Friday, February 29, 2008

P.A.D. February 29th - The Last One

I really wish I had an amazing image for the last picture a day, but we're heading out of town and I just don't have time what with the packing, cleaning up after the kids, and getting dinner prepped (crock pot red beans and rice with sausage...oh yum!) So here's the last one. I think I'll attempt this again later in the spring/ early summer when the flowers are in bloom and do a picture a week.

Hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy time with your families!

P.A.D. February 28th

This is a preview of what is to come for Easter dinner at the farm. These are so YUMMY! This was my first batch, and as you can see, well, some just didn't quite turn out as well as the others. But they all tasted great. I have been seeking new recipes on-line and have found all kinds of things. I'm not much of a chocolate person, but I do love peanut butter and these are the perfect little bite-sized things. Get ready, the dessert lady is cooking up some fun for you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thoughts about P.A.D.

I have really enjoyed the picture a day project, but I think at the end of the month I'll retire it for a while. I'll still post pictures and write about what's going on at Casa de Meadows, but it's kind of a drag having to take a picture each day. I LOVE using the camera and love to capture moments, but I also like living in the moment. It will also be nice to not realize in the wee hours of night that I forgot to take a picture that day. So just a few more days and then the month will be over. I'm pretty proud that I did manage to take a picture each day and I didn't cheat!

Gotta run...Project Runway is on in 5 minutes and I am a major fan!

P.A.D.(s) February 27th

Peyton and Liam can always find ways to entertain themselves. They had a blast pushing each other in this Tonka truck in our playroom. Liam climbed in and then Peyton started pushing him. She ran him from one end of the room to the next and stopped him by hitting a shopping cart.

He laughed really hard so she did it over and over and over again until.....

She had enough of being the pusher and decided she needed to be the pushee. Liam was really unhappy about being ousted, but when he figured out he could push her....

Happiness ruled the playroom again! I think this is probably one of their very favorite toys in the house. Peyton takes it outside in good weather, pushes it to the top of the sidewalk, climbs in and rolls to the bottom. I'm sure Liam will be all over that this summer!

P.A.D. February 26th

This is the view from the bottom of the slide at the kid's preschool. They playground looked really lonely on this particular day because it had been raining all day. If you look close, you might be able to see the raindrops on the side of the slide.

P.A.D. February 25th

For some reason we always have plastic bags stuck in our maple tree. The red buds are already popping up and there's the bag too! We suffer a lot of very windy days in the Valley and lots of trash ends up in our yard. Last week I found 2 paper plates, a beer can, and a small plastic trash can.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

Yesterday Peyton was talking about how much she like playing with sticks. She had been collecting them while we were outside playing. I told her that when her dad was little he liked to play with sticks, rocks, and dirt. I told her that was something that she got from her dad. She thought for a bit and said, "I'm like you and like dad." (She gets really fired up when someone tells her she looks like Mark. She always tells them she looks like her mama.) I told her that she was a little bit like dad and a little bit like her mama because we made her. She thought about that and said, "No mama, Jesus made me." I was amused and humbled at the same time. Yes, ultimately Jesus did make her. We helped, of course, but it was His hand that was at work to create sweet Peyton Jane. I am blessed every day because of this little girl!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

P.A.D. February 24th

I got home tonight and helped get the kids to bed and realized I hadn't picked up my camera all day today. After church I went to a reception for a baby that had been dedicated, and then I packed up and came home to the 'burg. While my iPod was syncing (thanks Craig for the hand-me-down, I LOVE it), I grabbed the tripod and set up the camera in Peyton's room. I dimmed her lights and took this picture of her sleeping. That girl is a deep sleeper and didn't even flinch when the camera clicked. I love how peaceful she is when she's sleeping.

Speaking of sleep, it's after 11pm and I need to turn off the computer and get to sleep. Mondays are long days because Mark has work and then class and doesn't get home until long after the babes are sleeping. So, I'm off!

P.A.D. February 23rd

I went to Richmond on a solo trip this weekend. Mark stayed home with the kids and they had a great time going to the park and out to eat. I spent about 7 hours on Saturday scrapbooking and got so many pages done. It was nice to crop without any distractions! It was also really great to hang out with my mom for two days. I really like spending time with her. I was glad to see my little guy and gal tonight, but I think time away is also a refreshing and necessary thing from time to time!

