Saturday, December 27, 2008

Frosted

That would be us - with ice though instead of frosting! Rich's family Christmas has been postponed a day due to the slippery stuff. We'll most likely have a smaller group and miss a few people we don't get to see often, but walking outside is more like skating at the moment - definately not safe for travel.

We'll manage to have a fun day though, playing with our Christmas Legos, games, and dollhouses. Rich is currently working on building Sarah's Dollhouse, having finished Mira's yesterday. Well, finished as in assembled. We'll wait on adding the gingerbread until it is painted, and painting will wait until all are built and the girls decide on colors and the shingling will happen after that, but the first order of business is actual playing. I'm actually a little jealous as two of the houses have milled hardwood floors already installed and the siding is size appropriate. Then again, I get to play with all 3 and help each girl paint & I can sew them bedding and curtains - even more fun playing with them than just working on my own dollhouse!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!

Everything here is ready for the holiday. Cookies and bread and all sorts of yummies for tonights Christmas Eve Dinner - you should have smelled the house yesterday, especially when we had the dried fruit stewing with it's lemon peel, cloves and allspice, and the rye bread with it's grated orange peel, cloves and ginger. Heavenly. Even better was having the girls 'help'. Natasha and Sarah can both claim a dish as being 'theirs.' Never thought I'd be handing duties over so quickly but it's wonderful having them in the kitchen. Yes I took photos, and no, you probably won't see them until I make my December album after Christmas.

Need to wrap a few presents with the girls yet. The Traditional Polish dinner will be mid afternoon. No guests this year, just cozy with us as my parents are with my sisters family in Georgia preparing much the same meal - how comforting is that? Family presents will be exhanged this evening under the tree & by the fire. Probably not soon enough for the girls, espcially as they did some of their own shopping for family members this year.

After that, church. Mira is old enough that we'll be able to attend the late service this year with it's beautiful pre-service music. Actually, we've realized that as full and warm as the church gets combined with all the excitement of the day, she'll actually sleep through either service. So we may as well go to the late service where Natasha will be acolyting and I'll be helping with communion. A beautiful way to end the day, bringing focus back to the reason for the celebration.


Wesoyich Swiat! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crash! and a good Ramses update.

Crash
Yesterday I was in the living room and heard a snap. then the tree started to fall. Luckily a small table caught the top, keeping the entire tree from hitting the floor or we would have lost more ornaments. My neighbor helped prop the tree up so I could wipe up the water underneath the tree and the lego base plates - had to dismantle much of the lego village we build every year to get at the water. Then we managed to loosen the bolts, lean the tree into the corner, and tighten everything again. It's still standing with a small cutting board wedged under the bent part of the base to keep it level and all our handweight/dumbells weighing it down, just in case.

Turns out the 'crack' I heard was the baseplate of the stand giving way. Rich thinks there was a stress problem with the steel, and that it wasn't high enough guage. Ok, so we did have all the ornaments on 1/2 of the tree, given that it was in the corner. And it IS a heavy tree given that it has been drinking a gallon of water a day. Still - did it have to fall on the ornament side? At least 50 ornaments fell off, and we lost a good few, though at least 20 breakable ornaments on the floor and table were unharmed - only separated from their tops and hangars still on the tree. We collect ornaments every year and everyone here has ornaments from when they were babies. Each and every one holds memories of Christmases past. Thankfully none of the 'vintage' ornaments broke. I do remember buying the ones that broke - a large raspberry, a golden walnut, a sparkly plum -half of which is still missing, somewhere in the tree I think! A beautifully shaped golden and glass ornament, one of the old old old gold glass balls that glitter from way inside the tree, and a few others. The ones that make me saddest are the glass ball handpainted with a Polish scene on the inside (If I'm not mistaken it was actually made in Poland) and a heavy glass ball, painted with a snowy night and a santa-hat wearing cat atop a chimney. That one must have hit the edge of the table as it was quite thick. And the little white church with steeple and gold windows and doors that Rich & I purchased together was smashed too.

When Rich came home at lunch to survey the damage I joked about wanting to buy a package of clear glass ornaments and put the crushed pieces of ornaments inside and hang those on the tree. You know, I just may do it!

Ramses
Ramses is doing well. We decided that as his cancer is an agressive one and not curable, we couldn't risk making his last few months miserable with surgery and chemo. We're told the average GOOD, quality of life time he might get out of that would be 6 months, and that is IF he goes into remission. As when he was ill last Spring, his back legs have started to not want to cooperate, making getting on & off the couch & beds difficult at times. Dr. Allison thinks he probably has an infection somewhere, so we'll start him on tuna-flavored antibiotics today to help with that. Otherwise he is asking for wet food several times daily, going outside to explore on nice days, doing his business quickly on nasty cold days, and cuddling and purring and generally being happy. I believe he knows - sometimes he just sits on my lap looking seriously into my eyes. The drooling irritates him too but getting his chin wiped and head scratched generally sets him purring again. Having this extra time with him is a gift we all appreciate.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Heartbroken

We've been enjoying December and Advent, setting up the tree, St. Nicholas came to visit and so much more that I want to document. I actually have been in a little notebook, but haven't much felt like posting as planned. Really, I was going to, seeing as we are staying home now for who knows how long, and I LOVE Christmas traditions.

Remember last spring when Ramses went through all sorts of tests, but ended up only needing 2 teeth pulled? (they were very very infected). When we came home from Thanksgiving he was again drooling blood onto my comfortor. Scared my poor best friend who had been watching the cats over the weekend. Thought, "Ok, it's that tooth Dr. Tom told us to watch out for." As it was I just couldn't squeeze it in to call for two days, so finally last Wednesday I dropped him off so he could be seen while I was still running around with the girls activities. We have the most wonderful caring vets.

That same Wednesday, Dr. Allison called back with the news that his remaining teeth are perfect, not even tartar present, and he's 13-14 years old! He has a tumor on his palate, looks like a HUGE canker sore, and deep. I agreed to some X-rays which came back clear, and his lymph nodes feel good. She gave me some faint hopes and we sent off a sample for biopsy. Unfortunately due to various reasons I didn't have much hope for the faint hopes, but they helped me hold it together for the girls this past week. We really haven't said much to them while waiting for test results, but he is receiving extra caresses and wet food.

Ramses was actually down a pound in weight, and now I realize that when he looked up at me in the kitchen the previous week he was not asking for fresh water (as he often does) but for wet food. Since being on the wet food he appears to have stopped bleeding from the lesion. He still drools about as much as some teething toddlers, but otherwise he is still himself, if not a little more affectionate after finally getting over being mad at me for bringing him to the vet in the first place. If you don't receive a Christmas Card this year it'll be because he has occupied my lap every night and I haven't the heart to put him off.

