Monday, April 27, 2009

Tea Parties, Toddlers, and Time on the Beach

Me and my baby girl, Katrina!

Rhy is so cute... this is her caught by surprise face!

Ash up a tree!

Rhy follows mommy down the beach.

Time for tea!

This past weekend we were able to spend a lovely long weekend with the family in the North. We drove up to St. Joseph, Michigan for some wonderful time with all the Harrmanns, particularly our 3 grandkids, Gabriel, Asher, and Rhylah. It was fun in so many ways just to hang out, enjoy watching the kids play, and to catch up with one another. The kids are changing so much and each time we see them we are amazed at how much bigger they have gotten. Gabe is into baseball now, Asher is teaching Rhylah all sorts of new skills like an ideal big brother, and Rhy is getting into playing pretend. The tea set we got her this weekend kept her busy making imaginary beverages for all of us the entire time we were there. So cute! It was a PERFECT weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One Year from Free Coffee!

I celebrated my 54th birthday on Monday, and the funniest thing anyone said to me was my mom's reminding me that I have only a year to go before I am eligible to get free coffee at McDonald's! I had to laugh at that because besides being a Burger King fan, I am generally not the type that gets all whooped up about freebies. But I guess there will be some "perks" to being 55 in another year. Ed has yet to take advantage of this exciting aspect of his age, and I imagine a certain southern location will likely freeze over before he does, but it's fun to joke about it.

My birthday was excellent... the following things happened on it: (or almost on it!)

1. No one did anything lame or disgusting on the news front. Being born on 4/20 sets you up to have nasty events take place (Columbine, drugfests, etc) on your day.

2. I got a lovely grandmother bracelet from my kids with the grandkids' birthstones on it. Very pretty!

3. I went out with my family to dinner... Fratelli's was wonderful; everyone should eat a canolli on their special day!

4. I found out my mom loves "Dancing with the Stars" almost as much as I do, and we laughed and talked together long distance while we watched it.

5. I didn't feel like I'd gotten any older.

6. I got a ton of greetings from Facebook friends which made me feel very much loved.

7. Today I ran 1.5 miles on the track.... something I know a lot of 54 yr. old women couldn't/wouldn't do.

8. I still haven't joined AARP!

9. My Publications staff kiddos surprised me with a birthday cookie/cake today... delicious and so nice of them! Thanks Elaine, you're a doll!

10. My school week has been going really fast this week for some reason... which is not a bad thing when you teach mostly seniors.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Can You Come Out and Play?"

Here we are by the famous "Phil the Gorilla" Statue.. a St. Louis Zoo photo landmark!

The motto of our own St. Louis Zoo is "Can You Come Out and Play?" and believe me, EVERY kid in St. Louis was taking that to heart today! We had a classic St. Louis area spring day today. Sunny, light breeze, 74 degrees... PERFECTION! So off we headed for the zoo. It was a veritable stroller convention, but everyone was so mellow and just loving being outside that it was the MOST fun! Everyone was grinning, making sure all the "little people" in the crowd could see, taking turns, it looked like a toddler manners workshop or something along those lines. Loads of grammies and papas were strolling about with tots in tow. Syd LOVED it.

Once inside, we got her the obligatory Zoo Safari hat and off we went! She watched people as much as she watched animals. We saw: seals, prairie dogs, monkeys, giraffes, camels, gazelles, and all the birds we could find (since her daddy doesn't enjoy birds... we saved the bigger slow moving critters for when she takes HIM to the zoo next time!). She saw a peacock spread his tail, saw ducks and pelicans swim, and a giant hornbill hop! She got very good at watching for movement, and after that, anything that moved had her undivided attention. So in answer to the zoo's question, "Can you come out and play?" - our answer is a resounding, "YES!"
Sydney is totally "in the moment" on a snack break! Watching people and seal lions at the
same time as having a good animal cracker! YUM!

We are looking at Toucans, the "Fruit Loops" birds! Syd got SO excited by their bright colorful bills.

Papa can always be counted on to give you a boost to see better.

Yeah, I know she's showing way too much cookie in this shot,
but she was having such a great time that I had to share it!
Oh, and yes- she left her safari hat on the whole time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

All you need for fun is a WHEE-lbarrow!

In the world of toddlers, there's not much better than a "Papa-powered" fun ride. Check out Syd as she discovers the fun of one-wheeled vehicles... namely her Papa's wheelbarrow! She kept very still but squealed "whee" all away around the yard! It is a ride that I am sure she'll enjoy repeats of throughout the coming summer!

