Month: April 2016 (page 2 of 2)

You would think I make cupcakes because I like to eat them, which I do, but I actually like to share them even more!

I made cupcakes for Lucy’s school fundraiser yesterday.

Cupcakes for the fundraiser!

I packed them all up beautifully, thanks to this post about packaging cupcakes at Much Kneaded, and then re-read the call for donations of cookies and brownies. NOT CUPCAKES! I donated them anyway and no one was sad about it.

Then I made some for our family.

And a cupcake for ME!

They came in handy this morning when I needed something with which to bribe Jack so he’d put on his dance costume for picture day, which he did. He even smiled.

“Beautiful Tone, Beautiful Heart” – Shinichi Suzuki

We’ve been a part of the Ohio Music Teacher’s Association Ribbon Festival for two presidential terms. I can prove it with these links!

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Julia played in her first Ribbon Festival the year President Obama took office. Lucy played in her first and (Julia played in her fifth) when he started his second term. It’s President Obama’s last year in the White House. I don’t know who our president will be next year, but I’m thinking a lot about that and also the fact that next year should hopefully, finally, be Phoebe’s first Ribbon Festival and maybe also Jackson’s.

Lucy and Julia at the 2016 Ribbon Festival

This year, Lucy played Au Clair de la Lune, which is my favorite song from Book One.

Lucy plays Au Clair de la Lune at the Ribbon Festival

Here’s what the judge said about it.

Beautiful singing tone! Your balance between the hands was very good and I can tell you’ve worked hard on that performance aspect. Remember to keep the wrists supported and up so you have greater control of your fingers and the piano keys. Be aware of your pinkies – can they be closer to the other fingers of your hand when when they’re not playing? Sometimes 5th fingers like to fly away, so inviting them to join in with the other fingers will help your hand work as a unit. It can take some time to get the 5th fingers to work with the others, so keep practicing. Review notes starting from each line so memory can be secure and comfortable. You really use your ear to listen to the sounds you are creating. Great job today! Thank you for playing.

Julia played the Vivace movement of Clementi’s Sonatina in C Major, Op 36, No. 1 from Book Three.

Julia plays the Vivace movement of Clementi's Sonatina in C Major, Op 36, No. 1 at the Ribbon Festival

(The shaky camera work and the scream at the end of the video were courtesy of Jackson. The abrupt cutoff marks the moment I’d HAD ENOUGH!)

This is what her judge said.

– Very clean playing and a steady rhythm.
– Like your touch and sound very much
– Nice expression
– Try to be more flexible with your wrists – may make it easier to play the scales
– Well done and keep up the good work!

I was proud of the girls and so was their teacher who – for the first time – was not Mr. Palmer. After 36 years of teaching, Mr. Palmer closed his studio and retired last August.

Lucy and Julia with Mr. Palmer at his retirement reception

He taught us so much and the impact he’s had on our lives is immense. And we’re just one of so many families that feel the same way. I am thankful for Mr. Palmer. He is an exceptional teacher and an extraordinary man. We miss seeing him every week.

Mr. Palmer's Studio

Julia at the piano at Mr. Palmer's Studio

He’ll be a part of who we are forever.


There are 12 months in a year.
There are 12 inches in a foot.
12 items make a dozen and 12 dozens make a gross.
There are 12 signs in the zodiac.
There are 12 days of Christmas.
The Beatles released 12 studio albums.
The human body has 12 cranial nerves.
12 human begins have stepped foot on the moon.
You have to throw 12 strikes to bowl a perfect game.
A new day begins at the stroke of midnight – that’s 12.
12 is a sublime number – it has a perfect number of divisors that add up to a perfect number.

It is the number of years I’ve been married to Dave.

12 years married

Sublime, indeed.

We’re caught in a sickness loop.

We’ve been sick around here. Lucy got strep throat, then Jack got strep throat while Phoebe got poison ivy in her eyes and pretty much everywhere else she has skin as well as strep throat. I got strep throat, too, and also Julia. We were all down for the week leading up to Jack’s birthday, so I was not prepared at all when it arrived. But two-year-olds will become three-year-olds whether you plan a party or not, so we all pitched in to honor the day the best we could at the last minute.

