Sunday, May 15, 2011

Emily - From the perspective of her 7-year-old brother

We met with the Child Study Team and Emily's teacher this week. She'll be returning to the same school again next year and is eligible for a program in July/August as well. We have seen tremendous improvement this year.

Back in October, Drew spent a few nights writing a book about Emily. He chose what he wanted to write and we picked/took photos to match. I don't know why we never posted it, but we think it will be a wonderful keepsake for all of us to see Emily through the eyes of Drew years from now. He was only 6 when he wrote it, but turned 7 soon after.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

A new adventure

Photography has become more than just a hobby for me lately, it's become a passion.  I've always loved taking pictures, in fact, when I was younger I loved an older camera my Dad owned - with it's hard leathery case and a loud "click" when you pressed the shutter button.  I used to pretend to be a photographer or a reporter back then, but I really remember loving how that big and clunky that old camera felt when I held it.

I've starting doing informal photo sessions for family and friends and I'm really enjoying it.  Now I'm hoping to take it to the next level and actually make it a little business.  I'm trying to set aside my self-doubts and just go for it!

Tonight, I've been brainstorming names for my business.  I could go with Aimee Gollihur Photography or Aimee Lynn Photography, but I'm just not thrilled with the sound of it.  Many others incorporate other things I love like music and my family; HeartSong Photography, Fourever Photography, Caboodles Photography, All 4 Love Photography (too Color Me Badd!), and Quartet Photography.  Others ideas were Snap Happy and Ever After Photography.

I don't want to be too cutesy, or too formal.  I also don't want it to seem limited to one kind of subject because I hope to do babies, children, families and maybe even events like birthday parties.  No weddings though . . . yet!

I just love this one that just came to me.

Live. Laugh. Photograph.
But it's taken!!  As are many of my other ideas. :(

Still thinking about it . . .

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day Eve Decathlon for 3 Year Old Supremacy

You read that right. Today while eating dinner, Drew explained that Carter and Brenna were going to have a heavy lifting competition after dinner to see who is stronger. Their crazy parents allowed the event to become a fun-filled after-dinner activity to focus everyone’s energy rather than continuing what everyone was doing before dinner (being cranky).

Our initial event, Hula Hoop Jumping came down to a tie due to the limits of my analog stopwatch and no clear-cut winner.

Although the 10 Yard Dash was a photo finish, we still don’t know who won, because Carter was busy tackling Drew at the finish line. Apparently, the 9 yard dash is all Carter can handle before falling over.

Heavy Lifting, which ended up resulting in a victory by Brenna, also won the ROTFL award. Watching toddlers trying to figure out how to lift a rocking horse over their head is more entertaining than most prime time tv.

Hoop Hurdles was the only activity that ended poorly, due to an overzealous seven-year-old in charge of holding hoop #1. We judged it a tie in an effort to move on.

Up the Ladder-Down the Slide was a competitive event. Although Brenna did win the three lap event by a two-second margin (18-20), Carter did show some style when heaving his body across the slide. Perhaps, as a fan favorite, he’ll end up with some endorsements…

The Slam Dunk Contest was less than impressive with neither contestant showing any slam dunk proficiency. After several missed attempts and a few poorly executed finger-rolls, Drew, who demonstrated an impressive jump and dunk in the explanation, was declared the winner.

The Obstacle Course which combined the rigors of cross-country running, long distance kicking, and an impressive display of automobile pushing ended in a tie, although I do believe Carter would have eeked out a victory if he hadn’t turned back to fix the askew hula hoop.

The Javelin, Shot Put, and Discus events rounded out our big evening. Carter won the Javelin throw by less than an inch, Brenna threw the Shot Put past Carter while his was still being marked, and Carter’s Discus had a 14+ inch lead over Brenna in the final event.

Final score you ask? Clearly, everybody wins here at the HHOMC.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day Deja Vu?

When I came home tonight after running some errands, Gee-off told me he had written a blog post and shared it with me.  So sweet!

