Thursday, September 7, 2017

First Day of School 2017

Actually, Kate has been in "school" for a month now, but today was the first day of getting them both to school in two different places.  I probably made it harder than I should have, but I had a window of 15 minutes to get Kate delivered and then get Graysen to her school 10-15 minutes away.

They were helpful in getting ready and didn't veto anything suggested even though Kate almost insisted on wearing her rainbow pajamas.

I think Kate thinks she's posing very prettily for me with her boots on the wrong feet.

 They both got to take their lunches in their much-loved lunch boxes.  Owls and butterflies.

 There was just a tiny bit of anxiety from Graysen, not much but enough to catch a few poignant looks.

We parked in the same place as last year but walked up to a different door this time, stopping to watch one of the ducks try to get a little grass from outside the fence.

Right after we saw this, the goat came over and tried to knock over one of the sheep.  Graysen is scared of the goats a little bit, so that didn't help.

Lots of new kids this year but a few of last year's group.  Best friend Brooklyn only goes to afternoon classes, so that was kind of sad until after lunch.

Not absolutely sure of going in this new classroom.

It got better when she found her cubby and put up her boots and lunch box.

Tater was everywhere, seemingly excited about school starting back.  He was probably lonely all summer.

We've been talking about writing her name over the summer, but I never saw her write the whole thing.  But she aced it with that left hand.  I noticed the little girl in front of her was also left-handed.  You can see Tater's signature on the other paper.

Circle time and a whole bunch of new friends.  She was happy but tired when Emily picked her up at the end of the day.  Going all day is a little different for them.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

It's snowing ashes

This was at 11 a.m.

We don't have forest fires nearby, but we're getting the smoke and even ashes from Eastern Washington where the fires are so bad.

Elise and I woke up at 5:30 and smelled smoke inside the apartment.  It was as if we has a fire in the next room.  I finally went out on the balcony and saw the pieces of ash falling and smelled it.

We are lucky compared to those folks nearer the fires and the ones in the flooded areas.  We do need some rain though.

We went on to Graysen's first gymnastics class this morning.  She loved it and is in a sweet group of 5 little girls and 1 boy.  She's the one in pink. in the middle.

Graysen told me all about where the ashes are coming from.  "A very baby skunk!  He was playing with 4th of July fireworks."

Friday, September 1, 2017

Summer's End

Just some pictures from this week.

Breakfast on the deck:  Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon toast.

Lunch on the deck with just-pulled-up carrots and lovely tomatoes.

Sweet big girl.  She's sure she can fly if she can just get it right.

A New Year

A new one for me anyway.

I have always thought of the beginning of the year as September instead of January.  Maybe it's those 22 straight years of back-to-school preparation and excitement.  Maybe because it's my birthday month.  I love the beginning of fall, the smell in the air, the color of the sky.  My whole life, September has been a warm to hot month with just a hint of cool weather.  This year, the feeling started last week -- in August.  It's cool in the mornings and cool at night and just fine during the day, so I'm looking forward to a couple of months of enjoyment before the rain and cold come.

In two weeks, Mike will have been gone a year, and I don't think a new year is going to help much.  I still wake up missing him and go to bed missing him, but there are whole chunks of time during the day when I get on with my life and laugh and enjoy things.  I was able to see his mountain with the dark clouds sitting on top of them last night without being sad and just enjoying the beauty.

I think I'm going to make a conscious effort to get out of my sadness and fear of going forward if I can.

Now that Elise is here, I'm enjoying time at home more, cooking, talking, even watching TV, something I didn't do for the past year.  Not that watching TV is anything very enjoyable, but it is getting out of my self-centered rut.  And school starts next week, so I will have 3 middle of the days to do what I want.

I had a moment yesterday afternoon when life just creates the perfect moment, and you know you will remember it for a long time.  Just a simple thing.  A cloudy Thursday afternoon around 5:00 after 8 hours of togetherness with the girls.  Sometimes that's not a good thing when they're hungry or grumpy or I'm tired.  Or all of those.  But that moment was just right.  I was sitting in a chair with a lamp on behind me and my long-awaited book from the library.  Graysen had brought the bag of blocks into the den and left them, planning to come back to build after she "cleaned up the playroom a little bit."  She was doing it very cheerfully, and she and Kate were chatting.  Then Kate came into the den and picked up the bag of blocks and started building.  Possibly a very bad thing.  Sure enough, Graysen came into the den with plans to build and saw Kate with her blocks.   Amazingly, (after a small frown and a glance at me), she just sat down beside her and started her own project.  She then noticed that a piece she wanted to start with was already being used and started to tell me about it.  Kate looked up and said, "Here, Gwacie, you can have the windows."  Wow.  All the hard work and lessons on sharing and loving each other, and here they were making it come true.

