Friday, March 28, 2008

Deep Breaths...

In through my nose, out through my nose. Repeat.

There are times in my life (as I am sure in your's) I find this necessary. I remind myself that spewing hot molten lava would not help, even if it would relieve the pressure momentarily.

So I continue taking deep breaths.


peace

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring is Near...


Two little crocus have poked their heads out into the sun today. Crocus make me happy. I always think of my Mom when they appear. She loves to watch for the first blooms of spring. With the sun so bright, I could resist taking my new macro lens out for a few snaps. I've uploaded a couple more shots to Flickr.

This one's for you Mom. Love you!


peace

Monday, March 24, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes...


"Damn it, damn it, damn it."

The words that came flowing out of Brea's sweet little mouth Saturday when she dropped a couple of checkers on the floor at the coffee shop. One of those moments where you have to stop and take a deep breath before moving on and dealing with the situation. First we had to stifle our urge to BUST OUT LAUGHING! Then we had to figure out how to explain to her that those words were not appropriate language without making it a big deal.

It reminded us of the time we were traveling and pulled off the interstate to drive through a fast food establishment for some lunch when Lexi was around 2. She was apparently really hungry because after we ordered and drove around the corner of the restaurant we could see we were third in line for the window. Out of the back seat came..."Well shit!" It was a REALLY good thing we were in the front seat so that she couldn't see us silently laughing while again trying to figure out how to address the situation without making a big deal out of things.

I like to think we use pretty clean language in our house, but we're far from perfect obviously!

Oh...parenting...what a fun adventure!


peace

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Break, the Cliff Notes...


So here's the deal. I had great intentions of updating our Spring Break adventures daily on the blog. Obviously that didn't happen. Various reasons...limited internet access during the house remodel, limited computer use due to the fact it's in mom and Rod's bedroom and they are early to bedders, limited energy due to being a single parent all week. Various reasons. So he's the digest version.

We had a great trip. Picking up after my last post...

Tuesday was the Grandparents Hall day. Everyone was there for a short chat. Of course we had to get our annual (or as close as we can get) 5 generation photo. Look at those pretty ladies!


For some reason the whole lot of us were tired and cranky on Tuesday night. So we all went to our corners and vegged a bit after "taco Tuesday" night. I did laundry as we only packed 3 days worth of clothes (plus what we wore when we left) so without doing laundry we would have either wore our PJs all day on Wednesday OR gone naked. It's too cold in NE in March to go naked, so I laundered.

Wednesday we got a breakfast visit from Aunt Carol and ran into town to visit Great Grandma Reitz. Lexi is finally getting old enough to remember who everyone is even though we only see them on average once a year!


The rest of the day was spent at home playing in the sun and spending as much time OUT of the car as possible as we would load up on Thursday for the return drive home. Wednesday was also the day Lexi mastered riding a bike without training wheels! Once she figured it out she was unstoppable!

Thursday brought the inevitable...our departure. It's always such bitter sweet sorrow. On one hand we're always so sad to leave as the time between visits is TOO LONG. On the other, we are always so excited to return home to our house, daddy, and our normal routine. It helped that the sun was shining and beautiful the morning we left and that Grandpa Rod was home to snuggle Grandma through the tears.

Our return drive was pretty uneventful. A picnic at the Sutherland rest stop Thursday for lunch. Fun. A coffee treat at Gothenburg (thanks Aunt Kathleen) and one more quick visit. A night at the York Super 8 which included, as promised, swimming. A short stop for a Harley Davidson t-shirt for daddy at Frontier HD in Lincoln on Friday followed by a walk through of the rain forest and aquarium at the Omaha zoo...and then we were home. Back to life as we know it.

A whole album of pictures from our travels can be seen on our Shutterfly sight. Warning...there's a lot...but a week is a long time and a once a year visit is a big deal worthy of lots of photos!

This morning I was back at the studio teaching...it felt great and I think I was missed. I'm going to be sore tomorrow...but that's ok, it's Easter so we'll spend most of the day in our PJs gearing up for the start of our normal lives again on Monday. Vacation is great...but I'm always glad to get back to normal life too.

Loves to all our family. We had a GREAT time and will remember the feeling of your embraces until our next visit!


peace

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Break, Days 2 & 3...

