Friday, December 07, 2007

Thumpity, Thump, Thump!

These are my two favorite children's books EVER! They are so fun and imaginative, not to mention beautifully illustrated. Today in the spirit of magic, we made our first snowman of the season. I have to say it is the rockingest snowman I've ever seen in real life! Thanks to my mom, who gave us a special little treasure box that is a Snowman In a Box kit. All you have to add is snow. In our case today, we added a real carrot instead of the wooden one it came with because we happened to have some in the fridge and Jake was begging to put one in. And Jake also found the arms. He was adamant that he have stick arms. =)

Yes, that is a pipe in his mouth. My favorite part of the morning was when Rory proclaimed with as much heartfelt feeling as Tiny Tim, "Mom, this is the best Christmas day EVER!" Did my heart melt? Oh, you have no idea. It's amazing when you see or hear yourself in your kids. That was absolutely something I would have said outloud.

The kids felt the need to sing Frosty the Snowman during the picture taking, that's why their mouths are open here. Hee hee!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Sometimes I just really wish Santa was real. I love the thought of a magical dream world that is the North Pole. I love the thought of a fat jolly grandpa-type guy who is quick to laugh sliding down chimneys. I love the thought of flying reindeer. I love the thought of elves making toys.

I watched Miracle on 34'th Street yesterday--the remake, not the original (I am a huge fan of both versions)--so I guess that's where this thought comes from...

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Let's Go to the Movies...Let's Go See the Stars..." (song from Annie)

"No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight of the soul." --Ingrid Bergman

If you're wondering who Ingrid Bergman is, she's one of the mos celebrated actresses of all time...Casablanca, Gaslight, The Bells of St. Mary's, to name just a few. Anyway, I love this quote so much because it perfectly describes how movies affect me.

It's no secret to those who know me that I'm a movie freak. There are lots of things that make me happy...books, cooking, precious times with friends, my kids laughing, seasons...but today I'm just thinking about movies and how they make me feel. I would probably see most movies that come out if I had the time and the finances to back it. There was actually a time of life when I did that--a year with Gretchen and another year with Tishka when we saw whatever we wanted whenever the mood hit--many Friday and Saturday nights were spent sitting in a dark theatre. Oh what a time that was. =) As life moves on, things become different, family grows, and there are a lot more important things to pay for than the latest flick, which is completely understandable. =) I went quite a while there without seeing anything ever, even renting went out of the picture. But lately, it seems like I've been able to get to the movies that I REALLY want to see. I manage to scrape some extra dollars together here and there, and my loving husband who could not possibly care less about movies but knows how much happiness they bring me, gave me a gift card for my birthday last year that got me 3 precious friday nights out with a friend for a show.

I guess these thoughts stem from the fact that I've seen two great ones recently. One that left me laughing and floating, and one that did what movies SHOULD do...made my heart burst. At the end of both these movies, the crowd clapped! I had never seen that happen before, and then it happened twice in a row. You know a movie has done its job when you're left shaking, crying, smiling, and cheering. I'm also thankful for Mark who, when I come home soaring, floating, spinning around ranting and raving like a lunatic, listens to me and smiles even though it's not one of his loves. What great movies have you seen lately? I'm curious!

Monday, November 05, 2007

That's Amore!

Pizza has been a Saturday night staple for as long as I can remember. My mom always made homemade pizza on Saturdays and I decided to carry on the tradition in my own family, starting right from the first week we were married. It didn't come very easy though. It took a while for my stones to get seasoned, so the crust was iffy for a long time. And I didn't get my sauce recipe right or my cheese combination figured out for a long time. Basically, it took a year of trying to come out with a pizza we love. My pal, Gretchen, is known for being a pizza lover and she's always done experimenting with different crust flavors and a variety of toppings. I didn't get experimental until recently (I'm a pepperoni and onion girl), but now I'm hooked. I think I tried making barbecue chicken pizza a little over a year ago and I like it nice and thin and crispy. Then a few weeks ago, I tried buffalo chicken pizza. I used Rachael Ray's recipe, well, her sauce recipe anyway but I tweaked the cheeses and toppings. Let me just say I have never been more in love with a food in my life. I simply cannot get enough. If you're interested, the recipe is probably online ( I've started doing pizza buffets for Ohio State football games. I have 3 pizza stones and now I realize it's still not enough. I asked for a fourth for Christmas because if I'm truly going to offer a buffet, I need more options. Until then I'll borrow an extra...this Saturday the fourth pizza will be pesto, tomato, and mouth is watering. Gotta love Saturday night!!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gotta Love October 31!

As the kids get older, Halloween just gets more and more fun. We did a lot of great seasonal stuff this year...I love having kids who get just as excited as I do. I hope they keep that trait as they get older.

This was our Family Fun Pumpkin Night leading up to the big day. We carved this big ol' pumpkin, had pizza and chocolate milk in special mugs, and finished the night off by watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

Goofing off, trying to hold off until sunset.

Getting down to business with the's time to head out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where Are My Beloved Maples?

