Thanks for a great weekend!

We traveled to visit some dear friends a few weeks ago at their island cabin and had a blast.

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See these guys?  They've been hanging out together, when they can, since college.  I think this photo would look great next to one with all of them from twenty (yes twenty!) years ago.  However, I'm thinking back then when one actually needed to have film on hand to take a picture and be sober enough to coordinate a decent photo, the chances of that type of picture floating around are pretty slim. 

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The girls loooved hanging out in the water and swimming like fish.  Well, more like with the fish actually.

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My little bird went tubing for the first time and man was she soooo excited.  Thank you Chris for all your boating.  You made their day!

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We spent quite a bit of our time following this little monkey around, but it was all worth it just to spend time in the beautiful outdoors with some fabulous friends on the sweetest little island you've ever seen.

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I have to say, I was pretty stressed out about bringing her with us.  No, not the baby, the dog.  But really, it was probably one of the highlights of the trip for me.  Watching my dog be completely and totally free for two days was heaven.  Their were five dogs total on that island and she was by far the craziest and the poor thing can barely swim (I discovered this after pushing her off the end of the dock. . . I thought she just needed a little encouragement.)  I'm trying to think of a good way to describe what this dog swimming looks like and the closest I can come to it is if you imagine a dog trying to keep her paws completely out of the water while she's swimming that's as close as I can get to it.  She would lift each front paw completely out of the water and then plunge it back in just long enough to keep herself afloat.  It was a very loud and splashy process and had me laughing so hard tears were rolling down my face.  Let me tell you, this dog was so exhausted when we got home that for a solid week she barely moved.  Honestly, I was starting to think she'd gotten sick somehow.  It was all she could do to drag herself over to her bowl for dinner and then crawl back over to the cool ceramic tile to resume her nap.  She's back to her lunatic self now, though, so I know it was just all the excitement and running around that drained her energy.  Again, thank you Ron for a week of tired dog.

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My sweet husband was a great help with the monkey and did quite well, I have to say, for not being much of an outdoorsy kind of guy.  We're going to get him in a tent, yet, just you wait and see.  A great weekend with great friends.  Now, I just have to pack for our road trip out to Colorado. . .
 
 
 
 
 


Growing Up!

She's been gone for 5 days.  I want her home now.  It's been hard to go about my days not knowing what she's up to and my heart says that this is just a taste of what it will be like when she's all grown up.Door County 2010 008Door County 2010 004Door County 2010 009 

I've had a moment of enlightenment so to speak.  Up until this age, going on ten,  I've been so busy waiting for the next milestone.  When are they going to walk?  When are they going to talk?  Use the potty?  Dress themselves?  Go to school?  Learn to read?  Ride a bike?  Then, as your child approaches ten you start to dig in your feet.  Wait.  Wait.  Don't grow up too fast.  Stay just like this a moment longer.  The child starts to melt away and you see the first peak of a young girl soon to be young lady.  And your heart aches.  The mean girlfriend fighting will start, the boy crushes, the hormones, the drama, the make-up, the endless talking on the phone, the too loud music, oohhh  and let's not forget the dreaded eye roll.  Yeah, you know it's coming.  Just stay almost ten.  Just stay like this a minute longer.  I love who you are right now.  I'll leave tomorrow where it belongs. 

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Strawberry Picking Season!

It's strawberry time.  I packed the girls in the minivan and drove to the local strawberry patch.  It was busy but the berries were plentiful.  They had a blast hunting for the juiciest ones.  My sweet peach kept saying, "Oooo. . . look at this baby." and she'd hold her find up for all to see.

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Pippa gave her vote on what should be done with all of these berries.

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Don't even think about takin' my berry!

Really, though, what am I going to do with all of these?

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That's a whole lotta berries!

Oh.  I almost forgot.  The peach wants to show off her new dress:)

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She's a little fashionista, I'm telling you.  She knows just how to strike a pose, too.  And that, in the background, would be our messy playroom.  Ignore the chaos.  I do.  
 
 
 
  


Picnic

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The end of kindergarten.  I'm happy for her, but sad to see it go.  This last week has been crazy with Craig out of town, but I did manage to make it to the kindergarten picnic, which was complete with the required table of goodies.

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I'm hoping that she enjoys first grade as much as she did kindergarten. 

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A good time was had by all, of course, no party is complete without a little bit of chalk and a whole lot of bubbles.

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I'm thinking of trying to find some digital photography classes.  I'm really enjoying figuring out just what my camera can do and I love getting that perfect shot.  That picture where something inside you just says "Yes!" when you hear the click because you know you got just what you wanted. 


 
 
 


She's a Star

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Well, the peach had her dance show at the Children's Theatre.  She was wonderful.  She's informed me, though, that she's decided to hang up the dancing shoes.  "They hurt my feet."  In favor of acting classes.  "I want to be on TV."  Oh. Dear.  I guess you never know what they'll come up with next.

