Saturday, April 18, 2009

Picture This!

As the hum of summer hangs overhead, things are growing!
The purple plum is getting ready to burst its little buds soon! The little grape hyacinths have bloomed. Their greens were nipped brown by the frosty snow last week, though.Some blooming little weeds I found.
Little Wild Violas were blooming underneath K-'s slide.
Some more blooming little weeds. Hey, it was a long winter and in Ohio, we'll get whatever blooming we can get!
If memory serves, this is myrtle. Or vinca. I think it is myrtle, though. Nope. Myrtle is Vinca and Vinca is Periwinkle. Apparently, it is all the same thing. Good to know! A view from outside the garden window. The tomatoes are basking in the toasty window. Those roots are growing and growing. That's another reason why I love to use these translucent cups. I'm able to check in to see the root development. K- was busy outside. She was playing with gravel right outside the door, looking for neat rocks and fossils and I was at the table clipping coupons. I could see and hear her. She had gone to the backyard and was swinging, or at least I thought. Nah. She decided to fill her sandbox with gravel. Yes, we are busy sifting all that back out. Either that or we can put a sign on the gate that says "K-'s Sand and Gravel Pit." Lovely.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lots going on.

I'm writing this Thursday night because I love to give y'all a post every day. I try anyhow! So, today ends with exhaustion from accomplishment. Oh, do let me give you the run-down.

The day started with K- going to preschool. We got up at 7:15 AM, I saw that it was BLUE outside and so BLUE that it was a NACITS (not a cloud in the sky) kind of day. They had promised 63 degrees +. Do you know what that spells? Strip the beds, wash the linens, then line dry the sheets! Hubs didn't have to go in until later, so he got up to greet K- and I stripped our bed and had the sheets in the washer before I left to drop K- off. I came home and found Hubs resting on the couch. Apparently, he had plans to snuggle back in bed for a few more minutes but found the bed bare. Oops. Sorry! I laundered the clothes that were in the basket and the towels from the bathroom. There was a breeze, so everything was drying rather quickly. I decided to go ahead and line dry the towels. I figured that the breeze would snap the stiffness out of them. Can I tell you that I was wrong? I've just used a noisy towel (yes, noisy) that felt like I was drying myself with a long sheet of steel wool. But line drying otherwise was very pleasant. (No, we don't use fabric softener because of allergies.)

I drove back up and got K- and shuttled on back home to have a bite for lunch. I had signed her up for a Wildflower program at 1:00 PM, so we needed to trot on to the park for that.

The program was lovely, but I'd like to ask something. What the heck was up with the loud chatty moms at the table I sat at? They paid no attention to the program, no attention to their kids and did not catch the hint when I turned around not one but THREE times to give them the polite but stern mommy shhh! look. I could have beaned the women! In between Chatty and Patty and their loudness, (and a difficulty hearing because of them) I learned the following:

1. Garlic Mustard is invasive and not good at all. Nothing eats it and the seeds are spread by wind. Their roots overtake soil that native species would live in, thus resulting in a lack of natives and a boom of invasives. They actually have Garlic Mustard pulls as a result.
2. It takes a Trout Lily 7 full years to bloom. If you pick the bloom, it will die because then it has no seeds to regenerate.
3. Even a spider is considered a "pollinator."
4. Skunk cabbage really does stink.
5. Blue Bells were in bloom.
6. We saw Cut Leaf Tooth Wart.
7. We also saw Violets.
8. Spring Beauty was in bloom.
9. We saw Mayapples emerging. Though they are considered poisonous until just a certain point (that Miss Pat, a previous coworker of Hubs, admitted that she wouldn't eat one due to uncertainty), I was able to share with her later that I had eaten a Mayapple. It is pulpy and tastes grapey/appley. It is also very seedy. Hubs' boss picked it and insisted that one of us eat it. Hubs would not. K- was grossed out and that left me. We couldn't disappoint him!
10. Jack in the Pulpit's flower is not the big flowery type tubey flower that we all thought. It's the flowery stem inside.

When we left, K- was fast asleep within 5 minutes. We went back home, K- played with Barbies for a while as I talked to Grandma about this past week with the girls. (Which was great that Grandma was willing to watch all 3 of the girls at the same time. They all get so excited and wear poor Grandma out!)

