Sunday, May 29, 2011

On Being an Auntie - Sunday Snapshot

Maddy had the opportunity to be a hands-on Auntie yesterday when Miss Janie stopped by to spend a few hours with us!

They read books, shared toys, munched on snacks and Janie listened intently when Maddy showed her how to do something. Of course, we couldn't help ourselves and stuck a big bow in her hair!

One of Janie's favorites, besides checking out numerous stuffed animals, was Maddy's Glo-doodle. What a talented toddler -- she already knows how to draw on the Glo-doodle!!

At one point, Janie saw a photo magnet of Maddy on the refrigerator, pointed to it, said "Maddy" and then gave it a big kiss! So much sweetness!

A stroller ride and visit to the park for some swinging was next on our schedule. Janie enjoyed it when I pushed her on the swing, but when Maddy gave her a push, she laughed out loud! Being a Auntie is so special! Once Baby Walt is older, it will definitely be double the fun!

Come again soon Janie!

Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So Long 3rd Grade!

Hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the school year has ended!! Miss Maddy is finished with 3rd grade! When my son, Philip, started med school, he told Maddy that when she was finished with 3rd grade, he'd finish medical school. At the time, I thought -- whoa -- that's a long ways off, and . . . here it is already!

This has been a big year for Maddy. I've heard that often the odd-numbered school years are tougher and are bigger challenges for students. I believe that! This was really the year that Maddy had to study more for each class and prepare for tests. Once she (and I) figured out the best way for her to study to learn all the nuances of 3rd grade subjects, her positive outlook returned, her grades improved and she didn't worry quite so much about tests. There seemed to be tests galore this year along with book reports and writing projects. Even though she was worried at the beginning of the year, I could see her confidence and abilities grow as the school year went on.

She became more willing to ask her teachers about assignments when she had questions -- which was huge for her. She loves her teachers. We kind of wish they would move to 4th grade with her!

We are so proud of the great year and all her hard work! Way to go Miss M!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Update

What a perfect weekend!

The peonies are starting to bloom! Peonies were my Mom's favorite and they are mine too. I only wish they lasted longer! I was able to cut a couple from my yard with many more blooms just waiting to open a bit more! Love their beautiful look and wonderful scent!

Miss Maddy and I spent some time on the weekend taking Miss Muffy for walks! She (Muffy, I mean) is scheduled for her summer short haircut later this week!

Maddy and I also spent some time Saturday getting pedicures and shopping . . . shopping for baby boy blue!

Yes, Philip and Catherine had their baby on Thursday evening very late. He weighed in at 8 lb., 13 oz. and looks so much like Philip did when he was a baby. They named him Walter Eugene and will be calling him Walt. We met the little bundle of joy yesterday. He is so precious! We are so thankful that little Walt, his Mom Catherine, Dad Philip, big sister Janie (and Monty, the dog) are all doing so great.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's a Zoo!

We have a membership at our local little zoo -- it's a fabulous place and just the right size. It doesn't take All. Day. Long. to get through like some zoos. And bonus, since we have a membership, we pop in and out whenever we feel like it. I love that, don't you!

[The peacock was hiding -- some cranky, wild children were chasing him!]

Our zoo closes for the winter and just opened up last month. Miss Maddy and I visited for the second time on Mother's Day - and enjoyed a free train ride! I like anything that's free -- well, that's not exactly true. I could have had a free ice cream cone, but their ice cream tastes really weird, so we opted to not get that. Plus, it was very warm and I guess Maddy and I are a little fussy --we don't like melting ice cream that tastes weird, even if it's free.

Anyway, we did get to see the new penguins swimming around. Are they the cutest or what?? They are warm weather penguins. If I was a penguin, I would definitely be a warm weather one too -- who wants to be freezing all the time???

We loved seeing this adorable little colt -- Maddy thinks she is just about too big for pony rides. She loved them so much when she was smaller and she always had a pony ride.

Everyone who visits our zoo meets "Leo the Lion" -- he's a trash-eating lion!

So cute -- he's been around forever and tells everyone to feed him some trash!

We love our zoo!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Scat Cat Hustle

[Maddy's in the middle in the green shirt]

A few weeks ago, Maddy started singing a "cat" song and doing some rather strange movements. Now, I dance a lot like Elaine (from Seinfeld), but hoped that Maddy would not inherit my lack of rhythm and luckily, she is a good little dancer with a great sense of rhythm!

She finally let the "cat out of the bag" (tee hee hee!) -- it seems the 3rd graders always do a Scat Cat Hustle song and dance at the end of the school day towards the end of the year.

[Maddy's good friend, Ian, in the white shirt!]

It happens on a random day and only 3rd graders and their parents know when it will occur. So happy that I knew so I could be there to see it. Wished I could have caught it on video!

Oh my word -- it was the cutest thing ever! Of course, it would land on one of our incredibly windy days, so they had to hold on to their hats!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Little More Disney

Just a bit more Disney and some random photos!

Cboo(aka Connor) joined us for a few days!!

But, do you believe this -- he did not know who The Beatles were??? A group called The British Invasion was playing and I mentioned that they were doing Beatles songs -- he said, "who???" Aaccck -- I have failed miserably in the music department, haven't I! Am just hoping he doesn't say he has no idea who Bob Dylan or Simon & Garfunkel are! OY!

