Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eli's First Kiss

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It's definitely not the first kiss he has received (I must kiss this little darling at least a hundred times a day)- but it was the first kiss HE gave!

We were playing in the living room one afternoon (and I happened to be taking a few pictures). He was cuddling and playing with Lily's stuffed pink elephant when I told him to give the elephant a kiss- and he did (in the second picture)! Oh it was so very sweet.

Now I'm just waiting for my kiss. How I love this little boy.

Like Mother Like Son

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Does this look familiar mom?

My parents have almost this exact same picture of me when I was about Eli's age!

I'm not sure if a fondness for walking around with things over your head is hereditary, but it appears that it might be!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

St. Patty's


We had a great little St. Patricks Day this year!


While the kids were sleeping I put together a clover hunt for them. I cut out bunches of clovers (some 3 leaf and some 4 leaf) and hid them around the living room.


And even Eli was interested in trying to find them (at least for a little bit)- it was so fun to watch him discover a few of them!

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And Lily is always up for a hunt!


After a while though Eli was just as happy to sit down and dump out all of his clovers!

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Aren't these St. Patricks Day piggy tail holders adorable? My sister-in-law made them and Nonnie bought a pair for each of the little girls. So cute!


This kid cracks me up!


After all of the clovers were found Lily sorted through all of hers and I had her sort them into a pile of 3 leaf clovers and a smaller pile of 4 leaf clovers.


She did a great job counting the number of leaves on each one!

I counted Eli's clovers and then each of them got one chocolate coin (at the end of the rainbow) for each 4 leaf clover they had!


And I still can't get Eli to stop playing with the real clovers we bought!

It was such a fun little activity and Lily is already asking if we can do it again next St. Patricks Day! We celebrated after dinner as well- Joe, Lily, and Eli had their first Shammrock Shakes EVER!! This was a March staple for me growing up so it was fun to introduce them to the rest of my family! I am one lucky (blessed) mama!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Aunty Ann & Uncle Bob

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After leaving the water park on the last day of our spring break trip we headed over for a sweet little visit with Joe's Aunty Ann and Uncle Bob. It has been much too long since the last time we saw them. While they have seen Lily a handful of times this was their first time meeting Eli! Joe's mom and dad and their daughter joined us and we had a lovely visit, dinner, and little celebration for Aunty Ann's birthday. Both Ann and Bob are so wonderful with our kids. I couldn't believe how long Eli sat in their laps (he just doesn't sit long) and Lily could have played "zoo" with Aunty Ann and her stuffed animals all night long! Eli is still pretty leery of strangers, but he just loved being with them- almost as if he just somehow knew that they are family! I'm so happy that we had the chance to stop and visit and I am determined that it will be months, not years, before we see them again!

Sunday, March 20, 2011



Our Yurt


Part of the lovely stream outside our yurt.



There is something so charming about mittens and socks hanging to dry near the fire.


The view from the center of our yurt (looking up).


This was our skylight!


Lily and Eli wrestling in the yurt under the skylight.


Fun brother and sister moments!



Below: A picture Joe took the first day of our staff and a few students hiking Frost Moutain.

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Over spring break we went winter "camping" with our family, staff team, and a few of our student leaders!

For three nights and two days we camped in yurts at Frost Mountain Yurts and it was wonderful! The yurts themselves were perfect for winter camping- spacious and cozy inside, warm and toasty (with a wood stove inside we could get it up to 90 degrees if we wanted), and just totally charming. The kids also loved the yurts and Lily even got to sleep in a bunk bed for the first time.

The first afternoon we were there Joe went with the student and staff to hike up Frost Mountain so the kids and I just played outside in the snow. It might just be the best afternoon I've had with the kids all winter! We simply just played in the snow- we made "snow castles" with sand buckets that we brought, we smashed the castles (Eli ate some of them) and we explored.