Fall means so many things...OSU football, gorgeous colors, pumpkins, apples, scarecrows, trick-or-treating, turkey, cider...I can't even begin to list it all. This year I will even go so far as to say the World Series. We all know I'm not the world's biggest baseball fan (I'll take football and basketball first), but when you're born and raised in Boston, the pride is always there. Well, the heartbreak until a few years ago, but now, definitely the pride. That's not what this post is about, I just had to throw it in there. I was noticing the other day that the trees in our little Ohio hamlet are different than what I'm used to. Growing up in New England and then spending another 10 years in northeast Pennsylvania, I guess I was spoiled by the foliage. There were maples and poplars and dogwoods at every turn, the hills are covered in reds, yellows, oranges, rusts, and tans, the streets are lined with fallen leaves. Maybe last year I was too preoccupied by our recent move to notice the details around me, but this fall I've noticed that yes, there is some color, but there are also tons of evergreens. It's weird. I'm used to blatant color with no interruption, but here it's more a sprinkling. Hmmm...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pushing Daisies

I was intrigued by the commercials all summer. As the new TV season got closer, I realized I wouldn't be able to watch it because on Wednesday nights Rory and I take Jake to Cubbies and stay up in that area until it's time to pick him up since it's a 25 minute drive, not to mention, it's around the corner from Easton, our amazing shopping area so there's plenty to keep us busy as we waste time waiting. Well, as it happens, I've seen the first 3 episodes because one person or another has been under the weather for the past 3 Wednesdays. I love this show! It's the most original series I've seen out there in a while. It's quirky and weird, sure, but it's whimsical, colorful, and interesting. Plus I love things that are narrated. If you liked the movie Big Fish, watch Pushing Daisies. Maybe I can catch the rest of the season in repeats next summer...

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Halloween Countdown

It's so funny to me that I've been blogging for over a year because it's interesting to look back and see what I was writing about this time last year. I wrote about their halloween costumes and how I would always try to find something homemade for them to wear (mostly for budget reasons). This year started out that way. I have the makings of a ladybug costume for Rory, thanks to my mom finding some fabulous ladybug wings for $3 after Halloween last year. Just a few additions and I have her all set. As far as Jake goes, I thought for sure he'd be a pirate, not only because there's a general pirate obsession with boys under a certain age in our country right now, but also because we have tons of pirate accessories from the dollar store floating around our house. But for some reason, Walmart had a major sale on costumes last week and I saw a Spiderman full body costume for wicked cheap! I HAD to get it. I simply could not resist it because of how much Jake points out spiderman toys, spiderman commercials, spiderman books, etc. The kid is obsessed (and this is without ever seeing a cartoon or anything...I think it's just inbred in boys or something.) So I caved and bought it. Because of the busy week we've had (lots of relatives popping in and out of town and lots of fun fall activities) I had forgotten about it until last night. I ran to get it to show Jake and Mark...I have NEVER seen my little boy happier EVER! The joy that came across his face was priceless. He put the mask on right away and ran to look in the mirror and just stared at himself---I could tell by his eyes that he was grinning. When he got his fill, he ran to show Mark and Mark got so excited and freaked out, for Jake's sake. When he went to bed last night, his prayer was simply thanking Jesus that he gets to wear spiderman for halloween. =) Since he woke up today, he hasn't talked about anything else. Am I glad I spent that 8 bucks?? Oh yeah. Every smile has made it more and more worth it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Last November I wrote a post called Around Town and this most delicious creamer was mentioned. (I was getting a big chuckle when re-reading the comments because they're from all our MN friends and their personalities are all evident in them...digression...) Anyway, my mom was visiting this past weekend and while we were out shopping, we spotted these in the creamer case. Our eyes got wide, I grabbed the Peppermint Mocha while she simultaneously and quickly said "GET THAT!!" How happy am I while drinking coffee this week??? PRETTY DARN!

(Side note: it might be cheesy to put this picture up, but my camera was nearby this morning, and who doesn't love a visual?)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Humor Me

Here I am, in Ohio, in the northern part of the country, and it's over 90 degrees at the end of September. This week is supposed to be the last week of heat here, and then we should start cooling down. I am doing my best to hold off on fall activities until then because who wants to go apple picking in a heat wave??!! Until the crisp wonderful fall weather gets here, I dream of it.

"Don't you just love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address..." --You've Got Mail (movie)

"Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling, give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard." --Walt Whitman

"Autumn is the best season in which to sniff, and to sniff for pleasure, for this is the season of universal pungency." --Bertha Damon

"The heart of autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasure out upon us." --Charlotte Fiske Bates

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Another season

Jake is playing his second season of soccer this fall. He played this past spring and had fun, but didn't actually do much playing. He was the clueless kid out there looking at the sky, picking up sticks, etc. By the end of the season, he was finally running with the pack, at least. This team is a lot different...he has a friendly coach which I'm psyched about (his last one was just an unhappy person), there are way more girls on his team now, and they're wearing red instead of blue (Jake constantly points this out to us).

Jake is doing much better than in the spring. He ran the whole game today, doesn't ever really touch the ball cuz he's definitely not one of the aggressive ones, but still following it at least...and when he was sitting the bench, he actually asked to go back in. Here's the new team and Happy Coach Jason.

This is Jake's best buddy, Darren. They were on the same team in the spring and immediately hit it off. They were so excited to see each other at that first practice cuz we had no clue they'd be back together.

I'm really looking forward to a fall soccer season. I haven't been to a nice chilly soccer game since the old college days...And the best news is that the first game of the season today was the only game that coincides with the Ohio State football games, so Saturday life can carry on as usual. Side note: we're living in a place where practically every parent and kid in the bleachers has on Buckeye gear...this city rocks!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I'm trying not to obsess about it, but...


Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I saw Rent (the movie, not the show) about a year and a half ago, and I’ve wanted to blog about it ever since, but never quite had the words. A very close friend of mine saw it before I did and she was horrified. She couldn’t understand why we as Christians would want to watch a movie like that. I GREATLY respect this friend’s opinion and I understand fully what she was saying, but I had wanted to see it for so long and loved certain parts of the soundtrack so much that it didn’t stop me from seeing it. As a side note, I kind of learned from the whole Harry Potter phenomenon that I need to find out for myself what I think about things that people are swearing off, instead of just going with what others are saying. Needless to say, I'm a big Harry fan and Harry Potter vs. the basic Christian opinion could be a whole blog topic in itself--side note over. A few minutes ago, a couple of songs from the Rent soundtrack came up on the playlist I was listening to, and I felt today was the day to put down a few words. The impact Rent had on me was huge. This movie is hard to deal with. It deals with heavy issues, the biggest being AIDS. Rent is a 90’s rock version of the Italian opera, La Boheme. If I have my facts straight, La Boheme is a story about bohemians (poets, artists, writers) living in 1800’s Paris, considered the worldliest place during that time. Some of the characters ended up contracting a fatal disease. In comparison, in Rent, the characters are living in the East Village in NY in the 90’s, considered a pretty seedy place at that time, and a few have AIDS. They live for their art, they live for today, they live for love. It’s gripping. In trying to figure out why this movie haunts me, I came up with this: in the very safe Christian world I grew up in, no one uttered the word AIDS, no one knew anyone who was living lives of sin and destruction (ie, gay lifestyles, drugs, rampant sex) and that’s what the characters in Rent are doing. But it shows their minds, their insecurity, and most of all their hearts. I saw the other side of their lives; I loved these characters. I’m telling you, God used this movie to make me love PEOPLE. I never had an overwhelming desire to share my God with others—just chalk it up to immaturity, I guess. Because of this movie, my entire outlook on the people around me every day has changed. I want people to see the beauty and the art that is God. I want to see it more myself. I don’t know how to end this…I don’t think I’ve put into words exactly what I feel or what's going through my mind…

I’m ending now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Life Reflected On TV

Okay, I’ll say it out loud. I like tv. Those who know me best would attest to this. I think in the past, I felt like I shouldn’t like tv as much as I do, but at this stage of my life, I guess I really don’t care anymore. I have tons of interests—yes, I am also a movie freak, but I’m also an avid reader, a cook by hobby, and an adventurer (in my own small Columbus world kind of way.) I love getting out and enjoying life with my kids. I think I have enough balance in life to admit that yes, I do love tv. These thoughts started coursing through me with the revival of an old tv favorite of mine—Kate and Allie reruns on the WE network. For those who don’t know Kate and Allie, it’s an 80’s sitcom about two divorced moms who bring their families together and live their lives in NYC. This was my mom’s favorite show when I was a kid. This was our life. After we lost my dad to cancer, she had 3 small kids to raise on her own so she had one of her single friends move in with us. Sue lived with us off and on for a while and because of our unique little household, they got a kick out of Kate and Allie. I’ve heard that the show was considered pretty ground breaking at the time because in the 80’s different kinds of families were still pretty unusual. The crazy antics happening in their lives on tv were not that far off from my reality. I vividly remember my mom and Sue getting into huge bubble wars while doing the dishes, chasing each other though the house, and collapsing on the floor from hysterical laughter. They laughed a lot, they talked a lot, they probably cried together…Sue was just part of our family. I didn’t realize how much I love this show still, until I heard the oh-so-familiar piano notes played during the opening credits. A very warm glow spread through me.

Continuing on, as kids my sister and I loved The Facts of Life. Now when I watch it, it’s very silly. It’s bad acting, it’s bad drama, and it’s goofy comedy. Nevertheless, I still love it. For my junior and senior years of high school, I went to a boarding school in New Hampshire. I LOVED it. It was strict and the teachers were a little weird, now that I look back, but it’s still one of the best experiences of my life. I made my first real friends there. Girls there accepted each other even though we were so different, unlike the mean girls I had grown up with. It was fun, they taught me to be crazy, to make memories, to have adventures, to appreciate different music than I’d ever heard…the list goes on and on. So on that note, you can see why I relate to the Facts of Life.

Now on to the present. I get teased about my Gilmore Girls obsession and part of me can understand. For people who don’t watch it, it’s just yet another teeny bopper drama on the CW with no substance. Those of us who watch know it’s smart comedy and complicated family drama. Friends who also watch have told me they can see why I like it because the Lorelai and Rory love books, movies, music, and food---my four major loves in life. They live in New England, they love going to town events, they create events out of even the tiniest happenings in their lives. This is me to a tee. I realized this morning that is means more to me on another level--watching them sometimes is like remembering my teenage years. Without a dad around and me being the oldest kid, me and my mom were always together, and very close. I was always old for my age and very protective of my family. My mom says she thinks I ended up being her adult companion as much as I was her teenage daughter. We watched zillions of movies together, we are both readers, she taught me to appreciate old musicals, we loved to eat… And on top of that, growing up, she always turned everything into an event. I have a tendancy to do this myself. Last week, instead of inviting friends over to watch a movie, I had to turn it into a “Movie Night.” All the kids had to wear their jammies and bring their sleeping bags. I made huge bowls of popcorn and other snacks. The kids had their movie in the basement and us adults had ours in the living room. What a great night! If we decide to go to the park, we GO TO THE PARK! We pack picnic lunches, we bring bubbles, etc. And of course it has to have a title, something like, our End of the Week Park Adventure. A couple of years ago, I wanted to have a bunch of girls over for fun. Instead of your typical girls night, we had a Girls Godfather Movie Marathon. I made really girly appetizery foods for our night of serious guy movies. Then last year in MN, instead of just having people over for a Christmas movie, we had a Christmas Movie Extravaganza, watching an old classic and a new classic (It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf). And of course we had a ton of festive food. And it goes without saying that when superbowl time comes around, I’m just giddy. I guess I’m saying all this to explain to you that I love turning simple things into events, and it’s definitely part of my DNA cuz I got it from my mom who also loves to do it up big. =) For those who don’t watch Gilmore Girls, this happens on a regular basis. Instead of just watching Willie Wonka, they have to hit the store first and get obscene amounts of candy and junk food, in order to properly enjoy the movie. Every year, during the first snow of each winter, they take time out for a mother-daughter walk with their coffee. How great is that? I so relate to this. I’m thankful my mom passed this goofiness along to me.

