31 December 2017

Splash - December 2017

What better place to take a December splash than a nursery with rows and rows of Christmas trees, right?  Right!  The Ball Team dressed in Christmas reds and greens and white, so off we went - to tresspass on the nursery property.  But, no trees were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

 Charlotte and her bud, Julie.  Tree huggers!

There were holes in the ground where the other shrubs and trees had been cut.  Josephine planted herself.


We tried to re-create a photo from a previous photo shoot - they grow too fast.....

30 December 2017


 So, this happened.  I'm not a fan of the snow.  It's pretty, but, that's all I'll give you.  I've never tried skiing.  Why?  'Cause you need snow.  I do like the Winter Olympics, though.

So after Christmas break, we had a snow break.  The kids were home from school for three days.  Everyone had lots of time to catch up on Netflix.
The sunset from our back door.

This is Evan.  He just crawled out of the back hatch of Rachel's car, which just landed in a snow drift.  She hit some black ice, and then went airborne til this snow embankment provided a soft place to land.  See how there are NO TRACKS behind her car.  All net.  Sheesh.  No one was hurt; the car is drive-able, but, wow.  Rachel was shaken and has new respect for driving in snow.

26 December 2017

Christmas, 2017

Christmas, to be brutally honest, is not my favorite time of year.  James misses his mother and brother.  I miss my Dad.  I miss the traditions of having little little ones at home.  I do enjoy the older kids' new sense of obligations - they feel like they should get their little siblings a gift, or take them out, or explain the history of the ornaments with them. 

This year saw a new tradition - although it may not be a keeper - a live tree.  The attorney I work for has a family Christmas Tree farm on the western shore, where he grew up.  Each year he invites family and friends to come cut a tree.  So, off we went.

As luck would have it - it snowed.  This made for a pretty drive and lots of slush.  Mr. Yeager's family was very welcoming to this big group of strangers in their midst.  Turns out the teens knew each other from high school - small town.  We had chili and brats and lots of hot chocolate.  They had a fire pit going and Santa handed out gifts to the kids.  It was all very nice.  Then, we picked out a tree.

The kids found a tree they liked and Mr. Yeager said, That's a big tree.  So, this nice lady with a saw cut our big tree and James dragged it down the hill.  With some help from our new friends, we tied the tree to the top of our car and headed back home.

Our tree - and our tree in his new home.  That's a big tree!

Snow is pretty.  Still not a fan.

Ornaments for our friends in AR....

Delivered by Rachel and Evan, who got a trip to Evan's parents' home for the holidays.  We missed them, but, hey, it's Christmas.  Evan's family misses him, too.

Christmas morning.

Opening gifts - Josephine and Samantha - lit.

 Later in the afternoon, mom came over and we opened her gifts.  Then we went out for Chinese food.  This is James' gift to me - but, I let everyone else come along.  Look closely in this picture - you can see Samantha catching a squash, thrown from our chef - you can't take these kids anywhere.
And more antics for Josephine - the chef called this baby sake.  She said it was lemonade - I love the look on mom's face - never a dull moment with this bunch.  Merry Christmas; God bless us, every one.

11 December 2017

Random Photos

I have no real story behind these photos, but, they are a story.  Daily snaps of our lives, moods situations, impressions.  That's life.  And snapchat.
Samantha and Rachel, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Charlotte and Samantha, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Josephine, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Charlotte and Josephine, snapchatted. (August 2017)

Josephine, taken by Charlotte. (August 2017)

Charlotte on snapchat. (September 2017)

Josephine on snapchat. (September 2017)

Samantha on snapchat. (August 2017)

JMichael, just pure JMichael. (August 2017)
Ball Team

29 November 2017

Splash - November 2017

November's splash was taken at JMichael's soccer game.  His team had a great season  - they only lost two games, which were both to the same team.  This photo was just after the championship game, under the lights, at Worton Park.  They played well, and even led the first half, but, in the end, they lost 5 to 3.  JMichael was happy to be a part of his new team and started every game.  He and three other boys made up the offensive line and they had some great passes and scores.  On to next season.

