Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Confessions plus I heart faces: Soft and Sweet

The theme this week for I Heart Face's photo challenge is "Soft and Sweet".  I'll be honest and say that I wasn't entirely sure where to go and what to do with that.  I tend to do better with searching for something concrete, not just an idea.  I guess that is why it is called a challenge though.

Here is Maggie waiting and watching for Keary at the front window.  I think her big curls and her waiting is sweet and the dirty, smudged window adds a softness to it, don't you think?  It sounds like a stretch and maybe it is, but I think it'll work and it was my favorite picture of the week.

And I'm going to link up with Melissa's Saturday confessions with this story.  The Tuesday before last was Gwendolyn's first tee-ball practice.   She hasn't been too sure about playing tee-ball, but I think it is a good way for her to get to know some of the kids she will be going to school with so we were really talking it up.  We got there a little early and walked into a mad house:  kids were everywhere, parents were everywhere, nervous energy filled the air choking out any ounce of organization that might have existed.  I checked my voicemail to make sure of where we were supposed to be and who her coach was.  Field 5 and the coach's name was David.  Great.  

We hunted around and finally found where we were supposed to be.  Gwendolyn was introduced to her coach and team member and had a good practice, appearing to even enjoy herself.  We ordered her uniform and Keary even ordered us matching shirts that said "3's Mom" and "3's Dad".  It all worked out and was great.

The next day I received a call from Gwendolyn's coach wondering where she had been and if something was wrong since she missed practice.  "Oh no, we were there... My husband and I brought her and a little toddler that kept stealing balls and rushing out on the field."  No response.  "Gwendolyn has blond, curly hair and a pink glove."  Still didn't spark anything for him, but he said maybe he just missed her.  "We practiced on team 5, we are the yellow team, still looking for a name besides team 1..."  No, no.  The team did practice on field 5, but they (we) were the red team, team 6.  Since it was just tee-ball, two teams had been assigned to each field, and as luck would have it, both teams' coaches were named David. I just made Gwendolyn practice with the wrong team.  

That Thursday I left Keary in charge of making sure we practiced with the correct team.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The days are long, but the years are short.

These days I could even change that to the days are long, but the weeks are short.  My days feel excruciatingly slow and I try to just get through them without any incidents, without losing my temper, crying, or yelling, without forgetting anything, trying to get at least the bare minimum done around the house, and something fun or special to do with the girls.

Weeks, months and years are flying by though.  It is already time to register Gwendolyn for kindergarten, I have no idea how she is already almost 5 years old.  She only has two weeks of preschool left though it feels like she only started a couple weeks ago.  Tee-ball (t-ball?) practice has started, games start next week, the soccer season is half over already.  Maggie is potty training and saying words here and there (She started saying "Love you" or "looloo" this week), but she is still a baby to me.  I was looking at pictures for a couple years ago and last week and see how much Keary's hair is thinning and how obvious my silver streak has become (the lady who cuts my hair told me it looks like I have highlights so I hadn't been trying to cover it.  Sufficed to say, she was just blowing smoke up my butt.).

I know that part of my warped time perception is related to being a stay-at-home mom, and another part is related to how stressful thing things have been since Grandy's stroke and hospitalizations.  I remember my Pampaw telling me when I was seven or eight that when you get old and the older you get, the faster time seems to go by.  I don't think that he would have been referring to my nearing thirty as old or older though.  Maybe relative to my seven year old self though.

Linking up to Rachel Anne for Company Girl Coffee.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Embrace the Camera: Family Easter shot

My family on Easter Sunday.  What is so hard about looking at the camera and smiling?  Come on now.  I mean, I know the sun was bright that morning, but I don't think it would have hurt them for everyone to be looking at the camera and smiling for just one shot.  Keary honestly thought he was smiling and after I showed him the pictures said "Why can't I smile?  Do I need to take classes or something?" Gwendolyn was glaring at the ground in all 7 or 8 shots around this one.  Maggie looked in a different direction in each picture, never in the camera.  While I had that smile plastered on my face and was staring a hole right through the camera.  We are all in the picture though, got to spend the day together, are all healthy and happy (even if everyone can't smile and look in the camera's direction on cue) and that is what matters.