This is a pretty long post, about nothing particularly important, just putting my thoughts out there, because I can… and probably because I'm sick today and just a little bit delirious. =)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Church (what a weird word!)

Our family attends New Life Community Church in Canal Winchester, OH. We’ve only been there since January, and in just that short time the church has been changing and evolving into something different. As a church family they have experienced some real trials in the last year, but because of them, they are reevaluating, searching the Scriptures, seeking God’s face in ways they haven’t before. They are very open and honest about this from the “pulpit” or stool, in this case. They want to be a family, a community who gives to the community around us. They are INVOLVED in life here in Ohio. Mark and I are excited about this because we’ve reevaluated how we want to raise our kids and how we want to be involved in life around US. This church family fits right into what we’ve personally been convicted about as a family. I wish I could explain to you the heart of this church—the heart that we see on a weekly basis. This past Sunday we experienced the presence of God. You know how at certain times you can actually physically feel God’s presence. New Life is an extremely contemporary church, music-wise. We love it. Our preference at this stage of life are these wonderful and amazing worship songs. But Sunday we ended with “It Is Well With My Soul,” a very familiar old hymn. And I have to tell you that God moved during that song. With hands raised in worship and hearts so full, there weren’t very many dry eyes in the room. God was there. What an experience, to sit with a room full of people that we mostly haven’t met yet, and feel connected and to know we’re with our brothers and sisters—I am part of the body. I am so thankful for His leading us to New Life.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another Movie Suggestion

I'm writing this while my eyes are still wet. Go rent "Akeelah and the Bee"--I haven't been inspired by a movie in a long time. I'm too tired to write a real review tonight, and I haven't had a chance to watch the specials features yet (I am quite a features addict) but I had to shout from the rooftops what a great story this is!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Locks of Love

It was finally time. After years of the gigantic ponytail, I've made a change. My hair is gone, off to Locks of Love (which I'm very excited about) and instead, I have this person in the mirror that I don't recognize. This is absolutely not the style I asked for (and had a very clear picture of that I handed to the stylist), but it's a cute cut, so I can dig it. It was supposed to be way choppier and overall more funky. Instead, all the stylists were telling me how professional I look. So apparently I look like a secretary, once again, instead of my inner rocker. But that's alright, I'll just try to improve on it next time.

This is my attempt at two tiny pigtails (shout out to Abby!). I will definitely like when my hair grows into those a little more.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


We're here in PA! What a long day we've had. Mark drove from his weekend basketball camp in Cinn. this morning and as soon as he got home, we all hopped in the car and headed out. But that wasn't until 1:00, so we knew we'd get in pretty late tonight. On top of that, we hit traffic 3 or 4 times and just crawled along the highway forever. So our 8 hour trip took a little longer. When we got here, we realized we're on the top floor of the dorm, so on top of being tired from our trip, our suite is swelteringly hot (yes, I know I'm spoiled from my central air at home!), and we are walking up stairs outside and then stairs inside to get all our stuff unloaded. FINALLY we got everything in, got our AC into the window, got the beds made, got the kids to fall asleep, got most things into place, and now we can finally sit. It's almost midnight. Must go to sleep. But I'm so wired just knowing I'm here in my beloved Clarks Summit and that I get to spend the next three weeks with old friends who make me smile. I can't wait to talk and talk and talk. But before then, another drive. This time a shorter one--5 hours tomorrow morning up to Boston. I feel bad putting the kids back in the car, but it will be worth it to spend time with my mom and Gramps. But before then, REALLY must get some sleep...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Movie Milestone

I got to experience the magic that is “The Wizard of Oz” with my kids last Friday night. Rory’s room is decorated with Wizard of Oz stuff, we’ve read the book many times, and we sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” all the time (it’s our mother/daughter song). She knows who Dorothy is because she’s all over her room, but she still hasn’t seen the movie. Some may think both kids are too young. I’m actually the person responsible for poor little Johanna Show’s nightmares from a few years back. I let her watch it at my house eons ago and she didn’t sleep for weeks. Oops! But I’ve found that my kids don’t scare easily. They’ve seen their share of witches because of Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, and so on, so I knew the Wicked Witch of the West (who is, in my opinion, the most authentic witch ever portrayed in film history) wouldn’t be a problem. Mark had reservations about the flying monkeys, but when they showed up, the only response from the kids was an excited exclamation of “MONKEYS!!!” I’m telling you, our kids don’t get scared of stuff on tv. I think I watched my kids’ faces through half the movie. Rory took it all in stride and there were parts that kept her attention better than others—she is still two, after all. Jake was mesmerized the whole time because he’s a movie freak like me. So even though this movie is ancient (released in 1939, an amazing movie year which also produced the perfect “Gone With the Wind”), and my kids are watching crazy technology daily, I knew they would love this classic that has been near and dear to my heart for as long as I can remember.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Nothing Like Fresh Strawberries

