Thursday, April 30, 2009

123/365 - Erica's turn for a Haircut

Like me, Erica goes for long spells between haircuts - I think her last cut was in June 08. She doesn't fuss about her hair, but decided it was time to chop a good portion of it off. This time, I took her to the stylist who cuts my hair, Coco, who runs her own salon out of her home. I love how Coco cuts my hair, which still looks great after 4 months.

After some consultation, Erica decides to have 4 inches cut.


But it feels so nice and light afterwards, with lots of swing.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

122/365 - Lego Cave In

I can't seem to go to the Wal-Mart with Brian and emerge sans some new Lego toy. Today was no different - Brian and I went to the Wal-Mart while Erica was at riding lessons (she rode the new horse, Sammy, for the first time).


Brian did pay for the Bionicle toy with his own money. And he spent the rest of the evening building the thing until Scott came home from his business dinner.

Do your kids obsess over any particular toys? Obviously, for me, my grown up toys include scrapbooking supplies, photography equipment and electronic gadgets. Erica loves books. Scott loves coins and golf equipment. I guess we all have our vices. So what's a few more plastic lego pieces?


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

121/365 - Poetry to my Ears

A special event today at school - a poetry reading.

The culmination of their current literacy topic - poetry. I think it is wonderful the kids are covering this literary art form. Brian has been quoting poems these past several weeks and penned his own poem for today's reading.

Not the best picture, but Brian was quite theatrical during his reading:

Best bud George read a poem about a kid feeling sick - until he realizes it's Saturday. A very "current events poem", with all of the hullabaloo around the Swine Flu.

Brian and several of his classmates declare that "Poetry is Awesome":


Monday, April 27, 2009

120/365 - Here Comes the Rain Again


Scott brought out the patio table and chairs on Sunday - inviting us to enjoy the outdoors in comfort. Oh, maybe not today.

We seem to be in caught in this weekly weather pattern - cool, rainy Mondays and Tuesdays, clearing Wednesday and then dry and warm Thursday through Sunday. Really, not bad for the weekends, but a little bit feast / famine (either sopping wet or bone dry). So another typical Monday has passed - wet.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

119/365 - Hot and Windy

So it went from wet and cold to hot and windy just like that [snap fingers].
Today's temperatures maxed at 85degF and I think the wind gusts today topped 40 mph. At the ball field, the wind whipped up the dirt and sand on the playing field, blasting us spectators full on. The one good thing - Brian's team won the game. The rest of us are still trying to get the sand out of our ears.
A nice end to the weekend.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

118/365 - Yard Work Results

I spent several hours re-edging the west side of the backyard landscaping. That's only about one quarter of the work I need to finish before getting mulch to spread on the beds. I also divided some of the irises and cleaned up the dead growth from last year.


Looks like the next several Saturday mornings will be more of the same! Just glad the weather cooperated this weekend.


Friday, April 24, 2009

117/365 - Possible Mommy and Daddy birds

These two might just be the mystery parents of the nest in our front door. If you haven't seen the pictures of the mysterious eggs, click here.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

116/365 - Park Bound

Erica and Mia head to the park this afternoon

We are fortunate to live close by our subdivision's park. During the development of the major subdivisions in our "city", the builders are required to donate a portion of the land to serve as green space.

Our park has several large play structures, a pavilion, benches and a basketball court. Of course, there is plenty of additional green space for Easter egg hunts, neighborhood wide picnics and summer concerts.

No surprise, the place was hopping with activity this afternoon, with the warm breeze blowing.

Yeah, I had another picture of the girls at the park, but the picture did not pass Erica's standards. Maybe tomorrow....


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

115/365 - Baseball Practice

More baseball pictures. What a difference a day makes! Yesterday the rain came and ushered in the cold, damp-in-your-bones weather. But today, the skies cleared to make way for the afternoon sun.

Baseball practice tonight, at a different park. The change of venue was nice, although a little noisy (the park is sited along the Interstate - how did THAT happen?).

So Brian is "hanging tough", waiting for a pop fly or grounder to come to him.

After practice, we headed to the Ice cream shop where Brian's school was running a fundraiser - 20% of the night's proceeds go to the school, and the teachers take turns mixing the ice cream together. As if we needed an excuse to go get ice cream!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Feeling Scrappy Blog Party

The gals over at Feeling Scrappy are celebrating their 2nd year birthday with a week-long Blog Party! They have daily and weekly giveaways, so head over there to check it out and play along.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

111/365 - Baseball Jamboree

Today marks the official start of the Baseball season. I know I've probably made that statement several times now, but today's difference is the teams actually play against each other in the Little League's "Jamboree".

