Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What can I call it?

I need to come up with a word not yet invented in the English language that defines how many things a person does in a day. I am sure there are already words out there - for example, busy, assiduous, engaged, occupied, having a full plate, having fish to fry, overloaded...

I have tomorrow off because I am working this weekend so I decided that I would make a list of things that I need to get done between today and tomorrow...

1. drop Melody off at school
2. drop Dylan and Angelica off at school
3. go grocery shopping while I'm kid free
4. pick up Melody from school
5. do laundry
6. fold laundry
7. put away laundry
8. biology class homework (although I might be able to get this done on my lunch hour today)
9. sort and mail out my inchies (again, may be accomplished today)
10. finish my summer swap pages (ok I'm a loser - it's already fall - good thing there isn't a swap for that!)
11. pick up things for Halloween costumes (so far, the only idea I have is making Melody a bunch of grapes)
12. pick up Dylan and Angelica from school
13. help Dylan with his cereal box book report (which we will be working on tonight as well)
14. dinner?
15. go to school for a 5:30pm biology class.
16. CTMH order (somewhere in the day, this needs to go out).

I'm good as long as I focus on the list and not get distracted by things like TV or emergency room visits (which thankfully, we are not prone to).
Taken the other night when we went candlepin bowling - Melody was wicked serious about winning - she came in last of all 10 of us but she was determined to get that ball down the lane - even though some of her throws took more than a minute to get all the way down the lane (some were going so slowly that they even rolled back to us....now that's entertainment!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This weekend off

Really, though - I don't get any weekends off...even my weekends off from work seem busy...but it's a good busy!!! After I did a CTMH demo for one of the girls in our CTMH club on Saturday morning, we went to NH to visit my cousins...for some candlepin bowling and pizza...I took these shots in our driveway before we left:
I took this picture of Dylan with his back to the sun....known as backlighting. Sometimes when you take pictures like this you get a nice bright background with an underexposed subject...here, not so bad - he was standing in front of the back of our Dodge Caravan. But you can tell that the shadows are pretty obvious on his face.
I took this photo a few moments later but I moved Dylan and me into the shade of a tree in our front yard. Sunlight is coming from nearly overhead to Dylan's right - better exposure of his whole face because we're both in the shade and the sun in not directly on either one of us. I like both pictures but this is a great example of how important the source of your light is to get the correct exposure.

I took this picture about 2 feet from where I took Dylan's last shot about 30 seconds after I took that photo. The sunlight is coming from behind me and in front of Melody - she is under the shade of a tree and I'm halfway in and and out of the sun. Great exposure of her face - but you can see the sun shining right on her tummy...and you can also tell that the wind is blowing from Melodys left to her right by the direction of her hair.

This is what her shirt said - "Little Sisters Rock!" Yeah - they do!!!

It was so nice out yesterday - breezy but warm - almost 70 degrees. So Mittens decided to escape while someone was coming out the front door and take an early afternoon outdoor snack on the leftover leaves of a lily in our front yard. I love the fall colors in this photo and how Mittens is giving me the hairy eyeball.

Unfortunately, foliage is past peak up north and here the leaves are in the middle of turning but nothing is too bright - still I love this photo that I shot of the leaves of the tree in the front yard.

This is just a photo of a small flag in front of our house...

I'm glad I got more shots of the kids before we left for NH.
Dylan looks so mature in this picture and Melody looks so boogie face (gross!!! She's got a cold.)
Let me just iterate how difficult it is to get three children to simultaneously look at you and smile...I at least got those two pictures above.

This I shot while I was standing on my van with the kids on the ground. Perspective is important - it can change the whole mood of the shot - I love Melody's smile in this picture...Dylan has the Rees expression on his face and Angel looks like she's been holding that smile for too long...sigh...the joys of taking my kids' pictures...

I took all of the photos above with my Canon 50 mm, no flash.

Got home last night around 9:30pm and then woke up this morning at 5:30am for Dylan's 7am hockey game against Pembroke. Dylan goalied today - the game ended in a tie 2-2. He shut Pembroke out the first 2 periods. Good job Dylan!!!!
I love how Dylan's face and the number two on his sleeve are the only things in focus in this picture. (I took this photo with my Canon 75-300mm at 300mm no flash through the glass at the rink this morning.

