Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Sparkling Day

This is the last warm day before the onset of low temperatures and cooler weather - 50s and 60s - so I wanted to enjoy every bit of it.  I saw these beauties on the way to Steller Way.

This is a rhodendron at the base of our stairs that we've been watching since it started budding - dark pink at first, then lighter and then almost white.

I'm not familiar with lilac bushes - or tree in this case - but I believe this is one.

These are the azaleas outside the wall of a house that I pass almost every day.  The owner is obviously a gardener and nature lover, and I can't wait to see what she has coming.

Graysen wanted to wear her Cinderella dress and dance this morning while Katherine played pretty quietly on the floor.  She is usually pretty happy when her sister is performing.

The audience.  I've had these little dolls for 15 years or so.  Once when we lived in Greensboro I heard that McDonald's was including these Madame Alexander miniature dolls in a Happy Meal.  Every week I would get a Happy Meal until I found out I could just pay the $1.59 and buy them.  They've lived in the attic all this time and have finally been unpacked and enjoyed, around 20 of them.

I was afraid this dress was going to be too small by now, but it seems just right.  I decided to take it home and put another piece of velcro at the waist because she was stopping every few minutes and saying, "Make the back tighter, Mimi."

Katherine is pretty content sitting and playing with whatever she can get her hands on.  She prefers the non-board books that she can chew and tear, but we try to keep a good supply of these within reach.  My sock feet are also obviously nearby.

After going to the park and while Katherine was napping, Graysen and I took a pan of water and some random toys and just spent a long time splashing, making up stories, and watering plants.

This is a strange picture.  The combination of water, sun/shade, and reflections make this look like an angry duck on the bench beside the pan.

Watering cucumbers with a rubber duckie.

Time for Mimi ad PopPop to go home.

Ryan has worked hard to make these raised beds, and they are beautiful, just ready for seeds and vegetables and flowers.  And many packets of seeds, including carrots, radishes, parsnips, lettuce, and several flowers.

I can't remember all the plants Emily and I chose, but I do remember cucumbers, okra, artichoke, tomatoes, several kinds of peppers, apple mint, broccoli and strawberries.

Mike and I tried to sit on the balcony and read this afternoon, but it was too chilly for us.  I did take this picture of the hummingbird feeder outlined against a beautiful sky.  Our hummingbird and maybe some friends have just about finished up their first bottle of food.

The local weather channels have indicated we might have some thunderstorms this weekend, so I'm excited.  I miss them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Working on Spring

 It's so beautiful up here that I'm not hurrying anything, but I will be so glad when we can sit on the balcony.  We had a great sunny weekend, and I once got hot enough to change to a short-sleeved shirt  - but then came the rain and clouds and highs in the 50s.  The 10-day forecast looks wonderful though with 70s and 80s for the next couple of weeks and 5 or 6 days of sunshine.  I don't mind the rain when it's warm.

We're working on making the little balcony a nice place to sit with our wicker chairs and as many plants as we can comfortably have.

I found this clematis when we went back to Home Depot the other day.  For some reason, I've always had a hard time growing them and have tried them everywhere we've lived.  I might kill this one too, but I sure am enjoying it now.

I bought this cute little succulent for Emily but ended up keeping it for myself.  The tag says stonecrop,   It looks so cute in this little white pot that I used to keep in the window in Montgomery.  My wonderful succulent that I had in it froze in the car on the move up here.  Debby rooted some of it, so I'm one day going to get one of the babies.

We don't see many song birds around the apartment complex - yet anyway.  There are a few crows that might keep them away, but the birch tree (I think) has leafed out, and we thought we would try a bird feeder.  Surprisingly, we've seen one there a couple of time, but more often they're hopping around on the floor picking up spilled seeds.

This suspicious girl might keep them away, but she doesn't go out there more than once a day, just to be offended by people and dogs and cars and trash cans and pretty much all noises.

I'm not sure I've ever had a spring without a red geranium, but Mike and Emily dislike them so much (and I haven't seen one yet) that I've substituted this little red dahlia for them.  I do plan to have at least one though, maybe on the stair landing where it will get a lot of sun.

 Look who followed us up here.  Bonnie Plant Farms is an Alabama-based operation in Union Springs that's so familiar.  

 It's a small tomato called a patio tomato.  We'll see how it does with little sun where it is.

Mike's beloved Lenten Rose that he bought up here a few years ago, transported to Montgomery, nurtured it there, and then moved it back.  It never missed a beat and is thriving in it's clay soil underneath that potting mix.

This aloe not a showpiece but I uprooted this in January and brought it with me.  It didn't freeze and is putting out new shoots.

We're already enjoying the fragrance of this pink jasmine when we step outside.  I've only ever had Carolina jessamine with the yellow blooms and no fragrance.  I wanted one that smelled good like this pink one.  Let's hope we have enough sun to please it.

Another thing we had no confidence in was this hummingbird feeder.  I think of humming birds in warm weather, but we have either several already eating or one that can't keep away.  I think it might be just one because we never see more than just this one.  This morning when I was watering, I heard the whirr of wings and saw one light about 3 feet from me and commence to drink away.  I was close enough to hear the little sounds of his sipping,  I even talked to him a little bit, and he didn't fly away immediately.  Most of the time, they just take about 15 quick sips and fly away.

The bottle was full Sunday, so someone is enjoying it.

I came back to edit something, and while I was sitting there typing, this little guy appeared.  I just picked up my camera and took it without really having time to focus.

I'll  be going over to Steller Way to babysit this afternoon for awhile, so I'll take some pictures of Ryan's lovely raised beds.  It's time to start planting those vegetables!

