Aside from the actual birth day,
this year marked the second time Maddie has celebrated her birthday in
the city of her birth. Believe it or not, that is a record; Gracie
celebrated her first birthday in Colorado Springs, and that's it. Since so
much time has passed between her first birthday and her eighth birthday with so many different homes in between, it was a very surreal experience for the mama. But fun...
Maddie and I like to DO something for her birthday; we've gone to Disney on Ice (CO), the ballet (CA), and Wolf Trap (VA). This year, she asked if we could go to breakfast, just the two of us. It was such a wonderful way to start the morning; we went to the Egg and I downtown, which serves a good breakfast. Poor Maddie was suddenly and unexpectedly stricken by a terrible case of nerves (her piano recital was at 2:30) and ended up not eating very much. We still had a good time, though.
After breakfast we decided to walk around downtown Cheyenne a little bit. First stop, the Wyoming State Capitol. This is the second time this month we've run around here. You'll notice that spring has finally arrived in Cheyenne—at least we hope it has.
It's a very short walk from the capitol building to the hospital (we could see the dome from the hospital window when Maddie was born!) so we walked there next. How many times have you visited the hospital of your birth on your birthday? Me neither. It was her idea to hold up the sign : )
We looped back around and walked past the Historic Governor's Mansion next. We thought it was amazing that the entire mansion, including land, landscaping, and décor cost just over $33,000 when it was built. It was also the first governor's mansion in the U.S. to house a female governor: Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first female governor in the U.S.
7. We headed back home to make
dessert # 1 for the day, spring cut-out cookies for her piano recital.
There was no reason to be nervous. She performed her two songs beautifully and from memory, playing a grand piano for the first time. For someone who has only taken piano lessons since September, she plays amazingly well.
See? Nothing to worry about. And certainly a thousand times better than a recital my senior year of high school, where I forgot giant sections of my recital piece, over and over and over. It was a horrifying experience. I'm glad she was spared that kind of thing, especially on her birthday!
8. After the recital, I made dessert #2: flower pots, which is Maddie's most favorite birthday dessert. She isn't really all that much of a cake kid, just like her father. (Dessert #3 = brownies for her class on Monday.)
It is fine with me that she prefers these over cake, because they are easy and clever and take a fraction of the time cake takes, and are guaranteed to turn out every time (unlike cake baked in my kitchen).
Maddie is a much cooler customer this year when it comes to opening presents—no humongous reveal faces for the camera anymore. Ah well. She received many cool things from family and friends, including the Ohio State sailing shirt from Grandma and Grandpa. I couldn't figure out why they would be sending a sailing shirt (!!?!) but today I learned that my mama was actually a member of sailing club at Ohio State. Interrrrresting.
Her big request was for books, books, and more books. She is set for the summer! Or, at the very least, for June.
It was a very happy birthday. We're still not sure how eight years have passed already. Cheyenne—the place where we became parents, the place where we nervously held our new baby while sitting on the couch that first night we brought her home from the hospital (as in, the entire night), the place where we logged mile after mile walking with the stroller, the place where we fed her chocolate cake in a TLF on base for her first birthday—is a complicated place for us in some ways, but it is also Maddie, and that isn't complicated at all.
1. What's on your nightstand?
Waaaaaaaaay too much stuff at the moment. Among other things, my watch, an alarm clock, the baby monitor, no less than seven ponytail holders, my book light, The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig... I could go on, but I'll quit while it seems like a normal nightstand.
2. If you could eat only one thing for
lunch for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A MacKenzie River Pizza house salad.
3. What is your
middle name? Is there a story behind it?
Anne, with an "e." I don't actually know the story behind my middle name, though I do know that I've always been fond of that "e" at the end (long before I read any Anne of Green Gables) and I distinctly remember meeting an "Anne Elizabeth" who was the daughter of someone my father knew from his time in marching band at Ohio State. Parents, what is the story of my middle name?
