Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I recently purchased Alice in Wonderland (1951) on Blu-Ray and snuggled with my girls as we watched what is one of my favorite Disney classics. After it was done I felt inspired to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which I just finished a few days ago.

What a disappointment. Not a bit of the wonder and whimsy that you feel while watching the animated version. In fact, I had to force myself to finish it - it really did not capture my interest.

Which got me thinking about brilliant ol' Mr. Disney; how he could find potential in something so....blah. Indeed, to take something that - in my opinion - lacks inspiration and turn it into something completely fanciful. My grandfather, Claude Coats, is actually credited with the color and styling for the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. He is no longer living, but oh how I would loved to have asked how the vision for the on-screen Alice came about - because surely they created magic.

This is not the first time where a written book has fallen short in comparison to the Disney version. My absolutely favorite movie of all time is Mary Poppins. Talk about whimsical! So, about 10 years ago I decided to read the original book by P.L. Travers. I thought to myself, 'if I love the movie as much as I do, just imagine how much I will enjoy the book...'.

That was one of the biggest let downs of all time. I remember feeling the same about Mary Poppins as I do now about Alice in Wonderland. How did Walt Disney create magic where there was no magic to begin with? What was it about those books that caught his attention? How did he see the potential beyond the bland written pages of those stories? I simply don't know, but I am grateful for his creative vision (and that he shared it with us.)

Anyways, I will leave you with what was my favorite quote [perhaps the only highlight] that I came across while reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where--" said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"--so long as I get somewhere." Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"I made my bed!"

Lorelai made her bed - without being asked - to surprise me.

And boy oh boy, did she make it good!

I laughed so hard when I saw every stuffed animal in her possession piled [carefully] atop her comforter. Classic.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paper Boats

Lorelai is our creative one. She lives for paper. Paper, paper, paper. She loves it. And oh, the things she can make out of paper! Anyways, on any given day her room is covered in scraps from whatever project she has been working on. To prove my point, I present you with exhibit A:

That was yesterday. But it could have been a month ago, or it could be two days from now, it pretty much always looks the same up there. And that's okay - we encourage her creative efforts. She use to worry about running out of paper, but Donald and I have assured her that there will not be a paper shortage; that she can create to her heart's content and we will make sure she has a never-ending supply.

Last week she asked me how to make a paper boat. ????. I had no idea how to make a paper boat because I - unlike Lorelai - am not creative. Not in the least. So I told her that we could look it up online. Of course, life being life, I kept putting it off and putting it off,
"after dinner Lorelai," and "maybe in the morning Lorelai," until I finally got my act together and went and found a paper boat tutorial. I now present you with exhibit B:

Now she has become a paper boat making expert and I am finding them all over the house. Aside from the obvious places (bathtub, kitchen sink, etc.) I find them here, there and everywhere. Exhibit C:

And as I have been finding paper boats all around my house it reminded me of the book, Curious George Rides a Bike by H.A. Rey. In that story George makes ooodles of paper boats and sends them off down a stream. Exhibit D:

This is not a book that we have, but Lorelai, who is a Curious George fan, would be thrilled to discover that George knows how to make paper boats too! So, of course, I had to order. Oh, Lorelai is going to be so surprised!

Have a great day!
(Go make a boat or something)

Monday, March 28, 2011

One Thousand and One

The winner of the 12 oz. bag of Choffy and Bodum French Press is Christina Montoya Fiedler!!! Congrats Christina!! Shoot me an email with your address and I'll get it shipped off to you ASAP. To those of you who didn't win (and live locally), Donald and I would love to have you over to sample a cup of Choffy. Seriously. Email me and we'll arrange something.

If you are interested in buying some Choffy, just click here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Thousand


Welcome to my 1000th post!!!

Hip Hip Hooray! What fun this has been!!

So, what do I post about....for the 1000th time???

How about...


What's Choffy you ask? Let me tell you:

Choffy is brewed chocolate. I know...brilliant, right? 100% organic cacão beans roasted and ground. And that's not where the good news ends - get this:

> By weight, raw cacão contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world.

