All posts by Brent Danley

First Snow

Hayley, Skye and Jenna at Fort Williams
Hayley, Skye and Jenna at Fort Williams

Yesterday was our first snow. It also happened to coincide with the Winter Meetup of the Maine Flickr Meetup Group. I also happened not to be working.

Turnout for the meetup was excellent. I met some really great people and reconnected with old friends. Some people took pictures but I mostly talked, which is fine with me. The weather was perfect for the occasion. The snow flakes were large and coming down quite steadily. The girls had fun playing in the snow and throwing snowballs at me.

Continue reading First Snow

Jenna’s New Backpack

Kirsten at L. L. Bean

Jenna’s backpack has holes in the bottom through which even the largest object can apparently disappear. It was time for a new one. Kirsten and I drove to Freeport soon after the bus picked up the girls. It was a fun morning at one of our favorite stores. We purchased the new backpack at a significant discount at the Outlet Store. A kind woman, Gina, was nice enough to break with policy and cut out the old monogram. Otherwise, Jenna would have had to be known simply as “Kristi”. The hour we were told it would take to pick out the old monogram and stitch in “Jenna” only lasted fifteen minutes. Kirsten and I talked while we roamed around the L. L. Bean campus and played with the oh-so-innovative snowball makers.

Jenna loves her new backpack. She gave us huge hugs and thanked us profusely.

Jenna’s new backpack

In the vestibule of the main store there was a large “replica” of Portland Head Light made out of gingerbread and other delicious-looking candies and sweets. They also had a backdrop for photography they do on Saturdays and Sundays. I had Kirsten pose in front of the winter scene. When the girls got home I showed them the image in the camera and told them we drove a long way to be in the snow. They were quite suprised. The looks on their faces were priceless. Skye was sure I had Photoshopped in the background until I reminded her the pictures were still in the camera. :)

Hayley and Daddy Go To War


At Hayley’s recent parent/teacher conference we were told Hayley likes to play “compare”. It is a card game in which the students each flip a card and the student with the higher card gets them both. It’s a lot like the familiar card game War. So, today, I taught Hayley how to play War. And she beat me.

Good job, Hayley. I had a lot of fun with you. You were very fast at determining which was the higher card. Mrs. Arnold is correct, you are competitive!

A Typical Saturday

I didn’t have to work Saturday, which is unusual. The rest of the day was pretty normal. We visited the bookstore and the library. Then we went to Target for some essentials we had been putting off. In the evening Kirsten made cookies. As usual, I stole some of the dough. After the girls went to bed Kirsten and I made a $5 repair to save a $100 blender. Aren’t we boring? We love us, though.

The girls at Portland Public Library

Continue reading A Typical Saturday

Brent: Thanksgiving

I like St. Patrick’s Day because it’s a time to drink beer, pinch people and have a parade. I don’t like most holidays because they’re all about food and getting stuff. Aren’t we fat enough already? And don’t we have enough crap stuffed inside our about-to-be-foreclosed McMansions?

Seriously, the traditions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day and wedding anniversaries are for stupid people and invented by marketers. I’d rather not.

Does that make me a curmudgeon? Getting together with family is wonderful. So is football. But I could do without the feast.

Apple Dessert

When I was a kid my favorite dessert was Apple Dessert. The name couldn’t be less original, I know, but the dessert is wonderful. Skye helped me make it yesterday to surprise Kirsten when she got home from work. Skye turned up her nose when I got out the cheese and really grimaced when I began grating the butter.


Apple Dessert

6 sliced apples
1/4 C hot water
1 t cinnamon
3/4 C flour
1 C sugar
1 C grated cheese
1/2 C grated butter

Peel and slice apples into 13×9″ baking pan. Stir cinnamon into hot water and pour over apples. Combine flour, sugar, grated cheese and grated butter. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 350°F for one hour. Let cool for a bit. Enjoy.

Continue reading Apple Dessert

Gravatars, Oh My! is Gravatar enabled, which means your gravatar will show up next to your comments. Pretty cool, eh?

