What a treat I have for you to today, not one but two sneak peeks, bonus! That's because I had a bonus day yesterday and got to have 2 great sessions. The extended Durand family in the morning and then in the afternoon, Alexandra and Brandon, what a great day!
Today is pajama day at work, by the way, it is also the last day of work before vacation so it is just a banner day all around!! I didn't really consider what I was going to wear for pajamas until yesterday when my sister texted me, "Did you and Nani make shirts this year? T (my niece) has pajama day at school and wouldn't it be cute if she wore that?" The story behind this starts some 40 odd years ago. When I was a kid growing up, one of our favorite traditions and presents were the Christmas pajamas that my grandmother gave us on Christmas eve. When my mom became a grandmother, she decided that she would carry on this tradition. After a couple of years, I told her that I thought that we could print our own designs using iron-on transfers. Here is a picture of the kids wearing that very first shirt (excuse the quality, and the red eyes)
Every year is a different theme, although with the run of success with the local sports teams, quite a few have had a sports theme. I think that my favorite of all time is the mock Globe article from 2004 but I really like Pappy's Patriots too!.
The kids love this and are always eager to see what the theme is. As a matter of fact, when I put it on this morning, and asked my 17-year old daughter if she wanted to see it, she did not even hesitate before answering with an emphatic, "Yes!". After looking it over, she proclaimed that she loved it!! The other senior in the family, my niece, Marissa has her own tradition with these shirts. After wearing it on Christmas eve, she takes it off and carefully stores the shirt away for safekeeping. My mom is moving this year so we decided that a retrospective of pictures from the last 25 years of Christmas eve at her house was in order. So my pajama shirt today won't look like anything special but in actuality, it is a part of long and wonderful tradition!
I am discovering that I really like Timehop. I didn't really expect to since I don't really post a ton of stuff. But I am realizing that what I do post are pictures that I think that others will like. Most days, my timehop is nothing special but every so often, it uncovers a jewel that I don't even remember taking, never mind posting! Of course, that problem would be alleviated if I just got my pictures organized but since that has been my New Year's resolution and winter goal for about 5 years now, I don't hold out much hope. Today's timehop was just such a jewel. I absolutely love this picture of my 3 daughters and 2 goddaughters posing with Pappy. It is a great picture of all of them and even though it was not a planned picture, they are very color coordinated as well. Happy Thursday, everyone, I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season.
Please note, parts of this post are verbatim from a post from 2012. By the way, what is the rule on that I am supposed to use quotations? Do you need to quote yourself? Hmm, inquiring minds want to know. Anyway, enough about that, on to the post.
'Tis the season for the annual Christmas wars. It started early this year in Massachusetts where there were complaints about a field trip to the Nutcracker because there is a Christmas tree in the performance. And this type of thing is nothing new, when I wrote about this a couple of years ago, Governor Chafee and the state of Rhode Island had just decided to call their tree a holiday tree. At one point, Governor Chafee said that his use of the term holiday tree "is in keeping with the state’s founding as a sanctuary of religious tolerance". Uh no, not to me it isn't. It's exactly the opposite, it is showing religious intolerance to people that believe in the sanctity of Christmas and all its symbols. It is not a holiday tree, it's a Christmas tree. And it is an important part of the symbolism of Christmas. Like the Christmas tree, Jesus is evergreen and lives on even in the darkest times. And the lights that adorn Christmas trees are meant to symbolize Christ and his light. Governor Chafee also said that by using ‘‘holiday tree" he is trying to be respectful of other religious traditions. Personally, I think that respecting other religious traditions should never include not respecting or not valuing or changing another religion's traditions. I don't think my friends that celebrate Hanukkah would like it if I started calling the menorah, a Holiday Candelabra. They would probably feel that I was diminishing a significant part of their holiday and they would be 100% correct.
