Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This is it...

The age of imaginary friends has entered my calm household. Who you might ask? Why Sophie has added an imaginary friend--namely Rocket from Little Einsteins on Playhouse Disney. There he is in that picture. No, not any of the smiling children (although Sophie assures me that June is her friend, too, but apparently not close enough for Sophie to let her in the house) but, the rocket ship.

He was in my living room today. They spent time playing "at the beach" in Sophie's room. And if I dared to speak to Rocket, Sophie and Rocket would leave the room. Tonight after supper, we all ate paczki, since it is Fat Tuesday today. Sophie made sure that we knew Rocket had to have a piece.

Very cute stuff here. I know that at Sophie's age my "friend" was Yogi Bear. Why Rocket instead of a person? Who knows. Just want to get this on record before it slips away, like so many other childhood moments.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pajama & Soup Day

Well, like everyone else in the Midwest, we got dumped on--lots and lots and LOTS of snow. Needless to say, the girls had no school. Then Dave called this morning to tell me Ronald Reagan Airport in DC is closed, as are most of the Midwestern airports, so he may nott be able to get a flight home tonight as scheduled. ~~~sigh~~~ So, the girls and I are having a lazy pajama day.

So, like any other good Yooper, I made soup. Yummy Beef Barley Soup. Grandma always had soup on when the weather got cold--split pea or vegetable beef are the two I remember her making the most. I was always in awe that people could make soup (my mom was a Campbell's girl herself).

So, I chopped up a top round roast and browned it; then added I onion, celery, carrots, baby potatoes, green beans, tomato sauce and boullion. Added thyme, basil, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Throw in the barley. After 2 1/2 hours, sheer bliss in a bowl. Maybe even better than Grandma used to make....

Now if I could just master her baking powder biscuits.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The countdown begins...

This year for our birthdays, Larisa and I are planning to attend a weekend scrapbook retreat (Treehouse Getaways). We are going to be gone for three glorious days toward the end of march. So, the planning begins.

First I went and bought a new scrapbooking organizer/tote (what is this, the 6th or 7th?). After seeing a product called the ScrapALong, I found out that it is made by Plano Molding (the tackle box/tool box people). I ran out to Menards's and obtained one for $39.95 (Contractor Work Center 826). I love it. Drawers, pull-out container for albums, deep storage on top. Also cool is the steel bar that slides down the front when you aren't using it. After inserting the bar and slapping a pad lock (bought at Meijer yesterday) my scrapbook supplies are secure. Call me paranoid, but I would tather be safe than sorry.

The hardest part of planning this weekend is deciding what to bring. I am currently planning an 8x8 album of our autumn this year--pumpkin patch, decorating for Halloween, Autumn colors, and trick or treats. So, I know I can work on that. Also, I am saving Christmas and New Years too for that weekend. But I tend to overpack--ARRGGHHH!

I did change my eyelet/brad storage to increase portability. I switched to these little stacking screw together bead jars from Darice--30 in a small box. Works great and takes up a fraction of the room. Will I need all these at my retreat? Probably not. Will I feel more secure knowing they are there in the off-chance I need them? YOU BETCHA!!!

The trials and tribulations of the scrapper...

Well, this is weird

Here I sit--7:51 AM. David just left on a business trip to Washington, DC. He will be back Wednesday night. This is the first time ever we have been apart this long, except when dating. Feels really strange to me.

Funny how dependent we become on the little things--a smile, a bad joke, an email of a cartoon. It is a testament to my quiet, laid back husband that this formerly independent stubborn woman misses him already. That is the magic of love I guess.

And how my kids will deal with Daddy's absence remains to be seen. Hopefully all will be well--tonight is our girly pizza party, tomorrow is supper with Nana.

So, to quote Whitesnake, "Here I go again on my own." Another adventure....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

That chilly time of year

I must be an odd duck--I love my Michigan winter. Yes, it is frigid out there this year. Being from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I grew up with that--snow on the ground and cold temperatures from Halloween to St Patty's Day. I love seeing the snow on the ground. When I first moved downstate in 1991, I hated the inconsistency of the weather--one week snow, the next week rain, then it was in the 40's. A month later it was 20 degrees. Yuck! This year, it is cold with snow on the ground. Seems like old times.

