Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hugs & Shrugs - Wellies & Dust

It has been a while since we have done one of these, so here we go!

1) Makoto Ginger Dressing - Years ago there was this great little Japanese restaurant in town who had the BEST ginger dressing, it was so good I could have drank it by the glass. Unfortunately the place closed and ever since I have been longing for that sweet salty ginger glaze to once again coat my lettuce and shredded carrots. Well friends, that search has come to an end, my taste buds are once again graced with the tangy combination of soy sauce and ginger. Alas!

2) Yo Gabba Gabba - If you just said 'what the heck is a Yo Gabba Gabba', friends you are not alone. I have no idea, all I know is that it is on Nick Jr and my daughter LOVES IT!! It is on right around the time we get home at night and it entertains her long enough for me to figure out what I am cooking for supper.

3) My new L.L. Been Wellies - having endured 29 winters and mud seasons in Maine, this girl can appreciate a good rubber boot when she tries one on. I have 'invested' in cheaper more trendy rubber boots in the past and needless to say they have all left me, well my socks really, out to dry. They have all cracked, leaked, and tore around the treads, so this week, enough was enough. If you are looking for some good rubber boots, get yourself a pair of these. If they are a little too 'functional' looking for your taste, invest in some Wellie Warmers, they look adorable folded over the top of your boots, plus they are made of fleece inside!

1) Ladies in Wal*Mart who feel the need to tell their pregnant friend and everyone else at the check out line about their 17 hour labor. No body cares how long you were at 5cm and nobody, certainly not your pregnant girlfriend wants to hear about how many stitches it took to 'zip' you back up!! Yes, this really happened.

2) Dust - where do you come from anyway. Can't you just find somewhere else to hang out??

3) My iPod - which keeps freezing. I 'googled' a remedy the other day and when I did it resynced my ipod and my itunes and I lost 80% of my music, does anyone out there know what might be the issue causing it to freeze?!? Until a remedy is googled, commented, or suggested my once Hug of an iPod is permanently on the Shrug!

Happy Sunday

Friday, January 21, 2011

D.O.N.E. Done!

D.O.N.E.! DONE! Yep, I am done, done with Old Man Winter. Old Man here is your bag, your boots, and your gloves, now don’t let the door hit you where the good lord spit ya! Yeah, I know, a post ago I was all about the snow. But that was over a week ago, before I started a new job 28 miles from my house, which I can only get to by driving on back roads. Yep O.V.A.H. it!

Specifically I am sick of the following, in no particular order:

- every time I hit the button to defrost my back windshield something interferes with my radio signal making every station sound like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard

- my window ‘scraper’ yeah, that thing is about a useful as an O’dules in Lindsey Lohan’s refrigerator. When there is a foot of snow on my car and three inches of ice on my windshield, what I really need is an industrial sized sweeper and a jack hammer, neither of which will fit in my car

- everyone out there who think that because there is .25” of snow on the road, you need to drive .99 miles an hour WITH YOUR HAZARDS ON?!? Hazards? Really? I will tell you what is a hazard, you in front of me driving .99 mph at 6:42 in the morning when I haven’t stopped to pick up my coffee yet, yep you are what is standing in the way of ME and MY COFFEE, I would be issuing caution with flashing lights too! (just for the record, I don't drive like a speed demon in the snow)

Hummm, what else!

- trucks with snow plows, no not the great big ones who are plowing for the state with my tax dollars, I am talking about the people out there who just because their truck says 4X4 on the side, they feel the need to throw a 9’ plow on their trucks and drive down the middle of the road. Yeah buddy I got it, I am driving a little car and you have a great big truck with a great big plow, owww so impressive, now get on your own side of the road before your plow (pun intended) into my car which will result in ME owning your great big truck with a great big plow!

- getting up and leaving the house an hour early hoping to make it to work on time, only to arrive 15 minutes late

Holy, that felt good! Phew, I guess driving to and from work all week on snow covered grounds builds up a little tension. I can't be alone out there, all you Mainer’s reading this, what are you SICK of??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow Place Like Home!

Winter is in full swing around here; the lakes are almost completely frozen, sandals are no longer part of the wardrobe, there is more salt on my car than my dinner plate, and this morning it was 2 degrees outside! TWO DEGREES!! As much as I sometimes complain about it, I don’t really mind this time of year. Sure, I miss my flower gardens, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the mornings where I don’t have to wrestle baby E to get in her snowsuit, but if we lived in an area where we skipped this time of year altogether, I would miss it.