Everyone was feeling well enough to resume our regular activities. Jack slept in and spent time with my mom while I took the girls to school and picked up some gifts on the way home. Then, he and I headed to Build-A-Bear where he made Marshall from Paw Patrol.

Filling up Marshall

Making Marshall at Build-A-Bear

Kissing Marhall's heart

Cleaning Marshall up

We met Dave for lunch, then he went to pick the girls up from school. Jack and I lingered at the restaurant, playing Plants vs. Zombies together on the game tablet at the table. He snuggled into me as we tag-teamed our assault on the undead, celebrating each victory with high-fives and kisses. It was my favorite part of the day. After that, we went to Party City to make birthday treat bags he could share with his dance class. While we were gone, my mom and Phoebe put up balloons and Julia and Lucy wrapped the presents. Jack and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and he picked out a cake. It was nothing compared to the cake I wanted to make him myself, but it had dinosaurs on it and after days of ginger ale, toast, and chicken broth, it tasted pretty damn good to us all.

Blowing out the candles on his birthday cake

On his birthday, he got a tool bench, a Tonka truck, some trains, and a cough. We all got the cough. A week later, it was getting better for everyone – except Jack, and he woke up one morning with red eyes and a rash.

Woke up with red eyes and petechia

A petechial rash.

Petechial rash

That’s the bad rash, the one that doesn’t blanch when you press on it, the one that can be a sign of a life-threatening illness, which it wasn’t in Jack’s case, thankfully, though we didn’t know that for nearly 12 hours.


We went to our doctor who sent us to the ER at Akron Children’s Hospital who drew some blood, ran some tests, watched and waited and determined he had a virus, which was the best news we could get, though he was still feeling pretty lousy.

At the ER

A week later, he’s a little thinner, but feeling a lot better. He’s still stuffed up and coughing. So is Lucy. And Phoebe. And Julia. Again. Ugh.

I’m nothing if not persistent.

This is Janis, also known as The Evil Cat (and Jasper’s Lover).


Yesterday, she let me pick her up and cuddle her for the first time. It only took eight years!

Well, a yo-ho-ho and a hop hop hop!

It snowed here last night. Now all my skipping and flower tossing and singing, “Spring is here” seems a little dumb. So let me tell you about our egg hunt from last Sunday, when it was warm.

The Easter Bunny swung by.

Easter baskets

And also the Peep-Lovin Pirate.

Pirate note

The kids have been crazy about treasure hunts, lately, so this seemed like a fun idea. Their first clue was inside a spyglass.

Spyglass clue

It led them to a plastic egg with a clue that took them to a whole bunch of different eggs and ultimately the grand prize.

The treasure!

I hid the eggs inside and out. Most they found together, but a few led each of them to an egg in a place like their own bed and they had to put all four clues together to move on. I wish I’d taken pictures, but we were racing around so fast. We were also all in our pajamas and there comes a time in a one’s life where a picture of oneself in pajamas with bedhead is mortifying. One third of us have reached that point.

We ate a delicious meal, then Dave set up another egg hunt in the back yard with eggs filled with coins – actual money! Phoebe found the dollar egg, but Julia earned the most, beating Lucy by only two cents. The kids played outside the rest of the day while I sat nearby with a cat in my lap and reading Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein, which I recommend.

From a sort of warm day, not long ago

My girls

My kiddos

Fluffy Ufferton

This morning was so beautiful, I wrote a haiku.

I wish I had a picture to go with it. The earth was at her best in my neck of the woods this morning. It was glorious.

fresh sunny morning
after a night of spring rain
the world new, washed clean

I mowed some grass this week and that means it is spring, folks. (My blog has hibernated most of the winter.) It was warm enough today to resume our Friday picnics at the park. (I’m not sure if I mentioned them before. The littles and I started having them when school began last fall.) Jack was sick at home with Dave today, though, so Phoebe was the rare lone kid with my mom and me.

Phoebe at the park

She was friendly with all she encountered, be it child, dog, or man. But mostly she relished two hours of undivided attention. She’d call, “Follow me!” And we would. Then, “Stop!” And we would. “Watch me!” We did. She jumped, skipped, played and told incredible stories. I wrote another haiku.

skipping rock to rock
Van Morrison sings, “You’re my…
she smiles…brown-eyed girl”

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