So, to today's news from Dr. Allison. It is mouth cancer - squamous cell carcinoma. Which is usually agressively invasive. They can surgically try to take as much as possible, but due to location know they will not get it all. Then we'd need to try Radiation or chemo. In the end, this would only buy him time. How much, no idea. I certainly don't want him to suffer more just for a few months. It's really hard to think about making these decisions when the only change you see is drool. We'll be finding more in the next few days as we hear from the internist who participated in his care last Spring who also happens to have an interest in oncology. Natasha has a band concert tonight and Rich is out of town, so we'll wait until Wednesday to start talking to the girls. Wish me luck, I cry at sappy commercials so this will be tough. And I've had a week to process some of the info.

Until then, any loud purring you hear would be that of Ramses getting extra loving and head scratching.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving and a list

Another happy car trip, except for the snowy stop & go traffic on the way home. Yes, stop and go in IOWA people! But we made it home and were not one of the people in the ditch. Yay!.

We spent Thanksgiving at the White Eagle Restaurant (wonderful dinner, pierogis, sigh) with family, celebrating my Aunt & Uncles 50th wedding anniversary. It was lovely catching up with everyone and watching the 8 second cousins go from sitting across the table staring at each other to running up & down the (wide) hall outside the banquet rooms to pouting that it was time to go home. Hours later.

The rest of the weekend?
  • Our standard stop Dollhouse/train store is gone gone gone. So sad.
  • Lego store stops (yes, multiple!)
  • Running Grandpa around on the playground, heehee. We ALL slept well that night!
  • An EARLY morning for breakfast at the Walnut Rooom at State Street Marshall Fields, oh all right, Macy's. Of course we the first in line. Aren't we always? Tradition is lovely.
  • Visit with Santa
  • American Girl Place where Natasha could scarcely catch her breath.
  • Free Michigan Avenue Trolley Ride.
  • Christkindlmarket at Daly Plaza for potato pancakes and applesauce, bratwurst, hot spiced Gluhwein and keepsake mugs. Shopping the booths for pewter oranements and more.
  • Playing games with Grandpa and building Fairy houses for Oma's Fairies.

The list? I lifted it from Amanda (look for her blog over on the right, she's the sweet friend who occassionally posts, hint hint you family who are reading!) who lifted it from Heather's blog. The things I've done are in bold/italic and I have to echo Amanda's thought that some of the things NOT bolded are not all things I would want to do. You 'll know which ones. How about you?

  1. Started your own blog
  2. Slept under the stars
  3. Played in a band. YES, Marching band does too count!
  4. Visited Hawaii
  5. Watched a meteor shower
  6. Given more than you can afford to charity . More than I thought I could afford. Doesn't count though.
  7. Been to Disneyland. World, not Land.Twice.
  8. Held a praying mantis
  9. Climbed a mountain. Does on a barely there path count?
  10. Sang a solo. Just not in public!
  11. Bungee jumped
  12. Visited Paris
  13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
  14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
  15. Adopted a child
  16. Had food poisoning
  17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (well, as far as you can nowadays)
  18. Grown your own vegetables
  19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
  20. Slept on an overnight train
  21. Had a pillow fight
  22. Hitch hiked
  23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
  24. Built a snow fort
  25. Held a lamb
  26. Gone skinny dipping
  27. Run a Marathon
  28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
  29. Seen a total eclipse
  30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
  31. Hit a home run
  32. Been on a cruise
  33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
  34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
  35. Seen an Amish community
  36. Taught yourself a new language
  37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
  38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
  39. Gone rock climbing
  40. Seen Michelangelos David
  41. Sung karaoke
  42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
  43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
  44. Visited Africa
  45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
  46. Been transported in an ambulance
  47. Had your portrait painted
  48. Gone deep sea fishing
  49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
  50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
  52. Kissed in the rain
  53. Played in the mud
  54. Gone to a drive-in theater
  55. Been in a movie
  56. Visited the Great Wall of China
  57. Started a business
  58. Taken a martial arts class
  59. Visited Russia
  60. Served at a soup kitchen
  61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (with my daughters)
  62. Gone whale watching
  63. Gotten flowers for no reason
  64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
  65. Gone sky diving
  66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
  67. Bounced a check
  68. Flown in a helicopter
  69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
  70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
  71. Eaten Caviar
  72. Pieced a quilt Halfway there? My mom is great at this!
  73. Stood in Times Square7
  74. Toured the Everglades
  75. Been fired from a job
  76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
  77. Broken a bone
  78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
  79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
  80. Published a book
  81. Visited the Vatican
  82. Bought a brand new car
  83. Walked in Jerusalem
  84. Had your picture in the newspaper
  85. Read the entire Bible
  86. Visited the White House
  87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
  88. Had chickenpox
  89. Saved someone's life
  90. Sat on a jury
  91. Met someone famous
  92. Joined a book club
  93. Lost a loved one
  94. Had a baby
  95. Seen the Alamo in person
  96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
  97. Been involved in a law suit
  98. Owned a cell phone
  99. Been stung by a bee
  100. Read an entire book in one day

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wedding in New York

I'll start with the reason for the trip, this gorgeous couple, Rich's nephew David and his beautiful bride Meghan (she's even nicer than she is gorgeous, they are a perfect match). Photos were taken at a park with both the Brooklyn and Mahattan Bridges in the background. It had been raining hard earlier in the day (it's good luck you know) but thankfully stopped so they could have the photos they wanted.At the rehearsal dinner Meghan presented the girls with these beautiful sweaters. No one wanted to take them off! Don't they look sweet?Here's Ms. Mira, happily twirling in her dress and her sweater. She was confused about the wedding at first, not remembering Meghan and thinking she was going to see her teacher who is also Miss Meghan. However, after watching our Meghan all evening and receiving the sweater at the rehearsal dinner, she drew a picture in her 'field journal' of 'The New Miss-Meghan Girl' and getting her sweater!

I know some of you have been waiting to see the dresses, well, here they are. I am SO happy how they turned out. The girls loved them. All the kids took a liking to each other at the rehearsal dinner, were thrilled to find out our rooms at the hotel were just across the hall, and played at the pool together the morning of the wedding. By the time this photo was taken they were quite good friends.

Finally, us. Rich & Natasha thinks it looks like we are standing in front of a green screen, because it was so grey out while the girls dresses reflected so much light. I assure you that is the real Brooklyn Bridge behind us! I'm sure the photographers' photo will turn out much better. I really wish I had left my hair down as I look so much younger without the white streaks showing on the sides, sigh, but it was fun to have it done by someone else!Isn't that man next to me handsome? Those girls are pretty darling too.

Journals and a quick synopsis

Hello! I'm back from Chicago, and we've gone and returned from New York which you will be hearing alot about in the days to come. And now we're getting ready to spend Thanksgiving with more family.

It's really been a lovely few weeks. I finally sat down to do the rare scrapbook page yesterday (just wait until January-March when I do most of my scrapbooking). This page is based on a challenge to do a tone-on-tone monochromatic black page, with just a splash of color (thanks Missy!). Perfect inspiration for this pair of Halloween photos. Bit cloudy today, so the page looks more washed out than it really is. The silvery looking flowers, birds, falling leaves etc. are actually black rub-ons, the obviously white pieces at the corner were my 'splash'. Sorry for labeling you as Creepy honey, but, well... it fits in this rare instance!