I love Epcot in the spring for the flower and garden shows and all the incredibly beautiful topiaries! Holy cats! Is that Captain Hook amazing or what?

And look here - pandas in front of China!

Maddy absolutely loved seeing Mulan and Mulan was so sweet with her, taking time to talk to her in a special way. So beautiful!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day and Black and White Wednesday

Mother's Day weekend was a combination of wonderful and hard this year.

Wonderful because we celebrated Philip's graduation from medical school and Mother's Day together. No better way to celebrate than spending time with the very people that made me a mother! Plus, it was fun celebrating Catherine being a Mother too and awaiting the arrival of Baby No. 2 !

Come on baby -- it's time -- we want to meet you!

When we got home, Maddy and I did some of our traditional Mother's Day photos. She wanted us to dress alike that day, so we did. Always follow instructions from your 9-year old!

And it was hard because it was the first Mother's Day without my own sweet Mother.

We miss her so! Maddy and I kept very busy that day with a movie, visiting the zoo, shopping, playing with the dog and cleaning house (yep, I did say that!) and still, that giant hole in our hearts is there and always will be. Yet, I know that she would want us to celebrate holidays, be happy and live life fully, and so, that's what we're attempting. Our love for her and the bond between us will never end.

Joining Lisa for Black & White Wednesday this week -- check her blog out!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Graduation Weekend

Interrupting my Disney posts (yes, there are a couple more, maybe), to report on the graduation of my oldest son from medical school. Now, if I hear, "somebody call me a doctor!" I know just who to call!

On Friday afternoon, we attended the hooding ceremony where all the med school graduates are presented with their hoods. It was a sweet and special ceremony. We found out that Philip also received an award from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric Doctors! He didn't even know about it ahead of time!

Saturday morning was graduation and that included others in the medical field -- nursing, physical therapy, etc. It was a lovely ceremony and we were all so proud. Unfortunately, the lighting was terrible inside, so no pics of the ceremony actually came out. It was a lovely day, so we snagged a couple photos outside in the bright sunlight!

Afterwards, we all went out to lunch with my Dad, Al, who told stories of his youth. We missed my Mom terribly, but know that she was with us in spirit. Connor also joined us to celebrate, but had to leave before we talked the sweet waitress into taking a group photo. It was a special weekend. As you may have guessed, Philip and Catherine are expecting a new baby any day now. I have been hoping for a "Mother's Day" arrival -- I think Catherine is too!

[My 3 kiddos -- being their Mother has been the most fun and greatest honor ever!]

Congrats to Philip and Catherine! Such a great accomplishment and I know it has been a lot of long hours and hard work! They are the sweetest young couple and little Janie is going to be a spectacular big sister!

P.S. Philip has a blog and would love it if you would read it! Find it at .

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pool Time!

Orlando was hot -- even for those living there, it was hot for being so early in the year. The temps were in the high 80s or 90+ every day! I must say, I loved it -- the sun felt so nice and warm (yes, it was a long winter and chilly spring in Nebraska).

Firstly, a little public service reminder to those who might not be used to working or playing in the heat. Be sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink lots of water and Gatorade, eat bananas, suck down packets of mustard, drink ice tea (why yes, I'll have a long island ice tea, thank you very much)! PSA done - on to the story. We visited the parks in the mornings and usually returned to the hotel in the early afternoon for . . . you guessed it - pool time!

Don't be scared - there are no pictures of moi in a swimsuit! The first day, we spent most of the time at the sandy beach pool. It was crowded and noisy and fun! However, Miss M soon realized that sand gets everywhere and so opted for a non-sandy beach pool the rest of the time. The other pool was very relaxing, refreshing and quiet -- perfecto after a busy day at the parks!

She thought she might have forgotten how to swim, but she did great, though swimming lessons are still on tap for summer. We shared the pool with these most adorable little creatures who followed their Momma (or she followed them) everywhere!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fave Characters -- Part 1

Who's your favorite Disney character? I've been trying to come up with our fave --- the problem is there are so many great characters at Disney and, surprise, suprpise, we love them all!

On our first morning there, we headed out fairly early (9ish) to a character breakfast at the Crystal Palace - located very close to Cinderella's palace. Woohoo -- double thumbs up and four stars for that breakfast! Yes, I am patting myself on the back for arranging it (yay, me)! It was a great breakfast with tons of yummy food and included table visits from Winnie the Pooh (who doesn't love Pooh bear?), Tigger (love, love), Piglet (adorable) and Eyore (so sweet)!

At random moments, the characters paraded around with children joining in. Ooops, Mr. Tennis didn't get the memo that the parade was for kids and tried to join in too, but thankfully got distracted by the biscuits and gravy and jumped out! I would book this breakfast again and again as the food was delicious and the characters delightful! We did not feel rushed at all and really enjoyed it. Perfect way to start the day and get some nourishment and fuel for the rest of the day.

Maddy and I did enjoy another character breakfast on our next-to-last day at Chef Mickey's. Since Mickey is truly her favorite character, we were really looking forward to it, especially after the Crystal Palace had been so fabulous. While good, Chef Mickey's was a bit of a letdown. The characters, while friendly and sweet, seemed in a big hurry to sign her autograph book, get a quick photo and speed away to the next table.

Oh yes, there were more characters to see in the parks,

so don't worry, Part 2, will be up next!