Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deck the Halls Week: Day 2

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* * * The Music Parlor * * *

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The parlor has been decked out in silver, gold and cream; an appropriate color scheme for the more formal feel of the room:

My favorite decoration in the parlor this year: Ribbons tied on the scrolls of all the hanging instruments - 7 in all.

"Fa la la la la! La la la la!"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Deck the Halls Week: Day 1

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I played two Christmas concerts this past weekend. And I have another concert coming up later this week (Handel's Messiah). You know what that means: the Holiday season is officially upon us. And since I have declared that it is 'officially' upon us, I will be spending the upcoming week decorating my house with red and green and lights and glitter.

So please join me for 'Deck the Halls Week' here at The Far Side of Complexity and watch as I add a little Christmas magic to each room of our house.

Speaking of decorating our house, Donald already got a start on the outside decor: he created a model of the planet Krypton using icicles that were hanging off the roof. Ha! Classic.

Now I'm on a mission to find a Superman action figure to put in it....

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Let the Christmas Season begin!!!
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Day (part II)

Candles. Neighbors.
Morning walk. Record Player.
Turkey. Apples to Apples.
Friends. Pumpkin Pie.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day (part I)

[Our Thanksgiving table decorations.]

It's been snowy - white and cold.

Yesterday morning I tied my shoes, pulled on my coat, gloves, and hat, and slipped outside for a morning walk.

It was 8:00 on Thanksgiving.

The world was quiet.

I imagined that most people were still snug in their beds dreaming of the feast that was awaiting them in a few hours.

I crunched along in the snow, breathing in the air - a clean and crisp 15 degrees.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When I rounded the corner back towards our house I heard music streaming from indoors; Christmas records playing on the phonograph. And then I heard pounding on the window - the girls waving their hands with pure excitement while shouting, 'Mama's home! Mama's home!'

The perfect start to a perfect Thanksgiving Day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


[Alexandra, Elisabeth and Lorelai. Thanksgiving 2009.]

I am most thankful for

my faith

my family


my freedom.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Elisabeth Updates (of all sorts)

Would you believe me if I told you that this sweater was Alexandra's last winter? Seriously, just one short year ago my oldest was wearing it (at age 7) and now my youngest fits in it perfectly (at 3). Elisabeth is growing like a weed.

And now for some updates:


Elisabeth has gone backwards with her feedings. Since getting her g-tube placed in May, we slowly increased the rate of her pump until her stomach could handle bolus feedings. This meant that we were basically funneling the food into her stomach (4 oz, 6 times/day). It was awesome! No pump, no tubes. It was quick and easy.

And then...a month or so later...she started having problems tolerating her feedings.

She would vomit as soon as we 'poured' the food into her stomach.

So we went back to the pump.

But she would still vomit.

So we kept backing off the rate..slower...and slower....and slower.

Until we finally found a slow rate that she could tolerate. Now she is hooked up to her pump a majority of the day. We unhook her to go to school, but the rest of the time her formula is dripping in.

Kind of frustrating, but also very characteristic of Elisabeth; she has a habit of reaching milestones and then regressing (do you remember that once upon a time she was mobile???? It seems like ancient history.)

*Head banging.

Nothing's changed in the head banging department. Elisabeth loves to bang her head. And when I say bang her head, I mean bang her head. Hard. We have not been able to find any solution to this problem. The sad thing is that I have actually become so used to it that I don't think about it much anymore. She just sits and bangs - luckily, she has a helmet that keeps that sweet head of hers safe.

*Getting dressed.

Good news! Good news! In the past few weeks Elisabeth has learned to push her legs through the legs of her pants while we are dressing her. This is SO helpful. It's funny how such a little thing is such a HUGE thing. I am amazed that she even grasps the concept of pushing her leg - or the concept of getting dressed for that matter. We are beyond thrilled with this progress.


