Saturday, May 30, 2009

Boy I'm getting old...

I played pick up soccer yesterday at Lands End. I felt like my skills were still pretty good- except I was so exhausted I couldn't use them. I decided I need to get serious about running so I can have a little bit of stamina to do the things I love, like soccer. Muscles hurt today that I haven't used in years!

On a similar note, we've started playing volleyball on Thursday nights on the sand courts behind Lands End. We've done it twice now and it is soooooo much fun. Again, I'm a bit rusty, it's been a long time. But I think I'll get better and better as we play consistently. It just feels great to get out there and use my body and have fun.

I am so grateful to have so many great, fun friends here.

Ethnic Luncheon

On Wednesday, the fourth grade had an Ethnic Luncheon. Each student had done a project a few weeks ago about their ethnic background. The guidelines were pretty broad. They had to research their background and family tree a bit to discover where their ancestors had come from. Then they were to do a project about that ethnic background. They could tell about their ancestors' immigration, they could tell about the country they came from, basically whatever they wanted to do about the country they had from. Since the majority of our ancestors are French, Kennedy went with France. Since she is 10 and already waaaay too interested in fashion, she decided to do her project on French fashions through the years. She did a report on the influence France has had on fashion through the years and she displayed a small collage of fashions from the 1800s, the mid-1900s and today.

Since all the parents were coming in for the event, they also displayed their science projects. Kennedy's project is swirled milk. You put room temperature whole milk in a shallow dish and put a drop of food coloring in each corner. Then you put a drop of dish soap in the center of the dish. The dish soap breaks down the fat in the milk molecules, changing the surface tension of the milk. This creates little currents in the milk. The food coloring shows the movement of the milk, swirling about and creating designs.

For the luncheon part of the event, each family was supposed to bring in a dish from the ethnic background the kids did their report on. Since Kennedy did France, I made crepes. It was my first time making them and they were alright. They looked nice, but I thought they were a bit egg-y for my taste. Here's Kennedy biting into hers. I brought cut up strawberries, powdered sugar, and whipped cream to eat on them.

It was a fun afternoon with Kennedy. It's always nice to get a little one on one- or two on one- time with one of the kids. It's also fun to see them in their other life at school. They spend so much time there, being their own person, without Mom and Dad looking over their shoulders. I hope we've properly prepared them! The kids too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What a Weekend!

I love Memorial Day weekend. I love the idea of a holiday weekend that is the kick-off to summer. I just wish the kids were out of school now so summer could really begin. I must admit, however, these last 9 days are only going to consist of things like field trips and picnics, so that's not so bad.

Our weekend started a little early. Friday marked the beginning of summer hours- 1/2 day Fridays every other week- at Lands End. Lincoln decided to go all the way and took the morning off as well. He got up bright and early and headed out to the Wisconsin River to fish.

I got the kids ready for school, including curling Kennedy's loooonnnng hair for her concert. By concert time, not a bit of curl was left!

At 2pm, we attended Kennedy's spring program together.

kennedy and her peeps.

After the program, Lincoln dashed off to an eye appointment and I finished gathering supplies for a camp out. Once we had everything gathered and loaded, we drove to Yellowstone Lake State Park to camp with a group of friends.

We had a lovely group camp site set back from the road.

We all pitched our tents and then set to preparing our suppers. Lincoln and I had yummy tinfoil dinners of potatoes, chicken, onions, and asparagus in mushroom soup sauce. The kids had hotdogs cooked on a stick and potatoes cooked in foil. We then spent the evening around the campfire munching on s'mores and visiting.

Devon and his buddy Xan running around like maniacs.

Renie and her little sidekick Tiara.

Does that marshmallow look delish or what?

Our ghost friend, Doug.

Kennedy and Abby performing at the campfire.

We got to bed late and then were awakened in the night by rain. It sounded torrential in the tent, but we stayed pretty dry.

The next day we had pancakes and homemade english muffins (I did it!) for breakfast. Then we took the kids to the lake to splash around for a while. It was sunny and toasty and lovely.

