Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Promised Fuzzy Birthday Pics

And what would I be if I didn't follow through on that promise??

Not I, my friends, not I. I shall not leave you hanging, pining for fuzzy Chuck E Cheese.

I actually managed to capture more photos than I had thought. I was struggling with the camera, playing that game- you know-

CAM: *blink red, blink red, shut down*

ME: GrrrrRRR! *Turns camera on* *Snaps a pic she didn't even frame because the camera is about to...*

CAM: *blink red, blink red, shut DOWN!*

Here is 5 year old's Chuck E Cheese birthday, in all its glory. Or at the very least, what little bits of glory I managed to capture that weren't horrifically indecipherable:

What's a party without balloons?? I mean, really...

Funky colored lights. Do you really think Chuck E Cheese needs these?? I'm not sure, myself...

She was pondering the power of the Chuck.

Eating pizza... Or playing with it. NOM NOM NOM!

Our nephew (the birthday girl's brother) munching down...

Party people, get on down.

Dancing with the birthday singers... "You're a birthday star at Chuck E Cheese..."

Okay, I know this is really fuzzy... But he is still too damn cute. Look at those EYES!

Dada Ruggle, AKA Uncle Willie, tending to the chillens.

And one of the very last pics I got before it died for good... The birthday girl about to blow her candle out! Thank goodness it lasted for this very important moment :)

As I said, it was a blast... The kids had great fun, and none of the little ones seemed terrified of Chuck E, which is a plus. Once, we took my little brother there for his birthday... I don't know if he ever recovered. To this day, he still doesn't like masks or people dressed up as larger than life animals... Mom had to put some money in the therapy fund for that one ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Haven't Posted...

I haven't posted yet about this weekend because it didn't go as planned.

Not that it was bad (on the contrary!), just unexpected. It's a good thing go-with-the-flow was part of the plan from the get-go...

First, Will had his interview in Manch. That was good. I had him drop Ills and I off at the mall to shop for our niece's birthday presents (and of course stop by Old Navy to grab up some clearance stuff for the girl! Can you believe I got a peacoat for next year for 5 BUCKS! And a couple of sweaters for the same price... A ton of toddler winter stuff was on clearance. If you have a munchkin, I'd suggest hitting them up for some steals before they run out!)

So we were shopping, having fun, playing at the play-place in the mall with the zillion and a half kids running around. Then came time for the mall to close. Still no Dada. Uh oh.... I was starting to get worried. Called my Mom for a back-up ride plan, in case. Just as the mall guards were rounding everyone up and getting ready to shut the lights off, he pulls up. WHEW!

Turned out he had to cut the interview short because he had to come get us! A little bit embarrassing, but truth be told, I would have been miffed to have had to wait for him outside in the cold with the todd when the mall peeps booted us out. So he made the right call in saying he had to go. I was also glad that the guy liked him enough to want to chat that long. The interview was over an hour total, so things on that front look good... Will thinks he'll hear from him again, and hopefully landed the job.

BUT. But... The girl usually goes to bed at 8.

So, leaving the mall at 9:40, not getting to my Mom's house till around 10, and then having to say hellos and get settled in... She wasn't even IN bed until around 10:30, nevermind sleeping. That night was, to say the VERY least, rough. On both of us.

She spent about three hours SCREAMING in the middle of the night. She didn't want me, she didn't want to lay with me, didn't want to stay in the pack and play... didn't want sippy, didn't want TV. Nope, she just wanted to SCREAM. Great. Needless to say, she didn't get much sleep, and neither did I. I was thinking that she might have a hard time at Chuck E Cheese's the next day.

Actually, she got through it swimmingly. She loved it, even if it was a little bit of stimulation overload. The party was all-inclusive; I was expecting to have to spend money, so it was a nice surprise that the tokens and even the food for us adults was included! Illy spent most of the day sliding on the slide and riding the carousel- those were her favorites. She didn't really understand the game concept yet; I tried getting her to play whack-a-mole with me, but she was quickly distracted. She did, however, dance with Chuck E, and also high-fived him. She seemed to really like the huge mouse, which was a relief!