I walked out of our local store last night and lined up at the gas pumps were a half dozen snowmobiles, as I walked by I got a whiff of exhaust mixed with the gas infused with the crisp cold January air and it smelled like 'UMMM'. Call me crazy (crazy) but I just looooooove that smell. It brings back memories of snowmobiling with my brothers and cousins on the ice when we were kids.

I am also a huge fan of snow storms… I love everything about them, not so much the driving in the them, but I love the hype before a storm hits, seeing the first snowflake fall from the sky, being at home all snuggled in on the couch with the lights turned off and the lights on outside showcasing the beauty of the weather event. During a big snow storm there is snow place like home.

Can you believe that some people will go their whole life without ever seeing snow!!? Never driving in snow, never eat it, never feel a snow flake fall on their face?! It almost seems unbelievable doesn’t it?

Well, we just so happened to have a snow storm this week, here are some pictures I shot from inside my car while I wanted for my husband to plow me a path up the driveway.

Happy Saturday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Gee-tahh

I know, it's spelled wrong, but doesn't it looking way cooler spelled that way?! And don't event ry to kid yourself, it felt cool saying it that way too.

Among dumping out cereal boxes, spitting out raisins, pulling on the dogs ears, and laughing at her burps, baby E looooves music! I tell everyone she gets that from her Momma. On the weekends while I am dumping load after load in to the washing machine, vacuuming up the never ending abyss of dog hair, and picking up every blanket, towel,  and t-shirt E has stashed in some random spot, I have the music justah blaring in the background. I am not picky either, sometimes I have CMT on, sometimes I peruse the 800's (directv stations) until I hear something I like. Among my best attempts of cleaning, I will stop for a mini-break down session. I bustah move on my dirty floors and let my arms fly around like the dog hair on the floor and right beside me is Baby E. She is the best dance partner I have ever had, she claps, squeals in delight, and when I stop she will sometimes cry.

Not only does she love to listen to music, she also loves to make music. Just a few weeks ago, I heard her singing in her bedroom, I stopped in the kitchen and just listened; it was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. My husband and I don't play any particular instrument well. I can play "when the saints go marching in' on the harmonica and my husband has a gee-tahh. Every once in a while he will take it out and play us a little "Crazy Train", "Stairway to Heaven", and per my request he will do a little "Love Song" by Tesla. When he plays for us, Baby E can't get enough; she will dance, laugh, and try to play it herself. It is a riot! So when Christmas came around, I just had to get her a little gee-tahh of her own and when I saw this little gem at the Christmas Tree Shop for a whopping $8.99, it was in my cart faster than a spray tan on the Jersey Shore!

Just as I predicted, she LOVED it! As soon as she unwrapped it she started playing. It was too cute for words, so I will let these pictures do the talking.

Bending the strings just like Daddy showed her.

 Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Baby Pictures!

Back in August one of my best friends gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy. With the addition of another boy to their little family, her and her husband decided baby J would be their last. Not long after he made his grand entrance into this world, Mom asked me to do some pictures of her and her last *sniff* baby. She told me she never had them done with her first born and often regrets not making the time to capture him at such a young age. Like a good friend, I vowed I would NOT let her make the same mistake twice!

I will admit, it did take us a couple weeks to nail down a date and time, but I am happy to say that this weekend we MADE IT HAPPEN! We met at her house on Sunday, I had my 18 month old running around and she had her two year old running around too, it's funny because these pictures look so peaceful and serene... you would never know there was a screaming 18 month old pulling at my leg and a two year old begging for a clementine. I should have taken pictures of that to include in this post, but I probably didn't want anything to remind me of that time, as no such pictures exist!

Here are a few of my favorites of the day.

And be absolute FAVORITE of the day!!!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Blog Review - B

On May 10, 2010 I took to the plunge with my first blog post, “Toes in the Water“. Reflecting on that title I realize how fitting it was as I was ‘testing’ the blog water for the first time. You see, I had never considered having a blog of my own, I mean I love blogs and all, but who in the world would give a hoot about what I had to write about. I mean come on really… I am not a professional anything (coffee drinker maybe), but I am not a professional photographer, not a celebrity, not a stand up comedian, so what would I have to offer world of bloggiders?

