Friday, April 30, 2010

Fridays with Cholita

Preschool is a lovely thing.  Four days a week.  Just in the mornings.  Not that I'd want all of my kids on that schedule, but I love free days with the littlest one.  I think I cherish that time even more now that I have teenagers, who I swear were Cholita's size only yesterday.

So today, on her day off, we drove our minivan through the imposing gates of Bloedel Reserve, a grand old estate on Bainbridge Island.  I promised Cholita a stop at the beach if she smiled pretty for my camera.

Once she saw the path, she apparently forgot our deal.  Trails are for running, aren't they?

Mercifully, she found some dandelions to slow her down.

Pick, blow.  Pick, blow.  That lasted about thirty seconds and she was off again like a shot.   I caught up with her in the woodland trail.  "Cholita, too bad we can't go to the beach today," I said catching my breath.  Mean, I know, but a bargain's a bargain.

That stopped her.  "Take a picture, Mom,  Look, this will be perfect."  She posed, yes, but does she look even slightly engaged? Even remotely interested? 

Feeling like she'd now done her part, she continued her sprint.  Over bridges, past ponds, through the rhododendron garden, she motored around a corner and then abruptly screeched to a halt.  

The sight of the Bloedel mansion momentarily rendered her speechless, a rare thing for Cholita.  Finally she said with awe in her voice, "Is the prince home today?"  

I think she was ready to meet him.  Too bad it's now just a visitor's center.

Because she'd make a lovely princess, despite being a pain for the royal photographer.

And yes, we went to the beach.  
She still wants to play in the sand with baby toys and that's something to encourage.  
Too bad she was humming Taylor Swift at the time. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Goal Realized

Back in September, we asked each person in the family to list their goals for the 2009-2010 school year.  Cholita's list included things like: making friends, riding my bike, and being nice.  Bruder's goals were a bit more ambitious.  In the athletic arena, he hoped to run a mile in under 5 minutes.  Now, we knew this was possible, but he was going to have to improve significantly to make it happen.  Like really significantly.

Yesterday in the meet against Port Angeles and North Mason, there were a few guys on Bruder's team within striking distance of a sub-five mile and so two of their strongest runners hung back and paced them during the race.  Either one of them could have easily won, but instead they slowed down, frequently checked their watches, and spurred some of the younger runners onto P.R.'s.  The results weren't immediately available, but we knew it had to be close.  Just this morning I checked the website and the times are in.  Bruder ran a mile in 4 minutes and 59.30 seconds.  I got teary-eyed.

And as if that wasn't enough, less than an hour after finishing the mile, he also got a P.R. in the half mile--2 minutes and 13 seconds.  Lyle, sitting in the stands, watched him and said, "I can't beat him anymore."  There was pride in his voice, but definitely sadness too.  Or maybe nostalgia is a better word.  Sunrise, Sunset.  We're so proud.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Flower Distraction

I'm feeling rather stressed.  Our old dog Charlie, poor Charlie, woke up with a swollen face.  A very swollen face.  A tooth abscess maybe?  A clogged salivary gland?  Charlie is a tough dog who never whines, never complains, but who seems to be falling apart.  He's mostly 3-legged now due to a torn ACL (yes, dogs have ACL's, which we now know only too well since he had surgery on the ACL of his other back leg two years ago).  Surgery again, on a ten year-old dog, seemed wrong, so now he's 3-legged.  Well, he still has the messed-up leg, it wasn't amputated or anything, it's just kind of a hanger-on appendage.  Despite his infirmities, Charlie still wags his tail and heads for the door when he sees Lyle in running shoes.  He'd do his darndest to keep up.  I try to give him extra love when Lyle leaves without him.  He mopes.

And he has several growths.  Without going into too much detail on a rainy Wednesday morning, they are all benign (so far), just a little unsightly.  But this new face thing is more than a little unsightly.  The vet doesn't open for another hour, so I think I'll post some more pictures of our Spring flowers.  They're not unsightly.

I love the color of these tulips on the north side of our house.  They brighten up the shade.

And also on the north side, I added this lovely pot.  It's a perfect water dish for the lazy dog owner.  
Once a week and we're set.
  Poor Charlie with the swollen face and three legs and delinquent owners.
Moving back to the flowers....

I haven't missed the grass we took out last summer.
Not one bit.

I think my favorite plant in the berm is this one.  No flowers, but I love it.
It's Lamb's Ears, named for its unbelievably soft leaves.  I've planted Lamb's Ears before, 
but this Helen Von Stein variety is like Lamb's Ears on steroids.

Don't you want to touch it?

And another newbie on the block is this funky akebia vine.  For all its weirdness, I'm pretty sure I love it.
And it smells amazing.

Although right now I think the whole neighborhood can smell the lilacs. 
 In my opinion, they could take the fragrance down a few notches and I'd be fine.