I just walked over to the library and took a few more pictures, most of them in front of the office.  
There is a beautiful Japanese maple that is huge.  I don't know my maples, but this one looks more like a bush than a tree.  

The people who live here are ready to start their balcony beautifying,

I guess this is a cherry tree with double blossoms.  Most of the others have lost their blooms, but this one is beautiful.

 I guess this is a snowball bush and also that it is a type of hydrangea.  This one is already blooming, while the ones at our section are still green.

I love tulips.  The Skagit Tulip Festival ended last weekend, I think.  The tulips were early this year!  We went several years ago, and it is an amazing sight.  Acre after acre of tulips and daffodils and other flowers too.  I want to go back one year.  There are a few pictures and videos here.  

Makes me sorry I missed it.  Maybe next year.

The babysitting was easy.  Graysen slept the entire time, and we got to spend time with Katherine.  When she got grumpy and wouldn't take her bottle (teething), I couldn't stand the thought of just putting her to bed crying.  So we went for a walk.  

This is about 5 minutes before falling asleep.

She's the best stroller rider I've ever seen.  She never moves but is transfixed by everything she sees.

We walked about 10 more minutes with her asleep, and when we got home, Mike and I worked together and got her coat off and tucked nicely in her crib.

Monday, April 11, 2016


Graysen received a birthday gift in February from some VERY good friends, Rosanne and Lou.  It's been a long anticipation, but the first class was today and worth waiting for.

I think she's enjoyed gymnastics, but she never came home excited about what they had done.  I think this video shows where her heart is.

Even if Mimi did put her leotard on backwards!

When I went to pick her up, I didn't immediately see her and worried that she had been shy or unhappy.  I need not have worried.  I went in further and saw her in front of the mirror just tapping and swinging her arms and having the best time.  I'm not sure what they were supposed to be doing, but when the teacher asked them to freeze, she stopped right on time.

I took one picture, and my camera battery died, but it perfectly depicts her joy and excitement.  Second from the right, galloping like a horse.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Some days I get so far as downloading the pictures off my camera, and some days I even come here thinking I will write something, but then I get distracted or busy or tired and just never do.  Then it's overwhelming to try to sort it out.  I asked Mike what we did Saturday, and neither one of us can remember 3 days earlier.  It doesn't help that I take tons of pictures that I have to sort through and choose from.  I also have a bunch of library books that are being neglected and sewing that is just sitting there waiting for me.  I try to answer emails every day or so and take care of phone calls and paying my few bills.  I guess it's good I'm no longer working!

I did get back in my sewing room and tweak it a little bit.  I managed to clear out some things I don't use often and make things more accessible.  I need to go in there and be able to sit down and find things, or I just turn around and come out.

I have a little over a month to complete the birthday table runner that I want to do before Katherine's first birthday.

I have all the squares cut out, although I didn't have enough blues and yellows that I liked.  There will be no more fabric buying when I don't have an empty shelf, so I made do.

This is all I've done, but so far it's looking okay.  I see some corners that don't exactly meet, but we can live with it.

If this one could get into those fabric squares, she would have a ball.

She spent 20 minutes yesterday playing with a little basket of measuring spoons.

The only other sewing I've done is repairing various things - Ryan's shorts, some small quilts, etc.

I noticed the other day that the pink dress I made years ago and went on and on about here was separating a little at the piping on the yoke.  

It hung in the closet for years at our house and then in Graysen's closet.  Now Emily has it hung in her room to enjoy.  The only problem is that she wants to wear it for dancing because it IS pretty twirly.  She calls it her Clara dress from the Nutcracker's Clara.  

She wanted to put it on one day last week, so I let her, thinking we would change later on in the day.  It was a beautiful day, and we went out on the deck to talk about it.   Graysen is all into adventures, so she decided Clara needed one.  It was the sweetest time, and it didn't bother me one bit to have her playing in that dress.  It's washable and repairable.  I have a picture of her mother stomping through mud puddles at about that age in a smocked dress.

These are some pictures from Clara's adventure.  Way too many pictures of this precious girl and the pink dress that was such fun to make.  Next year will probably be the year it fits like it should.

What better accessory to choose than pink boots.

And a tiara.

Maybe she's appreciating the smocking here.

Before the adventure, Pop Pop had to be placed in time out.  She found a sliver of a sweetener packet on the counter top with some sweetener spilled out.

She's showing him the time-out corner.

She told him not to put his hands behind his back.

She is sorry about it, but he has to learn to clean up his messes.

Lucky for Pop Pop that Katherine lightened the mood a little and freed him up.

The back yard is the perfect place for an adventure with the big rocks and bugs that sometimes crawl in and out of them.

Don't come with me, Mimi.  It's a deventure.

She made several collections and arranged them and rearranged them.

Lots of lava rocks that needed to be gathered (and a lot more to go).

Even with the fun and satisfaction of making this dress, Emily and I found a few dresses lately that do just nicely with very little effort and probably less than I could make them for.

We liked how comfortable this one looked from Baby Gap, I think.  It's knit at the top with an eyelet lined skirt.  Very reasonable.

Emily and I went into Target looking for Easter basket things and ended up seeing so many cute clothes.  This is one we bought, although we didn't like the pink trim on the aqua.  It's also lined and so soft.  And cheap.  When we showed it to Graysen, she loved it, Ryan saw no problem with the pink, and we'll probably take the easy way out and leave it alone.

That catches me up on nearly nothing but hopefully will give me incentive to continue tonight.   The weather is going to be warm and sunny for days now, so we have to make plans.  There's supposed to be a record high tomorrow of 81!