over to her house for pictures.
I am not a huge fan of the big long string of couples, it is too hard to really see anyone. I like to take one for posterity's sake but then I like to zoom in close to get a more candid feel.
I loved getting a chance to see her interacting with her friends. Like my own daughter, she has chosen her friends well. She's even a little better at choosing, my daughter has only been friends with her best friends since first and second grade, some of my niece's closest friends date back to her preschool days!!
Of course we had to get one of her with her awesome parents:
and with Nani and Pappy:
Then a couple more of the cute couple,
before everyone made their way to the high school where the prom goers gathered before taking buses off to the prom. My mom didn't really think that we needed to go but you all know me, I am all about the photo ops!!
And I am glad that I went to because I got to capture this cute moment when she said goodbye to Pappy. She's such a beautiful girl, inside and out!!
Thanks for "inviting" me down to see you off. It was such a pleasure to be able to be a part of it. I hope that you had a wonderful night that lived up to all of your dreams!! Please click here if you would like to see the rest of the prom pictures.
I am a little bit cranky today, for a myriad of reasons - I haven't been sleeping well, I hate waking up when it's dark out, I am really sick of wearing my winter coat and still shivering, I am dangerously close to that time of the month, I inexplicably decided to rearrange the library at school and now have a big mess to clean up. What makes feeling this way worse is that in all the ways that matter, ways that tragically were made crystal clear in Boston this past week, I have absolutely nothing to be cranky about. So now I not only feel cranky but guilty too, arggh!! In honor (dishonor) of that, The Grouch Anthem by the one and only, Oscar the Grouch. Happy Friday, everyone!! Hope yours is starting off in a nicer mood than mine!!
I have discovered the Boston Public Library recently and what a revelation. Well, I should say rediscovered, I have known about it and had a card there for years. But I just recently figured out (after someone told me, no less) that I could use this card to access their e-book selection (as I have said on numerous occasions, I am not the brightest bulb). It is really not an exaggeration at all to say that this has changed my life!! I am at the point in my life where I really don't have a desire to spend money on books (not because they aren't worth it but because there is no need with libraries so handy). But I had kind of stopped using my Nook because our library network didn't have a great selection of e-books available. I was still using our network for traditional books but this also presented a problem. As I wrote a while back, I do most of my guilt free reading in the middle of the night when I am suffering from one of my recurring bouts of insomnia (I was up for hours last night) but I can only do that with the Nook (it has its own light so no need to turn on the light and wake the hubby). Enter BPL and it is like a whole new world. I have read more in the last couple of months than I have in the last couple of years. I constantly have a selection of books on my Nook that I am eagerly anticipating reading and I love it!!! Another thing is how neat and tidy it makes things. I am currently reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller (at work, in traditional book form, excellent read for anyone trying to get the kids in their lives to read) and at one point, she talks about she always has stacks of books around waiting to be read. I have kind of a thing about clutter so I was never crazy about having piles of books around plus I never knew what to do with the them but now, now they are all safely stored in an e reader that is just a little bit bigger than a 5 x 7 picture frame. So much neater. Right now on there, I have 1 memoir, 2 novels, 2 photography books (one is a pictorial essay and the other about wedding photography), 1 book at teenage girls (hmm, can't imagine why I might need to read that one). It is so exciting to have all those books at my fingertips whenever I want. In addition it is so convenient, if I run out of selections and it's the middle of the night, then I just have to go out to my computer and click a few buttons and voila, new book. And it automatically returns them for me so no trips outside in this arctic weather. Love it!! So convenient!! Look at all these exclamation points, see I told you that it's changed my life!!