We worked around the house for a while Saturday afternoon and evening. Lincoln and I watched a few extra kids and then hunkered down to watch a movie.

Sunday was a crazy day in the nursery and I was exhausted. Even on the way to church in the morning I was falling asleep. My body ached for a nap that just wasn't meant to be. That evening we joined our neighbors for a campfire. We are so grateful to have friendly, fun neighbors on both sides of us. Subdivision living isn't really for me---but if I have to be here, this is the best situation I could ask for!

Monday morning Lincoln once again got up before dawn to go fishing. The rest of us slept in- Renie until 10:00. I made strawberry-rhubarb pies, fresh lemonade, and a marinade for grilled veggies. After Lincoln returned we went to a BBQ/house warming party at the home of some friends from church. They have a beautiful old home in Mineral Point. Someday I will have an old home with character. Someday.

Around five o'clock on Monday we went next door for another cook out. We brought our veggies and pies and lemonade and whoopee pies to share. My neighbor hosted a fun party that even included an egg hunt for the kids. So after staying too long, we put kids to bed late again last night.

Kennedy and Abby playing air hockey at the party.

Julia pole dancing. She told me she was pretending she was dancing with somebody but really it was just a pole. As long as she's not doing this when she's 18, I think we're OK.

Jesse is thoroughly enjoying his gum from the egg hunt.

At 1:30 am Kennedy awoke with an ear infection. I gave her some ear drops and Tylenol and she managed to go back to sleep. First thing this morning I brought her to the Dr who confirmed the ear infection and also asked me about the wheezing in her lungs. I told her Kennedy's history with allergies and coughing. She gave her a nebulizer treatment, started her on an antibiotic, gave us a daily inhaler, and prescribed an emergency inhaler for times when she feels short of breath. I got medicine into Kennedy, including Motrin for the ear pain, and then dropped her off to school. She didn't want to miss today because the 4th grade was going to the other elementary school where they will attend 5th grade. They get to go have a tour and eat lunch with the fourth graders already attending there that they will be joining next year.

You see where this is going right?

A couple hours later I get a call that Kennedy is sick and I need to come pick her up. When I arrived they told me she had thrown up several times. I was not expecting that. I think she must be having a reaction to one of the medicines. She was absolutely miserable. Shaking, freezing (but no fever), sleepy, moaning. Poor thing. She is now in comfy PJs on the couch. I feel so bad for her that she had to miss out. All she got to do was sit in the gym at the other school. She didn't have an appetite so she picked at her lunch a little while everyone else ate. Then the puking started. Hopefully she will feel better soon.

So after a looooong weekend, we're all a little worn out. My most ambitious goal today is to plant some tomatoes. Maybe.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


As I was writing my previous post, all I could think about was the news I received this morning that my neighbor passed away last night. She has been fighting cancer for some time and at one point thought she had it beat. Not very long ago they discovered it was back and very advanced. As she has been losing this battle over the last couple of weeks I have reflected often on my blessings. I would think of her as I was spreading mulch. I would think about the fact that at that moment mulch was so important to me. But in her life mulch would be so very unimportant. I would think of her and her children as I was contemplating our summer recreation program schedule. I would think about the fact that while my children were anticipating summer and all its pleasures, her children were thinking about losing their Mom. I would think about her as Lincoln and I discussed our summer plans. I would think about the fact that while Lincoln was looking at a week this summer without me here, her husband was looking at the whole summer and the rest of his life without his wife.
I don't know them. They live a couple houses away behind us, but I ache for them and the loneliness and heartache they are feeling, the helplessness that frustrates them and the years of emptiness ahead of them. I'm grateful for the knowledge I have that I can and will be with my family forever. I hope they believe the same. I am grateful for each day I have to be with my family. I am grateful to hear the laughter of my children, feel the kisses of my husband, see the beauty of their faces.
It is a firm reminder not to take my time with my family for granted.

I Love May...

