Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Day Brightener

Lately, we have been faced with what seems to be a never-ending parade of day-after-day dreary and chilly days! Plus, here on the plains, it hasn't really greened-up a whole lot yet. Where, oh where, are the sunny and warm days that the arrival of spring should bring?

Isn't it amazing how sunshine can improve a person's mood?

Hey, I'm not asking for 60-degree temps here -- just seeing the sun out again would be an incredible boost and day brightener.

So, having been in a bit of a funk lately, I decided to buy myself some flowers.

There were so many to pick from at our new Trader Joe's -- love, love, love their flowers.

And daffodils really say "spring" to me.

How about you? What's your favorite spring flower?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weekend Update

Yes, it's Tuesday and I'm just posting the weekend update. My excuse this week is that I haven't been sleeping well, so have been hitting the sack early because I'm so tired. Yesterday, my look at work was frizzy hair and bags under my eyes. Cute, I tell you, very cute!

Anywho back to the weekend, let's go! Last Friday ended a week of dreary, wintery mix weather with no sun around and chilly temps. Boohoo -- come on sun and spring!

Maddy and I took her BFF Janie to see a play at our local playhouse. I wasn't too sure how it would be -- it was called "My Son Pinocchio" and I have never been a fan of that story. However, the play was fabulous! It was so much fun! Somehow, I scored front row seats -- perfect for the shorties in attendance. Both girls loved it and now both want to learn how to act and sing!

I've continued to work on my Lenten project of 40 bags in 40 days -- of course, some days I do better than others and I definitely count trash and recycling bags. It's amazing the stuff I am finding and donating!

[Crazy that I am posting a photo of my bag for recycling!]

The weatherman has promised sunny skies and warmer temps by the end of the week and I'm holding him to it! Come on already -- we want spring!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Three Rs!

Back when I was in school, the 3 Rs meant "Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic."

Things are definitely different in schools these days. Maddy's current science lesson is on the 3 Rs - "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." She wondered if we followed the 3 Rs?

Oh yes we do!
We're not perfect, but we make a big effort. I pointed out the bag for newspapers and boxes often overflowing in the hallway waiting to be dumped into our recycling container. My weekly goal is to try to fill up that recycling container (and it's a large container). Hmmm, maybe that's why Mr. Tennis raises his eyebrows at me when I'm taking food out of the box so that I can recycle the box! Go figure, he wants to wait until the food or product is gone?! Crazy!

[Look at that hair! She had just finished lunch and ran her fingers through her hair!]

Don't you love that hand-me-downs are now looked upon lovingly as having been recycled and reused!

I especially love to pass on an object or toy that either I or one my kids used a lot and loved.
In fact, we recently recycled a little Sesame Street step stool that Philip had when he was a baby. Guess who got it? Sweet Miss Janie!
I did whisper in Janie's ear and suggest that she not haul it all over the house and try to get into closets or cupboards that are not toddler-proof.
She promised she wouldn't even think of such a thing!
She'll just sit on it to play with other things and tell Elmo secrets!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Using What you Learn

Don't you just love it when your student can use something she learned in school and apply it to real life? Yes?
Oh good, I knew you'd agree!

Maddy just put some newly-learned skills in action!
Yes, 3rd grade and she is applying school lessons in our home -- how cool is that?

No, it's not the metric system she just had to learn. Whoa -- that was difficult for me to assist as I don't believe I ever learned the metric system of measurements! And really, did the metric system ever "take over" as had been theorized? I don't think so.

The last few weeks at school, the 3rd graders have been writing instructional narratives -- i.e, how to do something. Hers was on how to make a fortune teller thingy -- not sure exactly what they are called (cootie-catcher?) but she called them "fortune tellers."

She did a great job and wrote-up the whole series of "fold this and then fold that, then fold this" all on her own. And then she taught her class.

Some kids showed how to play a game, make a smoothie, make a root beer float, make chocolate-covered strawberries, etc.

Wait-- back up a little -- "chocolate-covered strawberries" those really caught her attention!
So, we bought some strawberries (happy they are in season again) and made some chocolaty delights!
Oh yum! I think this is definitely a skill that she will use over and over again -- much to the delight of the whole family!
And possibly to the delight of the neighborhood as she thinks it would the perfect item to sell at garage sales!!

What a little entrepreneur, eh!

Can't say that I've ever seen strawberries dipped in chocolate at a garage sale!

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's a Match!

The luck of the Irish was with us yesterday!

For the last few months, we have known that March 17th, besides being St. Patrick's Day, was Match Day for my oldest son.

For those not in the medical school world, that means that on that day, he would find out where he will be doing his residency.

While part of his medical school career is nearly over, another part will be starting up.
Wow -- when he started 4 years ago, I remember thinking - that's a long ways off
and here it is . . . time for a new adventure for him and his family. Mr. Tennis and I met Philip, Catherine and Janie at the festivities. You could feel the nervous excitement in the room.

He's going to into pediatrics -- my son, the doctor (just had to say that!!). He matched with his first choice. Bonus -- they don't have to move and are fairly close by!

We're so proud of him and his hard work. Congrats!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bags and Stuff!

Think I was probably supposed to post this on or just after Ash Wednesday last week. Yes, I am late to the party, as usual! Well, this Lenten idea really spoke to me -- well, that and the fact that the stuff seems to be taking over!

So, I'm working on the 40 bags in 40 days project, and I inspired my sister to join me too. While I haven't taken any photos yet (must remember to do that), believe me -- bags are flying out of the house! Took 4 bags to Goodwill on Saturday, at least 3+ went to the trash and I passed along some weights and weight-holder thingy to a neighbor with teen boys!