I left in the middle of the 2nd period (bad mother I am) in time for Susan to pick me up (thanks buddy!!!) so that we could meet up with Kristin and others to go on a scrapbooking bus tour. It was fun - but note to self - no more back of the bus...I had bus stomach until I got off the bus...ugh! Next time I drive the bus...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oh Whatta Night!!!

So last night, after work, I attended our semi-annual recognition night. HarborOne does a pretty good job at keeping these things very interesting. We had a special guest speaker last night -


And I got the seat right next to the stage where he spoke at the podium!!! How exciting!!!
Of course, I left my camera in the car and so did not get pictures of him speaking. But while Matt was signing autographs and taking pictures with everyone, I ran back to my car and got it - took a few shots -

Pretty cool...not to worry, someone took my picture with him...not with my camera. (not my best shots - I'm working on shooting on the fly!)

Matt's message to us talked about his path to success and what he felt makes him and his team successful. What did I take out of it? That loving what you do and having a good time go a long way to yielding success. Be relaxed and confident and work hard to be successful. Who knew that banking and Professional Football had so much in common? Matt's philosophy can be applied to pretty much - life in general...

Thanks to HarborOne for having a wonderful guest bring such a pertinent message!!!!

Thanks Matt Light for taking the time to come speak with us. That was NEAT!!!

Gotta bounce - kids need to get dressed for school.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Can I get any busier?

Of course, I can...I took my 2nd biology test tonight - photosynthesis, cellular respiration, parts of a cell, energy - 200 questions - I almost fell off my chair when the teacher said that...for goodness sakes, the Police Sgt. test that Adam took last weekend didn't have that many questions on it!!! It felt like it was easier than I thought it would have been - we'll see - we get our test results on Wednesday...

So I have class on Wednesday night, I'm working Thursday night, I have recognition night tomorrow at the Shaw's Center after work. I'm putting together the hockey league's Yankee Candle fundraiser before Wednesday (picking up the last of the orders tomorrow). I have to put together a CTMH demo for Saturday morning. We're going to the Keene Pumpkin Festival with my cousins in NH on Saturday afternoon/evening (after my CTMH demo). On Sunday, Dylan has a game at 7am, Angel has to go to CCD that morning dressed up as a saint and Melody and Angel have their skating practice at 4pm while Dylan has a goalie tutorial with one of the older players at 5pm. I will be on a scrapbooking store bus tour with Susan and Kristin (she'd better be going) all day on Sunday...that's my down time...

We haven't gotten Halloween costumes yet...maybe sometime next week. I'm not sure what the kids want to be...we usually get our costumes at the Disney store and we wait til the last minute so that we can get them on sale...we'll see if that happens...I'm not even sure that I can get home early for Halloween...

Took a few pics of the girls on last Sunday...Melody is still skating with the milk crates...if you wanna call it skating:
This is Melody, leaning on her milk crates - she likes to skate on her toe picks...

This is another view of Melody with her milk crates...she told me that she was skating real fast holding onto the crates...I think she was actually running on her toe picks, holding onto the crates...

Sometimes, she didn't skate at all...when she wasn't using the crates, Melody spent most of her time and energy on her bum...and she couldn't really get up without someone helping her. Still, she said that she loves skating...Angel on the other hand, graduated the crates last week...
Angel picked it up a lot faster than any of my kids...
She was doing it...she did fall a lot too, many times, completely flat on her back...thank God for helmets...
But unlike Melody, Angel can get up on her own and balance and manage to go 2 feet without falling...sometimes.
Earlier in the day on Sunday, Dylan had a hockey game...he played left wing again but will go back to being the goalie for this weekend's game...
I took this in the Pembroke locker room at 5:40am. I can't believe that I was up at that hour after watching the Red Sox game that ended after midnight (it was game 6 - they lost game 7 last night...maybe next year).
I love this picture of Dylan skating with no one from his team and 4 of the 5 kids from the other team. I love most everyone is blurry in this picture except for Dylan. I don't really know how I did that...I'm sure it had something to do with being focused on Dylan.