Day 2

Our drive on day 2 was a breeze. Western Nebraska had a little wintery weather, but by the time we got on the road all was clear and we had a very uneventful drive. Some highlights from the day:

  • The super cheery high school kid at Lasso Espresso who made my triple shot latte. I wanted to pack him us and bring him along our trip. How many high school kids are that excited to be at work on Sunday morning at 10:00!?!?
  • The fist sight of home as we neared the Wildcat hills. Even with the fog and cold, the sight made my heart skip a beat.
  • Arriving at home and watching the girls fall right into step next to Grandma and Papa.
  • Crawling into one big bed next to my girlies under a ton of quilts snug for a great night of sleep.

Day 3

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It was dry wall day at Grandma's. Grandma and Papa are getting a new bigger living room and we're here just in time to watch it take shape. The girls had a blast watching "the boys" hang the dry wall. A few highlights from the day:

  • Settling down once all was ready for the dry wallers with a cup of coffee in the sun porch. I think I need one!
  • Lexi and Papa Rod worked on Lexi's wood project for school. We'll be going home with one very nice bird house box at the end of our stay.
  • My plan to grab some yoga each morning before the start of the day has gone down the drain...BUT I did grab a great late afternoon run down soft gravel roads with a lovely view. (Pictures coming soon!)

Today, Day 4, we're headed to visit my grandparents. The sun is shining, the girls are laughing. It's a good day already!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Break, Day 1...

As I was running around packing this morning, stressed because we were already "behind schedule", I had to stop and remind myself that we're now on VACATION TIME. Which means I am the only one setting a time schedule AND I am the only one who will care if we don't adhere to that schedule....so CHILL OUT! After all, it's not just the destination of a vacation that makes it fun...it's the whole adventure. So I set the intention to relax and just enjoy the journey.

A few things I enjoyed about today's adventures:

I decided to try something new this trip. Instead of being at the mercy of whatever was available when we were hungry, I packed our lunch so we could eat healthier AND whenever the urge hit us. This one's a keeper. We had a nice relaxed lunch at the Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall. (We didn't stop to shop, I just knew there would be a nice indoor area with clean bathrooms where we could stretch our legs a little and enjoy our meal.) To our surprise there was a toy train display set up in one of the vacant store fronts, so we got to check that out as well. It's so fun when you run across those little unexpected surprises!

March is migration season in mid-Nebraska. Thousands of cranes stop temporarily around the Grand Island/Kearney area this time of year on their trek north. It was amazing to see field of HUGE flocks of cranes sunning, resting, and snacking.

For much of our drive all the eye can see is land. Farm land. Pasture land. Land. Spring, being the time of birth and renewal, always brings baby calves to that land. It was so fun to pass a herd of grazing cows, spotting the little hidden calves tucked away in mounds of grass and other low lying areas out of the wind.

Our drive today (approx. 8 hours from start to finish...stops included) ended at my Aunt Kathleen's house. What fun it has been to catch up with her and her family. (Not to mention the great home cooked meal that was ready when we arrived...and the bottle of wine we shared though the night!) Her kids have grown so much since we last visited. The girls bonded instantly, wanting to all sleep together as the night has come to an end. Needless to say I let Brea start in bed with the two older girls, but have since plucked her out to snuggle with me...I just think we might all get a better night's sleep that way.

(I'm thankful the girls travelled like super stars given the amount of time we were in the car! Let's hope the rest of the trip goes as smooth!!!)

Tomorrow morning we'll get up and on the road to grandma's house before the weather hits. 5-10 inches of snow has been forecasted for that area of the state tomorrow night into Monday morning. So much for spring break! Guess I'll have to drink that second bottle of wine in the hot tub watching the snow fall.


peace

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pigtails...

Lexi wanted pigtails for school the other day. So of course, in her attempt to do everything big sis does, Brea insisted on piggies too. The process went rather smooth for our first attempt.


I'm always amazed at how much simple piggies change a face.


Of course, no photo shoot would be complete without Brea's signature "cheese!" pose.


The piggies only lasted about 15 minutes...at which time she came to me, pony holders in hand, to let me know she was "all done" and that she had "took out" her piggies. Little steps...

peace

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Pants...

