Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Violinist

Katherine played her violin in church this morning. She was more nervous about performing than she has been in the past. She asked for extra lessons and carefully considered what she would wear. Last night she even asked to try a new hairstyle, some sort of fancy updo. After years of refusing any style but a ponytail, this was a surprise! And this morning she even humored me by posing for a photos, something she has rarely tolerated this past year.

When we went outside and she turned toward the camera, I was struck by how grown up she has suddenly become. And how lovely.
 She is a different girl than she was even a year ago.
 She's more confident, more settled.
In the shift from little girlhood to something more like a teen, she's also become more introspective, more intellectual, and is developing a wicked sense of humor.

I rather like this new tween version Katherine. She's usually a lot of fun to be around! And she plays beautiful music...
She has been working all summer on her piece for this performance. She played the Theme from Schindler's List, which is mournful and aching and absolutely gorgeous.
It's a difficult piece, with lots of complicated bowing.
She didn't think she played well, but then, she's her own worst critic. I pointed out that the vast majority of her audience would never consider standing up in front of a crowd to perform anything. And I reminded her of what my friend calls The Miracle of the First Pew - no matter how much you know you've messed up, the adoring congregation will hear only beautiful music played perfectly.
For me, watching my beautiful, brave, and talented girl playing her best makes my heart swell to bursting.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Our church has a little garden, where the children plant and harvest tomatoes and cucumbers and even blueberries. There is honeysuckle and zinnias and a spectacular sunflower patch.
All of the sunflowers are taller than I am, but the one in the middle, the one that looks like Jack's beanstalk, is in a league of its own. I am 5 foot 8 inches and even on my tiptoes I can only reach half way up the plant!
Last night, after an evening thunderstorm, I went out to take a few pictures of the sunflowers. I ended up with 74. I think I have a slight obsession with sunflowers...

I'll admit, I have a serious case of sunflower love!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rachel's Day in the City

Rachel had a dentist appointment yesterday. She loves to go to the dentist!
As far as dentists go, is a pretty swanky office. Every chair has it's own TV and DVD player with a long list of movie choices, there are a dozen toothpaste flavor options, and an entire bank of prize machines. And a game room!
And then there is the dentist. Dr. Mike is very handsome and incredibly nice and even has been known to sing along with Frozen while he works on your teeth. Rachel has a little crush on Dr. Mike. I know because she always dresses especially nice when it's dentist day and she speculates whether or not Dr. Mike will notice her outfit and accessories. He always does!

Since we had to go to the city anyway, Rachel and I decided to make a whole afternoon of it. Rachel's idea of a perfect day in the city includes lots of time outside being active, but the beastly heat index prevented anything outdoors. Rae is not much of a shopper and she doesn't get too excited about museums, but she is always ready for an adventure. So we visited some fun places we had never been to before.

The first stop was a salt water aquarium supply store. It was cool and dark and had the most amazing fish and corals and other sea creatures in it!
 The unicorn fish made us laugh!
You could find Nemo all over the place!

My favorite was the nudibranch. It was perhaps two inches long, brilliantly colored, and had some fabulous fringe-like decorations!
This was a pretty amazing shop!
Next, we stopped by a well known local institution that we had never actually tried...
I wish I had a picture of Rachel's face when she realized that I was taking her to a donut shop. She could not have been more shocked! Mom doesn't do donuts. That's a Dad thing. But we did indeed get donuts!
Rainbows in the Dark, Lemon Lift, and Maple Bacon. We split them all and chowed down. And we both agreed that the lemon was the best.
The shop was filled with all sorts of retro kitsch, and we had fun just looking at all the weird stuff inside.
Then it was time for the drum store!

Rae was quite impressed with the giant drumstick display and all the different kinds of drum sets.

Our next stop was a more practical one. Target. Rachel was not particularly happy because "Target isn't fun". That is until we got to the school supply section. The second grade school supply list includes pointed scissors, and she searched carefully until she found the perfect pair.
Rachel spotted a pet store and begged to go there to see the hamsters and lizards and all the other little critters.
Especially the birds. Rae loves birds.

Our last stop of the day was dinner at Rachel's very favorite restaurant. It's a Mongolian style create-your-own-noodle-bowl place where you can watch your dinner cooking on the giant griddle.
There is nothing that makes Rachel happier than a big plate of noodles! It was a perfect end to a perfect Rae Day.

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way