My new baby

This is it, my new baby! We are due for a new car because Jeff's Passat lease is up in 12 days. Our next door neighbor, Wendy, is a marketing director at Keeler Motors, so we talked to her and decided to start our search at Keeler Honda. After a quick look at what was on the market with other dealers, we decided that the 2008 Honda Odyssey EX-L was for us. The Odyssey has so many things that we desire: safety, reliability, higher resale value, comfort...

Wendy put in a good word with the GM and our salesman and when we went back today, we were given the red carpet treatment. Everything was great. The service was excellent and we got our final price down to a place where we felt very comfortable.

Did I mention yet that I love the car? I love it. We pick it up on Monday and I cannot wait. I love the leather seats, the heated seats, the sunroof, the spacious interior. And this one has a rear camera so I can see what is directly behind the car when I back up. And the best part is, it handles like a car, not a van. It's so comfortable to drive.

OK, I'm done swooning, at least here.

PS - I am so enamored with the car that I completely forgot about everything else we did today. This morning, Jeff's parents came by to be with the girls while we went to help put the new playground at Kelley Park together. We met up with other MOMS Club members and their spouses and we spent the morning doing all kinds of neat stuff. Go Team! This kind of community spirit is what makes things happen.


I've been regrouping.

Tonight Jeff said - sarcastically - "Is your camera broken? What is going on? Do you hate your life and you're not taking photos anymore?"

Actually, it's because I love my life that I'm taking some time to regroup. I'm just about back on track.

Jeff's parents come tomorrow and 'A' is very excited about it. I took her to the doctor today because she was back in fever-mode and to get through the visit, I promised her a juice box. We bought a pack of 8 juice boxes while we waited for her prescription. When we got home, she picked out 2 juice boxes, one for Grandma Shelly and one for Grandpa Neal. She then proceeded to stick the straws in them because she wanted them to be ready for her grandparents!

The doctor's visit: as it turns out, the mini-flu she had last week is still with her. The doctor said she's seen it going around. It starts with a fever, followed by a few days of complete exhaustion, followed by another round of fever. On top of it all, she has an ear infection. She did mention that her ear hurt last week, but she said it once and never fussed with her ear, so I didn't make much of it. Anyway, I am fully anticipating a few more days of exhaustion from her and hopefully we'll all be 100% soon!

Photos to come - I needed some time to myself. Thanks for understanding.


News Flash: my stepfather didn't win the seat on the Town of Eastham Board of Selectmen. Maybe next year.

This weekend we're going to look for a car. The lease on the Passat is up in a few weeks. I know for sure that I have 2 wishes for this next car: I want to fit more people in it; and I want to be able to fit large items in it.

So, we're looking at minivans. We don't know if we want to lease or buy - it really depends on our budget. At this point, we're open to anything, so we're going to visit a few dealerships this weekend.

And do you know what this means? Jeff is giving up the Passat and I am getting a minivan, so guess who gets the Altima? Ding ding ding! Jeff is the lucky winner!

Do you know how many versions of this photo I have? "No, Mommy, don't take my picture."

The photos are stuck in my camera

Where is my USB cable? Until I find it, the photos are stuck in my camera.

We've had a whirlwind week. 'A' and Jeff got a flu-like bug and are now in recovery, which means that they are just really tired, and probably will be for another few days. In the middle of their sickness, I ate some bad bleu cheese for dinner and spent the entire night regurgitating it. By tomorrow morning I'll be back to drinking coffee and eating breakfast and I'll be 100%.

I did learn something very important that night, something I am sure I will use again and again as my children get older. When you can't keep anything down, don't try to sip water. Drink juice, or something with lots of sugar in it. Finally at 4 am, when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I decided to bring my question - "why can't I keep even a sip of water down?" - to my higher power, the Google search engine. As it turns out, water is the kiss of death for sick people. Sugar is King. One sip of sweet Kool-aid later, I was sound asleep and as happy as a clam.

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and we're looking forward to staying close to home and working on some house projects. We've got a pile of mulch in the driveway, waiting to be spread, and a family room that is primed and just about ready for paint. Woohoo! I am so excited to spiff this place up a little.

Have a great night and I will have my photos up tomorrow!

just what the doctor ordered

I went to the dentist yesterday because something in my mouth wasn't quite right. I have a history of grinding my teeth and because of my habit, I have had 2 root canals and crowns and I am due for another crown in a few weeks. Anyway, I really like my dentist and he is also a teeth grinder, and he is pretty good about sympathizing with me while he helps me deal with my problem. We decided that my current issues all stem from the fact that I not only grind while I sleep, but I clench my jaw while I'm awake. My homework is to learn how to relax.

Relax? I think I need to take a class to learn how to do that. Not only was I not raised to relax, but to be honest, I really have no interest in doing it. It makes me anxious.

My mother had a clipping hung in the kitchen for as long as I can remember: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Ecclesiastes 9:10.

Translation: You better give everything in life 110%. And if you want to stop giving 110%, just wait, because someday you'll be dead and then you will have time to relax.