I bought new pants yesterday. 2 pairs of jeans. 1 pair of chocolate brown, light weight cargos. All size 14..."long" length in the jeans. I'm working on breaking in a pair today.

This may seem like an odd thing to write about. But rest assured, it's a bigger deal than one would think.

I HATE shopping for pants...especially jeans. Scott almost refuses to go jeans shopping with me...and honestly, I don't blame him! Apparently the models they use for making pants are shaped differently than I...or something like that. (Not to mention I refuse to spend as much on one pair of pants as I would normally pay for a week's worth of groceries for our family of 4! Then there's the whole fear that I'll buy these new smaller pants, only to put back on weight at which point I will not be able to fit into them anymore! A whole different issue for a different post...or not.) But currently as I continue to change my health habits, I keep slowly shrinking and I just needed new, smaller jeans. End of story.

So during a quick trip to IC yesterday to visit our beloved Marie (kisses!), I bit the bullet and stepped into the dressing room to try my luck. Imagine my surprise when I found a pair that I loved at first try on. Even better....they were on sale! I decided if one pair was good, 2 would be even better (plus it means I can go months, maybe even YEARS before I need to jeans shop again) and grabbed a second pair, same size, same style, different color. Funny, the second pair doesn't fit quite the same, but they still fit (thank you spandex) and that's all that matters! 15 minutes into our shopping day and I could have been done!

On our way home we stopped by the outlet mall at our all time favorite store...Gap...to grab Scott new khakis for work. For some reason we find more clothes there, at that specific store, than any other single store at which we shop. Well guess what I found? $15 surplus pants. I had been hoping at some point to find a pair of comfy kick around pants that were something besides jeans. These fit the bill perfect. Icing on the cake.

What's even more amazing about our day? We purchased 5 pairs of adult sized pants yesterday...all for LESS than $110. Sprinkles on our icing!!!

Next on the list...new shorts for summer. Hopefully we'll be needing those again at some point and time here in Iowa.


peace

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Birthday Surprises...

It's often the little things sprinkled throughout the day that make a Birthday great. Yesterday was no exception.
  • Coffee with Monica and a pedicure gift certificate. So sweet...so thoughtful.
  • A HUGE Rice Crispy treat from Jackie after yoga (with chocolate and sprinkles).
  • Phone calls, e-mails and Facebook messages from friends & family...old and new, near and far.
And then there were the little things with which my family surprised me throughout the day.

Like the card Lexi made for me at school.



A special gift Scott brought home after work. The card about made me cry...not to mention the fact he said he picked out this particular gift because it reminded him of this trip...one of my VERY favorite mini vacations!


Cake and ice cream, complete with candles, and the cutest birthday song ever.



Thanks to all, it was a very special day indeed!


peace

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

33...


It's my Birthday today. Birthdays are weird. On one hand, I hate when people make a big deal out of the fact it's my birthday. On the other hand, I enjoy that people notice. Not one to like being in the spotlight, it's also nice to have my existence celebrated. After all, we should always celebrate life!

So what's in store for MY day? Not much out of the ordinary. I had class this morning followed by coffee with Monica and Max. That's always fun! Then home for Brea's nap before it's time to pick Lexi up at school. I did manage to take a shower. I know that doesn't sound very exciting, but I find it difficult some days between my random teaching schedule and the presence of a toddler and a puppy in the house to find 10 minutes to sneak in a shower! During Brea's nap is the best bet, but then I have to worry about what Tilde is chewing on that she's not suppose to OR where I'll find tinkle (or both). I'm happy to report, no mishaps today!

The fam took me out for dinner last night since I have to teach tonight. I always think it feels weird going out for your birthday dinner NOT on your birthday. It was a nice gesture, and as always, we had fun. Family time is just about the best gift I could ever ask for.

Fun phone calls from family and birthday cards in the mail. Little things I look forward to each year. When it's all said and done, that's all I need to make my day special!

I think 33's going to be a good year.


peace

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Made with Love...

When I was a little girl, too young to remember, a friend of my mom's, Sandy, made me a sock doll. Just a plain ol' white sock, lovingly turned into a dolly with yellow yarn hair and a blue plaid dress. She was soft and snuggly and one of a kind. When we moved to Iowa my mom packed my dolly up in a box with some other keepsake things and brought it to me. Me, being the stupid person I am, put the box in the basement of the old farm house we lived in at the time. Priceless memories carelessly stashed in a damp old basement.

