Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Season of Everything

As I sit down to write this, the Sandra Boynton "Very Very Busy" song is running through my head and clashing horribly with George Winston's December album. For those of you not familiar, click on the link for the video.

I think I am finished with Christmas shopping. I sent packages today, although I have one large one I need to fabricate a box for. I'm excited to see how everyone likes their gifts. The girls have a very small stack, but Santa is bringing them matching iPads so we can finally load a current iOS and update their apps. Plus, everyone else seems to spoil them crazy every year. I doubt they'll feel deprived.

Since October, we've done and celebrated a few things. Family photos. See results here. For Halloween, the girls were Rainbow Dash and Nightmare Moon. We went to a couple of Improv Night fundraisers. The ice rink opened. Ellie turned 5. She had a "big girl party". I ordered my Tesla Model X (delivery early 2016). We visited Texas.

Apologies if your Christmas cards are late this year. I was waiting on our photos and really cut it close this year. I have a few deadlines yet this week, but should have a longer post before the end of the year. With luck.

Some folks acclimated better than others to the ice.

One day in lieu of nap.

Yoga pose on rock

Mom and Cali at the playground on a chilly day.


Snowman before Thanksgiving. Dad is a pro.

Birthday party

Cali on ice.

Rainbow Dash cake

Mom's "turkey" leg


Cali's house

Helping Mom with all the paper chains.

Ribbon cutting with the Mayor.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Autumn

We've been in school mode for about 6 weeks now. I just reread the last couple posts and it was a little heartbreaking to consider where we were at the end of the school year and where we are now. Ellie has just restarted BOB books the last couple weeks. We didn't do anything this summer. When I did attempt to get her to sound stuff out, she acted like she'd had a lobotomy and rather than give her a bad taste for reading, I just let it go. We kept reading our chapter books and books with Cali and listening to our stories at breakfast (and several other times a day as allowed). So, I don't think she slipped too far. Cali forgot how to count. But, has become a pretty proficient colorer for someone who's not sure which hand she wants to use. I don't think I let Ellie use crayons until she was 3 because I was terrified she'd take to the walls. Poor kid.

Cali was sick with a cold that turned into a sinus infection for a week and a half. She finally went back to school Wednesday after starting a course of antibiotics. They've really made a difference, which is always a great thing to witness since sometimes I suspect the doc gives us a script just because they've been sick for a week already. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing.

P (and his assistant Ellie) worked the Chefs Around the Table event last night at the Expo Center. It was the first time for this event, but the competition and jockeying was entertaining to watch on FB among the contestants and they kept the event coverage lively. P made 8 peach bourbon pies in the test kitchen at work and Ellie helped remind folks to get a fork and make a donation. I think it will be a solid event for years to come.

Ellie is doing well with piano and her teacher should slip her some Xmas music to practice soon. We're still trying to find our rhythm for practicing, but she does manage to fit it in most days. And, most importantly, she seems to still enjoy it.

Cali is doing better with potty-training. She rarely has accidents at school anymore, and I anticipate they'll start leaving off her diaper at naps soon. At home, we're not doing as well, although we've hit on using the my little ponies as a combo carrot/stick. She doesn't seem to realize when she has to go poop or just doesn't care if she does it in her pants, which is particularly discouraging. She's got till May to prepare for the Preschool Class, but I'm hoping she puts it together soon. Leaving the house is a bit stressful.

I'm trying to find my rhythm at home. I've managed to tame some of the worst rat's nests, but I need to be a little more systematic before the holidays descend. I've done quite a bit of graphic design for 3 different events this fall. I have a great co-chair for Tri Kappa Publicity, so I can focus on behind the scenes stuff and she is taking lead on organization and logistics. I'd like to start freshening up my skills, but I'll also have to set a more rigid schedule for that. And, start doing cardio again. Middle age is catching up to me. I've started contacting architects regarding the next house. We learned a lot from building this one. Lesson 1 was not to rush. So, we're looking at land and starting to talk design anticipating a few years for the process.

P is glad to have "Chefs" behind him for now. He's got to finish his office furniture and then I think he'll spend a lot of time in his lair with his 3D printers. He may even pick up a new game. He's anticipating some time off from major projects, I think.

First Day of School 2015-16

Digging at Day of Caring

Me with Mrs. K. I voluntold her for Day of Caring.

Cedar Point - 1st Annual trip (they both hated it) 
Speed demon. So glad/terrified Dad will be teaching them to drive.

Formal family portrait

Personal best for bowling at Sales Meeting. Will probably never be repeated, so I had to post :p

Hiking at Turkey Run with a couple of Vargi

Ellie thought this area was spooky. And that dragons might live in the caves behind her.

Cali enjoying what might be her last hurrah in that cozy backpack. When you turn 3, you get to walk on your own....

Donuts and facepainting at the Popcorn Fest with Mrs. K and her Ellie.

Working hard at Montessori

At "the Sand" again.

Apple orchard time. Beautiful day!

Gloomiest flowers ever at heART Night.