We were SO tired after all we walked to and saw while in New York that the girls and I are STILL working on finishing up our trip journals, shown here:

My Journal is small enough to fit in my purse or coat pocket and has a magnetic closure - perfect for this trip. I prefer to support the scrapbook stores but I found mine at Target for under $2. Natasha and Sarah's journals came from Memory Bound with tabbed dividers and enough lined pages for each day, as well as an elasticized closure. Mira's is perfect for her - blank white pages on both sides. She calls it her 'Field Journal'!!! Here's the inside of my journal:

Sarah and Natasha are writing their fave parts of each day as well as adding some drawings. Sarah cannot wait to show her friends on Monday. She is also putting together a poster complete with photographs, and has already told them that the subway goes under the water and all about the Statue of Liberty and her 'patina' of green. Mira 'draws' in her journal and then tells me in detail what she is drawing, and I write down exactly what she says because her drawings of the Statue of Liberty and the Ferry and the subway and the bridge all look very similar!

Amanda, I promise to post my list sometime soon - thanks for tagging me. Now, who do I know besides you who blogs? One more post for today, then it's off to sit by the fire planning Christmas cards and helping Sarah with her poster.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Headed Out today

I get to drive to Chicago all by myself. In the rain. Boohoo.

Ok, It's true.
  • I will get to listen to whatever music I want, as loud as I want, the whole way there.
  • I will stop at rest stops and not worry about what little hands are touching (Stop that - eeeewwww!)
  • I get to stop at the outlet mall on the way to buy a new pair of shoes. Hey - I need stretch breaks too. Grin.
  • I will get to sleep in a bed ALL by myself, no little feet or hands whacking me, or complaining when we try to put her in her own bed. Which never works anyway.
  • I will get to spend a little time with my parents looking at Norway trip photos.
  • I will get to eat good food and have real conversations with grown-ups without being interrupted and learn new things.
  • I may even get to do my nails and have them stay looking nice for a few days. Well ok. Maybe after Friday's Organic Farm Tour.
  • When I get home Tuesday our new mattresses will be delivered. Is it mean I'm happy that Rich won't get to sleep on them before me?
But I will miss those warm little cuddles and sweet smiles and kisses and reading books at bedtime.

In the meantime, Rich will take over all the crazy drop-off/pick-up school times, picking up and delivering Birthday snacks to school, etc. etc.. The girls will spend Saturday at Aunt Vicki's, who has a broken foot. Sounds like recipe for fun doesn't it? Natasha can take care of Mira's little girl needs though and hopefully they won't make too much of a mess. Rich will be marching with the alumni band at homecoming. I hope the weather stays dry and warms up a bit for him (and all the other Cyclone fans as well).

I'll be back just in time for Sarah's Birthday Dinner Monday night. Don't worry - her presents are already wrapped with love. Then we'll get ready for her Faerie Birthday party next week. Can't wait!

Did I say anything about last weeks school conferences? All good. Perfect. Love these kids.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Apple goodness

Still happily sewing while the family is out playing and mowing in the sunshine. I promise to be out in it tomorrow, celebrating fall and leaves and the warm weather while it lasts. We'll head to an orchard we found last year (the one we went to religiously every fall for years was sold a few years ago and is now a housing development, harumph). This new orchard has a corn maze, a hay bale maze, hay rides, pumpkin patches, goats, sheep, chickens and old school room, and of course, many many different types of apples. We're the pick-it-yourself kind of family.

Doubtless Mira will take a bite out of every 3rd apple she picks :). She's been helping herself to the neighbors bag of apples several times a day already. Oh yes, we are picking more even though we have such bounty here. You can't have too many locally grown fresh apples, can you? We must have enough for lunches until Christmas, applesauce, and to can much more for tarts, pies, and this yummy cake that I made yesterday. We each had a slice with Christmas Egg dish for breakfast. I know, I said the C word twice. I'm not ready to go there yet. Just know that it was the perfect dish for a cool Fall morning when for once we were all here to sit down and enjoy breakfast together without having to rush off somewhere.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall Hiatus

Sorry that I have been gone - I keep thinking of things I want to share and post, but we have been busy:
  • Sewing on that beautiful silk (I now have the Baguette silk in my possession too). I think silk is my favorite material to sew with!
  • Canning harvest - tomatoes, and apples. Our neighbors tree is laden with fruit - as she said you could almost hear it groaning. I've heard several people in our neighborhood say that this year! It's been wonderful for us : apples with caramel, baked apples, apples fresh from the bowl and apple tarts have been gracing our table and we haven't yet been to the orchard. Yesterday I canned the remainder of our pickings as cinnamon apple slices in syrup for pie/tarts, and just as I started them processing, our neighbor knocked on the back door with another bagfull! Blessed bounty - apples AND neighbors.
  • Suffering. (only me) Had a good two weeks but the arthritis is not playing nice. Pooh. Just restarted one of my meds half strength - had to stop for a few weeks due to side effects.
  • Nature walks: Mira and I have been pressing leaves like crazy, and the weather has been just perfect for Fall walks - cool and breezy and yet just warm enough to go without jackets most days. The girls have started raking small piles of leaves, and shaping them into thin curvy rows to delineate rooms under trees & such. Rooms for Faieries of course!
  • Scrapping: My friend wonderful friend Karen travelled from Omaha Saturday to scrap with me at Memory Bound. I managed to decorate travel journals for each of the girls (upcoming New York Weddding, you know), and finish 8 pages.
  • Committee busy-work. Between church, the girls school, and my professional volunteer work, I've been rather busy. All my committees seem to be ultra busy in Fall, but it's all good.
  • Softball. Sarah missed a few practices due to rain, fingers smashed in the car door (amazingly they were only slightly bruised, much less than my nerves and heart were at the time it happened), and a recent fever. But she has played in a few games and has enjoyed them immensely. What a great group of girls (and parents) on her team.

I promise to be back soon - I still have much I want to share!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wedding preparations

Our nephew is getting married later this fall, and the 3 girls are going to be flower girls, all wearing matching dresses made of the beautiful blue silk you see here. The baguette colored silk will be the color of the sashes/shoes. Isn't it gorgeous? These are just two of the colors the bride has chosen, in addition to the pretty chocolate color on the save the date magnets (how clever! We are taking notes, though it will be many years off - forever if Rich has any say in the matter -, but someday we will need these ideas for our own girls). I'd tell you more, but I don't know how much she has shared with everyone, or if it is just to be a beautiful elegant treat for all to feast on. So I will keep what little more I know to myself. Just know it is going to be gorgeous - not that that matters, I can feel the happiness and excitement radiating from half the country away!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

School photos

Natasha's first day smile. Isn't she sweet? Love the outfit, the bag overstuffed with supplies (by Haiku, her most treasure object at the moment).

