Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oh, The Clouds Did Part!

Here are a few shots from our day. Once friends started arriving for our party, and the fun began, I let go of taking any more pictures. Annie's friend Gabriel came, Eliza, Miles, Spencer too. Then Rinny (and her friend Abbey), Chloe and Ezra came after school, then when Dallas and Natalie from down the street saw the jump house, they came running too. As you can see above, Papa brought Annie tulips for her birthday...

...and we gave out violets (from our local garden center Nina!) and bubbles as party favors.

We decorated the house with some color flags.

And Jasper watched the jump house go up but was strictly forbidden to go in!

Then Sara and Ezra bounced and bounced and bounced, and were the last one's to leave the jump house.

Thank you everyone for helping to celebrate six years of Annie with us!

It's Annie's 6th birthday today!
Six! I can hardly believe it!
Today we are going to have a little party around 3:00 to celebrate. I've got cupcakes, cut-up veggies, sandwiches, and a small violet plant for each child. She also wanted to give bubbles as party favors, so we bought them and we made custom labels to commemorate the day. I did most of the production, with Annie as art director, plus she wrote the copy (I did a little editing. I wasn't comfortable with 'butt' and 'vomit', which she thought were hilarious, but I left in poo-poo for that authentic six-year-old flavor.) Her final copy goes

"Silly bubbles buffalo blow,
flower funny fu-fu-fee-fee,
wacky wooky walrus ice,
penguin poo-poo, party favor,

Love Annie

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with six kids trapped inside my tiny house if it continues to rain like it has all day and night...I guess they'll just run around and trash the place and have some fun! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Here's to Olive!

Here's a link to a blogger from Australia that my Aunt Pat, AKA LaLa Pat, found out about and forwarded to me. Her name is Olive Riley and she's 107 years old. She just started her blog this month and she's only posted a few times. Olive has a friend/helper setting things up and doing her typing as she narrates. I'm interested in following her blog and what she will choose to post about given her age and life experiences. Check her out here
Thanks Pat!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Between the Raindrops

We dashed out between storms today and played at the beach. Ahhhhhhh. I love being outside after a storm. So does Annie and her friends Corinne and Chloe.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Irish Heartbeat

The first time we went to Ireland was in 2001. A few days before we left (we bought non-refundable tickets) we heard through our adoption agency that Annie's Birthmother Patricia wanted us to parent her baby. It was our first "nibble" in the nine months we had been waiting. What a thrill! Only we still hadn't heard from her. Not a call or any signal from her at all. So it seemed like a vague possibility, and one with high risk factors. One of which, it was still unknown whether or not Annie's Birthtfather was going to agree to the adoption. So we went to the West of Ireland. We wandered. We explored. We were healed and renewed by the enormous amount of green. We walked. We ate. We breathed. We absolutely loved it. We also our baby on it's way to us?
We arrived home on Presidents Day weekend. We met Patricia that Thursday. She was 39 weeks pregnant. We (Bill & I & Patricia) knew immediately that it was right. The following Tuesday we were in labor. Ten hours after that we had a daughter. We cut the cord. We came home. We became a family! We had grafted a whole new branch onto our family tree.

Then three years later, we took Annie back to Ireland for her third birthday. My Sister Fran Fran and Aunt LaLa Pat came too. We rented a cottage in Dingle bay together and had a wonderful time!

This time of year reminds me of Ireland.

We'd go back in a heartbeat!

(Photos from the top)
Me in the garden behind the cottage we rented in Sligo.
Annie the morning of her birthday.
Annie and I in Doolin.

little frida

Once again Annie is in her "Frida" mode. Most days she's asking for a uni-brow, braids on her head and festive dress. She also wants to look at the works of Frida Kahlo which can be bloody, sad and intense. Yikes! I've told her about Frida's life and how her body was injured and that it had a lifelong and painful effect on her health and life. Thankfully there are all the wonderful images of life too. Frida with animals, friends and flowers. And of course, with a paintbrush. Viva Frida!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rosy, Blossoming, New and Promised

I enjoyed BITTER BETTY'S BLOGS recent post of color so much I decided to try one of my own. It's in honor of Valentines Day 2007, and also for the coming Spring, and all that is rosy and blossoming, new and promised.

