13 December 2008

Dear Santa - 2008 Edition

As they did in 2006 and 2007, the kids have once again composed a letter to their favorite fat guy.

Dear Santa-

Santa Claus, could you please bring me a princess bobble-head. And, Santa, could you please bring me some princess coloring books, too? And Santa, some feet pajamas, please. I would also like a furry i-Dog that is pink, please. A trumpet, please. I really want some more bath toys please. A box of M&M's that I'll share with Daddy. A hidden Mickey book for Daddy.

I have been very nice to my brother, Alex, this year. One time I gave Alex the controller to play Lego Batman even know I wanted to play it, but I just wanted to be nice. I love my dog better than any other dog in the whole wide world.

My house number is 2823. I love you, Santa Claus.

The end.

Love, Ella

Dear Santa-
May I please have a AT-TE Lego Walker thingee, an AT-AP, or Anikan's Starfighter for Christmas? May I please have an Imperial Walker and a General Grevious action figure that comes with his fighter? May I please have a green plastic light sabre with a hookey thing?

I have been very good this year. I helped my sister learn to read even though we didn't get very far because we needed to leave (it was a crazy Thursday or Wednesday). I also didn't bother my sister while she was writing her letter to you. I also gave her my hot chocolate when she spilled hers.

From, Alex

12 October 2008

An A-maize-ing Time

Why I'm Here

Everybody should have a friend who runs a corn maze. One of our favorite fall traditions is to visit the Maize Quest Corn Maze, which is owned and operated by our fine friend Hugh. There are so many different attractions and other fun things to do that it is basically what Disney World would be like if it were on a farm in Pennsylvania. Our favorites this year were the Bamboo Maze, the Corn Box, the Pumkin express, and the Super Slide (I may be making these names up). We had more success with the actual corn maze this year, but ran out of time to finish. Maybe next time.

In addition to all the fun things to do, and the great weather (thanks be to Dave), it is also great to see a bunch of our friends, and their offspring. It is quite a group we've put together.

So thanks to Janie and Hugh for hosting what I would say is the best Corn Maze visit yet!

Here are some more shots. Click through for bigger versions.


Gang Sign

Future Usses

20 June 2008

A Parade, A Carnival, and a Sandwich

candyMan slide carnivalers

It is the time of year again when Adamstownians thoughts turn toward the Carroll Manor Fire Company Carnival. It is hard for me to believe that this is now the 5th year in a row that we've enjoyed the festivities. (See the reports for 2006 and 2007)

This year we went on parade night. The parade consists mainly of various shapes, sizes, and colors of fire trucks from Frederick and surrounding counties. The kids love the parade for the same reason they love Halloween - free candy from strangers. I think the parade is sorely lacking a marching band or three. I'm almost tempted to dust off the old saxophone and organizing a band. Maybe next year.

It was then down to the carnival itself. It was mostly the same rides from years past. The kids branched out a bit though, and went down the big slide thing that is named "Slide". They also rode some old favorites including the carousel and the bugs.

As for the sandwich, well, my favorite part of the carnival is officially the pit beef sandwich. Love me the pit beef.

12 June 2008

Wordle Cloud


This is how all the tags from my Flickr photostream look in a Wordle. The bigger the font, the more the tag was used.

Click through to the picture for links to instructions on how to make your own.

02 June 2008

Life in a Tent


Back in the day there was a Memorial Day camping tradition, the stories from which have grown into legends. Now many, many years and a week later, I found myself once again sleeping in a tent in the woods.

This time the cast of characters included we four Roths along with two neighbor families, totalling six adults and eight kids. The venue was Cunningham Falls State Park. On Friday night, we loaded our Outback to the brim, and made the short drive north on Route 15 to begin our adventure.

Despite nearly a decade in its bag, I was glad to discover my REI tent was complete and intact, as was my memory of how to set it up. It was not long before we were all settled around the campfire, roasting some dogs, and washing them down with some beer.

BreakfastSaturday morning dawned with signs of ominous weather. I know this because I was awakened well before said dawn by my light sleeping son who was more anxious than I to begin the day. By the time the bacon was sizzling over the fire, it was clear the weather was not going to cooperate with our plans of outdoor fun and adventure.

We managed to wait out most of the storm in nearby Gettysburg, PA enjoying the adventure of Indiana Jones. It was then back to the campground where the last hour of the storm we spent in The Kingdom of the Crowded Tent - which was more than enough time.

Luckily, the weather broke, and we were able to hike up to the falls which were overflowing with water from the rains and rednecks from our campground. The kids enjoyed the hike, and the boy especially enjoyed the challenge of the river.