I have spent a lot of time complaining about Mother Nature this winter, c'mon we all know that she has deserved it. As a matter of fact, if she were a real person, we would all be saying what a nasty witch she is (I could say something else but this is a family blog) and that she has been in a horrendous mood for months. We may even start to speculate (ok, ok, gossip) that something is going on to cause these moods, like maybe a divorce or something. Just an aside, who would Mother Nature be married to? Father Time? Zeus? Hades? Ooh, that last one would make perfect sense, we all know that she has done everything in her power to make our lives a living hell this winter (trust me if you work in a school, indoor recess is its own kind of hell!). But that is not what I am here to do today. Instead, I am here to thank her! Why, you ask? Well I know that it isn't any picnic out there today (the wind is howling and it is freezing cold out) but it also isn't snow-mageddon around here or another day off from school either (except for our friends down the Cape, they are getting slammed, I feel for them and hope that everyone stays safe and warm). At this point, I am going to try to use the old bully philosophy with Mother Nature and instead of fighting back with meanness, I am going to try to kill her with kindness. Maybe that will work?? So Mother Nature please accept this heartfelt thank you for not sending us a blizzard or a snow day during the first full week of Spring, we really appreciate it (oh wait, did that sound sarcastic?). Maybe that we will work and hopefully, as I said when I posted the picture below on Instagram last week, it won't be too long before we see flowers like this everywhere!
I am very far removed from the days when I would actually make a point of watching music videos. And exceptionally far away from staying up until midnight to watch them with my siblings on the show, Friday Night Videos. Yes, that actually happened and is the reason that I do videos every Friday. But I have to say that I am really glad that I watched the video for the song Come to Me by the Goo Goo Dolls. You may remember this song, I featured it last month for Valentine's Day. I am borderline obsessed with this song and video, partly because like I said then, it is such a nice romantic song without being sappy and I love those. I am pretty close to the least sappiest person around, just saying. But also because I think that the song and the video perfectly encapsulate the stages of two lives joined together. As I watch and listen, certain things come to me (pun may or may not be intended, you decide), the words are just wonderful. I especially love "I'll be kind if you'll be faithful", if I were getting married now and if I were the type that wrote my own wedding vows, I would totally use it (and my husband would totally make fun of me for it). Just an aside, I can't help but wonder is: are they supposed to be different couples at different stages or the same couple at different stages? What do you all think? Either way, I find it is amazing how it captures how differently we view each other at different stages and how our expectations differ depending on the stage we are. This hits home for me because we have gone through a bunch of stages in our relationship (we haven't quite reached the last stage yet, ha!) We have been together for 23 years and married for almost 19 years and our relationship is constantly evolving, mostly always for the better. And to me that is what the video seems to depict and is a big part of why I love it.
Because posts are better with pictures, I have included ones of us at our different stages so far. By the way, when I used the bottom picture on a post a couple of months ago, my sister commented, "Talk about the clothes defining the man! Those shirts say it all about you guys, lol" It was not planned at all and I didn't even notice until she pointed it out but wow, the shirts are perfect for us. One of my husband's defining characteristics is his conservatism while one of mine is my optimism. So how perfect that my shirt proclaims the beauty of life while his shouts out that he is an old school conservative (a shirt that he designed and made himself ). And yes, we are now at the point where we can hang out just the 2 of us again, not all surrounded by kids all the time, maybe that is why this is such an enjoyable stage, lol!
Tomorrow is my dad's birthday so happy birthday Dad!! My dad is quite remarkable in lots of ways but one way that really stands out is how healthy he is and how great he is aging. He looks absolutely amazing for any age but especially considering what age he really is (I am totally not going to mention the actual age because I am not so old that I don't fear getting in trouble from my dad). He has a full head of hair that's still more pepper than salt (and really didn't start turning gray until the last half dozen years or so). Quick funny story about my dad, my sister has an apartment in her basement that they used to rent to one of her husband's friends. One day, my dad was over her house playing outside with one of her kids and her tenant says to her, "Uh, Kerri, there is some 40 year old man out there playing with your kids." My sister looked out and was quite amused to tell him that it was her dad and that he was quite beyond his 40's. You know, this really is the perfect story for my dad because we could always, always count on him to play with us. He'd never leave anyone out and would always include any of the kids in the neighborhood that wanted to play. As a matter of fact, he played with one of our neighbors and my cousin for years until we were old enough to play. Then he played with us for years, we'd play wiffle ball or touch football endlessly (I can still throw a perfect spiral because of this). He also created a version of the summer Olympics in our backyard in the summer of 1976 when we were enthralled by the exploits of athletes such as Bruce Jenner (back when he was on the covers of Wheaties boxes, not tangled up with crazy Kardashians). And he's never lost that sense of play (my dad, not Bruce): many Easter afternoons have been spent with the grandchildren playing football or basketball with Grandpa and our annual family reunions include a full-fledged softball game!! Happy birthday, Dad, I love you lots!! And if I age one-tenth as well as you, I will be one lucky girl, just saying. Here he is playing with the kids on Easter 2011 and with a couple of his granddaughters on Easter 2012.
