Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Tisket, A Tasket . . .

It's a May Basket! Well, not really a May Basket -- more like a May Day box! One of my friends at work is Super Mom -- yes, I really think of her that way and I mean it in the absolute nicest of ways! She gets ready for every holiday, birthday, work anniversary, etc. way ahead of time and always has a helpful suggestion or two! Me -- I'm more of a last-minute mama! Since I had boys before Maddy, we really didn't celebrate May Day in any type of organized fashion -- boys just didn't do that. I think Connor received a May Day basket from a neighborhood girl one year. As I recall, he was horrified and prayed that none of his friends would find out about it!

Last week I realized May Day is fast approaching. I needed help and Jodee basically let me copy her plan -- we don't live in the same neighborhood or anything, so it's not like anyone would know (shhhh- please keep it a secret that I'm a copycat)! Thanks Jodee!! Hey, feel free to copy if you haven't figured out what to do yet! I know that Maddy and I made some May baskets/bags or something last year, but I can't even remember what. Think I had "Mother of the Groom" brain last April and May -- that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, we have quite a few kids on our block now, so we decided to make little May Day boxes. Aren't they adorable!?! I know, I know, May Day is supposed to be about flowers, but really what kind of holiday is it if it doesn't include candy!?! I sent the Hub out for treats for the boxes. Guess what he brought back? Yep, we put 100-calorie snack packs in the boxes along with some tootsie rolls. That's right - we're putting all the neighbor kids on diets!! :) Next thing you know, I'll be passing out SlimFast for Halloween!! Hmmm - not a bad idea - then all the chocolate bars would be for me -- tee hee!! :) Happy May Day Y'all!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thankful . . . For the Gift of Spring and More

The other day, Maddy was one of four first-graders presenting petitions at daily mass. She was a tad bit nervous, but they practiced at school and she practiced at home too, so she was ready and well-prepared. One of her big worries was that she might not be able to get close to the microphone. That worry was warranted! The Hub and I were sitting in a side aisle (where parents are relegated to sit -- the students all sit in the front and center pews). We could see her, but I doubt that anyone else could even see her behind the lectern even though she was standing on her tippy-toes. She was the last of the four to present her petition and hers was: "For the gift of spring after a long winter, we pray to the Lord." Isn't that just the sweetest!! She spoke loud enough and clearly enough to be heard. We were so proud of her!!

And I thought -- yes, I am thankful for spring and even more thankful for the wonderful gift I've been given . . . to be her mother. She's come a very long way and that was quite an achievement for our sometimes very quiet, whispery voiced little girl. Her teacher said that she did such a great job and I could just see Maddy beam with pride at those words. She really has the best teacher.

And here she is with two friends in our neighborhood who go to the same school. One's a 4th grader, one is a 2nd grader and then Maddy in 1st grade. It's so wonderful to see these girls, all different ages, play so nicely together.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hydrangea Bites the Dust!

Last spring/summer it seemed that everywhere I looked, I saw the most beautiful hydrangeas. They were on magazine covers, in neighbors' yards and just about everywhere. They were all so so beautiful. Being the copycat that I am, I really wanted one in our yard! So I bought one, planted it and took great care of it. Generally, Rickster is the gardener and I am the mower. But, I gave that hydrangea special attention and mixed some stuff in water every month to give it so that it would have the beautiful purple/blue flowers instead of white ones. Since last year was its first year, it didn't really bloom, but I had great hopes for this year.

Had is the operative word. Rick arranged to have someone trim the rose bushes, boxwood bushes, etc. while we were at DisneyWorld. When we first got home, I thought -- hmmm - the front yard looks really bare and empty. I then realized that some serious trimming had occurred. The climbing roses (which admittedly were pretty old) were gone entirely and other bushes and shrubs had been cut way way back! But, imagine my horror when I discovered my beautiful hydrangea had been cut down to a 1-2 inch stub!! I had a smidgen of hope that maybe it would grow really really fast this spring, but that is pretty doubtful. When I googled pruning hydrangeas, one site said that hydrangeas should never be pruned!!! I know it sounds silly, but I am little heartbroken about the loss of that plant. I would put a photo of the current status of the hydrangea, but it is just too sad to look at. Take my word for it -- it consists of about a couple little bitty sticks and that's about it.

Somehow I don't think the nursery is going to honor their one year life guarantee on the plant! Kind of doubtful that the guarantee works when you (or some else) hacks it to death. But, I will not be deterred! I will go out and buy myself a new one and this time I think I will put a little fence around it and guard it religiously from anyone holding a pruning shears!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Going to the zoo, zoo, zoo, how about you?