There's nothing like being a wheelbarrow princess!

Sydney Plays House

"All babies, go to sleep... nonny time!"

Sydney is vacationing at our house for a few days, and we are having a great time. We brought up some "little girl" things from the basement that had been favorites of Gretchen and Kate when they were small. She spent a solid hour or more rocking her assorted ''babies'' and giving them breakfast. The entire time she was doing it she made all the noises we make when we feed her, lots of "mmmmmmm's" and "ahh's" along with Sydney gibberish that sounded like "baby", "eat", and "rock-rock". It was adorable. She is even wearing a little apron that Ed's mom made for our girls ages ago. I have to believe that Great-grandma Irene is smiling somewhere up in heaven today as all this pretending was going on!

"Mmmmmm, eat your cereal!"

"Everyone will get a turn."

"Now it's Hugsie bunny's turn to eat."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Let's Hunt for Eggs!

So how many grown-ups does it take to find 18 Easter Eggs??? That was the deep philosophical question we strove to answer in a very chilly backyard this Easter. What fun! Sydney, always a quick study on these sorts of things, figured out right away that having an egg in each hand was quite enough for one little person. She did get into the whole thing by the time we made one sweep round the garden. We (that is the grown-ups) had as much fun saying, "Look, look!" and oohing and ahhing over her colorful treasures.

Happy Easter to one and all!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Day in the Vineyard.. and the Lessons of Holy Saturday

Today we spent most of the day in the vineyard wrapping grapes and enjoying sunshine. For the uninitiated, wrapping grapes has nothing to do with paper and bows; it has to do with putting the trimmed vines up onto the supporting trellis wires and twisting them round and round so they'll stay put all summer long. Then you complete the task with a tie that holds them fast as they begin this year of growth. Thus begins a new year in the vineyard. The old growth is gone, sitting in piles waiting to be burned. The new growth has yet to begin, but the vines are softening more and more each day and now are flexible enough to be "trained" back onto the wires.

How fitting that we do this work on the day before Easter. Lent has taken care of "trimming" us once again. Cutting off our "old habits", making us consider again what new fruit we could be bearing. Then along comes Good Friday and we observe our Lord's sacrifice. He was stretched upon the tree so we would never have to be. But we still need "training" and something much bigger than our own selves upon which to depend. So we are refastened, and wrapped up in our risen Lord. Grafted into that message of Easter... "as the branch is to the vine... I am His and He is Mine". Blessed Easter everyone! He is Risen Indeed!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Holy Week - Wholly Hectic!

Can't help it, this week has been a bummer in so many ways that I have to vent a bit here. There is a ton of yucky stuff (not directly mine) happening at school, but I spending a lot of time listening and offering empathy and advice. I don't mind that, I just feel so badly for my colleagues who are doing the very best they can under such stressful and trying circumstances. Makes me want to get out Ed's famous rolled newspaper and go "whap" some folks on the nose! That's for sure!

Then, it's Holy Week... not my favorite week of the year, but one where I do TRY to stop and contemplate matters of faith and my Savior. Suffice it to say that the endless "busy-ness" of the week is making me feel more exhausted than contemplative! The entire concept of Lenten quietude is blown when you can't seem to clear your schedule enough to eat dinner on more than a dash past a pot on the stove.

Ahhh well... just 48 hrs to Easter Break... and we ALL need it! For this we are TRULY thankful!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Syd, Spring, & Socks

It's the "little things" in March and April that make you convinced you just might be able to hang on until Spring fully arrives. Some of these include early blooms of daffodils, spending time with a toddler who finds eating a zwieback cracker while spinning in circles in her Papa's big desk chair the most entertaining thing on the planet, and new socks. So here are some shots of those things....

The daffodils bloomed under our maple tree in glorious abandon this March. I love their delicate tenacity; these even survived a late March snow of about 2" that fell on them and melted quickly away.

Syd and Ed had a delightful time recently while whooping it up in the office on his desk chair. She has figured out how to climb up into the chair all on her own and takes great delight in yelling "Wheeeeee!" at the top of her voice while we spin her about. I've tried the same trick for myself, and find the true "wheee" is just not there at 53.... sigh... but I sure get a charge out of watching Syd spin joyfully!

Finally, I did it! I completed the "biggest socks" of my knitting career to date... I made Ed a pair of lovely SIZE 13(!!!!) washable Merino wool socks and he LOVES them. He's going to wear them to school tomorrow and tell everyone his talented wife made them for him.

It was a good weekend, all the way round!