Then it was time. My vehicle needed freed from what winter had done to it. Our winter started early, at the end of October and our last snow was just April 8. During this time, I had taken my vehicle for one car wash. Toys, crumbs and bits of dried foodstuffs littered the backseat.

It was time to take the car back from Old Man Winter.

K- and I spent 2 hours cleaning the car. Now, in the land of cars, mine probably ranked middle of the road in the untidiness of it all. You see, K- has taken toys, coloring books, crayons and the like into the car for these past 5 1/2 months. During that time, things went in, but rarely came out. It was like a spin on Umpa Loompas, except for people did leave the vehicle. I set out a storage tote that I had been collecting items in already in the back of the RAV for her to clear out the backseat. She was quite a worker. I had a little garbage bag for her and found A PARTIALLY EATEN APPLE! What, my child, were you thinking? "Sorry mom." Rotting apples? My car would have smelled like fermenting garbage soon! I swept and swept. Now, I did see a few chex squares and a pretzel that I was just unable to get. It would have called for the removal of K-'s booster, which since it is rather large and is held in by anchors and tethers, I decided to bypass the 10 minute re-installation and just know that a few chex squares and a pretzel weren't going to kill us. After all, it wasn't a partially eaten apple.

After sweeping and wiping down the inside, we moved to the exterior. I washed and scrubbed. K- took the wheels. We wiped and washed. We were both filthy and wet, but the car shines! I found a few ker-tunks from rocks and think that the 13 degrees below zero may very well have shot the paint pen that I accidentally forgot in the glove box. I may need to order a new one.

She's clean now. Now I'm not embarrassed to get my oil changed tomorrow. While there, I'm going to tackle this pesky, "My Tire Cover Wants To Fly Off of My Vehicle" problem. It's under warranty. They said that they'd look at it and do whatever they had to do. For now, it is stowed away in the back of the RAV. Don't worry, we didn't forget to clean it.

My friend had invited, but actually insisted that we come to visit and give her some sanity today, but then called as we were washing the car to leave the message that her littlest man had a runny nose and a cold that has made him not quite himself. I'm not afraid of a runny nose, but the not-quite-himself sent me to call her and say "thanks, but no thanks." That sent me scrambling for dinner for K- and me. Heather had prepared a lovely ham and potato soup, but declining also meant declining on the lovely meal. No fear! I had chili in the freezer from 2 weeks ago. I heated it up, put a little cheese on it, had crackers and we were good to go.

That leaves me to now. I've made the mistake of sitting down. This probably wouldn't be a big deal except for my bed hasn't been re-sheeted. (I make up my own words. You'll learn to love it about me.) K- is in the bathtub, soaking the day off of her body. I had plans of cleaning the bathroom this evening, but the remainder of the housecleaning will just have to lop on over to tomorrow. We had to take advantage of the excellent weather when we could, right?

Speaking of, today is the day. Friday, April 17, 2009 is the day that I'm registering our one and only for Kindergarten. I've filled out a majority of the paperwork and gathered the necessary items of proof to register her. Oh, heavens. It makes me teary just thinking about it. I'm dropping K- off at a friend's house, going to the school and doing the necessary things and going back to scoop her up. I'll have her school spirit shirt that she'll probably insist on wearing. My goofy kid is growing up. How I'll miss her when she's at school!

Edited to add: Kindergarten registration was long. People spoke for an hour and a half. We met all the Kindergarten teachers, learned about a lot of things they will be teaching our children. Um, I'm thinking that Kindergarten is equivalent to my second or third grade learning.

After getting little miss all signed up, I trotted on down to our local Toyota dealership for an oil change and to solve the mystery of the tire cover. I admitted that I didn't know if I was being a girl about it and just didn't get something weird about the tire cover, but when they returned my keys to me, they told me that they would be ordering a new tire cover. Apparently, they found it to be a problem, too. Or, I found it seems that someone dropped it top side down onto concrete and gouged it all up and that is why they are replacing it. Maybe a combo of the two, yes? At any rate, that is marked off my list.

Right now K- is sleeping in her booster in the car. I rolled the windows down and unlatched her, so she can get out when she awakes. I figured her body told her that it needed a nap. Mommy decided to listen to K-'s body was saying, too. Besides, I need to make a grocery list, so it gives me time!

