Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Honored

This happened way back in December just a few days before Christmas.  I did one little post about it back here but never finished.  I was waiting hoping that I'd get permission to show video and pictures, but that's impossible since it's a school. 
I suppose I also dragged my feet on this post because without showing any of the video I just felt like I couldn't do this day justice.  But I'll have to try. 

The day before this assembly Scott along with the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Parents, and teachers was named Connecticut State First Year Principal of the Year.  It was exciting for the town, the school, teachers, parents, students, and his girls.

Scott2 (2)

The next day a surprise would happen at his school and he had no clue.  Anna, Abigail and I were brought into their gym/auditorium and were seated front and center.  I was a bit nervous about Abigail sitting still when all eyes (all teachers, all students) eyes were on us, but they did great!  We waited quietly with the entire school for "Mr. Baker" to be called in.  Boy howdy it was a surprise for sure!  I loved (and didn't get on camera) the look on his face.  The whole school stood and applauded him, and his girls ran up to him.  It was hard to get a shot through all of the emotion. 

scott

The girls clung to him. I loved watching their pride. That was their daddy that the school was honoring!

Each grade level got up an performed a song/skit/poem honoring their principal. I adored the Kindergartners who sang changing the world to 'Old McDonald'. The sixth graders touched my heart as they wrote a song and performed both the music and the singing of it.

After each grade level performed the teachers and staff of the school lined up. Each one wore an apron that said, 'bakers dozen' and held a cup of colored sand in their hands. As they walked up on stage they poured their sand into a huge glass jar and told their 'ingredient' to the recipe. "one cup kindness". It was moving as each staff member from the teachers to the secretary to the custodian added to the jar.

teachers 2

I love the prideful look on the teachers faces in this one.

teachers 1

They put together a side show of pictures for him with the background music the sixth graders sang.

movie

Scott tried to come up with something to say at the end but he really was speechless.

at podium

Hugs for their daddy!

girls collage

It was a morning none of us will forget. They are one lucky town, one lucky school, we are three lucky girls!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just an ordinary Tuesday

I love Tuesday because Abigail is not in preschool. I'm not good at sharing her (or either of my girls)! Today we baked banana bread using a new recipe. (from Deceptively Delicious) This one has hidden cauliflower in it... shhh!

We headed to the playground for some fun. Boy, when you live in cold Connecticut you have the whole place to yourself in February!

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I froze; she didn't mind the cold.

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5

2

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And I snuck in some reading. Abigail cuddled in my bed with me and she 'read' her books and I got a few minutes to read mine. I always have to have a fiction, a home book, a photography book, and a child book. (And that's after my devotional in the morning) Even if I just have 15 minutes a day I have to be in all of these categories each day... silly I know!

books

Monday, February 27, 2012

Abigail's Eyes

A quick story before the pictures... Abigail, Scott and Anna went for a walk in the light snow.  It gave me a chance to clean up and get ready for some company that was headed over for dinner that night.  After the girls and Scott came back I noticed Abigail's eyes starting to swell up.  Not a little bit either...

When I looked more closely it looked as though she had 10 mosquito bites around her right eye.  But they were just out in the snow?  And then quickly we figured it out.  On their walk they came across some of those pods that had fallen from a tree.  You know the kind... if you shake them they sound like a musical instrument.  She decided to take one home to show her Kindermusik teacher, Mrs. Rothchild. 

2

I knew from some blood testing and patch testing that was done by two different allergists that she was allergic to several kinds of trees and grasses.  After Scott found out that that the tree with the pods was a locust I went upstairs to find through her medical paper work that that was one of the trees high on the list. 

Yikes, that poor girl can never catch an allergy break!  Even in the dead of winter with a fresh coating of snow on everything she had a reaction. 

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All is well now, in a few hours her eyes were pretty much back to normal; thank goodness! 

