Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A couple more pics...AND a new Pennlive post

Here are a few more pictures from Hersheypark that I didn't share on my Pennlive blog. The friends that we hung with for the day were the "other" Weavers, but I didn't want to offer their pics up for "consumption" by the general public. Our kids are good friends from preschool - the big brothers were in class together last year as were the little sisters.

This one just cracks me up! This is the girls on the scrambler. Julia is as tiny as Ellie is...not. Here's a demonstration of why centrifugal force should always be feared. :-)

This is a shot of the kids playing the "Raise Your Hand If..." game. This game is certain to grab the attention of young children and calm/defuse almost any situation. You simply make statements like, "Raise your hand if you had fun at Hersheypark today." "Raise your hand if you had ice cream ." Etc, etc... Of course, when Beth plays with our four, she always ends with "Raise your hand if your last name is Weaver." :-)

And finally, a cute shot of four really tired kiddos.

My full Hersheypark post can be read at

There is also a new post on Being Becky.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Actress for Hire!

Corinne is a Cumberland Valley High School senior with big dreams! She is planning to go to college for musical drama. Only thing is that the two schools she has her sites (and heart) set on are "big money" schools. Of course, these days, what school isn't, right? :-) ...and did I mention that she's the second of five children?!? when her mom contacted me about taking head shots for Corinne's college applications, I knew she was gonna have to really work it in front of the camera! How do you make a head shot say "Accept me and give me a huge scholarship!"? :-)

Here are some of my favorites from our session. The serious look...

Who wouldn't DIE for eyes like this?!?

My personal favorite...but maybe not quite a traditional head shot.

Oh, and I made her be my guinea pig while I had her there. :-) I've always wanted to use those cool entry walls at Messiah College in some photos! Any of my high school friends reminded of Kristen when you look at this shot???

This one says "classy lady" to me - love the natural smile!

When I asked her what her favorite role was that she has played, she drew a blank! She did say that last year she got to wear a fat suit in Les Mis...too funny!

This one may be a little "relaxed" for a head shot but it's an awesome picture of her being her.

Another cool one...

As we finished the session, I asked her to look into the camera and give me her best "Give me a $50,000 Scholarship" smile. This is what I got. Don't you just feel the yearning?!? "The force is strong with this one." :-) Sorry. Star Wars quote...couldn't help myself! :-)

Good luck, Corinne! I can't wait to see your name in lights, girl!! I'll definitely have you sign one of your prints for me, so when you're famous I can have legitimate claim to knowing you when...

Monday, September 28, 2009


Check out the tales from our Hersheypark trip on "Being Becky."

Sorry...I haven't yet figured out how to connect this with a direct link. I'll have my technology assistant help me with that tonight. In the meantime, you can just copy the above url and paste it into your address thingy at the top. Amazing that I've gotten this far with technology, isn't it?!? :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This post will be brief, as I'm typing with my right pointer finger up in the air and/or wrapped in ice. Somehow I managed to scald it severely this evening while making dinner. Stop laughing. Dinner was good, thanks for wondering. :-)

I wanted to let everyone know that I just finished my first post for my new blog at, "Being Becky!" It won't go live until my editor gets into work tomorrow morning, I assume. Use the link below to visit and check it out! I still plan to continue posting here, as well. ...since obviously I'm insane. :-) We'll see how it goes...

Thank you ALL for your well-wishes and support. Especially thanks to Susan (for coming up with a rockin' title) and Elaine (for my super awesome head shots).

So here it is:

Come visit, send friends to visit, click often. :-)

I'm off to find more ice!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finally, it was Ellie's Turn!

Ellie finally got to join the ranks of 2009-2010 school students this week! She attended a 2 1/2 year-old program last year and loved it. In fact, when I picked her up after the first day last year, her teacher told me that she'd like to hire Ellie as a substitute. :-)

Sending her this year was a no-brainer, but waiting for her class to start was painful! Ben had a 9 day head start on her, so by Tuesday morning, when it was finally her first day, the child could hardly stand herself any longer! Of course, Ben gets on the bus at 7:15, and Ellie's class doesn't start until 9:00. It was an excruciating hour and half before we could leave!