I also promise that not every post I have this fall/winter/spring will be of my kids skating or playing hockey. That would get very boring. Like at the beginning of this post, I'm SO busy...I'll bring my camera to recognition night and hope that my co-workers will let me take pictures of them but somehow I doubt they'll let me post the photos here. I will try anyway....can't wait til this weekend - hoping to get some good foliage pictures and pumpkin festival shots....only 4 more days til the weekend....keep on counting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dylan's last game

I got to see Dylan's last game - it ended in a tie. The Brockton Boxers played Braintree at the Pilgrim Rink C in Hingham...we led the whole game until late in the 3rd when Braintree scored 2 more goals to tie it up 4-4...and that's how it ended. We almost didn't play because when we got there at 7:20am, there was no electricity - the town of Hingham had some kinda brownout - me and the girls went to Dunkin' Donuts and the street light in a major 5 way intersection was out. The lights came on (literally 2 minutes before the kids were due out on the ice) and so we played.

I got some decent shots...before the game, the girls and I sat in the hallway because the rink was freezing - no heat until the electricity came on - and even then, it was still cold (duh, it's an ice rink)
This is Angel while she was eating her breakfast sandwich - the one I made her reluctantly share with her little sister.
This is Melody after the top of the chocolate chip muffin and a part of Angel's breakfast sandwich. No one was happy that I made them get up at 6:30am for a game that we almost didn't play...I love this picture - Melody's face isn't completely clean (which is not unusual for her) and I caught the light in her eyes (no flash)...

Some action shots...

All the above pictures of Dylan were taken with my Canon 75-300mm - no flash. I set my ISO to 400 for these photos. Only ok because I am not focused on blowing up these bad larrys...shooting in a higher ISO will make your pictures noisy (grainy). For portraits, I like ISO 100 - buttery smooth look. For the action shots, shooting in a higher ISO allows me to shoot at a faster shutter speed - allowing me to capture motion more easily.

The mantra of "can't have your cake and eat it too" (one thing that Karen Russell stressed in her Photographer's Workshop) is so true in photography...you can't have a buttery smooth picture in a non-perfect lighting situation (which is nearly always), shooting at a shutter speed that won't induce camera shake (anything slower than 1/15th of a second will usually result in a not so sharp image) without a flash. So, I'm in an ice rink, with the white of that ice in my face - lit up by the worst and probably the most energy INefficient fluorescent lighting, trying to shoot kids who are constantly moving a small tiny black hockey puck across a sheet of ice...I have to sacrifice something in order to get the shot I want...most times, it's ISO in this case - because I want to be able to shoot at a fast shutter speed with a constant aperature to keep everything in focus.

In the second picture of Dylan (the one with another Brockton player and half of a Braintree player), they are all moving. But it's a pretty sharp image because I shot it in ISO 400, f/5.6, with a shutter speed of 1/125th sec. If I blow this up, the photo would be a little grainy but all of Dylan is in focus and even though they are all moving, the image is pretty sharp. If I adjusted any one of those three factors (ISO, shutter speed or aperature) the image would be much different. We're talking strictly no flash...you could get very good exposures with flash...I happen to want to perfect my non-flashy skills....and I flash when appropriate (I beg your pardon).

That's about as technical as I can get...I'd love to blog more, but my friend Susan roped me into an inchie swap and I have like 6 more to design and 6 of each of those designs to make.
Besides, I gotta watch the presidential debate on tonight....it's like a sporting event...we may talk about this later...we'll see....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sigh - I missed it....

Due to an urgent work-related situation, I missed the girls' skating class...I ended up calling mom and dad to be in attendance while I went to resolve my work situation (which I am not at liberty to talk about here). I also missed taking any pictures of the girls on the ice today...and Angel's first skate across the ice without the milk crates (at least Grammie and Grampy were there to see it). Apparently, Melody didn't graduate the milk crates, so there is still hope for me to catch her first time without them next weekend.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too busy in my own life to be present in my family's lives...I was home for all of Dylan's firsts (because I was a stay at home mom at the time). But I went back to work when I moved back to MA (which was, without a doubt, the right thing for our family). I've done everything I could to really enjoy the kids' important moments - like taking my lunch hour to drive home and watch Dylan's school play last June - he didn't have a lead part...he was part of the Barnyard Brood in the 2nd grade production of Ugly Duckling: the Musical.

