Thursday, November 6, 2008

November Already!

I can't believe it has been over a month since my last post. Time sure does go by quickly. I guess we have just been so busy that I haven't had a chance to get to the computer long enough to write anything.
First of all I have some sad news to report. On Halloween we lost our Father, Papa, and all around great person. John Sr. passed away in Phoenix, Arizona. About 5 years ago he was diagnosed with serosis of the liver, and has been living with the side effects from that. The past 2-3 years his health deteriorated rather rapidly, and he spent most of the past year in and out of hospitals for various reasons. In the end his body was just worn out. He died peacefully, going to sleep and just stopped breathing. In a way this is a blessing because he doesn't have to be in pain any more, and a relief for Carol as well, she will be able to have some well earned rest. The hardest part for me is that Jackson won't have the opportunity to know his Papa. He will be greatly missed, but I choose to believe that his spirit resides within all of us who knew and loved him, and he will be waiting for us all in heaven, with a healthy mind and body. He touched many lives, and will be forever a part of them. John is in Phoenix right now with his Mother, helping out with arrangements and helping out wherever he can. His Memorial service will appropriately be held on Veterans Day, and a special family memorial will be held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this coming spring.
Now for the other updates. We have been bust as usual with normal life stuff. Mackenzie is still playing the drums in band, and has had a few performances at football games. She enjoy's it very much, and is always drumming on something. We often have to tell her to keep it down. She is also still enjoying girl scouts. Her troop walked in the Halloween parade through our little main street for the 3rd year in a row. Their theme was the Wizard of Oz, and Kenzie was the scarecrow. For our ward Halloween party she was Sacajawea, and for Halloween day she was the reaper. She had a lot of fun dressing up.
J.T. Is still sticking with the Viola. He practices every morning, and I can't wait until he learns how to tune his viola, it really needs it. He was a mummy for our ward Halloween party, but his wrapping all fell off as he ran around, so on Halloween he decided to be a Ninja for the 3rd year in a row.
Jackson is getting so big! He is nearly 8 months now, and is so much fun. He isn't quite crawling forward, but he has managed to scoot himself around in every direction, and he can do it quickly. It only takes a second for him to get from one place to the next. (thank goodness he isn't crawling) He has mastered the pincer grasp, and loves to feed himself Cheerios's and other baby puffs. He is a very happy baby, and its very easy to get him to smile or laugh. The big kids love to make him laugh, and try all kinds of silly things to do it. For Halloween Jackson was Yoda. He is the cutest Yoda you will ever see, anywhere. He was a great sport while trick-or-treating, he just sat in the stroller and watched all of the other kids in weird costumes. I don't think he really quite knew what to make of it.
John has been busy, like always, but I think he is starting to slow down. He built a shed in our back yard, finished our deck,and has done a number of other things in the yard. It now looks very nice.In the end of September, he completed a triathalon with a time of 2:08. We are all very proud of him. That was a great acomplishment. He put together a Zombie movie night on Oct 30 for the Film Club that he is a part of. They showed the original "Night of the Living Dead" and had a zombie dress up competition. It didn't go exactly as planned, but I think it was a success anyway. He has finished putting together his Christmas children's book that he wrote about 10 years ago. We had an artist friend illustrate it, and this week it was sent to the printers. These first copies are just black and white, coloring book type, but keep an eye out for him in the future, I believe he will be a famous author someday. When he returns from Phoenix he will be starting a small construction project on our kitchen. He is always doing something.
As for myself, I recently took a pottery class, something I have always been interested in, and finally did. I really enjoy creating something from a blob of clay. I am still learning, but right now I have about 8 pieces that will be ready for Christmas. With the economy in such poor shape, we decided that this Christmas we will try to have a lot of homemade things, so the pottery works out great. I have also been sewing blankets for my little ones, and hopefully I will have time to finish a few other projects. Jackson has finally taken to napping, so I have a little more flexibility.
Anyway, we here at the Graham house are forever busy, but I will honestly try not to take so long in between posts form now on.
Be sure you tell your families and friends how much they mean to you, you never know when it will be too late! We love you all, and hope everyone is happy and taken care of.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back to the grind.

