Category: Phoebe (page 1 of 26)

I should have just named my blog Cats and Cakes.

Yesterday was the first day back to school after a short spring break and oh, it was ROUGH waking up. I don’t remember back to school after Christmas break being this hard. I think it has something to do with the longer days and pleasant weather and having had a little taste of what summer feels like. The kids love school, but they also really love summer vacation. After enjoying either of those things a while, we start to anticipate the shift back to the other. We are at the counting down point of school. 28 school days until summer vacation!

Lucy turned nine on Easter, though we did a lot of the celebrating the day before. Here she is making her birthday wish.

Making a wish for her 9th birthday

And here she is holding her birthday present.

Lucy asked for a guinea pig for her birthday. Say hello to Spotty.

That’s the most adorable guinea pig in the world. She calls him Spotty.

Phoebe and Spotty

Oh my goodness, WE LOVE HIM.

Holding our new little guy.

It was a lot of fun to welcome a new pet, especially after losing one recently. Our cat Fluffy died last Thursday. Julia always claimed him as hers, but he found his way into all of our hearts. We spent the first day of break weeding and putting mulch down in The Jungle and it was lonely without that orange snaggletoothed beast winding his way around our feet and arms and brushing against us as we worked. He was the most talkative cat I ever met. And he had an incredible ability to hop in a lap as quickly as it appeared. His breath was as horrible as his personality was sweet. He loved us. He always wanted to be with us, which is not the usual way of a cat. His absence has left a gaping wound and, even this morning, the ache is incredible. We really miss him.

Since Lucy’s birthday happened during break, they didn’t celebrate it at school until this week. I sent in cupcakes.

Eggs in a nest cupcakes, I guess

Not just three, though. I made 30 for school and 18 more for Dave’s work and our dessert. It took all day to make them. It would have been so much faster if I’d had Wilton tip #233 to make the grass! I need to buy it! The cupcakes are meant to be eggs in a nest because Lucy is ALL ABOUT hatching eggs right now. There’s a bird’s nest full of eggs in the lid of our propane tank we’ve been watching and they’ve been incubating chicken eggs in Lucy’s classroom for weeks. They did some candling before break and yesterday during school one of the eggs hatched! The kids got to see it in real time which was THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER for Lucy. She really wanted us to be an adoptive family for some of the chicks, but we’re just not ready for that, yet. We just got a guinea pig! And maybe we’ll get one more. Some people say it’s best to have two. I only had one when I was a kid and he seemed very satisfied with our life together. But last night we were watching a video about what guinea pig noises mean and when Spotty heard those sounds, he was like, “WHERE ARE MY FRIENDS?!?!?” So maybe we’ll get another. Probably. Maybe.

Five Pounds!

Lucy and Phoebe came home from school yesterday with the biggest chocolate bar I have ever seen.

Lucy and Phoebe won the biggest chocolate bar I have ever seen

Their names had been put in a drawing for participating in the latest fundraiser and one of them was picked as the lucky winner of the 11,400 calorie prize. (We’re not sure which name was drawn. This is probably best for peace-keeping purposes.) Everyone posed for a picture with it and before you suggest that’s a weird thing to do or be excited about, consider that there is an entire amusement park dedicated to the love and celebration of this very candy bar.

Julia and the chocolate bar

Jack and the chocolate bar

Phoebe and the chocolate bar

Lucy and the chocolate bar

Once we hauled it inside, the kids unwrapped it and stared in disbelief. Breathlessly Julia asked, “Mom, mom what do we do?” Lucy suggested they each take a corner and start gnawing. We ended up cutting off some pieces with a knife. The remainder is taking up an entire shelf in the refrigerator.

You know that A-Ha song that goes “do-do do do do do do do do-do do-do”

The weather was glorious this weekend, so we spent most of it outside.

They spent the whole day playing outside.

I did some mowing and they did stuff like make a tent and have a picnic.

They made a tent and had a picnic

Look at those faces

And they did some dancing.

You know that A-Ha song that goes "do-do do do do do do do do-do do-do"

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.

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.

Christmas Eve 2016

Christmas Eve

Warm Fuzzies

The girls have been on Christmas break from school all week and it has been wonderful. We’ve had plenty of time for making cookies, watching Christmas shows, playing games and just being together. I love the pace of life on break. The kids have been playing together – all of them, even Julia, which is glorious for the younger kids as they have missed her so much lately. As the world opens up to her, she’s spending more time in it. She is growing up. Lucy had told me that even Julia’s bedroom feels far away from the rest of the house and I knew just what she meant.

Sleepover

Julia invited them to have a sleepover in her room the night before last. We blew up the air mattress and they all piled into the Big Kid Room and felt very special. They don’t remember sharing a room with her so much anymore. I sat in there with them to ask our three questions (What do you need help with? What are you thankful for? What made you say “wow” today? An idea inspired by this post at Left Brain Buddha.) and do a Dr. Puff Meditation (Oh, how we love Dr. Puff.). As the giggles faded and their breathing got deep, I realized that the time these kids have under the same roof like this is slipping away fast. Julia is twelve and a half. They have less than six years before the big sister goes off to college. (Oh, please, please let her go to college.) I just feel so grateful for this Christmas break.

I am also thankful for our Mabel and Dipper.

Jack and Mabel

Dipper sleeping on the couch

The last thing I thought we needed were more cats.

Happy little Dipper

I was wrong.

Use props to take fun Christmas pictures.

Ho Ho Ho Dave

Julia with a moustache

Santa Lucy

Candy Cane Cutie Phoebe

Distinguished Jack

Christmas prop picture

Dipper the red--nosed reinderr

Messy! Messy! Messy! (Said in the voice of Professor Hinkle in Frosty the Snowman)

We’ve been making some form of edible Christmas house during the holidays for many, many years. Usually, I post a photo of the kids smiling with their finished products after I’ve cleaned up the mess, like this. But this year, Lucy pulled out her Hulk hands and smashed hers out of frustration because I guess I should have made royal icing instead of buttercream for building. (Why did I make buttercream?) And Julia felt her Mystery Shack wasn’t photo worthy either, so instead, allow me to show you what the process looks like.

Graham cracker houses in process

Making graham crack houses

It looks messy.

The house that Jack built (with his mom)

The Christmas countdown is nearly over. Since I last wrote to you we’ve Elf-ed Ourselves (on paper, not digitally), played Chrstmas Bingo and charades, opened a present (Christmas shirts!), made magic reindeer food for Christmas Eve, played Christmas Mad Libs, had a paper snowball fight, made ornaments for the tree, and we played a reindeer game with some friends.

Reindeer games

How about them antlers?

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