Thursday, March 9, 2017

Annie! and other Blooming Flowers

Annie went through another round of school pictures this month. This set is soon tempting, as we watch her grow from teeny tiny Annie to long-haired, mature Annie. So glad to see the dimple in all its glory remaining the same.
Spring has come a FULL MONTH early this year. It has been so welcome.
The kids were out playing one early evening and I had to sneak out and capture some of the blossoming beauty. Azaleas, nice to see you! Stay as long as you like!
Oh, hi Soren. What, you don't need me? Too busy spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning? Message received. Carry on.
I don't even know what these beauties are called, but they've been blooming unabashedly outside my kitchen window for weeks! Glorious color, yet so unassuming out there in the back yard.
So thankful for this yard of mine. I've just recently been remembering how lucky we are to be its stewards. Here's the often ignored side yard. Long ago, Brandon decided to let it go back to nature a bit. Not bad, that nature.
Thanks Spring, I needed you! Now, go spread some love everywhere else!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Two Happy Quilts

'Tis a happy day on the blog, because I get to share two quilts I've been working on over the last couple of months.
First, a lime green/plum/turquoise feast for the eyes. Actually, I made the center square last March during a visit with HB. I finally found a home for it in the middle of some leftover HSTs made into pinwheels (my first try at these and I'm hooked). Beauty, eh?
Of course, my finish line is when Annie helps me take pictures out on the front porch, then gives a little snuggle send off.
The second quilt is an entirely different feast for the eyes. Mint and mustard and peach and navy, swoon. 

The creativity in quilting without a pattern is both awesome and awful. In each step of building these quilts, I worried about minute details, sure I would make a lasting creative mistake and ruin everything. So much freedom and yet, so much potential to crash and burn.
Over the last few months, I've been feeling the same way about the future. Each decision has seemed so delicate, so worrisome. 
And yet...
Do you see any of the creative struggle in these finished quilts? Do you notice below where I perhaps should have placed a mint triangle where a cream one went, or should have quilted with mustard thread instead of peach? Nope. Nada. 
This is how it is for almost all my quilts. Once the binding's on and Annie's snuggling them on the front porch, all fear has dissipated and in its place, delight. A beautiful, finished product.
And so it will be with our lives too, I think. The details need not be fretted about too painstakingly, as long as the process moves forward with care, the steps discussed and thought-through as a family around the dining room table, just as it was with each of these quilts.
There's quite of bit of relief in that realization.
Here's the final hold-up and send off from our snuggle master. She's the best.
 Both quilts are headed to a silent auction for our beloved Ft. Hill Presbyterian Preschool next weekend. 
Happy to share the quilty love.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekend for the (blog)Books

We've had a full February! Here, there, and everywhere, it seems. These last few days have been especially memorable--starting with gorgeous spring weather for our walks home from school. One day we took the scenic route, through the nature trail. I continue to be floored by the beauty at our fingertips here. Or water at our fingertips, as the case was this afternoon.
Soren insists on being the leader, and these girls are nice to oblige. 
This weekend, Zane participated in the much anticipated South Carolina Short Course STATE swim meet. This boy never ceases to amaze me. He swam in 6 events over the course of 4 days (could have done a couple more on Sunday but chose to be okay with Friday, Saturday, Monday. Tiring enough if you ask me!) and cut time in all but one event. His best events placed him in 15th; he cut 13 seconds in his 400 IM; and overall he dazed and amazed us with his hard work and dedication.  Seriously, who is this kid? So proud to be his mama.
Amidst the State swimming weekend, we also had a 40th birthday (go B!) and a daddy-daughter hoedown. Have you ever seen a cuter couple, I mean really? Annie had the BEST time too. Her favorite night of the year. So darling.
Soren was upset that he didn't get to go on a date with dad that night, didn't occur to him that he could have a date with ME at home! I tried my best to win him over by suggesting we bake cookies. "Okay, but we are NOT going to follow a bulletin!" He said. "Oh really?" "Really. We are going to follow MY MIND. First, get the eggs!" We got the eggs. He opened the pack, pulled one out, cracked it on the counter, then SQUEEZED his fingers together to "open" it. You can imagine what happened next: squish, crunch, "AH!!!!!" drop egg, run. "Never mind, we can use the bulletin! I'm going to wash these dirty hands!" We followed the directions under the quaker oatmeal lid for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. When came the time, I cracked the eggs.  :)  