P.A.D. February 22nd

Time out is much more fun with friends! Peyton was in time out and I had turned around to set the kitchen timer for 3 minutes; when I looked back at her, Liam and Randy had gone to commiserate. It was too cute so I grabbed the camera. Liam doesn't quite understand that Peyton is being punished!

P.A.D. February 21st

Two furry friends enjoying a sunny winter's day. Mr. Peanuts and Mr. Bananas had a bath on Thursday (2.21) and they caught some rays on our deck while they were drying. They just looked so funny on the deck that I had to grab the camera. These stuffed animals are our kid's best friends. It's amazing how much comfort and love a little stuffed friend can give.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

P.A.D. February 20th

This was taken off my back deck last night just before we sat down to eat dinner. I had to sneak out really quick because it was about 30 degrees and the kids always want to go outside if one of us goes out. Mark was out throwing a stick for Randy, so I ran out quickly and when I came back in the house, Peyton was pulling her shoes on her feet and Liam was trying to un-velcro his tennis shoes. We like to call our kids polar bears because they will go out regardless of how cold it is and never want to come inside. This would be okay except we can't keep gloves on Liam so his hands always get red and cold. I'm sure they are looking forward to spring.

P.A.D. February 19th

Maybe you can sense a theme here with my pictures....I love taking pictures of bare trees. I think they look awesome, especially against a really blue sky. I was pulling into the kid's preschool and saw how fluffy the clouds looked and how stark the tree was and so I pulled over and took this picture. It was really windy and the clouds were moving fast. I just think this looks cool.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

P.A.D. February 18th

These are paper beads that Peyton and I made yesterday. I loved making these when I was younger and I used to make all kinds of jewelry with my friends. Peyton helped choose the magazine pages and then she chose what order she wanted her beads to be on her necklace. I had to do the rolling and gluing because that part takes a little more coordination than she has right now. This was a great indoor activity as we were stuck inside again yesterday. Liam threw up twice so we decided to stay home until he felt better. I love all the colors and the fact that we were recycling old magazines!

P.A.D. February 17th

Peyton loves to play hide and seek and would probably play all day if she had willing participants. I got this action shot as she came around the breakfast bar and found Mark. I wish I had snapped it just a second later, but this captures what they were doing at that moment.

P.A.D. February 16th

We spent some time at the Children's Museum on Saturday. As usual, Peyton's favorite thing to do is paint her face. She almost always heads straight to the theatre section to play with the face paint. The Harrisonburg Children's Museum has an entire budget line for face paint because they go through it so quickly. I think Peyton is mostly responsible!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

First haircut and cupcake time

Peyton had her first official haircut on 2.15. I have trimmed it in the past, but I decided to take her out to my friend, Lisa, for a real haircut. She was such a good girl and I think she really enjoyed the experience, especially since she got a Valentine cupcake afterward!

We made heart-shaped cupcakes on Valentine's Day and I let the kids decorate them. They went crazy and had a blast. They used up a lot of the sprinkles we had left from last Easter and Christmas. Unfortunately since they hadn't eaten dinner, they weren't allowed to eat their creations that night. It was especially hard to tear Liam away from the container of sprinkles.

P.A.D. February 15th

Wildwood Park again. Nonna (my mom) is in town and we took the kids to the park after Peyton's first official haircut. We fed pretzels to the ducks and played on the playground. I'm not sure who like the pretzels more, the kids or the ducks. It was such a nice day and this park is a great place to take pictures.

P.A.D. February 14th

I made a beef and veggie pot pie for Valentine's Day and I thought it was delicious. The kids were so hopped up on sugar from parties at school that neither one of them ate dinner.

P.A.D. February 13th

Stuck inside again due to the cold and Peyton was a willing subject. I love the light on her face.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stuck inside again...Aunt Jane to the rescue

Have I mentioned that I love Jane? She is one of the best friends, probably the best friend, I have ever had. She is kind and compassionate and loves to mail us treats, homemade ones! We are stuck inside again today due to rain and a little bit of ice. It is just plain nasty outside and I am not interested in dragging the kids out in it, so we're inside. We were going a little stir crazy when the doorbell rang. It was our sweet mailman (he used to knock quietly because he knew I had little ones sleeping) with a large package...Aunt Jane to the rescue! She mailed us some V-day goodies, edible ones and some that required planting. Peyton and Liam were squealing the whole time I was opening the box. It made a HUGE difference in our day. Peyton had her chocolate jones satisfied, Liam got a new toy to play with, and me, well I got a few minutes of peace and quiet!

