Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brenna's Ballerina Birthday!

Birthday Girl Brenna

Playing chase in the hall (Joe was the one who put her tutu on half way up her chest)!

Our Two Little Ballerinas

Cake anyone?

My sister-in-law, Marianne, holding little ballerina Lacey (Brenna's sister)

We had a blast this weekend at our niece's 2nd birthday party! As you can see it was a ballerina birthday party- and as always Lily and her cousin Brenna had so much fun with each other! If only they could wear each other out like this everyday! Great job with the party Mary!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Open Gym

Lily and I jumping into the pit!

Our friend Alex taking the big jump!

Our friend Jennifer and her daughter Hannah in the foam pit!

A few weeks ago during our Spring Break we discovered the YMCA's Toddler Open Gym! Sooo much fun! Unfortunately you have to pay to use it (just $5)- but it is a worthwhile splurge every now and then! Basically they open up their whole gymnastics gym for the little ones to play in (fun things to climb on, slides, balance beams, trampoline, and even a giant foam pit which you can jump from the trampoline into)! And at the end of the class the "intructor" (who is really just supervising) gives each of the kids a stamp (Lily loved this). As you might imagine Lily has had a blast the two times we have used it so far! Here are some pictures I took of the first time we went.

One Computer Fixed!

Well, we have one computer fixed! Earlier this week I accidentally downloaded a virus onto our desktop computer. It was very sneaky actually. I was online one night when a warning popped up on my screen saying that my computer had been infected with Spyware and that I needed to run a scan of all my files to detect further threats. The scan detected 34 infected files. So I clicked the button to fix the files. Apparently that's what downloaded the virus (or so we believe). That simple. That tricky. Joe was able to purchase Norton AntiVirus Protection the following day and eliminate the virus (but not before some damage was done). My loving husband then spent days trying to fix the damage- and after a few days just about everything was working correctly- except that my computer wouldn't allow me to login to my blog (I could see it but not login to post anything). I was beyond annoyed. I visited the IT guys at the University and got a few suggestions, but none of them worked. Then yesterday Joe tried to get onto Ebay and that wouldn't work either. He called the IT guys back and after another hour or two of work everything was fixed (that we know of)! I can now happily use my blog again! Now we just have to keep waiting to hear back about our laptop (it's been 11 days since we took it in). For now I'm just greatful we have at least one working computer!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Computers Are Against Us!

It's true- our computers are against us! Last week the hard drive on our laptop crashed- it's currently in the shop- and it's likely we'll have to buy a new hard drive or possibly even a new laptop entirely. Uggghhh
Then the other day I accidentally downloaded a virus onto our desk top and now all kinds of bad things are happening. I think (hope) we got all of the virus out- but now I can't access my blog from my computer (I'm on my friend's computer right now).
So just wanted to let you know that I may not be posting for a while. At least not until our computers start to work with us again. Please pray that both can be fixed and that we won't have to purchase 2 new computers!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shooting Manual!

My goal for the year was to learn to take pictures with my camera fully in manual mode (meaning that I control all of the settings- aperture, shutter, etc...). Well...I did it! Throughout all of the class I took I was mostly shooting in aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode (meaning I controlled this one part of my camera's settings, but not all of them). Even that was a big jump for me from just using a fully automatic setting. But, fully manual was my goal and I am so happy to share that I'm doing it! My first pictures in manual mode were actually the ones from my last post (St. Patricks Day). But today I played around with it even more and I was so happy with what I was able to accomplish! These beautiful flowers were from my husband and they made a great subject! The best was knowing that had I shot in anything other than manual mode that the flowers would have ended up really dark against all the light coming in through the window. But I allowed more light into my camera through the shutter and it worked!! So I still have a ton to learn, but I AM learning!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our Lucky Day!