School is wonderful. I absolutely love her school and all of her teachers/therapists. And I'm not going to lie...I love having some time to myself to run errands without loading her wheelchair in and out of the car (and all the while know that she is in a good, safe place.)

And that's Elisabeth...in a nutshell!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Autumn Wonderland

When we woke up yesterday morning we discovered that the late night snowfall had successfully blanketed the earth in white fluff.

Too anxious to properly get dressed for snowy weather, the children ran outdoors - pajamas still on - and took in the (Autumn) wonderland all around them.

It didn't take too long, however, for them to realize that the best place to enjoy such beauty was from the warmth of our own home. So in they came. I found them perched on the kitchen table, watching the snow pile high on the seats of the teeter totter in the backyard.

Luckily, the girls had the day off of school - so I decided that we would just stay in. And we did. In fact, I never left the house - except to go out front and shovel the driveway.

As I was getting on my gloves and coat I told Alexandra what I was going to do, to which she replied,

"You are?!?!?!?"

I admit, this is something totally out of the ordinary for me. I'm not a shovel-the-driveway-kind-of-girl, but I thought it would be a sweet surprise for Donald to find when he got home. (and it totally was).

Other activities the children enjoyed on our snow day:

Doing the splits on the recliner.

We had a family movie night a few weeks back where we watched the new Karate Kid. Alexandra was completely inspired....

Today: Another Snow Day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Ribbon Festival

Saturday marked 1 year and 2 days since Lorelai's first piano lesson.

Saturday was also the Ribbon Festival for the Washington State Music Teachers Association.

Lorelai did well.

Very well.

p.s. Last night was our first snow fall of the season!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Cards on the mind...

With December fast approaching I have had Christmas Cards on the mind. You know me, I like to have my holiday greetings addressed, stamped, and sent on their way by the second week of December.

This year I have decided to use Shutterfly. It's such a quick, inexpensive, and attractive alternative to your classic box of Christmas cards. And my favorite part about it is that you end up with a personalized product. It doesn't get better than that! And holy moly do they have a huge selection! I went just about crazy trying to make up my mind on which style to go with.

First I thought I would use this design:

[Pretty Poinsettia]

and then I spotted this:

[Oh What Fun]

But in the end I decided to go with....


Did you think that I would show you here and spoil the surprise??

Nope, you'll just have to keep an eye on your mailbox to find out :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Enemy Number One

Early yesterday morning Lorelai and Alexandra woke up and came down to my room. They hopped onto my bed and snuggled up under the covers.

A minute or so later Alexandra shouted to me,

"Mom! There's a spider on the ceiling!"

Now, I am not so fond of spiders. But seeing as it was directly above my bed, I thought that I had better brave it out and dispose of it rather than find it on my pillow later that night.

So I went and grabbed the broom, thinking I would knock it down and quickly grab it in a paper towel.


Just as I was going to sweep it off the ceiling I stopped - it didn't look like a spider.

I looked closer.

It was a ...........



The girls and I went screaming from my bedroom, closing the door on the way out (to isolate the intruder to one portion of the house).

Now, anybody who knows me knows that bees are my number one enemy. Bees are my biggest fear.

So I did what any self-respecting woman of the 21st century would do: I called my husband.

"Donald!! Help!! You have to come home, now!!!!!"

Poor Donald. He later told me that he thought there was something wrong with Elisabeth. And thinking back on it I suppose I could have kept myself a little more composed...but it was a bee for goodness sakes!!

So Donald came home; my knight in shining armor. And he took care of that bee. That bee that must have been the last surviving bee of the season. (I thought all the bees had died off by middle of November)

And then Donald gave me a hug and a kiss (again) and said goodbye (again) and went to work (again).

And nobody got stung.

The end.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Home of the Hearing and Vision Impaired

For starters, is that not the most adorable school picture in the history of school pictures?! I just about died when I saw it. They did a great job cropping the photo - you would never know that her teacher was holding her up from behind and I was to the side doing everything in my power to get her to look up (and interested) rather than hang her head down like she usually does.