Work continues on the wisteria walkway and I'm almost convinced it will be a good thing. 
 Still deciding.

The vet's office should be open now.  
I just asked Charlie, "Want to go in the car?"  
His metronome tail kicked up the tempo to whatever italian phrase means super speedy.
Our poor 3-legged, swollen-faced, growth-ridden dog.
We love him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Autumn Chrysanthemum amongst the Spring Tulips

Yesterday I was taking pictures of our tulips
when Cholita wandered into the scene.
She matched the flowers so perfectly.
The evening was so gorgeous.  
My camera was so charged.
Please look at Mommy and give me a big smile, Cholita.

Cholita?  Yoo-Whoo!  Hello, over here?
Not happening.

But anyone bold enough to put together this outfit
 should be cut some slack.  
Don't you think?

Thankfully I've found that if I stick with her long enough,
she'll forget I'm there
and I can usually get something I love.

Springtime is magical.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It must be Spring

Tonight while putting Cholita to bed, I noticed we were not alone.
Love was in the air.
And on the windowsill.
The penguin wore argyle and the cat sported a sequined collar.
Mr. Penguin's trying to lose a few pounds, so he ordered the lettuce.
To share.

On the other windowsill sat a blue jay and I believe a dog of some sort.
 All the trendy restaurants now are serving Cheez Whiz.

On the bookshelf, a lamb with a lovely hair adornment 
sat prim and proper while her date, the fox, whispered sweet nothings.
Her Dad doesn't trust him.  (He's waiting up.)
They ordered the mayonnaise.  

On the bed, a chihuahua and a frog
locked eyes over a piece of toast.
There's some serious chemistry going on here.
I felt like I was intruding.

In the closet, a platypus worried she was overdressed
while her date, the dachshund, found her a bit forward.
They were still waiting to be served.

And on the floor, this handsome couple celebrated 
their love over swiss cheese.

The monkey was adorned in a crocheted skirt, revealing halter top, necklace, and veil.  
Evidently she had just married the polar bear.

And was eager for some alone time.

Cholita scares us more than a little.

He Flatters Me

Over the weekend, Lyle and I were having the If I died would you ever re-marry conversation. I told Lyle that no, I couldn't imagine re-marrying.

"Besides," I said, "I don't think a middle-aged woman with four children is much of a hot commodity."

"Are you kidding me?" he asked. "Guys would be lining up."

"Really?" I reached out to hold his hand.

"Absolutely," he said. "Think of all the tools they'd get."

Just what every woman wants. To be loved for her table saw.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Be Still My Heart

Can you see it?
I know it's easy to miss, but look hard.

I realize you haven't been waiting for this moment for four years.
Like I have.
But you've got to see it now.
I can hardly stand the excitement.

The climbing hydrangea is starting to bloom!
None of this waiting a decade stuff.

Four was the magic number.

And get this......I've found not one, but TWO blooms.

Be still my heart.

Sixteen Candles

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Writer in Residence

Have you ever read, The Floods of Kerkistania? What about, Forest Friends? Or perhaps your book club is discussing, A Nightmare Come True? If you haven't heard of these fine works of fiction, someday you will.

I happen to know the author. She's amazing and totally dedicated to her craft.

She cherishes her alone time. Well, I guess it's not really alone time. It's time with her pen and paper. We have her books all over the house, lovely little journals filled with Rose's musings.

These journals will be worth big money someday.
As if I'd ever sell them.

What would we do without our sweet Rose?
We'd probably have to get T.V.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

He's at it again

Yes, the pizza oven is still in the works, but the far-away store that carries the required oven-building materials is closed on Saturdays. Poor Lyle. That morning he'd already played basketball and run ten miles, but without a project, he felt adrift and antsy.

Time to start the wisteria walkway!

It doesn't look impressive now and if I didn't know Lyle's track record, I'd be very panicked. Honestly, even knowing his track record, at the beginning stages of almost every project I think, Was this a good idea?, Is this tacky?, Have we ruined our house once and for all?

But then I think of my girls skipping under a canopy of fragrant wisteria, and that can't be a bad idea, right?

I'll just keep this image in my head. And I need to repeat the quote Lyle has reassured me with during many a design panic attack......"I don't do ugly." No, he certainly doesn't.

It will be gorgeous.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Personal Best

High school track meets are not convenient. They're often far away. They happen on Thursdays, early enough in the day that our third grader is still at school, and they're long. So so long.

But yesterday it was worth the hassel of pulling Rose out of school early and even worth the hours spent on a cold, hard bleacher. All that for only 2 minutes and 18 seconds. But that 2 minutes and 18 seconds was Bruder's personal best in the half mile and we're so glad we were there to see it.

Now if we could just get him to show that same speediness in helping with the dinner dishes, we'd be in business.