Wow has it really been a month since I posted anything! Time sure goes by fast these days. I can't believe we are already nearing the end of September. The kids have been in school for 3 weeks already. Mackenzie is in 6th grade this year. That was an adjustment going from 2 teachers to now having more than 7. She really seems to enjoy it so far, and she spends a lot of time with her friends that were previously in other schools. She has gotten 100% on nearly every paper that she has brought home so far. Her favorite subjects are chorus, band and science. Kenzie also started again in girl scouts this week and is excited about that. J.T. is in 4th grade this year and has moved to the intermediate school. He has 2 teachers, and they switch between them throughout the day. He has decided to join orchestra and play the viola. He is very excited about it, and we have rented a viola until we are certain it will take. He has done very well so far also. Over the summer I talked to his 3rd grade teacher and she told me that he did phenomenally well on the PSSA tests. (those are state required tests that all students 3-8th grade take) We haven't gotten his results yet, but his teacher said she had to double check to make sure there wasn't an error, because his scores were so high. Mackenzie also had high scores, we have her results and she is advanced in math and very near the advanced in reading. We are very proud of both of them.
John is very busy all of the time. Besides work he is also a board member for a film club, Director of Marketing for a comic book company, as well as a writer for one of their comics, and working construction (he has totally redone our back deck, and will now be building a shed in our back yard), and managing our business. And in his free time (what little there is) he is training for a triathlon that will be held this Saturday the 27th. Our calendar has become a vital part of our existence. We all have color coded pens for our different activities.
I have been able to stay home with Jackson for the time being. I am also running a Transitions class (healthy lifestyle and weight management) on Thursday evenings. I have really been able to make these classes my very own and do whatever I want with them. We have an Amish woman who takes our class and the first day we had a buggy with 2 horses hitched in our front yard, that was kind of neat. I have been experimenting with some new recipes lately and have found new ways to increase the vegetable intake of my family. I found these books called The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine, and she uses pureed veggies and stuff to add to different foods. I made this excellent brownie recipe. Brownies laced with spinach and blueberries (who would ever think that?) they were delicious! I have made a few other things also, with great success, and they all seem to fit in with our low glycemic lifestyle.
Our little man is getting so big. Jackson just had his 6th month appointment last week. He now weighs 19lbs and 10oz and is 29 inches long. He is very tall for his age, and is wearing 12 month clothes, because all the others are too short. He is now working on his 4th tooth (front top and front bottom)He hasn't yet crawled, but he rolls everywhere, and he will turn all around in different directions. Once he figures out how to propel himself forward we are all in trouble. He is eating all kinds of baby food now and has liked everything he tries. We have one of those little pouch things that we can put food in and it has a handle that he can hold on to and munch away. He loves to eat anything you put in that. Jack has learned how to blow bubbles with his lips and run his fingers over his lips and make a lot of noise. If we sit him up, he will sit there and play forever until he falls over. We started to give him a bath in the big kitchen sink because he would always try to sit up in thy baby bath and that didn't work very well. He loves to splash in the water and he loves to shower off with the sprayer. He also loves to play in the grass. He likes the way it feels on his feet and hands. He is so much fun to have, and we all get a kick out of the things he does.
Well anyway, I will try not to take so long in between posts. Time just gets away with me.
Hope all is well for everyone.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Wind Down