I took the kids strawberry picking for the first time today. The weather was PERFECT! It's the first time we've had a cool down in weeks and it was partly sunny. I think they had a blast. It took them a few minutes to catch on to the fact that they were supposed to pick the red ones, as opposed to the many pink and white ones out there. I just kept repeating "the big red ones, guys...only the big red ones!" to remind them. We came home with two big buckets of juicy goodness. I was taking quite a stroll down memory lane while we were out there. I grew up strawberry picking because of our family business, which was a big produce stand and garden center. My mom took us to the fields all the time every June, and once I turned 13, and started working myself, I somehow became the strawberry person. I sat in those fields all day long every June, assisting customers in the Pick Your Own Strawberries field, weighing, ringing them up, etc. And when business was slow, I had to be out there myself, picking pints and quarts for the store. I didn't mind the job, unless it was blazing hot out there. But I ate to my heart's content too, which was a great perk. I did that for years. It felt great to be out there with my kids today, smelling those familiar smells, and taking that first bite of a fresh berry smack in the middle of strawberry season. Nothing like it!

Another quick memory...the small farm stand sold old fashioned candy sticks and I haven't seen those anywhere since we sold them at Spence Farm. I grew up eating those--we were only allowed to have candy on Sundays, so it was always exciting to pick out a flavor each week. They've only gone up 5 cents since the 80's. I couldn't resist taking a picture and letting my kids each pick one out to take home.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

We went to a Memorial Day parade in the most picture perfect all-American town today! I am absolutely infatuated with Worthington, OH and would love to live there. Unfortunately, it's on the other side of Columbus so it's not a smart idea since Mark works east of the city. Oh well. In the meantime, we had a great morning. I love the patriotic holidays. And in my old age, I'm getting sappier as the days go by. I could not help getting teared up seeing the Vets pass by throughout the parade, especially the older men. (If you haven't read Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation," you should.) And I think a big part of that was seeing people stand and clap for each and every group. I am proud to be an American, and even at their young age, we are teaching our kids to keep their flags off the ground, to clap for the soldiers, and to stand when they hear the national anthem. I love seeing them in their red, white, and blue!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Counter Culture

I just finished watching a two hour documentary on hippies. What many of us have suspected for some time is true...I was born a few decades late.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Miami Ink

This show is my latest TV interest. This winter, with Mark coaching so much and not knowing too much of the city yet, I spent more time than usual watching reality tv. I don't get into the games and competitions, but I have an unhealthy fascination with watching other people's lives. It seems like just about every network has a couple of versions of just watching people, and I readily admit that it's a pretty big waste of time. But I like tv, what can I say? My favorite right now is Miami Ink, on TLC. It's about a tattoo shop in South Beach and all the people who work there. Some of it is about their personal lives, but I think the really fascinating part is hearing what the customers' tattoos mean to them. Most of them come in knowing exactly what they want to have done. And it's always very personal--anything from a girl's journey to becoming an American citizen, to guys' siblings taking their own lives, to a father who loves his daughters, to a woman coming out of an abusive relationship, to a guy who feels peace everytime he looks at the ocean, to a young mother who wants to be a strong role model for her's really interesting stuff if you're looking to waste a half hour of your day!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Summer Is Calling

It's getting to be that time of year again. Lost of bubbles, sidewalk chalk, riding bikes, wagon rides, whiffle ball, and this year we've added soccer balls, orange cones, jump ropes, frisbees, and a few other odds and ends to the growing box of outside toys. We're outside as much as possible, so I'm loving the dollar store here because I've found quite a few little treasures to help keep preschool minds occupied while getting fresh air.

It's also time to start planning for our three-week excursion to the Pennsylvania Hills for basketball camp! It's only a little over a month away. As usual, I have long lists and a box started of snacks, pullups, extra bubbles, chalk, etc. I'm really looking forward to it this year, in a different way than last year though. Last summer I was still so homesick for Clarks Summit, my home of 10 years. We had been gone for a year already, but I just couldn't shake it. This year, I'm happy to say, God has given me peace and has begun to fill my heart with a feeling of home here in Columbus. I'm sure one of the major differences is that I actually GAVE Him my homesickness this time around. You'd think after 29 years I'd finally figure out that God is everything, but my human mind will forever be learning, I suppose... but I digress. What I was saying was that I'm looking forward to camp again this year, but for different reasons. Last year I was craving time with good friends there that I missed so much and also some mental regrouping for myself since we had moved twice in 10 months. This year, I'm really excited to just be with my kids on campus. The longer I'm gone, the less people I know. I have a few friends I can't wait to spend time with, but mostly, I'm just psyched about the fact that both my kids are getting bigger and will enjoy so much there. AND there's less baby stuff to bring--no pacifiers, no wipes, no booster seat for the cafeteria, no sippee cups... What an amazing feeling!

I feel the rest of summer sneaking up on me too because a couple of weeks after camp, Mark's brother and his wife are coming down for about 4 days to help us build a deck! Yaayyy! Then a few weeks after that comes our Ireland trip, and then summer is almost over. This is really going to be a great few months. In the meantime, we have a very relaxing and fun May planned, so for now, I'm kicking back, doing a little planning here and there, but mostly just enjoying this time of life. God has given us so much and I plan on NOT taking anything for granted. So bring on the lemonade, the Memorial Day parade, some casual cookouts at the park, and whatever else blows our way. Like I love to say, it's the simple things...