(PS~ I took these pictures to show the allergist... it's so hard to remember exactly what it looked like at each appointment)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Snapshot ~ No More Bear

So it all started with "bear bear"... given by a former second grade student, Ian when Abigail was born. I think it was the first thing she grabbed with her hands and she really never let go. When she was little Abigail often tucked 'bear bear' into her mouth; I suppose like a pacifier. When it was time to take away bear (at least out of her mouth) she was diagnosed. We faced many hospital visits for her EE and the fact that she was in constant pain whenever she ate. She went to weekly food/eating therapy learning 'how' to eat food when she was two and refused food because of the pain. Somehow in all of at (that lasted over 3 years) I didn't have the heart to take away 'bear bear'. I just went online and bought more so that they could be washed on the sanitize cycle of my washer.

So this past week at a dentist appointment Abigail's bite didn't look quite right to the dentist. And that was the end of bear in her mouth. When we got in the car her big sister Anna let her know in words that made it sink in, "do you understand Abigail? You can NEVER EVER put him in your mouth again!?" She was honestly trying to explain it all to her little sister, but it came out all wrong to her. I have never heard her cry so loud.

So Scott and I thought we'd have some sleepless nights in front of us as Abigail made this transition. Anna tried to think of incentives. "Maybe she could have a party to celebrate..." "Maybe a balloon could work?" "Abigail, just think you can sleep with all of your bears in your bed..." We never thought it could work.

And she did it! So proud of her we were... our first stop of the day that next morning after bringing Anna to school was the party store. She was delighted with her balloon....

One more big girl step for her.

college1

college2


Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chinese New Year ~ part 2

Just a few more picture of Chinese New Year.  I started to post about it back here....

Each year Anna (and Abigail) are given one small gift that was bought in her homeland.  Scott and I did buy a lot of things in China with this occasion in mind back in 2004 but he was able to sort of "restock" our Chinese New Year gifts when he went back to China for the CT Education trip last spring. 

These we knew the girls would love.  You know those wooden dolls that you take apart, and in each layer is another doll...

presents 2

presents 1

And Anna was also given a jade bracelet which I don't have a picture of... I'll take one when she wears it next for sure! 

We had my parents over for Chinese food on the weekend of Chinese New Year (now a month ago)It's always fun and extra special to eat dinner in the dining room with company over.

dinner 1

Abigail insisting on using chopsticks (with her abigail food since she can't have Chinese with her soy allergy)

dinner 2


dinner 3

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Long Weekends

A four day weekend.. oh how wonderful they are.  Just being home, the girls playing, Scott working on little house projects, me cooking and planning our "date nights" at home after the girls are in bed.   This weekend we had some yummy ones from this basket my Dad gave us after we watched Duffy for a week. 

duffy

basket

We went to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art again. I love this place! 

art area

caterpillar

holding up memory books

How wonderful it will be have a short week; I think every school week should start on Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quite Possibly the Best Book I've Ever Read

A Lantern In Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

This book moved me, pulled me in, made me think, made me feel differently, validated my goals, and I loved it!

First published in 1928, Aldrich tells the life story of one Abbie Mackenzie.  As a young woman she dreams of music, art, and a life filled with the finer things.  She is sure she won't have the pioneer life she was born into. 

But love comes to her in the quiet Will Deal; and her dreams change.  Together they live a challenging life homesteading in Nebraska territory where the prairies stretched as far as the eye could see, and only the strongest survived for long. 

As I first opened this book I (a life long lover of all things.. books and shows... Little House of the Prairie) thought I might like this story.  But as I read the beautiful descriptions of the land and the life of Abbie Mackenzie in that land I felt like I didn't want the beautiful story to end. 

I found myself turning over the corners of the pages so that I could remember to go back and reread them.  Parts of the story Aldrich was able to say in words exactly how I felt.  Even though it was written back in 1928 and took place in the late 1800's I went through some of the same emotions as this character; felt some of the same things, took pride in what she did, and let my goals shift to my career being my children.  Oh how I loved this book... do you want to borrow it? 

Here are some of my favorite parts:

I loved how much she loved her husband she knew and met as a young boy.  I knew Scott as a young boy as well so reading this felt like home to my heart...