> The theobromine found in cacão will provide you with a healthy, heart-friendly, non-addictive energy lift without the crash or jitters of caffeine.

> Drinking Choffy can help improve your blood circulation and even reduce blood pressure while protecting against vascular disease.

> The taste is strong and intense; drink it straight that way, or add a little creamer. (Or, my sisters favorite, coconut milk)

> A typical sample of cacão beans will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine (less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in coffee).

So, because this is my 1000th post, how about a Choffy giveaway?

One lucky reader will be the recipient of:

A 12 oz bag of Choffy (enough for about 20 cups)

a Bodum® French Press

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday at 10:00 pm. Winner will be announced on Monday morning! Good Luck!

To read more about Choffy - or even buy a bag or two - click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No More Mischief

David (my brother) came up for a brief visit this week but had to leave yesterday afternoon. When Lorelai got home from school she said,

"Did David leave?"

"Yep," I replied.

"Well, I guess there won't be any more mischief," sighed Lorelai.

Ha! I love that she associates Uncle David with mischief!

Thanks for coming David, we had a blast!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Travel Accessories

UPS was my best friend yesterday. It dropped off not one, but two boxes at my doorstep.

First up, my new suitcase:

You may recognize it from the suitcase that I purchased last summer for our vacation to New York. But that one was an enormous 29 inch piece of luggage - and I didn't want to carry something quite that big to Europe. So I ordered a smaller piece from the same set (just a different color combination).

And then I opened up box number two and found this:

My new travel bag! After searching high and low for the perfect bag this was the one I decided on. I love that it is made of leather and has a timeless look. It was also important that I find a bag with a long shoulder strap to make traveling with it a breeze. Finally, this bag is the perfect size; not too big, not too small; just right to carry a bottle of water, a wallet, a passport (and a little extra room for odds and ends). I love it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Uncle David

My brother, David, is here for a short visit...

...and Elisabeth's enjoying every second of it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Birthday Parties!

[My grandma, as a baby, with her parents.]

March 21st marked what would have been the 103rd birthday of my maternal grandmother, Juanita Tamblyn. My mom called to tell me that we had to bake a cake in her honor; I told her that would be fine because I had another reason for baking a cake and that we would just make this a dual celebration. My other reason for partying-it-up was because it is the 6th anniversary since we purchased this home back in March of 2005. Oh, what a wonderful home it has been! The past 6 years have been filled with the richest of experiences.

I asked each member of the family: What is your favorite memory in this house?

Donald: New Years 2008

Lisa (yes, I asked myself): October 1st, 2007 - the day we brought Elisabeth home from the hospital. I spent the evening sitting on the couch, snuggling my newborn babe, while Donald was busy assembling her 'royal cradle'.

Alexandra: The time when we all sat around the computer watching old family video's.

Lorelai: The Valentine's Day where I got my sparkle shoes. [Valentine's Day 2009]

And since Elisabeth can't talk, I asked everyone what they thought her favorite memory would be. Donald thought she would have said swinging in the backyard. And both the girls [independently] gave me the same answer: banging her head. They were saying this jokingly, of course. It's just that the thing Elisabeth does most is bang her head on the floor (not something I post video's of), so that's the first thing that came to each of their minds.

We are grateful for the wonderful home this has been for 6 years. Having our own little corner of the world is a blessing indeed and we will always cherish the memories we have made here. If all goes as planned we will be living somewhere else next year and so this was our final birthday party for this home. A little sad, but at the same time I have learned that life keeps moving and changing and that you mustn't mourn over times gone, but rather be happy that they happened at all (and re-visit those good memories often!).

*3rd house party.

**4th house party.

***5th house party.

A Concert on a Sunday Afternoon

It's no secret that my children love the spotlight. So yesterday afternoon they created their own stage (transforming a snuggie into a red velvet curtain), and combined their musical forces to create a bell-choir version of Down in the Valley. It was awesome.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brave New World

For the last week or so I have been busy reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Have you read it? It's one of those classics that I think most people read at one time or another (but I hadn't read it since high school so I thought I would have another go at it).

