Thursday, August 27, 2009

Geeez! (Or Should I Say Cheese?)

Okay, I'll admit it. There are some things that I won't compromise on in the area of food. You will never find margarine in my house, only real butter. The same goes with cream... non-dairy just doesn't fly with me. It's always been real half-and-half.

My preferences are not limited to just the dairy aisle either. When I started baking, I quickly realized the superiority of the flavor of real vanilla extract compared to imitation. Then, about ten years ago (more than likely after watching a cooking show) I stopped buying powdered parmesan in the can and opted for a small chunk of parmesan to be able to grate fresh cheese on my pasta.

Well, it turns out that Isabel just LOVES this parmesan cheese. Once she tastes it, she wants nothing else. In fact, she would be quite happy to just sit and eat a bowl of grated parmesan. As her cheese intake increased, we started to go through a chunk of it a week. So... I decided to spend the money and get a nice BIG wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano that would last us quite a while.

The wedge came out for tonight's supper. Freshly grated cheese on some steamed broccoli... yummy! After dinner, I got side-tracked. I was busy doing something when... I noticed... IT! You know..IT, don't you? IT is the sudden silence that fills your house and you just KNOW it is because someone is up to no good. I called out to Isabel. She came right in to the living room.

All seemed fine. Maybe I was too quick to be suspicious.

Maybe not!

A little while later, I walked into the kitchen and noticed Isabel's little step stool positioned directly in front of the stove (upon which was placed the aforementioned cheese. I didn't think anything of it until I got closer and noticed teeth marks all over it.

Just GRATE!!!

(For some entertainment, click on the picture and enlarge it to see close ups of the teeth tracks.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Photo Shoot in the Park

Fellow AP Eric is looking to expand his photography business to a full-time status. The guy is amazing. He soooo captured the spirit and life that makes Isabel...well, Isabel! [Click on the images to enlarge them and see the details.] I am so thankful to have these images captured. What a gift.

The photo shoot was a week ago Sunday. Isabel and I met him early in order to catch the morning light and to beat this oppressive August heat. (Thankfully, there was a Starbucks!)

The magic he did that morning is online. These are just a few of my favorites. 

Book Store Fun

After our FCC monthly dinner last Saturday, several of us walked over to Barnes and Noble to look at some books. It was like a dream... each of us (including the girls) found a book to our liking and read quietly in the children's section until a little before closing....

Yeah... RIGHT!!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Driving Miss Daisy

Seriously folks... how can you NOT smile at this? We had walked out to the car, when I realized that I had left the outside light on. When I came back from turning it off, this is what I saw.

Why my life is filled with laughter.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Three Word Sunday

Started by PugMama, Three Word Sunday is a fun post in which you sum up your week in three little words. You can sing it, you can say it, you can write it, you can draw it. It can be funny or sad or poignant as long as it’s honest.

Because she is such a peanut, I am often asked if Isabel eats anything. Answer? She eats a LOT!!!!! She is just so full of energy and in constant motion that she burns it all off...and more!
[Mental note: How can I bottle that for me?]

We had our monthly dinner with our local FCC group. Before playing a hearty game of "Catch Me if You Can" with the other kiddos, she had a "little" bit of dinner. The photo above is what she ate!

Enjoy my three word pic!

Something Fun For The Listless

Saw this on a blog. It was fun to do and interesting to look over my life. 48 out of 99 is not too bad.

Here are the rules:

Bold the things you’ve done and post this list on your blog then leave me a comment and tell me you did this so I can go see! I have starred those things I still want to do.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower*

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyworld

8. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Written something that was published

11. Bungee jumped or parachuted

12. Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge

13. Been in a fist fight

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Seen the Rings of Saturn with a telescope

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when not ill

24. Built a tree house or snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon*

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice*

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Fired a gun

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors*

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa

39. Gone rock climbing (if a rock climbing wall counts!)

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke!

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal

44. Visited Africa

45. Cried yourself to sleep

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Visited the Eiffel Tower

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling*

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Pretended you cooked something from scratch when you didn't.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie or commercial

56. Visited the Great Wall of China*

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia*

60. Served at a soup kitchen*

61. Sold something door to door

62. Gone whale or dolphin watching

64. Donated blood, marrow, etc

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp*

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter*

69. Held onto a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten frog legs or caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Time Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Done something illegal

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Sang a solo

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car*

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Climbed a mountain

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had surgery

89. Directly saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club (one of the best things I’ve ever done!)

93. Seen a loved one die

94. Given birth to a baby

95. Visited the Alamo

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Sent a text message while driving

99. Been stung by a bee

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Art of Childhood

This amazing art museum has free admissions on Tuesdays. This was my first venture there with Isabel in tow. We met up with friends and the the girls had fun exploring the hands on children's area. The museum itself is set among beautiful English and Italian gardens that border the river. Little watercolor kits are provided for the children to take outside and paint among the gardens.