Into the Woods

Walk on Water

After this hike, one of the two families we were camping with, whose tent had not done so well at keeping the outside out, bugged out. The rest of us stuck around for another tasty meal cooked over the campfire. Then the other family also decided to call it a trip, leaving the Mighty Roths as the sole survivors of the expedition. We decided to stay the night, and so I was able to once again see the dawn, thanks to that same son I mentioned a couple paragraphs ago.

We struck camp, reloaded the Outback, and said goodbye to campsite 73. We stopped off at the lake to play for a bit, then headed back home. All in all, it was a good trip.

29 May 2008


So my grand intentions to keep this more up-to-date lasted about 1 week. Here are some of the things that have happened since last we left you:

  • On May 17-18 we were in Pennsylvania for a family reunion, an AED dedication in memory of my mom at her church, and a wedding reception for my cousin in Philly.
  • On May 24-26 we were in North Carolina for my brother's third annual Pig Pickin'. The traffic getting to and from NC was terrible, but the food more than made up for it. We even got bonus BBQ at Bullock's in Durham.
  • Last night, Shelley and I saw Ben Folds in concert. It was a great show, and one of the best concert experiences I've ever had.
  • If I take a good picture today, it will be 150 in a row for my photo-a-day odyssey.

So there is your brief synopsis of the last couple weeks. You can see some photos of some of these over on Flickr.

12 May 2008

Let's Talk About Six

Episode VI

Another Saturday, another birthday. This time it was Alex celebrating the sixth anniversary of his birth (as my dad would say). Some number of kindergartners descended on our house for this Star Wars themed palooza. We armed each kid with a lightsaber, and surprisingly, no one was injured. I heard that Darth Vader even made an appearance, but I was not around at the time to verify this.

A good time seemed to be had by all, and since nothing was destroyed, we'll consider the force to have been with us.

05 May 2008

Thirty Six, Twenty Six...

You may remember a year ago that Shelley celebrated her 35th birthday by running a half marathon. For a normal person, that would be enough. Not so for Shelley.

For this year's Shellebration, she decided to run a full marathon (that's 26.2 miles for those of you not up on the lingo). Despite her advancing years, she ran a good strong race and finished in the top third in her bracket. Here she is crossing the finish line:


So I guess the big question now is, when she turns 37, will she run 39.2 miles or 52.4?

02 March 2008

What do Green and Yellow Make?

Wrapping up the final two weeks of the Color Theory Challenge, I present to you Green and Yellow:





Holding On For Spring


20 February 2008

The First 50

Here is an overview of the first 50 days of my photo a day odyssey sorted by awesomeness:


Beyond learning to spell "odyssey", this exercise has been a good challenge for me. I hope that forcing my self to shoot a good picture everyday, no matter what, is making me into a better photographer. I guess we'll see where things stand 316 days from now.

Thanks to everyone who has been following along, and especially to the two people who have left comments. Also thanks to my fine friends at Zooomr for providing inspiration and feedback.

17 February 2008

Week O' Blue

Continuing the Color Theory Challenge for the month of February, this past week's color was blue:




09 February 2008

Seeing Red

Trevor Carpenter, over at PhotoChallenge.org is have a Color Theory Challenge for the month of February. The idea is that:

What is Color Theory? Well, for our purposes it is basically making a concerted
effort to capture an image with one single color overwhelming the majority of
the image. Basically, your photo should be primarily one color. Be creative
though, I’d love to see photos that capture a color in a new and unorthodox way.
Since one the challenges I am finding in trying to shoot a good photo-a-day (going strong after 40 days) is finding ideas for subject matter, this challenge is a boon to my muse.
Here are my favorite three for the Week of Red:




10 January 2008

Roth 365


Every day of our lives is precious in that each one will never come again. There should be at least one thing everyday that is worth seeing and worth remembering. Too often we don't see these things because we are too busy with other things or because we are simply not looking.

A few months ago, Thomas Hawk published his Principles and Guidelines for the Modern Photowalker. In this post Thomas said

I see more of the world when I have my camera with me. I notice things that I wouldn't otherwise. People's expressions, architecture, the sky...When I am out walking my eyes are open. I see the world in color. In all its splendor and
beauty. People are more real, more alive. The world is a far, far, more
beautiful place.

The second of his principles was "Shoot every day. You eat every day. You drink water every day. You breath every day don't you? So shoot every day too." Based on this advice, I've decided to take this challenge and shoot a good picture every day - no matter what.

I have two goals for doing this. The first is to improve my photography. I have to hope that putting time and effort into something every day will make me better at it. The second reason is that I want to change the way I see the world. I want to notice what would otherwise go unnoticed and appreciate it.

I'm only ten days into this odyssey, but so far so good. You can see and follow this effort at Roth365. Please visit when you have the chance, and if you feel compelled, leave me some comments for encouragement.