I am slow going this morning so I am going to skip the usual Saturday morning cartoon feature, mostly since it is nearly afternoon already anyway. Instead I would like to give a shout out to one of my favorite softball players. Last week when I talked about baseball starting, I neglected to mention the softball season. I would like to wish all of the softball teams much luck on their upcoming seasons but I also want to give a shout out to one player in particular for once again making the team. She has been working so hard at softball for years now and I am very glad that her hard work continues to pay off. I am also very happy and proud to say that I'll be taking her senior pictures later this year. Wait a minute, it is only March, how do I know already that she'll choose me? That's an easy one, I have known her since she was in 2nd grade, she is one of my daughter's best friends and her mom is one of my best friends. So there'll be serious trouble if I don't get to shoot her pictures!! This type of thing is why I am so excited for the upcoming senior picture taking season. I always fall a little bit in love (in a mom kind of way, not in a creepy stalker kind of way) with the seniors that I have the privilege of working with but since this is my daughter's senior year, this senior picture season promises to be extra special. After all, I have known a lot of them for a long time. Can't wait!! Congratulations on making the team, I'll have to plan on going to at least one game so that I can add an action shot or two to your senior blog post! Happy Saturday, everyone!!
The second verse of this song always makes me think of Spring:
Couldn't find it in your eyes
But I'm sure it's written all over my face
Never something I could hide
When I see we made it through another day
And surprise is what I often feel in the springtime often. Go outside and it is not bitingly cold? Pleasant surprise. Finally start to see green grass after it has been covered by snow all winter? Wonderful. Seeing people outside again? Doesn't get any better than that. Trees starting to bud again? Ahhhh. Most of all, surprise that I have once again managed to drag my miserable self through enough days that technically I have made it through the winter!! So I say a hearty, "Welcome Spring, I, for one, am so glad that you came back!" The calendar is cooperating, now we just need the weather to fall in line. Happy Friday, everyone!!
Happy Spring!! Spring starts today at 12:57 p.m. Last night when we woke up to my son getting sick, I heard something weird (and no, it wasn't the sound of a child getting sick. Sadly since he is the 3rd one this week that is no longer weird). It was rain and it sounded so odd because it hasn't rained here in quite a while, it has been too cold for rain. How appropriate that it rains the night Spring officially starts. Usually I tend to complain if it rains too much in the spring but after this winter, I think that as long as it not in the teens and twenties for temperature, I will keep my mouth shut. Anyway, in honor of the first day of Spring, here's a random thoughts Spring edition:
So Persephone is home again. In case you are not completely immersed in The Lightning Thief and the Greek myths like I am (two of the grades in our school are reading it as well as various other students), Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and she was kidnapped by Hades. Demeter was so sad to lose her daughter that everything on Earth died. The mortals complained to Zeus. Zeus then brokered a deal with Hades so that Persephone could come home for half of every year. This made Demeter happy so things flourished for 6 months of the year (kind of like me). This is the Ancient Greek explanation of Spring and as I wrote on my first day of Spring blog post last year, I love how the they explained different things, like the seasons. You have to give them credit for ingenuity, they may not have understood one thing about science but their imaginations were stupendous.
