Saturday, May 31, 2008

Achievement Days Fear Factor

I was asked if I'd take pictures at the Achievement Days Daddy-Daughter "Fear Factor" activity today. Each daddy and daughter were assigned a color t-shirt to wear. When they arrived they did Mad Libs and guessed the flavors of some Harry Potter Bertie Botts Beans (some of them were gross and I could tell by their faces!). Then we went outside.

One of the games was to crack open eggs and then hand them down a line and the last person put the egg in a cup. If the yolk didn't break they got a point. Messy!! Another game was to see who could chew gum and blow a bubble first. For the next game the dads put rain coats on and held a glass on their head and the girls were blindfolded and given a pitcher of ice water that they had to pour into the glass. After that the girls had to drink a small amount of lemon juice out of 4 paper cups (one at a time). A few of them got lemon juice in their eyes--ouch!

After the lemon juice game they brought out 4 bowls of plastic rats. One person had to pick the rat up with their teeth and fling it across the grass to their dad/daughter who had to catch it in a big bucket. That was hilarious! The funniest game was where one person had to put shaving cream all over their face and the other person threw cheetos at them and tried to get the most to stick! That game was really fun to watch! Who thinks of these things?!?

The last game was pretty funny too. There was a pie tin of whipping cream that had 6 gummy worms in it. The girls had to get the worms out with their mouth and then give it to their dads who had to eat them--without using their hands. Some of the dads didn't like gummy worms so their faces were pretty funny.

It was fun to watch everyone play these crazy games because no one had an advantage over anyone else. There are no expert bubble gum bubble blowers or plastic rat throwers in our ward. And, it was really fun to see the dads and daughters have so much fun together. I'm sure it was a favorite day for lots of them! And three cheers for the Achievement Day leaders (in the last photo). I'm sure they spent a lot of time planning the activity and gathering materials. It was really fun!!

Baby shower gift -- done

A year ago I gave my friend a photo shoot as a baby shower gift. Her little boy turned 1 this week and I finally took the pictures today! Here's a little mix of Andrew and some with his siblings. I love the one of him driving!

Friday, May 30, 2008

" was time to close it up and get going..."

This is a great article from today's Boston Globe.

(Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movin' on back

A few years ago I found out I had a distant cousin living in Boston (her grandfather and my father are cousins). She was working and attending graduate school and her husband was in dental school. I hadn't seen her since I babysat her and her siblings when I was in college (that was a very long time ago). We met up a few times (always at Finagle a Bagel near the Boston Common) and enjoyed visiting. They had a baby, they graduated, and like many people, they moved away from this great city. There is a happy ending to this story! They are moving back!! I'm looking forward to having family in the area again (my cousin's son is here for the summer but he is always working) and I'm looking forward to photographing their little girl again!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

I just got back from an afternoon New England drive (I didn't go too far since I paid $3.95/gallon for my gas). I was actually in search of the perfect Memorial Day photo -- and stopped to take this photograph in Carlisle (on the road to Kimballs).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

No smile

She wouldn't even consider it until she got her binky...

Dirt smile

Church smiles

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Look what I found today

Many many years ago my mom ordered one of these Campbells Soup bowls for each of us. She probably sent in wrappers from the soup cans.

It's a treasure!

KOI: After

See what I mean?!?

KOI: Before

I decided one thing I needed/wanted to do this weekend was clean out all my kitchen cupboards. I've been in my condo nearly three years and some things are outdated and some things are never used. And the refrigerator and freezer needed a good once-over. Plus I want to paint in the next month or so and thought it made sense to tidy up before starting that project. So I've been working away in the Kitchen of Inspiration. I emptied each cupboard, moved some things into the crawl space, recycled lots of containers and boxes and filled three bags of trash. Then I re-organized each of the cupboards.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Two new shoes

And two new stories.

1. I was at Nordstrom's last night with my friend and we stopped in the shoe department (take note: it's their half-yearly sale). These orange shoes caught my eye and I tried one on, loved it, looked at the price tag ($34.90) and decided to buy them. [All the other sizes had price tags that said $49.90. I wasn't interested if they were $49.90.] I went to the register and the shoes rang up as $49.90. I mentioned to the salesman that the price tag on the shoe was $34.90, he looked at the sticker and replied, "then they are $34.90." Now that's customer service.

2. My mom was an elementary school teacher many years ago. When her students came to class wearing new shoes she would have them walk around the room while she recited this little poem:

When I am walking down the street, I do so like to watch my feet. Perhaps you do not know the news, my Mother has bought me fine new shoes.

When the left one steps I do not speak, I listen to its happy squeak.

I love my nifty new shoes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Welcome to the KOI

I have covered my kitchen cupboards with notes from friends and kids' artwork. When my brother was visiting last year he was sort-of making fun of all the things taped up and joked around that if he needed strength or encouragement he needed to go to the kitchen. After he left I found this quote on my chalkboard (and it's still there):

When in doubt, visit the kitchen.

My brother wrote me a note a few months ago (hey -- I should tape it up on one of the cupboards!) and asked how the "KOI" was -- the Kitchen of Inspiration -- which inspired me to get this vinyl lettering.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Like father, like daughter

I remember the day Adrienne was born thinking it was so cool that she shared her dad's birthday. She's 13 today and Robes would be 49. This is a picture of Robert (pre-"Robes") at about the same age that Adrie is now. She is genuine like he was, definitely shares his zest for life and we all know that big things come in small packages! Happy Birthday, Sweet P!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

20 years ago today...