I finally allowed her to head out to the van at about 8:30, and we dilly-dallied in the front yard taking some pictures to eat up a few more minutes. These are the first pictures that I have posted that were taken with my NEW CAMERA!!!!!! Yep! I've been saving up for almost a year, and I'm now the proud owner of a D90! Woo hoo!!! Wish I could say that the transition was an easy one. Let's just say I'm learning... :-) Incidentally, if anyone is looking for a good point 'n shoot, I have a used Sony Cybershot to sell. It's less than 2 years old... Uh! I digress. Back to Ellie's first day!

When we went out to take pictures, Ellie ran for her favorite dance spot - the fiber optic "box" next to the mailboxes. She thinks it's her own private dance stage. I love it when she runs over there to "tap dance" and sing to herself as if the entire street can't see her!

How's this for a nice, traditional First Day of School pose? :-) Cute, at least...

Stacy, you say your Brooklyn has problems looking at the camera? Yeah, well I totally feel your pain, sister! :-) This is SUCH a typical Ellie shot! Cute, yet not even remotely looking in the right direction! Argh!!!

I like how this one turned out...

But these next two are my FAVORITES!!!

Then, of course, we hit a wall. Enough was enough! She was done posing, and it was time to get in the van!!!!

Ellie was one of the first two students to arrive at school. Here she is, eagerly waiting for the classroom door to open with her best buddy, Julia. Notice the school shoes that they picked out? The exact same style, just in different colors. Too funny!

And after Ellie went skipping into class, I drove back home to pick up my dear neighbor friend, Kay. She and I do breakfast at the Cracker Barrel once a month when the kids are in school. I love listening to her tales of raising her three children and the loving memories she has of her husband. Sometimes, we'll grab one of her many photo albums from her numerous trips around the world, and take it along to breakfast. It's always fun to see her light up and listen to her remember the details of her adventures!

I finally remembered to get a picture of the two of us together. It's not a great one...we'll have to try again. :-)

After our breakfast, I dropped Kay back at home in time to turn around and pick Ellie up from her big First Day! Needless to say, she was just as excited to leave again this morning for Day #2. We're seriously going to have to find something to do between 7:15 and 8:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays...perhaps early morning grocery shopping?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This One's for You, Mom!

My mom (Gram) retired from teaching this past June after 26 consecutive years plus an additional 7? years before I was born! (Did I get that right, Mom?) As a retirement gift, her faculty gave her a Grandparent Membership to the Baltimore Zoo. This provides entrance for two adults and four children any day through next Memorial Day, I believe. Since the four grandchildren are all under the age of 6 (and my parents are far from stupid :-), they've not yet taken all the kids by themselves. Instead, they've taken the individual families at different times.

Mom wanted desperately to squeeze in a trip with Ben and Ellie before Ben headed to Kindergarten and she had her foot surgery. (What a way to spend your first non-teaching Fall, right?!? She had the surgery last Wednesday, so mobility has come to a screeching halt for many least the kind of mobility you need to do the zoo!) She's been asking where my zoo pictures are, so hopefully this will give her something to smile about while she is staying off her feet. :-)

Now, brace yourself. If you thought you felt like you were on vacation with us, just wait! You may want to consider taking a bathroom break and grabbing something to snack on before continuing on with this post! Sorry. I couldn't help it! Too many cool animal shots!!! I'll at least try to keep the narration to a minimum... Stop laughing.

At the beginning of the Africa Trail section, we spotted this tortoise out for a morning stroll. Ellie immediately lapsed into her "shtick" from our National Zoo trip back in May. "Now's that's a turtle, alright!" Amazing what they remember, isn't it? I love the texture of his front legs...

Mr. Rhino. Again, intriguing texture...wonder what his skin feels like... Benjamin has a stuffed rhinoceros that he used to sleep with. When he was younger, he called it a "winus." :-)

Co-ed dorms have nothin' on this zoo exhibit! Ostriches, zebras, rhinos all in the same habitat.

The Balto. Zoo has an awesome aviary! You can actually walk into the exhibit and wander through the various walkways and platforms. This was right up Ben's alley, what with his bird obsession! :-) Here he is conversing with the White-Faced Whistling Ducks. They actually sounded like little squeaky bath toys. No doubt Ben would have taken one home if only he could have scooped one up...

I just thought this one of Gram and Ellie was cute. They're looking at a spoon-billed...something.

Baby storks. Ugly little suckers, aren't they?!? I would have thought they'd be MUCH cuter!

