Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Goldilocks

It's been a year since I had Elisabeth wear her hair down. Mostly I just put it up in a high bun or ponytail. Sometimes I braid it. But yesterday I decided to let her wear her locks in a more natural state, and this is how it looked:

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Basically, it can be summed up in one simple sentence:

She's got curls!

Everyone at school commented that she looked much older.
And of course we heard, 'where did she get those curls?!'
Answer: Daddy.

It was fun for the day, but now it's back to the high up piggytail. It keeps it out of her face, off her binky, and most importantly, I am not brushing out a matted mess at the end of the day!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Car Selfies: Part II

Documenting our days going here, there, and everywhere.

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I'm digging the big yellow hair bow on Elsa.

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Either I'm crooked, or my sunglasses are.

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 You can tell Lex is in middle school now...she isn't in our morning selfie shots.

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There she is! (With a friend along for the ride). Do you like how Elsa is giving her bunny ears?

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A flower wreath and a peace sign. Alexandra is so hippie.

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Ha! Elsa is fierce!

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Good times, good times.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Birthday Helpers

Sisters are good at opening presents when you can't do it yourself.

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Sisters are also good at giving birthday snuggles.

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Especially good at that.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Royal Celebration

Queen Elisabeth's 7th Birthday

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The Crown

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The Cupcakes

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The Decorations

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The Singing of the Birthday Song!



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The Tasting of the Cake.

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The Mum and her baby.

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And that's how a queen turns 7!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's Elisabeth's Birthday!

It's happened again! A year has gone past.
My baby is growing, and growing up fast!

Six was just swell, but now on to seven!
Another year of loving this angel from heaven.


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Happy 7th Birthday, 
Elisabeth!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Path Towards Independence

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[Alexandra, photographing a girls volleyball game.]
Alexandra is absolutely thriving in middle school! After turning in a four page application along with two letters of reference, she was selected to join the yearbook staff (one of only seven!). This means after school meetings as well as photographing sports games and other events. She was also elected to be president of the orchestra - winning with an overwhelming 70% if the vote. In addition to her school activities, she is busy rehearsing for Annie, which opens on October 10th. I saw a preview of the It's a Hard Knock Life choreography on Friday night and it looks amazing! To say I am proud of her would be a tremendous understatement. She is living up to her potential and excelling in every aspect of life.

I have been talking to her a lot lately about growing up. I explained that childhood is similar to a balance scale, with one side representing dependence, and the other, independence. When she was born, the scale was weighted completely to the side of dependence, but as she has grows, the scale begins to shift. My goal for her, I explained, is to have that scale completely to the side of independence by the time she is eighteen. I want her to understand who she is as a person, what she wants in life, and how to achieve those ambitions. 

I used to be sad at the thought of Alexandra growing up, not wanting these precious years of childhood to end, but now I just feel excitement as I see her taking steps towards adulthood.

She's going big places, I know it.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blackbird

After school Alexandra attended her yearbook class.

In the evening she went to a rehearsal for Annie.

In between, she did this:


{Alexandra Louise, age 11, playing Blackbird.}



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By Golly, She Did It!

Look at the email I received today!

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She is SO SO SO SO SO SO SO excited! 

And I am SO SO SO SO SO SO SO happy for her! 

What a rich experience this will be for Elsa!!


In other news...

For homework Elsa had to draw a picture of her four favorite places

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1) Disneyland. That would be an illustration of Sleeping Beauty's castle. You'll notice Tinkerbell flying above it.

2) Oma's house. Rather than draw a picture of the house, she drew a picture of her and Oma together.

3) Uncle Michael's house.  I think the posts on the front represent the front porch and the tree represents the one she picked oranges off of last month.

4) America. She asked me what the flag looked like, I told her red, white, and blue - with stars. This is what she came up with. Not too bad considering she has only been a citizen for 10 months and 2 days.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Memoir

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I'm still reading Love, Life, and Elephants, poking through it intentionally, almost as if to savor it. As I've read, I've thought more about the description I gave of Daphne Sheldrick's life in my post last week. I chose the word whimsical...but why? I asked myself. What is whimsical about living a life amongst wild animals in Africa? I personally am not even fond of camping, so her particular lifestyle should not appeal to me, much less inspire the word whimsical. And then I figured it out.

