30 November 2018

Splash - November 2018

November in Maryland is not predictable.  This year we had snow in late September and on the day we all head out to take the November Splash, it's a balmy 65 degrees with a beautiful blue sky.  But do you know what is predicable?  The fact that these five completely different souls come together each month and smile for me.  It's honestly one of my favorite family traditions and these photos are priceless to me.  This splash was just the five of them, in the tall tall grass of our yard on a mild fall day.  I love them.

31 October 2018

Splash - October 2018

We live in a cornfield.  Truly.  We are surrounded by crops and farming.  It's very beautiful.  Every season brings its own colors and patterns and even in the cold of winter there is something comforting in the visual simplicity of a farm.  In the fall, the corn and beans turn brown and ready to harvest.  Before the combine could take this field down, I stuck my kids out there to become - the children of the corn.  They are the Ball Team of the Corn.

Halloween 2018

....not my favorite holiday.  We did get a few pictures, though.

See, all candy is bad for you.  Eat an apple.

Josephine as Theodore.  Her friends are Simon and Alvin.  This getup got them about a half a pillowcase of candy.


JMichael went to his school's trunk or treat with teachers as a devil who hangs out with wicked clown monsters.  This is his art teacher dressed as Pennywise.  Disturbing.  JMichael also wore this outfit to school, minus the mask.  He also has been sleeping in it, again, minus the mask.

A few gems from past years - this one about 2016.  JMichael is a vampire soccer player; Charlotte is a rabid cat; Samantha is a victim of domestic violence; and Josephine is a scarecrow.

This one is circa 2013, or so.  JMichael as a teenage mutant ninja turtle; Josephine the ladybug; Rachel the convict; LaUra (Samantha's buddy from down the street and our sixth child) a zebra; Samantha the drummer and Charlotte the vampire queen.

2018 - Samantha the Corn Monster.

Oh the cuteness - 2009 - so adorable.


And finally, this gem from North Carolina - 2004 - Samantha, Charlotte and Rachel painted their pumpkins.  Sweet faces.

12 October 2018

Fish Whistle

Samantha takes a fine selfie, huh?  This photo is in the dark of the deck, because we - James and I - were being treated to supper out.  James and Samantha picked me up from work, stopped by McDonald's and Samantha got supper for the little ladies and JMichael; we delivered it, then she took us out to eat.  We went to the Fish Whistle, a local bar and seafood place, and we had a fantastic dinner.  Good food, great company and cheesecake.

The tradition comes from the principle of the First Check.  Samantha has been working for a while now, but, the rule is that when you get a new job, you take the family out to eat.  Samantha just decided tonight is the night and it was a wonderful surprise.

08 October 2018

Oh deer.....

This is what happens when a deer decides to cross the road directly in your path.  These animals are wild.  They roam in herds.  They just jump out in the road.  In my lifetime, I've hit four deer.  I don't know where they are now.  Some did enough damage to my car that I'm sure they had to be injured or killed.  This time it was Rachel's turn to take out one of the locals.  She's fine but her car was in the shop for over two weeks - $1,500 in damages.  Lessons learned - drive with high beams at night whenever possible and always be looking for deer!

02 October 2018

PersonalBlocks - JB Items

Mom and I have always enjoyed a good craft.  I thought we might try to make some money at it, so I approached a local shop owner about carrying us in her store.  And you know what?  She said yes.  So here we are - JB Items, also known on Etsy as PersonalBlocks. 


These are a few of our offerings.  In our first month, we broke even (on rent to the generous shop keep), paid for supplies and bought a tank of gas.  Not quite killing it, but, it's a good start!
What do y'all think?

01 October 2018

Josephine is Fourteen

Josephine is fourteen.  I worry a lot about my ladies as teenagers.  I worry about their friends, their grades, their friends' grades....I worry about their self esteem, their confidence and their sense of well being.  We are not a wealthy family.  We shop at thrift stores and we live paycheck to paycheck.  In this world of peer pressure and validation, it is troubling to know that your daughter is out there, everyday, fighting for herself in a world that would sooner trample her down.

Not this one.  Not Josephine.  Our fourth daughter is a feisty thing.  She has matured over the past year from a quiet little homebody to an opinionated, keep-up-or-get-out-of-my-way force.  She used to always need a hobby at home to keep her bright mind occupied.  These days she is planning with friends, talking on the phone with boys and constantly interrogating me on our plans for three weeks from now.  She tries to stay one step ahead of me as much as she can.  Recently she told me not just what she wanted for Christmas (a platform bed), but, also how to build it, where to find the materials and a few websites I might find helpful.  This lady of ours is on the move.

Her grades are outstanding - all STEM, all As, all the time.  Her teachers have sent me notes about how she is a joy in class because she thinks independently (English) and that she helps others in class and explains concepts patiently and accurately (algebra).  She studies; she reads; she questions.  I can count on her to wake up with just a text from Mom and an alarm on her phone, then be out the door and catch her bus on time.  She can draw; she loves school and she never stops.  She is kind to her little brother while trying to keep up with her older sisters.

Josephine wants to go to college and be either an interior designer or an oceanographer - depends on her mood.  She may just do both.