Have a great rest of your day! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Thursday Ramble

1. Look what my sister and brother-in-law gave K- for Easter. Real Tinkerbell Crocs! I admit that K- has been wearing the Toys R Us knock off's. You know what? Jibbitz fit in them too! :) Aunt K- took the girls yesterday to the store up the street to Jibbitize their footwear. Aunt K- told me that K- picked her very own Jibbitz out. We've got the school bus (because Kindergarten is starting next year), a lion, a Care Bear, Clifford and the donkey from Shrek. K- loves them. (Yes Rach, I though of Lily-- croc-croc shoes!)
2. I got chewed out at work on Tuesday. Don't worry. It's all good. What we have at the gallery is a place where we are able to voice our own opinion, as the eclectic group of artists that we are and by and large, it goes over just fine. Unfortunately, we are all suffering from being a bit disheartened by the economic situation that everyone is in and as such, I was trying to voice my opinion to the ordering powers that be what the customers are stating that the DON'T want to see. I was encouraging more handcrafted, non-commercial items (we have a multi store complex that carries handcrafted and commercially crafted items.) Apparently, I stepped on toes along the way, they spoke to the owner who came over on Tuesday and gave me the come-hither finger. Ouch. 95% of this boils down to CPSIA, which though good intentioned, has caused more stress amongst the handcrafted artisans. My job is not in jeopardy. I'm glad that I work at a place where we are able to freely discuss these things. Still, I don't like my boss being irritated at me.
3. The frog and toad count of Tuesday night was canceled! Hooray! Hubs was home at the regular time and not out tromping in people's yards until 11 PM or later. (And again, yes he does get paid to count frogs and toads.)
4. A praise that Brien is doing better! Another praise is that Rach has been home on spring break with a croupy Lily, but at least they were off and paid for it. That's a good thing!
5. K- went back to school this week and was so excited to! They are officially done with their little letter books of the week, have been working on perfecting their last names and writing their numbers.
6. Jamie has a computer and is now feeling connected to the world, again. And Jamie, back up your stuff and keep glasses of tea away from this one, please! :) We miss you when you aren't around. Besides, it's kind of tough to do your work thing without it.
7. What is it with teachers dating their students? I mean, really. (As I'm writing this, there is a story about a teacher dating and *whatnot* with his 17 year old student.) Ugh.
8. Aunt K- took the girls and Grandma to the Hannah Montana movie yesterday. K- really liked it. I admit that it was only her second time to a movie theater. K- admitted that she ate far too much and thought she would be ill. She said that she worked hard on not getting sick and didn't want to say anything. Apparently, they got a huge bucket of popcorn and sat it in K-'s lap between the three girls. K- has the habit of over indulging, if given the opportunity.
9. We got together last night with Hubs' family (a couple of aunts, an uncle and a cousin) that I haven't seen in a while. Aunt A- has been in treatment for recurrence of breast cancer. It has probably been a few years since I've seen her. I admit that her appearance is much altered, but she is in good spirits. Dinner was wonderful and I was glad that we got to get together.
10. I did an Easter egg hunt for the girls. It was good fun. We suited the kids up in their new crocs and let them run around in the wet grass to get the eggs that were strewn about.
11. We were so busy at work yesterday! We are having a show on Saturday and I was so happy to see the traffic. People were buying things! Lots of things! People were happy! It seemed like a normal day in the gallery. Truly, it made my heart happy.
12. K- was able to play with her cousin from Chicago and they even met her at school yesterday. They all went with grandma (the cousins and Aunt K-) to pick K- up. She was so happy!
13. I sign K- up for Kindergarten on Friday. Eeeeee! Where the heck did all the time go? We were discussing this evening about how it may very well be faster for us to walk the 8 blocks to school, as opposed to run the car conga line. Her school (eeee!) is on a small back street, nestled into a residential neighborhood and I'm thinking that the flow isn't going to be that good.
14. We have a park program today. K- is back at the kindergarten program at the local park and today we'll be learning about wildflowers. She's missed Miss Pat, but the visitor center is currently closed for renovations, we had holidays, major crapped out weather and we finished our time at Little Gym, which was just up the street. The park program is about 20 minutes away, but it is just a wonderful science lesson for K- with hands-on field adventures. I'm glad that we're getting back into the swing.
15. Have I mentioned that I've finally figured out a way to wear my hair down and keep it out of my face? Bobbie pins, baby. A couple bobbie pins in the side and it actually looks like I did something to my hair. Believe me, besides wrestling a hairbrush through it and putting some curling mousse in it, it is what it is. Anyone with curly hair knows what I mean. I've been happy with my hair lately. But, shhh. Don't tell my hair. If you do, it'll stop behaving.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Transplanting Seedlings