If you don’t have a gravatar go to and sign up for free. You’ll upload your avatar for each email address with which you blog, set a rating for each and voila!, you’re done. Gravatar enabled sites will search for your nifty little image and place it neatly next to your very interesting comment. Using Gravatars

Brent: Why I Like

My hope for is that it helps us connect with family and friends, tightens the bonds we have with each other and provides a place for the girls to share their creativity with others.

It’s ours. And it’s better than an annual Christmas card. This long-term project is for us but we enthusiastically welcome participation from others. If you have ideas and suggestions please send us an email or leave a comment.

The plan is to have weekly post assignments for the family. We will also be posting whenever else we have something to share (drawings, videos, audio recordings, recipes, pictures, announcements, travelogues, poetry, book reviews, links and stories). With five people regularly posting it should always be fresh.

Anybody can comment on posts (please do!) but all comments will be moderated. Kirsten and I will work hard to keep the site clean and safe.

We hope you enjoy our newly revamped site. Please add our post feed or comment feed to your favorite aggregator and our link to your blogroll.

Finally, A Day Together!

Yesterday Kirsten “called out” so we could spend the day as a family. I’m glad she did. Our work and school schedules rarely allow for us to be together during the day. And the day was absolutely gorgeous. Fleece weather, my favorite. We brought the cameras along.


Kirsten made a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, grits, bacon, orange juice and coffee. How lucky am I?!? Jenna read to us the book, “Fairly Stupid Tales”, which is hilarious, especially the way she reads it. At different parts she is quiet, loud, fast, slow, and inflects her voice where appropriate. It was great fun to listen to, and watch, her read this super silly story.

Does it get any better than this?

Jenna is hilarious! And a terrific reader.


After breakfast we all went to church. Kirsten hasn’t had many experiences with church outside of Mormonism and I really wanted her to see how religion is done right. Hayley and Skye went to Sunday School after the children’s sermon and Jenna stayed with us up on the balcony. It was nice to be alone with her for a short time. Kirsten enjoyed the experience, as did I.

Related posts:
An Atheist and the UCC – Oct. 3, 2008

First Parish Congregational Church of Saco

Skye didn’t have to twist my arm too much to get me to take the family to Portland Head Light. I’m so glad it is becoming one of their favorite places, too.

Related posts:
My Favorite Place – Oct. 14, 2008
My Cathedral – Oct. 27, 2008

We did a family photo then shots of the girls together and individually before releasing them to go play on the rocks. Kirsten and I enjoyed each other’s company as we talked, watched the girls play, and relished being Mainers.

The girls are not allowed in my car
unless they have a book

The Danleys

Directing the models

Our girls

Shooting my baby

Hayley and a light

Skye and a light

Gulls and a light

Jenna and a light

“Just one more.”

I always tell the girls, “just one more”, while we’re doing a shoot. It’s never just one more. It’s become a running joke. After every shot I told them, “just one more”, and by the time I took this they were all in stitches.

No wind machine necessary

The photographer

My sweet Kirsten

Nice photo, Skye


My first trip to Maine was a stopover in Bangor on the way to England. We were dragging across the pond a couple of F-16 fighter aircraft the Belgians had recently purchased. The Maineiacs of the 101st ARW were very good to us. I noticed their sticker on the flagpole at Fort Williams State Park a while ago and have been meaning to take a picture of it ever since.

Frozen Skye

Frozen Danleys

To get their picture walking back to the car I repeatedly told the girls to “freeze!”. Skye seems to have overacted just a bit. :)

The girls always love going to the Children’s Museum of Maine. And, since we have an annual pass, we go whenever they ask. They played for a long time as Kirsten and I talked and flirted with each other. They enjoyed themselves so much they didn’t even get to the second floor by the time we had to leave.


Hayley enjoyed playing in the fire truck

Full Service

Feigning boredom


Children’s Museum of Maine

I hadn’t eaten since breakfast so Kirsten made me one of my favorite meals, a Reuben sandwich. It was wonderful!


Be sure to leave a comment.

I Took the Girls to Boston

Skye has been asking me to take her to Boston for a while now. She loves the city. Her GT (gifted/talented) class is going in four years and she’s wonderfully excited. She said she loves Boston more than she loves Maine.

