Author: Leslie (page 2 of 215)

Another cake or two, another cat.

This is a cake configuration I call Bunny in a Carrot Patch. (Thanks to inspiration from here and here.)

Bunny in a Carrot Patch

You know, for Easter, or rather an Easter party which the cake attended without me because Phoebe and Jack were sick.

And here’s the cat.

Spooky

He is aptly named Spooky. He spent his first days with us in hiding. We were able to lure him out with tuna and now he’s rooming with Julia until he gains the confidence to take on the rest of us. He belongs to Haylee, Julia’s best friend since Kindergarten who moved about 1,000 miles away last weekend. He is the balm for our broken hearts. We all love Haylee. She’s like a member of the family.

The kids in the photo booth at Cosi with Haylee

She and Julia have been friends for eight years. They made a cake to celebrate that their last weekend together before the move.

Julia and Haylee's 8 year Friendiversary

We made Haylee a blanket with this photo collage on it for a going away gift.

Haylee's blanket collage

And we’re keeping Spooky to give her one more reason to come back and visit us now and then.

A Birthday Interview and Two Cakes

My boy is four today! I thought we’d celebrate it here with an interview.

Jack, how old are you? Four.

What is your favorite thing to do? Everything.

Who do you like to spend time with? You.

What is your favorite food? Fruit Snacks.

What are you good at? Racing.

What is your favorite thing to play with? Blaze and Hot Wheels and Dino Trucks.

What makes you laugh? Falling down.

What makes you cry? Slapping and punching.

What is your favorite song? True Colors.

What is your favorite book? The Book with No Pictures (by B.J. Novak)

What is one hard thing you have done? Mario Kart

What is something new you’d like to do? Drive a real car.

What is the best thing about being four? Getting presents.

Jack is four!

I made Jack a cake for this birthday, as I do.

Jack's Blaze Birthday Cake

The first layer is a tasty tire. Fondant flames lick up the second layer toward a toy Blaze on top. Yes, those are supposed to be flames. Okay, I know I didn’t exactly nail the flames, but the kid liked them. And I didn’t have time to fuss because Lucy is running for class president and requested a cake to take to school for her constituents today, too.

Lucy's Vote Cake

She came up with the design. She said she hopes it is good enough to get her elected. I said that I hoped she didn’t really believe a cake could get her elected. And then I imagined her bursting out of school in tears screaming she lost and blaming it on my stupid cake. Dave carried the cake in to her class this morning for her. He reported that there were already three or four giant boxes of doughnuts asking for votes. Maybe her Lucy for President pencils will cut through the white noise of baked goods. At least they’ll last beyond the sugar buzz and until the election on Thursday. She also has stickers. We’ll see what happens.

My mom is my hero, too.

Lucy’s class made a book called “Our Heroes” and she chose me as hers.

Our Heroes Book

I worried about this when she told me. I thought I would look shamefully inferior next to “real heroes” and that sometime she’d come to that pitiful realization. I spent a ridiculous amount of time fretting over the fact that my picture would be going in this book. This was all silly. The book arrived and it’s lovely.

I am Lucy's hero

The kids chose parents or other people not for their job or status in the world, but for how that person makes them feel about themselves. There was a lot of love and honesty in those pages. It’s a very special book. I’m so pleased to be included in it.

Speaking of Segues

I watched The Pirates of Penzance with my parents last weekend. I had forgotten how much we loved that movie! It pervaded our family life for most of my eighth year. (I explained it to Lucy like this: It was my Trolls movie.) I spent much of 1984 in a bonnet in front of my mirror attempting the coloratura in Poor Wandering One and wishing to be Linda Ronstadt who played…Mabel.

Speaking of Mabel, our Mabel and Dipper have been enjoying their new cat tree.

They like to play.

Mabel in her favorite spot

Hang out.

Dipper on the cat tree

Sleep.

Sleeping Mabel
Sleeping Dipper

And do battle on it.

Bring it, Dipper!
Smackdown

It makes me happy to watch them.

Speaking of happy, I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier and it’s great, as you’d expect.  (She is sponsored by my favorite tea!  And speaking of my favorite tea, I have a new favorite flavor.)  Her regular podcast episodes are around half an hour, which is perfect for the school drop off and pick up commute.  Plus, she has these A Little Happier segments that last just a few minutes.  I am most certainly happier for having found it.

Speaking of podcasts, Missing Richard Simmons is riveting, whether you love Richard Simmons or not.  But who doesn’t?  No one.  That’s the answer.

I hit publish before I wrote a title, so now, this is it. (Because I can’t think of anything else.)

The girls participated in the Ohio Music Teacher’s Association Ribbon Festival –  Julia for the ninth, Lucy for the fifth, and Phoebe for the first time.

You can see Julia and Lucy’s past performances here:

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

I love the Ribbon Festival and look forward to it every spring.  It is possible that this isn’t true, but in my memory, every Ribbon Festival Saturday has been sunny.  I’ve been watching many of the same students perform alongside my children for years and it’s inspiring to watch them grow.  It makes me hopeful for our world.  So long as we’re nourishing that part of ourselves that music speaks to, the part where it comes from when we make it, I think we can be okay.

Lucy was the first of my kids to perform, so she was the one to alert me to the fact that my camera was switched to photo not video which is why the beginning of her song is cut off!