Another unexpected- my camera died after taking about three fuzzy pictures. Dammit. Why didn't I check the batteries?! Truth? I still haven't recharged and replaced them. Which is why you aren't getting any of the fuzzy birthday pics here. I promise I will upload them tonight and see if any of them are worth sharing. With moving next week, I've been a little busy... *sigh*

The party was great fun for all :) I, personally, don't mind Chuck E Cheese... I know a lot of people call it "parental hell", but my mom used to bring my brother and I there almost every Friday when I was younger, so I have good memories of it... And though it can be overwhelming, it is fun overall and the kids had a blast. When we left, though... Poor little Illy was SO wiped. After staying up late, not sleeping, and being overstimulated by shiny, strobing, noisy, sugary, dancing giant mouses and rides, she was so done.

So I ended up having to cancel on my Dad and Nana, which made me a little sad. I was really looking forward to seeing Nana after four months of her being away, and I know she was looking forward to seeing the girl. We promised to get together as soon as we can, though... I just knew that if I dragged Bendy on another expedition on Sunday, she would have been miserable and out-of-sorts all week. Which isn't fun for any of us.

This is why go with the flow is part of my mantra. You just never know how things will turn out...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #18

1. Why do we have to drive places? Could be rephrased as... Why can't we teleport like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

2. Checking my Facebook and Twitter are now habits.

3. I have tons to do, but not a lot of time! HELP! ;)

4. I had never heard the phrase "it really twerks my butt" and it sort of caught me off guard when my boss said it to me! lol...

5. I'm gonna go with the flow and try to have fun, the way I always do.

6. How was I to know that we'd have to cancel Will's appointments to go to our niece's birthday party this weekend? Oh yeah, that's right... I wasn't supposed to know, because when I asked HUBS when the party was, his response was "Oh, sometime in April, I'll ask him later..." Then we came home to a note on our door the other day saying it was this weekend! LOL! Not that I'm complaining, Chuck E Cheese sounds a lot more fun to me than sitting in the waiting room anyway! :)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to heading to Manch- for an interview Will has, shopping, and dinner- then to Mom's overnight, tomorrow my plans include party for our niece in Manch and Sunday, I want to visit my Dad's family, see Nana for the first time in months, then rush home to prep for the week, make muffins, and pack! AHHHH! This is definitely going to be a PACKED weekend!

You can see other participants or join in on Friday Fill-Ins HERE.

PS: Happy FIRST DAY OF SPRING, everyone!! :) Hoo-RA!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays #19- The Next Beethoven

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where I'm From

I saw this on a friend's site and it made me nostalgic. I love the idea, so I had to snatch it up for myself to capture some of my childhood memories, too...

I am from boogie boards and hopscotch, Disney, hide and seek and three-wheelers, from Quaker Oatmeal, Kraft mac-and-cheese and waldorf salad (which nobody ever really ate), Sam's choice and gardetto's at the Y with Mom and scrambled eggs in the morning with Dad.

I am from the apartment above my aunt's in a run-down brick complex with innumerable playmates running around; from the apartment with the pogo stick stashed in the basement that was up three flights of stairs, one of which my brother fell down at least once; from the big red house with the giant barn to match and the gym out back on a shady dirt road- with the sandpits behind it where we could go "sliding" and pick berries along the path, and the dam across the street for us to swim in; from the green ranch with a swath of land that I could run through to get to my best friend's house, where there were ghosts in the cemetery and a clubhouse in the loft, ducks in the stalls and a rusty old yellow behemoth truck with a big orange stripe down it sitting out front; from the place that was two hundred years old and almost too short upstairs for us to fully stand, squeaky creaky floors and a dog pen in the yard, new flowers always blooming along the sidelines; from the three-story apartment with the noisy, cool, neighbors and my special room secluded from everyone else WAY upstairs. I am from so many places, this is merely a beginning...