After spending about 10 minutes in the aviary, Ellie announced loudly, "Let's get outta' here a-fore we get pecked!" Gram responded, "That's Gram's girl...worrying about things that are never gonna' happen!" :-)

I just had to get a shot of this! This gentleman was actually in a suit at the zoo on one of the hottest days of the summer!!!! He must be "someone important," because on the way in, the tram stopped to pick him up at the VIP parking lot. We saw him many times throughout the morning, and all I could think of was "The Thomas Crown Affair." :-)

The cheetah exhibit is an incredible experience. There is a huge window where the kids can stand a breath away from the pacing cats! Ellie, of course, used the opportunity to practice her poses. :-)

Doesn't this shot of Ben look a little startling?!? When Jim was looking at the pictures in the camera, it made him do a double-take!!! :-)

This was actually the first time that the baby elephant, Samson, (with his mother present) was introduced to the bull elephants! Each elephant had a handler present...don't know what they would have done if the rendezvous had gone awry... It was interesting to watch. The whole event was definitely highly choreographed.

Check out Samson's back legs. Too cute!

The little guy kept following the trainers around begging for treats. See? A trait not unique to human children!

Mommy following behind...

The kids got to ride on a camel. This little adventure was an extra $5.00 per person! Not a small splurge but not too bad either when the cost of admission was FREE! :-) This shot cracks me up! Doesn't it look like they're comparing the size of their feet instead of enjoying what will likely be their one and only camel ride EVER?!?

Doesn't it look like Ellie's tickling the camel's nose here? Too funny!

Giraffes! I got lots of neat giraffe shots!

LOVE this one!

...and this one! :-)

Get this! You can actually feed the giraffes at the Balto. Zoo! You pay $2.00 for a branch of Acacia leaves and then stand on the feeding deck and wait. The giraffes are of course, rather well-trained in this procedure, and it didn't take long for an eager neck to stretch our way. This is Cesear, the "baby" 3 yr-old, eating Ben's leaves.

Ben was in love with Cesear! He lingered as long as possible. By this point, Ellie was WAY past done. She's not heat tolerant to say the least. The child sweats if the temp is above 70, so this stifling late summer HUMID day was too much for her!

Little Cesear, close-up. Too cute!!!

LOVE the crossed necks! :-)

After the giraffe-feeding we quickly visited the polar bears before calling it a day. 'Tis the glory of the membership! We could leave when we were done and not feel guilty for not staying all day! I'm greatly looking forward to making some visits later in the fall and winter.

It's been ages since I was at the Baltimore Zoo! I do have snapshot memories from elementary school field trips, but that's about it. I was very impressed by the exhibits and the "extra" experiences that were available. Of course, the giraffe-feeding was a huge hit, and the camel ride was a close second. If you remember, we couldn't find the giraffes in D.C. in May, because they were in ...Miami! So this trip made up nicely for Benjamin's disappointment a few months back.

'Can't wait to return soon and do the other half of the zoo. For those in need of a good retirement gift, I certainly think this one takes the cake! Store this idea in the deep recesses of your memory for future reference. You could just be a hero at the office the next time someone retires...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Beach Dresses"

Last night, we went to Ellie's preschool Open House to meet her new teacher. Of course, when we returned, both kids were ravenous. Surprise, surprise. Anything to put off going to bed, right? :-) So I sat with them at the kitchen table while they ate apples. I used the time to get started on filling out Ellie's paperwork. Then it sort of turned into a game. I would ask her the questions, and she was greatly enjoying telling me the answers.

"Ellie, what's your full name?" "What's your address?" "When's your birthday?"

Then we got to, "Does your child have any speech problems?" Now this is laughable, because Ellie started talking in complete sentences at about 10 months and hasn't shut up since! So I asked, just to see what her response would be, "Do you have any speech problems?" As I'm writing "no," Ellie launches into a dissertation about how she fell off her boogie board two times at the beach.

Mommy Brain automatically switches into overdrive...processing....processing...Ah ha!

"No Ellie. Not beach problems. Speech problems, you know problems talking??"

This tale is only rivaled by her 3 year check-up at the doctor's last winter. The doctor asked me if there were any stresses at home. Ellie interrupted, "Oh yes! We have lots. A pink one, a Cinderella one..."

"No Ellie, not dresses. Stresses...things that make you unhappy or upset. Please tell the nice doctor that we don't have any of those..."