The smile was kinda forced. She was happy about the clothes & bag and all, but the first day of middle school is a bit daunting, even with all the get-acquainted activities she attended. The smile every day since has been genuine, and she is quite comfortable with her schedule and classes, even likes all her teachers. The bag, well, even with half the supplies left in classrooms and lockers, it's still quite stuffed! And now she is carting her trumpet back and forth.

Sarah's smile was genuine. Same school, a teacher she loves (the same one Natasha had in 2nd grade), several friends in her class, and getting to go to a Third grade classroom every day for math. What could be better? Oh yes - a new outfit. Laugh!


Mira won't start for another week. Oh, and the driving routine is getting easier. Drop off lines are much shorter now and Natasha and I have found the perfect spot for pick up!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Day of School - after-school installment

Did I mention anything about the drop-off lines earlier? Well, the pick up lines are just as crazy. Crazier perhaps. School gets out at 2:30. There is a nice circle drive for drop-off/pick ups. It's about as big as the drive through the elementary school parking lot, which I don't even want to talk about. It's too SCARY.

Well, as I said school is out at 2:30. I figured, 5 minutes for getting through the hallway jam, figuring out which books need to come home, and add a few more minutes to wrangle with the new combination & chat with friends... I'll leave the house at 2:30. Arrive at 2:45, circle drive will be a breeze. Right? I drive down the street - see gaggles of kids walking a few blocks away from the school. Cool. No one in line to get into the circle drive. Cool. I'm being directed back towards the parking lot - not cool. There stands Natasha, with a few dozen other kids waiting for rides. She can't get in yet because cars are coming the other way. So I drive to the back of the school, around the teacher parking lot, back towards the front of the school and finally get her into the car. It is 2:55. There are still 25-ish cars behind me. WOW. I don't mind, but WOW! While she gets in I ask and am told by the teacher doing the directing this is NOT a first day or rainy-day occurance, this is everyday.

I think we will arrange a pick-up spot somewhere else. She can walk a few blocks with the gaggles of other kids, right? Or maybe not if it is raining. But I could probably leave earlier to meet her at a corner and then she won't have to wait as long with her heavy bag of books and we'll have more time to talk. Or for her to start on homework before her sisters come home from school & preschool. But today we still had plenty of time sitting in our turned off car in an actual parking spot (hint hint elementary school parents) to talk about her day. It was a good day. She says all her teachers are nice. She had lunch with friends. She is happy. I am happy.


First Day of school

Wow - that came up fast. Natasha was a little nervous last night, but this morning both girls were up and ready early. I managed to get Natasha to school and myself home in time for Rich to get to work... but that will need a bit more tweaking. I forgot about the high school traffic on my planned route. And the drop-off lines - WOW. She'll probably end up walking from a block away. Then again, neither will "first day of school photos" slow us down the rest of the year. Or maybe once the snow flies I'll just get the other girls up a little earlier, and Sarah can get to school a little earlier instead of being dropped off "just in time". Waiting in the gym with her classmates for 15, 20, 25 minutes is probably a good thing for a sociable kid anyway, right? She can read a book too... Hehe, going out for hot chocolate every day before school would be fun, but a bit expensive and I think Natasha wouldn't appreciate being left out of that! No, buses are not available. I knew what I was signing up for when I open enrolled my kids. Their schools are a perfect fit for them, so it's worth it. We'll figure it out before long.

Despite the rainy morning, I was able to take a few wonderful 1st day photos of them (no traditional front porch photo this year). Natasha with her overloaded messenger bag of supplies and walking up the school, and Sarah with her teacher.

Mira of course then wanted her photo taken with her backpack, and keeps telling me "My teacher told me my classroom is ready". LOL, her preschool teacher visited earlier in the week, so Mira is all excited. But she doesn't get to start until after labor Day, and then only 3 afternoons a week. I need my baby time, if you can still call her a baby. I enjoy every minute. In the meantime I am once again her best friend in the absence of her sisters. We've read books, packed her bento lunch (for todays Barber shop visit where my summer/pool bleached scraggly ends have magically disappeared), and washed dishes together. She talks non-stop, but in the last 2 months with her beloved sisters at home to entertain her and play Barbie or dress-up on demand, very little of it has been directed at me. I'll have to get used to 4 hours of her sweet little stories again!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Have a Fun Part 3: Bombers, Fizz, Pops and Panthers:

This Spring Sarah moved up from Tee-ball to softball, and has played on 4 different teams during the year. (Ok, the competetive team at her age level had enough girls for two teams during some tournaments, but still, that counts!). She had an excellent coach during the regular season team (The Bombers), and has improved tremendously! She enjoyed herself so much that she wanted to play on the competition team, even though our vacation coincided with two of the weekend long tournaments. We agreed, partly because of her enthusiasm, and partly because that team was headed by the same coach and his wife, who still holds some State highschool softball records (and they welcomed her despite not being able to attend all the tournaments). The extra practice really helped her skills, and she was still able to play during the tournament hosted by our Little League before we left (on the Pops), and another local tournemant after we returned (on the Fizz). There were so many girls in her age group they split into two teams, sponsored by Jones Soda, hence the team names.

After a few weeks break and a camping trip with some of the softball families, practice started up again for a local fall League. This time though, many of the girls are moving up a level, so everyone will officially be Panthers for the rest of the competitive League, allowing girls to step between age groups to fill in if needed so each team has enough girls to play. What's nice is that even though our coaches are also moving up (their daughter is a year older than Sarah), the two teams are still practicing together. After all, this years team (well, whoever sticks with it) will all be together again in '10, and '12 . Yes, I really see Sarah sticking with it. Nevermind the friends she has made, she loves the sport. When I have told her she looks cute with her hair in ponytails or in one of her many ball caps, she corrects me with "I'm not cute mom, I'm sporty!" She is still my girly girl preferring her skirts, the pinker, lacier, or floucier the better, but just as often now she prefers to wear her practice clothes, slider included. We opted out of the pitching/catching camp for this year, but it is definately something on her list of things to do.
In other sporty news, I am slowly getting back on track with exercise after a long summer of hanging out in the baby pool - SO much exercise potential there! My arthritis, which has not been much of a problem since my first flare up years ago, has been horrible this summer. Still working on controlling it, but at least now I am able to go workout & go for walks. Natasha really wanted this summer to be about early morning walks with Mom before everyone woke up, and early morning (or morning at all) was just not a good time for me. So perhaps we will be doing that this fall before her early morning school start.
Natasha is alooking forward to trying out for Track at the middle school next week already, and of course Basketball later in the Fall. Looking to visit? Plan on attending a game somewhere!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Have a Fun Part 2:

After our vacation we took a day to unpack, survery the rain soaked garden, blah blah blah. Then we hopped right back in the car and headed out to the Quad Cities Air show. It's been a few years since I could attend (small babies vs. the heat & sun sort of thing). So I was excited to see the Blue Angels and everything else. Natasha loved it, though she was quite startled by a Blue Angel sneak attack and dropped to her knees from a standing position as the sound wave hit us from behind. We giggled over that for quite some time. Mira was interested in the planes and then napped in her chair part of the time! Sarah, well, she thinks it is too loud. She loves the planes though somehow she thinks closing her eyes and looking down while covering her ears will help keep the sound out? Here Natasha is helping her to see part of the show while keeping her ears covered. THIS is what she considers to be the best part of an air show - the food. So because of the "loudness"and Sarah's droopy sad face when told about the next air show, I did not go with Natasha and Rich as they travelled to Omaha for the Offut Air Show yesterday. (Well, that and a certain potty training little girl.) Natasha and Rich had a blast and were barely in the door last night before it all came spilling out.