It's transplant week here at Bailey's Leaf! No, we aren't talking vital organs, though my good wishes and prayers to those in need of them. However, our little seedlings were just aching to get out of their little mesh pots. Just look! They are getting a little big! (For a review on the seed starting portion, please go to that WFMW here.)
I can't put the lid down on the greenhouse anymore! The seedlings are just too tall!
And, they are busting out of their little mesh pouches. Oh, and if you look real close, they are starting to get fuzzy. This is the time to break 'em out of there before the fuzz overtakes them. Don't worry little seedlings, I'm on my way!
My mother-in-law (hi Mom!) will be pleased to know that our kitchen table also serves as a potting bench. I promise Mom that one day I'll have a potting shed outside. For now, we'll use this. But, here is my pile o' supplies.
To start, I like to rip the little mesh covering off. I know, they are there and can stay there. They don't break down though (at least in my findings) and later I find them littering wherever I've planted them.
Break the majority of the soil off and very, very, very gently (with only your most gentle handies, of course) start pulling your seedlings apart. Tomatoes are very resilient, so that's good. Still, don't manhandle them if you don't have to.
Ah. There. They are split into three. (See, I did end up being Oct*om*om. I did have more seedling babies than I planned on!) In this case, these tomatoes gave me 26 plants. I figured that max, I would have 24. I must have had two sets of twins! :) (And for those who google later for that particular subject and get me with two twin sets of Arkansas Travelers, aren't they going to be surprised?!) I'll let you know later if they were identical or fraternal. :)
I label my cups with my trusty Sharpie Marker. (I love Sharpie. I have one that always lives in my kitchen drawer and I'm lost without it. I must get it from my grandmother, who always had a Marks A Lot in her drawer.)
Put a little soil at the bottom of the cup. Stand your little seedling upright, remembering that tomatoes develop roots off of their stem, so they are sturdier if you plant a lot of that stem. Do that again when you plant them into the ground. You'll have a short tomato plant for a while, but a very sturdy one when the fruits come on. (Remember, a tomato is a fruit!)
Fill with your soil. In this case, my husband picked up some organic store brand soil at Wa*lmart. (No, I don't want to come up on Wa*lmart google searches.) It seems nice enough!
This part was tricky. Hold the camera steady, keep the lens cap from swinging in the way and successfully water the plant without losing your visual space and water the table instead. No, I didn't water the table, but the picture came out blurry. Did I give enough excuses as to why? :)
And voila! All the seedlings were transplanted in the span of an hour and 15 minutes. In that time, I even helped K- along with her homework. Two birds. One stone. Works for me. Look at how comfy they've gotten in their new digs! These pictures are from just yesterday.
The tomato is bowing to the light and needs turned. It isn't limp or near death. Just FYI.

In about 5 weeks, they will take residence in our garden. (In mid-May we'll have a WFMW on hardening your plants off.) My garden needs cleaned out from last year. Don't worry. It's on my list. I still have time, though. Plenty o' time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: I have a friend with MS.

I received an e-mail the other day from my friend, Cj. She has Exacerbating-Remitting MS. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Cj.) Thank goodness she has only had one full on exacerbation, but it doesn't mean that she doesn't tackle MS issues daily. She's had to be on steroid therapy to pull her through near-misses with exacerbation-type bouts.

My friend has gone to stores, used her handicap placard and has come back to either notes on her car, people yelling or the mobility bus driver asking her about her parking in a handicap space. How dare they judge. Do they walk in her shoes? (I'm afraid that my mother-in-law, who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis, worries about the same treatment. She generally doesn't park in handicapped, but really always should.)

Cj is the walking wounded.

I've seen her fall flat on her face.

I've been around when her bowels decided to defy her.

I've seen her when her dog bit her and she had to go to surgery to open up and clean out the wound or she would lose her arm and possibly die.

I've been to the Philadelphia Buyer's Market with her and seen her wobble down the aisle as if she was drunk, but she was just truly tired and looking for that booth that might have a little chocolate treat at the end of the their display.

