Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Cousin

This is the sweet angel face of my newest cousin, Sophia Isabella.  She was born January 28th - Debby's new granddaughter - the first girl after 4 sons and 4 grandsons.  Such a joy.

Debby and Tom got to meet her in the hospital.

Debby is there soaking up all the love and snuggles this week and sends me pictures when she has time.

Mom and Dad Brent and Courtney Ray.   And Big Brother Waylon.

Looking forward to watching her grow and hope to meet her one day.  I wish Graysen and Katherine could know their cousins, but they're a long way apart - all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

As are these sweet cousins from St. Augustine.  Sherry and David spent Christmas with them and got to enjoy them for a week or so.  I stole these pictures from Facebook (as I did a few of Sophia's).

Emma and Trevor working on their gingerbread house.  I would love to see all five of them playing together one day.  Mom and Dad are Najla and Ryan.

Our local girls were able to get outside this morning and play in their new yard.

Graysen planned a play all morning and actually got Katherine to go along with it.  Little Red Riding Hood and the Dragon.  She picked out all the components of the costumes.  I thought it was a good job, especially having Kate agree to wear them all.  She doesn't look too happy here, but she was very serious about it.  When you have a big sister, you have to remember exactly when to grab the basket and run - or not grab the basket.

And a video only the relatives will sit through.

It was a great day today.  Tuesdays are our day with no school and no gymnastics, and the day sometimes gets a little long, but it was all good.   It helped to have a Valentine package from Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alan to enjoy this morning.  Katherine had already eaten one piece of candy and talked Graysen into opening another one before breakfast.  Graysen wants to keep hers uneaten because they look so pretty in the box!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Busy Times

I can't even begin to write everything that's happened since the last time I posted, but I'll try.

Big thing:  The move.  The house next door became available on a Friday night, but then the carpet cleaners and painters had to finish, so it was the next Friday before any moving could happen.  I only helped pack and unpack and didn't have to carry boxes across the yards, but it was still crazy.

Even Graysen made a few trips, but it stopped being fun after a couple of times.

I took almost no pictures during that time.  I wonder why.

Here's Emily in her working clothes directing the (very pleasant) movers.  They worked really hard along with Ryan and his dad, and got almost everything moved over in about 3 hours.  Millie and I worked hard also keeping the children out of the way as much as possible and finding lost things.

This is a picture I took earlier of the paint color, which Ryan and Emily decided to change to a neutral color all over the house.

This is a before picture of what is now the playroom.

Ryan suggested (and still may) taking out that storage unit and putting up the closet doors, but I begged for him to postpone it because, believe it or not, all those toys have a home now with a few empty spaces.  There is a drawer just for tutus and one for dress-up things.  Lots of things are behind the doors up high (out of sight, out of mind) to come down when they get bored with other things.

The girls' bedroom before the prior owners moved.

Painted Proposal pink - without overhead lighting or bunk beds yet.

The new kitchen.  All of us are having a hard time knowing where things are, but that will get easier.  The pillow in front of the refrigerator is a mystery.

The pantry is quite nice also.

This is going to be the happiest place ever this spring and summer.  There is a covered roof, cozy patio, and even a hot tub - which has already been used a lot by Emily, Ryan, and Graysen.  There are two fairy gardens, one shown in this picture, and the girls and I are looking forward to working on it and adding some new fairies.

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the hardest part is over, and we're all enjoying the new spaces.

It was such a help and such a pleasure to have Ryan's parents here for a week.  I felt a little more freedom since we could relieve each other when needed.  Millie and I just see eye to eye on everything and work well together.  I miss her company.  I only took one picture while they were here.  I hope she doesn't mind my sharing it.  These girls love their Grandma and Grandpa.

On a cold rainy Monday morning, I had the privilege of being a center leader at Graysen's school.  I loved every minute of it.  I thought I managed my 4-at-a-time charges very well and helped them make a booklet of counting owls.  Five wise owls sitting on the barn door.  One flew away, and then there were 4 - and so on!  Owl stickers and pre-K students equal fun.  I couldn't compete with the clay owls at another center though - or dramatic play.  I pretty much had to drag the boys away from that, but they were all really sweet.

Drawing an owl under the direction of Ms Tricia:

That spotted mound in the foreground is the doggie mascot Tater with his head resting in my lap.

The rest of the week, we enjoyed deluges of rain, all day, every day.  We managed pretty well though with lots of time inside.  I love to see the playroom vignettes at the end of the day.

For Emily's birthday, she and Ryan went out for a nice dinner in Seattle, and I babysat. 

After baths:

I didn't notice until the next day that Katherine's left eye was swollen.  The next morning, it was much puffier with some discharge and a worry for pinkeye.

