Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Little Sunday Birdwatching

One Finch,

two Finch,

Purple Finch,

Gold Finch!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I just had a conversation with my Dad about how I was interested in pursuing my Master's Degree, but was concerned about the time commitment for the classes and studying. I am working part-time right now for an organization I adore, and that, plus taking care of James and Ella, keeping house and spending time with my husband had me thinking that perhaps right now isn't the best time to consider grad school.

Dad put it into perspective for me. "Think about it this way," he said, "do you want to do anything right now that will take you away from the time you have with your kids?" He told me, "Really--this is the best time in your life." He told me a story about how he remembered when I was 3 or so, we stepped out of the house onto the steps. I was holding his hand, and I looked up at the sky and said, "Dad! Look! The clouds are all stuck together!"

He said he will never forget that moment. It was a good hard kick of reality for me. I have made the choice to stay home and take care of my children. I need to remember that many Moms and Dads don't have the luxury of making that choice. I need to suck up EVERY MOMENT of sticky goodness that I can.

That said--here are some photos I took recently. They just make me laugh, these two precious children. Grad school can wait.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Little Foot, Big Foot!

"In the house and on the street,
how many different feet you meet!"
--Dr. Seuss

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Entertain and Delight!

We had the opportunity to take the kids and some of their cousins to the new Connecticut Science Center in downtown Hartford. I have been wanting to go for a while, and with five children ranging in age from 16 months to 12, I thought a visit to the Center would be a perfect outing!

I remember Larry Reed, my History of Theatre professor telling us " . . .as Aristotle says, 'to entertain and delight, to instruct and to move'." That saying has always resonated with me, and I think the Center pretty much fits the bill.

With 150 exhibits, a Kidspace area designed specifically for kids ages 3-6 and lots of opportunities for hands-on learning, the kids had a great time.

According to their website, "The Hartford skyline has been redefined with the distinctive Connecticut Science Center building, designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli." I love the floating cantilever of the roof, the walls of glass, and the sheer openness of the building. On the 6th floor there is a an opportunity to walk out on an enclosed platform from which you can see a wonderful view of the Connecticut River.

Truly a remarkable day, filled with learning, laughter and love. We purchased an annual membership for our family, which will both give us an opportunity to enjoy the Center repeatedly, and will support a non-profit learning organization at the same time. We highly recommend a visit!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lovin' on My Boots

I always rode Western as a kid, and so of course I had a pair of cowboy boots. Lately I have wanted a pair for kicking around in. Something rustic but with a little fancy stitching and saddle leather tooling. And what could be better, or more comfortable, than a nice pair of tooled cowboy boots and my favorite jeans and t-shirt?

Lucky for me Chris was working in El Paso this week and called me from a boot outlet. He then sent me several pictures of boots he thought I might like. And then BINGO he showed me a pair of Tony Lamas and my heart began to sing.

Ahhhhh . . . the beauty of a great vintage-looking pair of boots. The tooling, the deep shine, the squared off toes, the little details in the stitching.

I might just have to sit here all day fawning over my boots.

And lovin' on my husband. Thanks Babe!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stumbled Upon a a Little Photoshop Fun

I've been working hard with my new gig consulting for Pioneer Network. I have enjoyed really digging in deep and getting my head wrapped around a project--the planning, the brainstorming, the fervent writing and designing. Mostly I enjoy the interaction with talented people all over the country who are so committed to advocating for a sea change in the way we view and care for elders.

This past week I was puzzled with how to transform a photo I was working with, and decided to import it into Photoshop to get the result I was looking for. All I was doing was setting a margin and adding a caption--but then I started to play.

And now I'm hooked. My sister-in-law has been exploring this part of Photoshop for a while, and I can see why she is enjoying it so much!

Uh-oh, JUST what I needed. Another amazingly fun and interesting thing to add to my list of amazingly fun and interesting things that I want to do.