Thankfully, the kids are pretty healthy - so I don't usually have to call in sick, when they are...Adam has many more sick days and actually a lot of flexibility for a police officer...so he's home when someone needs to be home (or his dad - the best trooper there is - will still watch the kids when they are sick. I think he draws the line at kids puking in his car though...can't say I blame him - sick kid yack is gross!!!!)

I missed Dylan's hockey game yesterday (I was working, where else would I be?) - he lost 1-0 but it was his first game as left wing. He's switching off with another player in the goalie position.
At least he has another game tomorrow morning - 8am in Hingham, MA - about 30 minutes from home.

Work is a huge priority for me. I have a sense of obligation and desire to make sure that I am the best at what I do. It's how I'm built. I don't know any different. I'm sure part of it stems from the fact that I grew up watching my parents work so hard. My father is a mechanic. My mother was a Medical Technologist. And they both worked night and day - my father still works 2 jobs (one part time, one full time). I know that they might have done it at one point to make ends meet - but my dad doesn't need to now for the money - I think he's incapable of slowing down. And neither one of my parents is a "settler" - like they never aim for acceptable or mediocre or just ok...everything they do needs to be nothing less than flawless. I'm almost positive that this is where I get it from.

This drive brings me to the moments like this afternoon where I needed to be somewhere and while work is never a place I don't want to be, it wasn't where I wanted to be this afternoon. I wasn't gone an hour, but it was the one moment in the day where I wanted to be with my girls.
But I worked, fixed my problem and got back just in time to hear mom tell me how great it was to watch Angel skate across the ice without falling. I'm sure I'll get to see that many more times that just today...just wanted to see it and shoot it and paint in my memory at the very moment it happened.

But I chose to work - and what did it get me? The very satisfaction that I fixed my problem...and I missed Angel's first real skate...and that I need to remember to cherish every moment I've got...there are so many and so few...

I promise - pictures - I'll shoot a ton tomorrow...I'll even shoot the dog that's whimpering behind me (and maybe not with my camera - SHUT UP ODIE!!!!)

P.S. And I can't seem to settle on a layout for this blog - ugh - more on that tomorrow.

P.P.S. And I need the playoff games to start earlier than 8:30pm...I'm so wrecked every morning after they play...Last night the Red Sox lost 9-8 in the 11th against the Tampa Bay Rays...ugh...
They play their next game tomorrow night...series is tied 1-1...Susan is hoping they lose so that she can go on the Scrapbook Cupboard bus tour (which she convinced me was a good time so I'm going too)...if the Red Sox win, though - AND the Phillies win their series, she'll be back and forth to every World Series game for work...however, I will still be on the bus tour. =) So I'm torn at who I'm routing for...

P.P.P.S - Susan also wanted me to clarify a statement I made about her on the post with the pictures from our trip to The Melting Pot. I said that she was single and likes cats...both parts of that statement were true but she did not want readers of this blog to think that she was into weird stuff - cats are her favorite house pets...she has one (hi Jeannette, in case you're reading this). So if you're a good man, mid-to-late 30s, with a good heart, stable job and no cat allergies...post a comment here...if you know one and you're reading this, have them visit my blog and post a comment here. (Susan, is that ok? I'll let you know if any one answers).

Friday, October 10, 2008

This week was...

not my best week ever...after Melody was well enough to attend her first skating class with her sister on Sunday - we got one good day where everyone was well (except for me - by the time I got home from school on Monday night, I had a fever - with no chance of being out of work this week). Tuesday, Angel got sick - she stayed home from school for 2 days...I missed class on Wednesday night so that I could cuddle with her...special request...thank you to Renee for sending me her notes...I owe you a coffee...
I'm hoping that Dylan doesn't get sick because he's got 2 hockey games this weekend. I won't make it to the game on Saturday afternoon, but I'll make to the one on Monday morning.