More tomorrow!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Do Your Best and Have a Fun

The title of this post came from some funny translated directions in one of Rich's model kits. Funny, but appropriate to our summer. I really did plan to keep up blogging this summer, but all my girls are young enough to still want to hang out at the pool with me. So even though I want to type that I am sorry for not keeping you informed, I'm really not. I have had a GREAT summer vacation and am rather sad it is coming to an end.

We have had SO much fun. Many trips to the library and the pool, sleepovers, blowing bubbles, Adventureland, swimming at the pool, camping, playing badminton (badly) in the backyard, swimming at the pool, Art classes, piano lessons, picnics at the Rose Garden, the Iowa State Fair, and softball to name just a few things.

Have I mentioned swimming? Natasha and Sarah both braved the Diving Board this year, and now Sarah spends most of her time over at the diving well. She even went off the high dive a few times, till she leaned a bit too far forward. Not quite a belly flop, but not very fun either. Natasha could have gone off the diving boards long ago. She always did well enough diving during swimming lessons, except for the fact that obviously timid and young swimmers have to pass a deep water swim test, and Natasha just didn't feel comfortable asking a lifeguard to tell her what to do. Oh, and nevermind the long (fast moving) lines full of gangly teenage boys goofing around. But with a big sister to follow, Sarah had no trouble looking like she knew what she was doing, climbing the ladder for the first time and jumping enthusiastically off into the deep. Swim test? Who needs a swim test? Me, I get to sit in 2 foot deep water while Mira pours more water over my head. Our favorite pool just closed today for the season. So did our second favorite, so for the last 3 days before school we will be heading to a new pool - the only one left open for the remainder of the season, and it's supposed to be 87-90 temps so it is quite likely to be crowded. Hmm. Perhaps the sprinkler will do instead?

A few photos from our June vacation: you will see more when I get around to scrapping the rest of the 700 photos later this year. Here is Mira sweetie holding up one of the many arches we saw. Just ask Natasha or Sarah how Arches are formed and what the difference is between an Arch and a Natural Bridge.

A lovely shaded resting place on a hike. Shade is good! Mira was good at finding any shady spot - on some hikes we stopped many more times than we would have preferred just because Mira found a small patch of shade. That's the price you pay for an observant hiker with stamina - in a 3 year old!



The girls & I at Four Corners, each in a different state. They thought that was pretty cool. Rich stood on all 4 states at once.Our photo of Wall Arch. Wall Arch is (was) one of many on the Devils Garden trail at Arches National Park in Utah. Gorgeous (and hot and difficult) hike. During the course of our trip, the girls each earned 5 Junior Ranger Patches while learning about the geological, historical, plant and animal life at each place we visited. At Arches National Park the focus was on erosion and gravity, and that eventually all arches will fall as new arches are created. The short film at the visitor center showed part of Landscape Arch falling off in 1991, 5 years before Rich and I visited the first time. When they were asked to draw what Landscape Arch looked like in 100 years, all 3 girls guessed that it would have collapsed. I don't think anyone guessed that Wall Arch would go first. Here's the story and photos. Hmmm - photo look similar to the one Rich took?

Come back for more summer highlights tomorrow!

Friday, June 20, 2008

We're home. House is dry. We're happy.

Just a quick update for all you who called wondering how we were doing in the flooding last week.

We weren't ignoring you.

We were simply out of touch. Way out of touch. Camping for 10 days. No news whatsoever, unless you call state park newsletters news!

On Tuesday, our last day camping, we met a nice couple on a trail. They talked to us because we had 3 girls - they had 4 girls they left at home (teens) so they could hike without hearing whines & complaints about sore legs, boredome, being thirsty, etc. hehe. (we only had a little of that)They took a photo of us together, we took a photo of them. They found out where we were from and asked if we had been affected by all the flooding. "Um, flooding? Not sure..." we said with puzzled looks. They looked abashed, waved their hands, and knowing we were headed home in the next few days, quickly said, "Nevermind, just enjoy the rest of your vacation!" Yeah, sure.

Truly, we knew when we left that water levels were getting close to 1993 flood levels, and with much forecasted rain, were likely to exceed that while we were gone. Past that, we knew nothing of the awful devastation flooding and tornadoes were wreaking on Iowa, and were confident in our sump pump, the area we live in, and that our neighbors would have tried to contact us at any of the various numbers we left. Still, the first thing we did when reaching our hotel in Colorado Springs late yesterday afternoon was to:
  1. find the weather channel and watch,
  2. call the neighbors watching the cats & house.

What we found out was that our state was a mess (and continues to be), and that while our part of the city was without water for a few days, it had come back on 3 hours before we called anyone. Reassured, we then

  1. washed three days grime off everyone
  2. ate dinner out
  3. swam in the pool
  4. and slept in real beds.
  5. Woke for breakfast, and drove 10-11 hours with stops and loss of an hour in the change to Central Time zone.
Tomorrow I will call some of you in between doing laundry, filling the fridge, laundry, mowing, and more laundry. For those I don't manage to reach (as I'll also be trying to reach a few who may still be affected by all the water), we'll be adventuring a little closer to home this weekend at the Quad Cities air show, so will be back to regular life sometime Monday.

Summary:
We had a wonderful trip. Beautiful scenery & stunning ruins, great hikes, a few biting gnats, a harrowing 57 mile drive alongside a HUGE bike tour on winding two lane roads with no shoulder, 5 National Park Jr. Ranger Badges earned for each of the girls, and great weather until we hit Lincoln, NE tonight, after which we saw no less than 4 sets of rainbows, two of them doubles. We'll take that as a good sign.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Eleven

Eleven years ago my babygirl was brand new, sigh. She's still just as sweet, with just a tiny bit of attitude thrown in :).