1. Make Giada's Cornmeal and Rosemary Cake with Balsamic Drizzle.

2. Finish reading The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold.

3. Run around town in my new boots.

4. Make this busy book for James.

5. Sew this ribbon blankie for Ella.

6. Whip up a batch of these 7 Layer Bars.

Hmmm . . . I need more hours in my day!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Day at His New School

James started today at his new pre-school! I walked him up to the drop off spot and waited with him before the teachers came out for the kids. He had a lot to say--mainly wondering if his old friends were going to be at his new school. When they opened the doors he RAN inside and was all hugs and smiles for his new teacher--whom he hadn't even met yet!

I am glad to have him back in school, giving him an opportunity to socialize with other kids his age. Plus, I can start spending a little time with Ella and dig into work after she goes down for her nap.

I was a little teary-eyed as I left the school this morning, thinking about this. I can't even believe that nearly six months have passed since I took this photo!

Love you bud. Have fun!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cotton Ticking Cafe Curtains

Here's a glimpse of what I was working on yesterday!

I've been chomping at the bit to sew some curtains for my kitchen window--it was just a matter of finding the right fabric. At one point I was in the fabric store taking pictures of swatches with my phone and discussing choices with Chris--this is the one we agreed on--I think it is called Syndey Lane Sun Blue.

This cotton ticking has that vintage, sun-worn feel that I love, and I think it compliments all of the little blue touches that fill my kitchen, and the butter yellow paint on the walls.

It's one thing to buy window treatments ready-made, its quite another to plan, measure, shop for fabric, cut, iron, and sew your own. I'm not sure it's a cheaper option than buying ready-made, but the smile on my face as Chris hung them made the whole process worth it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Even if it's Not Really Spring Yet . . .

At least I can lay in my bed and pretend that it is!

I saw this duvet set on IKEA's website, and I knew I HAD to have it.
And, it is surprisingly soft cotton, given the price.

Looking at the print, I can almost smell the flowers, hear birds chirping,
and running water from a nearby brook.

And hey--it's going to be 40 degrees today!!!!

I am headed out on a walk with the dogs to soak up
every ounce of sunshine that I can, and if I still have
the Winter blues, I'm going back to bed!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter Blues

Winter is wearing on me a little bit. It hasn't snowed much--that fluffy, romantic type of snow that I love. It has been bitter cold, and the sky has been as gray as my header photo. BLAH.

James had a 24 hour tummy bug on Monday. That was not fun for the poor little guy.
Ella is teething, or something, PLEASE, let there be some reason for the constant crankiness.

James was fine yesterday, and then last night he got a fever. It seemed better this morning, until at lunch he announced he wasn't hungry, he was cold, and that he was going to go lay down on the couch. "What??" Yup. Temp was 101. (sigh). All I can do is medicate him and love him.

I am excited to be just loaded with new projects for Pioneer Network, the organization I am freelancing for. But fevers and crankpots don't bode well for conference calls, now do they.

Oh--or play dates. Sorry ladies, I'm canceling our play dates this week. I can't risk spreading whatever James has to you and your healthy families.

Now, on the other hand, Ella's not really sick, just earning her "Princess of Darkness" nickname. (I know, that is so terrible, and I am definitely headed to Mommy Hell for it). Any takers? Flannery, she could practically walk right over to your house!!!

Remember that nursery rhyme, "There was a little girl, she had a little curl . . .". But damn I love her!! Okay, I have to go, I gave her my cell phone to keep her quiet while I posted, and no doubt she has downloaded various things by now!

Oh, and I'll ask again. . . IS IT SPRING YET???!!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Settling In!

Wow, have we really been in the new place over a month? It is hard for me to believe it, but it's true.

We are just about there, no more boxes to unpack, linen closet is now organized, everything has a place, with just window treatments left to get up on the windows.

In the blaze of the move, I have been so negligent with posting--and yet my faithful friends keep poppoing in. Love you all!

Here are a couple of photos I have been meaning to share. This was from Christmas--when I was playing with a new hairstyle for Ella.

It won't be happening to often--getting her into those pony tails was like wrestling a steer to the ground!