It was so heartwarming to see children scattered among steps, lawns, and flowers painting away. After Isabel and Annabelle painted their pictures, they decided to explore the gardens... and ending up with an unexpected dip in one of the fountains.

Why oh why didn't I think to take a picture of THAT?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Laughing with Lucas

My sweet friend and colleague Norma has a son that is a little  more than a year older than Isabel. They have been good friends and love spending time together. We were able to have a playdate on Saturday and, let's just say that the dancing that broke out looked like a cross between Riverdance Gone Wild and Elaine from Seinfeld.

(This is gonna be such great blackmail when it's time for them to go to their high school prom.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Public Enemy Number One

This little girl was adopted by an American family in China a week ago. Her parents are being forced to leave her behind because the US Consulate will not issue a VISA or a WAIVER to enter the USA due to the fact she has TB. The parents were never told she had TB, at the physical in Guangzhou they did a TB test and it came back positive. Turns out the Orphanage KNEW and didn't share this fact with the CCAA or the US agency. The little girl Harper has been legally adopted by her new parents and is no longer a ward of the Chinese State...she is in effect a lost child, her birth country no longer bears responsibility for her, and her new parents are not allowed to bring her back to her new home and country. She is not contagious! The CDC refuses to issue a waiver to allow her to come home to receive the rest of the treatments she needs.*

*This information taken from the family's website.

The goodbye was captured on video. It is ~ 7 minutes long. The last 2 minutes are heart wrenching. If anyone has connections, PLEASE step in on this family's behalf. They are living every international adoptive family's nightmare come true. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Thought Process of a Three-Year-Old

We have two cats. One of them, Buddy-Cakes, has been with me for almost 15 years. I adopted him and his brother Bart from The Humane Society. They were littermates and inseparable. Buddy was the laid bak one and Bart the Fussy one. Two years ago, during preplanning, my sweet Bart died in my arms. I was shocked by the depth of my grief. About four months later, I got a little six-week-old kitten that looked like Bart for Isabel's second birthday. She named her Lulu.

She is a beast. The cat, that is... not Isabel. After so many years I had forgotten about the kitten stage. You know, the "I-am-the-center-of-the-universe stage. Fortunately, she has mellowed out and settled into the start of her adult cat life.

Buddy, on the other hand, is getting old. Lately, his age has become more and more evident. He has lost a LOT of weight. (Only 5 lbs now). He moves slowly. He has lost a lot of body mass and his bones are sticking out. I know his time is drawing to a close and I am appreciating each moment with him.

Isabel has been very good about understanding this. We talk about how being old changes the way we can move. I have explained that Buddy moves slowly because his bones are old. She seems to grasp this concept.... which made this morning's comment all the more fascinating...and entertaining.

We were on the way to school this morning when we saw that the railroad crossing was down a train was moving VERY slowly across the intersection. As I pointed it out to Isabel, she said:

"Mom, that train must have old bones."

I had no idea what she was talking about. She repeated herself and than (as if to clarify it for me) continued with:

"It's moving slow like Buddy-Cakes."

I just LOVE getting glimpses into how her mind works.

So logical.

So simple.

So refreshing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Room for Change

When I bought this house five years ago, I knew immediately which bedroom was going to be mine and which was going to be Isabel's. I have a good sense of color and can see things is my mind's eye. I knew just how I wanted Isabel's room to look and it is just as I imagined. I knew how I wanted my room to look and it, too, is just how I envisioned. The third bedroom, however, is another story. Since I never had a concrete idea of what it was going to be: (maybe an office? den? guestroom? ), I never could SEE it in my mind.

Long before Isabel arrived, it was a guest room with a daybed. I painted the walls a deep ochre color and bought burgundy and gold drapes and linens.
It was nice... It was coordinated...

It was never used.

I ended up giving the daybed to a colleague and bought a big armchair and ottoman. I moved the television in there and it became a den. And it WAS used. But... it slowly became a dumping ground for all of the toys and junk that Isabel had accumulated. So, I set up the little sunroom off the kitchen as a playroom for Isabel. It worked well. Her stuff was out of the den. I got to keep an eye on her from the kitchen. Things went well ... while she was one- and two-years old. However, the room started to shrink as she hit the three-year-old mark. And so, I racked my brain on what to do.

The answer became clear when, upon buying a new flat screen TV for the living room, I gave away the old dinosaur set I had in the den, along with the table it sat upon. Since I had already moved the armchair and ottoman out, I knew that I could make this Isabel's new playroom. I could finally "see" it in my mind as a fun, organized, happy room. However, this room in my mind was a FAR cry from the reality of what lie before my eyes. The room had become a dumping ground and looked more like a cross between an archeological dig and the aftermath of a a tornado strike than any place a child would play.

I knew the job of making the vision a reality would take a lot of work. Yesterday I finally tackled it and was able to finish this afternoon. I really like it. While I still need to paint the walls, it is a bright, colorful, happy place and the afternoon sun pouring through the windows makes it a place of light. The room's purpose has finally been found. See Isabel's reaction below. Apparently that purpose includes making banana bread. ;-)