4. If you could win a
shopping spree in any store, which store would you choose?
Clothes: Boden. (I don't own a single item from Boden, but I often daydream about it). Paper goods: Paper Source.
word or phrase do you use most frequently?
Sadly, it's probably "where is the brush?" I feel like I say that approximately 80 times a day. There is a lot of little-girl hair-brushing required in this house.
6. What's the last thing
I went to Target this morning for an emergency ink cartridge run and a not-quite-yet emergency cargo shorts run for Maddie (for her Sally Ride speech on Friday)(astronauts wear cargo pants so as to have many pockets to keep things that would otherwise be floating)(I've learned a whole lot about Sally Ride this month), and walked out with those two things + a lovely silver owl bank that I had no idea existed before this morning, but immediately knew I must have. (It fits in nicely with The Owl of Love, a little ceramic figure sitting in my craft room that has a long and storied past).
7. If you could have a different career, what would it
be? What's keeping you from making the switch?
I am reasonably sure that I would like to return to teaching at some point when the small people are bigger, but once in a great while I think I'd like to write children's books or magazine articles (again) or take pictures all day and have someone pay me for it. Heh.
8. When you get too
stressed out, what do you do to relax and calm down?
Read, wile away some time on the internets, organize things, take my camera on an adventure.
9. What's the
most recent thing you bookmarked on the internet?
The photography portfolio of Tim Flach.
10. What five things* are you most looking forward to during the next two months?
The Karahalis Family moving back west, the Marquette family visiting out west, grandparents visiting out west, some summer projects with the girls, and finally moving into a brick on base. (Have I just jinxed us by assuming that will happen in the next two months?!?)
*My answers, my prerogative to change the question.
1. Remember how I said that this May would be different? Unlike previous Mays that have caught me unawares? That I would be on top of the busy-ness and stand victorious on May 31? Yeah. Hubris.
2. I am not yet ready to talk about the utter implosion of the Cavs. I have something to say about it, but I haven't figured out what yet.
4. I took the girls to the Cheyenne Gem and Mineral Society's Gem and Mineral Show at the American Legion Hall on Saturday; Matt had to work all day so he didn't get to come with us. In hindsight, taking Bridget to a setting in which small trays of shiny, sparkly rocks are out for sale BY THE THOUSANDS without two grownups (or a leash) was not really all that smart, but we mostly managed to have a successful little adventure.
There was also some panning for gold. Maddie has now panned for gold twice in the last month. Huh.
What gem and mineral show would be complete without a replica of a dinosaur bone to pick up and hold? There was also a dinosaur coloring contest at the show (randomly, only for second graders) so Maddie entered; on Monday a man from the Gem and Mineral Society delivered a giant dinosaur model to her classroom at school, which was the prize for second place (yay, Maddie!). It was an eclectic adventure, that's for sure.
7. I'm feeling a tiny bit guilty for accusing Matt of being certifiably crazy when his new bar of Potash Alum arrived today. Potash Alum from Turkey. He has been studying up on the movement of returning to shaving the old-fashioned way, with a double-edged razor, brush, shaving soap, shaving mug, and apparently something called Potash Alum. Did you know there are entire discussion forums and websites devoted to the science of shaving the old-fashioned way? Matt is thorough. And for that I love him. And think he also might be certifiably crazy.
8. Somehow I managed to schedule Bridget's three year old check-up for Friday morning, a day that Maddie does not have school for some sort of teacher work day. Brilliant. I love taking three children to the doctor all at once!
9. A lady offered to take a picture with me in it while we were at the Depot with Flat Sophie. While I don't really like handing my camera over to strangers, I am very happy I did this time. Do you offer to take pictures for strangers so that the photographer might have the opportunity to be in the picture?