So I've realized this year that I really don't care for spring until May. I like spring when it is almost summer. I like warm sunshine, cool breezes, lots of lilacs and other flowers, planting the garden, watching new leaves grow. I mean, don't get me wrong, there is something to be said for March and April and the movement away from sub-zero weather to melting snow spring rains. But I always find myself getting annoyed when it's 55 or 60 degrees one day and snowing the next. But that's not really what this post is about.

Yesterday was the kick-off to the chaotic parade of end of year events. Devon, Renie, and Jesse celebrated the end of Creative Play and Romping Room with a big picnic in the park. The weather was just perfect for it, though the park we went to was, as usual, very windy. We enjoyed yummy food and good friends. (On a side note, I made a strawberry rhubarb pie in the morning to bring to the picnic. Two words: Fan. Tastic.)

Devon and his posse

I raced directly from that park and picnic to another park in town to join Julia and the rest of the second grade for another picnic. They went on a field trip to Cave of the Mounds yesterday and then met up with the parents at the park to eat their sack lunches.

As Julia and I sat in the shade together munching Cheetos, she told me it was her favorite part of the field trip because I was there with her. It was one of those moments that make you glad to be doing what you're doing. I'm so glad I made the effort to find a babysitter for the other kids so I could be there with her.

Julia and her besties

Lilacs and leaves

Fun in the park

Then yesterday evening I mowed the yard. It's the first time I've mowed since i got married. I realized that I actually enjoy mowing. I love the smell of the lawnmower mingled with the smell of the freshly cut grass and my own sweat. Weird, I know. But maybe it's just that it transports me to my youth. I spent a lot of time as a kid around the hot smell of engines- the lawnmower, the tractor. It smells like summer to me.
Mowing was a fantastic workout. We have a very hilly yard and a push mower. It was very hard work and I definitely am NOT looking to take over this job permanently or in its entirety, but maybe I could do it sometimes, or just the back or something.
We ended the day with popcorn and the American Idol finale. (Lincoln was in OH all day for work and didn't get home until 10pm, so popcorn was our dinner.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Lovely Afternoon...

Yesterday was miserable. It was cold and windy. When I say windy, I mean I started to get an earache when I worked outside for half an hour. It was sunny, so it looked great outside. Then you'd get out there and realize you'd been duped. I refused to go to soccer games in the morning. It really sounded like torture out in the wind with kids trying to stay warm. So Lincoln suffered at the soccer fields alone. Kennedy had a birthday party to attend, and Lincoln went to help some people from church move. There were actually two moves that day. I brought dinner to the other folks who were moving. Lincoln was gone from 12:30 to almost 8:30. We felt like we were able to do some nice service for people, but we certainly didn't see much of each other or get to have a leisurely Saturday.

That's why today seemed extra lovely. The weather was perfect- sunny, low sixties, no wind. After church we hurried home, changed our clothes, ate a quick lunch, then drove about 45 minutes to a county park where we met our friends the Sorensens for a short but pleasant visit. We've known the Sorensens for 8 years now, and I've known Stephanie for 13 years. I met her when i was serving a mission in Atlanta, GA. We both happened to move to the Charlotte area with our spouses in the early '00s and attended church in the same ward for several years. Since then we have both moved north and live about 5 hours from each other. They are fantastic people and a lovely family and we always enjoy our time with them.

The sky was blindingly blue, the grass dazzlingly green, and the dandelions delicious pops of vibrant yellow as we sat by a lake and visited and the children waded in the water and wallowed in the sand.

Thanks guys, for taking the time to meet up with us. It was great seeing you, as always!

Devon's Program...

On Friday, the Early Learning Program, or four year old Kindergarten that Devon attends, performed their spring program for family and friends.

It was all the cute, squishy goodness you would expect from pre-schoolers. They sang about 10 songs including the old stand-bys, Skidamarink and Down By The Bay.

After the program we went back to the classroom for refreshments, photo ops, and congratulations.

Devon and his teacher, Mr. Bart

It's hard to believe that in just a couple weeks Devon will be moving on to kindergarten and Renie will be heading to ELP in the fall. My babies are leaving the nest!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

For Mom

Here are those pictures I was telling you about, if you're interested.