Four years ago when we bought out house and moved, I found the box had been visited by mice and most of the stuff was growing a healthy crop of mildew...including my dolly. I didn't even try to save stuff, I just trashed it all. Sad, but adamant about the fact I was NOT going to pack-rat, into the trash barrel my dolly went without even a second thought.

Now, 4 years later, for some odd reason I can't stop thinking about that dolly. I could have saved her. I could have given her a good bath and patched up the spot on her dress which had been unwillingly donated to some mouse nest. I don't know why, but the fact I so willingly trashed her without a second thought haunts me lately. Even sitting here telling her story gets to me...I get teary thinking about her. I know I can't go back and change things, she is gone forever. I just need to let it go.

I think this emotional struggle as of late is probably part of the reason I was so drawn to the little sock creatures I encountered when I randomly ran across the homemade by jill blog a few weeks back. On my day trip to Omaha to see Jen 2 weeks ago, I picked up the book referenced on Jill's blog, Sock and Glove, and eagerly awaited the day when I could go sock shopping. That day finally came on Friday.

The girls and I left daddy home sick on the couch and made a quick run to Target for diapers and socks! We came home with some fun finds.


Easter time is apparently good sock time! Today I finally found the time, and the nerve, to tackle my first sockie...a little dog for the newest addition to our circle of friends, Liza. Liza's family is a dog family, so naturally I felt like she needed her very own pink argyle sock dog.


Here you can see her puppy starting to take shape after only about 45 minutes of work. One of the reasons these critters are a good project for me right now...they don't take much time! I seem to have problems starting (and finishing) any craft projects as of late that seem overly time involved!


I normally hate hand sewing, but creating this little snuggly by hand was very satisfying...and fun. A second reason making these critters is a good fit for me...the instructions are basic and leave LOTS of room for you to make modifications to make each of your little creatures a one of a kind treasure. Those of you who know me well know that when it comes to cooking and crafts, I rarely just follow the directions. I gave this little puppy some satin lined flannel ears...a slight deviation from simply using socks, but I loved the thought of adding some different textures for little fingers to fondle. Some button eyes (with eye lashes of course), a felt nose, and a few thread embellishments (belly-button included), and viola...


one very cute, very soft, very snuggly sockie! I hope Liza enjoys playing with it as much as I enjoyed making it.

A part of me still misses my dolly. Another part of me can't wait to make my girlies their very own sockies to snuggle. While I can't pass on MY dolly, I can create special friends and hopefully fun memories for each of them with the help of some socks, some thread, some buttons...and lots of love.


peace

I have created a monster...

"No, doh to hop!"

Roughly translated...

"Why are we turning into the driveway? I want to go to the coffee shop!"

Brea LOVES the coffee shop. I don't know why...she's only been going there her WHOLE life! We often stop for coffee and "nummies" after class or run down to have a visit with friends on my mornings off. Scones, muffins, and bagels are all favorites. As are chats with Jeff the owner, Nick who runs the deli in the back, Amy our friend and neighbor who often sets up her office at a table, among others. There's a few small toys/games and a collection of books. Every little girl's dream. Our visits these past few weeks have been off being as I've been sick and felt far from being social. Poor Brea....she just wants to "doh to hop!"

Soon monkey, soon.


peace

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Day in the Life Photo Project...


I learned about www.sh1ft.org in the photography book I've been reading. It's a photo project website and for Leap Day they "organized" a Day in the Life project. The goal: 1 photo an hour to document how you spent 2/29/08. My first photo project. It was fun. I found it was interesting to HAVE to take a photo every hour even if I didn't necessarily see anything photo worthy. You can see my day's collection on my Flickr.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Missin' my girl...

Lexi left this morning to go on an overnight trip with a friend. They should be swimmin' away at the water park as I write this. I miss her. For a while it just felt like a weekday, like she's at school. Now that it would be time for her to come home and I realize she's not, I'm sad. It's going to be weird not having her around this evening...and tomorrow morning for Sunday morning breakfast.


peace