Shamefully, I don't have pictures...it's hard for me to take pictures of anything when there is sickness in my house. SO there will be plenty of pictures after work tomorrow and with a holiday on Monday, I'll be working on this blog - no school this week - teacher's birthday on Wednesday and she's going to the Madonna concert...fun for her, I'll be studying - test is next Monday...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The girls' turn

This morning, Dylan had his first home game against Westwood - they finally won a game 2-1. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there because Melody has been sick for the last few days...turns out that she has a double ear infection...those are always warm and fuzzy...that won her 10 days on Amoxicillan twice a day. One dose of that stuff and her temperature today was not a degree above normal all day...she's back to her fresh little self...thank goodness.

Today is the first day that I thought it was cold - in our house. Still, I refuse to turn on the heat...instead we went out and got a new thermostat in an effort to make ourselves more energy efficient....that's gonna be an Adam and dad task tomorrow...

We also went to BJ's - which is a great place to shop when you need stuff - but terrible if you aren't trying to spend $170.00 on what seemed to be just cereal and cat food...ok, we bought the thermostat there and cat litter, a case of Juicy Juice for the kids and 4 packages of tulip bulbs that Adam thought we should plant now for the spring.

Anyway, we originally went out to get the girls some gear for the Learn to Skate lessons that they are taking....

Got a few shots of them -
This is Melody's very first time on ice skates...she looked like she was doing ok - but there was also a lot of this:

Falling - that's what learning to skate is all about. Of course, if her mother was more well prepared, the poor thing wouldn't have jeans on to soak up all the melted ice on her butt. Oh well, there's always next week.

Finally, my favorite picture:
You can look at the picture and figure out that a few things could be happening:
1. Melody is hanging onto Angel and Angel is letting her.
2. Melody is about to take Angel down in an effort to keep herself up.
3. Angel is pushing Melody away so that she can keep that crate to herself.
4. They're learning to skate together.

I prefer to think that #4 is the most applicable to that picture. An emotionally perfect picture? Maybe a little - ok, how 'bout an emotionally near-perfect picture...my mind wonders what was happening in this shot instead of my heart melting....and then I come up with the above possibilities.

8 weeks and then we get to decide if they will go on for another 8 weeks. The girls are already talking about playing hockey too...we'll see - no one could pick a less expensive extra-curricular activity? I'm not the one playing, just the one who has to worry about getting people everywhere in time for everything with enough money to do it all.....sigh - as long as they love it, I can keep up...looking forward to more spills on the ice...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My birthday dinner....

On my actual birthday, 9/21 - we didn't really do anything and it was nice. But my girlfriends decided that it was a good enough reason to go to the Melting Pot. This restaurant came highly recommended by my manager, Pam, back in February when Adam and I were looking for a nice place to spend our anniversary. So me and couple of girlfriends went.

I talked about my drink in the last post - the Yin-Yang - I could love drinking more if all alcoholic drinks were made with ice cream like that one.
Me and the girls shared 2 types of cheese fondue, entree fondue cooked in broth, and 2 types of chocolate fondue...dessert was definitely the highlight of the evening.

Susan took this picture of Kim picking up the veggies and me behind the steam. Thanks for finding the skinny button on your cam, Su...

These are 2 of my cute friends - Susan and Kim. Susan (left) is single and likes cats, if you're interested. Kim (right) has 2 boys and is happily married to Patrick. You can check out her blog by clicking here. Our friend Jeanne was with us:Sorry boys, Jeanne is taken too - by Rich and 5 kids -

This is me, with one of my most prized possessions - no, not that wedding ring on my finger - the Canon in my hands...this is how my children most see me.

This was dessert -
And for some of us, it was messy and for others - really messy...here is when Kim's whole dinner turned into a chocolate shower...
Notice the chocolate dripping from her bottom lip...luckily she had a Tide to Go stick...

She really liked that Tide to Go stick...
And I think she was very happy with the result -
Look Ma, no more stain - and a free plug for Tide to Go...

The night was a blast!!!! I even missed Prison Break for it - but that's what DVR's are for...

Ladies, thank for you a wonderful night out - wish we could do it more often...whose birthday is next...I'm so down for another round of fondue and that drink -