Wednesday, December 30, 2009

When You are 10

You may make your birthday cake wearing an apron (made by your mom) that matches an apron (also made by your mom) on your favorite doll.

You may decorate extra cupcakes with sprinkles, lick the paddle coated in chocolate frosting, and eat a trial cupcake before you eat the actual cake.

You may cautiously watch your father light 10 candles on your cake even though you are a little nervous about the fire hazard.

You may blow out all ten candles.

You may cut pieces of cake for your family-- except for Bailey and the cats.

You may eat your delicious yellow cake with chocolate frosting and be grateful that your mom didn't try to make a caramel cake like she did for your little brother.

And . . . your mother is allowed 2 blog posts in 1 day!

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Yesterday and Today

Yesterday. . .

we made a short trip up The Natchez Trace to visit Cypress Swamp Trail. It was an antidote to the new electronic gadgets that are in our lives since Christmas and to the next few days of rain we are expecting. Since the Wii, I have found myself consciously arranging time outdoors-- a family walk at the nearby city fitness trail, a freezing trip to the zoo, and this little trek to see the cypress trees. This trail was very nice and had thoughtful markers along the way to help the walker notice, ponder, and listen. One of the markers asked hikers to consider what noise a monarch butterfly might make if we could hear it speak.

Today. . .

we are celebrating a certain girl's birthday-- 10 years old! It seems like it was just yesterday that we woke up at 4:00 am to make the drive to a Memphis hospital from Tunica, MS. I was scheduled to be induced at 6:00 am, and she arrived at 10:40 am. I am so proud of the person she is and is becoming. Age 10 seems like a milestone-- or like a marker along a trail.

Below, Rowan has been mystified by the birthday bouquet since they appeared on the table last night-- a special gift from the birthday girl's daddy. First thing this morning, I made the collaged card from photos throughout the last 10 years to put in front of the flowers. We had homemade waffles for breakfast, are having a friend over to play this afternoon, and will have yellow cake with chocolate frosting tonight.

Yesterday we only needed one candle. Today we need 10!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

At Home

Rowan and Conn are now at home-- anywhere and everywhere.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Christmas Play

Christmas Eve


sister and brother

Suzie Elf and Santa

Santa's Workshop
Rooftops and Chimneys
Back to Santa's Workshop

On the second day of Christmas, our family was treated to an original play written, directed, and acted by other members of the family. It was brilliant! Besides the homemade chimney set prop, the children used the wooden rocking chair in the den turned sideways as the sleigh. If Bailey had cooperated, they might have even had a reindeer. As it was, the reindeer and whip were imaginary and pantomimed.

The programs listed the cast and scenes. The ushers (members of the cast) took our tickets, cut them in half, and directed us to our numbered seats on the sofa and chair. Thank goodness photography was allowed at this play.

There was conflict and drama immediately in scene 1 as Suzie Elf explained to Santa that the presents were scattered everywhere and might not be ready for delivery. Together, they gathered the presents and shared some hot chocolate from Mrs. Claus to put everyone in a better mood. Next, they loaded the sleigh and went off to deliver presents through many chimneys. Santa slid (or jumped) down the chimney, and Suzie Elf handed him the presents from the rooftop to put under the trees. After all of their hard work, they returned to the workshop for another mug of hot chocolate.

Finally, the actors bowed to much applause and rave reviews for their job well done.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009


Rowan and Conn are beginning to feel more at home each day as they find places to nest all over the house. They like to be snuggled and held like babies for as long as we are willing to sit with them in a nest of arms and legs. In December when both my of my children were born, it is a happy reawakening of times past. That the children can hold them like this, too, and they don't try to run away is so special for them as well.

From babies to this: working on a Christmas play for grandparents who arrive today. It has been a several-day process that started with a couple of cardboard boxes, some paints, and a Santa hat for inspiration. From what I can tell, it promises to be an elaborate show with costumes, props, narration, dialogue, and a set. There are tickets and programs already made. I especially like that I have not had to help one bit-- it is entirely their own creative project from start to finish. It has kept them happily occupied while I've been busy getting the house ready and making things of my own.

Speaking of making things, this a another card idea that I played around with yesterday off and on. These are photos of my maple tree in all different seasons-- spring, summer, fall, and winter.

I woke up thinking about "nesting" this morning-- that crazy time that expectant mothers experience just before the baby comes. We clean, we organize, we get things ready. I remember washing the baseboards before my son came. I've still got some cleaning and cooking to do today. I'll probably try to organize a few things here and there. I'll find a few moments to work on the knitting projects I would like to finish for Christmas. It strikes me that this season and this day, Christmas Eve, is partly about nesting as we get ready for a baby born each year anew.