Only one thing gave her strength for the parting.  Only one thing gave her courage to make the long journey to the raw new state.  Her love for Will.  Abbie's love for her husband had retained its sweetness and its ardor.  And in her heart she has knew that as much as she cared for her people, as dear as were her mother and sisters and the old settlement to her, they did not outweigh her love for her him. 

And when she welcomed a second child...

And now, Abbie's love was divided between two babies,.  No, that is not true.  There is no division nor subtraction in the heart-arithmetic of a good mother.  There are only addition and multiplication. 

Reminding me that my mood is often the whole mood in the house...

She turned to the children.  They were all around the table looking at a little picture Margaret had drawn, Margaret was always drawing.  Abbie ran to them, closed warm maternal arms around all three, and bumped them together in a return of girlish spirits, so that they laughed at her unusual playfulness, their faces sparkling because Mother was full of fun.  How readily they responded to all her moods.  And how careful she must be with those childish impressions.

How we live to make the lives of our children just a little bit more... (I can remember my Grandmother explaining that to my once years ago how each generation wants to give a little more to their children than they had.  Although I can't imagine a childhood more wonderful than mine I sure do try to give my girls so much) 

Abbie was forty-six now.  The gray streaks in the red brown hair were prominent.  There was a noticeable slumping of the lithe shoulders, a thickening of the hips.  The peasant body of the O'Conners was coming into its ow.  In all these years Abbie Deal had not done anything with her voice, and she had not painted.  but as every good mother lives again in her children, her personal disappointments were assuaged by Isabelle giver great promise in her music, and Margaret improving in every canvas she did. 

Oh Will, I am so disappointed... I can only fell those things, not do them.  Isn't motherhood, itself an accomplishment?  She knew that she made her own sense, and yet it gave her a sense of satisfaction and peace... yes it gave her a sense of peace and comfort. 

Oh, and this description of having children is just how I feel.  As Abbie's daughter tells her mother that she doesn't want to have children...

But Isabelle, if people waited to be rich to have children.  If we!  ... Oh Isabelle!  .... You'd make me laugh if I didn't feel so like crying.  'Can't afford it?'  How can you afford to miss it... little children... their soft warm bodies and their little clinging hands.. their cunning ways... miss motherhood?

When her daughter Grace wants her mother to travel and tells her her life is narrow, Abbie responds...

You know Grace, it's queer, but I don't feel narrow.  I feel broad.  how can I explain it to you, so that you would understand?  I've seen everything... and I've hardly been away from this yard.... I've been married.. and borne children and looked into the face of death.  Is childbirth narrow, Grace?  Or marriage?  When you've experienced all those things, Grace, the spirit has traveled although the body has been confined.  i thin travel is a rare privilege and I'm glad you can have it.  But not every one who stays at home is narrow and not every one who travels is broad. 

Abbie tries to explain love to her granddaughter

You can't describe love, Kathie and you can't define it.  Only it goes with you all your life.  I think that love is more like a light that you carry.  At first childish happiness keeps it lighted and after that romance.  Then motherhood lights it and then duty.



Thank you to Sarah for recommending it. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fingerprints of God

Anna,

You're a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds... you're covered with the fingerpints of God.

Fashioned by God's hand; perfectly planned to be just who you are...

And what He's been creating since the first beat of your heart is a living, breathing, priceless work of art.

And I can see the fingerprints of God when I look at you.

Just look at you, you're a wonder in the making.  And God's not through... in fact He's just getting started...
(from Steven Curtis Chapman, Fingerprints of God)

Anna in China waterfall (eyes)

Anna asked tonight at dinner why Abigail had to look just like me, and my heart sank.  Anna, you are covered with the fingerprints of God; you're a wonder in the making.... and we do look alike in our hearts.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday Family Pizza

I love Friday just like everyone.  But Friday has always been extra special since I was little because we always went out for pizza that night as a family.

 I can remember a few pizza restaurants that were my favorite.

 I can remember feeling so happy as a young girl knowing that the school week was over.  I felt relaxed and loved that happy time with my family. 