I have most of this week off work and about a bazillion Choice Privileges Points so I decided to take the girls on a mini-vacation before it gets too cold. Kirsten, unfortunately, had to work. :(

Sunday morning we drove to Boston, parked the car at Quincy Center, and took the Red Line train into Park Street Station. Skye wanted to check out the Granary Burying Grounds so we headed over there. Then we strolled around Washington Street before heading to Marriott’s Custom House (my favorite Boston building) where we would see the city from the 26th floor observation deck.

Park Street Station in the Boston Common

Granary Burying Grounds

Washington Street is a pedestrian shopping
area in downtown Boston

Sitting on mailboxes on Tremont Street

Inside the Custom House Tower

Departing Runway Nine
Graves Light

To see the girls had to climb the short wall

They carried their Halloween candy everywhere

After the girls were too cold to stand out on the observation deck at the Custom House Tower we walked over to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The girls enjoyed running around a fountain and playing on the concrete structures.



Hayley and Skye race and chase


When they finally tired of playing and decided it was time for swimming we walked to Government Center where we boarded the Green Line. At Park Street Station we switched to the outbound Red Line (Braintree) train. The drive to Hull from Quincy was nice. Our hotel was the Clarion Nantasket Beach Resort Hotel and Spa. Our room had a balcony with ocean view, fireplace and whirlpool tub. The girls were very excited! After spending a long time in the swimming pool Jenna and I played Battleship while Skye and Hayley watched Cartoon Network.

Waiting at the oldest subway station in the US

“All aboard!”

Skye loves the subway

Clarion Nantasket Beach (not my photo)

I beat her, but just barely

Monday morning we got all freshened up, went downstairs, and enjoyed a long breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. The girls, especially, loved the buffet. After breakfast we got a late checkout so Skye and Hayley could go swimming again. After a brief swim (and bath) we strolled along the beach in front of the hotel before again driving to Quincy Center to catch the inbound Red Line subway.


I asked Hayley, “Do you not like mornings?” “I do like mornings, I’m just really tired.” She is always the last daughter awake and is usually the last to fall asleep at night. Interesting.

Hayley lost her first tooth!!!

Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Hayley loves to play on the steps

Skye improved her fish skills significantly


I love to read and hang with my girls

One thing the girls miss about
Kansas is having a bathtub

Across the street from our hotel
in Hull, Massachusetts

Clarion Nantasket Beach Resort
Wash me!


My girls

The Red Line back to Boston

The girls insisted that we go to the Custom House Tower again so, after getting off at Downtown Crossing, we ran and walked as fast as we could through the financial district. We got to the Custom House right at two o’clock, which is when the daily tour starts. We were all a bit tuckered out after that. The views were impressive and the weather significantly warmer this day.

City Hall

Boston’s North End

Custom House Tower

After the girls were done at the Tower we took the Blue Line from Aquarium to Government Center where we switched to the Green Line to Boylston Station. Our waitress at the hotel told us we could ride the Swan Boats for a dollar but they weren’t running. So, we walked around the Boston Common and Public Garden and took lots of pictures.

The Blue Line’s Aquarium Station

Boston Common in autumn

Jenna poses in the Boston Public Garden

Hanging out

On a bridge

Under a tree
(Jenna’s idea)

Sitting in leaves

Playing in an empty fountain

The equestrian statue of George Washington

From the Common and Public Garden we made our way up the Commonwealth Avenue Mall to Copley Square and the Boston Public Library.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

Boston Public Library

I love the architecture, design and decorating
of the Central Boston Public Library

When we were done at the library the girls and I were tired and missed Kirsten. Besides, it was getting dark and the mercury was falling. We decided to call it a couple days and head home. On the way home the girls were very hungry (they hadn’t eaten since breakfast) and Jenna asked if we could have dinner at Hooters. We had a great time there (is there any way to not have a great time at Hooters?). Hint: if you ever go to the Hooters in Saugus, Massachusetts, be sure to sit at Tia’s table. She’s stunning and sweet.

Dinner at the Saugus, Massachusetts Hooters

Hooters in Saugus, Massachusetts

It was a wonderful two days in our favorite city, but we were all glad to get home and give Kirsten a great big hug!

These photos were taken with my DSLR, phone and video recorder. Quality varies accordingly.