Sunday night, everyone spent the evening playing in the yard, late-march or early-april style. I pulled out the camera....dead battery. argh. I found my almost dead more space for photos. Double Argh! BRANDON! I need help!!
This is from his phone, bless his heart. My 40-year old husband is nice. 
See how the beauty was other-worldly? TWO sunsets (one courtesy of the garage window, but who's checking)!
I love this sweet family of mine. Life is good.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Silly Soren

Soren is at the age where almost everything he says is hilarious for one reason or another.
 Here are a few of the latest funnies:
We went through a phase about a month ago where Soren's reply to everything I said was, "Mom, serious?" complete with an "Are you kidding me?" face attached.
"Soren, where you going?" "Mom, serious? I'm going to my class!" 
"Soren, why do you want for lunch?" "Mom, serious? I want a jam sandwich!"
"Soren, why are you wearing those glasses?" "Mom, serious? They are my BUILDING glasses!"
 He's since stopped doing it. Shame.
Yesterday, I subbed in Soren's primary class. At one (particularly chaotic) point, I asked all the children to get to their seats and CHILL already. Soren did this:

When asked just what he was doing, Soren replied, "I'm MEDITATING." Of course you are. Except for a few weeks ago when you were striking this same pose (complete with an open-then-closed mouth saying, "Ommmm") and when I asked what you were doing, you said, "Mom, serious? I'm just trying to catch bugs with my mouth."
Speaking of church, Sunday mornings not Soren's favorite. He usually doesn't want to go to church (he doesn't ever want to come home from church either), and will argue his cause in different ways. One morning, while lying in bed, he said this: 
"I can't go to church." 
"Why not, love?" 
"I'm too eshausted (spelling error on purpose to hear his little voice in there)."
 "Oh yeah, why are you exhausted?" 
BIG sigh. 
"I'm too eshausted from all this sleeping."
Other mornings, Soren is usually the first one up and ready for action. He'll come bounding into our bed, wondering if it's morning time yet. He'll say, "Hmm, let's check the weather" then he'll go on the weather app and see if it has the moon and clouds (before 7am) or sunshine. If it's still the moon, he'll give a disappointed "Aahh," then snuggle in with us and count the long seconds until "morning." Sometimes, though, he gets too restless. One of this favorite things to say is, "Uh-oh, I think my hand is hungry for TICKLES!!!" Then he'll attack his popsy and giggle, oh how he will giggle. I will giggle too, because it's funny to watch B get woken up and not be able to be grumpy about it. 
Some of you may have heard our football team did pretty well this year. One Saturday a few weeks ago, we were trying to deliver baked potatoes to Zane's swim meet (across from the stadium) and we happened to run into 50,000 other people, going to some kind of parade and ceremony. Soren said, "All this noise hurts my brain!" He also says this about my singing most days!
Soren is a ninja more often than not. This day, the ninja fought the Yogurt.....and lost. 
This last one's not as funny as it is just kind of adorable. One night, Annie and Soren made rockets out of boxes. (Thank you, PBS kids!) They were very creative in their helmets and Soren insisted on a selfie or two.
That's it for now! Just come over, you'll leave tickled (literally and figuratively).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Youth America Grand Prix

