Friday, April 27, 2007

Elizabeth Jane is 2 and 2 cute!

Tues was EJ's 2nd birthday. She woke up to the kids saying happy birthday and giving her the cards they made for her. Tyra drew a great killer whale on hers and Eeej just loved it. She also said "oooh, pretty!" When she looked at the great lines that Lily and drawn on her card. It was playgroup day, so we took some cookies to share with the friends at the Fairlands Park. The moms helped round up the kids for a picture and a round of Happy Birthday to You. (Note: it really helps get the kids to come if you mention the cookie part of it, not that it's to take a picture!)

Then while Beth was napping Lily and I desperately tried to make a whale cake, make some casseroles and clean the house and yard before some friends came for dinner. It was just Johnny and Auden, both born very near EJ's birthday, and their families, along with family friends KC and Emily and Jimmy (his wife Mia and baby Amberly had to stay home.) Well, I didn't finish any one of the things we tried to do: the house was still a mess, the patio not cleaned up, the dinner not complete, and the cake not completely frosted. Good thing Elizabeth is young enough to just enjoy the fun, and really, with perfect weather the picnic party was enjoyable!

Huntington Garden Tea Party

Before Ben and Jackie's wedding Saturday, Tyra and I went with Wendy and little cousin Samantha to the Huntington (library/garden). There we met up with my mom and Aunts Trisha and Catherine. And just in time, Anne met us for lunch. We had a grown-up tea party with mini fancy sandwiches and small scones and fruit, cheese, caviar, etc. Then for Tyra's favorite part: walking through all the amazing gardens. She has a great eye for color and texture and minute details in individual plants. As she skipped ahead of us older girls I could feel the happiness inside of her and took the chance to tell her how I too feel that happiness from the Spirit when I'm enjoying the beautiful things that God created for us. She agreed and seem to know exactly what I meant. I didn't get a lot of great pictures since we had so little time, I wanted Tyra to just enjoy herself rather than keep posing for me. I'm so glad Mom set this up for us all to do!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Getty

The day after we arrived (a day late because we were luckily enough to get bumped the night before), we went to the J Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles. It was beautiful weather, and we spent most of the time just wandering the grounds admiring the amazing architecture. It's a group of buildings housing different exhibits. Tyra really enjoyed the minute detail in the gold metal work on the furniture pieces. In the main hall there was a huge sculpture by Tim Hawkinson called Uberorgan. It played every hour on the hour, you can hear it in the clip in the picasa album. After Grandpa Lee and Pam left with my Uncle Terry and Aunt Kathy Tyra really wanted to see the garden, and it seems that gardens are her favorite thing...

Ben and Jackie's Wedding

Well, Tyra and I had a great time in California. First I'll post about the main event. We had fun the night before meeting Jackie's family for the first time at the rehearsal dinner. Then Sat. we went to the Burbank Methodist Church where we witnessed their union, as performed by the Methodist minister. Jackie's dress was so pretty and flattering. Ben didn't look too bad himself :) Noah was a perfect ringbearer and helper for little Julia the flower girl. Micah was the best man and everyone else in the line was either Jackie's siblings or Ben's co-worker. We then went up to the Castaway (fancy restaurant on the hill) for the reception. We enjoyed watching Ben and Jackie dance a dance they'd practiced. The food was the best wedding dinner I've eaten. Tyra and Noah got a chance to run around together outside during the belly dancer's entertainment, then there was the traditional bouquet toss with Tyra and Grandma dancing together with the other single ladies, the garter flip, and many more activities. By the time the dance floor was open for everyone to dance Tyra was super tired. So after a dance or two with Grandpa Lee I took Tyra back to my friend Marbell's house to sleep around 10:30.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

8 year olds

I remember as a student teacher thinking that 3rd grade was the perfect grade to teach. For one thing you have first grade as learning to really read and write and begin math concepts beyond shapes. Then 2nd grade is sort of improving on the same. 3rd grade gets into reading real books and the whole writing process, cursive and multiplying and division which makes math so much more interesting. But the curriculum was only a small part of my reasoning. The main thing is that there is something very special about 8 year old children. They are past babyhood and beginning to show maturity and responsibility and their senses of humor skyrocket, their empathy is hightened, and they are just plain sweet. But they are not yet into being cool and all the preteen rebelling troubles.

I'd sort of forgotten about this while raising my own sweet children. But for quite some time now Tyra has been taking this wonderful way of coming up to give me hug when I need it or just because. She actually made her teacher cry on t.v. when they were filming the class because Mrs. Appleman is the county's Teacher of the Year. At the end Tyra went and gave her an impromptu hug that touched her so much the film ends with her tearing up.

Anyway, earlier this week I waited until everyone was starving (as usual) before trying to figure out dinner. I grabbed the latest Gourmet magazine and turned to the 10-minute-mains and immediately started on the chicken chili (highly recommended). I could see it was going to be a minimum of 45 minutes, yet I really wanted some cornbread to round it out. Tyra had made our Jiffy corn muffins before but the gourmet chili deserved better. I got out the Cooks Illustrated The Best Recipe, opened to the corn muffins, called in Tyra and asked if she'd make them. She said sure. Other than getting down flour from on top of the fridge and putting them in and out of the oven Tyra did every single step. And they were the best muffins I've ever had!

It still seems crazy to have a daughter old enough to just call in to help with dinner and have it be truly that much help!! I am getting very excited to go out to California with just Tyra this week for Ben and Jackie's wedding. We've already had a lot of fun just shopping for her accessories and getting things ready. Sitting in the mall on a break at the food court it seemed unreal that we could just be having a perfectly interesting conversation on the merits of fiction vs. non-fiction and what makes for good writing, a good story, etc.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Haupt Garden and the Magnolia's in bloom

We had so much fun a week ago going down to the garden behind the Smithsonian Castle to see the trees in all their splendor! They are called Saucer Magnolias, Japanese Magnolias, or Tulip Trees. They are incredible when there are so many in bloom all together! We had a wonderful time posing, smelling the flowers, playing tag in the empty fountain, drawing the different flowers, and finally, using flower petals as confetti on an huge air vent. It was a wonderful evening for everyone.


More video clips:

Monday, April 02, 2007

Lily Counts and Sings

Lillian has been counting for a long time, but I figured I'd put her on here with it. Sorry it's so dark, but hopefully you can see what a fun girl she is!