But the coach refers to today's games as "practice games" (they are just 3 inning games), so there may be yet another "official start of Baseball Season" on Tuesday, when the Cyclones play their first "real" game.

Another element of today's Jamboree is the formal Team and individual pictures. Here are some of Brian's teammates, waiting for the team picture:

The actual Team picture:

Of course, the Professional Photographers also took the same picture and I paid $9 for a 5x7 print. Of course, I will compare my picture with theirs. I decided not to purchase any of Brian's individual pictures, because I am sure I can take my own, go to the Sam's Club and purchase the same trading cards at a fraction of the cost.

And I won't set up my shot with a big mini-van in the background.

Can you tell I am picky about some of these things? My philosophy - the difference is in the details......

OK, a couple more pictures from the actual games:
George is ready in the outfield

Brian, ready to steal from 2nd to 3rd base (which he successfully did):


The kids did a great job, learned from the two mini-games and split the two games - one loss, one win.


Friday, April 17, 2009

110/365 - Early Friday morning

My turn to go into work early this morning. One of the benefits is seeing the sun rise. Today's sunrise picture taken on the Interstate overpass. The fancy lights were erected not too long ago.


Today's weather was gorgeous - our first real Spring day. Erica departed after lunch for church retreat in Indy. I spent the afternoon cleaning out the fish pond and had a nice steak dinner planned when Scott suggested we eat out. We were headed for Za's, but then decided that the Sonic might be a better choice - we could eat in the convertible (the top was down, of course) and enjoy the warm spring breeze. It was a great decision. A perfect evening!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

109/365 - 'Round the Bases

Oh, Spring has sprung in central Illinois! Scott even drove home with the top down on the convertible. The kids love to run around after dinner and baseball in the backyard is a perennial favorite. They set up makeshift "bases", hit the whiffle ball and RUN!

I shot these with my 70-300mm VR lens, which allows me to hang out a distance away from the action (for my safety!).

Straight off a hit!

Heading to home plate:

Hannah decided to lay low. She loves this time of year, with all the birds and bunnies running around the yard. She thinks of herself as quite the hunter (even though she runs into the house when her food dish clanks with fresh food). I think she's got "the look" down pat.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

12 on April 12 - Easter Sunday!

The day (for me) started bright and early at 6am. I had to get up early to prepare our Easter meal, and set out the Easter Candy.

The sun is just starting to rise - looks like it will be a beautiful day!

The Easter Candy centerpiece is ready. Let's see how long it lasts in this form:

Brian awoke early, at 6:45. He couldn't contain himself and he dismantled the Easter candy by 8:00:

All of the Easter fixings were ready by 7:30. We don't eat until 11:30, so why get things ready so early? Our church held 3 Easter services, and we attended last night. But I was scheduled to teach Sunday School this morning, so I went in for that. While I was at church, Scott put the ham into the oven.

Scott did a great job getting that ham into the oven!

Brian's drink - Sprite in a martini glass - because he likes "classy":

For desert - cherry pie. Erica "loves" cherry pie, but doesn't like the actual cherries. She separates the fruit from the sauce and just eats the sauce and crust. I end up eating the actual cherries. [how this constitutes "loving cherry pie" escapes me. Seems like she just likes cherry flavored sugar syrup and crust].

After Easter dinner now, time for some basic chores. Cleaning out the pond filter of leaves, and general goo:

The lilies show some sign of growth. I'll need to clean out the bottom of the pond, too.

The viburnum also showing signs of impending bloom. I love the heady scent of these flowers when they bloom:

Washing the cars:

Finally, we all settle into the family room to catch some of the Masters. Hannah has been spending more time hanging out with Brian:

Oh, I took a nap. After all, I was up really early! Hope you all had a great Easter day!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

104/365 - Half Marathon Results

A perfect day for a run, great crowds, great music and a flat course. The result? I didn't feel like I was going to pass out at mile 13, I ran the entire time and I finished strong. The coolest parts of the course - running through Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, running into the tunnels of Memorial Stadium, then out on the football field and finishing at the 50 yard line.