What an interesting book; a disturbing story of a futuristic society where people are basically manufactured. There are no parents, there are no families. People are predestined to the caste in which they are born and are conditioned (through hypnopaedia or 'sleep teaching') to be happy with their lot in life.

I love the message[s] that this book sends; the purpose of life; the purpose and value in the hardships we face; the joy that we can experience because we know hardships. And most significantly, the beauty of being an individual - with independent thoughts and dreams and hopes and desires.

Definitely a well written book; it's no wonder it ranked #5 on Modern Library's 100 Best Novels list.

Now the question is: what to read next...

***Go check out the new section on my navigation bar titled The Book Shelf!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Shamrock Queen

I know that this picture is one that you've seen,
But today is the day that's about going green.

So green's what I'll give you - and cheeks rosy red,
A St. Patty's day queen from her toes to her head!

Elisabeth Elva at 5 1/2 months old.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Swimming with Thoughts

[In the kitchen window.]

My mind has been swimming with thoughts lately; good, happy thoughts. I feel as though I should be writing them down, for posterity or something. But how could I ever really get it all out of my mind and into structured sentences?

I am quite sure that I can't, so here is just a sampling of what's been swirling around in my head:

> Basically, all is well. I am so grateful for all I have; for who I am and for what I believe.

> I am in awe of my siblings - all of them.

> I am cherishing this stage of motherhood. Many years ago, when I was a child dreaming of one day being a mother, this is the stage that I was dreaming of.

> I love Elisabeth. Raising her is very different from raising a normal child and I am lovin' every second of it. And no, she isn't normal. I know that in the 'special needs' community saying that is like speaking a profanity,'s the truth.

> Sometimes I want to get out and explore the whole world. But I also love home. Home, home, home. The very best place.

> Speaking of home, one of these days I'll be temporarily homeless. Assuming, of course, that one day my house will sell.

> One of the things that I love most about my husband: his work ethic.

> Life should never be lived in fear. Never ever.

> Spring is coming, in just a few days. I am ready.

> And more, much, much more. (But I would say that's enough for one post!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


A few weeks ago Lorelai came home from school and asked if Elisabeth had any old socks that she didn't need anymore.

"Oh, probably," I replied. "Why do you need her socks?"

"I imagined something."

She proceeded to tell me the details of a toy that she had imagined for Elisabeth; a starfish made of socks.

I was intrigued and told her to go ahead and gather whatever socks she needed - because if there's one thing that I have learned as a parent, it's that a child's creative inspirations should
be encouraged.

Later that night - after bedtime - I found both girls together in Alexandra's room. Lorelai had commissioned her to do some sewing. And, even though it was well past bedtime, I let them continue. Not long after that they came down and showed me this:

Is that not the most adorable starfish you have ever seen? 6 little socks, stuffed with construction paper and stitched together [with love].

They introduced it to Elisabeth the next day but she politely rejected it (she'll only play with a few select toys). Until yesterday. She suddenly discovered it and laughed and laughed and giggled and giggled.

I have a feeling that Elisabeth has a new favorite toy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Poolside in Florence

Last week we all played an unhealthy amount of Dr. Mario on the Wii.

Then again, that's what you do when you are all unhealthy, at least around these parts.

But the whole week was not a loss. Jennifer and I managed to book some spectacular hotels for our upcoming vacation to Italy. Check out the rooftop pool at the place we're staying in Florence:

Jennifer mentioned bringing an amazing hat to wear while we sit poolside in the mornings and eat our breakfast. I thought about bringing the white floppy hat I bought last summer; but then I remembered that it had 'an accident' with Lorelai's blue nail polish and is no longer.