Speaking of flourishing and not flourishing, I told my husband that we need to figure out something about the winter problem. I don't want to move somewhere else, I absolutely love living in New England for 3/4 of the year. I love the changing of the seasons, I love how we don't really have any major weather threats like tornadoes (seriously, how terrifying must those be), I even love a little teeny bit about the winter. But man, for a good solid 2 months of the year, I am just miserable (when I mentioned this to my husband, he snidely said, "Like I don't know that?" Since I am pretty miserable, he's lucky I didn't deck him.) And I know going somewhere warm for those couple of months is the logical answer but we are not old enough to retire yet and I am not sure that I can take another 15 years or so (if we're lucky) of this. That is at least 30 months of being completely miserable, not good! I need a solution for now or maybe, for when the kids all go to college. Anyone out there have any ideas? My undying gratitude if you do!!
I think I was basically trying to same the same thing as this article last week when I wrote this blog post about what makes a good picture. Unfortunately for me, they do a much better job with it. Fortunately for you, they do a much better job than I do and maybe now you will understand what I was trying to say.
This week's books that I have read have ranged from the tragic, Thirteen Reasons Why, to the quirky, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, to revisiting old friends, Mr. Terupt Falls Again (the first one, Because of Mr. Terupt, really should have been on my list of books to read). I don't know why I am mentioning this but this is a random thoughts post and it doesn't get more random than that!
Geez, lots of links, this should have been links version. Happy Thursday and happy Spring, everyone!!
The other day at school, the gym teacher said to me that baseball was starting that afternoon. He also mentioned that practice was outdoors, it was 25 degrees out and he was going to buy some gloves on his way. It is nice to see the harbingers of spring even if the weather is not exactly (not exactly, ha, not at all!) cooperating. When I used to sub, one of the principals had a saying that she loved to tell the kids, especially in the spring, "Dress for the weather, not for the season." That is especially true this year!! Although the kids rarely get outside for recess these days, we usually only go out if it is above 25 degrees with wind chill, so they don't really have to worry about dressing for the weather since they are indoors all the time anyway! Just an aside, one northern Minnesota school says it has to be 15 below zero before kids are kept inside for recess. Those people in Minnesota are crazy!! Anyway, I am pretty excited about the baseball season starting for a couple of different of reasons. The start of a baseball season is always a sign of spring, the varsity baseball team finished the season last year ranked #19 on ESPNBoston's top 25 and 2 of the seniors that I got to know a little bit last fall, Mike and Zach, are on the team. I love keeping track of seniors throughout their senior year so I am really looking forward to getting a chance to keep up with their accomplishments this season (and they are both really driven and competitive and good so I am sure that there will be many). Although I have to admit, it is easy for me to be excited about baseball starting since I don't have to practice in this ridiculous weather!!
My husband came home on Saturday and said me that he had a new customer for me. He told me that he had run into one of my daughter's classmates and that she said that she really wanted me to take her senior pictures. Pretty cool, huh? Well it gets a little bit cooler (for me anyway). She told him that after seeing Anna's pictures she decided that she wanted the person that took them to take hers. She was then talking about it one day and one of her classmates told her that Kate Jolley's mom takes senior portraits. She politely replied that although she was very grateful for the information, she had already decided what she wanted to do about her pictures. Imagine her surprise when she realized that I was the photographer that she liked!! I loved this story because who doesn't want to be wanted plus it meant that my grand plan had worked. What grand plan you ask?? Well years ago, probably around the time that I took this picture (and these):
I told my kids that I was going to take their senior pictures when they were ready. They protested vehemently (of course, who would want mom to take their senior pictures?) so I told them that I was going to get so good at this picture taking thing that all their classmates would be clamoring for me to do their senior pictures and that I would then be too busy to do theirs!! Okay so it may not be a clamor but at least one upcoming senior wants me strictly because of my work, so take that Jolley kids, my evil plan is working!!