I've been with her when we had to catch a cab in Baltimore to go two blocks.

I talked with her quite a bit when she got out of the hospital because of a bad reaction to Betaseron. (She lives an hour and a half south of me.) It pocketed under her muscle, only to make the top of her leg explode in an infectious ooze causing her partner (who is hospital phobic) to fight his way out of their long country driveway that was covered in snow and big ruts and get her to the hospital-- stat.

She has slipped and fallen in the shower, breaking her hand.

She is currently nursing a twisted knee.

Here is the e-mail that she sent to me. She didn't write it. Please consider these things the next time you encounter someone who might need a little extra smile.

**I thought I would share this because I don't think I've ever seen it penned so eloquently... Just skim it and you'll get a sense of the frustrations sometimes faced... Thank you, my friend! xoxoxo Cj

This came from Myspace, The Elaine Chapin Scholarship Fund. Elaine (the writer) passed away in Nov. 2008 from MS complications and I thought I would share this.

"Having MS means many things change, and a lot of them are invisible. Unlike having cancer or being hurt in an accident, most people do not understand even a little about MS and it's effects on us; and many of those who think they do know are actually misinformed. In the spirit of informing those who wish to understand... These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me:

Please understand that being sick does not mean I'm no longer a human being. I have to spend most of my day in considerable pain and exhaustion and if you visit I probably don't seem like much fun to be with, but I'm still me stuck inside this body. I still worry about school, and work, and my family and friends, and most of the time I'd still like to hear you talk about yours too.

Please understand the difference between "happy" and "healthy". When you've got the flu you probably feel miserable with it for a week or two, but I've been sick for years. I can't be miserable all the time, in fact, I work hard at not being miserable. So if you're talking to me and I sound happy, it means I'm happy, that's all. It doesn't mean that I'm still not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I'm getting better, or any of those things.

Please, don't say "Oh, you are sounding better!" I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy. If you want to comment on that, you are welcome to. Please understand that being able to stand for 10 minutes doesn't necessarily mean that I can stand for 20 minutes or an hour. Just because I was able to stand up for 30 minutes yesterday doesn't mean I can do the same today. With a lot of diseases and disorders one is either paralyzed, or they can move. With MS it's far more confusing: one hour or day or week or year we may have normal - or almost normal - mobility; the next hour or day or week or year we may be unable to sit, stand, walk, think, remember, or even get out of bed, we may be unsociable or depressed, and almost assuredly we are in pain. We have good days and bad, and during our good days we may truly not "look sick", but we are. Please understand that making plans other than immediate ones is a crap shoot at best, because we can't know how we will feel or what our physical, mental or emotional condition will be. If we seem to hedge about making plans with you, please understand it's because we truly don't know if we will be able to honor them. The same applies if we have to cancel plans previously made or invitations, even at the last minute - it is not personal, and it makes us as frustrated and sad as it does you! That is what MS does to us, and it's how we must live our lives. It is not just a matter of sucking it in, or bucking up, or psyching ourselves up; believe me if we could, we would!

Please understand that MS is variable - with each person and from person to person. It is quite possible and often all too common, that one day I can walk to the park and back, or bicycle 2-4 miles, or swim 12 laps, or even run with my dog; while the next day I may have great difficulty getting out of bed, walking to the kitchen, or be unable to walk at all without a cane, walker or other mobility aid.

Please don't attack me when I can't do today what I did before by saying "but you did it yesterday!" or "you did it before!" Your frustration can not begin to compare to our own frustration. The very act of planning while not knowing what condition we will be in is stressful and tiring in itself. If you want me to do something with you, or go someplace with you... ASK if I can. I may well dearly want to go, but simply be physically unable to do so. Understand if I have to say no today, but please ask me again soon.

Please understand that "getting out and doing things" does not make me feel better and can often make me seriously worse. Telling me that I need a treadmill, or that I just need to lose (or gain) weight, get this exercise machine, join this gym, try these classes, take these vitamins, herbs, tonics and snake-oil cures will frustrate me to tears and is totally incorrect. If I was capable of doing things, don't you think I would? And when I am capable, I DO! I work with my doctors and physical therapists and follow the exercise and diet plans they prescribe.