I am from the lilacs in the yard- my favorite flower still, the mint sprigs growing which we were allowed to chew on, sunflowers taller than I, the prickly roses growing out front, pumpkins which overtakes gardens, chicks and hens, and bleeding hearts passed down like tradition...

I am from pajamas on Christmas Eve, carols at the foot of the steps before presents, olives on our fingers at Thanksgiving and kooky, crazy love that puts the FUN in dysFUNctional, cousins that are friends, people who will always open their door and lend a hug, from Nanas and Peps, Bushkas and Hushes, Cey-ceys and Grumps, Grammy and Peps...

I am from the clan who always runs late but gets everything done before it needs to be anyway and the peeps who can be so stubborn they can't see straight, nevermind admit that they're wrong. Because they're NOT wrong, of course. ;)

From "Don't let the bed bugs bite", "You are beautiful" and "I love you more than the stars that shine".

I am from the group that doesn't go to church, or goes only when the urge hits- which is usually never- because I don't feel I need someone to tell me that there's something larger than me in the world, that we are all connected, and that my own opinions and decisions will echo out beyond me like ripples on water (and for that reason, I should do what I know is right)... I knew it all along. I am from the group who doesn't feel guilty about this. I am from the group that says "my way isn't the only way". The group that finds comfort, spirituality and solace on trails in the woods, butterflies floating on air, sea-salted wind ripping through my hair, starry night walks, and toes that trail in sea water, ebbing in and out of rocks where I hide...

I'm from Dover, New Hampshire, France and Germany, a little bit of everything (if you were to believe my grandmother), from Pep's baked beans, from Nana's tootke, from my Dad's famous ribs with the rub.

From the land of the F*$%IN' CHICKEN!, of bears that eat Reese's, and the people who all have "Tissues"- right, O-dizz?

I am from summers at Kings and Queens- on the big yellow waterslide, playing yahtzee, searching for the perfect marshmallow roasting stick, sitting by the fire and talking. Days (and even a few midnights!) spent at "The Office"- a lazy retreat where there's always penny candy, floats with blue seahorses, lots of sand and too few towels- where it might be possible to swim all the way across if you just do it right. I am from vacations in Millinocket, trips out on the boat (but PLEASE be careful!), torturous hikes, feeding the ducks, playing random golf ball toss games. I am from movies. From hugs. From laughter.

From the place that is mine...

You can get the template to do your own version of this poem HERE.

Friday, March 13, 2009

1. When I look to the left, I see the sink and cabinets here in my office.

2. The living room is the room that has the best view in my home.

3. Let it work when you need it to.

4. Delicious dinner? done dirt cheap!

5. The education of our children is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

6. If you have any photography advice feel free to share with me. Like how do you manage to remember all this stuff about aperture, f-stops, who-dizzles and what-dangles?? I have read a couple of different books on the subject, but apparently my brain just doesn't want to hang onto that information...

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing and reading some Stephenie Meyer, tomorrow my plans include visiting Mom and Mitch for their birthdays and Sunday, I want to get ready for the week and pack! Only 2.5 more weeks to go till we're in our NEW apartment! woot woot

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Heart Faces Week 9- Creative Cropping

This is my third week participating in I Heart Faces. I have really enjoyed seeing everyone's portraits so far, and trying to learn more about photography myself. If you haven't checked out their website yet, you really should. It's fabulous.

You can participate in, or see other entries, at the I Heart Faces website. Just click my little link on the site name. :)

This week's theme was Creative Cropping. To be truthful, I was a little puzzled by this category. I'm hoping I got it done, but we shall see... I just wasn't sure exactly what would be considered "creative" for this purpose. I suppose I should just let you see what I've done, and then you can tell ME if you think it's creative, or maybe what you would have done differently?

This week, they are letting us post the "before" and "after" cropping photos, so you can get a better idea of why we chose to do what we did, and also how a small thing like cropping can change the whole feel of a picture.

Here are my entries for the I HEART FACES "Creative cropping" category:

Here is the "before" picture:

And here is the "after", my entry for adults this week:

For kids, here is my "before" photo:

She has a great expression going, but my zitty face in the background and the railing are both a little bit distracting.