26 November 2017

Thanksgiving, 2017

Thanksgiving.  Here we all are.  This year I did not cook.  Like, at all.  Eric and Abbey invited us down, with Mom, to their house for Thanksgiving weekend.  It was fantastic.  We all went to the Hebron Fire Hall to eat with about fifty other people - Abbey's side of the family.  There was enough food to easily feed everyone and enough leftovers in the Fire Hall fridge to feed the volunteers for days.  Abbey's aunt even had to go trays so we could all take our favorite dishes home, too.  Sweet potato biscuits, loaded mashed potatoes, hams, stuffing, sausages, salad, mac-n-cheese, cranberry sauce, all the fixings.  It was delicious.  We spent the evening at Eric's watching football.  The ladies all went out that night - at my insistence - to try black Friday shopping, on Thursday night.  It was an epic fail.  Lines were unbelievably long, and it turns out that the xBox One i thought I had found for such a good price was available on Amazon for the same deal. Abbey ordered it right there in the middle of Kohl's and we headed home.  Friday we made Christmas wreaths and plates and ate leftovers.  The boys put up Eric's Christmas tree and the ladies decorated it.  We strung their lights, hung the holly and headed home late Friday evening.  What a great way to be together - eating, creating, and celebrating.

19 November 2017

Tom Petty lives

Actually, no.  Tom Petty died earlier this month.  James and I saw Tom Petty in concert last year, and I'm so glad we did.  Tom died too early.

So one Sunday night, we were all at home.  Well, Evan was at work, but, Rachel and Samantha were in the basement.  Charlotte and Josephine were on screens.  JMichael, James and I were watching football.  James' phone rang and it was Evan.  He said he had a co-worker who had four tickets to see Damn the Torpedoes, a Tom Petty cover band, in Baltimore.  Tonight.  Wanna go?

James emphatically answered, absolutely.  So, Rachel Samantha, James and I headed headed off for a spontaneous night of adventure.  We found the venue in downtown Baltimore and we were all thoroughly impressed with the band.  They really did Tom justice.  Amazing.  Thank you, Evan, and your co-worker (who was sick and couldn't go) for treating us to a fun night out.

On a side note, I was very proud of Rachel and Samantha.  They knew the lyrics and sang and danced and had a great time.

14 November 2017

Cute Kid Quote: Home Screen

We were out driving the other day, coming home from somewhere, and Samantha (18) said, Mom, look at that field.  We live in the Microsoft Home Screen.  So, I snapped a picture.  Turns out she's right.

04 November 2017

Work day at Mom's

Mom had some big projects to accomplish before winter, so she needed big help.  Eric and Jimmy came up for the day with power tools like chainsaws and power washers.  Abby painted a fresh coat on the patio furniture and Samantha, Josephine and JMichael followed Eric and Jimmy around, picking up what they were trimming off of Mom's shrubs.  Samantha got to drive Eric's truck all over Mom's yard, and down the back of the property to the stream.

I worked inside with Mom and Abby, and then we all ate supper.  Mom's all winterized and the place looks trimmed and neat.  Bring on winter.

30 October 2017

Splash - October 2017

I wanted an autumnal background for the October Splash and the next town north of where we live has a a farmer's market.  You can see from all the colors of mums and the pumpkins that fall is in full swing.  The Ball Team is here, on a bench on the sidewalk, letting the background work its seasonal magic while they smile.  I really get from this photo that they might actually love each other.  Beauty everywhere.

14 October 2017

Pumpkins, Downrigging and Ferraris - Oh My

You know how you share traditions with your kids?  Year after year, you honor the traditions you loved as a child by passing them on to your children, then repeating year after year, after year?  Well, at some point in our house we became busy, or distracted, or something, because I brought home pumpkins this year and said, okay everyone, let's carve pumpkins.  This is how I learned that JMichael has never carved a pumpkin.  He's nine!  Rachel and Samantha remember doing it a few times and Charlotte and Josephine could only remember doing it once. How does this happen?  In my meager defense, the big ladies did say they remember painting pumpkins and drawing on them.  Maybe I just didn't think they could carve....maybe?

Well, no painting this year - this year, we carve!  Samantha opted for a pattern of a cat in silhouette.  Rachel carved an R & E, with a heart.