Here is another shot of her--looks like Ellan has developed an affection for Grandpaw's decoys!

And finally, here's Gino enjoying the new location for the bird feeder! I always loved big dogs, but this little guy stole my heart the very first day we picked him up from the rescue.

I feel a blog redesign coming on--now I just have to fit it in between sewing window treatments, baking these cookies, playing the Wii, carting James to and from his new pre-school, and chasing my firecracker daughter all over the house!

Is it spring yet???!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Wii Bit of Competition

We purchased a Wii in November.
It has been very fun, aside from the fact that James is OBSESSED with it.
He asks me every other minute, "Mom, can I play the Wii?"

I try to limit him to a couple of half-hour sessions a day.
That lessens the likelihood of his waking in the middle of the night
with a bad dream that he is Lightening McQueen and
losing against Mater in a Monster Truck race.

But now, someone else seems VERY interested in playing also,
so James may have to start S-H-A-R-I-N-G.

Ella's a firecracker, for sure. James better look out
--because as soon as she learns how to operate the new racing steering wheels
that Auntie Amy sent, he's going down!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sugar & Spice, & Everything Nice

That's what little girls are made of!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Friendship, Strong and True

Sheri and I with some killer Pomegranate Martinis

In 1998 I applied and interviewed for a Director of Communications position with a privately-owned company that managed and owned 21 nursing homes. I was 24 years old, very green, and knew little of the corporate world.

When I met the Recruiter, Sheri, I was in awe. She had a smile that beamed warmth, welcome, fun and confidence. I remember that whatever she was wearing was fabulous--no doubt a perfectly pressed and crisp white button-down shirt, a shot of some unusual color in a dress jacket or sweater--perhaps celery or blood orange, she was sporting killer heels and some oversized, chunky jewelry. She was just so put together.

I hesitate to try and remember what I was wearing--but having just come from the theatre world, I am sure it was black. My hope that day was that I would be able to carry myself thru the interview with more than just my young work history--that my attitude and willingness to work hard might land me a shot at getting the job.

I did get that job--and I held the position very proudly for four years, before I made a decision to leave based on a need to grow further into what my passion was quickly becoming--advancing elder care reform.

All these years later, I am still close with Sheri. From the day of that interview and thereafter Sheri and I were connected at the hip. She guided me through the landmines of corporate expectations, relationships and gossip; she taught me how to walk tall, hold firm my ground, and dive passionately into an idea that might be looked upon by others as completely unachievable; she listened to me talk about a failed marriage and new love; she was there for me when I made the decision to move on to a new job; and ever after she has been there to watch my children grow.

We saw each other infrequently when I moved to Vegas for five years--here and there we would meet--at a coffee shop to see my first-born son; in passing at an industry conference; a meet-up for drinks with some of the old gang. I always relished being in her presence--and I love that in those quick meetings we could return so quickly to where we were twelve years ago--sitting in her cubicle, her in her chair and me on her desk, my legs swinging, her hands moving furiously as she expressed an idea. A fellow bloggy friend has recently used the term peas to my carrots. That is who Sheri is to me.

Since we moved back to New England, Sheri has come to my place to visit, and yesterday Chris, the kids and I headed to her place for a little gathering to celebrate the New Year. Her mother, her sister and her brother-in-law and nephew were there to greet us at the door. For several hours we caught up about old times, made new friends, and most of all just watched the kids play. It was a fantastic time, filled with laughter, Pomegranate Martinis and little savory and sweet bites of this and that.

Sheri's mom, Rosemary and Ella

James, Sheri's nephew Gregory and Ella share in a story

Seeing her again reminded me of the true meaning of friendship--and how strong and true ours is. We don't see each other all that often--but we know that one another is there if we should need a little pick me up, a hug, or just a laugh.

Good times. Good friends. No, scratch that. GREAT TIMES. GREAT FRIENDS.

Happy New Year Sheri, Rosemary, Debbie, Chuck and Gregory!

Saturday, January 2, 2010