This is the second picture I have posted of myself here this week.  I'm pretty sure that is a record.  I'll be joining Emily Anderson and Embrace the Camera.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: More Easter pictures

Here is a black and white version picture of the church I grew up in.  The colored version and also pictures of some of the stained glass is here.  

One of the only pictures I got of Gwendolyn looking at the camera and wearing her Easter dress.

And a picture of Maggie getting ready to pose for a picture.  Linked to Little Somethings Sweet Photo Challenge

Also linked to Wordless Wednesday at Project AliciaWordless/ Wordful Wednesdays at Live and Love OutloudBlack and White Wednesday at the Long Road to China

I'll have something more than disjointed thought and pictures up tomorrow.  For the second night in a row, we are having severe thunderstorms and threat of tornadoes so I'm having focusing any thoughts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

8/ 52 weeks of happiness: Easter

Easter Sunday we got up early and drove 30 minutes south to my hometown and went to church where I grew up and where my family still all attend, St. Anthony's Catholic Church.  I was able to take a few pictures of the inside of the church between the time church let out and the kids ran out to find eggs.
(Sidenote:  I was four years old when my mom and dad met, and Mom and I first went to church with him.  I remember clearly being completely freaked out by the cross with Jesus on it, thinking it was a real man hanging there.)

I always really loved the stained glass windows and seeing the morning light stream through them.
I'm not sure who the A.T Risbon family is.  The church is very old.

I took nearly 100 pictures Easter morning.  I don't think the girls were looking in the same direction of at the camera even once.  They looked very pretty though in their outfits that Mom and I bought a couple weeks ago.  You like the necklace Maggie added to her outfit?  Yeah, before we could leave the house Sunday morning she dug through the jewelry armoire til she found that and put it on. (Linked to Happy Monday at Allie Photography)

Dad helped the girls hunt eggs.

And we got (part of) a family picture with my sister and dad.  I think there is a picture of us standing in front of the statue nearly every year since I was 5.

After church we went out to my grandparents then later went to my mom's.  I have many (MANY) more pictures to share, but we have severe weather headed our way again and I'd like to get this done before our electricity gets knocked out.

Fruitcake Reads: Still Alice

I'm constantly on the look out for new things to read. Often times when I run across blogs in my reader talking about books, I immediately read the description and if it sounds like something I would  enjoy, I have an ongoing note in my phone that I add it to.  Then when my stack on my nightstand dwindles down, I check out the next couple books on my note.

I must have added Still Alice to my note months ago because I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading it.  Honestly, I thought it something about Alice in Wonderland or I probably wouldn't have picked it up to read at this moment in my life.  It struck just a bit too close to home with everything going on with Grandy right now.  With that being said though, it was still a good book and I enjoyed it.

Lisa Genova, noted neuroscientist and Alzheimer's researcher, writes a very accurate portrayal of what is like to have Alzheimer's.  Still Alice is about an esteemed psychologist from Harvard named Alice who starts experiencing bits of memory loss that we all do- can't find her phone, inability to find her words, forgets to have certain converasations with her husband .  Then she realizes it is something much bigger when she forgets to go on a business trip.  You follow along with her from the little mind slips to the diagnosis to see how her family learns the diagnosis and prognosis and how they deal and try to handle it to her memory loss becoming more severe and eventually her not remembering who her family is.

A very good book, albeit scary and heartbreaking.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I heart faces: Pet Week

I snapped at least 50 pictures this week while trying to capture a picture of Waylon for I Heart Faces photo challenge this week.  Keary said he thought this one showed Waylon's personality best.  He is probably right. Waylon is our "first child", sleeps at least 18 hours a day, doesn't listen to anything we say, and thinks he owns our house but begrudgingly lets us live in it.  We are also pretty sure that if he spoke, he would have a very foul mouth.  It is just a hunch.

