Monday, May 27, 2013

Sisters, Swimming, Sailing and Sun

We have had a lot of down time this weekend waiting on the 30 mile an hour wind gusts to settle, and the rain to quit, and the clouds to pass.   But no matter what life hands these two little girls, they have each other...

And they have Boom Boom the calf.

And they have the chickens.

And they have Mancala.

And making dresses out of Kleenex tissues that their dad desperately needed for his nose...

They made their own fun.  They played for hours and hours on Grandpa's boat.  They played with barbies and made forts and used their imaginations.  We had family time this weekend.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and we spent so much time in national parks as a kid.

We even got to go swimming.  The water was pretty cold.

The girls and I swam over to an island and went exploring.  I don't have any photos, of course, but we found footprints from animals and we found a vertebrae and some seashells.  Then we swam back to the boat and went sailing.  Mike was feeling quite a bit better and the weather started to turn in our favor. 

Emma Jane took the helm and skippered the 30 foot boat like a pro.  It took some time for her to get used to a wheel instead of a tiller but she got the hang of it in no time. 

Look at that smile!

 What a capable young lady she is.

Meanwhile, this little beauty is entertaining herself in the v-berth.


I am signing off for now.  As I sit in the rocking cockpit of Davis' boat, which I believe we have just decided to name "Miss Magic", we are ready to start another day of family fun.  And if the day proves to be not conducive to sailing, I am sure that my flexible girls will find something to do.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


It has been a strange weekend here on Texoma.  The weather has felt more like the pacific northwest than North Texas.  It has rained and stormed.  Last night we decided to pile into Davis' boat to sleep in the air conditioning.  As we slept in the V-berth, I could hear the rain beating down on the top of the boat.  If we had been inside our boat with all the hatches closed and no air flow we would have been suffocating.  I find the tug-o-war with the dock lines to be disorienting.  The wind is blowing the boat one direction and the dock lines suddenly go taut and pull the boat back in the other direction and so the fight goes on all night long.  I was so glad to have my family all under the same deck.  We had quite a thunderstorm and I was constantly checking on the littlest sailor, but she slept right through it.

Mike is sick.  Quite sick.  He had raging allergies when we left Tulsa and now I believe is fully in the throws of a sinus infection or secondary respiratory infection of some sort.  He is miserable.  And he is trying to be such a good sport about it.  You know when you don't feel well, the last place you want to be is in cramped, hot quarters and in charge of everything.  I feel terrible for him.

So with the weather being so weird and rainy and our skipper being so sick, we haven't had a lot of sailing time.  But Granna just arrived today so maybe the next couple of days we will be able to go exploring and see some of this beautiful lake.  And if not…that is just fine too.  The girls are having fun regardless.  They wish they could swim more.  But we went for a swim this afternoon and it was a bit chilly.  For the record, I was the only one who thought it wasn't too cold.  Both my girls were complaining almost the whole time!  We have been to the petting zoo twice.  There is a calf named Boom Boom and a chicken named Lucy.
Tonight we went into town (I have not idea what town) for dinner to celebrate Mike's birthday and on the way back we saw a double rainbow!  it was amazing!  Lucy just kept saying "Daddy, that was real!"

I hope to write with news of a much improved Mike.  Happy Sailing!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Taste of Texoma

We are on lake Texoma this weekend. We came down to spend the weekend with Davis and Linda. We brought our boat and are staying in the slip next to them.  We arrived yesterday and after a very long day we fell asleep on side by side boats last night. 

There is nothing like waking up on a boat.  Listening to the halyards bang against the masts, the water lap the sides of the hull, the creaking of the docks; I love it all.  

There is hot coffee steaming up the windows of the cabin.  A fish is jumping out of the water teasing Lucy with its splash. We are having lemon cake and fruit for breakfast. It is cool enough for a jacket but the forecast is promising a warm, swimsuit wearing day ahead. 

It's going to be a great day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Love of my Life

Mike is 44 today.  He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Jane and Davis Plunkett, and I am so thankful he was born.  Throughout our history I have often marveled that we met at all.  He grew up in Louisiana, the son of an oil man, they moved a lot.  How glad I am that they settled back into Tulsa just in time for me to meet and fall in love with their son.  I was 17 and he was 19. That was nearly 25 years ago.

As I watch the news out of Moore, Oklahoma today, I am reflecting about how lucky I am.  When a tragedy strikes you stop and do an inventory of sorts.  The meter of what is important in life is re-calibrated.  The small things disappear and you see clearly what is most important.  That I was able to wake up this morning on my husband's birthday to a family that is healthy and intact, is priceless.  That my girls do not know the terror of going through a tornado, I am so grateful.  That they thought it was a game of sorts to pile bike helmets and extra shoes and flashlights into our bathroom, is good for my heart.   