10. Uncle Ben handed in his final paper for his final class on Wednesday, thus completing his bachelor's degree, thirteen years after his original projected graduation date. He wrote a little thing on Facebook about how much more meaningful it all was since Juliette was with him when he turned it in. It was lovely to think about. Congratulations, Uncle Ben. We love you!
from left to right:
1. As my cousin Julie said today, nothing says mid-May like snow. It was especially nice of the school district to run their automated message at 5:15 am this morning to inform us that there WAS school; Matt and I shot out of bed when both regular phone and cell phone rang at the same time. Hey! Thanks for the heads up! Let's say we operate under that assumption from now on, and only call if there ISN'T school, OK?
2. Thankfully, I had the foresight to buy sunflowers last night to distract myself from the snow.
3. 7:56 am
4. Day 2 of Preschool Picture Days; it was great fun again. I had two little customers who gave me a giant run for my money, but in the end, victory was mine. The kinkajou came in very handy in my victory : )
5. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go....
6. Matt wins the award for weirdest package received, ever. In Dillow Family history. I have no idea what's in it, but I betcha it rhymes with "notch." It's from Thailand.
7. By early afternoon there was a giant lake at the top of our street, so of course Gracie and Bridget begged to go jump in it. I have fond memories of my dad taking me to jump in puddles in the street, so I couldn't really say no.
8. They were soaked by the end of their jumping. Soaked. Don't worry, Grandma, the whole excursion took less than 15 minutes then they changed into warm clothes again!
9. Icicles on the pine tree next door....
10. Bridget ran home from the puddle jumping; it took Gracie a little longer because her rain boots were waterlogged and she made a big deal about how heavy they were.
11. If the flowers had feelings, they might be grouchy about today.
12. Maddie's home!
The birthday weekend kicked off with a visit from the Schusters; it's kind of strange that neither Bridget nor Lauren existed for the three years we lived across the court from each other, but we just pretend they know each other as well as everyone else does. It doesn't seem to bother them at all : ) Lauren brought Bee matching jammies for her birthday, and they were a huge hit. We let them play sleepover for approximately 2.5 hours until Lauren woke up shrieking, most likely weirded out by half-waking up and finding herself in a strange place, while Bridget started shrieking about the strange man who came in to steal her friend out of the bedroom. Heh.
We had to play a little fast and loose with the actual birthday events for a few reasons, so Sunday evening—Birthday Eve—was slated for cake and presents. Bridget is crazy for princesses, and was very excited to receive Cinderella, who helps to round out her collection.
We may live to regret this, but she also received a small CD player and her first CD: an ultimate song collection for the ultimate princess fan. Both Maddie and Gracie had small CD players waiting for them in their rooms the night they returned home from the hospital on Day 3 of life, but Bridget's particular bedroom arrangements have never been conducive to having one until now. You might say she was THRILLED. Much dancing and after-bedtime shenanigans have ensued since.
She was also thrilled to get two Ella Bella Ballerina books. We've had the Cinderella one from the library many, many times, and it was a bonus to discover that Sleeping Beauty exists, too (and Swan Lake is due out this year). In a house where books are shared and reread into the hundreds of times, it's fun to have a series that is all your own—like the Leslie Patricelli books were for her babyhood.
She requested a pink cake that was as tall as the ceiling, but was not disappointed in the pink cake that was a little smaller than that. I haven't had very good luck with this cupcake cake pan except for the very first time I used it, so I was very relieved that it (mostly) turned out just fine.
On the actual birthday day, we played photo shoot. She has been practicing her three fingers for a while now. I am so glad I ran across the handful of extra Avery T-shirt transfer sheets when I was cleaning in my craft room a few months ago. I was actually surprised there were any left, because when I had the bright idea to make her a onesie as a "quick and simple" idea for celebrating World Hello Day in The Scrapbooker's Almanac shortly after she was born, the project nearly did me in. I think my brain was absolutely fried back in May 2007 what with the baby/move/book intersection, because that time it took me an entire afternoon and most of a pack of t-shirt transfers. And a husband who stepped in and helped me finish. There may have been some tears involved (though not from the husband who stepped in and helped me finish. At least I don't think so. I was a little difficult to live with for a while there, so who knows). This time, the whole process took one try and about 15 minutes. And no tears. I'm pretty sure there is a moral to the story in there somewhere.