Another statement that hurts: "You just need to push yourself more..." Obviously, MS directly impacts muscles and ours do not regenerate as quickly as yours do. Pushing ourselves beyond comfortable physical limits can be dangerous and cause a severe relapse. On the other hand, doing what we can when we can is excellent therapy both physically and mentally... and we do! If I work at a part-time job for 4 hours one day, my fatigue level is greater than yours if you worked a 12 hour day. Many days I can still do anything I ever did as well as I ever did .... but only one thing per day or week or month. Everything drains us and exhausts us exponentially more than a normal, healthy person our age (whatever age that is); our recovery time is also exponentially greater. If I go to a party or dinner and show tonight for several hours and have a wonderful time, I do so knowing with 99% certainty that tomorrow I will need all day to rest and recover, much of it spent lying down. MS causes secondary depression in and of itself; our depression may escalate when dealing with days on end of constant pain and limited mobility or cognitive function. We are NOT tired because we are depressed! We are depressed because we are so tired.

When I say I can't do something because I am so fatigued, please don't say "Oh I know what you mean! I am worn out too, but..." because you don't. MS fatigue is not like any tiredness you have ever experienced, nor has anyone who does not have MS or other fatigue-producing disorder. I know you mean well, but it's irritating to hear because it tells me you don't understand me or my MS at all. I may well be just plain tired - we get normally tired during remission phases just as any normal person does - but trust me: we know the difference, and it's huge.

When we are together, please understand when I say I have to sit down, lie down, get a drink, take these pills, or get into a cool place that I have to do it and do it now! No, I can't walk another 5 blocks to the car, or walk back down the hill I just climbed up. Don't baby me, don't hover over me, don't do things for me unless I ask - we are very proud and never want to be a burden. Our independence, or what we can retain of it, is of paramount importance to us!

Please help by listening to and believing what we say we need and act upon it accordingly and as quickly as possible. You wouldn't question a known diabetics request for orange juice or insulin, so please don't question us or urge us to 'keep on... we are almost there!' Not unless you are prepared to a) carry us the rest of the way or b) call 911. MS does not wait, nor does it forgive... when we say "please ... now!" it means now.

If you want to suggest a cure to me, don't. It's not because I don't appreciate the thought, and it's not because I don't want to get well. It's because I have had almost every single one of my family and friends suggest something at one point or another. At first I tried them all, but then I realized that I was using up so much energy trying things that I was making myself sicker, not better. If there was something that cured, or even markedly helped, all forms of MS the world would know about it. If you still insist on promoting 'cures' to me or giving me 'this will make you better' advice, do so; but understand I won't rush out and try it though I may well continue to research it on my own and discuss those findings with my doctors.

In many ways I depend on you... people who are not sick... I need you to visit with me when I am unable to go out; sometimes I may need you to help me with shopping, cooking or cleaning; sometimes I may even need you to do those things for me. I may need you to go with me to my doctor appointments to help me remember and understand their direction, or I may just need a ride. I need you on so many different levels... as much as possible, treat me as normally as possible, enjoy me and allow me to enjoy you as much as possible, and.... as much as it's possible... I need you to understand me."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Miscellaneous Monday

I meant to stay away, but I did pop in on occasion. I had to check in on Rach to see how Brien was holding up.

But, here goes:

Went to my sister's house on Thursday. She is due to have a baby in a month and as I did with her oldest, I went to help spring clean a bit. I was on laundry duty (and appreciating the mass amount that my washer can hold vs. her sad sack tiny load washer) and I adopted her kitchen on as spring clean project while waiting for loads to be done. I stripped most of the cabinets, washed them inside and out, washed and re-organized dishes and went through food. My sister called me her kitchen hero. I ended up not attending Maundy Thursday service because I was so wiped out, but I was working for Jesus and I thought that He would totally understand.

Good Friday brought us to cleaning our home. K- and I cleaned the house (we normally do that on Thursday, but it got flipped to my slosh cleaning day), then ran up to the local discount store to fetch something for Easter for Grandma and Aunt D-. Both are diabetic, my grandmother 91 and with advancing Dementia and my aunt is legally blind. Grandma got a beautiful blooming Azalea and Aunt D- got a bag of oranges-- her favorite. We arrived back home, had a bite of lunch and I transplanted the seedlings. (See this week's WFMW for details.) K- did homework and helped me as I went. Hubs got home, I did some laundry and before I knew it, it was time for bed.

