Friday, October 31, 2008

Double Vision

Halloween has been for me these past few years a fun day to be a kid with Annalee. I've been the Cat in the Hat to her Po and Cinderella's stepmother to her Cinderella (along with our Prince Charming).

Today, Annalee and I were each Snow White - something I had wished for as early as last Halloween. I kept my idea to myself and let my little one make her choice(s) by herself. She started out wanting to be a cheerleader, so I purchased that outfit. Then, we went to the store to get my outfit (Snow White) and a different cheerleader outfit that was, by then, on sale. While there Annalee decided to be Ariel, the little mermaid.

Before we paid for everything, I needed to try on my costume and make sure it would fit - and then lightening struck. There must have been something about my outfit that caught her interest; without my saying a word my secret wish came out of Annalee's mouth. "I'd like to be Snow White, too, mama." I swooned. My little dream was going to come true.

And, so it has.

I went to school today and marched in the class parade along side my little girl. Then, we trick 'r treated together. What a pair we made. Oh, how I love this - another day of motherhood glory!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Innards, Seeds and Slime, Oh My!

Nothing like waiting until the eleventh hour to carve pumpkins. But, we got them done tonight. I just love carving pumpkins! Leelee designed each pumpkin face. The one on her pumpkin has square eyes with little half-rounds for eyeballs - something she learned from her kindergarten teacher. When it came time for her to design the face on my pumpkin, she remembered that I like triangle eyes, so that's what I got on my pumpkin.

My dad, sister and I used to do all the carving when I was growing up. Mom just kind of hung around on the sidelines. At least that's what I remember. I don't think it was her thing, either, like it isn't Ron's thing. Ron's never really had any interest in pumpkin carving in all the years we dated and have been married. It's just not a thing for him. But, it is for me. I love carving pumpkins. Well, actually, I think it's the pumpkin seeds that I really love.

I eat the whole seed, shell and all. Salt can make or break a batch of pumpkin seeds. I haven't tried our baked pumpkin seeds from today, but I have my doubts about their success. I don't think I boiled them enough before baking. We'll see...

Polka Dots

Today I am wearing the sweater set that I wore nearly four years ago, the day our daughter was placed in my arms. She was crying - out of fear. I was crying - out of joy (or maybe fear?). Quite a pair we made. Ron was alongside us grinning from ear to ear just taking it all in.

When I look down at these colored polka dots, I can feel every emotion that I experienced on that day. Anticipation, relief, joy, excitement, exhaustion, love. Above all else, there was love. For my daughter. For my husband. For the red thread that brought us all together at that moment in time from opposite ends of the world.

We've experienced so much together in these past four years. But, I will never forget the details of that day. And, if I do (when I get really old - and maybe senile), I'll always have the DVD to watch and remind me...if I can remember where to find it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Color Inspiration #28

I really like the colors in Kristina Werner's Color Inspiration this week. And, check out this little coin purse from Anthropologie, where she found the inspiration.

So, now it's my turn....

I added a teeny bit of black, just because. It was in the original picture and it really made the colors pop. The stamp sets used are Artfully Asian and Symbols of Solitude. The paper is from Bali Breeze. I intend to give it to our friends as a sympathy card. They just had to put their dog, Haley, down. She was a sweet, old soul.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

When I think of this book, I'm immediately transported to my childhood home, lying on the love seat (it was so purple!) in the living room. The room itself is in total disarray while my parents are painting. I can't figure out why I wasn't helping. Maybe I was sick that Saturday or maybe my parents thought my reading a book was a great way to keep me occupied so they could paint. But if that was the case, where was my sister - five years my junior?

Thinking of the book also makes me think of my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Russell. I just adored her. She was strict and strong and scary most of the time. Then, there was the kind and thoughtful side of her, too. When she laughed, it was with her whole body and heart. It was Mrs. Russell who recommended I order A Tree Grows in Brooklyn book during one of our Scholastic book sales (along with Roget's Thesaurus - a favorite reference book that I still own!).

What's the story about? Well, I remember the basics - Francie is a young girl growing up in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. There's her dad, who drinks a lot, her mom, who seems distant to Francie, and her brother. It's a poignant tale of a girl coming of age. I've read it several times over the years, just not recently. It's that whole transport thing that happens to me when I've read the book - I'm there with Francie walking the streets of Brooklyn - that has made this a favorite for me. Not only that, but it also gives me the warm fuzzy memories of a simple time in sixth grade.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Time Traveler's Wife

It occurred to me that if I'm posting my favorite books that I should at least post something about the books and why I like them.

As for The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, I absolutely love this book. I've read it twice. It's one of those that just hangs with you. It's caught in the fibers of my being. It left it's mark on my soul. I'd read it more often, but there is such a sadness, almost a sense of mourning, in the story line that I can only read it about once every 18 months or so. At least, that's about how long it was after my first reading that it called to me again to be reread.