Well, Summer is winding down now, and it is almost time for school again. (YEAH!!!)School for us starts on September 2nd, later than usual, so we still have a couple of weeks of summer.I can't believe it is already the middle of August, where does the time go so quickly?
July and August have been very busy months, we have had a lot of activities to occupy our summer days.
In July we went on a big bike ride on some abandoned turnpike roads here. They turnpike is our toll road that runs through the state, they have rebuilt parts of it and abandoned the old roads, so in the middle of nowhere we took our bikes and went on a long ride. the roads are complete with pitch black tunnels and everything. We went with a group of friends and had the baby in the bike carrier (Jackson's first bike ride). Mackenzie and I rode almost 10 miles and then stopped to feed the baby, everyone else went about 16 or 17. It was a fun experience. We rode through the dark tunnel, where I got a flat tire and at the other end the kids and most of the adults explored above the tunnel where they kept storage and did maintenance. It was a great ride.
We also had our local fair here in July. Mackenzie participated in the Girl Scout booth twice. John and I each took our turn helping. It was fun helping the girls selling food and milkshakes. Kenzie also entered cookies into the fair, she didn't win anything, but we did it at the last minute, and it was fun.The kids and I went back to the fair on Kiddy fun day to ride all of the rides. It was the hottest day, and very humid, John was at work so I took all three kids, and Jackson and I watched while the other two rode the rides with their friends, JT rode the Hurricane 3 times in a row and then didn't feel good, so while we were waiting for Kenzie to finish her last ride he promptly threw up. He had a fairly empty stomach, so it wasn't that bad. Now he can say that he rode the rides until he got sick. Jackson has a few cow toys, so we took him over to see the cows at the fair and a big cow mooed right in his face and scared him, he didn't like them very much after that, I think he didn't like the noises he was hearing from them and the goats. He cried all the way through the exhibit.
The kids have been attending the build and grow workshops at the new Lowes that opened here. They have really enjoyed making the little projects. They get to use their own hammers and build things themselves. Our favorite is the dune buggy, and the planter boxes that they planted seeds in.
Mackenzie just had her 11Th birthday.(I know I'm getting old) She had a sleepover with a bunch of 11 year old girls. They made their own pizza and then decorated their own cupcakes for dessert. They are quite the little chef's. They didn't get much sleep though, I think one girl fell asleep at around 3a.m. and the rest around 5a.m., but Natasha stayed up all night. John was out of town for a Market America convention, so I got to deal with the girls all by myself. But they were really good.
We Just had our 14th wedding anniversary, can you believe it has been that long already. It goes by fast.
Jackson is getting so big now. He is over 18lbs. He is now 5 months old. He is rolling over and trying very hard to sit up all of the time. He doesn't like to lay down on your lap, he wants to get up and go. I think that once he figures out how to move we will all be in trouble. He has 2 teeth on the bottom front, and he is eating cereal and veggies, he loves sweet potatoes and carrots, and he was chewing on a tomato the other day. He loves to sing along with They Might Be Giants, and he is very vocal. He sits in his walker now and plays with the toys.(He can't walk it yet)He has become very interactive with everything, and it is really fun to watch him with the other kids. They fight over who gets to hold him,and they still kiss him too much. Jackson loves to give wet sloppy kisses and snuggles.
Well I hope all of you enjoy the rest of your summer, it is quickly dwindling away. We are going to be busy until school starts I'm sure. We will have a lot to tell you next time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dog days of summer