Everything I have, I owe to this man.  My beautiful daughters and the wonderful life we share are all because of him.  He is the quiet strength behind our family.  He has been by my side through depression, illness, loss, sadness, national and personal tragedies, transitions, change, mind-numbing repetition, happiness, love, births, and indescribably joy. 

On a sailboat there is part that extends from the hull of the boat down into the water, called the keel.  It keeps the boat from tipping over.  It converts sideways motion into forward motion.  It also acts as ballast to stabilize the boat.  Mike is my keel.  I am flailing about with the direction of the wind, swinging this way and that.  And Mike is steadily and surely keeping me from toppling over.  Without him, I would be lost.

I wrote letters to Lucy and Emma this spring and had one in the works to Mike but hadn't found the right time to publish it.  I thought I might wait until our anniversary, but now seems like a good day.  As the tragedy that has occurred here in Oklahoma reminds me, don't put off telling those around you how much you love them.

Dear Mike,
Thank you for loving me.  I know I can be a bear to love and you get scratched up from time to time, but I wanted you to know how grateful I am that you have loved me all these years.  There is no one I would rather grow old with than you.  (Preferably on a sailboat.)  You are my comfort in times of tragedy.  You share my joy in times of happiness.  You are my steady partner in the mundane moments of everyday life as well.  You are my best friend and partner.  I feel safe with you.  I love the life we share.

Your mom would be so proud of the father and husband that you are.  She would be filled with emotion watching you with your girls.  I wish she could see the tenderness with which you kiss your girls goodnight.   I wish she could have seen you rock them as babies.  I wish she could have met them.  She would be so pleased with the way you take care of us and the life you have built for us.  That you have continued the family tradition of sailing would have made her very happy.  She would also LOVE to taste your cooking!  I hope you know that she is proud of you.

I am proud to call you my husband.  You work so hard and you give so much to so many people.  Thank you for teaching our girls about work ethic and perseverance.  Thank you for modeling hard work, honesty and integrity for our children.  You are loved by three very talkative, loud, smarty-pants girls.  I hope you feel the love every single day that we have for you.  Please know that we could not make it without our rock, my husband, their father.  You are the world to us.

Yours - always have been, always will

PS.  You've never looked better!

Friday, May 17, 2013

First Day of Summer

I woke up this morning to this...

That is little Miss four-year-old Lucy working in her Handwriting without Tears workbook.  All on her own.  Emma Jane was watching TV, daddy was at work, and I had been asleep with a terrible headache.  So she just decided to work on her letters.

Can this last all Summer????

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Last Day of School

Today was the last day of Pre-K for Lucy and the last day of fourth grade for Emma Jane.  Here is a before and after, a beginning and an end.

The last day at Mayo is full of fun.   They have yearbook signing and beach blanket bingo and they play in the water from a fire truck.

You can read about last year's fun here.

But this year we are in a new building and building new traditions.  And this year I had two kids to watch and take pictures of.

Two of Emma's favorite teachers who have made the blog in the past.

Lucy Piper was her literacy and math teacher and really pushed her to do great things this year.

And Mrs. Power-Jimenez who we dissected brains with in August and who got married over Spring Break.

It was partly cloudy and barely reached 70 degrees.  It was a little chilly when you got wet.

And finally a photo of Lucy's teacher for the second half of her Pre-K year, Mrs. Eakes.

We are going to caption this one..."I SURVIVED A YEAR OF THIS CHAOS!!"

Every Picture Tells a Story

Last year on Mother's day, I had one goal.  I wanted to get a photo with my girls.  Lucy had been really hard to photograph for quite some time and I had not gotten a shot of the three of us (much less the entire family) in quite a while. 

We went out in front of the house to take a picture.  For those of you who did not get a Christmas card from us here are two photos that sum up our two children the best.

Next up is a photo snapped in Mexico last summer.  Another snapshot of personalities...

Every picture tells a story.

However, I am happy to report that she has gotten a lot more cooperative this year.  This was taken Easter Sunday.

Mother's Day

This year on Mother's Day I was made a breakfast of crepes with bananas and strawberries and nutella and whipped cream and all kinds of amazing goodness.  The coffee was hot and the hugs were plentiful.  After breakfast we packed for the lake and spent the afternoon sailing in near perfect weather.  The winds were light and Emma Jane had a full lesson on sailing the boat.  She is already really good at sailing the boat but they went over terminology...what does it mean when we say "head up" or "fall off" or "sheet in".

As a storm was rolling in we docked the boat and cleaned in the sprinkling rain.  I have photos of Emma cleaning the boat on Father's day at four years old too!  I have to find them.  