The other day I walked into my living room and my husband was watching Fox news when a story came on about how Pope Francis is rejuvenating the Catholic Church and that Catholics report being very happy with him. A recent survey says "that 85 percent of U.S. Catholics have a favorable view of Francis, including more than half (51%) who view him very favorably." I found this story to be a little bit funny and a whole lot sad because I definitely don't feel that way. I mean I am pretty happy with the Pope so far and I was thrilled to see him get Time Magazine's Man of the Year but I am feeling very unhappy with the Catholic Church these days, specifically the Archdiocese of Boston. In all honesty, I have felt this way about the church as a whole for years now (and we all know why). But even still, I managed to find a church home and to become a part of something that I have been really proud of. But now it is coming to an end and why? To save money? Here's an idea, let's not continue to spend millions on an ad campaign to get Catholics to come home, instead let's just leave their existing homes alone. Or is it because they don't have enough priests? Again here's an idea, stop treating the priests that you have like property and maybe you will get more of them. Who would ever want to go into a profession (and let's face it, the Church is a business so being a priest is a profession) where they don't let people stay where they are doing a ton of good and building something really special? And while I am trying to keep positive, it is getting harder because there is so much uncertainty. We were informed of these changes about 2 months ago and we now have about 3 months until the changing of the guard and we haven't met the new priest or heard of any of his plans or even seen a picture of the man. How are we supposed to move forward if we don't even know what we are dealing with? Another thing that really gets under my skin is how hypocritical it all is. As parishioners, we are supposed to go to church every week and participate and support them financially but then we have no say in what happens to the church and the community that we have worked together to create. So while I think that it is great that Pope Francis is rejuvenating the Church as a whole, I am not feeling very rejuvenated, mostly because I am not too sure that I will have a church that I feel comfortable and welcome in much longer.
Wow, we have had our share of birthdays in our extended families lately, not to mention welcomed a new member of the family. Here's the list of the birthdays that were celebrated by our family in February:
February 2nd - my brother-in-law
February 6th - my niece, my uncle and one of my very best friends
February 7th - my niece
February 11th - my brother-in-law (the one with the cranberry bog in his backyard)
February 14th - my niece and my sister-in-law
February 15th - my nephew (the new dad)
February 21st - my brother-in-law
February 22nd - my stepsister
February 26th - my brother
February 27th - my sister-in-law and the new baby :) (it's nice that the baby was born on this date and not the day before. My sister-in-law will love sharing her birthday and my brother would have hated it. See God knows what he's doing!)
And although it gets much better in March, it is still a little crazy. Last Saturday was my sister's birthday and tomorrow is my nephew's birthday (the one that got to hold the World Series trophy) and then we have:
March 19th - my stepsister
March 20 - my niece
March 24th - my dad
March 25th - my nephew (the one that I saw at the Red Sox parade)
March 27th - my aunt
Anyway in honor of all that, the Friday night video this week is Happy Happy Birthday Song by the Arrogant Worms.
Happy Friday and not only is it Friday but it is Pi day!! Check out my blog post from last year about Pi day and Ides of March (which is tomorrow). Anyway since my week started off with jury duty bright and early Monday morning, I am really happy that it's Friday!! Have a great weekend!
This morning on Facebook, a friend of mine commented on a reading list put out by BBC. This of course spurred me to take a look and see how many of the books that I have read. I believe that I have read 24. And since their list contains some contemporary and popular selections (Bridget Jones's Diary, anyone?), it got me to thinking about what my list of must read books would be since most of mine would be contemporary and not necessarily literature. What I consider must read is the books that I have loved, or that I am proud to have read, or that have moved me or just that I remember decades later. Here is my list, in no particular order, except #1, To Kill a Mockingbird is my all time favorite book:
I am going to stop now, not because I have run out of titles but because I think that I could go on all day. Also I need to finish getting ready for work and my husband just called and said that the roads were horribly icy. Kind of makes me wish that I could stay home and curl up with a good book but that would always be my default activity!! Happy Thursday, safe travels!!