25 May 2012

Build It And They Will Come

The beds are done! Ryan and his friend C. tilled the earth, built four lovely boxes, and put everything together last weekend in the blistering heat. Lola and I filled them up with tomatoes, strawberries, green and yellow onions, and beans in every color imaginable. All that is left to do is put up a fence to keep deer and rabbits out.

The fence is a necessity, believe me. No sooner had we finished planting our seeds and seedlings, or we spotted a rabbit hopping through the yard. Coincidence? I think not! She was building a bed of her own in a little mound on the north side of the yard. And while baby bunnies are undoubtedly cute, I do not want them in my garden. Don't worry though, we're on it.

Funny thing is, it worked!

19 May 2012

Bed Building

Exciting times in the N. household. We are building raised beds for our fruits and vegetables today. Ryan has enlisted the help of a friend, who thought he was coming up to go fishing, and I have every confidence the project might actually be completed in one weekend. That is a good thing, because Ryan has to go back in for more elbow surgery next week and I do not feel like taking on this project myself.

But first we must break and level the ground. My husband is a stickler for level surfaces. Right now he is picking up a rototiller while I wait for the wood to be delivered. And first thing this morning a dump truck pulled up to drop off ten yards of dirt. It's been awhile since we purchased dirt by the truckload.

18 May 2012

Lights, Sirens, Action!

What do you do when you need to get to school in a hurry? You take the firetruck, of course! That is exactly what Lola did today.

The ride to school in a firetruck was the most coveted prize in the raffle held at Lola's school during the Community Day in March. And what do you know? My daughter was the lucky girl who won it! This morning she claimed her prize. At 8 o'clock she reported to the fire department here in town, along with a parent. Ryan was the one to accompany her on this awesome trip. A boy's dream come true! (I don't think it really was his dream but we're going with it anyway.)

When they arrived at school, the entire Elementary School was gathered outside waiting for them. Lola was greeted like a rock star by her classmates.  Applause, cheers, and hugs all around. It was so cool!

A school bus is so last year...

All the little boys and girls admired the firetruck. The Chief was happy to tell everyone all about it.

A big Thank You to the Fire Department for this unforgettable ride!

And to top if off, mom got to hitch a ride in the firetruck back to town. No sirens for me, though.

11 May 2012

Mother's Day Surprise

When I was in grade school, we memorized poems for Mother's and Father's Day. And I also remember doing special crafts like making a hyacinth by taking a toilet paper tube, painting it, and gluing scrunched up pieces of tissue paper onto it. Come Sunday morning my sister and I would run into my parents' bedroom and recite our poetry and give our gifts.

When Lola returned from school this afternoon, she gave me my Mother's Day gift right away. It was a baby zinnia which she planted herself a few weeks ago at school. Naturally, we could not let the little plant sit in a brown paper bag for three days. While she was at it, she also gave me this:

Happy Mother's Day! I'll be relaxing with my blanket and some tea.

01 May 2012

Second Opinion

It's Tuesday and Lola does not have school today. As we are sitting in the kitchen, leisurely enjoying our breakfast, she excitedly points out the window.

"Look, look, look!"

I look. All I see is Sandman, the cat, at the edge of our yard. So does she. She thought it was a bunny.

She asks me if bunnies can walk, getting on all fours to demonstrate her meaning. I tell her no, bunnies can only hop.


"Yes, really."

"I'll ask Mrs. L. tomorrow, see what she says." Clearly she is not convinced I am right about this one.

Slowly but surely I am falling off my 'Mom Knows Everything' pedestal...

28 April 2012

Building A Green House

City Slickers

We are down south at the moment, visiting with my aunt, and Lola is in heaven. Yesterday was the Best Day Ever! Why? Well, my horse-crazy girl had her very first horse back riding lesson. I promised her last fall she could take lessons this summer when her ballet classes were done but the first lesson happened sooner than expected.