I can remember at just 15 bringing along my pictures from a High School trip to Spain.  I sat in the booth and went through the envelopes of pictures with my family.  There were a few in there of a special someone that I spent a lot of time with on that trip.  Young love, very, very, very young love. 

And then when Anna came into our family we brought her along with us each Friday to the town I grew up in.  It was a special time of family. 

But then when Abigail was born and I had earlier baby bedtimes and breast feeding we stopped going.  Abigail was diagnosed with EE at just 22 months and couldn't have any cheese so we stopped having pizza all together.  Until I found this great pizza dough recipe from Pam and "fake" Abigail cheese.  Now for over a year I make the dough on Friday morning (It wouldn't be Friday without making my pizza dough) and Scott comes home and makes the pizzas. 

pizza

Yum!  The tradition lives on!

Gee, I'm awful sentimental about pizza.... I'm sentimental about everything! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Favorite 3 Valentines

There were lots of homemade Valentines in our house thanks to the fun craft supplies that Grandma B brought over.  We made them for each other and got all sticky and messy; loved it!  And I carefully packed away all of the extra supplies for next year. 

Out of all of the homemade Valentines and cards, these little notes were my favorite.  (from this family activity back here) 

Anna's first... love this one because we are sitting together, looking at each other.  It's so awesome it gives me goosebumps because it shows our bond which is something I work on every day.  She wrote little notes every day but this picture is the best!

note anna

Abigail wrote the word LOVE for the first time on my card one night. Of course we told her the letters. And doing this project each night she learned how to make a heart. So sweet!

notes collage

And Scott's just speaks for itself.

note scotts

With all of the love notes in my bucket I feel all filled up this February and will keep them forever. Thanks for the idea Cindy! (I miss your inspirational posts of day to day life in your house... come back soon!) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentines Day

Abigail and I went to lunch at Anna's school.  It was fun seeing my third grade Valentine in her element.  Funny story... I picked up Panera for lunch (except for Abigail of course) and Anna asked for a bite of my sandwich and ended up loving it (and eating my whole sandwich).  "You can have my mac and cheese."  Next time I'll remember to pick out a more grownup lunch for her!  This is Anna being dropped off at school on Valentines Day.  I've been leaving my old little point and shoot in the car but haven't had much luck with that (supposed to be so easy) little thing. 

car

Anna gave out bookmarks to her classmates.  I think they turned out darling.  There's even one left over for me! 

anna bookmard

This was the back: 

Valentine Bookmark 1 Back

Then Scott was able to come home a bit early to give the girls their Valentines.  Just little, simple gifts to make the day sweet.  They were sure excited.  It looked like a lot, but they loved their little presents.  Abigail keep saying so enthusiastically, "thank you , thank you , thank you!!!" with hugs and kisses for us! 

abi pile

annas hand around abi opening

card with daddy

hugging daddy

It was a wonderful day in the middle of the week to stop and remember love. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Abigail's Valentines Day

I loved that Valentines Day fell on a Tuesday because Abigail was home with me all day..... ahh, to have my little Valentine all to myself all day...

holding basket toe tipped

So her preschool party was on Monday.  She woke up so excited and had her Valentines all ready to go.  She dressed in her little roses dress and put on her shoes by herself (on the wrong feet).  I snapped these pictures on our way out the door.  We were a bit late that morning.  Holidays do that do me. 


holding basket

Scott helped me make her Valentines on Photoshop. They came out so cute.

abi valentine front

Abigail valentine back

close up basket

Cookies made with love.

cookies

It's always always always hard for me to know that they'll be lots of treats at the party that Abigail can't eat. Only food from home that mommy made. She's super okay with it (I think) and actually brings home the treats that she was allergic to for her sister. Love that!

When she came home she was all lit up holding her envelope of Valentines from her friends. She was running around and smiling the biggest smile. When we went inside she opened each one carefully while I videotaped her.

running

Lollipop... the candy that's always safe for her.

lolipop


I love Valentines Day!  And I love love love love this girl! 
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