Saturday provided us with much activity. We had our building clinic at Lowe's. K- built a beautiful birdhouse for Daddy for Easter. We flopped parts of the roof (one side overhangs in the front, one overhangs in the back), but that is part of the artistic handmade thing, yes? We dropped my brother and nephew back off, trotted on home for a short time, I made myself presentable (make-up, changed my shirt), then it was off to the Bowling Birthday Party! I admit that the gift that I purchased for the occasion was a whole $5.50 (the color changing Cinderella). Though I added a gift receipt, I was hoping that they wouldn't have to take it back and see how cheap I was. It was a $12.00 toy at Toys R Us. In theory, I paid full price, right? (I have a $5.00-6.00 price limit on kid gifts since we have to purchase so many. But! You can get a rockin' deal if you watch sales!) K- had a terrific time and her behavior was SUPERB! While we were there, I let her know about the surprise Easter Egg Hunt at my friend, Heather's house. She was so excited! More kids to play with!

We left the birthday party, went with bucket in hand to the S-'s house and hung out there for a while. I read a book to the kids while they hid eggs (to keep the kids from the windows). Oh my! Did the kids have so much fun with the egg hunt! Afterwards, K- was able to play on the trampoline with her friends, something that she loves to do, but doesn't get to do often. Then it was off to home. K- finished decorating her birdhouse for Daddy, while I put his Easter basket together. (Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Bass Pro Shops themed, in case anyone is wondering.) While Hubs was eating (I grazed all day and wasn't hungry), K- watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (she wasn't hungry, either) and I worked on getting things ready to fill her basket with. I filled the eggs (Barbie clothes, little sponge tablets and coins), detagged the gifts and filled Daddy in on the loot. I also made an Easter necklace for K-. The other day, I was going through my jewelry box and found the Troll Bead that I bought at work. We clearanced them out at 75% off, due to over-saturation of the market, so I really only paid $7.50 for it. Still, spendy for a necklace charm for a kid, but I'm not using it so why not? It looks beautiful with her Easter dress, which ended up tearing at church so we had to change her into another dress for the afternoon activities. (The upper layer was a gauzy kind of floral print cotton layered over crinoline and a slip. I think that one of the pleats pulled and ripped. I'm taking it to my seamstress friend to see if she can work any wonders on it.)

Sunday brought us Easter! (Like you didn't already know!) We did the eggs and baskets early, so that we could be at church by 9:00 AM. Look!
It's never an Easter egg hunt if you don't hide the eggs in the houseplants.

Our thermostat art was laying eggs.
They were hiding at the top of hallway pictures.
And even in Daddy's gumball machine. Ew. Don't try to actually eat the gum balls. They've been in there far too long and are kind of icky now. Yuck.
At 7 AM, we were trying to wake K- up. "It's Easter!" "Humph!" And she turned over. After I told her that I was sure that the bunny had been there and left eggs, she thought that it would be a good idea to check everything out.
The bunny decided to hide the basket downstairs in her play area. Daddy, er Mr. Bunny, also decided to beef up the basket with some Star Wars figures that he had in his archives. And for those of you wondering about the condition of Baby Root Canal's teeth, you'll see no candy in this basket. We leave that for Grandma. Actually, we never put candy in the basket. Grandma hits the local chocolate company. Mmmm. Delicious!

So, I'm happy to report that K- was completely in love with her bat, ball and "mitten" so much so that she was having some sharing issues. (The plight of an only child.) Normally, she's pretty good about sharing, but she was under the impression that they needed to be used as a unit by one singular person, who just happened to be her. Um, we had to nip that in the bud a bit. In fact, we left my parents home earlier than planned to take Little Miss Sunshine home for a nap. Normally we don't mandate a nap, but Easter was so much stuff that she really needed to decompress and re-group. We were at church for 2 1/2 hours and that can really wipe her out.

Sunday evening, before bed, K- settled down with her new Thumbelina movie from Grandma and Grandpa and a bag of chips from the bag of loot from the other set of grandparents. Hubs enjoyed his basket. He made me the traditional Easter gardening basket. He purchased some solar lights for the backyard, and I'm so excited with them that I'm going back to get more.

My break was much needed. Truly, it gave us time to talk about the true meaning of Easter, demonstrate it through action and have a really nice time together as family. I hope that all of you were able to enjoy Resurrection Day!