Well, it just so happened that a few days ago I had made a smilebox "scrapbook" for him and had it set to send on Saturday (when weg et to go out for our Vday date)!

While it seems like I was a copycat, I promise, I really had this made already!!! 

I love that we chose some of the same pictures too!

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day to the best husband!  (And just for the record, it was NOT a fake question!!!)

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Happy Valentine's Day

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I think back to the days when I was courting Aimee and how much I envisioned spending the rest of my life with her. I met Aimee on my very first day as a transfer student to Rowan University. I still remember the sweatshirt she was wearing, her gentle smile, and her beautiful red hair. She verified that I was indeed in the right classroom — after having a short exchange of introductions, I walked away, hoping to eventually build a friendship with the beautiful woman who, unbeknownst to anyone, would be my wife in three short years.

I remember being disappointed to learn soon after that Aimee was already seeing someone, but years later I realized that it was essential for our eventual relationship. I never put up any fronts or tried to impress, we were merely classmates, so I could just be myself. Aimee was so genuine and welcoming to me, I have to think the barrier of her being “spoken for” was to my benefit, because I had no reason to think that my actions would change her feelings and she only ever knew the “real” me.

The following fall, several key unplanned events occurred that resulted in seeing Aimee a few days in a row, and a trusted friend learned from both of us that there was mutual interest. I still remember going to campus on a day when I had no classes, hoping to bump into Aimee and perhaps work up the courage to ask her out. I never did spot her, but when she called me out of the blue to ask me a made up question about a class she was taking, I knocked an entire shelf over in my closet, trying to find my notes. During my avalanche, I distinctly remember my very sad attempt at asking Aimee to dinner. Since her intention was to ask me out anyway, she made it easy for me, and our story officially began…

To me, it was hard to imagine a girl so wonderful might be my girlfriend, much less become my wife. Aimee is smart, talented, beautiful, caring, funny, understanding, creative, and beautiful. Who could ask for more? She helped me to realize that I also have some pretty good qualities too, and I’m not embarrassed to say that she brings them out of me like no one else ever has. And if you noticed I wrote beautiful twice when describing Aimee, It was intentional — She still takes my breath away.

Fast-forward through a thousand sweet kisses, an unforgettable engagement, a beautiful wedding ceremony, a cute little apartment, a teeny-tiny shack on the outskirts of town, our first new home. New challenges — new solutions — a real team approach. As we have grown, we’ve grown together, learning new responsibilities and accepting sad realities. Realizing a combined optimism to get through every unexpected turn, we have weathered storms we never anticipated, always emerging together and happily enjoying our greatest blessings hand-in-hand.

Valentine’s Day — a day when we ask to be loved, and we share that same love to those we care for — I’m proud to say that I don’t need a holiday to remind me.

Aimee, I’m so glad you’re my Valentine.

“You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu

Looking in your eyes, seeing all I need
Everything you are, is everything to me

And these are the moments I know heaven must exist
And these are the moments, I know all I need is this
I have all I've waited for… And I could not ask for more…

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Vocabulary Lesson…

We have a few catch phrases that don’t make sense elsewhere, but have very specific meanings here at our house. I’d like to take a few moments to share…

HHOMC- Our only acronym, and coined by my father in reference to our house: Hammonton House Of Many Children. Ex. As planned, the whole family will meet at the HHOMC for lunch.

Shore Leave- An afternoon or evening alone and free of child-rearing responsibilities usually used for shopping in peace and quiet. Ex. Aimee spent her shore leave scouring AC Moore for discount scrapbook supplies.

Carter-safe- A product not containing peanuts (and until recently, eggs). Ex. We can’t buy that cookie mix. It isn’t Carter-safe.

28 cents- The average cost of a pull-up diaper, usually used when a child wakes up dry from naptime, and the pull-up can be reused at bedtime. Ex. You did a great job using the potty. You just saved us 28 cents!
Spin For It?- An opportunity to allow the “Wheel of Responsibility” to determine which parent will complete a particular task. Mostly used for diaper duty and other unpleasant jobs. Ex. Brenna is screaming that she missed the potty. Do you want to spin for it?