She had quite the birthday too. The day started with a present (an artsy thing, a Buddha Board) and chocolate chip pancakes. Too sweet for me, but the girls love them. A friend took her to the pool while Sarah, Mira & I picked up a small cake & hung around, staying cool and doing some basic prepwork for our vacation. After Rich came home she opened the rest of her presents then we headed out into the muggy greyness, having settled on dinner and a movie instead of mini golf and popcorn for dinner. She still wanted popcorn, but we convinced her the rest of us needed to eat real food and she could eat all the popcorn she wanted at the theater. No, she wasn't pleased, but that's what happens when you are 11!
Hu Hot was of course yummy, and then we saw Prince Caspian (with two bags of popcorn, and three types of candy - a big treat for them). The girls & I read through all the Narnia books when Natasha was in 3rd grade, so they have been looking forward to each movie. It was well done - except for the part at the end when the lights came on and we were asked to follow an employee to the Tornado Shelter. By the time we traipsed through the food court, across the mall and down a level, people were receiving texts that the warning was over. That was good because the shelters were long, warm crowded hallways.
Have I told you Natasha doesn't like storms? She doesn't. The rain was loud on the vaulted roof of the mall, we could easily hear the thunder and see the lightening. After hanging around fora security guard to give us the all clear, we followed the crowd back up to the theater, where they let us back in and retstarted all the movies. The girls wanted to go home but it was still raining HARD and Mira was asleep, having fallen asleep a good 30minutes before the tornado fun. So we opted to stay. It was already going to be a late night, but with the 40 minute break we didn't leave the theater until 11:40. The ending of the movie was worth staying for - the girls were sucked right back in as soon as it started up again. Makes me want to reread the book.

It was STILL raining hard. Rich soaked himself getting the car for us, we braved a few running-river type flooded streets to get home, and settled in to watch the news until the storm passed. Sarah fell asleep in a heap on the living room rug and was lifted into her bunk, Mira fussed only a little while being tucked in, and Natasha opted to sleep on the couch. She says she only fell off once!

The sun is out, but the sump is still running. Our own little water feature HA!
Happy Birthday Natasha. I hope you never have another like it :). But I bet you'll never forget it!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Anniversary Mower

16 years ago Rich and I were in Disney World on our Honeymoon. We were enjoying the shows and rides and the warm sun while our family back in Chicago was rather cold and wet, sitting at a Cubs game.

It's been rather cool and rainy here this weekend too. Friday (our actual anniversary) was rainy enough that Natasha's Field Day was cancelled, as was Sarah's softball practice. So Rich came home early, we took the girls to dinner and then to see the new Indiana Jones movie. They loved it (so did we).

Yesterday afternoon the sun finally came out, so we tried out our 'gift', the new mower.
The old mower finally conked out, after a spring of sputtering and adding smog to the neighborhood. Last year we talked about getting a push mower, but since the old mower was still working, we waited. I think what finally won Rich over was the fact that I said I'd help him mow if he bought one. I think I've only mowed twice in my whole life, but this was fun! Had to go over the back a few times considering the old mower conked last weekend, thankfully AFTER Rich finished the front yard but before starting the back. The new mower is fun to use and makes the nicest whirring sound, and the lawn looks nice. See - here's proof I actually mowed (and used the trimmer too - gasp!). He did the back yard, I did the sides and front and refused to give it back when he asked if he could try it again. {laugh} Please ignore the pasty legs. It's been rainy here, and after all those years as a lifeguard I've been good about using sunscreen.

The sun is making another appearance today, so we'll spend the rest of the weekend hanging out in the yard (hopefully warming up the pasty color a bit), playing croquet and bocce ball (a dangerous sport to play with a crabby 3 year old!), barbequeing, and waiting for the grass to grow.

Ramses update: I just realized I never gave an update after his dental - he had two nasty teeth pulled. 5 weeks later he is active, fast, and eatting kibble again. Oh, he still enjoys a bit of wet food every day, and even lets Horatio eat off his plate at the same time! (Silvara shows no interest, even when no other cat is in the kitchen). Ramses looks more fit than he has in quite awhile, and has even started his summer routine of spending the nights outside, mornings sleeping on my bed, and the afternoons going in & out whenever anyone opens the door. He has his annual shots on Friday, and he looks SO good I fully expect to hear he is down to 12 pounds x oz. instead of the 13# he was 2 weeks ago.

Sarah update: Still having daily weekday headaches, despite all the meds, though not as severe since finishing meds for the sinus infection. Her teacher thinks it may be the flourescent lighting making it hard for her far-sighted eyes to adjust, and has been moving her during writing exercises (when the headaches usually start) so that now she sits by the windows (natural light). Of course the headaches still show up later in the day during reading groups when they can't move an entire group. Interesting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Roman Holiday

Watched it last night. I should have been sleeping, however Rich was up working on a proposal and had the classics channel on when I went in to say goodnight and that was that - sucked in by the boob-tube. Not sure how much he accomplished either. Love Audrey... Gregory Peck is too funny in the beginning and such a bittersweet ending. And Eddie Albert! Who remembers watching Green Acres? Ok, so I only saw it in reruns, but younger Eddie - not so bad!

I've been thinking of Roman Holidays, er, vacations lately. Just ordered some fun necklaces because 11 years ago I had my first little girl who LOVED pulling on my necklaces with her cute chubby little fingers. Haven't worn many since, not that many remain still in one piece. Of course the necklaces I was drawn to and eventually settled on were the ones that reminded me of Hawaii. Lovely place, I daydream of it often. {laugh} Could be the gorgeous photos on the wall in the dining room...

Summer vacation is almost here, with it's lack of responsibilities ~ or at least, minimized responsibilities. Art classes and the occassional piano lesson for the girls, daily swimming at the pool, gardening, barbeques, bike rides and pretending I will never ever have to work in summer again (summer is for daydreaming too you know!) . We're hoping for a few local weekend camping trips and at least one with my cousin Karen who the girls adore (well, we do too).

A few years ago we drove through the Medicine Bow area of Wyoming on our way to Yellowstone, fell in love and vowed to return. Lake Marie was one of the most beautiful lakes... We briefly considered camping there this year but we are travelling about the same time of year and there was still snow on the ground in places so we made other plans. Then a friend sent me this link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24453651/ talking about bugs causing tree damage forcing campsite closures. I hope the damage isn't too great, but I think we were lucky this year in not going.

We choose this years starting location as Mesa Verde as Natasha studied the area a few years ago, and Sarah will soon. Rich and I spent a few days there back in 1996 and Natasha was thrilled to find we had actually been there AND had photos, brochures, etc. (It pays to be a scrapper/paper hoarder!). We'll vary from our usual MO of a short first day drive that allows us a leisurely start, instead waking up early to an already packed truck (we'll see) to tackle the entire 10 hours to Colorado Springs in one day. Yes, we will be staying in a hotel that night, a hotel with a POOL for 3 girls to burn off energy after sitting all day. I have to point out that they are excellent travellers and observers who like to look out the window, get along well and can read for hours on end. From Co. Springs we'll head south to Mesa Verde, about 6 hours, and set up camp for 3 nights. From there we have a reservation at Hovenweep for one night, which will allow us enough time to see everything we can safely see with Mira. Natasha is itching to go to 4 corners, I think we'll be able to manage that sometime during these days... After that, we'll visit Natural Bridges National Monument, and on to Devils Canyon for a night. Looks like a beautiful place to explore, not sure how far we'll get with Mira, still... From there, we'll head toward Moab, stopping at Newspaper Rock and then on to a Campark in Moab.

Yes, a campark. Reservable sites at Arches and other local state & nat'l campgrounds filled months ago, before we were even sure we were going. Not taking a chance on first come with 3 kids, especially when some of those places have no water facilities. Rich and I stayed in this very campark 12 years ago - bonus is that it has a laundry! Good memories of that trip. We'll spend 3 nights there, visiting Canyonlands and Arches National parks and Dead Horse Point State Park. Would have LOVED to stay at Island in the Sky, but again, no water, no reservations. Next time. It will be beautiful to spend the day or more exploring and hiking and driving - it felt so desolate and quiet last time - beautiful and eerie all at once. I have a feeling with 3 girls it won't be quite so quiet this trip...

Then we're off to Black Canyon of the Gunnison for 2 nights. Steep drops into the canyon on some trails so we will do the outside trails here and may drive down canyon to the Curecanti National area if we find we have extra time (doubt it). Bear boxes for food - we will all be sleeping in the large tent here, together! No girls off being grown up in their own tent, no way. After that, it's a relaxed half day drive back to Colorado Springs with whatever stops we feel like in-between, ending the same hotel suite with pool as at the beginning of the trip. Last day will be a 10 hour drive, although we'll have an extra day built in so we can stop along the way to play, and we'll all be clean! Then two days later we'll be off again for a short, 1 day adventure closer to home before Rich has to get dressed up and play the grownup again.

Where will your Roman Holiday be spent this year? I'd love to hear what your plans are - leave me a comment.

In the meantime, it is again past my bedtime, so I will leave you with these photos from the neighborhood. The flowers are fading and being replaced by lovely green leaves, but for the past few weeks this was the view from every street - beautiful pink, purple and white flowering trees. Love my neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Catching Up



This is a page I completed oh, many weeks ago already. One of just three (yes 3)assignments I have completed for Shimelle's No Place Like Home Class so far. Due to the many inspiring prompts I have a whole list of photos I want to take of our neighborhood and community as well as our house, and a list almost as long of the memories I want to put down on paper. I'll be doing more of that now that the sun and grass have finally come out! I've been asking Mom to scan and e-mail me photos of houses I grew up in as well.

This particular assignment was to take photos of our favorite room(s). The sunroom has always been my favorite, except for a few years when the nursery took its place. It was my favorite even when the room contained only a sagging hand-me-down floral couch torn apart by cats claws and a hulking make-it-yourself TV cabinet. The room has 7 windows looking to the backyard, the year-round perfect place to read the Sunday paper and enjoy one of Rich's wonderful omelets and hot coffee. Snuggle up with a book under a blanket and listen to the rain fall. Or spread out all the Little People stuff and play the afternoon away while the scent of the flowering plum, lilacs or wisteria drifts in every spring.

Funny thing is, since I created this page, the room has changed yet again. We've been looking for a piano for a good year as Natasha really needed pedals to progress and the keyboard had a way of going wonky a day or two before a lesson. Used and the occassional free pianos are snapped up fast, and anyway may need frequent re-tuning. And we really weren't sure where we could put a full sized piano in our -just-right-sized house. So when our piano teacher told us of a deal on a keyboard with a pedal at local music store UpTempo we stopped in and found this even better deal. Full sized weighted keyboard, 3 pedals, speakers, a large range of sounds from Grand piano to Organ to wacky voices, a headphone connection so they can practice in quiet - the list goes on.

I always said I would take lessons once we had a piano, and I've kept my promise. Natasha and Sarah have been teaching me as well as practicing unasked daily - who could resist in such a sun-filled airy room? Rich has been playing and someone is playing right now. It's really just what this house needed. Most of you know I played both flute and piccolo for many years, so I know enough about music, but please don't expect a concert any time soon. I now know which keys are which, but it may take me awhile to retrain my brain to the bass clef note names. But it's worth it to play a tune like Hot Cross Buns and be told "Good job" by your daughters as they beam at you.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

hehe - I thought by now I'd have some more scrap pages up! No scrapping going on so no pages to share. Just a quick update before I'm off running again. Girls are outside for the moment, but soon I am off to another meeting!

Happy Birthday Dad! My Dad's Birthday was yesterday, he got a message, girls are still working on their cards. I'll mail those with a few other things soon...

Dentists: Yesterday Natasha had FIVE teeth pulled. Ouch. Preparation for braces next year. One was a bonus pull. No, she did not view it as a bonus, but it's out along with the other 4 and I didn't have to pay for it. Bonus for me not having to listen to her worry it out. Trouper that she is refused all meds today and spent the entire day at school (I did bring her some hot mushy mashed potatoes to supplement the pudding she packed!) Tomorrow though - she'll have to chew something better for lunch. And please don't remind her she has a regular cleaning scheduled for next week.

We have our vacation planned for the summer - reservations made too! More about that later - suffice it to say that while we decided where in relatively short order, it took two weeks to actually find time to MAKE all the reservations! Can't wait.

Sarah and softball Sarah has been having a blast playing, made the transition from t-ball rather well, is even volunteering to be catcher - so she is joining the Tournament team. Unfortunately we will be on our vacation the two tournament weekends, so she will just be practicing with them. Add two more softball nights to the schedule! Good practice for next year though.

Grades: You know I'm a proud momma :) Sarah of course doesn't receive grades, but she has all S's for Satisfactory, as opposed to N for Not meeting expectations. Oh she meets expectations alright - we're waiting to hear if she will be working with the 3rd graders in Math and Reading next year.
Natasha was all A's, with one little B+ in math. 6th grade math. Ok, it's not that harder math. It's making silly mistakes because she is too confidant. Proud of you girls!

Next time I hope to show you a few creative things :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

May Day

The girls had fun running around the neighborhood yesterday delivering little baskets of goodies, and trying to catch kids running from our house when the doorbell rang. No photos. I've tried in the past, but they don't want to stand posed and risk getting caught, just want to ring the bell and run so my photos are always blurry. They don't care anyway, they just love surprising people.

Mayday, mayday: really - when is this rain going to end? I have work to do so it's not a bad thing during the day (I am ALMOST caught up), but it would be nice to spend more time outside afterschool, on the weekends, maybe continue the yard work we began a month ago. I am starting to worry that if this keeps up we won't have the vegetable garden in before our vacation (or if we do, the poor plants will just rot). Maybe that's a tad dramatic. Still...I keep trying to send the rain to Melissa in Atlanta, but it just won't go!

Poor Sarah has still been having headaches a few times a week. Almost 2 weeks on the allergy meds, so not sure where we go from here. I suppose not having them every day is an improvement. Natasha, Rich & I have all had upset tummies & headaches this week too. Honestly - there can't be ANY viruses left that we haven't had already this winter!

Well, I had better get back to being productive while Mira takes the rare nap. Then I can post some of the fun updates I have in mind! Hope your weekend is warm and sunny!