In some ways what bothers me more these days is the secularization of Christmas. As much as some people like to pretend otherwise, Christmas is a religious holiday, one that celebrates the birth of Christ. And it really gets under my skin that the word Christmas can't even be uttered but everyone feels free to use the symbols of Christmas. I think that if companies aren't willing to have their employees say Merry Christmas, then they shouldn't have Santa Claus in their stores or advertisements. If a politician is not willing to call it a Christmas tree, then they should not be using the symbol. As much as people would like to believe otherwise, Santa and trees are symbols of Christmas, not some made up secular retail season. It's Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
And just so you know, my problem is not with saying Happy Holidays or teaching our kids other traditions or songs. I actually like that my kids learn about traditions that are different from ours. (I do think that it needs to be fair though, it was ridiculous a couple of years ago when the State of Massachusetts sent out invitations to a Chanukah Menorah Lighting and a Holiday Tree Lighting) If you don't celebrate Christmas, then I would love to wish you Happy Holidays or Happy Hanukkah or whatever you happen to celebrate but please don't be offended if I happen to wish you a Merry Christmas, I don't mean any harm and I am not trying to convert you or any other nefarious thing, I am just trying to spread some cheer. Plus all of this detracts from what should be a joyful season. All of the holidays this season celebrate the hopeful things in life: faith, trust, love, bravery, perseverance, why are we letting this nonsense get in the way of that??
Since today is the first day of Hanukkah, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, I hope that you all have a wonderful one and if anyone happens to wish me a “Hanukkah Sameach!” in return, I will just graciously say thank you (I won't understand you but I will say thank you). By the way, if anyone would like to really share the holiday with me and bring me some laktes, that would be okay too! As we all know, posts are always better with pictures, so here's a picture of a sentiment that we can all get behind.
You may have noticed that I changed the color scheme a little bit around here. I thought that I would try to make it more festive (I need all the help that I can get generating Christmas spirit this year). It's funny, if my husband sees this, he will probably tell me that you can't just go around changing things, you need to keep it uniform and you need to put more planning into things like this. Templates are very big with him, whenever I ask him if an email that I am writing sounds okay, he'll invariably reply, "You should really have a template for that." Anyway most of the time, I agree with him but sometimes I am overcome with the urge to change things just for the sake of change so I do. You know what I say, it's my blog and I can change things if I want to!
Anyway back to today's offering. It is not a cartoon but it is so adorable that I thought for today it could take the place of one. Our religious education director showed it the other night and I thought it was perfect. Actually I thought the whole class the other night was perfect. It was our last class before Christmas and the entire 7th - 10th grade went to Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and then went downstairs and watched some really uplifting Christmas videos like this one. What a wonderful send off for our month + break from classes (Yes, a month, they rock! I am going to use that time to have dinners with my family) Enjoy, happy Saturday, everyone!!
Since Chanukah starts next week, it is time for one of my favorites, the Chanukah song by Adam Sandler. I also want to take this opportunity to wish all my friends that celebrate it, a very happy Chanukah, I hope that it is a blessed time for all, one that is filled with much joy! Enjoy the weekend, everyone!!
My timehop from today reminded me of this post from last year. When I reread it, I found that I still really liked the message so I thought that I would share it again.
So yesterday I told you about my seniors that made the honor roll. Today I want to tell you about the kids that earned honors in a different way: athletically. Some awards were based on how successful they were on the field (or the track, or the pitch, etc.) such as MVPs of their teams, Joey and David or all stars in their leagues, Delaney, Joey, David,
while awards like scholar athlete acknowledged achievements both on and off the field. Katie, Brandon, Abbie, Evan each received that award.
Awards were also handed out for, my personal favorite, good sportsmanship and my seniors receiving those were Devin, Courtney, Shannon and David (pictured above)
Good job, congratulations to you all!!
This year, the first term honor roll from my hometown made me so happy. Not only did all 4 of the Jolley kids earn a place on the honor roll but several of my (oh, there is that pesky possessive again) seniors earned places on the honor roll as well. Although I should note, Kate earned high honors. As did Brittany, Ashley H and Ashley M,
On the honor roll, besides the other 3 Jolley kids (sorry I keep repeating that but it's just nice to write that), were the following seniors: Courtney, Brittany, Lauren, Brandon, Ashlyn, Kati, Shannon, Jon, David, Jimmy, Megan, Kristina, Mackenzie, Aastha, Abbie, Evan, Saddiya, Courtney, Tori, Michaela, Danielle and Sammy.
Congratulations to all on a job well done!!