If Mike had been there, we would have looked at each other and grinned smugly.

I just opened my book and started reading.

I'm going to try harder this year.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer is Finally Here

We are supposed to be having a heat wave, but it's pretty bearable.  I had my fan on for about an hour when I got in last night and slept just fine.  I was warm when I woke up, but then I realized I was under my comforter.

I thought it was interesting that since 1894, Western Washington has had only 3 days of over 100 degrees in July.  But it's August now.  We'll probably have a couple of them.

I think less than half the people in the area have air conditioners.  I met a man on the way home yesterday - walking with his water bottle, neck cold pack, and hat - who filled me in on how to stay cool:  IGA has free water.  They will let you stay in the library if you get hot.  Etc."  I wanted to say, "I'm from Alabama/Georgia.  Bring it on."

If you're in the shade, it's quite pleasant, even in the 90s.  Just don't venture into sunny spots.  I never thought I would say it, but I miss the rain.  I don't think we've had a nice rain since the end of May.  I'll be sorry I said that pretty soon.

This was the 4th or 5th outfit of the day.  I never know who is going to come down the stairs next.  The first few costumes were pink and frilly, but this is a nice change of pace.

This was just minutes before Kate demanded her own horse.

I belive she settled for the pink car.

Today is Kate's first day at MorningStar Montessori.  I dread leaving her the first day, but I do think she is going to thrive there.  She's so curious and fun and bright.  It will be nice for her to have other 2-year-olds around her.  I'll try to come back and post a picture when we take her.  And it's nearly time.

She's never been left with someone she doesn't know or either had her big sister along.  So it was kind of scary to be on the playground and turn around and see no one you knew.  Emily and I agonized over it all day, and she called the school to check around noon.  They sent these pictures:

Graysen and I picked her up at 2:30, early, and when she saw us she was properly excited and even took her sister over to play on the little slides in the room.  She was just jabbering on the way home - but, like Graysen, didn't want to talk about her school day.  She even said good-bye to her teachers and friends.  I think she's going to be okay.

Monday, July 17, 2017

I Love My Job

Just hanging out on the deck early this morning in comfortable clothes - party dresses or pajamas - it doesn't really matter.  I didn't even have to make my own cup of tea, since Emily ran off before she finished hers.

 And then we went to pick up some pictures I had made for Mama at Bartell's and got some activity books for the plane trip next week.

After a messy spaghetti lunch, Graysen and I are ready to tuck Katherine in for her nap and read the newest Highlights magazine  She's GOOD at hidden pictures.

It might not be that easy to get Katherine to agree to a nap.  Maybe if I put her little creatures in the crib, she'll not mind.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Sometimes when I don't come here and write something often enough (for me), I start to feel stressed and wonder why I even bother.  Then I realize I do it only for myself to preserve my memories, and if someone else reads them and enjoys my ride, so much the better.  When Mike was living in Texas and me in Alabama, I did it so he would know what was going on back home - and he came to really depend on it and fuss at me if I missed writing for awhile.  Now I have 2 sweet babies that I'm doing it for.  I think they will enjoy reading about Mimi's life one day - which is really about theirs!

I have a whole list of blogs I read listed to the right, and I love every one of them.  Most of them have things to offer me in terms of learning new things or giving me ideas.  I have so many interests that some days I will jump on the quilting blogs and other days on the sewing or organizing ones - less frequently on the decorating ones since I don't have much to work with there!  No one could read my blog and learn anything.  I jump from sewing to books and movies to grandchildren to recipes - usually in the same post.  Just the way my mind works, jumping from one thought to the other.

I'm still trying to learn what I'm going to be and do with the rest of my life.  One month from now, I will have been alone for a year.  Mike went into the hospital right before his birthday, around August 16th, and I had only a couple of conversations with him after that.

It's been the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I don't foresee it being a whole lot better for a long time.  Things are easier though.  I'm learning.

I've learned to appreciate solitude.  It's really never been a problem for me, and I'm not one to have to have people around me to be happy.  The thing I miss is someone comfortable to share thoughts with and enjoy things with and see things through the other's eyes.  Some of the sweetest moments last year were when one of the children would do something especially cute or precocious, and I would meet Mike's eyes, and we would get these big smiles on our faces.  I knew he knew what I was thinking (Has there ever been a child so clever and precious?), and we were in complete agreement.

I had a little taste of that when we were at the beach in May.  Ryan's mother Millie - my grandchildren's other grandmother - and I could sit around and talk and talk about these wonderful beings forever, and neither one of us would ever get tired of it.  We knew anything we noticed or mentioned about them would be savored by the other one.  I just wish we could have more time together.