The Petting Zoo

I've already shown a couple pictures from the petting zoo here and here, but figured it made sense to put them all in one place.  We, particularly Maggie, really enjoyed the petting zoo and has looked through the pictures on my computer every chance she has gotten.

Here she is being a little unsure about these strange looking dogs or cats.

We both thought the piglets were awfully cute.

Then she stared down one goat while gently petting another.

We had the circle the calf a couple times before she would approach it.

Gwendolyn was very impressed with how soft the bunny was.  So were many other kids I think because the bunny was trying its best to hide.

Then came what Gwendolyn was most excited and Maggie was most curious about: donning the bouffants and helmets to ride a horse!

Gwendolyn hopped right up and was guided around the field and smiled ear to ear the entire way around.

And Maggie followed.  Keary and two guides walked her around the field and Keary said she laughed like a little hyena the entire way.

And less than 5 minutes after getting in the car, she was sound asleep for almost an hour nap.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My So-Called Life

When I saw My So-Called life was available on Netflix instant que, I immediately saved it.  I remember liking it when I was in seventh or eighth grade or whenever it aired. I related to the main character, Angela Chase.  She was socially awkward, had ridiculous parents, and just wanted to fit in somewhere in high school and get the boy of her dreams' attention.  They might as well named her Danyelle.  Plus there was Jordan Catalano and his beautiful, dreamy eyes you could just stare into.  Soon I settled in to watch and relive all of it.

Somethings it is better to just remember.  I spent the entire time watching and wishing Jordan would get a haircut or at minimum, keep the hair out of his eyes.  Why did Angela like him anyway?  He was a jerk to her, didn't go to class and didn't seem to care whether he had a future.  He pressured her to have sex then broke up with her when she didn't, if you can even call it breaking up if they never went on a date.  And Angela, oh my gosh!  She was obnoxious to her parents and sulked around.  She was so lost in her own thoughts most the time that she seemed high.  But at least she was still easy to relate to since she was vulnerable and awkward.  The grown up me kinda wants to shake her and tell her that the life she was living isn't so bad and "so-called" and to just make better decisions.  

I also wonder how she turned out.   Did she ever get over Catalano and stand up to Rayanne? Did she ever realize that even though her parents might seem lame, they still had her best interests at heart?  What about Krakow?  Did she ever stop trying so hard to be different and just be herself?  Has she grown out of her socially awkward phase or is she still working on it like I am?  

So many questions and I could go on.  But really, going on about fictional characters from a show from over 15 years ago?  I'd rather tend to things in my own life and embrace it, not act like it is something lame and refer to it as "so-called".  This is my life, the mundane and the exciting and sometimes, as the mom, I have to find ways to make the mundane interesting and exciting.

(Now I'm totally singing Bon Jovi's It's My Life.  That just takes you to the lyrics, in case you don't want to watch the video. If you don't know the song, you should click over because the lyrics are quite applicable here too.)

I want to be here and present for my life and for my girls to remember growing up fondly, not just "hey, we did this and Mom was there too."   I also want them to be able to look back at pictures and actually see me there.  It isn't going to really matter 20 or 40 years from now if my hair needed to be colored or cut or my eyebrows were in serious need of being waxed or if I appear to have a double chin or big butt.  It is going to matter and help to see me there, smiling, participating and being me with my family and friends.  So I am linking up with Emily Anderson and Embrace the camera and posting a picture of the girls and me participating in our every day life, playing outside, and apparently not getting pictures of all of Maggie's face.  (In my defense, look at her eyes, she clearly wasn't wanting her picture taken either.)

Also linking up with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wordy Wednesday: Goats

I've mentioned before how fearless Maggie seems often.  She was that way at the petting zoo Saturday.  She was a little tentative initially and observed everyone and the animals for a couple minutes then she acted like she was an old pro and had constant dealing with farm animals, climbing in and out of the pens laughing and chattering.  