Lily's heart clovers

My "clovers"

Hope all of you had a wonderfully fun St. Patrick's Day! Even though this isn't a big holiday somehow I feel more connected to it since Joe's family is so Irish! And I think Lily looks more Irish than anything else with her fair skin, light eyes, and strawberry blond hair. Too bad I didn't have much green to dress her up in yesterday, but we did have a lot of fun with some St. Patrick's Day crafts! Here you'll see her coloring a special St. Patricks Day page I found online (http://www.familyfun.com/- it's a great resource) and we also attempted to make a potatoe stamp! The directions said to make a heart shape and put 3 or 4 hearts together to make a clover. So, they didn't exactly come out looking like clovers- but as you can see Lily had a really good time playing with the stamp in the paint! We also had a very festive dinner of corned beef and loaded baked potatoes (no cabbage for us)! We finished off the evening with mint/oreo milkshakes (maybe not Irish, but at least it was green)! Hope your day was as lucky as ours!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Fashion Trends?

Yesterday Lily was helping me put clothes away in her room when out of nowhere she perfectly placed a pair of pants on her head (and then went running right away into our office to show her dad)! It was hilarious! She proceeded to wear every single item from one drawer on her head (one at a time)! Above is a few pics I was able to catch (I believe the top two are actually a skirt on her head and the bottom one is a shirt)! Let's hope this fashion trend doesn't catch on!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A New Basement!



All of our outdoor gear neatly organized!

Our decorations/laundry/misc. area

Bins and bins of clothes that Lily has outgrown!

Open space!

This is the area that might become our office/playroom

Just last week Joe said he felt like our house was closing in on us. In particular our basement was a total disaster. It was dark, dingy, and full of stuff (ours and our ministry's). I am not exagerating when I say you could barely walk down there! So while Joe was away leading a Lifelines retreat for 3 days and 3 nights this weekend I decided to suprise him with a total overhaul of our basement! It was a daunting task, but I went to work every chance I got for 3 days (during nap time, after Lily's bed time, etc...)- I think I put in close to 15 hours of work! And each night when I just didn't feel like going down to the basement one more time I reminded myself of how suprised and excited Joe would be when he saw it. And after 3 days of cleaning, organizing, and throwing things away I accomplished the impossible- I fit all of our things in one half of our basement!!! This leaves the other half to be finished and turned into an office/playroom (which is what we are thinking about using our tax return for).
When Joe got home on Sunday I was giddy like a child on Christmas! And it was totally worth it as I watched him look around our basement, in total shock, with a huge smile on his face. He just couldn't believe it was possible- and he said that it was one of the best suprises ever! And even I get excited still just to go in the basement and look at it- and these are words I have definitely never said before!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Weekend With The Fields!

I didn't take many pictures this weekend (must have been worn out from Florida), but here's two taken Saturday afternoon while we were all working to build Lily a snow igloo! Above is Lily and her cousin Maggie (who she just loves) and below is cousin Chandler digging out!

Just two days after we returned from Florida we had Joe's sister, her husband, our two nephews, and our niece up to stay with us for the weekend!! This was actually their Christmas gift from us- specifically a trip to Hermon Mt. on Saturday so that Joe could teach them to ski! Unfortunately things didn't go quite as planned. Even though Joe called the day before and was told the ski hill would be open on Saturday- it was not (which they learned after driving all the way out there)! Everyone came home looking a little defeated. After lunch they tried to redeem the afternoon with a visit to the rock climbing gym at our YMCA- again I called to make sure it was open- but after completing only one climb they were booted due to a scheduled birthday party. They came home looking even more defeated. I believe my nephew Chandler said something about how the day would have been more fun if he had broke his leg. Merry Christmas!!
Things did get better with a fun Mexican dinner and a little candlepin bowling later in the evening (followed by a board game and dessert)- so the day wasn't a total loss. And actually I had a great time hanging out, just talking, all afternoon with my sister-in-law! Since it was just her, I, and Lily home it was fun to catch up- and she also got to hear Lily do a lot of talking (which she doesn't do quite as much when we are away from home)!
And Sunday seemed to redeem the whole weekend since the ski hill was open and everyone (except Lily and I who stayed home) had a great time! All 5 of them learned to ski and seemed really excited about it. Maybe we'll make this an annual tradition!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

PeePee in the Potty!