...I rolled into Boston and it's been home ever since. Here is something I wrote for the Arlington Ward Relief Society Chicken Soup for the Soul book a few years ago about one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Ellen Patton

In the early part of 1988 my parents decided it was time to sell their house in Van Nuys, California. The house they bought when I was just six weeks old. The house my brothers and I had grown up in. The house that my brother John and I were living in at the time. I had to move somewhere and I knew if I didn't leave L.A. then, I would never leave. The two places I considered were Dallas and Atlanta. It was time for a big adventure!

In mid-February I got a call from Jennifer, one of my former BYU roommates, who had recently moved from Chicago to Boston. She said, "I have a two-bedroom apartment in Medford and you are welcome to move here." I had never been to Boston, but I could certainly consider it. I went home from work that night and told my dad (who was in town painting the house and getting it ready to sell) that Jennifer had called. He was very encouraging and said that he and my mom would help me drive to Boston if I decided to move there. If I remember correctly, I called her back that night and said I was about 95% sure that I would do it. Why not? So what if I couldn't find Boston on a blank map with no cities/states printed on it? So what if I didn't have a job? So what if I had no winter clothes? I had an address, a phone number and one friend and that was enough for me. People asked me what I would do if I didn't like it. My reply: I’ll stay a year and then move somewhere else.

In April my brother John and I drove my brand new Honda Civic from L.A. to Amarillo, Texas. I never touched the steering wheel; he drove the whole way! We stopped for the necessities: food, gas, and souvenirs. I stayed in Texas for 3½ weeks. On May 15th I left Amarillo with my parents, headed for Boston...taking 5 days and going through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and into Massachusetts, arriving in Medford on Wednesday, May 19th. My first thought when I entered my new apartment at 30 Bower Street was "this house is old." That night we took the subway downtown and had dinner at Legal Seafood. I remember standing in front of the subway map (with its 4 colors and endless lines) thinking I would never be able to find my way around Boston.

My brother Robes, his wife Kim, and my nephew Ian (10 months old) who lived in Florida were also in New England on vacation. We did some sightseeing and enjoyed playing with Ian. My parents left on Saturday and Robes, Kim and Ian left mid-morning on Sunday. I remember standing on the curb as they drove off in their car--feeling very alone and wondering what I had done moving about as far away from L.A. (and family) as possible. Jennifer and I went to the singles' ward that day since the Arlington Ward met in the morning.

The next Sunday I went to my new ward. I remember a number of people introduced themselves. I vividly remember meeting Leesa Thompson, the Relief Society president; she had heard about me and was excited to meet me! I also remember introducing myself in Sunday School and saying I lived in "Medford" and hearing snickers and then the correction from a few people: "It's ‘Meffa.'"

In the 13½ years I've lived here I've never considered moving anywhere else. I fell in love with New England as soon as I got here. It was SO different from L.A. The houses are old and charming. Fast food isn’t on every corner. The ocean water is freezing. Going to a Red Sox game is a cultural experience. You can drive all day and go through more than one state. The Fall leaves on my own street are beautiful. Public transportation is reliable and fast. My list is endless…

My friend Jennifer and I have laughed that she was inspired to invite me to move to Boston. Maybe she was; maybe she wasn't. That's not important. What is important is that I feel at home in New England and the Arlington Ward!

Guest Blogger Tyler

Stay tuned for her take on the day...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Guest Blogger Emma

Stay tuned for her take on the day...

Guest Blogger Adrie

Stay tuned for her take on the day...

Guest Blogger Zoe

Stay tuned for her take on the day...

Ride for Research re-cap

The weather was perfect (NO rain!) and we had a great time riding together for 25 miles. The kids never complained and had fun. Thanks to Jamel, Adrienne, Stephen, Tyler, Chuck and Emma for flying in from out-of-town to be part of the team. Thanks to Brian and Leah for transporting bikes. Thanks to cousin Tyler (working in Boston for the summer) for joining us (and being a big hit with the girls). Thanks to Rick for driving up from Brooklyn and for a delicious meal after the Ride. Thanks to Jenn for joining us and showing great endurance through 25 miles! Thanks to Zoe for joining our team for the first time. Thanks to Tadd for being the life of the party. Thanks to Brian for riding the 11th time as part of Patton's Army (he is the charter member). And thanks to everyone for their support!

At about mile 22 two volunteers were cheering us on and giving high-fives. I rode near one of them and gave a high-five and tears started rolling down my cheeks when I thought about the hundreds of people involved in the Ride today and that each person had a connection to brain tumors. To quote Emma "it's much harder to have a brain tumor so we shouldn't complain about riding twenty five miles."

It really was a great day.

[Thanks to Stephen Prince for the photos]

Saturday, May 17, 2008

His 8th Ride

At the Brain Tumor Society Ride for Research nine years ago I rode behind a mom and son on a tag-along bike. Under the little boy's number it said "I'm riding for my dad." I'm not a big crier but that brought me to tears. When I got home that day I called my sister-in-law Kim and told her about it. She then told my nephew Jamel the story and he said, "I want to do the Ride next year. I'm going to have a Boston Box and will save money to buy an airline ticket." Jamel has done the Ride every year since then and we will keep doing the Ride as long as he and his sister Adrienne want to do it (and me too!). Tomorrow there will be 14 people riding with PATTON'S ARMY in hopes that the money we raise will advance the vision of The Brain Tumor Society: A WORLD WITHOUT BRAIN TUMORS.

This is a picture of Jamel at his first Ride.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The first one to guess...

...what is quirky about this picture...wins a prize!!!