The story is of Henry, a time traveler, and Clare, the love of his life. The story is told in chapters. Clare's is told as the space-time continuum moves, while Henry's story is told at all different places on the space-time continuum. Clare first meets Henry when she is a little girl; his 'chrono displacement disorder' lands him into her life in a meadow near her family's home. He continues to visit her at different points in his life as she continues to grow older, all along the way to their first meeting in his life. He is 28 and she is 20 when they find each other without the chrono displacement - but Clare has already known Henry nearly her whole life. Sound confusing? It does to me, too, as I write this. But, the book makes wonderful sense.

Much of the storyline is told in Chicago and in nearby Michigan. It was fun to read a book and know all the places being described, especially the Grant Park parking garage. To say The Time Traveler's Wife is a page-turner is an understatement. For me, it was all I could do to pull myself away and rejoin my real life in bits and pieces until I finished the book.

I think it could make a fabulous movie. Did I hear that Hollywood is making a movie of the book or did I just dream it? Either way, I'm not certain the movie could live up to the visuals created in my head from my reading. One can only hope.

For now, I have told my daughter that when we pick out our next two cats, mommy gets to name them. A boy and a girl - named Henry and Clare.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008

This week's blessing:

Live without fear; your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Go in peace to follow the good road and may God's blessing be with you always.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Homework Fun

Leelee had her second 'crafty' homework project of kindergarten this week. We worked on it tonight, and once again I felt like I was in my glory as a parent. I usually get the feeling when we're baking, because I have a vivid memory of baking cookies with my mom when I was a toddler. But, today it came when we were crafting.

Today, my daughter and I were picking ribbon colors, cutting, designing and gluing. And, I was loving every minute of it. I think I'm more excited about her decorated bat (the nocturnal flying kind) than she is. I wonder if Leelee will remember this. I wonder what kind of feelings she'll have when she helps her child with her kindergarten homework. I wonder how her teacher will like the bat.

More Than a Feeling

You know how hearing a song can take you back to a time and place? Well, for me, a song can take me back to a feeling.

I was driving to work this morning when my progressive talk radio station went to a long commercial break. I switched to the CD player; a Van Morrison mix was loaded already. The first chords of Wild Night sounded. Not only was I instantly hanging out at my friends' former house outside Madison, Wis., but I felt different. I felt like I did when we spent weekends there listening to The Man and Tupelo Honey. But, the most intense feeling was the one of not being a parent, 'cause in my 'transport' I went to a time, a visit, before I was a mom.

It reminded me of that same feeling when I look at the picture of our travel group on the Great Wall outside Beijing. It was just a couple days before the adoption of our children would take place. While many in the group already were parents, we were not. But, looking at the lot of us, we looked different. We looked!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008

This week's blessing:

Live without fear; your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Go in peace to follow the good road and may God's blessing be with you always.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday Blessings

We've been attending our Episcopal church for almost four years. But, it's taken me until just the last month to identify my favorite part of the service. It's The Blessing that comes just before the recessional hymm and dismissal, and is delivered by our priest or the presiding priest.

I think The Blessing only recently struck me because the past several have spoken to me so vividly. They have gone to the heart of my concerns for the previous week or even that day and calmed my worries. They were as if God was telling me everything was ok.

I think I'll capture those blessings that lift my spirits and remind me I'm doing the best I can.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Asparagus Xylophone

I love the way you can practically see children's brains at work. They can be so transparent. It's fascinating to watch the wheels turning.

Annalee and I were breaking asparagus, preparing to roast it for dinner. As I finished getting the stalks arranged in the pan with seasonings and oil, she proceeded to play with the hard ends of the asparagus we had just broken off.

Next thing I know, she's created a xylophone of asparagus stubs, complete in graduated sizes from smallest to largest. Then the singing began as she "played" the instrument. I watched with fascination. She was oblivious to me, though I was standing so close that the hair on my arms brushed against her. She remained on the chair, working at the xylophone set on top of the kitchen counter for a few minutes more.

As suddenly as Annalee began playing music, she brought her symphony to an end. It was time to do handstands into 'bridges' onto the ottoman in the family room.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Voice, aka La Voce

Despite every desire of mine to sleep in or at least sleep until I choose to wake up, I can't help but smile deep inside when the first sweet notes of Annalee's voice drift down the hallway to our room and into my consciousness. La Voce (as we dubbed her and it from our favorite Denzel Washington movie, Man on Fire) often is the light-hearted, sweet sounds of singing, similar to the mermaid Ariel. We can't always identify the songs, or even the words. But, the happiness and joy of her disposition are as clear as the notes that carry her tune.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Now What?

So, now that I have this blog, I've been wondering...
  • Who am I writing this to/for?
  • Who will read it?
  • Why do this when I can't even find time to write in my journal?
  • What am I trying to accomplish?
I guess I already figured some of those questions out when I wrote my first post. I just can't figure out what approach to take when I write. Maybe once I can nail that down, I'll be able to start posting more info, thoughts, news. Cross your fingers that I figure it out soon.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's a Start

Well, I've finally created a blog. I intend for this to be a place to post information about our daughter, our journey to adopt our second child and a place to post my card creations to share with friends. Hang on - it might be a bumpy ride, at least as I get out of the gate and get going...