And we discovered. The whole area, full of trails and trees and streams, is incredibly beautiful. And right near our yurt was a lovely stream. Eli sat in my lap and for a good ten minutes just snuggled with me and watched the stream and little waterfall. He hardly EVER sits this long so this was a special moment for me. And once he was done snugging and watching Lily joined us and we made snowballs and threw them into the stream (and watched them travel and melt). This place, this stream, and these moments have actually charmed me so much that I've been inspired to write a children's book about our family adventures at Frost Mountain (and the story of the traveling snowflake). I've NEVER thought of myself as a writer (much less an author), but this idea just came to me and so I hope to write it later in the year. A good friend of mine is an artist and so I'm hoping to hire her to illustrate it. I don't know that I'll do anything with it, but if nothing else I want to write the book and give it to my children as a very special gift for next Christmas!

So our first afternoon was just lovely. Joe had a great time too with the rest of the group and we all joined up together for an incredible dinner at the yurts including chocolate fondue for dessert (yes, the yurts have their own fondue supplies)!

And that night (and the next too) while Joe lead (and participated in) training times for our students I stayed back in our yurt with the kids. With the fire going it was warm and the kids fell asleep quickly so I snuggled up by myself and by candle light did a Bible study and just spent precious time with God. There was just something so peaceful about it.

And then the next day we switched and while Joe stayed back at the yurts with the kids I took off for a whole day of snowboarding with our staff and students! It had been about 5 years since I had been snowboarding and I was long overdue. My first run down was a little rough around the edges, but then it all started coming back to me. It was great just to spend the whole day with the students and for them to see me in a role other than being a mother. And I remembered that snowboarding for me is really a lesson in relaxing because if I'm tense and stiff when I'm turning my snowboard I often land smack on my behind (or knees). And I did end up with one pretty bruised knee, but by the end of the day I was learning to relax a bit (and this is very good for me). Joe decided to be crazy brave and pulled both of the kids up Frost Mountain in the sled (which unfortunately exhausted him much more than the kids- although Eli once again fell asleep in the sled- and once again there was no camera there to capture the moment)! And then the second day ended with Joe and kids joining us for some fantastic organic pizza at a local place not too far from the mountain.

On the third day Joe and our staff did a snowshoeing program with our students (focused around helping them to become better Lifelines trip leaders). We had to check out of the yurts that morning so the kids and I headed into North Conway and checked out the children's museum there. Lily found an entire area there dedicated to dress up clothes and she could have spent the whole day there if I let her! Both of the kids had a blast at the museum. Lunch in town was a bit more harrowing and I've decided that it's just too hard to eat out with both of my kids by myself ! Thankfully our hotel was right next store and we were able to settle in in time for Eli's nap (and a break for me)!

And the rest of our trip (that afternoon and the next morning) was pretty much spent at the little indoor water park in our hotel! We picked this hotel specifically for the water park and it was a good decision. There were two big water slides and two smaller kid's water slides (and a pool and kiddie play area with sprinklers). Both Lily and Eli loved the smaller slides, but by the middle of the morning the 2nd day Lily was braving the big water slides all by herself! She would run up the stairs (multiple flights) and slide down all on her own (with either Joe or I waiting in the pool)- and she did this over and over and over again! Sometimes she is just so brave that it amazes me.

Oh, it was just a wonderful trip- although Joe and I were totally exhausted by the end! We are already looking forward to camping in the yurts next winter with our family- although next time I think that we will just go as a family so that we can actually spend more time all together! If you are looking for a wonderful winter adventure for your family I can't recommend yurt camping enough!

P.S. Sorry I didn't get more pictures- as you can tell we had our hands pretty full (and I wasn't about to bring my camera snowboarding)! Maybe next year I'll get more:)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Snow Pops 2011

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Some of you might remember that last winter I tried making Snow Pops (otherwise known as Cake Pops- otherwise known as delightful balls of cake and frosting dipped in chocolate)! You might also remember that I declared that I would likely not make them again for a long time.

Well, here I am eating my words (literally).

