Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009.

Ever since creating this blog, nearly 4 years ago, I have loved chronicling all our adventures here ... especially our holidays. But this year, I have really slacked on the Christmas sharing. And perhaps you are not feeling as though you are missing out on anything (admit it!) - but because I basically use this blog as a substitute for any kind of tangible family scrapbook - I am now going to write a few posts in reflection of our 2009 Christmas joys.

Let's begin with Christmas Eve ... one of my favorite days of the year. The day is filled with such wonderful anticipation for the morning to follow ... and includes some of our most cherished holiday activities/traditions. Each year, I write a list of all the activities that we want to accomplish before bedtime. Usually Daddy doesn't come home from work until mid-afternoon, so we wait till he joins us before we begin accomplishing our Christmas Eve "to-do" list. (Everything is better when we are all a part of it :)

This years list looked much as the same as previous years. And it went exactly like this:

* Make brownies for Santa
* Make Reindeer food
* Make mixed drinks for Mama & Daddy / chocolate milk for Isaac
* Go out to the barn to see if the goats can talk
* Take showers & put on fresh jammies
* Take pic by the tree
* Start pot roast in crock pot
* Wrap Daddy's gifts from Isaac
* Get Bobo & Poppy's gifts ready for morning
* Change bed linens
* Hop into bed and read all our favorite Christmas books together
* Sleep so Santa will come.

Isaac and I made the above list together. And we checked it often to make sure we were on track. The brownies Isaac made for Santa were organic ... because we are just that cool. And the Reindeer food was a recipe that Isaac created from scratch ... a mixture of oats, cut carrots, magic flying dust (sparkles) and loads of maple syrup. We placed the food carefully under an outdoor light so the Reindeer would be sure to see it glisten. Then we paid a visit to the barn to see if Emily & Me were going to talk to us --- as animals have been reported to do on Christmas Eve. Aside from the "Maa-ing" - they were mute. Once inside, the mixed drinks put Daddy right to sleep. Isaac and I took showers and then put on some snuggly, new jammies. Daddy fell asleep in whatever clothes he wore that day. Isaac took his customary pictures by the tree (yes, that is the "Charlie Brown tree" that we cut from our front yard - by far my fave Christmas tree ever). After 12+ hours in the crock pot, I was told that the pot roast was good ... but I didn't eat it, so I have no idea. All gifts were wrapped this year (kudos to Mommy - I think this is a first) - with the exception of a gift Daddy forgot in the car. Isaac and I read all our fave books with wonder and delight at what was to come for us in the morning --- from good 'ole Saint Nick. Oh yes ... and the sheets were changed prior to Daddy's belly flop onto the bed ... So ALL Got Done!

Oh, and Daddy even started a new tradition that will now be listed on our Christmas Eve "to-do" lists for years to come. He created a fireworks display outside in the snow ... just for us ... even though the area cop parks right across the street every night in an attempt to catch speeders. As soon as the fireworks were over - we ran inside as fast as we could to avoid detection. Good Christmas fun, I say!

We even got a picture of Isaac's missing front teeth!

Christmas Eve rocked. It was just the three of us ... oh so cozy and in love with one another ... and it felt so darn good. I love this family of mine ... and every year I am reminded that before Isaac came along ... there were years and years that all I wanted for Christmas was a child ... my child ... and he is here. Every year now, I receive the same gift over and over again ... the gift of being Isaac's Mommy ... and of sharing all these wonderful joys with him and his Daddy.

I hope you all felt the warmth and beauty of your own families & traditions this year ... and for the new year to come.



Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to Daddy for taking this pic with his Blackberry .... after Isaac said, "Daddy, Can you please take a pic of me loving Mama?". That's my boy :)


Jodi & Family

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Gift #3 : (For My Blog Readers)

When George begins to figure it all out ... gets me every time ...

You can watch the whole movie on YouTube: here. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night.


Jodi & Family

Christmas Gift #2: (For My Blog Readers)


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Goody Bags for the Ronald McDonald House of Bangor.

Every year at Christmas, our little family of 3 looks for ways in which to specifically help our community. We certainly do what we can all year through --- but in an effort to show Isaac that Christmas is truly about giving to others --- we look for ways to give in a meaningful and personal way.

This year, we decided to create craft "goody" bags for the children who stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Bangor. This was partly Isaac's idea --- as he suggested we do something to help children. I told him what the Ronald McDonald House was all about --- and he was all for it. (He also wanted to continue our tradition of visiting the Maine Veterans Home on Christmas Day --- which we plan to do as well).

So --- after speaking with the Director of Volunteers at the House --- we decided to create goody bags full of fun crafting kits and craft supplies to be distributed to the children staying at the home. For the most part, these bags will be distributed to siblings of children who are receiving medical attention at the nearby Eastern Maine Medical Center. Last year, 300+ families were served by the Home. Though we are not currently able to create as many bags as could be distributed within a given year, we pledged to the home that we would not only make as many as we could at this time, but that we would do our best to replenish them as needed (a wonderful way to give Isaac a charitable focus throughout the year).