Love you Jane!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

P.A.D. February 12th

When I was a senior in college I lived in a complex called Madison Square. I drove by today to see if my roommate's bike, lovingly called "The Booger," was still chained to the bike rack. My friends, it is the end of an era...the booger is gone. I think it stayed on that bike rack for about 9 years, but it's gone now. The booger was Jane's mom's bike and then hers. It was a bright green bike, very old school, but it served its purpose well, getting Jane back and forth to class. We used to wonder how long it would be chained there and now I know, not forever! So I took this picture of the bikes that are there now. Not one of them was electric green and not one of them was rusting and I have to say, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic.

P.A.D. February 11th

We were stuck inside yesterday because it was so cold, so I took pictures of my captives, I mean, children. Peyton is at the stage where she can't be bothered to pose and won't sit still very long. Liam sees the camera and yells, "Chee!" So I either get great pictures or really bad ones. I'm still not using my flash, so I'm having to open my aperture really wide and use a high "film" speed on my digital camera. If the kids are moving, I get blurry pictures, but if they sit still for even a moment, they turn out well. These are a bit grainy due to the high ISO, but I love them in black and white.

Doing this project makes me even more aware of how much I don't know about photography and how much more equipment I would love to have. I really want to get a few more lenses and a software package to add to my Photoshop, but that will all have to wait (until I win the lottery or go back to work someday). In the meantime, I'm using what I have and discovering just how much I can do by changing options in my camera's menu. It's amazing what can be adjusted. It will be interesting to go back and look at all the pictures that I took over the course of this month. I think I have about 130 pictures in my iphoto right now just from February. I promise not to load them all onto Kodak gallery later! I just went and looked and I have 219 from February already!

Feeling the need to hibernate

I am really feeling the need to hibernate today. I would love to curl up in my bed with a latte and a good book, but I have stuff around the house that really needs to be done. And I'm taking a meal to a family that has a brand new baby later this afternoon. I'm hoping for the chance to hold him. I love holding and seeing babies when they are new. It's so magical to see a little one that has so much ahead of him. It also makes me happy that mine are no longer babies and are more interactive and independent. I'll be happy to hold this baby and then hand him back!

It's just cold today and overcast. We had a very light dusting of snow today and the weather folks are calling for ice/ rain tonight. Sigh....I just really would like a foot of snow, not wintry mix, not sleet, not ice, but snow!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

P.A.D. February 10th

Peyton loves to set up Mark's chess set and "play" the game. It is so fun to see what sort of rules she invents.

Wildwood Park

Here are some pictures from the park yesterday. This is Wildwood Park in Bridgewater, a new favorite of ours. It was such a nice day and we all had a really nice time. In hindsight, I wish we had thought to take a picnic, but we ended up getting lunch and eating at a small pocket park near the library in Harrisonburg. Peyton spent a lot of time collecting sticks and then threw them all in the water. Liam just followed us around and quacked at the ducks. Both kids took turns going down the slide. My boy is so brave and went feet first, on his belly, and then head first! The weather has made a turn back toward cold and I think we'll be inside this week, so it was really nice to get out while we could.

P.A.D. February 9th

We took the kids to Wildwood Park yesterday to enjoy the beautiful 55 degree weather. We saw ducks, took a nature walk, and played on the playground. While on the walk we saw this aluminum canoe halfway in the water. It made me very excited to think about warmer weather. I can't wait to take the kids canoeing some day. I think we'll probably wait until they can swim fairly well before we attempt a lengthy trip. That way we preserve my sanity!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Just because

I just wanted to post this picture because I like it. One of our Bradford Pear trees has little buds on it already. It has been mild over the past few days and I think it's a little confused. I hope that it waits until spring to really blossom. Bradfords are really beautiful when they are in bloom. I also really like taking pictures of trees in the fall when the leaves have turned and in the winter when they are branches against a blue sky. So here you go, a tree from my yard. Have a great weekend. And grab your cameras and see what kinds of things you can capture!

