Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today is not only Thanksgiving, more importantly, it is my mom's birthday. For those of you who have had the opportunity to meet my mom know what an exceptional person she is. I have always believed that if I could be one tenth of the person - the mother she is, I will have reached success in my life. I haven't gotten there yet but I'm still trying.
My mom has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. She would do anything for her family and that includes her adopted family as well. Her adopted family consists of pretty much every student who walks into her office or anyone who has ever been to our house. She really has a genuine love and concern for all of the people around her. She is conscientious about leaving the world a better place than she found it.

Mom holding her most adorable child--me!
When I was a kid my mom worked 2 jobs, went to school for her master's degree and raised a family of five kids. She did it with love and patience and energy. She never missed a concert or play (front row with a huge smile on her face) and she was always available to talk if we needed her. I don't know how she was able to find the drive to keep going all of those years. Life was not exactly easy and I know she must have been lonely after the divorce. One of the happiest moments in my life is when she married Dwane and I knew she finally had found someone who could make her happy and who could match her in kindness and compassion.
The Day Mom Married Dwane

On Thanksgiving since I am not able to go home and be with my mom, I do the next best thing. I make mom's homemade yeast rising rolls. My mom makes these every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The process takes about 13+ hours since the rolls have to be allowed to rise twice. Mom wakes up in the middle of the night to shape the rolls so that we can have them for breakfast Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. If you have tried them before, you know that these rolls taste better than anything else in the world. Even though I make the rolls, mine never taste as good as Mom's. I am convinced that the love that Mom puts into her rolls make them taste better. That's just how she is.
Happy Birthday Mom. I love you!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

giving thanks

Here is a list of the things I am thankful for at this very moment:

--Thanksgiving is tomorrow so I can finally change the silly turkey background on my blog. My kids have gotten a kick out of it but I have to admit I am a little sick of it.

--I didn't get lost going to or coming from Bridgewater, NJ today. I was on a quest for the perfect Christmas present for John which involved 4 hours of driving unfamiliar roads. Love it!

--Tyler and Becca are bringing Theo for a visit next week.

--John doesn't have to work tomorrow.

--I just got a call that my sister Lisa and her husband, Tracy, are moving to Arlington, VA in January. That means they will only be 3 hours away!! Woo-hoo!!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the twilight zone

Seeing Twilight last night was an interesting affair. I got to the theater at 6:00 pm for our 7:15 show. I have been to enough opening nights for Harry Potter movies to know that the line forms early. As I stood in line, keeping place for my friends (Christina, Meredith, Jill and her daughter Julia), I had ample time to people watch. The group of teenage girls in front of me had homemade Twilight shirts on- actually probably 89% of the girls in line had Twilight shirts on. They were constantly shrieking over one thing or another. One even tried leading the crowd in a "Twilight! Twilight!" chant- cruise director style. She was quickly berated by the theater manager and went back to the line screetching over Edward and Jacob.
Once we finally made it into the theater we settled in for a good 30 minutes of previews - one of which was a terrifying extended-length preview for a horror movie (but that is a topic for its very own blog sometime). The group of teenagers sitting behind us actually included one of the three boys in the theater. The girl next to him announced loudly several times that their engagement was off because she was in love with Jasper. Throughout the movie this group repeatedly made comments that had Jill and I in stitches.
The movie itself was good, not great, althought the girls in line (who had been to the midnight showing already) had proclaimed it the best movie ever! I liked it but I think, like Breaking Dawn, it grows on you with repetition. I actually liked all of the actors in their roles, with the exception of Jasper. Even Robert Pattinson grew on me as Edward although Christina and I agree that he should have acted a little less high school and a little more like a 100+ year old vampire with some experience and confidence, you know, mature. The movie had some really funny moments and some great one liners... along with the cheesey ones of course. I especially liked Alice, Esme, Carlyle, Emmett, Angela, Jacob, Billy, James, Victoria...pretty much everyone. The director should have gone with about half as many close-ups as she had though. They made it more cheesey than it should have been. There were also some very awkward shots in the beginning.
After the movie we went to a little Italian restaurant for dessert. Yum. Coincidently, the restaurant had a mural inside painted by Edward someone and had the name Bel in the name. We all got a kick out of that. Over Tartufo, Bomba and a Napoleon we dissected the movie and discussed our anticipation for the next one.
Anyway, I plan on watching the movie again, maybe in the theater but probably when it comes out on DVD. I think experiencing it without all of the screams, sighs, and giggles of the teenage crowd I will appreciate it all the more. I have been thinking about it a lot though-- in fact I had a hard time falling asleep last night when I got home. And of course, James woke up with croup around 3 am and didn't go back to sleep for a couple of hours...
Perhaps tomorrow I will write a more coherent, less sleep deprived review but probably not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

first snow

This is what we woke up to this morning.
The kids were ecstatic! After they had breakfast they begged to go play outside. We rushed through the bundling process and they spent about 40 minutes romping through the snow.
Don't you wish you were here?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

for Star Wars fans

I got a few funny (and that is an understatement!!!) Star Wars links from some friends this week and I just had to share! Enjoy!