I caved it and made them again. Last time they didn't turn out all that well (they were tasty, but not all that pretty) and they took a ton of work. But then I began to remember how REALLY tasty they were and I stumbled across (quite by accident) two blog posts with tips about how to make them correctly. And so I thought I would try again.

This time I used a little less frosting, I make sure they were good and solid in the fridge/freezer before I dipped them, and I put my melted chocolate in a small mug (so that the balls of cake would nearly be covered with just one dip). And it worked!!! They still took a ton of work with LOTS of steps, but it worked!

Now, not everybody puts their cake pops on sticks, and that would certainly make it easier if I didn't, but somehow my children are enchanted by eating food off of a stick so it was worth the extra step or two. Speaking of which, once I started dipping the cake in chocolate (and it was turning out so well) I realized what a shame it would be to just lay them down on waxed paper (where they would become flat on one side). My husband heard my "plight", went down to the basement, did a little drilling, and made me my own cake pop stand (pictured above)! Now, if that isn't love I don't know what is! I didn't even ask for help and not once did my hubby question why he should spend his time making something so unnecessary just so I could have round snow pops. I love that man!

So in the end it took most of my free moments during the day (with a little extra time that Lily helped) but I had one beautiful batch of pink and turquoise snow pops! And then I promptly declared that it would probably be a very long time before I ever make them again. loving husband declared that they are now one of his very favorite desserts! How can I deny him? So, okay I give in- maybe they'll be a once a year special treat.

So stay tuned for next year...maybe we'll mix it up a little and do Halloween or Christmas cake pops!

P.S. Yesterday my snow pop picture was featured on the Creative Kristi blog- check it out at

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


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This couple is in love. And I love them.

John and Tessa were both student leaders in the Lifelines ministry at U-Maine. Then they both spent the two years after they graduated as Lifelines interns with us. During their second year of internship they started dating and last fall they became engaged!

Late last fall we spent a very chilly morning taking these beautiful engagement photos.

This May John and Tessa will start their lives together as husband and wife. And they are allowing me the privilege of photographing their wedding!!!

It's quite possible that I am almost as excited as they are...almost!

Monday, March 14, 2011



Friends have always been very important to me. As an only child I really valued my friends and many have become like family to me.
When I was little Sarah was my best friend. She lived just a block away and although we went to different schools we managed to see each other more days than not. Honestly I don't remember a day not knowing her.
Then there was a group of girls in high school that I was great friends with. Those three girls were an incredible blessing to me and their influence in my life, I believe, played a large role in shaping the choices I made. One of them, Sarah, was the one who first introduced me to Christ through her youth group and her life. Her friendship was of eternal value to me and to this day I consider her a very good friend.
And then there was Kate- through some of high school, college, and after college she was my best friend. I will never again have a friendship like I had with Kate. And even now, separated by many states, I can't help but think of her as my sister. We are incredibly different and we don't get to talk all that often, but somehow I just know that, like a sister, Kate will always be a part of my life.
And then I moved to Maine when Joe and I got married and friendships became a little more difficult. Oh, I would make a new friend or two, but then they would so often move. I lived the first 25 years of my life surrounded by wonderful girlfriends, but Maine was proving to be difficult friendship ground. Tears were shed, prayers were prayed, and I did my best just to keep moving forward and trusting that God would bring the right friends at the right time.
To be honest this is still at times a little bit of a challenge for me. But...over the last couple of years God has blessed me incredibly with a few special friendships.
Laura is one of them (pictured above with her daughter Lily). She is one of the most giving, caring, others-centered, encouraging people I know. She's the kind of person who comes over for a visit and bring ME a chai latte because she was thinking of me and knows that I love them. She is always thinking of others (and this is just the smallest example). Her daughter, Lily, is just two months older than my Lily and already the two of them are great friends (like two peas in a pod when they are playing princess dress up).
I am so thankful to God for the blessing of friendship He has given me over the years. And I am so thankful for the ways He has been answering my recent prayers with friends like Laura.