And how about those glasses?! She is actually starting to leave them on. Doesn't she look studious? Ha! I love it!

So now you are thinking, 'yes we know Elisabeth is visually impaired (old news) - but what's this in the title about 'hearing impaired'?'

Well....get this....we found out yesterday that Lorelai has hearing loss in her right ear.

It all started exactly two years ago. I actually wrote about it in a post called Medical Updates (click here to go back and read it. Scroll down to the part about Lorelai's audiology appt).

Anyways, long story short, Lorelai had all these holes in the tympanic membrane of her right ear. The weirdest thing ever - it didn't look at all like a 'normal' perforated ear drum. Nobody at the audiology office had ever seen anything like it. But her hearing checked out perfect so we just decided to keep an eye on it (or perhaps in this case keep an ear on it...ha ha).

But two years later the holes are still there and now she does have hearing loss and they don't know why (yet) or if it will stay stable or if it will get worse.

Always something, right?

At least now she has a built in excuse to give me when I ask her things like, 'why didn't you clean your room when I asked you to?'

"I didn't hear you mom"

I'll just be careful to talk into her left ear...especially when saything things like, 'clean your room'.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Sky was on Fire

The night before last @ 4:45 pm

The phone rings....


"Hi Lisa, are you busy?" says Donald.

"No, what's up?" I reply.

"You have to go outside and look at the sunset. The sky looks like it's on fire."

"Okay, I will."

"Alright, I'll be home in a few minutes. Love you."

"Love you too."

Then I went outside, and lo and behold he was right - the sky did look like it was on fire. It was beautiful. And I was grateful to have a husband who calls me on his way home so that we could 'share' a sunset.

(Happy Birthday Dasha!!!! {My niece})

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lists

Yesterday was not a play-outside kind of day. The wind was blooooowwwwwiiinnnnggg. So indoors was definitely the place to be.

When the girls got home after school they got straight to work making some indoor fun. First they had a tea party and then....they busted out pencils and papers and started composing Christmas lists (finally!).

Of course, not surprisingly, their lists ended up being very similar. Every time one of them would come up with an idea, the other would decide that they had always wanted that too. Looks like there might be lots of duplicates on Christmas morning.

My favorite item on the lists: pipe cleaners.

(Happy Birthday Jacob!!!! {my nephew})

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Little Piece of Earth

Do you see that plot of land? That little piece of Earth is going to be our little piece of Earth.

A few days ago Donald was anxious to get some measurements. So we drove over to the lot and he hopped out, tape measure in hand. Then off he went, figuring out things like where the garage will be and where the back door will be and things of that nature. I'm sure all the neighbors were looking out their windows and making speculations like, 'oh....they must be thinking about buying that lot.'

We also spent the weekend cleaning out our house. You would not believe how much stuff we dropped off at Goodwill; it was the most liberating feeling. We went through cupboards and closets and drawers. Basically our rule was: if an item hadn't been used in recent history or if it didn't hold sentimental value it was put in the give-away pile.

In addition to cleaning out we did some re-arranging. Because even though we don't plan on listing our current house for sale until the new one is a few months out from being finished, we are working on getting it staged properly. We figure we might as well get things like that out of the way now...there's no time like the present, right?

So we moved Elisabeth into her own room; into the green room to be exact. Have you seen pictures of the green room? The green room has had quite an assorted history in our home. Let's see...it started off as Lorelai's nursery when she was 5 months old...and then it became a play room...and for a while it was Alexandra's room...and most recently it has served as our computer room. But the green room most definitely looks best as a nursery, so a nursery it is. (Maybe I'll try to round up old pictures of the green room for a pictorial history post....stay tuned for that).

And while we're on the subject of this house: if you just so happen to live in my area and you just so happen to be in the market to buy an extremely loved and extremely well-taken-care-of house sometime next Spring, shoot me an email and we'll work something out, okay?