Behind my aunt's house is a small farm with horses. Chickens too, and they frequently jump the fence to dig holes in my aunt's garden. While chasing the chickens back to their own yard, Lola and her cousin Z. struck up a conversation with the owner. And before long, both girls were brushing horses, saddling them up, and learning the basics of horse back riding.

Mr. Balderdash, the pony Lola rode on
Waiting to mount
They are doing it, riding all by themselves
With a little guidance from the instructor
Lola was a little disappointed she couldn't ride the big horse yet
Balance exercises
Horse talk, I'm sure
City Slickers

24 April 2012

Basket Case

When I go grocery shopping, I almost always bring my own bags. I have a cute little basket my mom bought for me the last time she was here. In it are a few more bags because the basket doesn't hold that much.

I am known for my basket and bags in out town. The enviro sax especially. They are a tad pricy (mine were a gift) but totally worth it. They hold a ton of groceries. Plus all the cool celebs are using them nowadays, which makes me feel super trendy. Because that is so important up here.

The other day I was grocery shopping at the local Piggly Wiggly in the next town over, when I went to check out. As always I put my basket on the grocery belt first, followed by the contents of my shopping cart. The lady at the cash register picked up my basket, looked with a puzzled face at the man bagging the groceries and said: "I don't know what to make of this?" I told them it was a basket to hold my groceries. It blew their minds. That someone would come in with their own grocery carrier.

18 April 2012

A Week Of Festivities - Part II

Last Friday was Lola's very first ballet recital. It was held in the auditorium of her school. Four groups of girls from the Anne Renier Dance Academy danced their hearts out. Each group showed off their talents twice with a ballet performance and a tap dance performance. Unfortunately the stage at Lola's school is carpeted and the tapping was mostly muffled. It's been so long since I have been to a dance recital, I can barely remember it. I am fairly certain I didn't cry at that one though. It was a little embarrassing, to be honest.

Today was a reprise of the recital during All Arts Day at Lola's school. And Miss Anne announced at the end that they will be performing again at the Fourth of July Parade right here in town. Some grandparents will be mighty pleased to hear this. Others will have to do with the video footage I shot today. If you're reading this in an email or a reader, you'll have to come over to the blog to play the videos.

(Ryan taped Friday's performance which is of a much better quality and will be made available on DVD for those interested. However, if you have to wait until I figure out how to edit that footage and upload it, DVD players will be obsolete. My crappy camera work will have to do for now.

Lola starts both dances in the back left corner. She is also the one you hear over everyone else in "High Hopes.")

Cute, huh? I am so proud of Lola.

16 April 2012

A Week Of Festivities - Part I

It's nasty outside. Rain, wind, dark skies, even a little snow is predicted. The kind of weather that makes you happy you don't have to go out today. Unfortunately I do. There's mail to pick up, groceries to shop, and library books to return. I am waiting until Lola comes home from school. She loves going to the library.

In the meantime I have downloaded a few dozen pictures from my camera. We have just ended a week filled with festivities. Easter on Sunday, Lola's fifth birthday on Tuesday, her first ballet recital on Friday, and finally her friends birthday party on Saturday.

Easter morning was lovely. The Easter Bunny surprised Lola with a beautiful dress, a handmade basket, a blue play silk, and fifteen colorful eggs scattered about in the yard. (I am fairly certain I supplied the Easter Bunny with sixteen eggs though. I wonder when we will find the last one...)

While Lola played with her new treasures, Ryan painted the first of our living room walls and I worked on opening my Etsy shop Dutch Girl Originals. It was important to me to open it on Easter and even though I had only one finished product to sell, I made my deadline. Every now and then I interrupted my work to search for eggs that Lola had hidden for me or hide some for her.

Lola's fifth birthday started early. Very early. Ryan had to leave for work no later than 5:30 AM and we didn't want to tantalize Lola with a big pile of gifts that she couldn't open until he came home again. When I was setting up the breakfast table the night before, hanging streamers, and arranging presents, I felt a little sad. The nearly five feet tall pile of boxes that had come in the mail for her was awesome of course, but there would be no people to celebrate with her. Just her parents.