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Goodness,  she certainly doesn't lack the drama!  It's so funny because you could'nt pay my oldest a million dollars to get up on that stage and perform like that.  I asked the peach, "Are you nervous?"  "Nope," she said very matter of factly.  "Not at all."

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The little ones were soooo sweet.

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Ready to go on stage.

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You do know all dancers receive flowers after their performance right?  The little bird was slightly dismayed.  "What are those for?"  She asks.

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Not to worry, she got some love too:)

These are the moments you remember forever.
 
 


Memorial Day Sun

Today we had some much needed family time.  With all of the hectic running around from softball game to ballet practice, we desparately needed some at home time to enjoy each other.  A small reminder of what is really important on this short journey we call life.  My little bird can't leave little Pippa behind when she feels like it's something her baby sister would really love.  And no one in this family enjoys the water as much as sweet Pippa.

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Whenever she sees water, she pretends to wash her hair.

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Could they look more alike?  Nothing makes my heart burst more than seeing my girls loving on each other.

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Not to worry, the peach got in on the action.  Ohhhh. . . little ladies. . . how I love you so.  I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day.
 
  


First Dirt

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We have been going to this neighborhood park for years.  It's one of those parks with great shade, nice playground equipment and well supervised children.  I never have to worry at this park.  It's set back nicely from the street and the neighborhood keeps it clean and all of the equipment in good repair.  It feels very homey to me.

Pippa has been enjoying the park from her perch in the double stroller for several weeks now.  She's not walking yet and putting her down to "have at it" generally means dealing with a very filthy baby when it's all said and done.

Today, I let her "have at it".

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Linden Hills Park May 2010 047 edit She was quite interested in the dirt.

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We even had a nice little taste!

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All in all, a very successful first dirt experience.
 
  


Another Grandparents Day

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Miss Pippa and I hung out in the lobby with all of the goodies while the grandma's listened to the kiddies singing a "We love Grandparents" song in the church.  It was a lovely event, overall, as usual.  Though, this year, it was a little hot in those classrooms.  Well, actually, quite stifling, but we all survived the heat for the kids.  They are always soooo excited about having their grandparents come for this special event.

Grandparents Day-Softball 012 Grandparents Day-Softball 020 My sweet peach was so excited for her first grandparents day.

Grandparents Day-Softball 024 Please don't tell me how old she looks now. . . I know.  She's headed for fourth grade next year.  She doesn't want to leave her wonderful teacher Mrs. Shields, though, I've assured her that fourth grade will be just as fabulous.

Grandparents Day-Softball 033 We ended the day with a softball game.  It was 98 degrees that day!  We were all wilting.   I insisted the little bird bring along a spray bottle to cool herself.

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The sweet peach can never resist an opportunity to be a ham for the camera.  I'm not quite sure why I'm getting this blue cast on my pictures now.  I've been fiddling around with my camera enough that I probably couldn't even tell you what I've done to it.  Everything looks a little blue.   Hmmm. . . I guess I'll have to work on that.


The Trip

Girl Scouts 009 Girl Scouts 013It was a trip I will never forget.  From getting lost on the way there (I'm never going on a trip again without Betsy- my GPS lady), to putting up the tent (with some assistance), I was so proud to be with you, to be your mother.  Watching you with that group of girls moved my heart.  You have a sweet and tender way about you.  I can still see your sweet little two year old face in you growing up nine year old self.  I love who you're becoming.

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You made me smores:)

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You got in there and sang the camp songs after I pushed and pushed.

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You didn't ditch me to go sleep in some other friends tent like some of the girls.  You wanted to be with your Mom and that made my heart sing.  

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Thank you for such a wonderful trip.

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I love you.


The Musician

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 She hemmed, she hawed, she debated.  We went to the music store and tried them all out.  We listened to solos on youtube.  We discussed.  She chose.  I'm delighted.  Daddy has heard tell of great scholarships for oboeists (sp?).  Let the practice begin!  Prepare for the sounds of a dying goose, at least for awhile:)
 


Three Piggy Link

Alright folks!  For all interested parties, you may follow this link to the Three Piggy Opera!  Enjoy the show.  A side note:  The sweet peach is mostly cut off :(  She's in the middle row on the bleachers on the far right.  Every once in awhile you get a brief glimpse if you pay attention!  Still so cute and the wolf does an Oscar performance, I'm telling you. 


About the Music

Okay, so I caved.  I'm putting music on the blog now.  I was very conflicted about doing this for a long time.  So often I'll go to a blog that's playing music and just press the mute button because I find it so irritating.  However, it doesn't keep me from going to their blog.  I realized it's their choice of music more than having the actual music on the blog.  I like the music I pick out, obviously, and so here it is.  If you don't appreciate my taste, feel free to do as I've done, press the mute button.  In any case, I hope you'll keep coming back:)

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Photography 101

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Trying out some new digital photo techniques.  I still really don't know what I'm doing, but at least I'm having fun.  I know all of you Grandparents out there are wondering why it is you only see photos of your youngest grandchild.  I'll tell you, it is because when I pull out the camera these days with my oldest child I get a cheesy smile accompanied by a loud, "Mooommm!" and my middle daughter turns into a super model with all of her poses.  This peanut is the most natural.  I'm not giving up though, the oldies will make their repeat appearances.  A side note to all family, on Sunday June 6th we've got a ballet recital for the peach at the Children's Theatre and a piano recital for the little bird.  It's a two for one for anyone interested in attending.