My Mom and I shopped for goodies to include in the bags --- mostly at JoAnn's and Mardens --- and as we did, we tried to imagine how these siblings must feel --- perhaps scared for their brother/sister, a bit lonely because Mom & Dad are so focused on the child in need, etc. It made the shopping meaningful --- and we would get giddy when we found goodies that we imagined would delight the children involved --- and help to keep their minds occupied with positive thoughts.

After all the shopping was done, I asked a few friends to help put the bags together --- and sweet, sweet Katrina and her Mom, BJ, came by the studio to help organize the bags. They did a perfect job. Katrina put herself in the mind frame of a child going through a difficult time, and put the bags together with much love.

My lovely friend Katie also joined us (with her baby Max in utero!) --- wrapping presents for the Maine Veterans Home (I will post about this later). She was a huge help --- wrapping all manner of 2010 calendars for the men and women of the Veterans Home (a special request by the staff).

Isaac and his fave girl, Sydney, were also involved --- entertaining each other with crafts and silliness while the rest of us worked on wrapping and organizing. They had a great time --- which allowed Mom to get much done :)

Now, we look forward to bringing the finished bags to the Ronald McDonald House. Though we won't witness any children using the goodies in these bags --- I imagine that the gifts will be received with smiles by both the children and their parents. And hopefully --- in some small way --- these bags will help these families in their healing.

Thank you to the Ronald McDonald house for everything they do! And thanks to my Mom and friends for all their assistance and good Karma :)


Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Studio - so far.

There was a time, seemingly long ago, when I posted to this blog daily. Since deciding to open my own photography studio --- well --- not so much. And I miss it. Heck, I miss alot of things now that my life has taken this new direction --- but it is all good. Truly.

Last night we celebrated the holidays with a Holiday Open House & Craft Fair at Studio 36. It was simply wonderful! We had 9 vendors selling and trading their wares --- many, many lovely friends and family members dropped by to purchase goodies, eat cookies and share conversation --- new friendships were formed --- and the children enjoyed one another almost as much as the endless bowls of cookies. It was a great night. (Thank you to all who came!).

It was such a fun night that I had no time to photograph it. I am bummed about that. But you will just have to trust me --- it was a really great time.

I do however, have some pics to share of Halis and Isaac modeling for me at the studio so that I could play with my new lighting equipment:

Believe me, I see the "issues" with some of the above pics ... and am still working on mastering my new lighting equipment. And thanks to my men ... I will always have willing models to help me get it right.

Next week, several of my young friends are coming together at the studio to organize some gifts for our local Ronald McDonald House and our Maine Veterans Home. Hopefully I will remember to take pictures :)

Have a great weekend! And thanks for reading.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Please Help Make My Christmas Wish Come True.

It is the cheapest gift you could give ... truly. Just follow the link below and type in "04401" for the zipcode. Isaac, Halis and I would be so thrilled if this movie came to our town (as would many others I am sure).

Demand InConcert3D in Bangor!
InConcert3D in Bangor - Learn more about this Eventful Demand

View all Bangor events on Eventful



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Blind Side.

Every time I watch the following trailers, I cry. Truly. Ask my husband. And I haven't even seen the movie yet ...

I cry because:

* I am an adoptive mother who is fiercely protective of my son. I relate to Leigh Anne Tuohy in this way ... for sure :)

* I think of every child who is sleeping in an orphanage tonight --- waiting for parents. I cry because I have seen these children with my own eyes --- and have witnessed their pain.

* I remember all the wonderful people who I KNOW make a difference in the lives of young men just like Michael Oher. Particularly Father Michael ... who I am honored to call a friend (you can see his work here as well as in the link above).

* I know what it is to change the life of a person --- through love, guidance and education. I have seen lives changed when a young person finds someone who believes in them --- and will fight for them. I had the pleasure of meeting a young boy in Haiti who had lived as a slave in a wealthy Haitian home for many years. He was rescued by a French woman and brought to St. Joseph's Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince. I watched as his rescuer visited him there at Christmas - over a year after she had brought him to the home. It was an amazing reunion to witness. The woman was overjoyed at how well the then 8-year-old boy was doing now that he had love, guidance and an education. It was amazing.

* I cry because it is THAT EASY to change lives ... with Love. Love. Love. And I am eternally grateful for women like Leigh Anne Tuohy ... who show the rest of the world what love can do.

* And perhaps what brings me to tears most is Sandra Bullocks response to the woman who says "I think what you are doing is so great. You are changing that boy's life." And Sandra's heartfelt response just sends me to tears ... "No, he's changing mine." I can't tell you how many times people tell Halis and I what a wonderful thing we did to take Isaac in. First of all --- our love for Isaac is REAL, not charity. And he does more for us than we could ever do for him. Seeing Isaac as anything other than TRUE family is an insult.

I had no idea who Michael Oher was until I researched him AFTER watching these trailers. I am no football fan. So, I shed tears over this story thinking that it was a work of fiction. To know that it is REAL just makes me even more emotional about it. And to see just how real it is, check out this featurette:

Now --- if you have seen this movie --- please tell me what you think of it. And if you haven't seen it --- maybe you should! I know I will be at the theatre this weekend. With Kleenex!


P.S. You can also read the book before or after seeing the movie. I know I will.