So no school on Friday and a trip to the pediatrician.  Such a precious patient.  She allowed herself to be weighed (33 pounds) and prodded and listened to.  No ear infection and no lung problems.  It was definitely pinkeye and spreading to the other eye. 

After a nice visit there, we headed to Target to buy a birthday gift, but she kept getting sleepier and sleepier - and made it almost home before succumbing to a nap.

Still holding her grape-flavored popsicle stick.

And her yummy lollipop.

Unfortunately, the nap lasted only about 10 minutes, and she was wide awake by the time Emily got her upstairs.  Pleasant though, so she worked with her blocks until her sister got home.

And then the weekend.  I had a very nice rainy Saturday to catch up on sleep and housework.  It was much needed. 

Today I'm working on taxes and more housework.  Elise and I are also watching several episodes of "the Crown."

I think I can count on February being a little bit easier.  It started out with a birthday for Alan and an upcoming one for Graysen.  I think I can say that Graysen is a little more excited about hers than Alan,  The first day of February, she started celebrating, and it will only increase until her party on the 10th.  It's a joint bowling party with her friend Brooklyn who is 2 days younger, and so far they have 10 friends coming.  Sounds like fun! 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Moving Time

Not far, but still a big deal.

The girls were excited to see a BIG TRUCK next door this morning.  It's especially exciting because when they leave (and the cleaners finish), that's their new house.  The Win-Bins are moving next door.

The house is about the same size as the present one and, of course, in a great neighborhood.  After seeing the house over the years and liking it and finding out the neighbors were moving, Ryan and Emily made the decision to move.  They'll be renting their house hopefully, and if it turns out not to be what they wanted, they can just move back!  I think they will be happier there though.  I'll do some comparisons when I get some pictures this weekend.

Al and Millie will be here Tuesday to help with the packing and moving.  Ryan suggested we get a few Safeway shopping carts for the transition.  Some painting has to happen before the move happens, but we're all pretty excited at the change.

It's been a busy week but nothing special to write about.  We've had some pretty clear days with lots of wind and now rain, but I feel pretty warm compared to the South and East.  I can't be sure, but I think all the towns we've ever lived in got snow this week - and this is in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and North Carolina!

We're focused on potty training and being nice to each other this week.  I see improvement all around with a few slip-ups.  We missed our eating out trip this weekend because of "consequences" of fighting and not listening.

It's such a responsibility taking care of and nurturing little ones.  I get discouraged sometimes and tired, but I try to remember that everything I do and say will be heard and digested and could have a big influence on their lives.  Just this morning in the car after we dropped Kate off at school, Graysen and I were talking about the trees on the top of the mountains and then mountain goats.  She said sadly, "I've never in my whole life seen a mountain goat." In the 10 minutes we had to wait in the car, I found a video of mountain goats on my phone, and she was jumping up and down with excitement at "seeing" them.  If nothing else, she learned how they look and about their horns and hooves and that she could add mountain goats to her list of M words that they're studying this week.

Kate is also happy at school now and looks forward to going.  She slowly walked in this morning with her hat hanging over one ear and her head in the air, and one of the aides said, "Katherine always looks like a movie star when she walks in."  She plopped down in the circle with the other kids and was giggling with them before I left.  She will absolutely love Rooster Valley next year.

I'm working on my budget and plans for next week this morning - with coffee and a fire.  It's Friday!  I can work on the quilts this weekend maybe - after I do a lot of cleaning.  I do nothing at night except collapse in my chair and read.  I'm trying to take the time to cook some instead of just snacking at night.  Elise made a good stir-fry this week, and I cooked an eye of round roast in the crock pot last night that smells yummy.  My favorite thing lately is a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt with almonds, raspberries, and shaved dark chocolate (100% cacao).

I had the TV on this morning on a Seattle station and saw this young girl's cooking segment.  It's called  Cooking with Amber, and she made some green beans look delicious.  I'll pin her blog to the blog section since I saw a few more things that looked interesting.  Elise and I are absolutely refusing to bring any bread, processed food, or soft drinks into the house.  So far, we're not missing it this week.  Not when we have salmon and omelets and roasted veggies.  I need to get Elise to learn to like cauliflower.  I can give up Diet Coke, but I tried nearly a year and CANNOT like black coffee.  It tastes so bad and puts me in a bad mood - which is the opposite of what I'm looking for.  So I'm not going to punish myself any longer and enjoy that little bit of stevia and half-and-half.

I love my life.  I know it's boring sometimes, but I love boring.  I've read 5 books this month so far, every one of them good, and had 1 reject that I just shut and gave up on.  I'm not sure how I got a book about ghosts and the supernatural, but it got too scary and gross.  I'm now without anything I want to read.  How did that happen?  I have about 20 requests in to the library. but nothing is ready today.  Maybe the housework will come first this weekend.