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Pony Ride

[Don't mind her wild hair. What can I say....it was the end of the day.]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Queen of Christmas (or not)

[Alexandra, Christmas 2003]

Do you realize that Christmas is only 6 weeks away? And do you realize that there are only 2 and a half weeks left until my shopping deadline? I have successfully hit my shopping deadline, December 1st, for the past few years and it makes for an enjoyable, stress-free, Christmas season. But this year I am a little dry on ideas for gifts. Usually my head is swimming with thoughts on what to buy my little ones, but I have hit a wall.

So yesterday morning I asked Alexandra, "What do you want for Christmas this year?"

"What do you mean?"
she replied.

"Well, what do you really want or need?"

She thought for a couple of seconds and said,

"I don't need anything, I have everything."

This was most definitely not the response I had expected. I had expected something a little more like Ann Estelle's Christmas list in Mary Engelbreit's Queen of Christmas (one of my all time favorite Christmas stories). But no, nothing.

Now mind you, I was more than pleased about this. It meant that she is content, that she realizes that true happiness comes from enjoying what you have and not in forever wanting more.

But....I still need to do some Christmas shopping. It's tradition, and I love tradition.

Luckily, as I lay on the family room floor last night, enjoying the warmth of the fire and the glow of the flames, I did think up a few ideas. Some ideas that - I think - will make for a magical Christmas morning.

But first, I need to shop....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Details

[Image of our new house, though the color may vary. I haven't thought that far ahead yet.]

Who: Me, Donald, and the girls.

What: We're building a new home!

Where: In our same neighborhood, just a few blocks away.

Why: To make an 'Elisabeth friendly' house.

When: Hoping to break ground after the new year.

So stay tuned as I spill all the details on this here blog of mine. We are so excited about custom designing a home to suit Elisabeth's needs. She will have a bedroom on the main level with all the bells and whistles. And by bells and whistles I mean ceiling tracks with a lift system, bathroom with roll in shower, hard floors for smooth rolling (in her wheelchair), wide doorframes, etc.

I said to Elisabeth yesterday, "guess what Elisabeth!? Me and Daddy are building you a house!"

And even though she can't talk I think she's pretty excited about the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Raking...

...to one and all.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I have always had a fascination with maps and globes. They intrigue me in their colors and design. That's one reason why I have both - a map and a globe - in my beloved music parlor.

So anyways, a few days ago, when I was soaking in the tub and looking through my new Pottery Barn Kids catalog (see yesterdays post) I found the picture above. Look at the walls! They used maps as wallpaper! Is that not the coolest thing ever? I am tempted to use that idea in the computer room of our new house. Did I mention that we are building a new house?

(details to come, of course.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

After my soak in the tub...

[Picture completely unrelated to the post - Jennifer and I just thought it was hilarious!]

I love quiet evenings. After a full day of caring for my little ones I tuck them into bed and escape to my bathroom for a long soak in the tub. And yesterday a Pottery Barn Kids catalog came in the mail which made for excellent tub-reading material.

So I soaked in the tub, and then I put on my most comfortable pajamas, and then...and then...the phone rang.


"Hi Lisa, we are here practicing, are you going to come?"



I was supposed to be at the rehearsal for a wedding I am playing at this Saturday. And for some reason - even though I knew that our rehearsal was Wednesday night - all day long I had been thinking that it was the next night.

So I ran to my bedroom, threw back on my clothes, packed up my violin and left.

No big deal, right? ha! It was so embarrassing. I completely had everybody on hold. And because of my forgetfulness we didn't end rehearsing until 11:00.

But....at least I only got the rehearsal date mixed up and not the wedding, right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why today is a good day:


I won't be receiving 20 some-odd telephone calls telling me who to vote for.


Lorelai is just waking up and I hear her in her bedroom singing in Spanish. I love her little accent.


It's my brother Marc's Birthday!!!!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010: Part II

This is why

[One word: namaste.]

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