Friday, April 25, 2008

A post? You want a post?

Ok. How about next week?
Been crazy here. N & I had a WONDERFUL weekend last wekend. I need to print photos and make a little book, just for the two of us.

Then, I think Monday was a normal day? So long ago activity-wise. Since then Sarah & I spent all morning getting our eyes checked (I need new lenses, she is farsighted like me, but no need for glasses yet). Softball games, Church choir & bell practice, Junior Achievement Biztown training, a head cold, workers tuckpointing the chimney so it no longer looks like pieces will fall out on small children, capped by my spending the majority of Friday (today) with 3 classes of 5th graders running their own businesses. Cool. (Mira got to go to work with Rich and made a mess of his office window by sticking out her tongue at all the passers-by.)

Now I'm going to go scrap and catch up on LOST and Battlestar Galactica, then wake up and get a massage tomorrow. Phew.

And hey - whoever turned the outside thermostat down - would you PLEASE turn it back up? 35 degrees at the end of April is not ok. Thank goodness the chimney cleaning happens tomorrow instead of earlier in the week as originally planned, but this is the LAST time in 2008 that I will say "This is the last fire of the year." And if there is snow tomorrow I may just skip the massage and go back to bed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Growing Up.



This weekend Natasha and I are attending a retreat for only Moms and daughters. Will be some serious discussions, and lots of fun off on our own together. Natasha has been looking forward to this for SO long. I just hope she is well! The poor child started off the week with a migraine and has had a fever every morning this week. (Bad mommy, she was fine Tuesday morning so I sent her to school and she came home with a fever. Sigh). I am SO looking forward to summer and healthy kids! I'm starting to think I need a weekly standing appointment at the Pediatricians office!

I made this journal for the two of us, going to give it to her at the end of the retreat, at dinner somewhere in the Old Market after we wander around and shop and decide where we want to eat. (I so love having daughters!). The glossyness/wet look is due to the flash bouncing off the Mod Podge - it's dark and grey today so no natural light to be had. The effect is much more subtle in person. The goofy designs in the middle of the cover were actually cool just embossed into the cover - a rose, sun, snowflake, leaf. The detail just did not look as cool when painted (actually a bit messy) so I sanded and grunged before adding the rest of the detail using various rub-ons (Doodlebug, Heidi Swap, fancy pants, Art Warehouse), and Ranger alcohol inks over a Heidi Swap Mask for the branch. Hard to see, but in the word Secret there is half a compass, and past the T that little white blob is an N for North, the words along the side say "Get Directions" and the torn piece of print is a definition of the word Meaning. Love how it all turned out. I PROMISE to post a better photo when the sun comes out! The inside covers I am planning on eventually being covered with grafiti, scraps and other bits as we use this book together -Natasha is very arty :) with a natural talent for drawing and painting. So I started with a simple inscription: Natasha, you are growing up and there will be many little secrets you'll want to share, but maybe not with your sisters. This book is just for you and me. Funny little notes, cartoons, secrets you want to share with me, questions you have {you can always ask me out loud}. Draw, color, add stuff - this is our project and I hope something we can look back on with satisfaction when you are all grown up. Keep it on your shelf, away from little hands, and hand it to me when you add something. I love you, Mom. April 2008

We'll start a new one once this is filled up. Almost can't wait to do this with my other girls, but I can wait for them to grow up :).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No more Stellas

Wow. Sad day - as I posted yesterday Stellas is THE place for a birthday in our family. Thank goodness I have scrapped evidence of birthday fun at Stellas. Because as we drove up last night, 6 p.m. on a Friday night, the place was dark, and while you could still see all the parephenalia lining the window sills, you could also see the chair legs sticking up from the tabletops, and a huge for lease sign on the front door.

The girls are still mad about it this morning. We ended up having a decent dinner elsewhere, just not with the wild fun. Saved that for the Barbie/Pony fest that happened after Mira opened presents :).

Remember what my yard looked like a few days ago? Well, it's back. Ugh. Snow on April 12th. Yesterday a friend asked for a reccomendation for a dandruff shampoo - not the kind of request you usually see on a public bulletin board. But then I laughed because she followed with "because the sky has a really bad case of dandruff at the moment." I hope it's sunny and GREEN where you are today!

Friday, April 11, 2008

5 actually.






Ask Mira how old she is and that is most likely what you will hear. "Five actually." Although, today, on her actual birthday, she did say twice that she was three.


It's been a nice celebration so far - yesterday I hung out with her at Preschool - love seeing her in a different environment. This morning we danced and sang at Kindermusik, picked up a few party things and came home to relax while reading and watching (what else) 12 Dancing princesses. Guess what kind of cake she is having tonight?


At 1 p.m. the fun started - 4 friends, dressed up in the favorite dress-up dresses, and pink hats (our party favors), drinking chocolate milk, orange juice or water 'tea', eating tiny cookies and cupcakes, and truly behaving like little ladies, saying please and thank you to each other. When not at the table? They alternated between playing with the Cinderella Castle (Thank You Auntie Melissa) and playing tea party with play food. I got to talk to some lovely grown-ups too!


Right now the 3 sisters are happily continuing the play tea party and watching for Daddy. We'll have dinner Stella's - the ONLY place for a birthday dinner according to my girls. They have a jukebox, hula hoops, pour your malt into your glass if you hold it on your nose or head (don't move!!!) and when you have a birthday, they stand you on a chair, place a funny hat on your head, and make the whole place sing to you while a disco ball lights up the room. Not bad huh? Then home for the standard cake & presents. Phew!


Now, if only I could get over the fact that she's 3. Where did the time go?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yes, I am awake.



Silly me, I know... just finished scrapping a few pages I can't really show you, because the lighting is too poor to take a decent photo. So here are a few I finished yesterday :). Both Ms. Sarah - dancing and enjoying the moment, and the other is about 3 wishes she wrote on an assignment a few weeks ago... "I wish I loved everything. {because sometimes I don't}". "I wish I was a Fairy." and "I wish I knew everything like Jesus does."
This girl amazes me... such deep thoughts mixed with little girl fun - makes me happy. Proud too - she just passed the Gifted/talented tests with flying colors - 99% in both Math and Reading. She'll be spending all day tomorrow reading as she stays home from school. She's been having headaches daily, so we visited the Dr. for that and came home with meds for strep! Funny thing is she feels perfectly fine (and of course the one day she has no headache is the day we see the Dr.). Think she'll finish each of the 3 books she has started?
Ramses update: He is doing mostly well. Eating, going outside, head up and looking around, more of his personality showing. Though he has been quiet and sleeping more than usual, he had his last 'kitty morphine' tonight, so we'll see an increase in activity tomorrow. And whether he regrets letting his guard down enough to lick Silvara on the nose. Usually he is above noticing the other two cats!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ummm, spring please?



Natasha said it was like being inside a snowglobe afteschool, and it WAS very pretty, but really, was this neccesary?