Jerrel!- My friend Jerrel, we call his name and raise our fists anytime something goes wrong that can’t be explained. He’s basically our go-to-guy when we want to blame something on someone. This originated this summer, when we found a Boston Red Sox sticker on Drew’s booster seat. I asked Drew where it came from and he responded by raising his fist in the air, while looking up and shouting, “Jerrel”! (Who is a good friend, but is also a noted Phillies Hater)-It should be noted that no one ever took responsibility for defacing the booster seat. Ex. This milk is sour and it isn’t even past the date yet. …JERREL!

Nowhere- Where whining will get you. We say this so often, that the kids will now even answer. Ex. Mom or Dad: “Hey, you know where all that whining is going to get you?” Any kid: “Nowhere!”

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Each day, we witness so many subtle changes in the social and emotional growth of our children. They play together much more now and truly care about each other. Carter, however, is clearly showing that he is going to be such a sweet young man. He still has his fair share of tantrums and continues to want things a certain way, or he can’t deal with it, but even some of those things are milder than before.

Yesterday, I watched Carter approach Emily and her V-Tech KidJamz Studio. It’s really an awesome toy, so we made the rule that the kids could only play it when they were “sharing” with Emily, hoping to encourage more interaction. Carter, rather than taking over, actually was pressing Em’s fingers on the keys, which she loved. They played together like that for more than 5 minutes.

This afternoon, Brenna was teasing both Drew and I by making her unicorn kiss us. We were both engrossed in the Flyers game and Drew asked Brenna to stop several times before she focused her attention on me. I told her I didn’t like gross unicorn kisses while she continued to sneak kisses at me increasing her giggles. Eventually I nudged her away from me and covered her with blankets, while she continued to giggle away. Realizing that she was beaten, she remained on the floor and called for Aimee. Carter, who was playing on his mini “cup-pooter”, immediately powered down and got up. I asked the little guy if he was going upstairs and he replied matter-of-factly, “No, I’m checking on Brenna.”

He’s funny too, in his own way. He mostly just repeats a word or sound effect relating to a particular bodily function and his brother and sister laugh out loud. In fact, he was playing Drew’s Leapster game and realized that a sunscreen bottle squirting lotion sounds a lot like, well, you know... He sat there for 2 minutes continually pressing the button and laughing out loud. He catches on what is going on and appreciates a good joke. He’ll often make a low pitched sound , “EHHHHHH”, when he thinks something is funny, which is funny to hear and reminds me of my Mom’s, “Dit”. Even tonight, after Brenna did something silly and said, “That was fun”; Carter quietly said, “knee”(as if she hadn’t finished the word).

Today, Carter really impressed me at Shop Rite. While we were in the checkout line, an associate asked him if he wanted a balloon, and she clamped a yellow Shop Rite balloon on the cart for him. He looked up and smiled so big you’d think she’d just given him a lifetime supply of ice cream. We were extra careful clipping the balloon on his shirt, zipping his coat up, and wrapping the string around his arm twice. As I put him in the car and pulled the string down to get the balloon in with him, I watched the balloon float away as the 22 degree temperature must have been too much for the adhesive to handle. No doubt, Carter was disappointed as we watched his balloon float away, but he handled it. He didn’t even cry.

Carter is known to get upset when I answer his calls at bedtime. For example, he calls downstairs to Aimee, and I go up to check on him. “NOOOOOO. I WAS TALKIN’ TO MOMMMYYYYYYYYY” is generally all I can get out of him. We have continued to challenge these behaviors; giving in to his “demands” for the sake of calm could have long term consequences, not to mention how unfair it would be to Aimee since he clearly favors her for potty issues.

Carter is clearly improving on many of his balance, communication, and frustration issues. After a great first year of school, I really look forward to his growth at camp this summer, and in Pre-K next year.