This weekend our local Children's zoo opened. Maddy has been asking for the last month when the zoo would be open, so we could hardly stay away. Since the sun was shining Saturday afternoon, we decided to make a quick visit. We have a great little zoo. In fact, they brag that it is among the top 25 children's zoos in the nation! I like it because it doesn't take too long to see everything and walk through, so you don't have to plan a long day there. You can spend as little as 30 minutes and walk the whole place! Some of the animals have not returned just yet as the evenings are still too cool -- like the crocodiles -- my faves -- so I'll have to wait until it really warms up for those guys!

Stare-down between Maddy and the billy goat! The goats are not kid-friendly at all. They are now behind fences after knocking numerous kids down over the past couple years and trying to eat their clothes or whatever else they could find. Baaaaaad Billy Goats!!

Here's a kid-friendly Lion. This is Leo the Lion (the only lion at our zoo) -- he eats trash!

Our other favorite animals are the peacocks -- love how they look -- the blue/green one was not showing his feathers today, but this white one sure was.

Today was the first of many visits, I'm sure. And guess what else they did over the winter?? They've expanded the gift shop!! It's even bigger!! A definite plus for the zoo in Miss Maddy's eyes! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Little More Disney*World!

In addition to walking over 7 miles every day and absolutely wearing my feet out, we also had some lovely pool time! And, of course, Mickey joined in the fun in the sun!

Maddy really enjoyed her afternoon swimming time and practiced doing handstands in the water and attempting a back float -- she did a great job! I think she will be a very good swimmer this summer with a few more lessons. And she even went down this amazing slide (right out the clown's mouth) all by herself!

We also watched the parades, stood in line for character autographs and engaged in one of Miss M's favorite past-times - shopping!!

Bruce the shark from Nemo was whispering "Buy Me", but she opted for Nemo instead!

We were on the hunt for a Bolt dog. Get this -- there were none to be found in any of the Disney parks or Downtown Disney. But . . . the Easter Bunny brought her the Bolt movie and there was a coupon inside to order one! Geesh -- I could have saved so much time if only the Easter Bunny had left that movie in her suitcase and not at home! We did get to meet Bolt and Rhino -- they were so funny! Even Connor enjoyed meeting those two!!

The area where we stayed was so nice and restful even with crowds on the Boardwalk in the evenings. The Rickster and I used to visit the Jersey shore when he was in law school and LOVED the Boardwalk at Ocean City, NJ, so this Boardwalk brought a little of that feeling right back.

Bicycles -- just waiting for riders!

You can almost see our room and balcony just above the tree!

Looking out from the Boardwalk in the evening. The fireworks at Epcot every evening are amazing and a must-see!

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's All About Mickey!

Just returned this evening from DisneyWorl*d. We had an amazing time with super weather. It was warm and sunny and simply beautiful! The flowers were in bloom everywhere and it was so wonderful to have it be so warm. Of course, we had a bit of a rude awakening arriving home tonight! Even though it was 50 degrees, which normally would be warm, it felt very, very chilly.

Mickey and Maddy on the porch of the Boardwalk -- our hotel.

Rickster, Maddy and Connor

Seems like we were away for ages (which I believe is the sign of a good vacation), and we kept very busy! The Rickster and I had a little friendly competition on keeping track of how many steps (or miles) we walked every day. You'll be happy to know that I beat him every day and we averaged about 22,000 steps -- which I believe equals 7+ miles! That was a lot of walking!

Mickey rode the teacups with us -- he got SO dizzy!

Miss Maddy had a blast! And, as you can see from the photos, so did her pal Mickey. He went nearly everywhere with us and somehow the mouse managed to get into nearly every photo! It was fun having Connor with us too. He and the Rickster went on the scary roller coasters while Maddy and I hit the teacups! :) We missed Philip and Catherine who were unable to make the trip with us. More photos to follow as I am beat and must hit the sack as it is back to work tomorrow!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flashback Friday -- Happy Easter!

Hooked on Disney
Spring, 2007

Spring, 2009!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Some Bunny Say it isn't True!

It's spring, right?? In true midwestern fashion, anywhere from 1 to 3 to 10-12 inches of snow has been forecast for Sunday--Palm Sunday, April 5!! OY!! Today, our local YMCA held its annual Easter Egg hunt. Even winds of 40mph did not keep the Easter Bunny or lots of kids away. But, believe me with that cold and strong wind blowing, those eggs were swooped up fasssst!!! Probably one of the only times that Maddy and I will want hot chocolate after an Easter egg hunt -- it was really chilly out! Even though we may have snow tomorrow (please say it isn't so!), we are looking at the positives. If it does snow, it should not last very long. The weather forecasters have been wrong many times when they have forecast snow during this past winter/spring season. And, we are headed to warmer temps next week to spend a little time with a very favorite Mouse of Maddy's (mine too). So while others in our fair city may be searching for their snow shovels, we're searching for flip-flops and shorts!