You see, it's in the way she described the animals. From warthogs, to impalas, to rhinos, to elephants, to birds, she made me see them as creatures with intelligence and purpose. Mrs. Sheldrick does a brilliant job of describing the individual and unique personalities of all her beloved orphans. I was shocked that these wild animals could enjoy biscuits at teatime and go on afternoon walks with her. In fact, the life she described reminded me very much of Snow White and all the animals that would flock around her in the woods outside the cottage. Or even Cinderella with her birds and mice. Completely whimsical and fanciful - at least from a readers perspective!

I've also been thinking a lot about Mrs. Sheldrick, and how she has lived a life of such importance, doing so much good. I wondered, when I get to the end of my life, will I have anything to say? Will I have experienced enough and done enough that I could write a memoir? And then I realized, I already am. Here. On this blog. For the past seven years I have kept a record of my life; my thoughts, my experiences, my struggles, and my triumphs. And while I am not being decorated by the queen or earning honorary doctorates as Mrs. Sheldrick has, I am living a life that I feel is of worth. I am caring for a child who cannot and never will be able to care for herself. I have provided a home for a little girl who was all alone in the world. I am teaching my children to discover their talents and explore the life they have been blessed with. I am making music; practicing and performing and teaching. I am doing the small things that I feel I am supposed to be doing, making my mark in the world. And as I do all these things, I write about them and publish them here, in this space, so that one day, when the time comes to write the history of my life, I can smile and know that it is already done.

This is my memoir.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Audition

Saturday was an exciting day for Elsa Lelise. Not only did she get to audition for Nutcracker, but we registered her for basketball, too!

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It's time to explore her talents and interests!


*** Note: You may notice Elsa has a short do again. We took out her extensions just before the audition because they don't allow you to change your appearance between casting and performances. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Sugar Plum Fairy

Guess what Elsa is doing tomorrow afternoon???

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Auditioning for Nutcracker!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Home Sweet Home

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Lorelai has really been struggling with her asthma this week. Consequently, she has been home from school most of the week doing breathing treatments. After I got home from my gig last night she was worse off than ever, so we went to the ER to have her looked at.

Her oxygen level was low and when they had her blow into the peak flow meter she couldn't even move the marker! The doctor and nurse had never seen such a thing. They gave her a steroid along with another breathing treatment. Once again, she blew into the peak flow meter and couldn't budge it. So, another breathing treatment.

By 2 AM the doctor was seriously considering admitting her but finally decided to let us go home for the night with a prescription for another steroid. Her breathing has still been weak, as the doctor put it, "It's like she is breathing through a straw."

But enough of the details, here is what I did to help keep Lorelai and me entertained until the wee hours of the morning:

1) Draw hair do's on the pain chart faces. It made me laugh to think about someone coming in the room and discovering them after we had gone.

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I think they look much better with do's, don't you?

2) Play hang man. This puzzle was created by Lorelai for me to solve. My heart melted when I realized she had written home sweet home. We were both longing to crawl into bed.

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When they finally discharged her we were mid-game, so we decided to finish it off before we left. The doctor came back in to get a paper he'd forgotten and was shocked to see us still hanging around. "We had to finish our game of hangman," I explained. Then he laughed. Only someone as crazy as me would make hangman a priority at 2 AM.

Needless to say, she and I are both rather sleepy today.

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We've declared it a lazy day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Love, Life, and Elephants

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So, I'm reading a book right now titled, Love, Life and Elephants: An African Love Story. At first I was bored and forced myself to keep going (because I have a habit of abandoning books mid-read these days). I felt the story dragged, I felt there was too much detail, I felt no connection to what I was reading.

And then something happened.

I began loving it.