John Williams a'capella tribute

The Star Wars Holiday Special (pop some popcorn, this is a long one!)

Harrison Ford interview on Conan O'Brian about said Star Wars Holiday Special
Don't miss this one!!!

Thanks Shawn, Julie and Jewels for the info!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I had to laugh

On Yahoo today there is an article or rather pictures of Hollywood's Most Handsome. Topping the charts at #1 is none other than Josh Brolin. Unfamiliar with the name? He played Brand in The Goonies. Maybe it is just me, but I find this hysterically funny.

Don't worry Twilight fans, Robert Pattison was on there too. He doesn't really do it for me but whatever. Just 4 more days! Do you have your ticket yet???

Friday, November 14, 2008

leiper-smedley trail

John and I have been taking bike rides and walks around our new neighborhood trying to get to know our little community better. One of our trips resulted in the discovery of the Leiper-Smedley trail. It is a walking/biking path that starts at the old Thomas Leiper house (I have no idea who he is!) and winds throught the neighborhood and then runs alongside I-476 behind the cement barriers on the hill.

It is actually a beautiful trail and provided me with ample opportunity to take pictures of the fall foilage. It amazes me that even though we were right next to a very busy highway, we felt like we were in the middle of the forest - minus the paved trail of course. =)

And although the trail is beautiful, the coolest part was the surprise we found not 10 feet off the trail. We followed a little mud path off the trail and hit a wall... literally. The map marked it as the Italian Water Garden Ruins. It looks like it was a beautiful garden at one point because even the ruins are impressive. I would love to see this restored one day. In fact, I had a dream about it the other night that we had a garden party there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

7 Random Facts

I got tagged- thanks Eryn. So here you go.

7 Random Facts about me

1. I played t-ball when I was a kid and was the only girl on my team.

2. Carrying on with my tomboyish ways I played the trumpet in middle school and a little bit in high school. There was one other girl trumpeter but she was two years older than me.

3. I am a chicken. I do not watch scary movies at all because they give me horrible nightmares. I saw Ghostbusters when I was younger and it gave me nightmares for a year.

4. I am adamantly opposed to handguns but the only video games I like to play are the shoot 'em up games.

5. I am a dancer. I have taken dance lessons since I was 3. I studied and performed modern, tap, ballet, jazz, swing and a little ballroom. I do not take lessons now but I dance in my kitchen all the time... usually with my husband and kids.

6. I love to travel. I have already been to Russia, Italy, Germany, Finland, Jamaica and Bermuda. The next few places I really want to go are England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Greece and Spain. My ideal trip would be a cruise through the Mediterranean Sea. I keep hinting at it to John as something fun to do for our 10th anniversary.

7. I am extraordinarily gullible. John made up a fairly plausible BS story about why our old house had two front doors. However, he forgot to tell me he made it up until about 3 months later when he heard me telling the story to one of our friends. Of course I had believed him and told everyone we knew. Yes, I did smack him for that one!

Ok, I think I will tag Heather W., Lizzie, and Amy S. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I hope I don't get in trouble...

I don't talk a whole lot about John on my blog. Mostly because I don't want to embarrass him. However, I just have to say that I have the best husband ever. I know some of you may think you do, but I know I am right. =) Here are my reasons why:

10: He is as big a chocoholic as I am - so he doesn't think my monstrous consumption of the stuff is anything strange.

9: He watches chick flicks with me.

8: He likes to sing all the time, just like me... he's just a little off key sometimes. =)

7: He enjoys outdoor sports (ie: biking, hiking, snow skiing) and insists we do these things as a family. I grew up that way and wouldn't have it any different.

6: He plays with our kids (light saber duels, tickle fights, piggy back rides, pictionary, you name it, he does it.)!

5: He jokes about everything. Granted this can be annoying sometimes too, but he makes sure I never take myself too seriously. That is a very good thing.

4: He loves God, honors his priesthood and uses it too.

3: He learned how to swing dance just to impress me.

2: He volunteers to help. He was Sam's soccer coach and is now one of his wrestling coaches; he just wants to be involved. He does the same thing with his church calling- but he would never tell you that himself.

1: He loves me... even when I am half crazy with depression and yelling at the kids. That is truly impressive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Got a rake?

