Wednesday, September 17, 2014

POTD 2014 | august 15-20

227.365 | gifts for teachers.
gifts for teachers.

What a great pile of back-to-school presents for the teachers, thanks to Labels for Education! They got everything from boxes of crayons to electric pencil sharpeners to a chart stand. Have a good year, teachers.

228.365 | cukes.

This summer we gave cucumbers a try in our garden. After a while, I thought nothing was going to grow. And then they did. All at once.

229.365 | backyard friend.
backyard friend.

Tyler and David became friends through our backyard. Today Tyler moved away to a different state. David was absolutely devastated. He really liked having one neighbor friend. Now there is nobody.

It makes me sad, too, because my kids are growing up in an older, completely kid-less neighborhood. They will never know the joy of merely "going outside to play" and instantly meeting up with the other kids on the block to play tag, catch, roller skate on a driveway or just roll in the grass and stare at the clouds.  My neighbors left a lasting impression on me and I only wish my kids could have that experience.

230.365 | summer-fresh lunch.
summer-fresh lunch.

This is my favorite time of the year for food. Everything is so fresh... farmers market lettuce and tomatoes, home-grown cucumbers and basil. Topped with my usual Feta and olives and homemade dressing. This is lunch.

231.365 | cuddles and his dog.
cuddles and his dog.

Seriously. This is too much.

David loves to get down on the floor or couch or wherever Shadow is laying and cuddle her. He just gently lays down by her and wraps his arms around her (well, as far as they'll go... she's giant-sized).

Today I caught it. Just look at them. This is love and happiness all rolled into one giant hug.

232.365 | locker combination.

locker combination.

Today I registered my baby girl for middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. JUNIOR HIGH. Sigh.

Part of being in middle school is remembering (trying!) the combination for your locker, dialing it perfectly right and pulling the lock open with the perfect balance of control and brute force. And then once the locker is open, remembering what it was you needed.

This is it, Sam. Welcome to middle school. You've got this.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

POTD 2014 | august 9-14

So remember when it was summer? A lot of families take a vacations in the summer.... and so did we. I realize that it's Sort-of-Officially Fall and we are all getting our sweaters out of storage. However, I'm just now playing catch up and sharing some pictures of summer, vacation and people wearing shorts. Enjoy...

221.365 | flying at the fair.
flying at the fair.

vacation day 1.

Today we spent the day at the Wisconsin State Fair. And since we were considering it part of our vacation, we did our best not to rush past all the rides, snacks and games and leave within 90 minutes. No, we DID the State Fair. The kids rode rides. And rode them some more. We ate. And then ate some more. Then the kids squealed down the Giant Slide (you know the one) and bounced on the bungee-corded trampolines.

Consider the State Fair mission accomplished. Check.

222.365 | red hot chili peppers.
red hot chili peppers.

vacation-ish day #2

We grew some red hot chili peppers this summer. Seriously. And we did it so that I could eventually use that photo caption. No, just kidding. Pat wanted to make his own red pepper flakes. Which he did.

223.365 | toothless in minnesota.
toothless in minnesota.

vacation day #3

That tooth! That tooth had been hanging by a literal thread for what seemed like eternity. It finally came out. Right in the middle of the Mall of America.

224.365 | bugs in the microscope.
bugs in the microscope.

vacation day #4

Today we spent the day at the Minnesota Science Museum. Of all the various exhibits and experiments, the one that captured their attention the most was looking at tiny insects through microscopes. Yay bugs?

225.365 | oh, those faces!
oh, those faces!

vacation day #5

So there's this giant roller coaster inside the Mall of America. Several of them, in fact. The kids - all three of them, haha - loved  the rides. Personally, I found the view.... entertaining. Just look at those faces!

226.365 | iowa city.
iowa city.

vacation day #6

I've been wanting to go back to Iowa City for years and today we finally did. After lunch at the Airliner (that sounds funny to me!) I gave a very miniature tour of the campus. And the university bookstore. Where we just might have gotten applause from the cashiers on our way out.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

POTD 2014 | august 1-8

213.365 | lunch and a book.
lunch and a book.

There is something very freeing about having a drink with lunch while reading a book while sitting outside on a sunny day. And even better, not to be in a hurry for once.

214.365. farewell.

Over fifteen years ago we picked the tiny kitten that was sitting in her food dish.

We loved her, our first baby with fur.

We loved her even when she snagged up our brand new (at the time) couch...climbed the screens on our doors and windows...pooped on me... puked all over our various houses... made my eyes itch...hissed at all our friends and family...drank my Heineken and ate my ice cream. We loved her when she curled up at our feet in bed... got comfortable on our laps and watched TV with us... hovered protectively over my pregnant belly (when it was)... meowed at the birds and the squirrels and the chipmunks... spread out lazily in a sunny window... played with a string or laser light for 3.5 seconds... greeted us at the door when we came home... purred with delight when we pet her behind the ears and under her chin (but never her belly)... meowed with concern when the kids cried... fought over the "good spot" on the couch when the fire was lit.... and so much more.

With our EC (Evil Cat), it was the little things that made her sweet. Truthfully, no one who ever visited our home in the last 15 years believes us when we say she was a sweet cat, but it's the truth. We saved her, we loved her, we nurtured her. And in the end, we couldn't bear to see her suffer any longer so we protected her from pain.

Farewell, kitty. Thank you for being such an important, cuddly and tender part of our family. We miss you already.

E.C. the Cat
04.30.1999 - 08.02.2014

215.365 | tall and short-ish.
tall and short-ish.

Tonight Pat and I celebrated our 14 years of marriage-ness (three days early, but the kids were at Nana and Papa's so.... I'll take three days early over not at all).

First, we went to a local steakhouse that has been calling our name... for five years. Eddie Martini's was SO AWESOME. In fact, we are searching for a reason to go back. Someone, quick, give us a reason (and the funding) to go back.

Afterward we walked over to Cafe Bavaria for some (more) drinks. for the record, no, we don't always match our drinks. The shorty (me) got the tall beer and the tall guy got the short glass. No matter, they always fit together. Just like us.

216.365 | brave.


Selfies are such the rage that people tend to forget that they require a certain level of bravery... and I'm not super brave. Group selfies, ok. Friend selfies, sure. But individual selfies, eek.

I was dressed and ready to leave the house to meet a new client when I realized that I was DRESSED. And not in something that consisted of a Cotton/Spandex blend with matching running shorts. This was really something. So click I went. Feeling so brave and actually happy about it!

P.S. StitchFixers - The blue silky tank is from StitchFix, with a 3/4 sleeved cardigan from my closet and a purple necklace from my drawer that matched the shirt surprisingly well. You can't see the khaki-colored pin-striped dress-up capris that I had to retrieve from the basement "storage" closet. Note to selfie: wear this outfit again.

217.365 | pool chairs.
pool chairs.

The late afternoon's setting sun casts its glowing rays onto the chairs, and the chairs mark their place with these beautiful, perfectly even lines of shadow on the concrete. This is summer at the pool.

218.365 | dew drops.
dew drops.

This is a sign. Fall is coming when you can see dew drops on leaves in the early morning. Fall is coming... yet somehow I don't remember summer ever starting.

219.365 | buried in the sand.

buried in the sand.

My friend and I came around the bend and... WHAT THE?!?!?! At  the playground, Samantha was buried under the sand all the way up to her chin. BY REQUEST. Who asks for this? I was speechless, standing there like a buffoon with my mouth hanging open. I literally had no idea what to do about this.

Needless to say, we left the park immediately following her Godzilla-like exit from the sand-cocoon.

220.365 | happy puppy.
happy puppy.

It wouldn't be a proper week of 365 if I didn't include a gratuitous puppy picture. Here's my Shadow, as happy as can be. If I didn't know better, I'd swear she's smiling.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

POTD 2014 | july 15-31

Part II of the Great Photo a Day Summer Catch Up... resuming with mid-July.

196.365 | so tall.
so tall.

I know, glancing at this photo, it's nothing special. But where there's no quality, there's great story. I think that's how the Chinese proverb goes.

I had picked up the kids from summer school and as we were walking down the grassy berm in the middle of the parking lot, I turned around to ask them something - how was summer school, what did they want for lunch, or why were they walking so slowly. However, instead of asking them anything, I stared in momentary disbelief. They were SO TALL. Who were these giant kids and what did they do with my babies? My, they grow fast.

197.365 | my boy and his dimples.
my boy and his dimples.

I did some location scouting today and my one willing model happened to be wearing green that day. It's like David went all camouflage on me. All that you can really see is his cute little dimple. Love that boy.

198.365 | at the carwash.

at the carwash.

It makes me smile that a carwash is a major entertainment event for the kids. Oh, the squeals and giggles! Plus, I can guarantee it will rain tomorrow.

199.365 | [insert twilight zone music here.]
[insert twilight zone music here.]

At the end of our dinner at PF Chang's, this is the fortune I found in my fortune cookie. Can we say CREEPY? See, lately we have been discussing the fact that we haven't moved in over five years - a personal record for us. Yet, apparently my fortune thinks this is our year. The word on the back of the fortune: December. The word in my head: OMG.

200.365 | see shadow walk.
see shadow walk.

Look at this puppy! Wow, don't blink - she's moving SO FAST you might not see her.


At least she's cute.

201.365 | facetime.

When the cousins want to play, they will play. This isn't a half-bad idea... playing YuGiOh cards via FaceTime. Sure beats being bored.

202.365 | summer is hard.
summer is hard.

Summer school. Play dates. Sewing class. Pool time.

Mom 1, Sam nap.

203.365 | speedwalker.


You see, when Shadow doesn't budge from her spot-of-the-moment along our walk, it gives me plenty of time to stand around and take pictures of her. I have to do it quick because wow, look how fast she's going.

Someday I know she will be a great walking and running partner. But for now, she's just being a puppy who is easily distracted by sitting down and watching bunnies.

204.365 | i scream for patience.
i scream for patience.

I surprised the kids with a trip to Yo Mama! after we ran all our boring errands. But of course, even ice cream (yogurt) can be boring...

Whenever we visit Yo Mama! Sam wants to color a picture to add to their wall of art. The only problem with this is that she's a perfectionist, cannot stop if it's not complete and won't take go for an answer. We have to fight through a little of impatience (see above) but her drawing is always amazing and worth the wait.

In defense of David, not only is he only 8 years old, he's her BROTHER. He's filled the job description perfectly.

205.365 | frozen pizza.
frozen pizza.

It was a frozen pizza night, a common occurrence in our house. With all the kids' evening summer activities - swimming, karate, track - Pat working late, plus dog training class and running my business,  there are times that dinner is the last thing from my mind. Either it's not planned, not defrosted or not available without calling a phone number (or going to the grocery store).

So tonight was a frozen pizza night. With our garden bursting with jalepenos, of course they ended up on his part of the pizza. While it looks pretty, I wouldn't dare... I generously let him eat all those peppered pieces (which he said were delicious).

206.365 | another one bites the dust.

another one bites the dust.

On the exact day I receive my replacement external hard drive, my dog chews up the case for it. It had been sitting on my desk, empty for weeks, while I went about the process of replacing the failed drive. Apparently the soft-sided  nylon case looked suspiciously like a dog toy. Hello, Amazon?...

207.365 | the first tomato.

the first tomato.

Hooray to the first tomato of the summer garden! In about a month, when the rest of the tomatoes start ripening, we will commence the cooking of salsa, pasta sauce, Caprese salad, BLTs and more. I can't wait!

208.365 | nice shoes.
nice shoes.

A family that wears ugly shoes together, bowls together.

209.365 | watching them work.

watching them work.

Today we had a dead tree cut down. The crew showed up with all sorts of equipment and quickly went to work. David was fascinated. He couldn't stop watching. Later, he said to me, "I never knew cutting down a tree could be so interesting."

210.365 | good idea.
good idea.

David wanted to bake cookies. I never turn down a suggestion like that, especially when I have a helper. I forgot how ridiculously easy peanut butter cookies are - we will revisit this in the near future, for sure.

Here's the easiest recipe I've ever seen for cookies:

1  egg, whisked
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup  sugar
1/2 cup  brown sugar
1 tsp.  vanilla

Mix ingredients.
Bake 11-13 minutes at 350.

211.365 | grilled cheese.
grilled cheese.

Today was one of those days that called for an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich.

212.365 | birdie in the window.
birdie in the window.

This little birdie came to say hello this morning. She stayed there long enough for me to watch her a while, get my camera and snap a few pictures. What a sweet tiny bird. Come back and visit soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

POTD 2014 | july 1-14

When I fall behind, I don't just do a so-so job. Like anything I do, I want to make it as big, awesome and fantastic as humanly possible. (Type A much?) If I fall behind in posting my Photo a Day project, I'm going to fall so far behind that when I do finally catch up, it will thrill and awe even the ants on the sidewalk.

So here goes, you little buggers. The entire month of July. Bam.

182.365 | head, shoulders, knees and paws.
head, shoulders, knees and paws.

Post run in the wee early hours of the morning. While I stretch, Shadow sits and watches for bunnies. She's a good running partner. I mean, I need protection from all those widdle bunny wabbits.

183.365 | furry vacuum.
furry vacuum.

Shadow, don't you realize that if you don't INHALE your food, you might actually get to taste it? Or maybe she doesn't want to taste her dog food? I never considered that. Either way, this is one high-speed eater.

184.365 | colorful start to the day.
bright start to the day.

I have held the belief for YEARS and YEARS (I even wrote about this in my high school newspaper column) that if you eat a rainbow for breakfast, you are sure to have a great day. With cereal so bright and cheery, how can you possibly be sad and gloomy?

185.365 | four kids on the fourth.
four kids on the fourth.

The kids were so thrilled to have the entire day and some of the night to be with their friends on the 4th of July. When you're 8/9/10/12, does it really get any better than that? Well, yes - but only because the fireworks finally started.

186.365 | ingrid @ summerfest.
ingrid @ summerfest.

Every year, Pat and I get one weekend to go to Summerfest. (Thanks Nana and Papa!) This year, there was no question about which night we would go and who we would see perform. Ingrid Michaelson was coming to town and I wouldn't miss it.

Of course the show was phenomenal. She couldn't be bad if she tried. After the show I posted this image on Instagram. Ingrid herself re-grammed my photo - plus a few of her bandmates. It was my 15 seconds in the Instagram spotlight. And it was fabulous.

187.365 | giantest pretzel ever.
giantest pretzel ever.

During our kidless weekend, we went to Leff's for a late afternoon beer. I had heard that their giant pretzel was really good, so we got one. The waitress failed to mention that it was actually for EIGHT people! So, turns out, we had a late afternoon beer and a pretzel dinner. (I'm not complaining.)

188.365 | got markers?
got markers?

I did it. I dug in for the massive, all day, full on Cleaning of the Ten Year Old's Room. It was one of those jobs that you had to just start in one corner and work your way around the room, forming piles as you went. Pokemon card piles, Yu-Gi-Oh card piles, piles of books, journals, drawings, pens, pencils and markers. Now that everything is divided, organized and labelled, of course she doesn't want to play with anything in her room. Figures. Well, at least I can walk in there now.

189.365 | summer dawn.
summer dawn.

I love the early morning hours of the day. It's like I have the world all to myself. I get to watch the sun rise and the creatures awaken. I have especially been enjoying sharing this time with my dog, something that until this past Spring, I didn't have the pleasure of sharing with anyone at all. She looks at her things (rabbits, birds), I look at mine (sunshine, trees). It's quiet and still, except for the sound of our footsteps.

The only thing is, I wish morning weren't so dang early.

190.365 | future bag.
future bag.

I haven't bought new fabric in a really, really long time. So it was a real treat to "have to" bring my mother-in-law to the quilt shop for some fabric shopping. There is a yellow and grey bag in my future. All I have to do is sew it...

191.365 | tosa reunion.
tosa reunion.

This amazing woman came back to Tosa for a friend and family visit. She got in as much of her hometown as possible...including Polka dancing at The Landing. Only Lisa could get away with that one.

192.365 | the costco lounge.

the costco lounge.

When you're  feeling a little tired at Costco, the only rational option is to lay down in their couch section.

193.365 | FURever friends.
FURever friends.

These two. When one of them goes outside, they wait at the property line for the other one. It's much too cute. Fiona and Shadow are FURever friends.

194.365 | at the mall.

at the mall.

Today we took Mom-Mom, my grandmother, to the mall. I was so happy for her - she got out of her apartment, Sam was pushing her around the mall, into stores, talking to her. And then. The mall's fire alarm went off. Fun over. Waa-waa.

195.365 | on your marks...
on your marks...

David was so excited to participate in Track Club this summer. And he was so proud of all the ribbons he earned at the track meets. It was strange to watch him running on the track -- the track was SO BIG and David was SO LITTLE.


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