Well, the summer has gotten away with me. Time sure does go by fast now a days. I can't believe it is already the middle of July, and the stores are starting to stock back to school supplies already. Next thing you know it will be the holiday season again.
I have tried to keep the kids somewhat busy this summer with different activities. We have a pool within walking distance from our house, so we have gone there a few times. Jack isn't sure what to think of his first swimming experience. We have also gone kayaking with Liz and Brian a few times. We spent one day tye dying shirts, and Mackenzie has spent a few days making friendship bracelets. Both she and J.T. made one each for Jackson.
We have tried to keep them somewhat engaged in learning this summer so they both work in some educational workbooks a few days each week, and they both read. They take turns reading to Jackson, and he enjoys it as much as they do.
Jackson turned 4 months old today, and he had his 4 month check up. He now weighs 17.8 lbs and is 27 3/4 inches long. (he is very tall) He also got another round of shots.(ouch)He also started to roll over this week. He did it once a few days ago, but today he rolled over 4 times already. I can't believe how fast they grow. He still barf's a lot, but the doctor said he can start a little solid food any time,because of his size, and it should help to ease up on the reflux. I hope so, I am kind of tired of going thru 2 or 3 outfits a day, on both me and Jackson. Kenzie has had the experience also.
Last week J.T. had cub camp. He really had a great time. The theme this year was space and planets. His group was Mars. All of their crafts revolved around space themed items, but they also did the usual archery and bb guns and all that fun boy stuff.John spent the day with the boys on Thursday, and other than being exhausted when he came home, he said it was fun.
Mackenzie has been attending summer band practices. She started with the drums in band last year, and really does a great job. She will be starting in the 6th grade this fall, and they have special practices for the 6th grade band. She can also try out for the 6th grade jazz band if she wants to. Mackenzie also has a little pet sitting business going on this summer. She has watched pets for 3 of our neighbors and has earned a good amount of money. She gets $5 a day from each family, that quickly adds up.The kids have also been earning an allowance, and extra money if they help John and I lose weight and be healthy. They will get $1 per pound from each of us, and the last 2 weeks they got $20 each from the weight loss, and $5 for their chores. They are both being very smart, and want to go to the bank and open a savings account.
The family got the new Rock Band video game for the wii. (John was the driving force in that) We play in the band together. We sing, and play the drums or guitar. It is pretty fun. Our band name is the Graham Crackers (of course)we can get fans, and unlock more songs and customize our players and all that. I don't play many video games, but this one is pretty fun. Jackson cries when we sing too loud.
Well I have to go for now. Enjoy your summer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Home Again

Well we are back. We had a good trip to visit the beautiful great smoky mountains of North Carolina. It was a long drive, even longer than usual with the baby. I forgot how much you have to do for babies, they are so demanding with the feeding and diaper changing. I appreciate how the older kids can wipe themselves! Even with all of the extra stops, we did pretty well. All of our kids travel well, even Jackson. Our cabin was just georgeous. It had great space and plenty of sleeping room, we could have had at least 4 more people with us(even with Liz and Brian with us). The kids had their own room that had a bunk bed as well as two separate twin beds. Liz and Brian had a queen sized bed, and we had a King sized bed, and our room had space for the play pen and well as a chair and ottoman, and large dresser. The cabin also had a futon that could have been folded out to sleep 2 more. There was a lot of other furnishings, and plenty of room to move around. The deck wrapped around 2 sides of the cabin, and had a great view. The only problem was that the stairs and floor creaked very loudly (no one could sneak out). We were at the top of a steep hill on the side of the mountain. The surrounding area was beautiful. georgous mountains, and loads of things to do, of course we didn't do any of them. We stopped at a cave system on the way home and took a tour of that and a wax museum. I carried Jackson in a carrier strapped to my chest. He is a heavy kid. Jackson was mesmerized inside the cave, he just kept staring at all of the stalactites and stalacmites. Then he fell asleep in the carrier on the way out. It was very cute. Mackenzie and JT enjoyed it also. Kenzie recently went to some caves while on her girl scout camp out, so she was very informed of all of the formations in the cave.
We went to NC to check out the area to see if we would like to move there. Target is building a new distribution center in the area that we visited, it will have all kinds of new technology and new stuff that John is interested in, so we thought we would take a look at the place to see if we would like it there. So far no decisions have been made, and won't be finalized for a few months, so we'll keep you posted on that.
Now that we are home, we are back to the usual grind. The big kids asking every day if we can go swimming or do something else, and John ripping apart the deck and trying to be mister handyman and rebuild it himself.
Jackson found his voice this week. He now is always talking and cooing and almost yelling so that we can all hear him. He also learned how to blow bubbles with his lips and is always getting spit all over. We always put a bib on him now. He has almost mastered the art of rolling over, I think anyday now he will do it all of the way. He is very spoiled and has all of us wrapped around his little fingers, especially Mackenzie. (she hates to hear any wimpers) I just wish we could get his napping schedule down. He still doesn't take more than a 30 minute nap at a time, it is quite aggrivating sometimes.
John and I have made a new resolution to be healthy again. John has enlisted the big kids to help, by bribing them with $1 each for each pound lost. That way they quit asking for the bad stuff and eventually they eat the healthy stuff too. JT is very good with his veggies, but Mackenzie needs a little more prompting. We did pland a small container veggie garden and she seems a little excited about that. She likes to watch the things grow, hopefully she will like to eat them also.
Well that's all for now. Here's to everyone being healthy and happy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Busy Days of Summer