Annie had a special life experience yesterday. After many, many months of practice, she performed a ballet solo onstage at the Ferst Center of the Arts (Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta) as a participant in the Youth America Grand Prix. Wow, what a mouthful! Annie and her sweet friend both prepared the Cupid variation from the ballet, Don Quixote. This was a new experience for them both, and I was happy they had each other. But I'm getting ahead of myself on the pictures.
We had been asked to arrive up to two hours earlier than registration time to allow for traffic/long lines/who knows what, etc. We did as we were advised.......and we were the first ones there. Early enough that they didn't quite know what to do with us, in fact. In a word or two, they told us to come back ready in about two hours. So we went to the student center next door and waited.
I included the above pic so you could begin to see the transition from 3rd grader into ballerina. First, hair and makeup. It's cool that I forgot the brush (no it isn't! but Annie is patient with her curly-haired, never use a brush mother). Also, after she was all done up, she said, "I think I look even prettier than you now!" Ha! Don't know if that is a compliment or not, but it's cool! We met up with her friend soon after. Or almost an hour after the first pic, if you're watching that clock. They still wouldn't perform for about 90 minutes.
Then (after some more waiting, oh and also more waiting. ugh, the waiting!) it was time for costumes and warm-ups back stage. The girls had 15 minutes to get comfortable and try out a few moves. Both were quite taken aback I think at the sheer number of participants (perhaps about 60), all battling for a little corner on stage to practice. They made do, Annie calm as a cucumber throughout.
 (Two of our favorite moments above--look at that skirt fly! And those arms, hands, and fingers, swoon!)
 And then finally finally FINALLY, the program began. Annie was 6th to perform,  and after she finished we waited and watched her friend who was 9th, and then we were OUT OF THERE! I think we were all a bit over it by that point, to tell the truth. But Annie did a wonderful job and was pleased with her own first real solo performance, which made us very relieved as her mama and pops. Here we are as we exited the theatre, all of us proud of our Anniegirl.
We then proceeded  to a yummy pizza place in downtown Atlanta (Max's), a perfect end-of-the-day  prize for everything that went in to making the day and solo happen (not to mention all the WAITING). 
 And although we couldn't take video inside the performance, I do have Annie's "dress rehearsal" from last week at her home dance studio. Each and every step in this has been learned with care, patience, practice, and hard hard work. Ballet, it isn't for the weak, is it? Tenacious two (and three, and four)-year old Annie is now exquisite ballerina Annie, and we sure love her to pieces. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year's Eve Happiness + First Snow day of 2017

Happy New Year! 
We started the year off right, with dear friends and GREAT food. 
(And of course, my too-brown-for-pictures walls.)
Lots of outside play, but no snow, unfortunately.
Still, games, spa treatments from the ladies above, breakfasts to die for, desserts!!!, octopus and rabbit in one weekend, mashed potatoes that lasted for days after, sigh. Wonderful stuff, all of it.

Then, just a week after they all went home, the snow decided to show. It started on a Friday evening and we were pretty sure we would have sledding weather when we woke up; instead, we woke up to a dusting--JUST enough to even call it snow. So we threw on our garden boots (Z and A) (Soren got to wear some amazing snow boots left over from Z in Idaho that KEEP FITTING year to year--miracle of the snow boots) and played in our yard instead. 
The snow was heavy and cumbersome, so the kids got out shovels and rakes to help. I prefer the camera!
There were also lots of snowballs thrown, from the very start. 
Look at this poor branch in our driveway. It got a little too much of that happy, heavy white stuff. 
 Annie got invited over to a friend's house, so Z walked her over there while Pops, Soren, and I enjoyed more winter activities at home.

 For some reason, He knew this was a thing and plopped right down in the snow at one point:
 He also enjoyed getting pulled through the semi-snow, thank you Pops! (Look at all those funny little grasses poking up! Semi-snow indeed!)
 What did Soren do to show his thanks for the sleigh ride? Beaned Brandon multiple times with snowballs, no less! I would have stopped him but it was so funny how they kept sticking.
Walking in a winter wonderland... 
 Next, around back for more fun. 
Wall climbing is a little tricky, for both boys big and small (especially with mom's slippery GREEN garden boots, good sporting, Z).
 Then Soren spotted me and snowball attack 2.0 was ON. Little stinker.
Finally, a way to get mom and her pesky camera to retreat! I ran for the hills aka hot chocolate in the warm house. 
Happy snow day, everyone!