JMichael was not a fan of the scooping the innards part of carving, but, he got it done, with some help from Rae and Charlie.

Charlotte did her initials.

And Josephine did hers, too.  While they were carving, JMichael was complaining about the sticky innards.  We decided that traditions were important and Samantha told him, just scoop it out, and enjoy it.  You're gonna carve that pumpkin and smile for Mom in pictures.  You are gonna scoop it and you're gonna like it.  Now get after it.  These kids crack me up.

The Saturday of Halloween there was another event in Chestertown.  Three, actually, but we only participated in two.  First there was a Harry Potter Festival.  There were people walking around dressed in their Hogwarts uniforms and qudditch brooms for sale.  There was even a lady walking around with a toilet seat around her neck.  I'm not sure what that was about, but, the other Harry Potter types seemed to think it was great.

The other event was just for JMichael.  I told him I would take him to see something he liked, but, it would be a surprise. As we walked down toward the river, he could see where we going - a Ferrari Show.  Right on the riverfront there was a roped off area with about two dozen Ferraris.  JMichael was thrilled.  We had to look at each one and he was even more excited when he got to some of them drive around.  They revved their engines and showed off a little for the fans.  He decided this red one was his favorite.  The owners were very gracious and let him look inside and opened the trunks to show him the engines.

Also at the riverfront was the Downrigging.  A downrigging is a colonial term for the gathering of ships to winterize and repair them.  In 2017, the downrigging is way to showcase the restored ships and discuss their importance in local history.  We couldn't board any of them, but, we got to see them in all their colonial glory.  Pretty spectacular.

At lastly, we have Rachel.  She had to work on Halloween, so she dressed up.  What is she?  (A bunch of her customers got it, but, some had no idea....)

12 October 2017

Evan is 24!

Evan had a birthday, and I only managed to get one picture.  But, hey, it's a great picture.  Here is Evan, with a pinata face on his head.  He turned 24 this year, on October 6, and I asked him what we could get him for his birthday.  He didn't hesitate - I'd like a pinata.  I had one when I was about six, but, I think I'd be fun again.

So he got a pinata.  I filled it with his favorite candies and we used a lacrosse stick to beat it until it spilled all over the backyard.

Evan is Rachel's boyfriend of two years and he moved out here with us in June.  He's working at a local restaurant, creating dishes for the owners to maybe put on the menu and he cooks for us at home, too. His car broke down this past summer while they were visiting in AR, and once we he gets back on the road, I believe the plan is to get back to school and finish his degree.

Happy Birthday, Evan!

One more pic of Evan - thanks to Rachel's snapchat....

08 October 2017

Spooky Shoot

So there's an old farmhouse down the road from our place that is in a of a little TLC, to say the least.  It's on a big farm and the land is producing, but, the house is abandoned.  We all trespassed to get these shots, but, hey, it's October, and the spooky scene was right there.  I wanted to get closer to the house, but some, who will remain nameless, would not go any closer.  Plus, I just love the way the geese were co-operating, too.

Another shot, same spooky abandoned farmhouse - this time at the windmill.  We had a few of these shots and were about to head out when I saw the geese about to fly overhead.  I said, quick, again and smile - then BAM, five beauties, a creepy windmill and smiling geese.  You can't really see the geese smiling, but, you know they are.

I didn't use these for the splash but, I do want to keep them and remember the creepy house and trespassing and the geese.  Dag, what won't I make these kids do for a picture?

05 October 2017

Cute Kid Quote - Big Ladies

I was at the store with the big ladies (Rachel and Samantha).  They may be 19 and 18, but, the fruit snacks still catch their attention.  Samantha saw these two boxes sitting ont he shelf and she turned to Rachel and said, Look, it's you and me as Barbie Fruit Snacks boxes!  I will explain her meaning - Rachel doesn't tan much and we tease her all the time about her place as our whitest child.  Samantha tans to golden brown with seemingly no effort and loves to show everyone how tan she is.  So, yes, you see my two biggest ladies finding a way to pick at each other through the dye batch discrepancies in fruit snacks.  Never a dull moment.