  


We're Talkin' About Practice!

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She's been playing catcher and is pretty excited about it.  I just think she looks cute.

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So, another little rant here.   She's supposed to have two practices a week until the games start.  Well, last week she had two practices and two scrimmages, which, let's be honest here people, is really just another way to practice.  A two and a half hour scrimmage mind you!  Let's be real here, coach.  We're talkin' about practice.  Does it really need to be this intense?

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Everyone's a critic!

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Okay, let's here it.  We need a pitcher, not a belly itcher! 
 


The Three Piggy Opera

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How can anyone resist an opera version of the three little pigs!  Some of the photos came out a little blurry.  I may go to the second showing for the retired folks next week to get some better shots.  Oh, I'm telling you it was adorable.  And my sweet peach adores her beloved teacher,  Mrs. Stewart.  For those family members out there I'm hoping to post some video of the performance in the video section of the blog sometime later.  The event wrapped with piggy cookies and pink lemonade.   These moments are what it's all about.
 


What a Testament of Faith

I am not a Mormon.  Sometimes, though, the differences between religions fade into the background and the simple beauty of the truth shines through.  I read her blog everyday and she is such a source of inspiration to me.  What a beautiful video, Stephanie!


 


 


Our Little Rookie

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There's something about a redhead in a baseball cap I find especially adorable!

Note to softball coach:

Really? A two hour practice in the rain that ends in the dark?  Three practices a week?  Is this maybe just a tad excessive?  I love your enthusiasm.  Really.  I do.  I also would like it if my third grader didn't fall asleep in the middle of her multiplication.
 
  


Quiet Moments

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I love the curve of her little ear. 

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Her sweet profile is so much like my other two.

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Chubby fingers.

Clarification of earlier post:  My mother felt I was implying to people that Pippa has Down Syndrome.  She does not.  I was simply trying to explain a difficult part of pregnancy that alot of women these day go through.  You take all the tests that they tell you to take and results can be inconclusive at best and then you're left to worry.  This woman's story really illustrated to me the beauty of life and I wish I would have read it while I was pregnant.  Because of our beliefs, we would never have "done" anything about a baby with Downs, and this blog would've put my mind at ease.  Every life is a gift.
 
 


A Must Read

This is the most beautiful birth story of having a baby with Downs Syndrome I've ever read.  I wish every expectant mother could read this instead of being terrified by "genetic specialists" and all those blood test results.  When we were expecting Pippa, we were told that my blood tests indicated a slightly elevated risk of having a baby with Downs Syndrome.  We were told that, if we chose to, we could have an amnio to find out for sure and that the results would be early enough to "take care of it" if need be. ! Everyone should read this and see the beauty in every soul.

Nella's Story  by Kelle Hampton


The Child

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

~Loris Malaguzzi
(translated by Lella Gandini)


Am I doing it right?

This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis.  Am I doing this right?  Will my children grow up to be amazing, intelligent, productive, creative, responsible, honest, loving people?  Am I feeding them the correct balance of all necessary nutrients?  Vegetables.  Fruits.  Grains.  Organic.  Locally Grown.  Do they read enough?  Enough of the right stuff?  Do they watch too much TV?  (Probably)  Are they getting stimulated enough at school?  Are they liked?  Do they have good friends?  (Yes). 

I want to fit so much into this tiny little slot of time I'm allotted in their lives.  At the same time, we've all heard tell of the over scheduled child.  The detrimental effects of shuttling your child from one activity to the next.  Then again,  how do you know they'll love something if you don't let them try it?  My oldest was in basketball for the second year this year.  She's in gymnastics for the third year, which she loves.  This is the first year she's old enough to play softball.  We signed her up.  She has piano lessons.  Loves those too.  She's in the process of choosing a band instrument at school.  There's the Girl Scout camping trip coming up next month.  Swimming lessons start in June.  Then there's church camp and horseback riding camp.  She just finished running club and ran a 2k with her Dad.  It all seems a little insane to me.  I'm hoping after a few years of insanity,  we'll settle down into a few beloved hobbies after weeding out the least favorites.  It's like someone put me on a roller coaster I didn't even know I'd bought a ticket for. 

Am I doing this right?  Is there a right way?

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I've got another little person coming up the pike and I'm already wondering. . . what will be her passion?  Violin?  Cello?  Iceskating?  Soccer?  Ballet?  At least by that time, my oldest will be old enough to drive her there.