Angry bees. Dad got stung by about 5 of them the day after denying their existence. Next year, no prisoners on stinging flying things around the porches. Apparently, I have created a very friendly environment.

Most pictures are of ponies or Equestrian Girls these days. The one on the left is Pinkie Pie and I think the one on the right is Rainbow Dash.

Ellie stole the show at Chefs Around the Table.

She helped Dad peddle his peach bourbon pie and was a great fundraiser.

Together, they won the "Best Dessert" knife.

Ellie at play

Monday, August 17, 2015

School Starts This Week!!!

This mama is looking forward to the return of school days. The summer has been a whirlwind and aside from rushing to tackle a few projects before the painters get here Thursday (and because they were making my head hurt), I haven't gotten much done except sign myself up for a few projects I will shortly have time for.

We started the summer with three weeks of swimming lessons. It was a hellish way to start. We got virtually nothing done in the month of June. But, Ellie can now confidently tool around the pool with a noodle, so it wasn't a waste. Next summer, perhaps we'll get past the noodle. Really looking forward to two years from now when I can enroll Cali. But, maybe I can sweet-talk her in next year. We'll see.

We also enrolled Ellie in a group piano class for 4-5 year olds. There were 4 kids enrolled and I love the way the teacher introduced the concepts. She uses a book called "Keyboard Town" and an accompanying book that is out of print. It's very easy for the kids to grasp. We start our first solo lesson on Wednesday. Ellie has really been enjoying the lessons. She's kind of the head of the class, but you wouldn't know it when it comes time to practice. Curious if the lack of competition will impact her progress.

Cali took a master class on potty training. The jury is still out on how successful we've been. She did really well and then suddenly stopped telling us when she had to go and not caring whether or not she soiled herself. Yesterday and today she took pity on me and we had no accidents. But, tomorrow is another day. I think school and it's rigid schedule will really help.

P has been working on furniture all summer. He got his desk finished and then a coffee table. Now he's working on a couch and two chairs. In between, he "cobbled" together a stand for a largish glass tank and gussied it up to make it cozy for a couple of yellow and black tree frogs (non-poisonous in captivity).

I have been keeping up with my yoga pretty well. I've managed to do a head stand away from the wall, and I'm gaining better control over going up and down in inversions. Pretty soon, I'll be progressing to more center of the room inversions. Otherwise, I have been investigating more career options. With the girls old enough for school (and preferring it most days), I'm looking to find something outside the home. It may be volunteer work, design work, or going a more artistic or entrepreneurial route. Trying to get my house in order and create a routine for working on projects and further learning.

There is so much to say. The girls caught (My Little) Pony Fever real bad this summer. Cali may have a terminal case. Thus far, we have resisted most of the merchandising. But, Christmas and birthdays will probably ruin that. My grandmother passed away. My mom came to visit for two weeks. Isis is getting old. And deaf. But, since last writing, she has avoided the vet. We have wasp nests in two locations. I've heard boric acid is nice for sneaky poisoning (one nest is under the porch) and avoiding attack. I got a random sting earlier this summer and Ellie got one Saturday. It's becoming a bit of a problem. We're eying a fifth wheel in lieu of our current trailer. My Model X just might actually come out this year.... I think I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
Dad and E actually tried to sleep out here one night. Once the temps hit 50, they headed in.

Our beautiful soggy campsite at Spring Mill State Park.

P is a master s'more maker.

Sisterly bonding over gooey treats.

C showing off the goods.

P's desk en situ.

A crazy sunset with cool bubble clouds.

Look ma! No instructor.

A day in Chi-town, just Dad and the girls.

An artistic collection Cali made at the park.

Father's Day gift. Back says, "Daddy of Dragons"

My favorite pic of the summer. I hope they hold onto this.

P at the 4th of July Carmel parade.

Cali is a burrower.

Storms didn't hunt much this summer. This one made up for that. She played with it for 30 minutes.

Goof Ball.

This guy (or his siblings) found me about 4 times this summer.

Leg lamp junior edition.

Summer of pies. Seriously. One to three every week. And they never stay home.

One of my more fruitful harvests.

One of our best raspberry hauls. And then the rain stopped :(

That is not rain, y'all. There were a few REALLY hot days.

New favorite sandwich: Nutty Monkey on rainbow bread at Valpo Velvet.

Grandma reading to Ellie at lunch while the grownups waited for their food.

Miss Alexa built the first pony castle of the season.

Don't ask.

One or two nights with the fire pit.

And, the AC froze up.... While Grandma and Mushy were in residence.

Aaahh, the County Fair.

Loved it!

Beach with Mom and Grandma.

Found a nice little inlet for wading.

Ellie and Ellie in St. Joe's

Ellie wanted to take a picture of this chalk drawing for Cali because Cali likes dogs. Seriously.

One of our new favorites. Greek yogurt (sour cream) peach pancakes from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. 

Future home of Shine and Spark. ETA November 2015.

Last time we took this photo, there were only two.

Ellie got up this morning and wanted to make her own breakfast.

P giving the short version of his speech for the grand opening of the Urschel Pavilion.

A rare casual family shot.

Ribbon cutting.