I got to meet with some of the Getchell family on Saturday morning (I say some because the dad has 2 older kids that weren't able to join us but they are hoping to get one with everyone soon). As we all know, this is considered the season of giving. I have to say the Getchells gave me a real gift the other day, the gift of trust. The forecast for Saturday was not a particularly good one and when we woke up that morning, we could see that the weatherman were right, it was pretty gloomy out there. I got a message from them that said, "It looks like the weather is not cooperating for our picture today. I know the next few weeks will be busy with the holidays coming up. Maybe we can reschedule for another time after things quiet down. Please let me know your thoughts when you get a chance" Now I had been to the gym that morning (btw, anyone that read my "Looking lean in 2015" post, I am up to Hanukkah status!) and although it wasn't sunny, I still felt that we could still pull it off. It wasn't too cold out and at that point, it was only drizzling, so I sent them my number and asked them to give me a call. When I got the mom on the phone, I explained that I thought that we could get it in and explained my reasons why. After consulting with her husband, they decided to give it a try.
My daughter has a really cute umbrella which the littlest Getchell took quite a shine to. As a matter of fact, one reason that I thought that we do this is that there is a covered porch at the estate that we were using which I figured that could be our "home base" but even under the covering, the umbrella was still out, so cute!
Although it may not seem like it is an ideal day for pictures when it is cloudy, it's actually not a bad thing at all. The colors tend to pop more when it is cloudy. Plus it is great when dealing with little ones because you can just shoot away and not have to worry about the position of the sun. When it comes to cloudy vs. sunny, I can't really say that I prefer one over the other, there are benefits and challenges that are unique to each. I just love to take pictures so I guess that any weather is good picture taking weather for me. Plus how can you miss when you have an absolutely adorable subject like this one??
The rain mostly held off so we were able to venture off the porch and around the grounds for a bit and get a little running around in. Of course, if you are holding hands, there is no way that you can resist a little "one, two, three, upsie"
We tried to see if we could find the animals but alas, they were nowhere to be seen. That's okay, though, that just means that we will have to do it again soon! Even though we didn't find the animals, we did take some more shots with the umbrella. It's a good thing that we had the umbrella because the rain was starting to pick up again so we called it a morning. I have to say, on my way over, I said to the heavens, "Please just give me an hour" and it worked!! Kudos to Mother Nature for cooperating!
And kudos to the Getchells for trusting me and having faith that I know what I'm talking about (at least someone does, no one listens to me at home, ha!). I hope that you have a wonderful season filled with many joys and blessings. I hope that this is just the first of many times that I get a chance to work with you and your beautiful family. Please click here if you would like to see the rest of the Getchell's pictures.
I got a chance to work with the Farley kids on Thursday afternoon. This is the third year that I have taken pictures for them and I have to tell you, these kids just keep getting cuter and cuter! I met them at their house and it was a perfect day for it (well as perfect as a day in December in New England can be).
The older two kids were all in, right from the beginning. I think that they have finally gotten the message that the more cooperative they are, the quicker the process is, meaning that they can get rid of me quicker and go back to doing what they were doing. The younger one hasn't quite caught on to that yet so it took her a bit longer to warm up (literally, she is not a big fan of the cold, can't say that I blame her there). So after attempting to start outside, we let her go back inside and we let her pose for a couple of pictures with her favorite pillow.
But no worries, there was a big rock next door that was just calling out to the kids so we made our way over there. The kids aren't normally allowed on the rock so that made it even more enticing. As we all know, kids that are doing something fun (and we all know that to kids, doing things that they normally aren't allowed to do is FUN!) always make better pictures and the Farley kids are no exception.
After that, we moved inside and took some in front of the tree. And then the kids had a special request, a picture with their elf on the shelf. The kids didn't want to disturb the elf so they decided to go where the elf was (the kitchen counter) to take the picture. Now we all know that kitchen counters are not the ideal background but these kids are so darn cute that I think that they could make just about any background work!
Thank you, Farleys, for sharing some of your Christmas season with me. It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with you, it's one of the highlights of my fall. Please click here if you want to see the rest of the Farley's pictures.