You see, this is not fiction, but rather the memoir of a woman, Daphne Sheldrick, who reared orphaned wildlife in Kenya; animals who otherwise would have met their doom. And as I thought of it as her story, and not just a book written to entertain, I became engrossed in it. Her life in Tsavo seemed to capture a strange balance between danger and hardship and beauty and whimsy. Mrs. Sheldrick sets an example on living bravely and boldly, and I hope to live my own life in the manner that she did.


In other news...

I'm performing with a string quartet tonight at some event for some company - I really don't know the details other than I am supposed to show up with my viola and play, so that's what I'll do. We are performing some brilliant music, including Dvořák's String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 "American". The best part is that the viola starts it off with an amazing little melody. 

Here, have a listen:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Mira, Es Un Carro."

Elsa brought a Spanish book home from school today; 
she's supposed to start reading in Spanish every night.

  
[Elsa Lelise, third week of 1st grade.]

I am amazed - absolutely amazed - at how quickly she is picking it up!
I needn't remind you, ten months ago she was living in an orphanage - in Africa. In that time she has learned English - fluently - and has progressed so much with Spanish. It is an absolute joy to watch her grow and learn. 

And stay tuned - because later this week she is doing something very exciting!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lisa the Alien

This is what I look like as an alien:

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Alexandra drew this for me. She wrote my name in cursive, made a mirror image of it, and then colored it in to create a friendly critter from out of this world.

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There is an alien invasion on my refrigerator:

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Your homework assignment for today:
Write your name and create your alien-you!

(Come on, you know you want to!)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Crazy Hair Day!

Cupcakes!

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On Friday, I created two culinary delights atop Alexandra's head.

All in the name of school spirit!

Sweet!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Magic of Motherhood

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Yesterday was magical

Yesterday was peaceful

Yesterday was happy

 I am so grateful for my life, especially to be a mother. I am honored to be Elisabeth's mom. It's a big job. Sometimes I think about just how dependent she is. Sometimes I think about how she needs me for everything. Of course there are the obvious things, like food and diaper changes, but there are little things that I think about daily. For example, when I get her tucked into bed I try to figure out what weight of blanket she needs. Most people can just kick off a blanket if they get too hot, or they can pull on an extra blanket if they are cold. Elisabeth can do neither, she needs me to keep her in mind. I can usually sense what she needs - that's the magic of being a mother, you can sense things. 

Yes, I am a lucky one. Lucky to have all of this.

I will never forget just how lucky I am.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Tri-City Astronauts

It's that time again...time for my fantasy football team,  
The Tri-City Astronauts,
to dominate. 

My 2014 team is as follows:

QB - Andrew Luck
QB - Carson Palmer
WR - Alshon Jeffery
WR - Victor Cruz
WR - Michael Floyd
WR - Riley Cooper
RB  - Adrian Peterson
RB - Giovani Bernard
RB - Lamar Miller
RB - Maurice Jones-Drew
RB - Carlos Hyde
TE - Jordan Cameron
TE - Dennis Pitta
K - Dan Bailey
K - Nick Folk
DEF - St. Louis

Excitement is in the air here in Washington as our Seattle Seahawks - who I need not remind you are the reigning Super Bowl Champions - get ready to play their first game of the season tomorrow night!

And the most exciting thing of all is that football means fall!
And fall means orange leaves, pumpkins, baking, sweaters, and chili!

Oh, happy day!

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Elisabeth says, "Go Seahawks!"
and "Go Tri-City Astronauts!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Why I Should Be Happy"

Would you believe me if I told you that prior to this past weekend, my girls had never been miniature golfing? They had been wanting to go for a while now and finally the perfect day arose: the calendar was open, and the weather was glorious.

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Now didn't that look fun?

The truth:

There was a lot of grumbling. A lot of complaining. A lot of 'this game is dumb' and 'this is impossible'. You see, my girls happen to be little perfectionists and if something doesn't come easy to them they get a teensy bit frustrated.

Then I got frustrated because they were supposed to be having fun. So naturally I set in on one of my world-famous-lectures and had them come home and write essays titled, 'Why I should be happy'. The finished products were pretty awesome and are now safely filed away. 

I'll pull them out for reference the next time we go miniature golfing.


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