We have been going non-stop this spring.  I am looking forward to a slower pace this summer.  On Mother's day I re-read my letter to Emma Jane, and my letter to Lucy.  It gave me back my focus.  

My most important job is being their mother.  When I get too tired and start to get short with them, I need to remember that they are only little for a very short while.  I already miss the cuddly stage of Lucy.  She is too busy to cuddle anymore.  I must slow down.  Reading books before bed is more important than the laundry or the dishes.

This summer I am going to slow down.  Read more books (both with and without kids).  Snuggle more.  Sail more.  Enjoy my house more.  I am getting off this merry-go-round and going to sit on the swing for a bit.

Happy Mother's day to all you moms out there who go and go and go.  Let's model for our children that there are choices to be made and that the precious time we have should be used wisely.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lucy's Ballet Recital

On Saturday we went to see our precious baby dance in a ballet recital at ORU. She was dressed as Pocahontas. She was looking for her classmates when I got this shot. I don't know how I got it. There were hundreds of people walking past this window. But at this moment, with her on her toes peeking over the rail, no one was in view.


Her ballet class had a great performance.  They danced to Colors of the Wind from the movie Pocahontas.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Volunteer of the Year

As this school year comes to an end, I am reflecting back on how far we have come.  Last year at this time we were in a different building.  A beloved building.  I will admit that I was against the move to the new building, but have changed my mind completely.  I love the new space.  I love the new location because I can get there from work in 8 minutes.  This means I can spend more time volunteering.  I can spend more time there in the morning or make it there fast if someone is sick.  I am so happy with the new location and the new building.  There were things that needed to be done and the parents have really stepped in and filled the need.

But from my point of view, the person that gets "Volunteer of the Year", is Mike.  There is no such award, but there should be.  He has spent hundreds of hours up there on weekends and evenings building lofts, a sandbox, painting, hanging art wire, hanging sheet metal for art, hanging bulletin boards, making LAN cables, building shelves, moving furniture, and constructing a shed.

We have spent so much time at the school this year that the girls feel at home there.  I also think it gives them a sense of pride and ownership.  They are proud of their dad and all that he has done for their school.  The physical improvements to the school will last longer than my children will even be there.  I am so grateful for all the wonderful parents that volunteer their time to improve the atmosphere for our kids.  I am also thankful for the teachers that stay late and volunteer their time above and beyond their job descriptions.  We are a community.

There has been a problem with vandalism and littering at the school.  I believe that if we could get each family to volunteer one Saturday with their child, we could create ownership and a community where a student would not want to deface their building.  I know my kids would never dream of defacing the property that they love and have seen their parents work so hard to improve.

Regardless of my grand dreams of getting the whole community involved, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for all we have done.  Forget the ninety hours making the quilt...Mike has donated 5 times that over the last 8 months.  He has been the driving force behind group projects getting done and he has been the lone project manager on the lofts getting built.  If ever there were an award for volunteer of the year, he should certainly be in the running.

But once again, it should not be about the recognition.  Mike has set an example for his girls.  The work ethic and volunteer spirit he has taught them is worth more than any plaque or certificate.  And they are so proud to call him their dad.  They think he can do anything.  And he can...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sewing with Zippers

This weekend Emma Jane and I conquered my fear of zippers. I have never sewn zippers before and am intimidated by them.

No more! Zippers in hand we went to the scrap fabric and picked out fabric for make-up bags. (Never mind that neither of us wear make-up. That's not the point.)

We sewed these little bags and the zippers work perfectly!

Emma's is the shoe fabric with the adorable blue lining!

Spring Sing

Last week the Einsteins (the pre-K and Kindergarteners) had a Spring Program.  They sang about ladybugs and the sun and plants and flowers and rain.  They were absolutely adorable. 

Lucy has a best friend named Lily.  They absolutely gravitate toward each other.  They have since the beginning.  Isn't that funny (Tosca?) how you make a friend when you are so little and share so much with them? 

They also get into a bit of mischief together.  Here they are talking and making each other laugh when they were supposed to be singing.

 Those girls...

The Einstein Quilt

Because many of you have asked how it turned out, I thought I would post pictures of the Einstein quilt I made for the auction.  I still really wish I had it as a keepsake.  But I am getting over it.  I realize that I can teach my girls a great lesson by getting past this.  I also realize that Emma Jane already learned a valuable lesson.

One night when I was cutting and piecing the quilt together she said, "Mom, I love watching you accomplish something you have never done before.  It makes me think I can do anything.  It makes me think that nothing is beyond my abilities."

That is all I needed.  At the beginning of April I had never made a quilt before and by the third week I had one.  And I had a little girl who was inspired to be creative and never stop learning.