She took a particular liking to the goats.  Personally, I find goats to be a little creepy- it is something about their eyes, I think, they are kinda evil.  I want to like goats (as much as I like any farm animal, which doesn't say just much since I feel rather neutral about them).  I mean, I enjoyed Adam Sandler's talking goat and Mike Rowe's fainting goats on Dirty Jobs.  So there is potential to like goats.  And that picture is awful cute.  I  like how the goat and Maggie are looking at each other, and the goat looks a little jealous that his buddy is getting petted.  And if we had a goat or two, they could take care of the lawn so Keary wouldn't have to mow.  So they can't be all bad... If only their eyes weren't so evil.

I think I should just be glad that Maggie (and Gwendolyn but to a lesser degree) are less skeptical and more brave than I am.

Linking up with Live and Love OutloudThe Paper MamaAnd then she snappedProject AliciaThe Long Road to China

7/ 52 weeks of happiness: Petting zoo

I posted Friday about the busy weekend I was anticipating, and it turned out being every bit as busy as I thought it might.  The local college puts on an annual petting zoo so we went there first thing Saturday morning.  We aren't (animal) farm people, nor do we have any in the family so the petting zoo is the only experience and interaction we have with farm animals and I wasn't sure how Maggie was going to respond to it.  (I knew Gwendolyn would love it: she would get to ride a horse and that equals A++ fun in her book.) She really enjoyed it though.  She wasn't too sure about the animals at first, the picture above shows the very first animals we came into contact with.  But she quickly warmed up to them and then climbed in and out of the pens, petting animals like she was an old pro.  

The petting zoo had pigs, goats, rabbits, ducks and chicks, ponies, turkeys, cows, sheep, and hay ride, and the highlight: HORSE RIDES FOR EVERYONE. Or at least all the kids.  They probably would have let me if I had asked nicely too... And worn the bouffant and bicycle helmet to protect my head.  Gwendolyn was thrilled with her horse ride around the field.  And we let Maggie ride too and she laughed the entire time she was on the horse.  

We spent almost 2 hours looking at the animals, then Maggie fell asleep in the car on the way to Gwendolyn's soccer game.  The festivities continued after the game with a 1st birthday party for one of our friends.  Needless to say, we slept well Saturday night.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I heart faces: Wind

What is it they say about March? Its winds blow in like a lion and out like a lamb?  Something to that effect at least.  Not that it really matter either because April does not seem to have gotten the message this year.  It seems to have been windy more days than not this month.  And I'm not talking about a light, nice breeze, I'm talking a big, knock you down, wind advisory kind of wind.  At least I was able to use the wind to my advantage with the I Heart Faces photo challenge this week of wind.

Here Maggie is at the soccer field last week when there was strong wind.  Super strong-made more goals than the kids did- kind of wind.  And she was running all over the place (you can see Keary in the background, I was making him chase/ follow her) and I caught a quick shot of her.

Click it Up a Notch

Friday, April 15, 2011

Company Girl Coffee: Hanging in there

We are hanging in there.  I wrote last week about needing to find patience and lacking any feelings of peace last week.  Things are all pretty much in the same state:  Grandy is still in the hospital, we still have a zillion things around the house to do, t-ball still hasn't started.  Major difference is I am feeling okay about all of it.  Things are slowly getting done.  Grandy is still in the hospital, but she is getting the care she needs.  T-ball starts this week and Gwendolyn (so far) enjoys practicing it in the backyard.  Things aren't happening fast or all better, and this all isn't to say that there hasn't been more thrown at us this week, but we are hanging in there and feeling okay about all of it.

Maggie's fortune this week read: Be careful! Straight trees often have crooked roots.  Do with that what you will I guess. 

We have a big weekend planned: petting zoo in the morning then a soccer game then a 1st birthday party then a cookout then dinner out for my grandmother's birthday.  I'm kinda tired just thinking about all of it.

How are you?  Any plans for the weekend?

Linking up with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Walking into Spiderwebs

I managed to avoid walking into this one, but I didn't think I was going to get a picture before Gwendolyn or Maggie wandered into it since it was on the swing set.  We all got by though and the web is still on the swing set.