I never had a stack of presents like hers but every single birthday my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and local friends would be there. That is not possible for Lola, simply because of distance. I know Lola doesn't know any different and was mighty pleased with her gifts, but I remember from my past the visitors, and not the gifts (with exception of the red bicycle I received for my sixth birthday). I wonder what Lola will remember about her birthdays forty years from now.

Lola had no school on her birthday so we played with her presents all day long. She was happiest with the horses my dad and his wife sent her and the little toy broom she got from us. The internet was down which made for a very peaceful Tuesday once I got passed the initial withdrawal symptoms. Lola requested pizza for dinner and a strawberry birthday cake for dessert. She got both. Happy Birthday, my lovely Lola! I am more in love with you every day.

06 April 2012

Spring Green

I brought some lilac branches inside. They had succumbed to the snow last month. Rather than throwing them in the bonfire, I clipped them and set the smaller ones in a vase. The larger branches are our Easter tree. They look very cheerful in the hallway filled with eggs and bunnies.

I don't really expect the lilacs to flower, but the green is nice. The daffodils have grown since I took this picture. It feels good to have flowers in the house again. Especially since we don't have much popping up in our yard. We'll have to remedy that next year.

30 March 2012

Scared With A Cee

Before you continue, you should know there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. At least not with my breasts. Because I know you were wondering…

On Wednesday I had my very first mammogram. Ah, what a pleasure that was. I had heard about it, but was still a bit surprised to see and feel just how tightly my breasts could be sqeezed between two pieces of Plexiglas. The appointment was over before it was even supposed to begin. I was in and out in under ten minutes. Not bad.

The technician told me I would receive a phone call on Thursday for a follow up appointment should anything show up. If not, they would just send me a letter with an invitation to come back in one year. When I spoke to Ryan on the phone at the end of the day yesterday, I told him I had not gotten a phone call and everything must be alright.

I had spoken too soon. After I hung up, I checked the missed calls. While I was accompanying Lola to her ballet class, the local clinic had called. And they had left a message that they would like to go over my mammogram results with me. Of course they were closed by the time I listened to it and I was left stewing over the possible implications until this morning.

I had a hard time keeping it together at first. While I knew in the back of my mind that this was nothing but a courtesy call, I could not get my brain and my heart to believe it and act accordingly. Things got better once Ryan came home and I was able to talk about it. He reassured me, and undoubtedly himself, there was nothing to worry about. I calmed down enough to be able to make jokes about it.

This morning I called the clinic as soon as they opened. It took them approximately ten minutes to answer their phone by which time I was thoroughly worked up again. If you insist on scaring your patients, at least have the decency to be open for business when you say you are. When I was finally connected to the nurse, she told me the results were negative ("What does that mean, is that good or bad?", my frantic brain was yelling at me) and that they would like to see me back in one year.

Good news then.

After taking a deep breath, I was able to calmly tell the nurse what the mammography techs at the hospital tell their patients and how she had scared the living daylights out of me with her message. She was very apologetic and I could tell she genuinely felt bad about the whole situation. We parted on a good note.

I called Ryan with the good news, made myself a cup of coffee, and painted my toenails a beautiful taupe color. I don't care if it's snowing outside, things are looking sunny to me!

20 March 2012

What You Get...

... When you leave your camera unattended:

09 March 2012


I just picked up the following conversation between Lola and her friend B. They are playing in her room. I am in the next room, trying to put together a shopping list. It's not so easy anymore to capture the funny stuff she says because she talks a mile a minute now. But she still cracks me up.

“Guess what? My grandma wants me to stay little forever.”


“Because I am just so cute.”

“So she wants you to be little?”

“Yes. But I just keep growing.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes I do.”

“But I am still taller than you.”

“That’s because I am growing s-l-o-w-l-y …”