This fall I will have some partial days off, and I want to see what I can do to get more enjoyment out of my situation.  I've met a new friend who also lives alone, and we share the love of our grandchildren for sure.  Our daughters are friends, and we're making plans to meet for lunch and see what else we have in common.  We also share the same sense of humor, so that's a big deal to me - to laugh with someone, even if it is about ourselves.

As far as sewing, I once again have a dozen projects started - in my head.  Things I need to finish mainly.  I had a stack of patterns in a box that I want to get rid of, and Graysen happened to find them.  I think I'm in trouble.  At first, she wanted a Tinkerbell costume, but then she saw a blue evening gown that she loved, loved, loved.  I did't particular like it - the reason for getting rid of the pattern - but she was fascinated.

She especially loves the way the little girl is lifting her long skirt up.

When she asked so plaintively and sweetly - many times - if I would make one for her, there is no way I wouldn't at least give it a try.  I happen to have some beautiful pink fabric that our friend Rosanne used for tablecloths for Graysen's 3rd birthday party.  She gave it to me after the party, and I've been saving it for the right time.  Yards and yards of it!

The problem is, Graysen has her heart set on a BLUE dress, not a pink one.  Emily and I stroked the fabric and praised it and tried to change her mind, but she is pretty adamant about the blue.  I think with time, if I don't show her the picture again and if I go ahead make the pink, she will love it too.  I even have some sparkly sheer fabric for the sleeves and back skirt.

So that's going to probably be done before I start their quilts.  I had planned to make Graysen one for her double bed, but since we don't know what the sleeping arrangements will be in a few years, Emily and I decided it would be good to make each girl a twin quilt just alike.  

I have the fabric from Riley Blake's "Dream and a Wish" - A layer cake, a stack of fat quarters, and several yards of particular fabrics. 

A pretty good selection of princesses, ball gowns, carriages, and castles.  Let's just hope their princess fascination lasts awhile.  Four years ago, I would never have thought I would wish that!

I'm going to use this pattern by Amy Smart.'


I need to go read some of my organizing blogs - especially time management - and get busy on some of these projects.  

I did do this though.  I don't have a before picture - thank goodness, because it's a little scary.  This is the guest room/playroom, and it helps to have at least this much off the floor and kind of organized.  It's still an ongoing process.  Each of the blue bins holds all those elusive little pieces of Legos, Little People, and teeny tiny animals.  

I wonder how long it will take Katherine to find a way to get to that glue on top.  I put together the cubes and really like them and would do another set, but those sliding doors wouldn't allow good access.

All the dolls from long ago along with the bunkbeds, high chair and suitcase played with my Emily and Elise.

Also costumes from dance recitals in the 1980s and 90s.  There is another storage unit with drawers for doll clothes, but so far, the girls are too small to do more than undress them and mess up their hair (and love them).  

After the Binderts take their trip to South Dakota and I take my trip to Alabama, we will settle into our fall schedule.  I will take both girls to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 and pick them up at 3 - giving me plenty of time to make appointments or sew or do what I want to do in the middle part of the day.  Then I will have them all day on Tuesday and Thursday.  It sounds like a good arrangement to me.

This was a good week, spent doing just what we wanted to do - a lot of outside play and visits to the park.  The girls fuss over toys a lot but then will play happily together for long periods of time.  I think that will only get better as they get a little older.  I'm not rushing my baby time - well, maybe just a little.  I can't believe I've gotten to spend the sweetest times with the girls - while they still think I'm almost perfect.  They both look sympathetically at my brown spots on my arms and hands and the wrinkles on my neck - and want to fix them.  If only you could fix that with love!

Those baby hands!  But getting bigger every day.  Graysen loved this fallen begonia and wanted me to take a picture of her holding it.  

It made her sad that it had to leave its family.

She and Emily came over to swim in the apartment pool for a little while, although I'm not sure how people can stand a pool with these temperatures.  They do enjoy it though!

When I got there, I saw her in the little hot tub with her new friends - 2 brothers and a sister.  Their mom had given them all popsicles, and she was having a good time.  

I had been freezing and wearing a sweatshirt all morning, but I sat in the sunshine for awhile and thawed somewhat.  

I came back and sat on the balcony with a cup of tea and Miss Molly.  Not even a hummingbird visitor could make her open her eyes.

New to the balcony are the first nasturtium bloom

 And 2 marble-sized tomatoes.

A cute moment when Katherine discovered the light reflection from the blinds on the table.
"Cat in the eggs."

I used a different picture for my Facebook profile picture, but I thought this one was pretty too, with the clouds completely covering the mountains.