I had trouble at first focusing on the web, my lens (or camera or operator error perhaps) kept trying to focus on the ground and ignore the web. I didn't do much to it besides sizing it down from the 4700x3200 image that is on my computer to something more manageable and ran the "I'm feeling lucky" picasa action.  I don't like sizing pictures down because they look so much clearer on my computer, but the pictures are way too big otherwise.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordy Wednesday: Quiet

Keary and I went to Gwendolyn's parent-teacher conference Thursday.  It was actually the first official conference we had with the teacher though I had stopped in shortly after Gwendolyn started school and Keary and I both came to a couple extra Friday activities.  We learned that Gwendolyn is ahead of the game getting ready to go to kindergarten though she does have some problems holding scissors and recognizing patterns.  
We were also very surprised to hear that she is quiet in class.  Now Keary and I are both relatively quiet people, but Gwendolyn babbles and chatters constantly at home, the library, everywhere else except school apparently.  She talks in her sleep.  She was even talking while I tried to take her picture here.  But at school, she is quiet.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

6/ 52 weeks of Happiness

In addition to soccer and backyard t-ball practice Saturday, I went with Mom to visit my Grandy at the hospital.  She had been there over a week (which was quite a bit longer than I had anticipated her being there) and the visiting hours are very strict, much stricter than when she was in the ICU, only one hour a day and only two people can visit with her at a time, so I decided it was time and figured Mom could use the support.  The visit went relatively okay I guess.  Eh, afterwards though I told Mom I didn't have anywhere I had to be directly so we went to the mall.

Ah, retail therapy.  She denied and tried to take offense to my referring to our shopping as that at first, stating "That outfit is really cute" and "Maggie will look ADORABLE in this." After $80 and only an outfit for each girl and realizing she was only just getting started shopping, she conceded that maybe this was retail therapy.  We come by it honestly: Grandy was a big participant in retail therapy.

At the end of the day, we each wound up getting a couple spring dresses, spent more time together (and away from the hospital or Grandy's) than we have in months, and got the girls some new shoes, sandals, and sunglasses.  Both girls appreciated their loot, but Maggie was so proud of her flip-flops.  She has barely taken them off since Saturday.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I heart faces: Shadows

Saturdays in the spring are busy and exhausting.  Gwendolyn had a soccer game this morning then some t-ball practice in the backyard in the afternoon.  By supper time, she was exhausted.  Hopefully, that will mean she sleeps and rests well tonight because tomorrow afternoon, we get to do it all over again.

The photo challenge theme this week at I Heart Faces is shadows.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Company Girl Coffee: Patience

This was Maggie's fortune the other night.  Grammar aside, it probably should have been my fortune.  Or at least it should have been directed at both Maggie and me.  Maggie is a toddler though, and as such, people expect her to be impatient at least to some degree.  I, on the other hand, am far from toddler-aged.

I'm impatient waiting to hear from Gwendolyn's coaches about when her t-ball and soccer will begin and who her coaches are.  I'm impatient with Keary and myself because there are 1012 projects around the house I want completed yesterday; yeah, even if I haven't fully made the exact decisions and plans, I just want it all completed and settled.  I'm impatient with the people in charge of Grandy's care because I want her to be better already; it has been almost 5 months since she had her stroke and she had to go back to the hospital last week for med changes, monitoring, and I don't know what all and all I really know is that the doctor said is that he thinks this may be as good as she gets and I took that about as well as a punch in the gut.  I'm impatient with myself because I want to learn how to use my camera and take better pictures already, but I know that is an ongoing process, not to mention a rabbit hole because once I am semi-satisfied with taking pictures, then I'll want to process and edit them well too and then it'll be something else.

I really need to have more patience with myself and everyone else but particularly myself since I am harder on my self than anyone else.

Here was Gwendolyn's fortune.

It says "Grant yourself a wish this year; only you can do it."  Sounds like a plan (or maybe half a plan) to me.

What wish would you grant yourself?  Are you a naturally patient person?