As I always say, never a dull moment with this one!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dutch Wonderland!

Somehow with all the down time the week right after the beach (and flood), we managed to fit in a trip to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA. :-) Nana and Pop-Pop had wanted to take the kids, and who are we to decline a day at an amusement park?!? I'm not sure how these pictures have remained un-posted for so long, but better late than never...right?

The kids were so psyched for the trip! Heck, the very thought of being able to get on rides all day long without Mommy and Daddy saying, "This is the last one," is enough to thrill even the most subdued child! We left early enough to arrive right as the castle "doors" opened, right at 10:00. After being thoroughly searched and scrutinized by the "security knights, " we made a bee-line for Ben's first request - the antique cars. I absolutely love this "Driving Miss Daisy" shot! :-)

Especially this one...

Ben immediately wanted to drive again. While he did so, Ellie and Nana "watered a cow." Can you read the sign? It reads: "Bossie says, 'Please Squeeze.' Don't Pull." Uh huh... Yeah...

And see, the humor in the whole thing is that I can't even come up with anything sarcastic to say about it! It just speaks for itself, doesn't it?!?

This is one of my favorites from the day! The kids were waiting in line to get on a ride together, and Ben felt the need to keep Ellie in tow, I suppose. Too precious!

This shot is thanks to Pop-Pop. He and Nana stood right below the opening to the sky ride to capture the initial take-off. Can you see Ellie (below Jim) waiting in her princess pose? Oh my...

See what I mean? Such love. :-)

When we passed the big pretzel in the morning on the way to the antique cars, the kids were too excited to stop and everyone else made me wait as if I were inflicting cruel and unusual punishment upon them! When we finally got around to stopping later in the afternoon, I got this peppy pose. Uh huh. And this is why I wanted to do it in the morning! Talk about cruel and unusual punishment! Doesn't it look like someone has just forced them to march 100 miles carrying the giant pretzel ?!? So much for my "cute" shot. :-)

When Ben went back for this third go-round on the antique cars, Ellie chose to have some rainbow-flavored soft ice cream, instead. She's no dummy! I love putting white shirts on her in potentially messy situations. They're actually much easier to get clean than colored clothes. Bleach is a mommy's best friend! :-)

Ben and Ellie both unleashed their loves of roller coasters on this trip. I had NO idea that my children had this in them, especially Ellie!!!! This coaster was the largest one that Ellie could get on because of her height, or lack thereof. Heh. There's something I never thought I'd say about my daughter! :-) She got on this one with each and every family member at least once. I believe she rode it 5 times, total. Maybe more... Even though this shot is blurry, I just had to share the sheer joy on their faces.

Ellie continued to ride this coaster while Benjamin scared me to death by riding the King Coaster, the largest coaster in the park, over and over. This one was easily comparable to The Comet at Hersheypark. It just didn't have quite as large of a beginning hill. I'm not exaggerating. This was a REAL roller coaster. No pics of this one, since there were no good angles to be had. :-(

Time out to take in a show. Ellie, of course, sat herself (and the rest of us) in the front for her viewing pleasure. This shot cracks me up. It looks as if she is the only one in attendance! She (and all the other kids) absolutely loved the snow machine! What a fun surprise! We got a good laugh at all the fake snow bubbly stuff that was stuck in her hair after the "storm."

By mid-afternoon, Ben was somehow still going strong! He even voluntarily pushed Her Highness as she sipped her lemonade. :-) This shot was taken on our way to the river boat ride. I think it was the long, slow ride and all that sitting that made everyone realize just how tired we were!

Two very tired kiddos. Ben and Ellie were tired too. :-) Soon after this picture was taken, we began the trek back to the van.

We stopped for a quick dinner on the way home, and the kids promptly fell asleep with full tummies. Jim and I braced for what we knew was going to be an ugly few minutes, getting the kids stripped, showered, into pajamas and to bed. And it was ugly. ...but WELL worth it!

We would definitely recommend Dutch Wonderland to everyone with young children. There are LOTS of different rides for each age and comfort level. The facilities were clean, kid-friendly, and uncrowded. There are many appealing shows at staggered times to provide a reprieve from the sun. There is even a large water park within the amusement park that we didn't get to touch! I'm thinking we'd need more stamina to do that, too! Maybe next time...

Thanks, Nana and Pop-Pop, for an awesome day!