For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Day 2010 - Joyful, Jolly, and Jubilant

                   Our family Christmas is usually pretty quiet and subdued,
                                                      but not this year.
                      It began with a breakfast of crepes, eggs....

                                            and maple ham!
 Then we opened gifts.  Kerry was quite happy with her new hat...

              and Annie loved her purple glove-ins                             (purple is her favorite color)
                                  Adam got Season 6 of The Office, 
                             which was on his very short list for Santa!

                      Grandma Alice opened her gifts too.
                        When Vance opened up 2 bottles of wine,
        his eyes danced with memories of Lyndsay Mills wedding!
            Annie gave Kerry what she thought was a "cat" hat - NOT!
                       And my favorite gift was from my kids...
                                  two original paintings on canvas
                                by Vermont artist Kimberlee Forney.
We all scratched our annual gift from Vance (Annie was the biggest
winner) and then we packed into the van for a surprise visit to
Vance's relatives in New Jersey!  After a 4 hour drive, we pretended
to be carolers.  Singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", we
anxiously awaited the reactions of the unsuspecting relatives who
opened the door.  This was the best part of the day!

              We brought enough gifts for a Yankee Swap for the adults.

                     Even Vance's grandmother participated!
                      There were lots of laughs!
                    The party pack of beer was the most "swapped" gift.
                              Aunty Koko really wanted the beer!
                                Aunty JJ sat next to her mother.
   The "little ones" are now Janis and Gary's girls, Kimiko and Mya.
       Grandma, a big Phillies fan, was happy with her gift.
                                                           Vance and Kerry
              Aunty Frannie examines the array of Christmas cookies .
                          Uncle Sammy hugs his grand-daughter, Mia.
And Adam, Kerry, and Annie pose with 103 year old Great Grandma!

We had to pack up early on the 26th to get home before the big
snowstorm arrived. The trip was short, but it was soooo worth it!

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's a Boy!

Meet Farrah.  Farrah is a cockatiel - a male cockatiel.  We are babysitting Farrah for a week.  Farrah gets lots of attention from everyone in our family and sings A LOT.  Farrah is easy to care for and doesn't ask for much, BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE PROBLEM.  Do you know how difficult it is to call Farrah "he"?   All week long, Vance has been going over to her cage and asking in a high-pitched voice "How's the pretty girl?"  Whenever this happens,  there is an echo all over the house "It's a boy!"  It is soooo hard to think of such a pretty bird as a boy, especially with a name like Farrah!  Everyone in the family does it, and each time it gets pointed out "It's a BOY!" 

      Farrah has a beautiful home with lots of toys, bells, and mirror!
      She - ok, HE  is very happy there.

Farrah is very photogenic, kind of like Farrah Fawcett in her day.
                       Ok, I'm dating myself now.   

                                       Farrah has nice nails.
                               Farrah loves to whistle and sing!
                                                     ...... and eat!

and I never realized just how beautiful she was
until I used my macro lens to take her picture! 
Maybe I am imagining it, 
but I think I can see little teeth in her mouth! 
And look at all of the layers of delicate feathers
surrounding her -HIS - beak!

She even has nice long eyelashes around her big BROWN eyes - yes, brown.
 I was able to see in one picture a black pupil and a brown ring around it!

She/he is going home tomorrow and we will miss her/him!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TRADITION Reconsidered

"Tradition simply means that we need to end what began well and continue what is worth continuing."
 ~Jose Bergamin

Tradition!  My family has always believed in the value of tradition.  There is something special about repeating good times and a security in being able to count on something in the future.   Traditions help us mark the passage of time.  They give us a structure for remembering the past.  

This year, I have realized that we are ready to let go of a few of our long-standing traditions that began many years ago.  One tradition that will not be continued in 2010 is that of having our pets in our Christmas card picture.  In prior years, it was very important to the kids that ALL of our pets be included on our Christmas card.  In the past, we not only had to get the kids looking nice, but the animals too.  The cats lost their patience rather quickly.  Many times, blood flowed after a struggle with an unwilling Mr. Wiggles or MoMo.   Dogs were lured with treats to sit up straight and look at the camera.  We actually eliminated pictures based on how the animals looked!  But in 2010, you will see no animals in our Christmas card picture at all.  And it doesn't seem to matter to anyone anymore.

Since the kids were little, our family has always made Christmas ornaments to give to our family, friends, and teachers.  It began as a way to teach the kids that Christmas is not all about what you get, and it is important to give of yourself during this season also.  So every year I came up with a hand-made ornament that we could all work on together.  We would put on Christmas music and have an assembly line as we worked on 50+ ornaments.  We began around Thanksgiving and were lucky to have all of them done before Christmas.  Then they were packaged and wrapped and the kids would proudly give them out to teachers and family.  As the kids got older,  I found that I was the only one working on them - the collaborative effort was gone.  The meaning was gone.  So this year marks the end of this tradition too.

Traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past. 
~Lewis Mumford 
I found the about quote very interesting.   While traditions help pull a family together,  they can be limiting and prevent us from moving on possibly to better things.  They make us focus on the past.  It is more important to focus on the present and the future.  

With two of my children away at college and one left at home with us,  it seems that traditions are less important to all of us this year.  We just want to be home together.  We are ready to move on to a new stage of our lives and welcome new experiences and new people.   We are excited to spend time with Adam's new girlfriend, Sam, and hopefully make her feel the love and caring that our family has for each other.  We love having Kerry's friend Jojo at our house - she is like another daughter to us - and many other friends too.  We are optimistic about the future and all it holds for our family.  Maybe some new traditions will begin. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holy Macro!

My daughter, Annie, took my camera with the macro lens and had some fun this afternoon! After a short lesson about aperture and ISO, she was off on her own.   I was quite impressed with the shots she took of our Christmas decorations.