Category: Photos (page 2 of 85)

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.

Mark Twain said, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

Today is National Siblings Day. I don’t have any sisters by blood, but I’m grateful to have two by heart.

BobbieJo <3

Kim <3

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"

It’s Tuesday.

Jackson cannot be trusted with scissors. Do you see why?

And there's Jackson...cutting his hair again.

He cut his hair. This is not the first or second or third or even fourth time. He does this a lot. And it isn’t as if his bangs were long and he cut them to get them out of his face. This is just random snipping. For what purpose, son? He has no answer.

Haylee’s cat Spooky is finally warming up to us.

Haylee's cat Spooky is finally warming up to us.

He’s moved from Julia’s room to mine, though he is venturing out of it now and then. He likes to sit next to me while I sew. He enjoys being near me and rubbing up against me. He does not enjoy being picked up or held or petted too much. He likes me best when I’m standoffish. He’s teaching me to be cool.

There was a nice article in the paper about the piano competition. Julia is still flying high from it all. (Me, too.)

Vivace

We put spiral curls in her hair for the piano competition yesterday. It isn’t often that she lets me mess with her hair, so it felt special to me. She looked lovely and she played beautifully.

Julia on Competition Day

The venue was completely full. I sat on the stairs in the aisle to watch her with Lucy, Phoebe, and my mom while my dad, Dave, and a sleepy Jack listened from the lobby. The performances were very impressive. All of the participants were so talented and it was incredible to think about the hours of practice represented on that stage. The competition consisted of a junior division for grades 7-9 and a senior division for grades 9-12. Julia won the junior division and she was so surprised! She was certain the girl who played after her would win.

I wish I’d taken pictures at the event, but it was so crowded and by the time it was over, it was very late – especially for Phoebe and Jack. They fell asleep on the way home in the car. It was a little harder for the rest of us to settle down and go to bed. It was a thrilling night!

Croup

Guess where we were last night?

Jack at the ER

Jack woke up coughing and just couldn’t seem to get enough air. He couldn’t talk or swallow and within minutes, he was struggling to breathe at all. I scooped him up and headed to the emergency room. I took Julia along to sit with Jack to make sure he was staying upright and conscious during the ride there. Thankfully, my dad was up and able to stay with Lucy and Phoebe. Dave was on his way to work when I called. He turned around and met us at the hospital. By the time we got there, Jack seemed a little better. The doctor said it was the cool, moist air outside that helped it start to clear up as he obviously has croup. My fourth child is four years and old and this is the first time I’ve experienced croup! I think we’ve been pretty lucky, because this stuff is terrible.

There had been no warning signs. He hadn’t been coughing before this. He’d had strep throat in early February and a stomach virus last week, but never a stuffy or runny nose. And he’d been fever-free and feeling fine the past few days. Since no one else in our family had ever had croup, it wasn’t on my radar at all. I was worried he had something caught in his throat or maybe was having some kind of asthma attack. It was terrifying.

At the ER, they did a chest x-ray, gave him some steroids and ibuprofen and sent us home. By the time we left, he was laughing and talking about video games and I realized I was out in public in my pajamas, Jack wasn’t even wearing shoes, and I was so very tired. He slept the rest of the night between Dave and me in our bed. I’ve never been more thankful to be kicked all night.

“I had a moment.”

This is Julia’s phrase. The first time she used it was after she’d taken a bite of a Dairy Queen hot dog. She’d stopped still, closed her eyes, and raised her hand up to the sky.

“Julia?” I put my hand on her leg. “Are you okay?”

“I’m having a moment,” she’d whispered, without moving her hand or opening her eyes.

She told me it was the most delicious thing she’d ever tasted. She was so overwhelmed with flavor, she had to stop and savor it.

Julia won a writing contest a while back. I didn’t mention it then. Not because I wasn’t proud. I don’t think I could be more proud. I guess that’s the problem sometimes. Excessive pride. People do not like it. Sometimes it hurts your feelings to realize that, especially if you don’t feel like your pride is excessive. Then it just feels like people don’t like you or your kid. And that’s how I was feeling then. I’m trying to learn restraint in my everyday life, but not here. That’s what here is for, right?

Julia is, once again, taking part in a competition. This one is for piano. She had submitted an audition and has been selected as a finalist. On Friday, I took her to practice on the piano she’ll be playing for the competition concert.

Edward Montgomery Jr. Piano

Julia at Edward Montgomery Jr.'s Piano

It is a glorious piano. She ran her hands all over it, admiring it, and cooing “beautiful, beautiful” before she began to play it. She smiled and shimmied her shoulders as if electricity were passing from the piano into her hands and up her arms as she played some scales. “This is perfect!”

She played through her competition piece and we talked about the dynamics. She worked on a few areas, then played it through a few more times. I asked her to play the movement of the sonatina that precedes her piece and then her piece again, and I settled in a chair behind her to enjoy a private concert. She played beautifully and accurately, as she usually does. It was lovely. Then she turned and said, “Can I play something else?”

“Of course,” I nodded. “We still have time.” She turned back and began to play Yellow by Coldplay. (Here’s a version she recorded on her keyboard in her room.) This is the song that’s been in her heart lately and when she opened it up and let it out, her performance was so warm and tender. The song isn’t technically demanding or as impressive as the sonatina, but by the fifth measure, she’d coaxed the sun from behind a cloud and enticed its rays to dance in her hair and on her shoulder.

Practicing on Edward Montomgery Jr.'s Piano

I couldn’t hold my tears. She noticed this after she was finished and I told her, “I’m having a moment.”

Whatever the outcome of the competition, I’ll feel like she’s won so long as she keeps playing music from her heart. I am awed by that beauty.

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.

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.

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