Merry Christmas, friends.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


We have spent the first days of our vacation-- the last days of Advent-- getting ready for the end of this week. The weekend included greening home and church, as written about yesterday, and a service project for the mother/daughter group to which we belong with some of our close friends. Yesterday, the focus was on making and wrapping up some hand-made gifts.

Every year at about this time, I start thinking about Christmas greeting cards. I did not think that I was going to make them this year, but I have found myself playing around with photos and collages and formats. I still think I'm going to put up a Facebook greeting (a green option) for those with whom I'm in contact online. Below, is one option that I liked for printing and making "in hard copy." It is 6 small images (some seen previously on this blog) on a white background. I'll play around with this some more today.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

'Round the Sun

Over the weekend, we did our solstice greening. It was hard to wait. All through December, my children asked, "When are we going to decorate our house? Everyone else is already enjoying Christmas."

My refrain: "Soon. After school gets out. During solstice weekend. When Advent is almost over."

As we were "greening" on Saturday at home and on Sunday at church, I asked my daughter if she was glad that we waited. Her reply: "Yes, because now we have something special to do right now, and we are not tired of everything already." Downtown, I looked across the street at the Governor's Mansion and commented that all of their wreaths and swags were already brown and dry. The ones we hung on the Cathedral gates and doors were fresh and green-- as they should be for Christmas.

It is so nice to have this two-week pause at the end of the year to spend with family and friends-- baking, cooking, eating, making, playing, reading, and wondering. Merry Solstice.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009


Align CenterRowan

"Ro" for short


"Conn" for short

As a Jane Austen fan, I should know that first impressions are not always true. So it is with our new cats. The one who was first shy has proven to be outgoing, flirty, and very affectionate. The one who initially bore his bravery boldly is now easily frightened and cautious. Of course, he has been nursing an eye infection that we have had to treat with eye drops. And his instant bravery with the dog brought on a few skirmishes that may have tempered his will.

They have the run of the entire house now and have been exploring every single inch of it (when they are not sleeping together underneath my son's bed). We heard noises all night as they jumped here and there on shelves, bedside tables, and laundry hampers. We are all adjusting to new schedules during the holidays. When we decorated the Christmas tree yesterday, we opted not to put anything fragile on the branches.

We have named the cats after wizardly characters in Sarah Prineas's books The Magic Thief and Lost. As a family, we have read these books and loved them, and we are eagerly anticipating the third book this May just as we waited for each new Harry Potter release. My husband and I first wanted to name them Mulder and Scully because we have been recently finishing the last few seasons of The X-Files. The children, however, vetoed this option. Ro and Conn are better names to which we all have a connection. Wizards and cats go together, don't you think?

In the books, Conn is a wizard's apprentice and a former pick-pocket. He sometimes transforms into a cat to gather secret information and escape from tricky situations. Rowan is the daughter of a duchess who attends school with other young wizards-in-training. She desperately wants to be a wizard, but she is not an apprentice. Together, they make quite a team as they battle evil magic in the city of Wellmet and beyond. We've decided that our dog, Bailey, should also be nicknamed "Nevery" after Conn's reluctant tutor for wizardry.

P.S. My favorite part of yesterday was watching Conn find the sunlight streaming through the front windows. I don't imagine he has seen sunlight for about 6 months or so.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Act II

This is the male taking his first, bold steps into the dining room of his new home as soon as the door to the carrier was opened.

This is the female. She stayed in the carrier for about 10 minutes before she was ready to explore.

Finally, she ventured out with cautious steps. I can tell the difference between the siblings because her face has rounder features while his face is more angular.

Again, this is the female. She ran straight under the sideboard. The male explored the room for about 20 minutes before sounds of the dog in the house spooked him to shelter. When I took the dog into the room (on a leash) to smell around and to allow all animals involved to know of each other, the cats growled a low, warning hum. The dog kept his distance.

I woke up at 5:00 am to sounds of meowing from the male. They were both up and ready for attention. They spent the better part of the day under the sofa, but both cats came out when I got home from work. I thought the female was shy, but I was wrong. They are both agile, curious, and like to stretch and play.

I think we may have discovered their names, but that will be Act III.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Act I

This afternoon at the CARA shelter, our family took a leap of faith for this family. Can you tell this brother and sister apart? They are Burmese cats-- known for their intelligence, loyalty, and affection. They are said to be the most "dog-like" breed of cats. Left at the doorstep of the shelter (pushed) six months ago, they are between 1 and 2 years old. These two captured our hearts, as you can tell, in these first of many photos to come. We do not have names yet as we are waiting to see what emerges from their personalities. Act I.
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