My mother never sat down when I was little, and when she did sit - which I think happened only 2 or 3 times, she was doing 3 different things at the same time. Her mother was the same way, and my older sister has the bug too.

I used to be able to focus better, and I used to feel more physically relaxed, but then I realized that I ultimately feel happier if I have more going on. So I transitioned from a life of "what if..." and "maybe someday..." to a life of "I did..." and "I am doing..." and in the process, I forgot how to slow down and listen to my body.

Looking at plants makes me feel relaxed. And the ones that are outside right now are the most precious ever. The flowers are almost coming into bloom, and I love how they sit tight, waiting to unfold and grow. They're like little children, so beautiful with so much potential.

My children are sleeping right now - I'm having a very peaceful afternoon!

one little monkey, jumping on the bed

This is a happy girl. 'H' might not walk yet, might not talk yet, but she certainly does know how to have a good time. This evening she enjoyed rolling and bouncing all over the couch. She had to do it alone, unfortunately - big sister 'A' was in the sick quarters with her dad. 'H' and I don't know exactly what is wrong with them, and as long as we don't catch it, we don't really want to know! Perhaps rolling around and giggling will keep the germs away.

Over the weekend we went to visit friends in Vermont. It's pretty there.

My stepfather, Richard Ryder, is running for selectman in Eastham, Massachusetts. The vote is tomorrow. I just read the write-up in the newspaper about all of the candidates and their positions, and I think his answers are the best. They didn't put any names in the article, which was weird. He is #1.

Handprint Tiles

These are THE handprint tiles! They are one of the fundraising options that the folks at FANS - Friends and Neighbors of Ballston Spa - set up to raise money for the new playground at Kelley Park. Our MOMS Club chapter made almost 30 tiles - all of those little handprints with the names and ages of the children look great. I got together with Sharon, Jen and Sue this morning to put the names and ages on the tiles and we banged them out in no time. I'm really happy with the way they look. I'm also happy that various members of my family contributed money so that the girls could each have a tile. The tiles will be on display at the playground and we will be able to go back for years to come and see them.

Today is our wedding anniversary. We're celebrating by ordering in pizza and gourmet salad with a bottle of wine. Mmm, romantic, I know. You know what is even more romantic? Jeff said he is going to paint the family room tonight as his present to me. Now, that's what I call a present! He's right, that will make me happier than anything. That photo of the two of us is from 4 short years ago... how things have changed since then!

Farmer's Market

Made a trip to the Farmer's Market today to meet up with our environmental group. I bought enough herbs and flowers to keep me busy for a while. When I get enough energy to get off the couch, I'll be able to tell you what those purple flowers are. The woman at the booth assured me that they have the draping look of petunias without the maintenance, and they don't get leggy. Sounds heavenly to me.

summer dresses

I bought this dress for 'A' at a consignment sale. I paid $8 for it, which I think is a lot for a consignment sale item, but I thought it was really cute. She is just starting to get into dresses and we do have quite a few that come from Nanette and Callie (older girls with nice wardrobes), but I thought she might like a pretty one of her own.

My father is in Florida for his annual 3-week vacation in Palm Beach. He left me a voicemail today telling me that, after 28 years in the School of Agriculture at the University of Connecticut, he retired last Friday and he thought I should know.    !!!    I don't take the late announcement personally - he didn't tell anyone except Marilyn and the people he worked with until now. He thought I might have suspected because we recently made plans for the summer and he had an unusually high number of days available. I even commented that he is getting a lot of vacation this year, but I chalked it up to the fact that he has (or did have) a cushy state job. I never suspected that he was making a major life change. For the sake of fairness, I might add that I used to have a cushy state job - at UConn Law School - and oh boy, was it cushy. I got something like 4 weeks of vacation, 18 holidays, 6 personal days, 23 sick days, full medical, dental and vision insurance... and the list goes on. Like, between time off and free trips to the doctor, when did I have time to work? I fully intend to get another state job as my children near college-age. Do you know what you pay for tuition at a state college if your parent works there? $0.

Anyway, congratulations to my dad and everyone out there who is brave enough to make a life change and look forward to the surprises that lay ahead.

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, to all of you mothers out there.

We went to visit my sister Emily today. She and Harry bought a house recently and today was our first look at it. We had a good time - the weather was nice and the kids ran around and around.

On the way home we pulled over to take some photos of the picturesque Massachusetts landscape.

Here are some helicopters, waiting to fly.

Feeling Grateful

'A' doned her gardening gloves today and helped us out in the yard. She is so cute and so proud of her work!

I've been hearing myself complain too much lately, and I'm tired of my bad attitude. I haven't been feeling as grateful as I would like. I have a great life. I have a healthy, wonderful family, supportive and genuine friends, and the prospect of many happy years ahead. I really don't have anything legitimate to complain about.

So, I've decided to take the "No Complaining" challenge that a minister from the midwest started. The goal is to go 21 consecutive days without uttering a complaint. If you do complain, you have to start all over again from day one.