Our entire yard is blanketed in leaves. It is beautiful but I can't help but wince when I think about the effort the clean-up is going to take. The most depressing thing: look how many leaves are still on the trees! Anyone want to come and help???

Friday, November 7, 2008

recent Samisms

Just a couple notes about what Samuel (my precocious five year old) has been up to lately...

At dinner Monday night Samuel started an interesting conversation:

Samuel: "Tomorrow I am going to vote for Barak Obama."
me: "Oh, really? Why are you going to vote for him?"
Samuel: "Because Riley is." --as if that explains everything. Riley is Sam's best friend at school.

Sam has turned into a social butterfly. Every day when he gets on the bus I hear a chorus of voices say "Hi Sam!" and then he quickly walks to the back of the bus to sit with his buddies. When I was a kid, the back of the bus was where the cool kids or trouble makers sat- sometimes both. Isn't five a little bit early to start with all of that???

Samuel has already started calling his friends on the phone. A week or so ago he called his friend Maya. Here is the resulting conversation:

Maya's Dad: Hello?
Samuel: Is this Maya Rozin's house?
Maya's Dad: Yes it is. Who is this?
Samuel: Samuel Traverso. Is Maya there?
Maya's Dad: She's not. (Finally catching on that he was talking to a five year old!) Can I give her a message?
Samuel: I just wanted to tell her that I have a zebra and I want her to come and see it.
Maya's Dad: You want to have a playdate?
Samuel: Yes!
Maya's Dad: Ok. I will talk to Maya and she will call you back. What is your phone number?
Samuel: 610-***-****.
Maya's Dad: Wait let me grab a pen... ok. Go ahead.
Samuel: 610-***-****
Maya's Dad: Ok. I'll have her call you. Bye.
Samuel: Thank you. Goodbye.

I was astounded by his phone manners. Where did he learn that??

And one last thing... Wednesday was Samuel's first wrestling practice. John wrestled in high school and college so he has been counting down to this moment since I was pregnant with Sam.
Samuel was one of the youngest and smallest boys there. The practice involved a lot of pounding the mat and yelling like coaches of all sports do.
As we got in the car to go home I asked Samuel how he liked wrestling. His response cracked me up! He said, "Ummm... (with a glance at dad) I'll get used to it. I don't like it as much as school though." He is so MY kid!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Welcome Baby Ellie!!

Stephenie and Jared had their baby girl on Sunday. They named her Elleanor Elizabeth Hains (after our grandmother and mother respectively (dang it! they stole my girl's name!)) and call her Ellie. She was 19 inches long and 7 lbs 3 oz. I am once again a proud auntie!!

Ellie with Mommy and Ellie meeting her big sister Kaylee from the safety of Daddy's arms.
Going home!
Hanging out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New President

So most of you already now that Obama was elected yesterday. Most people in the country are either thrilled or terrified depending on their political affiliations and beliefs. I am indifferent. I have tried really hard to like or care about either one of the candidates and have been completely unable to find one who had outstanding qualitites that made me want to stand up and cheer. Am I the only one?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

weekend update

I have been remiss about my posts lately, I guess I can blame it on Phillies fever. What with the World Series Championship and Halloween, I have completely lost my head!
So here is a quick update through pictures of our last two weekends.
Last weekend we held our first annual Pumpkin Party ala Austin and Emily Gray. The Grays started throwing pumpkin parties when we were all in the singles ward together. When we were all married and had kids the parties continued... until they moved. We miss the Gray's and the parties so we decided to start our own. (If you didnt get an official invite, please don't feel bad, my brain was on serious hiatus for the last few weeks. For future years please know the party is open to anyone and everyone we know. You just might have to ask me when it is as my brain seems to have ceased functioning about 3 years ago.) This is a new family in our ward from Sweden. It was their first Halloween and their first pumpkin carving experience.
These are our neighbors. The kids got to do some cookie decorating and pumpkin painting.
Who knew we could fit so many people in our attic at one time!!
This weekend was crazy! After the Phillies win on Wednesday night (finally!) I spent 2 hours in Modell's - a local sporting goods store - getting World Champions t-shirts for the family on Thursday. Then Friday while I took Sam to his school Halloween parade and party, John took James into the city for The Parade.
There were over two million people on the streets of Philly on Friday for the parade. It was a giant sea of screaming fans bedecked in Phillies red. It was apparently so exciting that James... fell asleep. That night we took the kids out trick-or-treating for Halloween. Sam was Obi-wan Kenobi and James was Darth Vader (only because we couldn't find a Darth Maul costume in a kid's size and I was to lazy to make one).
And because Sam and James were dressed up, Zebra and Lamby had to dress up too! Zebra was a reindeer and Lamby was a one eyed pirate. Too fun!