Sunday, March 31, 2013


It was a gorgeous Easter here, bright and sunny and still damp from last night's rain (yeah rain!!).  Once the girls put on their sweet Granny-made dresses, each in her favorite color, Rachel asked if I was going to take pictures.  Of course!
It was a BUSY Easter morning.  We checked out the Easter baskets, hunted eggs around the house, went to the sun-has-risen early church service, rescued some earthworms, stuffed ourselves at the church Easter breakfast buffet, went to Sunday school, went to church, went to Granny and Poppy's for lunch, and the girls ran around barefoot in the yard for an hour.  After all of that, nap time was much mandatory, but no one really protested.  It was pretty much a perfect Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Egg Time

Granny and I dyed Easter eggs with the girls this afternoon.  They always love doing this!  It's just so much fun to play with dye...
Happy almost Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday Snow

We are finishing up our Spring Break.  And a cold, gray, boring break it has been...  Let's just say we are all looking forward to returning to school tomorrow!

Last night, as sleet was falling outside, I stood in front of the girls' closets picking out church clothes.  I looked at all of their somber winter dresses in navy and purple and dark red and I wanted to cry.  Every year my longing for spring is so great it is visceral, something I can almost touch.  And this year is no different, probably even worse then usual since winter came late and has hung on drearily.  I finally decided that I could not do it.  I could not dress my girls in velveteen and black patent leather another week.  We were going to acknowledge Spring even if Mother Nature did not cooperate!  So I pulled out some new sundresses and added turtlenecks and tights so that no one would get frostbite.  That was a good thing, because we woke up so snow this morning.
So we pulled on our snow boots and stomped off to church in our spring finery, because today was the best Sunday of the year if you are a kid.  Today was Palm Sunday.

Church attendance was terrible, but there were kids and we had LOTS of palm branches. 
We had to wait through the announcements to make our grand entrance, so keeping the kids quiet and relatively calm was a priority.  Palm branch aerobics was a good solution!
Soon it was time for the procession.
There was singing and parading and much waving of palm branches.  Such glorious celebration to begin a week of somber sadness.  And a great day to be a kid.
Palm Sunday in the snow...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weaving Lessons

Last summer, our dear friend Linda, who is a weaver, invited Katherine to come and weave with her some time.  Since discovering weaving in art class this winter, Kate has been begging to visit Linda and today was finally the day!

Linda took us on a tour of her sunny weaving room and all of her looms.
This is a room where even the scrap basket is interesting!
And then there is the yarn...  I don't weave or knit or crochet, but I could look at yarn all day long just to admire the colors and textures.  Gorgeous...
Katherine had a turn at the yarn winder, filling a spindle with yarn.
And then Linda set her down at the table loom and put her to work!
Kate, as usual, didn't say much of anything.  But she loved every minute of it!
I love the look of contented concentration in her eyes...
She quickly understood what to do and then was perfectly happy to sit and weave.
After an hour's work it was time to leave.  Katherine was pleased with what she had woven and it didn't matter to her at all that the piece wasn't finished yet.  She just loved the process.
As soon as we got in the car, Katherine started talking non-stop about her morning.  "That was so much fun!" she squealed.  Later she said, "I know it's no where near my birthday or Christmas, but I want a loom."  I think I have a weaver on my hands! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Little Hand Blues

Rachel has become hyper-aware of her little hand lately.  As far as I know, there have been no ugly incidents with nosy kids or any discoveries of some coveted skill that absolutely must involve two hands.  She has just become very, very aware that she is different.  And she doesn't like that. 

She mentions often that "I have a little hand".  I just agree and tell her what a wonderful hand it is.  At least every other day she asks "What if someone laughs at my hand?"  We go through the list of possible responses to such an event over and over again.  I see her trying to hide her hand in public, something she never used to do.  And it makes me sad.  Rachel's hand is different, but it is not a disability, it does not prevent her from participating in any part of life.  But her perceptions of her hand can, and sometimes do, keep her from joining in.  I know that some day she will see her hand as I do, as a unique and beloved part of her self.  But right now, her hand just makes her different.

Earlier this week as Granny was driving Rae to school, Rachel announced "I am never going to be able to drive."  Granny asked why.  Rachel said "Because I have a little hand."  Granny assured her that you only need one hand to drive and then drove all the way to school with only one hand on the wheel, just to prove it.  Obviously, there are some big thoughts brewing in my girl's head...

This afternoon Poppy called from a local tennis tournament.  He told us to come and join him.  He's been watching our college team play when he noticed that a girl on the opposing team had a little hand much like Rachel's.  He thought Rae might like to see that.  We hopped in the car and drove over immediately.  By the time we got there, the match was over so we wandered over to the girl with a hand difference and introduced ourselves.  Rachel was struck mute by fascination and embarassment, but Chloe was kind and inviting.  She told Rachel that she went to college and played tennis and drove a car and did everything else and that her little hand wasn't a problem.  Rachel wouldn't say much, but she was soaking it all in.  Chloe was exactly what Rachel needed right now.  I hope seeing this big, confident, independent girl helps Rae.

I have long wished that Rachel had the chance to see other kids with limb differences.  I am in contact with whole yahoo groups of parents whose kids have hand or arm or leg differences and I know there are thousands of kids out there facing the same fears Rae has.  But she doesn't know that.  We don't know any other kids who have hands that are different.  As far as she knows, there is no on like her.  And that isolation is so hard.  Rachel's particular hand difference is very rare, occuring in 1 of every 40,000 births.  Other hand differences are similarly rare.  So in our little town, in our sparsely populated state, there are no play groups or support groups for kids with limb differences.  But I wish there were.  Rae needs to know she is not alone.  And I can never convince her of that.  So for now, we will have to rely on chance encounters like today.  I hope we find other Chloes out there, so I can teach my daughter to be strong and confident and proud of her differences.  After all, diversity is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rite of Spring

Now that we've had a taste of real winter, we're ready to be done with it.  It snowed.  It was fun.  But now it's March and spring needs to arrive.  Soon.  So tonight we celebrated the much anticipated coming of spring with one of our annual rituals: the first picnic of the season.  We picked up hamburgers and headed for one of our favorite parks.  It was 55 degrees and windy, but we were going with the "if you build it, they will come" theme.  We had fun, even if it was a bit unpleasantly chilly!
Okay, Spring, you can come now.  Please?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Tea Party

Earlier this winter, Robie suggested we have a fancy tea party and let the girls invite a few friends.  Robie volunteered to be the host.  It sounded like great fun, so we set a date and sent out e-mail invitations.  And then the blizzards came and we had to postpone.  But today was sunny and warmer and just perfect for a fancy tea party!

We invited our good friends Amy and Anna and their mom.  The girls all arrived in their fanciest attire!
Robie had the table decorated with good china and fancy cake stands.
We had tea and pink lemonade, mini cupcakes (decorated with a huge variety of sprinkles!), rice crispy treats, jelly beans, and scones with lemon curd.
However, the most popular treats were dipped marshmallows and cucumber sandwiches!
We all had fun tasting things and chatting.
Robie even had games for the girls.  They'd never seen sugar cubes before, but were happy to play with some.  (Rachel had to sample several, of course!)
Then there was a relay involving spoons in your mouth and sugar cubes.  Mostly it was about who could giggle the loudest...
Afterward, the girls explored the house and played with the toy tea set.
Amy and Katherine, who were once orphanage "sisters" had to pose for their required picture together.  They've been friends for 9 years now.
Thank you to the fabulous Aunt Robie for a perfect afternoon!

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