(Top to Bottom)
Perfect pink planter sitting atop the upstairs potty.
My riotous new rain boots from Jane.
The Whispering Moon on Annie's wall.
Annie enjoying a freshly bloomed Breath of Heaven bouquet.
Red vintage trim that I scored on my last trip to visit Pat.
Annie's salmon-pink, much-loved water bottle from LaLa.
Annie's petal pink silk bedspread from Grandma and Grandpa.
The only shoes Annie's worn these last five months or so. Can't you tell?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mom! You've Got To Make a Post About This!

Annie's snake completed it's first shedding last night and she is extatic about it! It peeled off in one entire piece showing it's eyes, nose, mouth and it's stripes. One of the first things she said was "Mom, you've got to make a post about this for your blog!" So here it is darling!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Late Winter, Early Spring Greetings

I didn't do Valentines this year. I didn't have any inspired ideas. Then just the other night I looked at some paper that I had hung up in the studio that Bill had wrapped an anniversary gift in for me this year. Hmmm. I cut up the paper and played around a little with it and made twenty Late Winter Early Spring Greetings cards. I do love to send cards out. I love to make them and address them and send them on their way. So did my mom. In fact, I thought of her a lot as I worked on these cards. I actually squeezed behind our bed, where I have my mother's vast rubber stamp collection stored, and I pulled out a few stamps and some red ink to use in this project. Kind of fun to use. The only hard part of the project was to edit my list down to just twenty. I could have easily sent fifty or more, if I had had the supplies and the time.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Un Dimanche à la Grande Jatte

The following is an account of Tuesday February 5th, 2007 in my own words-

Ahhhh. Some days are just pure magic. That describes yesterday. Easy, flowing, and highly pleasurable. My dear friend Sara and I took the kids fishing at Westlake Pond, and although no fish were caught (not even a nibble) everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. For hours the kids enjoyed fishing, playing some forest game, sitting on our laps, and playing on the park equipment. Sara and I got to really talk, with very few interruptions, and enjoy the bright day, sitting beside each other on a blanket, relaxing, eating the yummy picnic we packed. Ahhhh again. I'm so glad we got outside, because the forecast calls for four or five days of rain, which we really need.

The following is an account of Tuesday February 5th, 2007 in Annie's words, dictated to me-

"We fished yesterday with Ezra and dear Annie. A duck tried to steal my sandwich. We were throwing "poison berries" in the water. The ducks ate them. And I had a sandwich, and I hooked two worms at the same time. And I fished with them on at the same time. I let a boy use my fishing pole, because he wanted a turn. And his name was Marcus. The worms were escaping if I left the top off. And that's it."

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Beauty Marks

Annie has a new beauty mark right there on her left cheek. Do you see it? She has another one near her right chin. So darling. Although, the beauty mark I'm referring to is for the mark(s) she gave herself with a brush marker this morning (see below). I left her alone while she was working on Valentines and voila! When I asked her what she was trying to do she said she was doing ear make-up. Hmmmm. With a permanent brush marker? Who wears ear make-up? You think she'd have tried some of these things in the last few years... at two, three, four or five years old, but she hasn't! Now she's going on six and I'm just baffled. In the last few weeks we've had the outrageous "juice" incident with Ezra, that I posted about. Then there was the very unfortunate "let's pretend we're babies scenario" - a trio of dastardly acts with her dear friend Chloe, which still gets my blood boiling. And most recently her solo "red lipstick as furniture polish" fiasco. I didn't breath a word about the last two stunts out of embarrassment and fear of judgement. So...I'm keeping my eyes peeled, markers put away, and all doors open until this storm passes.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Black & White Weekend

Extreme pleasure to excruciating pain.

Safety and comfort, to total fear and insecurity.

Saturday night Bill and I stayed up late and watched an old Robert Altman movie in bed, talking, laughing and enjoying some alone time. We both fell asleep around 2:00 AM. By 4:30 AM he woke me up with his face completely ashen and swollen, his whole mannerism grave and troubled, describing symptoms that sounded really bad. Bloated abdomen, screaming pain from his ribs to his groin, and the inability to move his bowels, urinate or vomit...and a great desire to do all three. This coming from a man that has not taken a sick day in fifteen years of work and hardly a cold or flu since we married. We were in the emergency room minutes later. It took almost three hours and three doses of morphine for him to experience some relief. By that time the doctors confirmed it was a kidney stone. The CAT Scan showed that the stone was almost done traveling and that he would feel better soon. Whew!

I noted a few things about myself during this (thankfully) small crisis;

1.) Watching someone I love in extreme pain is almost worse than experiencing it myself.

2.) I'm grateful for my efficiency and my ability to think clearly during an emergency.

