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 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!