This morning, Jeff took the girls out for a few hours so I could sew. What a treat! I also took some time during 'H's nap to take 'A' to the grocery store - just the two of us. What a delight, spending alone time with my daughter.

Have a very happy Mother's Day tomorrow.

Wow, it is Friday already

I have been in non-stop motion all week. Just stuff, you know? Computer work, sewing, MOMS Club newsletter, Kelley Park stuff... plus some purely fun things, like a tour of the grocery store with 'A', a Mother's Day tea at her class today and cooking group with the ladies yesterday... along with some not-so-fun but necessary stuff like keeping the house organized and my family fed. Was that a run-on sentence? I'm not sure if I can think straight enough to tell at this point.

I am craving stillness and the chance to look at something soothing. Have you had the chance to check out the Noticing Project? I always find something worth admiring there. Here's a link to yesterday's set of photos - I think they're beautiful.

My sister Jennifer sent me this link today with the comment, "this is the nicest website ever." I completely agree. Just open up to the home page and sit and watch the images change... and enjoy.

outside time

We spent some time outside today.

If you are ever in the mood to shake up your routine and add some unstructured time to your life, I highly recommend having your children get a stomach bug. You really don't know what is going to come next when they have it. :) Both 'A' and 'H' are hopefully on the mend soon!

We started painting our family room! 2+ years after moving in and we're just getting around to it. This whole house is begging to be painted. I'm so proud of Jeff for plowing ahead with this project, despite the fact that his "free time" isn't very free. Soon I'll be able to show you photos that will transform the room from off-white 'yuck' to a soft sage green.

under the table and playing

I had the BEST birthday cake today. The best ever. It was an ice cream cake that Jen made herself using Stewart's ice cream, oreo cookies, heath bar and a tasty layer of whipped cream as the frosting, which froze into yummy goodness. I am not an ice cream person, but I became one today. Yum.

Today we applied mole repellent to the grass and a grub killer. Think that will take care of our problems? We're watering it like mad-people because it needs to have a nice drink, followed by a 24-hour rest, before anyone can get near it.

Goodness, I sometimes feel the same way.

Anyway, I would have thought that Grace (aka "Killer") would be outside, stalking those moles and taking care of our problem, but she has been very busy lately just lounging around, eating the expensive food I dish up for her every night.

Tomorrow is Monday and I am really hoping to have some better photos up this week. I really would like to learn how to take better photos of people, so I am going to concentrate on that for a while. Stay tuned.


One of the neat things about the internet-age is the fact that it’s possible to capture all kinds of information about people. If you don’t think personal information about you is out there, think again. Remember when you received a replacement credit card in the mail after info about your credit card account was stolen from Hannaford? The information is out there, you just have to be privy to it.

My blog is hooked up to a statistics page. I can’t tell exactly who visits, but I get a general sense of the audience. For example, I might have visits from “Ballston Spa,” and that could be one of several people. I can’t tell exactly who visits. What I can tell, however, is how they arrive at the site. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the way that most people arrive and where they come from, and in general, I don’t pay much attention to it. Unless of course you are coming from “Long Island City” and you arrive at the site through an old link that came from a Google search “9th Street Baby.” If that’s the case, I know exactly who you are and I know how often you visit. I also know what pages you look at. The only things I don’t know are why you visit as often as you do and what you are coming for.

the original fluffball

This cat knows just how to relax...

I got my web application running today :) That was a good reason for a celebration...

I am very unhappy with the web hosting company this client is with, hosting. Their support is the worst I have ever seen. I had everything running and I knew that all of the major bugs were gone. When my pages wouldn't load, I knew it was something little that was throwing the error. Sure enough, the directory that they said they set as my root directory was not actually the root directory, so I couldn't load my pages out of it.

Essentially, the application is a back-end for an antiques dealer. They have a website where they display items that are currently in their store, and they need a way to upload information about the items. That's what I'm doing. I wrote it in ASP.Net and it runs great on my local computer but got hung up with errors when I put it on the server. It has really stressed me out this week and consumed a lot of my energy. I am so happy that I can now move on to the next stage of the development process.

ID-10-T error

I meant to post this photo yesterday after I took it, but Jeff and I got caught up in trying to solve my computer problems and I ran out of time. This is part of 'A's birthday present. It's a felt board with a school room scene on one side and a playground on the other. The board comes with about 50 pieces of felt - children, a teacher, desks, toys, books, etc. The best part is that the board folds in half and comes with a plastic storage pouch, so it is perfect for travel. 'A' loves this toy. My friend Sarah sells them.

I've been trying to upload a SQL database to a server and get a website working but I'm having a lot of trouble doing it. Last night when I went to bed Jeff told me that I would wake up in the morning and know just what to do. That's not exactly true, but I did wake up with some troubleshooting ideas, and I have a better idea of the problem now. Well, actually, I still have the same problem - I can't connect to the database - and the people at APlus hosting are completely unqualified for their positions as support techs and it's making me crazy. The ultimate problem is that I have an ID-10-T error and the IDIOT in this case is the support guy who is not able to give me any of the information I need to get this site up and running.

Wish me luck.

About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!