I improved my time from last year's Lincoln Memorial by over 3 minutes, finishing at 2:07:44. Perhaps not a fair comparison, due to the hilly nature of the Springfield course. But heck, I'll take it!

Back at the house after the race:

The Finisher's medal:

So the training was all worth it. Maybe (a very faint maybe) I'll try the full marathon in a couple years.


Friday, April 10, 2009

103/365: Pre-Race

This morning I went to pick up my race packet at the Activities and Recreation Center.


Tomorrow's race course. I'm only running the 1/2 marathon, but that will be enough. Should be a great day for a run.



Thursday, April 09, 2009

102/365 - Masters Time

Just as March Madness wound down, the Masters wound right up, with Scott right there to take in all of the action "at Augusta" (he'll be saying that phrase all weekend long, LOL!).

Fresh off taking the top honor in the March Madness Pool at work, Scott was recruited to spearhead the first "Masters Pool". I think the guys at work are trying to win some of their money back!

He's keeping track of everything on excel (unlike the NFL and NCAA pools that I run - I use Yahoo Pickem because everything is automated) and emailing the participants on the current standings.

Fancy, eh? Note the use of color and formatting - Scott is fully excel-functional....

Busy updating today's results:

Much of the next 3 days will revolve around this tournament. At least the azaleas are pretty.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

101/365 - Start of the Season

Just as the MLB season started on Tuesday (ushered in with the snow, of course), today was the start of Little League baseball here. Practice, that is.

This is Brian's 2nd season, this year in the Farm League (for 9-11 year olds). He and best buddy, George are on the Cyclones team [Cyclones - similar to Tornadoes - hoping to continue the positive streak with cyclical, weather related team names - remember, the Tornadoes were undefeated in indoor soccer].



The boys need to improve their fielding skills, but that's why they have practice twice a week. And they seem to have fun, which is the most important aspect of it all.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

100/365 - Easter Funny

I had two pictures to pick from to commemorate my 100th consecutive day of taking pictures. The other one will be posted on Behind the Lens, but it is less about our family, so this picture wins out:


Some early Easter funnies, compliments of Scott. We purchased some solid chocolate bunnies from the Candy Kitchen on Friday. Yes, they are gone but they inspired this sketch. That and the fact that Brian literally kicked me in the butt this afternoon (he was horsing around) and I complained that it hurt!

See, SO MUCH more about our family than a boring springtime bloom photo.


Monday, April 06, 2009

99/365 - More Snow? But a Silver Lining

Ugh, more snow this morning. About an inch on the grass, roofs and trees. Even though the roads were generally wet, the overpasses were icy. This afternoon we also saw sleet and freezing rain.


The silver lining? UNC won the NCAA championship, which means Scott wins the Office March Madness pool. I came in 2nd which is not too shabby for someone who really doesn't follow college basketball.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

98/365 - Lazy Day

After two days of nice, sunny, spring weather, the skies opened up and the rains came. Truthfully, another typical spring day, just not a sunny and warm one. Scott and Hannah decided this was a perfect opportunity to just laze around on the couch, watch some TV and take a nap. I think they had the right idea.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

97/365 - Working on the Ragtop

Another beautiful day, so Scott worked on the convertible. This is a new top for Cappy, but all Scott was able to do was to fit it on the frame. The next step is to glue everything in place. But the temperatures need to stay above 75degF for the glue to cure properly, so that step will have to wait for warmer weather. Hopefully not too much longer.



Friday, April 03, 2009

96/365 - Friday Afternoon

A beautiful Friday afternoon - TGIF - and wonderful early spring weather, too.


Outside on the front breezeway.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 02, 2009

95/365 - More Silly Kids

It's like the kids didn't get enough of April Fools yesterday.

Dinner consisted of jokes and riddles, each becoming progressively sillier. Like Scott's bathroom joke [warning - mild bathroom humor ahead]:

You are American before you go to the bathroom, You are American after you go to the bathroom, What are you when you are in the bathroom? "You're a pee-ing" [Get it - European? Ha, Ha, Ha!]
After dinner, Erica and Brian started chasing each other around the house with their nerf dart guns. Erica decided to torture Hannah with Pal Mickey and then decided to give Mickey a makeover:
Finally, they ran some Mario Kart races and created some silly Mii's on the Wii. A fun, silly evening.


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The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code. and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prohibits the use of digital property to be used without the consent of its owner.

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