I'm linking up with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls for coffee.  Feel free to join us.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Touch of Spring

Saturday was the first soccer game of spring.  We weren't sure Gwendolyn was going to play the spring season, but she said she really wanted to and promised to participate and interact more this season so we  agreed.  And just look at that form when she kicked the ball!  What can I say, she says she is also training to be a musketeer and sometimes her kicks are the same.  :)

I'm linking up Another Day, Another Diaper's Theme Thursday: A Touch of Spring because even though there may not be much green in the picture or any flowers, I'm thinking the first soccer game of the spring= a touch of spring.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesdays: Dog Ears

I pulled Maggie's hair into two little dog ears Saturday morning.  Suddenly she went from being a wild haired, baby-faced toddler to being a little girl and NOT a baby at all.  But more than that, they were just precious.  

Maggie supervised Gwendolyn's first soccer game of the season Saturday.  It kills her that she can't be out there playing with the big kids.  We bring a spare ball for her to play with on an adjacent field or sidelines, but it is just not the same.

Linked up with Photo Challenge (Two) @ Simplicity, Wordless but with words Wednesdays @ And then, she snapped, and Wordless Wednesday @ 5 minutes for MomWordlessish Wednesday @ The Paper MamaWordish Wednesday @ Supermom

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

5/ 52 weeks of happiness

After a week of warm temperatures allowing me to let the girls run around in the back yard as much as they wanted and opening the windows to let the house air, it turned cool again and started raining again last week.  We had to shut the windows, turn on the heat, and stay inside.  This didn't please any of us, least of all Maggie, who at almost 20 months barely speaks but lets us know clearly (and constantly) that she wants to go outside ("uh-side!") and swing ("swee") or play ball ("baa").  So on Thursday, once the temp was in the 50s and it stopped raining, I had us all put on our rainboots and go outside.

And Gwendolyn showed me some new tricks she learned for going down the slide.  

Of all the things I expected her to learn at preschool, going head first down the slide never crossed my mind.  Look how happy she is though!

Then Maggie decided to test out the mud. 
She stomped around for awhile, and eventually, one of her boots stuck in the mud.

And she chose the most obvious way to get the mud off her foot: her hand.  Unfortunately she did not consider that using her hand would also get her hand muddy.

Maggie was both surprised and perplexed by the mud on her hand.

She was not pleased and did not like having her hand muddy.

She was not pleased at first, but you know what she made a bee-line for and tried out as soon as we went outside the next day?  Yep, the mud.  So maybe the mud wasn't as bad as her first impression made it seem.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fruitcake Reads: The Next Queen of Heaven and a couple others

Keary got me this book for Christmas because he knows how much I love Gregory Maguire's books.  Wicked is one of my my all-time favorite books, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister ranks pretty highly too.  So, even though I had not heard of The Next Queen of Heaven, I was excited to read it.

The previous books of Maguire's that I have read were fantasy-based.  The Next Queen of Heaven was based in reality and centers around several people living in a small town in New York who don't really fit in and are anticipating Y2K and changes in their lives.  This was a good book, but I think I prefer his fantasy books.  The characters and plot just felt a little lacking: the characters were normal, regular people like you and me, and the plot and actions seemed that way too.  Some people may love a story like that, but I prefer to escape the regular and normal when I read.

Would I recommend it?  If you are a fan of Maguire's, sure, just be prepared that it isn't fantasy based.  If you   read the back cover and are intrigued, do read.  It delivers just what the back cover indicates it will.  

I've read four more books over the past couple months.  The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins was fantastic and I can't even come up with fitting enough words for a review.  I went into reading them not thinking I would like it, but since it was so highly recommended, I wanted to try it.  Oh my!  Loved it!  The writing style wasn't my favorite not was the subject matter, but it all fit so well together and worked out.  Read them.

Another highly recommended book was The Book Thief.  I wanted to like it, but I couldn't get into it.  I read about half of it, but reading started feeling like a chore and I stopped.  Maybe I will come back to it in a few months, maybe it just wasn't for me.