Here's my "after":

What do you think? I liked it, but I am a total newb, so I'm sure it's still not the best it could be. What would you have done with it to make it better?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My little girl keeps growing...

Whether I want it or not, whether my heart aches for each moment I wish I could have frozen in time... For that little, chubby-cheeked, drooling baby girl who popped out of me almost 22 months ago now...

She just keeps getting bigger. Learning more. Helping more. Wanting more. More opinions. More love. More laughter. Yes, some days I miss that little baby... But most days I am just amazed at what she has become, and how beautiful, how intelligent, how wonderful she is.

You grow, baby girl.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Heart Faces Week 8- Messy Face!

This is only my second week participating in I Heart Faces. And I have to tell you, I heart it. heh. I know, I'm so witty.

You can participate in, or see other entries, at the I Heart Faces website. Just click my little link on the site name. :)

This week, they singled out us beginners... Which in one way, I don't like- because I can only enter one photo, not one each for kids and adults, like last time. But I guess this balances out, since they asked that if you enter, you be open to constructive criticism. I would be more than grateful for any suggestions or help all you more experienced photographers could offer! Have at it... Just be nice, please :)

And now, here is my entry for the I HEART FACES Beginner week "Messy faces" category:

As mentioned above, please feel free to offer any help and/ or information on what you would have done to improve the picture. I am not great in photoshop (if you're experienced, you can probably tell!) but I did play around with this photo in there to try and punch it up a little. I desaturated the background and tried to brighten up her face some... What do you think?

Edited to add: I really should learn my lesson, trying to change font size within my posts. It always changes a ton of the post, rather than just the sentence I'm going for... And then I can't get it to revert back. DOH! Sorry the text at the top is so miniscule.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oscar Meme

Oscar Meme on a Monday...

I stole this from MamaDawg, who stole it from MAW. I guess there's been a lot of snatching of this meme going on.

Here's the idea. You bold (or color differently, or italicize... however you roll) the movies that you've seen. Of those listed. Which are all ones that won Oscars. Get it? Got it. Good.

Let's see how I do. I claim I love movies... Hmmm....

1980. Ordinary People, Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Tess

1981. Chariots of Fire, Reds, Atlantic City, On Golden Pond, Raiders of the Lost Ark

1982. Gandhi, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie, The Verdict

1983. Terms of Endearment, The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies

1984. Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart, A Soldier’s Story

1985. Out of Africa, The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Prizzi’s Honor, Witness

1986. Platoon, Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Mission, A Room with a View

1987. The Last Emperor, Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory, Moonstruck
1988. Rain Man, The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liaisons, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl

1989. Driving Miss Daisy, Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot

1990. Dances with Wolves, Awakenings, Ghost, The Godfather Part III, Goodfellas

1991. The Silence of the Lambs, Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, The Prince of Tides

1992. Unforgiven, The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, Howards End, Scent of a Woman

1993. Schindler’s List, The Fugitive, In the Name of the Father, The Piano, The Remains of the Day

1994. Forrest Gump, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, The Shawshank Redemption -Guess this was a good year for me! lol...

1995. Braveheart, Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino (The Postman), Sense and Sensibility

1996. The English Patient, Fargo, Jerry Maguire, Secrets & Lies, Shine

1997. Titanic, As Good as It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L.A. Confidential

1998. Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Life Is Beautiful (La vita รจ bella), Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line

1999. American Beauty, The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile, The Insider, The Sixth Sense

2000. Gladiator, Chocolat, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic

2001. A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge!

2002. Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Pianist

2003. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River, Seabiscuit- I put Master and Commander in green because I never finished it. We thought it sucked- hard- and shut it off about a half hour through. I don't know if that counts or not... haha

2004. Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways

2005. Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck, Munich

2006. The Departed, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen

2007. No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood

2008. Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader

Not too bad... Considering I was a young'un for most of these years... Born in '83, so really you can't fault me too much for missing a lot of those early ones.

What about you? Have you seen a lot of Oscar winners?
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