Friday, July 29, 2011

My new round umbels

No, this is not a post about plastic surgery.

It's about the Hoya plant my grandfather gave me. It has bloomed!


My grandpa from Dubuque, Iowa noticed my admiration for his waxy-flowered plant that he used to have growing all across his front bay window that overlooked the Mighty Mississippi River. It was obviously the perfect place for the plant since it had plenty of robust flowerings, called umbels.

Of all his many flowering plants (and, as a founder of his local arboretum and botanical gardens, he had M.A.N.Y.), this is the one that fascinated me the most with its unusual silky yet waxy flowers that look like exploding fireworks!

He gave me a cutting of his original plant over 16 years ago--before I was married.

I've been waiting a while!

I'll consider it a nice eye-twinkly HELLO from my Grandpa!

Hi, and thanks, Grandpa!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My, oh my, oh May!

A smorgasbord of snapshots...

The month started out with a bang when Gramma showed up.

Or at least a *PING*PING*.
That's the sound of Kathleen having this done to her ears!

Grammy & Grampy got in the game.

Kathleen's handmade residence for most of May.

The girls' fuel-efficient independent transportation during the month of May.

May's musical musterings

Both the violin and piano recitals in one day--

--within a couple of hours of each other.

May clowning

After Jimmer took off with Gramma and hung out for a week,
Nici, our former au pair, jetted to our country from South Africa,
and we both flew out to Gramma's to retrieve Jimmer -- releasing him from the shackles of...perfect weather, perfect fun with Gramma & Mr. Merle, perfect one-on-one time for once, and perfect freedom from school and siblings.

With the likes of these two personalities meeting for the first time, it took a grand total of one second to warm up to each other.

Card games led to toe wrestling which led to...
snowball fights.

...and scratching around for coin droppage.

Fast friends, I tell you!

Back at the ranch...

Car appreciation day in May

Enjoying May weather!

Pretzel making in May

South African sisters - Nici's sister (now an au pair in NJ) came for a Memorial Day weekend visit to the Lonestar State.

They bought boots,

Dressed up,

Danced with cowboys,

Visited our pink capitol,

Bounced through Lake Travis,

Ate grub overlooking a lake at sunset,

And engaged in pre-dinner thumb wrestling.

As you can see, the kids really had a tough time warming up again to Nici after her 10-year absence!

Much in May.
Then there was June!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ear training for the mechanically inclined

"Hey Mom. Did you hear those cars outside at 5:56 this morning? One was a Lamborghini for sure. The other one was either a Viper or an Aston Martin. Now I'm thinking it was a Viper because it didn't pop, crack, and growl like the Aston Martin. Anyway...they had a stop-light drag race. It woke me up. I thought I was dreaming! It was so fun to hear..."

The mostly one-sided conversation went on from here about the actual noises each car tends to make--and why--and how fast they are able to go in 60 seconds, etc. I'll spare you the deets.

Any guesses on the source of this quote? hehe =)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jimmer's Big Day in May

We had some very *grand* guests join us in celebrating Jimmer's First Communion.

Then, shortly after his big day, one of the *grand* ladies in the house flew away with him.

Far, far away

They did a bunch of fun stuff together.


With Jimmer's fascination with all things related to money and weapons, he got to hang out with Gramma's friend who was the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (1995-1997).

Who now teaches archery and gun safety!

A dream come true for this little guy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

32 days of triple digit heat... precisely why we are inside doing things like this:

I'm so happy our kids like to make up their own games!

In this kind of heat, my survival instincts tell me to stay near the A/C.

Unless, of course, we're at the pool and the kids play one of MY made-up games, the Swimming Decathlon:

1. 5 laps
2. 10 flip turns
3. 10 backwards somersaults
4. 10 hand stands
5. 5 canon balls
6. 10 safety rail pull ups
7. 10 laps around stairs
8. 5 back flop plunges
9. 10x swim under lane line
10. 10 cross-leg sits on bottom of pool

Necessity is the mother of invention.

What dreadful hot weather we have!
It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.
~ Jane Austen

Our balloon rainbow arch was originally made for our South African daughter's birthday.

More on her visit soon...