OK, sorry I haven't been able to post on here lately, things got really hectic for a while. John made a spur of the moment trip to Jackson Hole Wyoming a couple of weeks ago to help his parents relocate all of their belongings from there to Phoenix where they have a little house. They drove to Arizona, and he spent about a week and a half helping out there. We really missed him, but I don't mind sharing with his parents, they are very important to all of us. John sr. has had poor health and is unable to continue working at the beautiful Willey ranch in Jackson Hole. I know that they will really miss it there. Please keep them in your prayers.
Kenzie and JT both just finished up scouts and girl scouts for the year. They both got a lot of badges that I now need to put on their shirt and sash. John told them to nag me everyday until I do it, I am sure that will be a lot of fun.

I found it difficult to spend much time on the computer with the three kids. Now that summer vacation is here they are really keeping me on my toes. We spent one day with my neice Liz and her husband Brian (they moved here last fall) , kayaking and playing on a lake at a local reservior. It was a lot of fun. It is nice to have a little family here with us. We spend a lot of time together. The mostly just come over to see Jackson and get their baby fix once or twice a week. They really need a kid of their own. Tomorrow we are all going to North Carolina together for a few days. We rented a large cabinthat has plenty of room for all of us. I'm sure it will be fun, and we plan on taking lots of pictures.
Speaking of pictures, check out the new ones that I posted, I especially love the sunglasses.
I will post again when we return from our trip and fill you in on all of the fun details.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Family news

This is a little blog about this cracked up little family of mine and our boring little life. Since most of our family and friends live in other states, I thought this would be a fun way for you to check in and see some photo's, or find out what is new with us.

As we near the end of the school year we find ourselves busy with all kinds of activities. We have band concerts, and parties, fieldtrips, fun activity days, Girl Scout parades and end of year ceremonies, and the list goes on and on. Every night we seem to have something on the calendar, we live by it,it is our bible. Even John and I have our own activities. John is by far the busiest. He has taken a lot on this year. Thankfully he just graduated from a Business Leadership program that Target sponsored him for this past year. It involved an all day workshop once a month, plus he had to meet with his group and they had a huge projest to do. That was many nights or lunches together planning their project, and putting it all together. They put together a recycling day for the community here. It was nice they did a great job. They had fun activities and games for the kids, all with recycled products. They also had garbage trucks from all 3 of our local trash companies, that anyone could climb in and sit in and see how they operate. Then his group had to do a final presentation at their graduation. Their group was the best out of the 3 groups.