Lucy plays Allegretto I at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

I think this is her best performance to date, which I always seem to be saying because she is getting better and better at managing her nerves while playing for people.  This is what the judge wrote:

Good steady playing.  Nice effort to make mp & mf differences – can you make the differences even bigger?  Your posture and hand position are very good, and your stage presence is excellent – beautiful bow!  Keep up the good work!

Phoebe had a rough first performance. Nevertheless, she persisted!

Phoebe plays Cuckoo at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

Phoebe has worked hard on Cuckoo. I was surprised to see her struggle so much.  But she was proud to have done it.  And Jack was proud of her, too.  Did you hear his “Bravo, Phoebe!” at the end of the video?  He’s her biggest fan.

Here’s what the judge shared with her:

Congratulations on your first Ribbon Festival!  I hope you will play in many more.  You did quite well in playing the right notes, and in getting the hands together.  You show good promise as a young pianist.  Be sure to play the piece several times from memory for your family and friends so you strengthen your memory of the music before you play it in public.  I look forward to hearing from you again.

Julia performed last and did just fine.

Julia plays Sonatina Op.55, No. 1 Vivace at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

The judge wrote this:

– Good p to f contrast at m. 8.  At m. 22 – can you give more sound when you start the sixteenth to show us that it’s a sequence of earlier material?

– Nice contrast in mood at m. 53

– Smooth passagework in sixteenths.  Can you bring out the top note of RH chords?

– Can you pull your hair back so we can see your face and make a more direct connection with your beautiful performance?

– Very well done – please keep up the good work!  Solid preparation.

I am so proud of my girls.

Julia, Lucy, and Phoebe at the 2017 Ribbon Festival

I love it when they play the piano.

Things look a little different.

It has been quiet here because I’ve been moving.  My Mommy’s Place had been down since Phoebe lost her first tooth.  Yes, Phoebe lost her first tooth!!!

Phoebe lost her first tooth!

I’d wanted to tell you about it when it happened, but my blog wasn’t functional.  I tried to fix it, but it came down to a server problem only my web host could solve and they were like, “yeah, yeah, yeah, when we have a minute” so, after more than a decade, I finally moved.   I’d had “move to a new web host” on my to-do list for years.  I knew it was something I needed to do, but it seemed like  a daunting task, and it really was since I waited until my blog wasn’t working to do it.   My admin panel was inaccessible and I had to move it using phpMyAdmin and I was so afraid of LOSING IT ALL and the bottom line is, I have a new host for all of my posts, but sadly none of my comments.  They didn’t make it.  A version of them exists in two SQL files on my hard drive, so maybe one day  they will return, but most likely not.  “Restore my comments” is the new “move to a new web host.”

It’s kind of nice here, though, isn’t it?  I still have some work to do, but I like it.

My cat Dipper has thumbs.

Really, he does.

My cat has a thumb.

Really.  A cat thumb.

I need to stand that cat on a glass table or something and take a picture from underneath so you can truly understand the incredible oddness of Dipper’s paws. First off, obviously, he has thumbs. He has two claws on each thumb – one at the top and one that juts out the side. This gives him a total of six claws on each of his front feet, which are enormous, by the way. They are truly a wonder. And while his thumb isn’t as strong as a human thumb, he is able to grip with it and I find myself daydreaming about all the things we could teach him to do given the fact that he has thumbs. And while we’re talking about oddly gifted and strange cats, let me tell you about Mabel. She loves to climb and has scaled to heights in our house no cat has ever reached and if you know me at all you know we’ve had a shit ton of cats which means I know what I’m talking about when I tell you Mabel is an exceptional climber. She is mesmerized by all the things high up, like the ceiling fans, particularly the pull strings. She sits beneath them and gazes up so often and with such intensity that now and then we have to pick her up and hoist her above us so she can bat them around. I wonder if she believes we put them there especially for her and if so, does she think one day she’ll grow big enough to reach them on her own? Does she think that perhaps we used to have giant cats that played with them?

These are the things I am thinking about when I’m trying not to think about the news. I’ve also been cross-stitching.

I read that indoor plants create a feeling of well being and reduce stress, but Dipper keeps eating my Lucky Bamboo.

Jack and I planted some sunflower seeds. We thought it’d be fun to have a sunflower or two in the house this winter. We’d planted seeds from the same packet last spring and they grew to be about 12 feet tall outside. I’m not sure how these will do in the house, but they’re off to a great start.

Sunflower sprouts

It’s been pretty gloomy this past week. Planting some bright, yellow flowers seemed like a nice antidote. And it made me think of a sign I saw from the Women’s March that read: They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. (Here’s an interesting article about the source of that ditty.)

Our Mabel cat has discovered our resident Peeping Tom. Her name is Lizzie.

Mabel meets Lizzie

My mom is the only one to ever touch Lizzie and that happened at the vet after we had captured her to have her fixed. She won’t get close to us, except when we’re in the house. She loves to watch us through the window. She is endlessly interested, but completely terrified by us. I’m not sure what this says about us.

Yesterday was such a low moment, but today I feel hope.

Liza Donovan "Hear Our Voice"

Thank you to all who are there in person. There are so many of us supporting you from home.

Dipper’s paws look like baseball mitts.

Dipper's paws look like a baseball mitt

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