Friday, December 03, 2010


She grew! Maria thinks that the birthday is the day you grow. Fortunately, all of her growing has happened slowly over the year, and now she is six, and she is a bigger girl than when she was only five.

On the day of her dance class, we rushed out our door, and I was so proud to get her to the studio on time. As we walked up to the studio door, Maria tugged my sweater and said, "I just remembered, teacher said there is no class on Thanksgiving." I should have remembered too: No class the week of Thanksgiving! But there we were, ready to go. Figures I would get it right, when it was wrong.

Then I remembered Grandma BooBoo and Grandpa Ron's birthday gift to Maria: Tap shoes! Maria borrows shoes when she goes to her weekly tap and ballet class. It works fine for the class, but as my mommy pointed out, it doesn't give her an opportunity to practice. Thank goodness for grandmothers! Even from a distance, they can fill in the gaps, lend a hand, offer support, and be there. I know I need my gaps filled, quite often.

So, we left the dance studio and headed over to the store that sells all things dance. Maria got measured for tap shoes. And seeing, really paying attention, to the condition of her "pink" tights, I grabbed a new pair of those too.

They are so shiny!
Maria was speechless... surrounded by point shoes, and tutus, and all things sparkly, and she could not believe she was getting her very own tap shoes.

"These are from Grandma BooBoo and Grandpa, Maria." I explained to her that they sent the shoes for her birthday. Her jaw dropped. It's funny when someone's jaw really does drop open, the look of astonishment that comes over them. She was definitely grateful, and I realized why her amazement was a bit much when she asked, "How did they do that? How did they get the tap shoes into this store for me?" Even after explaining about how the transaction actually took place, she was still mighty impressed.

She has been tap~tap~tapping her joy and gratitude all over the house!

Thank you BooBoo and Ronnie!

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After dropping off Maria and Max at school, Geoff came home and informed me that Maria was very excited that mommy would be bringing cupcakes to school for her birthday!




Somehow, I consistently fumble on one thing or another, and cupcakes to the classroom is just the tip of the iceberg.

Trader Joe's to the rescue! I had a box of their pumpkin cake mix in the pantry. Ooh, that pumpkin cake is delicious! To the mix I add a grated carrot, a scoop of oatmeal, and a mini scoop of flax meal. Then into the muffin cups goes the batter.

Maria loves these muffins, but to make them party special I grabbed a tub of whipped cream cheese from you know where, and mixed in some cinnamon, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Dab, swirl, go!

Cupcakes to the classroom success.

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It can be hard to jump back in to regular life after a sad event. Professor Moriarty was a sweet innocent, and Alex's personal pet. Everyone here has been knocked a bit off-kilter by his injury, and his sad passage.

The kindness of all of You, friends new, old, far, and near, has been so sweet and comforting... a lovely reminder of how good we can be to each other. It just feels so nice when people let you know that you are thought of, that you are not alone, so thank you. Thank you for taking time to reach out to us... you made our week better than it might have been.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not Such a Good Day

Professor Moriarty

The children are at school, and they do not know... I have been to two vets with the Professor, and I will have to go back once more today. The Professor needs help.

I found him this morning, unable to walk. His hind legs were splayed out behind him, and limp. He let me scoop him up. I knew this was not going to end well. The x-rays show that a vertebrae in his lower spine is completely severed. He cannot move his back feet, or control any of his lower functions.

Waiting to see the second vet, Geoff and I combed his fluffy coat, pulling out straw and dirt. He can struggle to move himself, but when I hold him or pet him, he seems calm, and happy enough just to be loved. He sits still to be held or pet. Then when he does move, he cannot understand why he cannot do what he wants to do, how he wants to do it. His heart rate increases, he looks distressed.

He is not in pain. I have heard rabbits cry, and it is pitiable. And even though he does not seem to be in pain, it is obvious that he anxious. His eyes look sad. He seems to be fading.

I cannot say that I am an optimist. I know I am not as brightly cheerful as my daughter, but I do try to see the good, and to look past the challenges, life's heartaches. Especially lately, I have made a purposeful and hopeful push to emphasize everything that is right and good, but honestly it has not always been easy, because this has not been an easy year. It has been a blessed year, and we have enjoyed many wonderful things, but it has not been an easy year. And so, feeling vulnerable already, feeling a little too frayed, I find this event to be
too much...

The rest of this day, the rest of our obstacles... I really don't want to face.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Immeasurable Joy

Dear Maria,

You give your family more reasons to smile than I ever thought possible. You greet each day with enthusiasm and hope. You are uniquely spirited and happy, always dancing, singing, even anticipating the next dance, the next song. Because of you, we are blessed. Because of you, we have more laughter, more hugs, more visions of magic and imagination, and we have joy that cannot be measured... joy that reaches every corner and depth of our lives.

Sweet girl, you exemplify what it means to have a grateful heart, to take pleasure in each day. Thank you Maria. Thank you for the delight you find in the world, for the kind person that you are. Thank you for being a loving child. Thank you for telling me to "Take a deep breath, and just let it out slowly. Don't worry. Relax."

Six is so very young, but I cannot quite believe that you are this old already. The funny thing is, to hear you speak, to witness your kindness, it is hard to believe you are not older.

Immeasurable, unspeakable joy... I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for my children. And Maria... she is no more, or less, special, but she is Maria, uniquely, dearly Maria. We are blessed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Into The Blue

Well. Here it is: The brand new day. I may spend it in a spa, getting a facial, enjoying a massage, having things waxed. Perhaps I will visit shops in downtown and not come home until I have a gift for everyone on my list safely stowed in my sleigh. This could be a baking day, or better yet: Tamale day. Tempting. Very.

I am certain that I am not prepared to make every one dress-up for a long over-due family portrait, but that day is coming. Look out V2 Family... I will be harassing begging imploring demanding dragging hoping we can all sit in one place for a real family picture, soon. Not today, but soon.

Something inside of me is very attracted to this... to floating away with the breeze, to seeing the world below, and the blue above and beyond. Bundled up, a bit dizzy with the height, I think this would be... honestly, I think it would be cold, loud, and unnerving. But I do love watching the hot air balloons, and imagining the sensation of riding untethered.

Maybe today I will walk in the rain, get pushed around in the wind, kick some puddles.

But if you figure out that I am on the computer, posting about the progress on the robot float, or pip-pipping about life at the Bird House, or if I am doing any of the aforementioned activities, then know I am in big trouble.

There is only one thing I should be doing today: Thinking about the Christian Emperor, Constantine, and how I can send Max to school looking just like him for their ancient history pageant. Actually he is playing two emperors, but he cannot remember who the second guy is. (Rest assured fellow cast mates, Max will come through!)

Alex suggests Max wear the same "fancy toga," but when Max changes character Alex says he should: "Turn your back, apply a fake mustache, then turn dramatically and say your lines." And Alex demonstrates with his hilariously accurate theatrical Roman-Emperor voice, then he spins and speaks in a distinctly different old man, Roman-Emperor voice!

I wish I could spin dramatically and produce a fancy tunic and toga.

How about you? What are you doing this brand new day?