That was until April 20, 2010 when I received this message though facebook:

“I think you could start your own blog now with your photo skills for sure, but more than that you have a unique talent ... you like words. I am not being silly here. Forever since I have known you, you have had a gift with words, a real gift… Many people have a sense of humor, but yours is ultra clever and never annoying. Do not take this gift lightly. I am sure you want to read this message so I will send it to you and plant the seed. Wanting only the best for you"

This message came from one of my favorite teachers and one of the most inspiring human beings I have ever met, Mrs. Ellis. Her message literally came out of no where and caught me off guard. Wait?!? What?!? ME? Noooooo. I didn’t respond right away, but kept her message (obviously). That night I thought about it and thought about it. The thought process went a little something like "Really a blog Amy, no one would read it, I know… but what if one person read it… don’t do it the only one that will read it is your Mom… what tha heck, I am gonna do it!" So on May 10th, I with my eyes squinted tight, I hit “publish” on my first blog post!

I was shocked when I received six comments on that post!! The next day I was like a blog writing machine, I had four posts in the queue and they just kept coming. Then in the spring when the ground dried up and the trees began to blossom I started sharing my photography and the blog has evolved from there. This has definitely been a learning experience for me, I still look at this place and think I wish it looked more like ‘me’, how do I get those fancy icons on the side, I should really change that banner, trust me the self-blogging critiquing is a constant thing around here...

None the less, I think the first 8 ½ months of this blog’s life has been pretty darn good and has surpassed my expectations. I am proud to report that 4,539 people have clicked into my blog, when most of you get in here you start clicking around, like on the pictures and other links, as matter of fact you have done that  7,718 times!!! WOW!  I also have 16 followers which is something I never thought that I would have, so a huge THANK YOU to each of you, it means more than you will ever know.

Fun Blog Facts:

Most Popular Posts:
1) A Christmas Miracle
2) Sneak Peek - The Worth’s
3) I Have Homework…
4) Winner of the Photo Shoot Giveaway
5) Maine Family Photography

Top Referring URLs:

Most of you (3,026 as of this evening) find my blog through face book. :-)

A lot of people find me through ‘google’ too. I wish they were googling “funniest girl in Maine’ or ‘amazing Maine photographer’, but no, they are googling Pampered Chef Lemon Gingertini Recipe… close to 200 people stumbled on to This & That by searching for that delish sparkling beverage!

People from all over the world have viewed this blog from places like England, France, Australia, Germany, India, Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, and many of the States! Can you believe people on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD have read this blog, unreal!
Wow, this post is getting really long. In wrapping up this 94th post, I am going to grade the first year of this This & That a B. Just a B, no minus no plus. There is still a lot of room for improvement, such as making this space truly reflect me, I need to stop comparing my blog to all the 'perfect' blogs out there and just let this space take on a life of its' own. That probably sounds uber crazy to most of you out there, and you know what it even sounds a little crazy to me too.
In closing I would like to thank Carolina Ellis. She is the one that sent me that message on April 20, 2010 and she has been the backbone of my blogging experience. She consistently comments on all my posts, she sends me encouraging messages, sends me ideas, she keeps me inspired. Thank you Carolina, Thank you!!
Also, a huge thank you to all of you who take time out of your busy lives and read this blog, I hope you enjoy what I have to share and will keep coming back for more in 2011!! 

And because posts are better with pictures, here is the scene out of my front door last Monday during a stay home from work snow storm. Gotta love it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Today we went sledding and it was quite the adventure. Let's just say the last time I went sledding I was in a one piece snowsuit and my dad pulled me up the hill. A lot has change since the mid-80's, most notably my age and the addition of a 25lb baby in a sled that I have to pull!

It was the perfect day to go sledding, the snow was nice and soft, the weather was pretty warm for this time of the year and we had five children under the age of six who couldn't wait to slid down a hill... okay so really there was only one kid, and she was the six year old, the others probably would have shown some excitement or hesitation, but they couldn't move in all their snow gear - HA!

Here are some photos from our first trip up the hill;  there was crying, a lot of huffing and puffing, and I am pretty sure someone asked if we were done yet; I will not disclose if that came from the kids or the Moms.
Let the fun begin!
These two cracked me up. Neither could really move in all their snow gear, so there they sat, watching only what was directly in front of them as they could barley more their heads. Every once in a while they would motion their hands with their upside down mittens for some snow to eat.  If they could talk I am sure they would have said something like:

O: "Hey, look at your hat, why is your visor flipped up like that?'
E: "Because my Mom is a weirdo.  This playing in the snow stuff is way overrated"

 Happy Saturday!