John has also taken on a few other electives. He got involved with the start up of a film club at our old theater in Chambersburg. He has done the advertizing for them, like flyers and membership cards. They meet once a month and show either classic or award winning films in the theater. John just wants to do it so he can watch a robotech cartoon with J.T. on the big screen. The other members of the group are primarily older, influential people in town, such as the mayor and other bussines owners. He likes to hob nob I think. He is also involved in the start up of a new comic book company, called Shot In The Dark Comics. He is their director of marketing, as well as one of the comic book writers. I think this is a life long dream for him. They all have their day jobs as well until this company gets up and running and some of the books are written and drawn, then published. Our friend Mitchell Heslop is one of the artists. He is a very talented young man. Also our neighbor Julie is involved as a director of something, I don't remember. (Julie is the female version of John, it's kind of scary). Anyway, as you see, He is a very busy man.
Mackenzie is now 10. She started to play the drums this year. She joined band and has really enjoyed it. I think that next year she is going to try out for the 6th grade jazz band. She is very musical, she also likes to sing, and has been in chorus as well.She has really gotten into music a lot this year, and was very excited when I gave her my old mp3 player to listen to. She has been involved with Girl Scouts this year. I think she had a really good time with that. Tonight is their end of year ceremony, and each of the girls have written something about girl scouts to share. She was able to go on an overnight campout, and has marched in a couple of parades, most recently on Memorial Day. Mackenzie is also interested in cooking, and has helped out a lot of times making dinner for the family. She is a huge help with the baby as well. She is the little mother. I have to tell her not to hold him so much, or to stop kissing him.
J.T. just turned 9 on May 12th. He got a Ripstick for his birthday, and is very good at it. (for those of you that don't know, a ripstick is a skateboard with only 2 wheels) He really enjoys riding that, as well as riding his bike. He has really been into making paper airplanes. For Christmas he got a calendar with a new airplane to fold each day, he has been behind so this week I think he has folded 3 months worth. They are all over the house. J.T. enjoy's attending scouts. He will be going to day camp this summer for the 2nd year in a row. He really loved it last year. He won 1st place in the pinewood derby this year. We only have 3 boys his age in our ward, so they participated with the other ward here. They have 17 boys in their ward, and J.T. was 1st place out of them all. He was very excited about that.
Both big kids got to design theri own rooms before Jackson was born. They turned out nice. Mackenzie's is very bright, with a lot of dots and stripes all over. J.T.'s room is black and white with a huge mural on one wall of his favorite comic characters. John designed the baby's room, so no surprise that it is baby super hero's. They are giant and a little frightening, I'm surprised Jackson isn't freaked out Our friend Mitchell did all of the painting in the boy's rooms.
As for Jackson, he is just the most adorable kid ever. He is so much fun to have. it is really neat to watch the other kids with him. They both love him so much, and fight over who gets to hold him next. They make sure he gets a kiss before they leave for school, and when they get back. They both take really good care of him. We are much more relaxed with Jackson than we were with the other two when they were born. I think that being older makes a huge difference. Jackson is a really good baby he only cries if he is really hungry, or needs something. He is very happy and likes to talk. However, he doesn't like to nap much during the day, but he sleeps good at night, He has slept 7 hours for the past 3 nights (usually it is about 5). He spits fountains, and smells like baby puke most of the time. He loves his softy cow and his sock frog. Most of all we just love him.
I just went back to work this week. I work part time for a local bank, and I enjoy it, but my first shift back was 10 hours (ouch!!). There really is no such thing as bankers hours. We'll see how long it lasts. I may end up quitting to be with the baby. I have been trying to get back in to the healthy lifestyle, but it has been harder this time. John and I have been helping run a Transitions class, hoping that would help, but we have been so busy doing other thins as well, its hard to get it all together.
Ok, for those of you who don't know Transitions is a weight management program that we run through our other business. We sell products through a company called Market America. Most of what we sell are health products, such as vitamins and supplements. Transithion is a low glycemic eating program run through the company. We have both had great success with it and lost quite a bit of weight (that is why we have Jackson). The vitamins and supplements we use are phenominal. they really have made us healthier and we have had numerous benefits. Check out our website .
If you have any questions about the products, or Transitions lifestyle you can email me @ or .
Anyway, I plan on updating this blog as often as I can with fun tidbits from our family as well as lots of pictures. For now this is it.