Tonight after Lily's bath time she was running around her room, as usual, enjoying the freedom of being naked! For some reason she had her little potty in her room (pictured above)- probably because she had been putting her stuffed animals on it earlier. As I was about ready to grab her to put on her diaper and pj's I just sort of blurted out, "Lily if you go pop or peepee in the potty I'll give you a kiss." Now, I have to explain, she does love to give kisses, but in this instance I was bribing her with a hershey kiss. I kidd you not- this child will do anything for a hershey kiss or M&M's. So maybe it shouldn't have been a suprise to me that she ran right over to her potty- and just seconds later I heard a little tinkle!!! She went PeePee in her potty!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, she then stuck her hand in it, but whatever, it was still amazing!! Joe and I made such a big deal out of it that she kept saying so proudly, "PeePee/Potty!" So I realize that this may very well be a fluke as we were not planning to potty train her until after our travels to Colorado this summer- but you better believe I'll try again tomorrow- just to see what happens!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Trusting God With The Little Things

Lily "flying" with her bear

So lately I feel like God has been asking me to trust Him more with the little things (instead of just always trying to figure it out on my own). He gave me plenty of opportunity to practice this on our flight home from Florida.
The morning seemed to be moving smoothly and we got out of our hotel and off to the airport much earlier than Joe thought we would. Like I said, everything was going smoothly...until we got to the airport. First, there was nowhere to park our rental car- literally every space from our car rental company was filled. After driving around, frustrated, we finally just parked in back of another rental car and decided to let the company figure it out (they did). We thought we were still doing well on time, but that's because we didn't anticipate the HUGE line to check our baggage. When we finally got to the counter the lady informed us that we didn't have much time (which we were very well aware of)!
Next was going through security. After Sept 11th I swore I would never complain about security- and I'm not really, but what happened here was frustrating (even if it was somewhat my fault). First let me say that our little family is a disaster going through airport security- shoes, coats, diaper bag, stroller, camera bag, and what seems like hundreds of other things of ours spilling out the other end as we try to wrangle our way through. This time it was worse. I didn't realize until we were at the airport in Maine (on our flight out) that my driver's license had expired. So this time the aiport security flagged me for an extra screening. So now in a rush Joe is left to try to recover all of our stuff and take care of Lily while security also tries to rangle me and all my personal belongings for extra screening (made even more confusing by the fact that the original security person didn't catch that I was flagged- which seemed to fluster everyone there). Now even more pressed for time I passed my screening and we rushed off to our gate (where we walked right onto our plane).
Unfortunately, however, our seats weren't together. The flight attendant said that the plane was full and that we could try to ask the people sitting next to us to switch seats. So, with Joe one row ahead of us, Lily on my lap, and two empty seats next to me I waited hopefully. Until...a nice gentleman and his daughter came to sit next to us. I obviously couldn't ask the man to leave his daughter. Immediately I began to worry- especially since Lily was already asking for daddy. And then the very nice, but rather large gentleman sat right in the middle next to Lily and I. Let's face it, these seats are small to begin with, but with this man spilling over into my seat Lily and I were beyond squished. So here I am faced with the prospect of a 3 hour flight, by myself, with my toddler on my lap (and she's already kicked the man next to me many times). So yes, I began to mildly panic. I was angry. There were almost tears. I quietly leaned up into Joe's seat and said in my angry/panic voice, "This is not going to work." I think he pretended to ignore me. So I sat back down and just prayed. And very clearly felt like the Lord was asking me to let HIM take care of it. So I sat there praying, doing my very best to trust God for this little thing (which felt big at the time). And you know what? Slowly I began to feel peace- not that it would all work out my way, but that no matter what He would take care of us (even if it meant a very long flight home). After some time the flight attendant came over to tell us that everyone had boarded and that there happened to be two empty seats next to each other right next to us. I can't even tell you how big my smile was. And then...the very nice gentleman sitting next to me offered for him and his daughter to move over to those seats so that Joe, Lily, and I could have 3 seats all together!!! What started out as a very bad situation suddenly turned into a situation better than we could have hoped for! And do you know what felt even better? Knowing that I was able to trust God for this little thing (and that despite my initial frustration I was able to give it over to Him).
This lesson would be played out again just 30 minutes later when we realized (as Lily was asking for Nemo) that airport security had taken our portable DVD player out of our diaper bag (without us knowing) and that we had unknowingly left it at the airport! For a few minutes I did worry- about how we would get through the flight (since Lily had already read every book we brought), about how we would get the money to buy a new DVD player, and about replacing the Care Bears movie left inside it (which happens to be Lily's favorite). And then I remembered about how God had taken care of us earlier- and so once again I did the best I could to relax and just trust God once again with this little thing. And do you know what? Of course we got through the flight and Lily did just fine (with lots of snacks)! And two days later when Joe called the aiport in Florida they informed us right away (no hassles or run around at all) that they did have our DVD player (and the movie). It is already back home safely.
So okay, this is a long story and whether or not you are interested I wanted to write it out for myself so that the next time I might better be able to remember how God has taken care of us. Maybe one day my first reaction won't be worry, panic, anger, or frustration but instead just simply trust.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sea World Day Two!