Our trip is a little over 3 months away. I love the anticipation! I need to start immersing myself in books about Italy; things always mean more when you have a greater knowledge of them. And I also need to do some shopping - I'm trying to figure out what kind of bag I want to carry while we are sightseeing. Think, think, think. (And fun, fun, fun!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Round Three

Alexandra came to my bedside in the middle of the night.

"My tummy hurts and my head is aching."

We took her temperature to confirm a fever, gave her some medicine, and then she came and snuggled in bed with me.

When I woke up I found this waiting for me:

So here we go again. Sick child number 3.

My advice to you: stay far, far away from here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yoga Pretzels

Aunt Jennifer brought a little something extra for the girls when she flew up to visit on Sunday. A very 'Aunt Jennifer' kind of gift:

Yoga Pretzels

Awesome, no?

The girls have been busy practicing new poses and mastering old ones.

Speaking of Aunt Jennifer - my sister - the 'dancing archaeologist' [she's a dancer and an archaeologist], she will be spending 5 weeks in Bali this May/June participating in a training course to become a certified Yoga instructor. And of course 3 days after she gets home we are heading off to Italy. She's an adventurer I tell you. The kind of person who lives their life; the kind of person who quits their job to fly to Washington to care for her sick niece. Ya, she's cool like that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rollin' with the Punches

Last Wednesday Lorelai fell ill. In fact, it's the sickest we have ever seen Lorelai. As the week progressed we started to get nervous about our trip to North Carolina. There was simply no way that we could travel across the country with Lorelai being like she was. So on Saturday Donald and I made the decision to cancel our trip to Duke; Elisabeth would just have to wait to get her stem cells.

Then....Jennifer ( my sister ) called and basically said, "I'm on my way!"

It was one of those times where you are so extremely grateful for family. Jennifer was dropping everything and coming to our rescue so that a) Lorelai would be loved and nurtured in my absence and b) Elisabeth would still get her stem cells and c) we wouldn't waste money already spent on airfare and a pre-paid rental car.

In less than 24 hours Jennifer was at our house and just a few hours after that Donald and I hopped in the car and headed to Seattle where we planned to spend the night. We wanted to be near the airport since we needed to be checking in around 6:30 am.

That was yesterday.

We made it to Seattle; we checked in at The Hilton; we ordered room service - I had a delicious chicken pot pie; we got Elisabeth tucked into bed and off to dreamland; we settled in to watch The Amazing Race (our favorite show).

And then it happened:

Elisabeth started gagging, and before we realized what was going on she vomited everywhere. Poor, poor little sweet girl.

Elisabeth had caught Lorelai's virus.

She continued to vomit through the night. Now it's a little after 7:00 in the morning and I am sitting here, in The Hilton, typing this. Out the window and across the street in the airport. We were supposed to be there right now, getting ready to board our plane. Tomorrow Elisabeth was supposed to get those precious stem cells. Heck, she was supposed to be solving quadratic equations by Wednesday, remember?

But instead, we're heading home. And that's okay.

Life is interesting like that. You can make all the plans you want, but you still just don't know what's waiting around the corner. So you just have to roll with the punches and realize that there will be another time for things like stem cells. But not tomorrow.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A 'Baby' and her Big Sister

I think I should go ahead and title this picture, 'Love and a Crazy Hairdo'. Pretty much sums it up, don't you think?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quadratic Equations

"Elisabeth, by next week you'll be solving quadratic equations," said Donald.

[in regards to receiving her stem cell infusion next Tuesday]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Believe

I believe in...

> hard work.

> traveling. {It helps one gain perspective.}

> rolling with the punches.

> changing my hair color every-so-often.

> being organized.

> making my bed - every day.

> living stress free.

> following my dreams.

> myself.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Adventure 2011

Do you remember what I said on my birthday? About being a little more adventurous in 2011?

Well, guess what I did yesterday?

I made a reservation for a mule ride along the rim of the Grand Canyon!

This summer is going to be simply spectacular!

***Go read Susan's latest post. I found it rather fascinating. (It has to do with m&m's)
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