I saw this right before we left for school this morning.  Kate loves her Paw Patrol pups.  I asked her if they were eating breakfast, and she gave me a pitying look and said, "No, Mimi, they're just looking at the food."

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fox Dress

Kate wore a dress today that I made for Graysen two years ago.  Several people have asked me if I sew clothes for the girls, and I have to say no.  I'm too slow, and they grow too fast.  Also, Graysen is not absolutely sure about certain things, and it's kind of a shame to use the time and have her not wear it.  Kate has no qualms about wearing pretty much anything you tell her to, and this still fits her from last fall.

I found these next two pictures on the blog in November of 2015, and I was pretty proud of myself for finding a pattern and lining that I liked.

And it still doesn't have a button on the back.  Typically, Emily and I sent her to school this morning with a safety pin instead of a button there.  Maybe I'll remember to put one on there soon.

So now I'll go get started on that quilt.

Books and Pictures

I was finishing up my second book of 2018 this morning when I couldn't sleep, and I thought about why I love to read and how my habits have changed over the years.

This is my current pile - my finished book on top with the others plus 5 more on hold at the library waiting to be picked up.  I think I got a little worried about having a supply of good reading.  I do have a book downloaded on Overdrive, but there's nothing like holding a book in my hands.

No one in my family really liked to read when I was growing up.  The only reading materials in the house were newspapers, the Sears catalog, and cookbooks.  Miz Hood next door had some ancient magazines - Life or Look, I guess -  in a bookcase, and I would pore over them while my grandmother watched "Days of Our Lives" with her every afternoon.  And while Debby and my brother were up to no good in her kitchen, peeking in her pots and pans and closets.

Then I discovered the library.  If I went during the summers, I had to walk.  It was about a 15-minute walk in the heat, but it was worth it.  Sherry would visit every summer, and we made that trip at least once a week, bringing home as many books as we could carry and reading them outside under the china berry tree - probably cooler than the un-air-conditioned house.

I remember being sad when I had to start to college and realize I would have no spare time for reading and later what a thrill it was the first time Mike took me into that amazing library in Auburn.  Every new town we moved to, finding the library was one of my first missions.  Sometimes I had to drive to another town, but I always found them.

Mike shares this love of reading too, and we read to the children and stressed the importance of reading.  After he retired, and even before, he was just a reading machine.  There was always a pile of books stacked beside his chair, and our trips to the library were one of things we enjoyed most about living in Montgomery and Snoqualmie.

Elise now reads a lot and Emily as much as she has time for.  We exchange ideas about books and discuss them, but I think I'm the only one of the three who is obsessed right now.  I've had periods in my life where I didn't read so much, letting other things take precedence, mainly sewing, I guess, and the appearance of the computer.

I was reading to Graysen as soon as I got a chance to hold her, it seems, and she and Katherine very seldom turn down a story.  It's hard to keep them from bringing home every book they pick up in the library.  I'm so glad they love it, because some days that's about all I have the energy for.  I love it when I clear a space on either side of me, and they snuggle in with their sweet-smelling hair and little warm bodies.  Graysen is beginning to learn to read now, and Katherine is learning her letters too, so I guess they will be reading to me soon.

Since Emily and Ryan are moving, we have the impossible task of trying to sort through all the books we've collected.  I did well with paring down my possessions when we moved out here, but Emily just cannot get rid of a book.  And now it's time to part with some of Mike's books if we can - professional ones, college textbooks, even high school ones.  (I'll never give up the Hamlet high school paperback where I discovered my name written inside the back cover!)  It's heartbreaking to let go, and I'm not sure how much we can do.

Pictures are another thing I have to organize.  I do have mine in some sort of order in boxes with labels, or once did, but all the ones from Mama and Eleanor have to be looked at and sorted too.

I took one stack this morning and just put them in 4 piles - and cried the whole time - so I'm not sure how effective this project is going to be.  I want to scan a lot of them and organize them and label them for the girls.

It looks like an impossible task right now for all of us.

After I get the girls delivered to school this morning, I plan to come home and work on their quilts.  Graysen reminded me yesterday that they would be sharing a room in the new house and when were their quilts going to be ready.  On my.  She's learning she has to light a first under me to get me to do anything.

I think it will rain all day and be cold, so it should be a good day for sewing - or reading!  

Saturday, January 6, 2018


I've had granddogs and grandcats, but this little beauty is my doggie niece.  I can't wait to snuggle with her and play with her next time I'm there.

She and her siblings were abandoned near the home of Kathy and Alan in Andalusia.  Two others were adopted, but Allie was left behind,  She's so shy and scared, but she looks like she's coming around.  I know she'll get friskier every day.  Beautiful markings.