Checking out the birds in the pond

The dolphin and whale show

Lily taking in the show

Here's the 3 of us at the dolphin encounter (a little fuzzy, but the random tourist who took it did manage to get a cute little dolphin in the picture- off to the right)!

Here's Lily and I feeding the dolphin (and the seagull who was trying to steal our fish)!
Somehow Joe managed to get us cheap non-stop flights from Bangor to Orlando (which was amazing). The only catch was that we had to fly out Wedn instead of Tuesday (the day everyone else was leaving). Our plan was to stay with some good friends of ours in Orlando, but unfortunately their kids all came down with the stomach flu while we were there. Not wanting to take any chances we just got a hotel. But here's the best part- since we had an extra day (or at least part of a day) we were able to spend another day at Sea World! As it turns out the park was offering free 2nd day tickets- so we got a hotel right near the park, walked over (to avoid paying parking), and enjoyed our 2nd day free! And... our friends the Litchfields were able to join us again since they didn't fly out until later that evening! Doing a 2nd day at the park was wonderful and it even made our first day there relaxing (since we didn't feel like we had to do everything in one day). Both days we stayed until mid-afternoon- which gave us plenty of fun, but also gave us time for Lily to still get her naps in. And in all honesty we still didn't see everything in two days- but we did see most of it!
I didn't get nearly as many pictures on day two, but we had a great time. We spent most of the morning with the dolphins. In fact, Lily and I even got to feed the dolphins! I had no idea how difficult it would be to hold Lily, cover the fish (so the birds wouldn't get it), and feed a dolphin all at the same time! Wish we would have brought Joe to help (but he stayed back to try and get a picture). We were nearly done feeding them when out of nowhere a dolphin jumped straight up right in front of us- Lily was totally thrilled! Watching the dolphins in the underwater viewing area was pretty cool too. We also took in the dolphin and whale show (also featuring birds and some amazing acrobatics). I have to say that the show was incredible. I was impressed with ALL of the shows we saw at Sea World! We finished the afternoon with a tour through the arctic animals exhibit where Lily was most impressed with watching the huge walrus swim underwater (and bump up against the glass right next to her)!
After a little break in our hotel room to rest and get dinner we went back to Sea World to enjoy the last hour the park was open. And this was perfect. There were very few people in the park and the majority of the people still there were at the late Shamu show. So we decided to hit the children's play area where we rode on every single kids ride without waiting (one of them twice)! Lily seemed to especially love the rides that spin and go high in the air (this child has no fear)!:) We ended the day watching the killer whales in the underwater viewing area. It was totally amazing to see such huge creatures so up close- and I could have stayed there all night- except that the sheer enormity of the whales brushing up against the glass and jumping in and out of the water was a little too much for our sleepy Lily- so we called it a day and said goodnight to Sea World. What great memories!