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Good Movie

I saw Reign Over Me this past weekend--the Adam Sandler/Don Cheadle movie that's out right now. I don't really have much to say about it. It's one of those movies you have to see for yourself. It was amazing. I love Adam Sandler in serious roles--he's a phenomenal actor. And well, Don Cheadle--what do you say about him? How can you not love him in absolutely everything?! After sobbing my way through the rough parts, I came out feeling uplifted. I didn't expect that, but that's definitely the feeling I left with. See it, and then be in the lives of people around you.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I can't think of anything particularly interesting or witty to talk about today. But I'm feeling very guilty after reading Jamie's post about facebook taking over his blogging world. Since I think I belong to a "blogging clique" as someone once called it, I feel the need to at least post written words today. Let's see, what's happening, what's happening...

Well, we've had lots of things happening around here since my last post--St. Patrick's Day parades, Easter egg hunts, meetings at our church to get involved in ministries there, lots of soccer practices for Jake, Mark's spring break, lunch with new friends, visits from old friends (Och, Mattox's, and Show), an overnight visit to Mark's parents, meeting 3 neighbors, another visit to the zoo, a great Life Group every Wednesday, drives downtown to campus to look around, just because we can...

Wow, I guess it's been a pretty busy month. We're definitely settled into our new city. That fact makes me smile.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring Cleaning

I thought today was the day. I decided that I would embark on my spring cleaning for this year a little early. Probably because we had a couple of days this week that were almost summer-like, so I was in the mood. Plus it takes me a good long time to get everything done that I want to get done because there are certain things that I will only do once a year (like washing curtains, etc.) But then I realized that I can't start without my lists. A long time ago (when I had lots of computer time on my hands at my many secretarial jobs) I made lists of everything that needed to be done in every room in the house. I made a master list, then printed out several copies to use over the next few years. I know at this point whoever may be reading this has come to the definite conclusion that I'm a mental case. But I thrive on just love me for who I am! Anyway, my lists are no where to be found. I'm assuming they somehow got lost in one of the two moves we made in the last year and a half. But alas, I cannot begin cleaning until I have lists in front of me. The contentment of a clean house is not complete unless I have crossed things off my list. I get so much satisfaction from the "cross-off." On top of that, as the day progressed I ended up with a doozy of a cold and now I'm just down for the count. And also, it was snowing by lunchtime. That immediately threw me out of spring cleaning mode and back into cuddle up on the couch mode. So it seems spring cleaning is not in the cards for this week. But one day soon, my lists will be made, my windows will be thrown open, the house will smell of pine and lemon, and every closet and drawer will be resplendant with reorganization.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Turkey Day

Now I know you're thinking, Turkey Day in March? Yes, that's what this is. Every year I buy a huge turkey when they're on sale before Thanksgiving and keep it in the freezer through the winter. Turkey is our favorite meal around here, and we definitely get our fill of it during the holiday season. But just once or twice a year is not enough. So every year, at the end of the winter, I haul out the huge bird and make an entire turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings. I guess it's a kind of farewell to the season we call winter. We love winter while it lasts, but we're always happy to see spring ushered in. So tonight we'll feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc (ooh--don't forget the mouth-watering gravy). And in doing so we say see ya to winter and WELCOME to spring!

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Yard Sale Bug

“Digging through a cellar or an attic is like archaeology of the soul.” –Anonymous

It’s getting to be that time of year again. I have the itch—the yard sale itch. Every spring I can’t wait to pour over the classified section of the paper looking for yard sale ads. Every Saturday I love to while away the morning hours going from neighborhood to neighborhood, looking for hidden treasures. I think this bug started because for 5 years, I lived in the Yard Sale Land of Plenty, also known as Clarks Summit, PA. There were always friends to go with (Gretchen, Laura, and of course Judith--who taught us to haggle) I realized the bug was back last week as I was flipping through Craig’s List online, looking for outside toys for the kids. Jackpot—I got a little tikes picnic table for just 5 bucks! Then I realized just how bad my bug is: the fact that I was going through not just the Columbus ads, but the Cleveland ads too. I knew if I found anything worthwhile, I could get my in-laws to pick it up for me (they’re just great like that). And low and behold, I found my perfectly priced picnic table in Cleveland! It’s sitting in Grandma and Papa's garage as we speak. I got even more excited last week after talking to my friend, Lydie. She told me about amazing multi-family neighborhood sales that happen annually in certain upscale towns, and we already have a date to leave the kids with the daddies and hit those up! So until the spring weather actually comes and the newspaper starts filling up their ad section, I’ll get it out of my system by scouring Ya never know what you might come across.

“It is the beholder who lends to the beautiful things its myriad meanings, and makes it marvelous for us.” –Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

He will quiet you with His love

"...He will quiet you with His love..." (Zephaniah 3:17). I have never read this before. The worship leader at our new church mentioned this passage in passing on Sunday morning, and for some reason, it was like a fog horn in my head. The phrase kept repeating itself to me (I'm assuming that was the Still Small Voice, Gretchen) over and over throughout the service and the rest of the day. The rest of the verse is just as amazing as the middle phrase--"The Lord our God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." I simply cannot get enough of this right now. Isn't it the most amazing thing? I'm speechless.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rest and Oscar