And today, her first full day of being three, she was very excited to traipse around in the backyard in her new rain hat and coat from Grandma and Grandpa. She reminds me just a little bit of Holly Hobbie in this picture.
Thank you to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes!
1. I read a few months ago that some sort of El Niño (or El Niña?) pattern in the Pacific Ocean was keeping the wind down in Cheyenne. Matt and I remember it being far windier here last time, so that made sense, sort of.* I believe that the pattern is OVER. With 55+ mph gusts today, it is startlingly windy. Bridget shrieks when 20 mph wind blows on her face, so you can imagine how fun she might be today. In the car she said "I hear a HOOOO sound!" There are also plenty of sideways trees, flip-flopping birds who accidentally get caught in the wind the wrong way, and small unidentified objects blowing through the air.
*I can explain, in basic terms, many weather phenomena to small children, but when it comes to wind I am at a loss.
2. We are #2 on the housing list, if anyone is keeping track. This means we will move sometime between next week and August, as far as we can tell. Your guess is as good as ours.
3. Conversation at lunch:
"Eat your lunch, Bee."
"NO! I want to smell flowers in the BACKYARD!"
(there are no flowers in our backyard, and Bee is awfully sassy these days)
Don't forget that Saturday is the annual mail carriers' food drive day! Hopefully our mail carrier will do better than last year, when the sub set our mail on top of the bags I carefully set out. There is another reminder in the photo-a-day album to the left : )
I read at Gracie's school today, and it was a lot of fun. Bridget thought she was the bee's knees because she got to sit on the special carpet and listen. It was in preparation for two things; I am running preschool picture days next week for her school, and I'm hoping that reading to her class will make them more likely to cooperate with me, and in two weeks I'm a Wyoming Reads volunteer at the library and will be reading to two groups of 45 kids, and wanted to be sure I'm not completely out of practice for group reading. I will not be dressed as Cat in the Hat, though there is an outside chance that I will see Governor Freudenthal.
6. Matt and I watched two genealogy shows this year: Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS, and Who Do You Think You Are on NBC. They were extremely different, and we loved them both. If you're looking for a summer show when there's nothing else but reruns on, track those two down. Truly fantastic. Though we could have done without the cheesy summary music video at the end of each episode of Who Do You Think You Are. Just saying, NBC.
7. I was startled to learn of two "worst ever" disasters in history in the last month that I had never heard of before. It's not like I have a complete working knowledge of every historical event in U.S. history (far from it) just because I taught history, but I think it's really strange to not know of things that hold "worst ever" status.
7a. The Ashtabula Bridge Disaster of 1876, the worst ever railroad disaster in U.S. history
7b. The SS Sultana explosion of 1865, the worst ever maritime disaster in U.S. history
My mom and uncle went to visit the train disaster monument recently (they grew up in Ashtabula) and Sandra Dallas talked about the SS Sultana at the lunch on Saturday. Both are fascinating, though I apologize in advance if you aren't into reading about terrible disasters of the 1800s.
8. I'm not sure, but I think the Wicked Witch of the West might have just blown by in our backyard.
9. Here is the list that I found when I opened my notebook:
hair thing? [sic]
salt for steps
Huh. No idea. But it's always good to put interesting food on one's list, don't you agree?
We did spot a daffodil in our neighborhood this week (just not in our backyard). Daffodils and tulips are my favorite spring flower; today is a good day for thinking of daffodils—58,175 of them are planted at the May 4 Memorial at Kent State, to remember both the tragedy there 40 years ago and the number of Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. It's one of my most favorite memorials.