I don't really like summer that much. Insects, humidity and tornado warnings aren't my idea of fun. I do love my watermelon, though--best part of summer. Winter has Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday--things to look forward too, and seeing family and friends. Playing in the snow with my daughters, drinking cocoa and snuggling in front of the fire with my honey-bunny--life is good. Rich stews and chilis are just made for warming you up after a chilly afternoon outdoors. And there is nothing better than getting into bed after a long day, and slipping into a warm cocoon of blankets. As the chill of the room leaves you, and you start feeling toasty warm, it is so easy to fall asleep.

Even clothes are better in winter. Fuzzy sweaters, comfy flannel pjs, fleecey robes and slippers--all things that reek of comfort. Clothing that is very forgiving of that extra 5 pounds that invariably creeps on after the holidays.

So, it is with a little sadness that I see the last of winter melt away each year. As much as I love my garden and seeing the baby bunnies in my yard, I always feel a little regret that my winter idyll is over....

at least for one more year.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

If I lived to be 100...

If I lived to be 100, would I rather have a sound mind or a fit body? Well, the women in my family live to be old--the hardy Scandinavian heritage showing. My grandmother died at the age of 87. Millie's final years were spent fighting senile dementia (she was never officially diagnosed with Alzheimers). She broke a hip a few years before her death, and resisted therapies and the doctor's suggestions. She had always been a very active woman--gardening, long walks with her dog, strawberry picking in the summer--and as her mind began to be fuzzy, her desire for activity lessened. I really think had her mind been sound, her prognosis toward the end would have been better. I the last six months of her life, Millies spine compressed and my father was forced to place her into a Medicare facility to provide her with appropriate care.

I want my mind to be sound at 100. I want to know the love of my family and be aware and involved with others. I don't want to forget the people that are important to me, and pick up a book and read for enjoyment. The tragedy of my grandmother lives in my mind. A feisty Irish/Norwegian woman, with a sense of humor, strong sense of family, a compulsive reader, was reduced to confusion in her final years. The last time I saw her, in December of 2002, she called me "Mona" the name of her youngest sister. She knew I was her granddaughter, but couldn't remember how. A moment of clarity bubbled through when I explained I was her son's daughter. She looked at me clearly and said, "ah, yes, from his first marriage."

And at that same visit, I had brought my daughter Sophia, age 9 months, to spend her first Christmas with her great-grandmother. My father told me that for months afterward, my grandmother talked about that beautiful baby. Some of my favorite pictures of my grandmother are from that visit, watching my grey haired grandmother and my tiny brown haired child touching hands and hearts.

Scrapping Thoughts

I have been thinking lately about why I scrap. This whole trade show every 3-4 months is getting old. Who has time to scrap with the ever-consuming desire to get "the latest and greatest" before everyone else. By the time we have all those precious items from the last CHA, the next trade show is here and we start again. ~~Sigh~~

I also notice that when I do sit down to scrap I reach for familiar old friends--Basic Grey Fusion or Vagabond, WRMK, Chatterbox, CatsEye Chalk inks, AC ribbon and Brads, and Chipboard. I have a ton of the first lines from Fancy Pants--ChiChi, FrouFrou, Dapper--and never reach for them. Too much like work to figure out a cool way to use them.

So, I have toned down my latest and greatest. I picked up some Primas, BG Fruitcake & Blush and Chatterbox Love Shack from the last show, and from this show will probably get the BG Pheobe. I am sticking with my tried and true loves for new products. My LOs use a lot of older product now, because I loved it when I bought it and they still look cool.

I scrapbook for me and my family. When my 3 and 4 year old daughters clamor to look at the scrapbooks I make, it is not to see the new CHA product artistically displayed on a Bohemian style page (with a giant bird, of course). It is to see pictures of their family and friends, pets and celebrations. It is a way for two little girls to see the grandfather they loved (and who died too soon) and remember his love for them. My book of me is a bit more upscale, but after I am gone I want my daughters to know who I was, not how well I displayed product without the memories to accompany it.

I think I am passionate about these memories being the focus because I lost my mom at age 52--her childhood and early life are lost to me because she never wrote any of this down. My grandmother died with Alzheimers--again, memories lost, because now I have questions about things that never seemed important at the time. I want my children to understand who I was and how I feel about events and people in our lives that are important to us.

That is what I am passionate about--leaving the next generation a legacy.