Yay! I'm on a roll!!

I also worked at my parents' house on some of their stuff. My job was to clean today and I did that as one of my sisters has done a ton of decluttering there. But, I also bagged up and threw out stuff there. Guess what I found? I think in each of the 3 bedrooms, my Mom had a candy bar stashed in the nightstand!! That made me really smile. She and I totally shared our love of all things chocolate! Definitely felt her smiling down at me today!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Things I'm liking right now:

Warmer weather; sunny skies; snow melting -- mud disappearing.

Clean puppy dogs!

A gold card (well that looks black, doesn't it) well, mine is gold -- please don't be jealous.

After all, it's not an Am Ex gold card -- it's a Starbuck*s gold card, even better!! :) -- yum -- my fave drink is the Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte -- so delicious! I've had so many in the last few months, they sent me a coupon for a freebie. Think I will cheat on the skinny vanilla latte and try a skinny caramel macchiato.

Isn't that top Aaaadorable!!
Kind of wishing I had those long skinny legs and cute hair to go with it!
But trying not to be greedy, I did get that Free Starbucks drink now, didn't I!

Most adorable daughter with Scottie silhouette -- looks just like our sweet Scottie-pup!
Want one too? They have all kinds of dogs -- sorry, no cats -- the makers are evidently NOT cat-people. Ooops, can't find the link -- sorry!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Update

Every Monday I wonder -- how did the weekend go by so fast????

This past weekend, Mr. Tennis and I went out! Shocker! Yes, indeed -- we went out by ourselves without our darling daughter. Her fave babysitter was with her and they had so much fun together. She is actually like a big sister to Maddy.

So, what did the Hubs and I do? Went to A Chorus Line!! Not the one on Broadway, though wouldn't that be fun! We saw the touring group. Wow -- it was fabulous! And, our seats were in the very first row in the middle. Perfection! I wasn't sure how Mr. Tennis would like it. He's not that in to music or musicals, but he thoroughly enjoyed it too!

Yesterday, the weather was decent and halfway warmish, so Maddy and I took little Miss Muffy (not so little anymore) on a couple walks.
That dog loves to be outside! She really protects the backyard, though I do kind of wish she could do something about the rabbits that seem to like to live in our yard/neighborhood!
Don't even get me started on squirrels! They taunt and scold at Muffy day and night -- no wonder she barks!
Who wouldn't bark at those pesky critters!

[Why yes, Maddy did carry her own snack on our walk -- Xtreme Goldfish -- she was very hungry! Muffy refuses to look at the camera, but doesn't she have such a cute Scottie profile!!]

And now back to Monday -- a snowy Monday at that! :(

We are so ready for spring!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

An Anniversary

"A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous...full of beauty and forever beautiful...loving and caring and truly amazing."
Dianna Beisser

[9 years old]

Eight years ago, Mr. Tennis and I stood with 10 other families in our travel group anxiously awaiting the arrival of our daughters. It was a warm and rather humid day in Guangzhou -- my hair was a big, curly mess, but not even I cared (except to worry that I might scare the baby!). We thought we would be meeting the girls the next day, but we were surprised with an early arrival from their orphanage -- a 4-hour bus drive away.[Photo we received prior to travel to China. ]

We were the second or third family to receive our daughter. She looked at us carefully with her beautiful dark eyes, stuck two fingers in her mouth and began to suck on those fingers in earnest. She was 14 months old. She didn't cry, but I knew that she was very upset and worried. As we slowly got to know her in China, we discovered she had developed her own way of coping with strange or hard situations. She put her hands up on either side of her face to block out whatever was upsetting her. Elevators and people getting too close meant those hands went right up. Breaks my heart a little that my adorable girl had figured out a way to cope all on her own at such a young age.

[This photo is from a day or two after we got home. She had double ear infections, tummy troubles and rash. She was getting a little more comfortable, so only put one hand up.]

Fast forward eight years -- each one more joyful than the last (if that is even possible). She's grown into a beautiful, sweet and thoughtful nine-year old. She has the best manners and is most definitely a people-pleaser. She loves her family, her dog, her friends, stuffed animals, Mickey Mouse, chips (make hers BBQ please).

Her smile and her unconditional love adds so much joy to our lives and brightens my day and that of Mr. Tennis.

Some of my very favorite things about her - obviously (obviously is a favorite word of hers lately) is that she still willingly and happily holds hands with me when we go somewhere, she loves to shop together and spend time together reading, playing a game or watching tv. She can be a little chatter-box at times. So fun to hear about her day at school and her friends. Her teachers are so special and are, obviously, the very best 3rd grade teachers in the whole city! She adores her brothers, her sister (in-law) and Baby Janie -- not to forget -- her special dog --Muffy. We are so blessed and thank God every single day for our sweet Maddy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

She's 1 and He's Way More than That!

Two celebrations last weekend. Little Miss Janie turned 1 earlier in February and
her Dad (my son) turned a lot older than that!
Somebody help me -- do the math -- he turned 26!

Her Mom, Catherine, made the cutest little ladybug tutu for her birthday -- adorable!

Maddy helped decorate the cupcakes -- don't they look fabulous!
They were extremely yummy too!
Mr. Tennis had two, no make that three;
well, actually he ate the one meant for Cboo -- so he had 4 cupcakes!!

We had so much fun visiting and celebrating the birthdays!
Maddy had a blast with her little niece and helped her . . .
let's face it, Maddy opened all the presents for Janie.
Janie was a bit preoccupied with demolishing her birthday cupcake!

Isn't she the cutest little girl!

Happy Birthday Janie and Philip!
I know the next year is going to be an exciting
and wonderful one for your whole family!