3.) I realize how deeply bonded and connected I am to Bill. I was scared utterly shitless at the thought that something bad could happen to him.

4.) Watching others in crisis at the emergency room reminded me of the horrible pain and suffering that comes with just living life and loving others.

5.) There is a time to live and a time to die. Today is our time to live and enjoy and have as much fun as possible! So I'm finishing this post now to go play with my baby.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Cooking with Fannie

We made Fannie Farmer's pancakes today for lunch at Annie's request. (We might have had them for breakfast but I had to watch a really big show that Annie created in her room.) Mmmm. Those are really good pancakes. And I'm not a big pancake person either. I'm more of an egg and toast or omelet girl myself. I can't figure out what makes them so tasty? It must be the precise amounts of each ingredient, because every other recipe has the same basic stuff. Now that Annie's almost six, she can do quite a bit of the mixing and measuring, as well as the flipping too. Although today I had an out of work Vegas showgirl doing our flipping.

Here's the recipe (below) so you can try them for yourself, if you haven't already. A big thanks to Cory and her girls for first making them for us, and then finding a copy of the book
Fannie in the Kitchen for Annie's bookshelf!

2 C. Flour

1/4 C. Sugar

1 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tbs baking powder

1 Egg

2 C. Milk

2 tbs Melted Butter

Mix and sift dry stuff; beat egg, add milk and pour slowly on dry stuff. Beat thoroughly and add butter. Drop by spoonfuls on a greased hot griddle. When puffed, full of bubbles, and cooked on edges, flip. Serve with maple syrup and butter.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Beware of Seniors

Annie and I went to harbor beach on Wednesday. Just like it sounds, it's right at the harbor, where there is a cafe, and a couple of restaurants that front the beach. I brought a knitting project, some lunch, sand toys and a blanket. Oh yes, and Daphne, Annie's chihuahua too. I got us all set up and I sat there at a cafe table at the edge of the patio enjoying the view and watching Annie run around with another little girl. To top it all off, there was a guy there trying to sell some eight week old Labradoodle puppies, which were romping around, playing in the sand. All was goodness and light...until the seniors started to show. Now please don't get me wrong. I love all humans and I have a particular fondness and respect for anyone who has lived a great number of years. Part of why I'm writing this is my shock and surprise at how I felt so unconsidered by them.

Here's what happened.

Well, we were enjoying ourselves, I was in the zone of wind, the cries of gulls, and a happy child who was leaving me to my project. Get the picture? I was just finishing the dog sweater I was knitting, and had all my supplies ready to do the decorative stitch work, when a very fit senior gentleman in a sea captains cap sat down on a bench next to us and started unloading what looked like a music stand and some other gear. I'm thinking "Wow! Our lucky day. We're going to get some live music!" My joy was quickly turned a bit sour when he starts to light, relight and very actively enjoy a stinky pipe. It was going right in our faces. Annie had never witnessed one before and was said "Stinky! Yucky!" But he didn't seem to notice. Maybe because we were down wind. Right after that, some other folks joined him and I wondered if it was a jam session. I saw a few ukulele's. And some bongo drums. Then I saw a stand up bass. Next thing I know, I'm surrounded. I mean the group was so close they were bumping my elbows! And they keep coming. I'm smiling and trying to make eye contact, but they were so excited about what they were up to that no one noticed me. No one saw that I had set up and was enjoying that "spot." I'm guessing it's their "spot." Possibly their "spot"on a regular basis. Clearly a kind of crowd mentality took over. And I'm sitting there surrounded! Well, I decided to put away my project, gather our things, either pick up and find a different spot, or let Annie know that it was getting time to leave. Well, as soon as I stood up one of them took my chair. No asking. No eye contact. No acknowledgement. I felt invisible.

I didn't like it.

My mood was spoiled.

Senior. Kids. Peers. Age isn't the the issue at all. It was consideration, and maybe some connection or acknowledgment that I wanted. Just a look! A smile! A little information. I would have moved over happily! I was torn between being delighted that they were gathering together and making music at the sea shore, and wanting to be seen for what I was doing too!

Maybe my mood being spoiled like that was an indication of what was to come.

All day today, Thursday, I had a stunning headache. The kind you don't ignore. Annie kept making amazing drawing and bringing them to me on the couch. (My head throbbed trying to focus on them.) Plus she attempted her own food and project preparations. Thankfully, she was happy as a lark all day, as I laid there using the least amount of words to answer her zillion questions.

Thankfully, as I write this now, the headache has passed.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow.