Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So who stole April???

The month is nearly over, and I haven't really blogged much since my return from MN.  I apologize for my absence!  It has been really busy around here since I got home, and on top of everything else, my laptop went into the shop for repairs, which limits some of my creative impulses (I generally blog on that while sitting on my bed).  The desktop is getting a work out from the kids and Eric, given Eric's desktop is slow as cold molasses, and my time on my desktop is somewhat limited by sharing.  Not that I mind, it's just busy!

We had a wonderful visit with Eric's parents, and the rose bushes have buds on two of them, and new growth on the other three, so I am thrilled.  We added a dahlia into the mix, and I enjoy watching it daily.  The lilacs will go into the ground probably this weekend--Eric is working today and tomorrow, and he had school stuff to catch up on as well.  My trip home was wonderful and I enjoyed my little ones to no end.  It needs to be said that "Preschoolers are busy little people!"  We walked the neighborhood, we played outside, we went and visited at Uncle Jeffrey's and saw Grandpa Jimmy; we went to the benefit for the victims and survivors of the McMahon fire; we had a cook-out party at my mom's house; I cooked for Tony, went to karaoke with Liisa, had breakfast with Erika, and an outing out with Deb; I got my hair and eyebrows done (and feel fabulous!); and I relaxed some too.  I even caught a nap one afternoon when the kids were resting too.  In some regards it was way too short a visit for all that we accomplished, and in other ways it was just right. 

My best story from my trip to MN involved Princess Alexis.  She told me we had to go to "The Mall the 'Merica" to buy her new princess shoes, and it was foremost on HER agenda.  By Saturday afternoon, with all the running around we were doing (including the benefit and a cookout at Jeff's), she NEEDED to go to the Mall because her (glass slippers) "princess shoes had gotten all broked and throwed away" and she wanted new princess shoes, in purple and pink and yellow and red.  Liisa kindly agreed we could take a trip to the mall, so off we went, at 7 pm to go shopping at the Disney store.  There we tried on a few different pairs, when Liisa found THE shoes.  Purple and turquoise sparkly shoes, with sequins and glitz, along with "real heels", elastic straps to hold them on her feet, open toes, and Ariel on the insoles.  She put them on her feet, then announced she "needed to look in the mirror" and sashayed to the full length mirror, where she admired her lovely feet.  She was so pleased with them we couldn't take them off to pay for them! Fortunately, the salesgirl was very understanding and accepted the tag in place of the shoes.  My princess was so thrilled that she even wore her new shoes to bed! (I will post pics once my laptop comes back--they are all on that).

Since I have gotten home the focus has been on recovery around here (getting the house back in order to MY standards), catching up on projects, and keeping up with the kids.  Brie met her new OB last week and Eric and I were both at the appointment (at Brie's request).  She is very nice, and the baby is growing well.  Brie can feel her kicking and moving now, even to the point of seeing movement on her belly at times, and it is wonderful to see.  Nothing on the job front though...  We got some disappointing news too: barring a miracle, Patrick won't be walking at graduation this year either.  His poor grades have pretty much ruled that out, and he will be taking a summer school english class to complete his requirements for a diploma.  IF he aces the final (and gets his grade to over 90%) there is an extremely slim chance he won't need summer school, but given graduation is before finals, it looks unlikely that he will walk with the class.  He is handling it well, but we are all very disappointed.  Once he has his diploma, believe me, we will celebrate. Aurora is doing fine as per usual, and she is at a track meet today.  There is another visitation coming up with her mom, and I am not sure what the status is on that.  Aurora really doesn't want to have it, but we are encouraging her to do so, for her mothers sake if for no other reason.  Such a hard spot to be in!  Reimond will be turning 16 on May and that is blowing my mind.  He is getting confirmed on May 23rd and I am so pleased.  This was a priority for me when I moved down here and I am thrilled to see it come to pass. 

Eric and I have made reservations to stay overnight in the honeymoon cabin at the Hidden Lake Winery the night of his birthday, to celebrate our mutual birthdays, and our "honeymoon".  We had hoped to stay there two nights, but they were booked for Saturday.  We will probably find somewhere else to stay for Saturday night.  We wanted to "get away" for the weekend, and this is when we have chosen to do it.  Should be amazing!  Then we have our trip planned to MN for June.  We will leave here either the 10th after Eric gets off work, or the 11th really early in the morning, to head to Mpls for Jocelyn's graduation party.  We will drive back the 13th (that Sunday).  I cannot wait! 

Anyhow, that is the news around here, and I hope to be a better correspondant in May! Enjoy these spring days as they come: God knows they are passing quicker than I have expected~

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just a quick note.

I am back from my trip to MN.  I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to see, but did get to spend some quality time with my siblings, my mom, my kids, and the babies.  I had things going on every day, sometimes more than one or two things, and that kept me hopping.  I will post some pics and more details in the next day or so.  Suffice it to say I am happy, tired, and glad to be home but sad to be gone, all at the same time.

It was a wonderful trip and I am so glad I was able to go!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What a beautiful day!

Here are some pictures of my yard, with all the work we have been doing over the past two weeks.  Eric and his dad put in my rose bushes for me, then Reimond and I added the two columbines and the allyssum.  The lilac bushes are not in the ground as yet (probably will be this weekend that they go in), but my wonderful Father in Law put in my two forsythia bushes before he returned to IN.  Grandma Hap's birthday party was a lot of fun, as was the family dinner at Olive Garden.  It has been a crazy few weeks around here!

I am now trying to get ready to fly to Minneapolis tomorrow.  I will probably be packing lightly, although there are a number of activities planned.  The benefit and silent auction for the McMahon Pub fire is this Saturday and we will be spending some time there.  I also have appointments with numerous girlfriends, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone I can fit in seeing (still need to get a hold of Jill!).  Anyhow, I will write more when I am less distracted, but I wanted to share some of my garden pics anyhow.

It's SPRING!!!!  I am loving life!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just a brief update cuz we are in the midst of a busy week!

Our Easter weekend was wonderful.  We all dressed up for church and attended as a family.  Then we came home, puttered a bit, and had a spring-like ham dinner (including potato salad).  Then we relaxed and enjoyed each other's company!  Eric went back to work Monday (it's his long week); my in-laws safely arrived on Monday late afternoon, and we had a wonderful (if I do say so myself) lasagna dinner.  Tuesday we visited during the morning hours, then my MIL headed to St. Louis to go stay with her mother.  Eric came home early from school after a long day of work and we enjoyed some tv and conversation. 

Yesterday was an amazing day.  Despite waking up with an earache (I have a clinic appointment today), I managed to muddle thru the day.  We went to the garden center and bought stuff for the yard!  (Thank you Jilly!  This is all from you!) We got two lilac bushes for the back corner of the yard, (something I have been wanting since I came down here), 5 rose bushes in varying colors for the front corner of the yard (where I can enjoy them from my swing and the neighbors can enjoy them as they stroll by); an assortment of annuals for my container gardens, and more bricks for the back patio (we are putting them in a little at a time for budgetary purposes).  We also got a table to replace the one that the glass was broken out of.  A very productive day all around, and best yet, Eric is off today to work on the gardens (with the help of his dad, who loves to putter in the garden).  I am one happy girl, and the yard is starting to take on a reflection of the home I want it to be: colorful, warm, and welcoming!

Anyhow, now I need to finish getting ready for the day as I have an embroidery club meeting to get to, then my doctor's appointment, then it's back home to help with the gardens.  After that it is off to enjoy cake and ice cream in honor of Grandma Hap's 100th birthday.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

So many emotions.... So many memories...

Yesterday was emotionally draining on so many fronts.  My day started with a phone call from my mother letting me know that "The Poodle Club" was engulfed by flames, and that Lake Street had been closed down for blocks.  Here is a link to the story:

courtesy of today's issue of the Star Tribune (although to be honest, I haven't yet read todays version of events--I am sure they will re-cover most of what was said yesterday).  The Poodle Club was a bar/restaurant that my former mother-in-law frequented on an almost daily basis, and in my former life we spent many memorable hours there, both as a family (for meals), as a couple (someplace close to home where we could have a "date"), and as a gathering place.  Carl and Lucille were the owners at the time; Carl would work the room, surveying his domain, ever the affable host, while Lucille held court at her table, greeting all who came to pay her homage and inviting those she wanted to visit with to join her.  Carl was a big man, in all senses of the word, with a casino floor boss attitude (think 1940's movies, ala Jimmy Cagney and Betty Davis), while Lucille was regal--her long dark hair always in an updo, diamond rings dripping from perfectly manicured fingernails, and chanel classic dresses.  She and Carl bought Jim and I wedding gifts, baby gifts, and were very kind to us.  When their health got bad, Carl's son took over the club, and Carl and Lucille have now been gone for many years.

The bar became McMahon's Irish Pub a few years ago, and shortly after I moved down here, Liisa, Jesse, Tony, and their whole group of friends started frequenting it every Tuesday night for karaoke.  Rachael the DJ and Ryan the bartender became close personal friends of my kids, and they exchanged phone numbers and got together both when everyone was working at the pub and during off times too. When I heard that it was burning, I first looked it up online (at and then called Liisa.  Her first words to me were "Shut the fuck up!  I think I'm gonna throw up!  Oh Mama, I wonder if Ryan is ok--he lives upstairs.  I have to call him!"  She called but couldn't reach him, contacting their circle of friends online via facebook and also on cell phones.  Ryan's girlfriend Champagne was not home when the fire broke out, but her boyfriend, her brother, and her three nieces and nephews all lost their lives.  The babies were three year old twins, a boy and a girl, and a two year old boy.  Such a tragedy.  Champagne's mom also lost her life.  She was pulled out of the building and CPR was done on her in the street, but she didn't survive either.  Poor Champagne lost 6 people who were important to her in one fell swoop.  I cannot even imagine how heartbreaking that must be!

Liisa left work at noon to go be with her friends, and she kept me updated.  For the longest time hope was being held out that the 5 were just missing but had gotten out and were just without cell phones.  But that changed as the day wore on.  Liisa called me around 3 to say that Ryan's mom was on her way into the city with medical records to help identify his remains, and that 4 of the five remains had been located.  By late afternoon/early evening the last set of remains had been found.  It is the most deadly fire Minneapolis has seen in many years.  While I didn't personally know Ryan (he was 25), I knew of him because Liisa spoke of him many times and talked about what a flirt he was, how good natured, how fun a person he was.  My heart goes out to his family and to Champagne and her family.  Her two other brothers were at the fire asking questions and letting officials know that their family members were supposed to be in there.  My heart is so heavy for all of them.

In the midst of all of that, was another drama/tragedy, and I don't use that word lightly or even facetiously.  Eric called his ex to clarify what the situation was going to be for today, (given Aurora, last Saturday, had said in no uncertain terms that she would not go to IN this weekend), and he was informed she would be here at 9 am for her visit.  She would not accept that Aurora does not want to go, and that Eric is not going to force her.  We talked to a number of people for understanding as to what Aurora's rights are in this situation, and so many scenarios circled through our brains, individually and collectively.  Eric and I went out to eat just to get away from the kids all being home, so we could talk and plan, and we settled on going to the police station here in Mascoutah to just see what the possibilities were.  We were counseled to send emails to her stating Aurora's intention not to go (with Aurora writing it); Eric then wrote one too explaining how we have tried to negotiate and compromise with her, but she has refused; how she has ignored Aurora's wishes on a number of occasions by calling the school and excusing Aurora from activities she worked hard to earn her place to attend, and that this time, we were supporting Aurora's right to say no.  Eric informed her that if she insisted on coming down, she should just present herself at the police station, and they would take it from there, contacting us and following up (Eric *may* get a ticket out of this, which would mandate a court appearance, which isn't all bad). 

Aurora and Brianne were both very upset by all of this, and Brie took Aurora out to see a movie, just to give her something else to think about.  Aurora, because of the wind, and because of the stress, was bumming over not doing as well at the track meet as she had hoped to, and was very upset and angry about the situation with her mom.  While she was gone, Eric got a text asking if his ex got a hotel room, could she have her visitation.  Eric decided to talk it over with Aurora, and this of necessity had to wait until the movie was out.  Aurora was consulted, and she said no, she didn't want to visit this weekend.  Eric passed on the message, suggesting it could happen another weekend.  His ex called Aurora at almost midnight and demanded a specific date be set or she was coming anyway, and Aurora was all worked up and upset.  She was not being heard.  She didn't refuse to set another date, but wanted an opportunity to look over her schedule and see what would work best.  This wasn't accepted.  Then Eric was called and told he needed to make a decision as to what weekend would suffice.  Eric wouldn't do it without talking to Aurora, because that is the basis for this entire mutiny--her wishes and needs aren't even being heard!  So Eric said no to setting a date, and pointed out we had all gone to bed; he was informed she would be here 9 am and Eric told her to go directly to the police station.  It's seven minutes to nine now...  My stomach is in knots, Eric is stressed, and we have no idea what is going to happen.

If the hotel visit had been accepted when first offered by us, it would have been perfect, and everyone would have had their needs met.  To try and do it now, when everyone is upset and stressed is a disaster in the making.  The ex is upset that she isn't getting her way (as well she should be--anyone would be!), Aurora is upset because she is being pressured into doing a compromise she doesn't want to do by her mother, and I don't think putting them together would solve anything but making everyone miserable.  (Please understand, I am voicing my own concerns, and not speaking for the family as a whole).  So I sit here watching the clock and waiting for either the doorbell to ring or the phone to ring telling us act 3 is about to begin.  I feel so badly for the ex.  She is their mom and she should spend time with them.  I am sure she is hurting dreadfully, and I hurt for her.  I would die if my kids treated me the way they are reacting to her.  But all I can look back on is the differences in the relationships: what I have with my kids, what Eric has with his, is far different than what she has with hers.  Those seeds were sown long ago, and the resultant behaviors and attitudes grew out of those beginnings.  Perhaps time will mellow them and heal the difference, but demands for rights and entitlement will not change what the past set up for the present.  I am so grateful for what I have will all of these kids--mine and Eric's.  We are blessed with the relationships we have with all of them, and hopefully we are a blessing to them as well.

The police just called and spoke to Aurora.  She informed them that she does NOT want to visit with her mother this weekend, and that she wants to stay home.  I will edit updates as they occur.

ETA: It's now 1:59 in the afternoon.  I have to head to work in about a half hour. Just wanted to add that the morning ended up being anti-climactic, which is a good thing.  The police officer on duty told Eric that they would be writing up a report and he *may* be cited with a ticket, however none was issued directly today.  He added that "the ex said she would be contacting her attorney, so perhaps you should contact yours as well" to which we replied that all email correspondence has been cc'd to the lawyer.   She did not come by the house, nor has she contacted anyone here directly.  An ugly scene has been avoided and for that we are grateful.

On a separate note, Brie felt the baby move for real last night when she and Aurora were at the movie, and she was positive she felt it/that that is what it was.  Prior to this she questioned if she was or not, but now it is real.  So happy for that!  Little Skye Noel is actively making her presence known to her Momma!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April fool's day, 2010--no foolin' though~

This is my new doll, an Asian Ball-Jointed Doll, from the Bobobie company.  Her name is Mei, an Elf Girl.  She came with a "face up", meaning it is painted by the company, and I love how subtle and soft it is. She came with dark brown eyes, and her "skin" is paper white.  She is very ethereal and serene looking.  I also ordered a tibetan mohair "fwig" for her--it's a wig made of real fur.  It is softly colored ("champagne") and suits her--kinda wild and untamed, and yet soft and subtle.  I love her pointed elf ears, and that she can "pass for human" with her wig on.  I am torn between envisioning my costuming of her to be regal, ala Lord of the Rings, and modern/rustic, ala the books and stories of Charles DeLint (I adore his books and short stories--he writes something referred to as "Urban Fairy Tales").  Needless to say, I also ordered a couple of patterns that are in her size as she is about 16 inches tall, but very slender. 
Like my passion for porcelain doll-making and costuming, I am looking forward to creating unique garments for her and having fun in the process. 

This is the center medallion in the quilt I am making for my niece. Neither my sister nor my niece frequent this blog, so I think my surprise is still safe.  I haven't taken a picture of the whole quilt as yet, and I still have a border yet to piece, and a solid border to add, then it will be done.  That is on the agenda for tomorrow.  I am sorry the medallion is sideways, but blogger won't let me turn it around...

Eric is working late tonight and won't be home til after 10.  Fortunately he has the weekend off, a first for us with him having a holiday weekend free.  I think we are even planning to go to Church on Sunday as a family!  That would be wonderful.  The girls are enjoying their first day of spring break with a trip to the mall, and then bowling this late afternoon/early evening.  Rei has been hanging with friends most of the day, either here playing video games or out and about. Patrick too spent a big part of the day playing video games, and then he had to go to work tonight.  I worked earlier today myself, and we were busy as all get-out; despite that they sent me home at 12:30 (I was scheduled to work til 1:30).  Yesterday I was sent home at 10:30!  A whopping 2 hours of work.  Oh well, I am enjoying the time home and have lots to keep me occupied.

Today has been a really nice day and I have enjoyed it thoroughly!  Between the doll arriving, getting my cross stitch scroll frame set up with Misty Morning Vineyard, and spending some time with the kids, I have enjoyed the weather, the breezes, and my day.