Monday, December 22, 2008


We made it. 
And it is very icy, 
and very cold, 
and very much like Christmas. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods...

We're on our way to Grandma's! 

At 6:00am tomorrow we will begin the 17-hour drive to my grandma's house in Illinois. 
I can't tell you how excited I am to spend Christmas there this year. 

I grew up spending weeks at a time with my grandparents. And for me, there is no place more relaxing and peaceful than their home. 

So here's to a week of cookie-making, movie-watching, game-playing, Christmas-celebrating fun! 

Thursday, December 18, 2008


This tree belonged to Mark's grandma. 
It is over 50 years old. 
I find it rather lovely, 
and feel so honored to have inherited it. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

All I Want is a Nice Picture

**Warning: Content may not be suitable for small children or for people with an aversion to old, naked men.**

Before Mark and I left for California, I made one simple request, "Hey Mark, do you think that while we are on vacation, you could remember to take some pictures of me? Do you think you could remember to do it occasionally without me having to ask? I always feel so vain when I have to ask you to take a picture of me." 

His response, "Hmm? Oh, yeah. Sure I guess. I'm sure I'll forget though." 


Out of the 492 pictures we took on the trip, he took 20. 

On the day we went to the beach, I wanted to get some lovely posed shots of me and two of my bffs. That's not so hard. Right? So I hand the camera to Mark and the "photo shoot" went a little something like this: 

Hey Mark, take some pictures of us. I know that several people here think this is a nude beach, but there's lots of scenery. Let's get some shots in front of the waves. That will be pretty. 

Ok, Mark, first do one of me and Emily.
Okay, now let's get Holly in here. 
And do one more, just in case someone blinked...wait, it looks like you are holding the camera off center. Let me see what you've got so far. 
Give me the camera. What's so funny? Just give it...Hey! Are you getting the naked men in these pictures? 
Stop it! Let me see! 
Don't take them that way. Go vertical -- like this -- then you won't get the naked men in the pictures. Oh, he's right behind me now. That's nice. 
Please, please just try one more time. Please do it right. 
There, was that so hard now? Sheesh! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Traveling with Friends

On Labor Day Weekend, our dear friends, John and Emily, nearly broke our hearts by moving to Manteca, California. Missing them deeply, Mark and I grabbed Dave and Holly and flew West to spend a weekend with our friends. 

We had an absolute blast and didn't rest for a minute. 

We visited the State Capitol, where we 
rode on the landscaping, 
rung eachother's bells, 
hassled the "Governator," 
and picked the royal fruit. 
Then we trekked through the forest, discovering
pack mules, 
treacherous river crossings, 
rusty vehicles, 
valuable fossils, 
and the band's next album cover. 
We also visited the beautiful beach for some
girl time, 
play time, 
smoke time, 
and time to ponder. 
Finally it was off to the big city of San Francisco to explore and 
to make fun of the natives. 

We are home now and are already missing John and Em again. Only 8 more weeks until they will come home for a visit! 

Monday, November 17, 2008

As Promised...

Make sure the sound on your computer is turned WAAAYY up so that everyone in your home or office can hear you being a total nerd and listening to New Kids on the Block. :) 



The concert was amazing
and hilarious
and so much fun! 

First, the boys helped us make t-shirts. 
I'll have you know, they are expert puff-painters. 
Then we had a little pre-show dinner. The boys were nervous about performing, but some good food and drinks helped them relax. 

And then it was off to the concert. We were ready to rock in our t-shirts...
...and our Jordan socks. 
After 15 years, NKOTB is performing together again. And they are performing the exact same show that I saw 18 years ago! 
Jordan still sings everything in falsetto. 
Donny still wore and hat and let his underwear show and threatened to take his pants off. 
The screaming from the crowd is still louder than the music.
Joey is still a total heart-throb. 
The Dance moves are still totally-off-the-hook. 
Danny still looks like a monkey. 
And Jonathan is as shy as ever. 
Stay tuned for a little concert video so that you can experience the early 90s nostalgia for yourself! 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jordan Night Still Has My Heart

After nearly 18 years, me and the kids are reuniting! 
When I was 7-years-old, I entered a writing contest at JC Penny. I was to write and essay about "Why Cops are Cool." I created an acrostic, using each of the letters in "Cops are Cool" to describe their unending coolness. 

I won the contest. While I bounced around the house screaming, my mom cried tears of joy. (I know they were tears, the "joy" part is still questionable.) 

The prize? A trip to the New Kids on the Block concert at Fiddler's Green, complete with my very own police escort! Jordan and Jonathan were my favorite of course. After months of listening to their cassettes and staring at their posters, to see them live was a dream come true. 
Thus, my very first live music experience was with the boy-band-of-all-boy-bands. I eventually forgot all about NKOTB, but my love for live music never died. Tomorrow night, things are coming full circle for me and I will once again be attending a live NKOTB concert. 

I remember listening to their music when I was little and thinking, "It just doesn't get any better than this." I've been listening to their Greatest Hits album this past week, and more than once I have thought, "Thank goodness that it DID get better than this!" I guess I've moved beyond synthesizers and the high-pitched-squeal of 16 year old Joey. 

Either way, I am still REALLY looking forward to donning my freshly-puff-painted "Jordan" T-shirt and singing along to "Hangin' Tough" tomorrow night. 

The Christmas after my amazing cop-going concert experience, my grandma bought me the entire set of NKOTB Dolls. I was so excited when I opened those packages that you would have thought all five of the boys themselves walked right into the room. It was certainly one of the most memorable gifts I have ever received. 

And in case you were wondering, yes, the dolls did come adorned with the appropriate rat tails. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Meet, Greet, *Click*

I should not have worried. 

The performance of One Republic did not disappoint (more on that later), but I must say that the meet-and-greet was absolutely anticlimactic. Because half of the band members are from Colorado, they had about 75 legitimate friends and family members waiting to meet up with them after the show. Shannon and I were lumped into the crazy-fans-who-won-passes-on-the-radio category, and our time with the band was reduced to a 30-second photo-op. There was no time for actually meeting or greeting anyone. 
The good news is that I did not make a fool of myself because I actually didn't say a single word! 

But here's where things get good for me. It turns out that my particular meet-and-greet pass was a very special photo pass. That meant that while the rest of the crowd had this view...
...I got to stand in the "pit" (the space between the barricade and the stage) and get this view... 

It was amazing!  The perfect concert experience for a girl who appreciates things more when viewed through the lens of a camera! Though I was not allowed to take my DSLR into the venue, my little point-and-shoot did a great job and I came away with some great shots. I'll be posting more pictures on my photo blog soon, so be sure to check that out. 

I have to be honest and admit that I did not have high expectations for this concert. I like One Republic, but their album certainly does not rank within my top ten favorites. I've always thought their music was good and enjoyable, but never found it particularly exciting. 

This concert changed everything. They were absolutely amazing. 

I believe that a good band is one that sounds better live than they do recorded. For many bands, this is a very difficult feat. One Republic passed the test with flying colors. I was completely blown away by their ability to play their instruments not only flawlessly, but beautifully. Each song was vibrant, incorporating guitars, drums, piano, xylophone, and cello, blended perfectly so that one could choose to focus on just one instrument or listen to the band as a whole. 

While the meet-and-greet was a bit of a let down, I would have to say that the evening far exceeded my expectations. I've been listening to One Republic's album with a new appreciation today and have added "concert photographer" to my list of dream jobs. 

A big "thank you" goes out to my resourceful husband who found these tickets on Craigslist and to the woman who won them on the radio but chose to make a quick $70 instead of attending the concert herself. She sure missed out! :)