This weekend is the weekend of our church's annual Christmas play. This year is a little bittersweet for me because for the first time in 10 years, there is not a Jolley child in it. Even Shannon decided not to participate this year, 7th grade seems to be the year for my kids, Kate was the only one that did it when she was in 7th grade. Not that I blame Shannon, she has been really busy this year between school and gymnastics but still, it is not about her, it's about me (just kidding!). I am still going to try to watch the performance because this play is always the best reminder for me about what Christmas is all about. Much like Linus's Christmas speech which is the feature on today's Saturday morning cartoon. By the way, the play this year is "Christmas Shop Around the Corner" and will be held tomorrow in the downstairs hall of St. James Parish at 2:00 p.m. If you are free, please come check it out, you'll be glad that you did. Happy Saturday, everyone!!
Since it is December, I guess that it is time to break out the Christmas music on Fridays. And of course, the first one needs to be the Jolley family anthem, Holly Jolly Christmas". It's one of our favorites even though they spelled jolly wrong, ha! This time of year is especially fun with our name but it is pretty fun all the time, As a matter of fact, I had a good time with it one day at lunch with some teachers that didn't know me all that well. I was telling them all about me when someone asked me about my kids. I told them that I had 4 kids and that their names were Holly, Molly, Wally and Polly. There was a moment of complete silence and then one of them said, "You didn't really do that, did you?" I did not. Fittingly, the teachers at that particular school still call me Holly!
It is often said that it's the little things in life. And we all "know' this but sometimes we get lucky enough to be reminded. Well twice this week, I was lucky enough to be reminded in the form of a kindergarten student holding my hand. Our kids are 13, 14, 16 and 17 (yeah, that age gap is crazy, in our defense, okay, there is no defense for that, ha!) so it has been a long time since I felt a little hand in mine and I had forgotten how wonderful it feels. But I can dream, or Throwback Thursday, to the days when the kids would hold our hands. I was going to post a couple of pictures but then I thought, is there really any way that I can top this one?
I was very excited earlier this fall when Anne contacted me about taking a family picture over Thanksgiving. Anne was one of my seniors last year and one of my all-time favorites. By the way, when I told my daughter that, she said, "Do you really think that you should have favorites?" Umm, no, probably not but I also shouldn't have favorite children and I do that as well (and she isn't one of them, just kidding, I don't have favorites, they all drive me equally crazy!) Anyway back to the Callahan family, the first thing that they asked when we met was to recreate a picture from the past. Well to be honest, the very first thing that happened is that Anne's mother, Jane, told me how very excited she was about this. I can believe it because it would make me very happy and excited as well!! So if you are looking for a present for your mom, chances are, she would love a family picture!! Anyway I am sure that you all know how much I loved the idea of recreating a picture, anything that makes a photo session more meaningful makes my heart sing. I also figured that it was a quick way to set the mood so we took care of that right away (plus I wanted to make sure that had ample opportunity to get it right). I figured that you all would love to see the original too so after I got home, I asked them to send it to me so that I could show it here as well. Oh, too bad this wasn't Tuesday, what a wonderful Transformation Tuesday!
After we got that in the bag, we got some other combinations, like just Mom and Dad and one of the 4 girls as well as more family ones in different spots.
They were such troopers, it was pretty chilly that morning and there was a little bit of snow on the ground and on some of the benches and tables. At one point, I jokingly told them to stop breathing because I could see a cloud of breath. Well, at least I hope that I was joking, I do have a tendency to take my photography pretty seriously at times (they didn't listen to me thankfully)! They also brought towels to wipe things off (I really do work with the best people!). At one point, though, I asked them to sit but we had left the towels a good distance away and didn't really want to go back and get them. It didn't faze them though, they just sat anyway (seriously, nothing but the best for me).
We got another one of just Mom and Dad, a couple more of the 4 girls and then one of all the girls and we were just about ready to call it a day!
Mom and Dad went back to the car while the girls and I went to collect all the stuff that we had left around the park. We left a trail that would have made Hansel and Gretel proud, I'll tell you, While we were doing this, I asked the girls if they wanted to take any "fun/silly" pictures, they are awesome so they did, of course!.
Thank you Callahan family for choosing me to capture your family, it was an honor and a pleasure. Now that I have met all of you, I can see where Anne gets her awesomeness and why she is one of my all-time favorites (and now I will have to add your family as one of my favorites too, I wonder what my daughter will have to say about that!) ! I wish you much joy and happiness this Christmas season. Please click here if you would like to see the rest of the Callahan's pictures.