P.A.D. February 8th

This picture makes me feel like I'm ready for spring even though we've hardly had any winter weather. We went outside to play today, all bundled up, and the kids jumped into the sandbox and played in the damp and clumpy sand. They spent most of the time outside dumping bowls full of sand onto the plastic picnic table. They were having a birthday party. I love how kids can take any kind of toy and use it in any kind of weather or situation. They don't need warm weather and a swimming pool or ocean to have fun with sand. All they need are a few tools, some buckets that aren't broken (a hard thing to find in our house) and a great imagination (we have an overabundance of that!)

P.A.D. February 7th

I spent a half hour or so in downtown Harrisonburg taking pictures on Thursday. I took a few pictures of downtown scenery, nothing riveting. It was a lot colder than I had expected, so I wasn't dressed very warmly. I decided to head for home and as I was driving down Mason Street, where a lot of JMU students live, I saw this van. I absolutely love how happy it looks. It reminds me of something Jane would drive! What a cool way to make a "mom car" look hip.

P.A.D. February 6th

Tonight (2/6/08) we had ham and white bean stew for dinner with homemade bread from Shank's Bakery. It was a garlic and herb sourdough loaf and was delicious. I need to try to make bread that looks like this. I use the breadmaker all the time, but I haven't made dough and braided it or cooked it in any special sort of way. I should try, but for now, I'm content with this bread, made by loving local hands for me to eat!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sick boy

Liam has a fever today. I had to go get him early from his preschool and when I picked him up he was asleep in his bed, overhead lights on, and a little girl was poking at him. It's hard to deal with a toddler who has a fever because they can't tell you what hurts. He is really sluggish and sleepy. I asked him if he wanted to go to bed and he nodded weakly and clutched his elephant tight. So now he's sleeping and hopefully the Tylenol will kick in and make him feel better. He is so rarely sick that I just want to cuddle him more and baby him all day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

P.A.D. February 5th

This is one of my favorite pictures so far. I went to the JMU Arboretum on the 5th to hike and take some pictures. I love the starkness of all the trees and the blue of the sky.

Addition to February 4th P.A.D.

I wanted to give Peyton some screen time too in this picture a day project. She was sitting at the breakfast bar reading a magazine and wearing her bathrobe, at 3pm. While I was looking at her, I thought to myself, wow this is what she's going to look like as an adult, enjoying her morning coffee and newspaper. She looks so grown up. It's hard to remember what she looked like as a baby. These 3 1/2 years have gone so fast.

P.A.D. February 4th

I love this picture of Liam. He was playing so quietly so I snuck up on him to see what he was doing and to snap the picture. As soon as he heard the camera's click, he turned around and said, "CHEE." I am a huge fan of unposed, candid pictures.

P.A.D. February 3rd

These pictures were taken in our yard after we rode our bikes to the grocery store. We pulled the kids in the bike trailer and they loved taking a quick ride. The family picture was inspired from another blog - the project was to place your camera on the ground and set the self-timer to see what kind of picture you got. I love this picture of our family, even though Liam is not too visible.

Picture a Day (P.A.D.) February 1st and February 2nd

The picture of Liam was taken before I decided to do a picture a day, and this just happened to be taken on February 1st. I took it with no flash and I think it's pretty cute. The doves were sitting on our deck on February 2nd. I grabbed my camera and took the picture out of our kitchen window. They flew away before I could get my zoom lens. My goal for the month is to better understand my camera and I'm going to try to take all my pictures without using the flash!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Little Grill's Mexi Night

We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants tonight, The Little Grill Collective. This place is a dive but has the most delicious food. Every Tuesday they feature an all-you-can-eat plate of vegetarian Mexican food. We've been eating at the Grill for 14 or 15 years starting with our JMU days. I used to go with my dear friend, Jane, and I took this picture in her honor tonight. I wish I could have been sitting there with her enjoying the beans and rice and tacos.

A picture a day...

I have decided to take at least one picture each day for the month of February. They won't necessarily be artistic photos, although I did recently discover how to use actions in Photoshop, but they will be things that catch my eye, pictures of the kids doing fun things, etc. I'm excited to really get to know my camera and to take some (hopefully) cool pictures. I'll post as soon as I get a USB cable for my camera.

By the way, welcome to my family blog. I've wanted to do something like this for about a month as I've been reading all kinds of blogs online. I'm not sure how much I'll update, or when I will update, but you can check here for stories about the kids, pictures of our life, news from the Shenandoah Valley. And if anyone in the Meadows or Campana families has news they want sent out, I can publish for you and email that as well.