Last weekend I spent a glorious Sunday afternoon holed up in our basement. Sundays are the only days that Jake still takes a nap and for some reason, this past Sunday both kids took really long naps. I went downstairs and curled up on the futon with a quilt, my pillow, a book, and glass of water, and some chapstick (just for you, Jamie!). The original purpose of our basement was for Mark's sports memorabilia, the treadmill, a playroom for the kids, and storage. But it's turning out to be more than that. It's still all those things, and it's by far the kids favorite place to play. Probably because we have tons of bookshelves down there full of toys, blocks, activities, etc. But it's turning out to be a little getaway for me too. We have a nice comfy futon down there, a lamp to turn on when I don't want overhead lights, and it also houses all our books, since we don't have space for bookcases up in our living area. I love being surrounded by my books--it automatically makes for cozy living. We also put our old tv down there along with a $17 DVD player (LOVE black Friday!), so now it's the official place for kids movies. And on Sunday afternoons, it has become my safe haven to watch old movies. Sunday afternoon is always reserved for sports on the bigger tv upstairs. I have no problem with that--it's the American way. Maybe it's because we spent every Sunday afternoon at my grandparents' house while I was growing up, and because they always had old movies on all afternoon (they had cable a long time before us!), but I am so content to just sit down with an old musical or a black and white movie and loll the afternoon away. So last Sunday, after reading a few chapters of Harry Potter (I'm re-reading the whole series in honor of the final book coming out this July), I settled in with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck for an afternoon of "Roman Holiday." If you haven't seen it, SEE IT! It's a classic. We are talking pre-My Fair Lady, Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast At Tiffany's... It was Audrey's first movie and she won an Oscar that year for Best Actress. I love the Academy Awards, but don't like to put Mark through the torture, so I'll probably settle in on the futon once again this Sunday night for the Oscars. I just love when Sundays turn out to be what they are intended for. Rest...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Trip of a Lifetime

I'm not sure how many people I've had a chance to share this with but I'm going to Ireland!!! My mom has always wanted to take my sister and I there because we have a strong Irish heritage (don't forget I'm from Boston--the only people I knew growing up were Irish or Italian or both!) and last year she mentioned actually making legitimate plans. We talked about it here and there, but I guess in the back of my mind I didn't think it was actually happening. Well, over Christmas we talked about it more and settled on this summer, but we still had no ligitimate plans. Then this past week my mom got snowed in here in Columbus, so we got out the guidebooks I had bought on eBay last fall and just started making plans. We even bought our plane tickets (August, by the way)! We're spending 5 days in Ireland and 3 days in London and Mark and Ryan (my sister's huband) are coming too! As it turns out, the entire plan and itinerary is pretty much falling on my shoulders because everyone else is too busy to take care of such a detailed trip. And I gotta say, I don't mind one bit. I have a lot of time on my hands, I'm an internet addict, I love researching, and I especially love organizing everything in life. I'm in heaven. So I've spent the last two days online and with my nose buried in my travel books looking at ticket prices, hotel reviews, restaurant suggestions, train schedules through Ireland, day trip bus tours, festival dates... My sister thinks I'm psycho cuz I keep calling her and asking questions and opinions trying not to leave her out of the planning process and I keep using phrases like, "well, I'm working on Phase 2 of the trip..." I'm just being silly, but it makes it more fun and elicits a chuckle out of her. I'm hoping to keep a rough journal of the trip while we're there, and then post everything on a new blog and that way be able to share everything and all our experiences with our friends. I'm just giddy with anticipation, but keep in mind too that I've never been out of the country before. This is all new for me and beyond exciting!

(FYI, I'm listening to my new AG Silver CD right now and I think they have a new fan--Thanks Abby!)

Monday, February 12, 2007

30'th Birthday Weekend

My amazing husband treated me to the best birthday ever. It was a full weekend inluding dinner at Mongolian Barbecue, spending time with Mark, chai from Barnes & Noble, my wonderful and amazing friend Abby's "surprise" weekend visit, a razzmatazz latte from Cup-A-Joe, quality cafe time with Abby, a surprise party complete with family and Columbus friends, a REAL surprise visit from my mom, Mark's exciting game win, Mark taking care of every meal the entire weekend, peppermint mocha from Starbucks, surprise gifts from Mark, fun gifts from friends, including lots of Starbucks gift cards, many many pounds of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks coffee, an extremely special gift from my long distance but close-to-my-heart friend, Gretchen, and two phone calls from my kindred in Germany, Daylin (which I missed, sniff). I am blessed. I am thankful for what God has given me and for the people He has put in my life. Turning 30--not such a huge deal. Spending time with and hearing from people I love--the best deal in life!

Mum and Abby

Julie and Brian (Mark's brother and his wife)

Katie, DJ (Jamie Miller's sister and brother-in-law and also who Mark is coaching high school basketball with) and Brian or Big B as our kids call him

DJ, Brian, Mark, Rory, and Mom C (Talan and Jake in front)

Mikayla and Rory

Me and my wonderful new Columbus friend, Lydie (Mark's cousin's wife)

Rory, Grammie, and Jake watching The Aristocats

Me and Abby

Abby and Rory

Monday, January 29, 2007

New CD's are Definitely Pennies from Heaven

I love Amazon! I just treated myself to a little pre-birthday present. I got Carly Simon's "No Secrets" and Carole King's "Tapestry." I'm totally in a funky 70's chicks phase right now and we're talking the original albums--the ones that made them legends--not the greatest hits or new recordings. The classics. Fun.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

January Piercings

Well, I don't know what it is about me and January and nose rings, but it's on my mind again. I want to get my nose pierced! For anyone who might be reading this not knowing the history, last January I got a nose ring--just a tiny diamond. I LOOOOOOVED it, and it was so fun having Abby along for the ride and moral support. But I had to take it out 4 days later because of infection and I was devastated. I haven't considered trying again because to have it pierced was no big deal, but to have it removed was excruciatingly painful. But here I am, a year later, considering...If I had money in my pocket, I'd probably go today...

You're only young(ish) once.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Lady In the Water"

I finally got to see M. Night Shyamalan's latest today. I'm a big fan of his movies, ever since "The Sixth Sense" scared the bejeezes out of me. This one was the usual Shyamalan fare: slow moving plot, lots of silences, interesting camera angles, etc. I LOVED "The Sixth Sense," liked "Unbreakable," thought "Signs" was okay, until they actually showed the alien, which basically ruined it for me (although I did appreciate the twists at the end), and then LOVED "The Village" again.

As far as "Lady In the Water" goes, Paul Giamatti is amazing, as always, and I'm loving that Bryce Dallas Howard (Iris from The Village) is in this too because I just think she's an interesting actress. This movie was different from the others in that it didn't have a major twist or surprise at the end. In my opinion, the theme of this story is that the goofy people, the boring people, the weird or interesting people, the people that you may look right through every day around you--they all have a purpose. There is a meaning for everyone. Everyone has their own little piece of the larger story.

M. Night Shyamalan actually used to tell this to his daughters as a bedtime story, then had a book published, then turned it into a movie.

It took a while to get into it, but by the end, my heart was full, my spirit was soaring. What a weirdly inspirational movie!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Game Over

First the Ohio State Buckeyes, now the New England Patriots. Football is a fickle friend...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Heart is Full!

It's snowing! So far this winter we have had NO SNOW, and I don't know if I can explain to people just how difficult it has been for me living in a place with no snow. We had a few flurries one day in the fall, and since then, nothing. Even now, it's only flurries, but at least it's still light out and I can watch while it lasts.

My eyes behold its beauty
As my hand Reaches out for its touch,
While my face
Feels that certain tingle
That makes me love
Snow so much!
My heart embraces its coming
The way a child frolics In the fallen snow!
My beautiful snowfall
Brings joy to my spirit
And sunshine to my day.
It doesn't matter
Whether it be a blizzard
Or a dusting of flakes,
Snow falling from the sky
To me looks the same
Any old way!
Snow, my ever lovely snowfall!
Be it Valentine's Day, President's Day,
And yes, Be it Groundhog Day!
Let it snow I walk in it,
As well as sing in it!
I play in the snow
And build my favorite snowman,
Then chase
Each falling flake
As fast as I can!
Each breath of air
Feels crystal clear
Making Winter so very dear!
Each descending flake
Falls as if it were
A blessing from the angels,
Appreciating this gift
Of nature from God,
More than any other
Man created pleasure!
Let it snow
As well as
Let the winds blow!
I wait for the snow every year,
And can't stop smiling
When it finally appears!
Snowfall, my snowfall!

--Holly Bianchi (Age 11)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rut Be Gone!

I've been a cooking maniac lately! It feels so good to be out of a rut and be on to bigger and better things. My goal has been at least two new meals a week, since I have all these great cookbooks, but this week I did four. I've been cooking with fresher ingredients, and it actually makes cooking more fun. To have to chop up the rosemary, smash the garlic cloves, etc--that's way more fun than getting dried herbs and spices out of the cabinet and my bottled minced garlic out of the fridge. So here are the new meals we ate over the past week:

Penne with spicy chicken alfredo
Chicken piccatta with whole-grain mustard roasted potatoes
Risotto with tuscan chicken
Garlic roast chicken with rosemary and lemon with pesto smashed potatoes

Some of them are keepers and some of them aren't, but it's great trying new things and finding out!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Coffee Timeline

I realized the other day that my relationship with coffee has been an ever-evolving one. I don't know what got me thinking about the details of me and coffee, but here's what I came up with. In high school, I drank it once in a while, with a friend here and there, or on really cold days while slinging Christmas trees. Once I got to college, it was purely social. I didn't need coffee everyday, but I drank it mostly nights, when I went out with friends. There were many late nights at Perkins, Daylin with her pitcher of tea, Diana with her pitcher of decaf, and me with my coffee pitcher straightup. It was also in college that I was introduced to the wonderful gas station cappuccino, which is a little too sweet for me now, but delicious when combined with half regular coffee. This is still a road trip staple for me. Once I started working full time, that's when the everyday coffee came about. Not because I needed the caffeine, but because it was nice to have my mug waiting at my desk for me everyday, ready to be sipped all morning long. It was just habit. I got into bad habits though--drinking about 4 cups a morning and once in a while in the afternoon. That ended when I quit my job to have a baby. I went down to two cups a day, which I maintain to date. I still didn't need the caffeine, it was just love of the flavor and of being able to hold a mug everyday. Holding a mug provides a lot of comfort, for those of you who don't know because you don't drink hot beverages (Mark!). Once I had a second kid, THAT'S when the need for caffeine kicked in. I needed that jump start in the mornings. I still do need the caffeine, but I realized this week as I was thinking about this, that more than anything right now, for me, coffee holds the promise of a new day, a fresh start... Maybe it's because my kids are getting bigger, and there are so many changes around here. They need constant interaction, they are constantly learning, and they get that from me--all day long. I have been learning that I mess up as much as they do. I have a short fuse, I am learning to be a teacher since it doesn't come naturally to me, and I'm learning how to love my kids for the fact that they are little people with huge personalities, not just because they are my children to raise. So I try to sit with a cup of coffee every morning, not just sip on the go as I do things around the house. My kids are starting to figure out that for 15 minutes, Mom can sit and not get up--no filling cups, no changing pullups, no untangling necklaces or helping with lincoln logs. And as I sit there sipping, I'm thinking, What will we do today? Everyday is an adventure and everyday I have a fresh mug and a clean slate.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I can't even think of a title...

I have writer's block.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Post-Christmas Yum

Well, I'm up to my ears in 11 new cookbooks this Christmas. So much happiness here. =) Hmmm, where to start, where to start...