Thursday, July 30, 2009


Dear Mom,
After a long swim season, swim team has come to an end. The teenager, the diva and pipsqueak are in hibernation this week. Yesterday we were in our pajamas until 4:30 in the afternoon (only changing into our clothes before David got home)!!
This past weekend, we spent 23 hours at Miami University for swim championships. The kids swam for about 7 minutes of those 23 hours!! It was the most exciting championships -- ever. The lead changes were back and forth and the point spread was as few as 3 points ahead and as much as over 100 points behind!! Our team was not favored to win. The team has won 14 years in a row but as swim leagues and summer swim teams change and get larger, the margin for winning got narrower. The teenager placed 15th in all of the Tri-County Swim League in the butterfly! Woo hoo! The diva won her heat in backstroke and got to see her name in lights on the Miami University scoreboard! Woo hoo! Pipsqueak?! She's just so darn cute!! Woo hoo! The teenager, the diva and pipsqueak all swam their best times for the meet; the entire team fought hard to WIN--15 YEARS IN A ROW!!!!!!
It was a fabulous year. Swimming is always my favorite time of year. It is hectic and busy but at the same time, it is a time to sit on pool chairs spending time with friends, renewing friendships from previous swim seasons, cheering our kids on toward personal victories. The championships are the highlight of our summer. Our swim coach designs special championship shirts each year and our kids can't wait to see the new shirt! We wear our shirts with pride!! We nervous moms cluster together in the University stands and wring our hands. We celebrate when our children win their heats, we comfort each other when our child "DQs" an event. We whoop and holler when our children break and make new meet records.
When swimming ends, it is a reminder that fall is right around the corner. School and homework will replace the easy-ness of summer. Crisp air will replace the humidity of summer. Alarm clocks will need to be set. We will have to wake up in the dark and we will have to wear real clothes.
Until then, enjoy every moment of the rest of your summer!
Love, Wendy

Monday, July 27, 2009

Country Livin' in the Summer

Dear Mom,
Summer is just flying by! So much to do and see. The county fair is always a highlight of my see the proud 4-Hers displaying their projects and the community coming together to appreciate and support them is heartwarming. The "Small Animal Barn" is my favorite place to visit at the fair. It houses the poultry, pygmy goats and rabbits.

These are Sarah's pygmy goats--Jolly, Yeager and Bud. They just wouldn't hold still! Here are two adorable Jersey Wooly rabbits.
This is a beautiful Belgian Bearded D'Uccle rooster--Meg's male counterpart. Looks like he needed a special warning sign against poking fingers...poor little guy.

The weather has been superb and my little garden is producing some wonderful veggies. I really thought my beans were finished once the rabbits discovered them. I covered them with bird netting to keep the rabbits out and quickly learned that bean plants do not actually need their leaves to blossom and produce fruit. There are so many beans now that I don't mind sharing them with the rabbits.

This is my first big beans, green peppers, Early Girl tomato and zucchini.

I'm eager to try out this sweet corn, but I'm not quite sure how to know when it's ready to be harvested...The 16-foot tall Sunzilla sunflowers....didn't quite make it much past 5 feet!! Oh well, they are still pretty along the fence line. These sunflowers turned out to be HIGH MAINTENANCE! The rabbits, bugs and shade are their enemies.

The hummingbirds are plentiful this year. Summer just wouldn't be summer without them, don't you agree?! Benny is certainly enjoying his warm summer days...on my clean tablecloth! Love, Bonnie Jo

Sunday, July 26, 2009

THe MorNIng AfTEr

Dear Mom,
My Hero's 50th.
The Morning After.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Birthday Girl

Dear Mom,

Twelve years ago The Young Lady hollered her way into the world, and stayed angry until we left the hospital, when thankfully, she settled into the contentment of home and quieted down.

At last, after a string of boys, we had someone to wear the smocked dresses, lacy socks and Mary Jane shoes we dreamed of, and an excuse to buy Madeline dolls. We had a good reason to have a tea party at The American Girl store and buy Angelina Ballerina and all her friends, books, clothes and fully furnished house so we could play with it.

There have been rough patches, like the Stuffed Animal Stand Off of '99, and the Pikachu Halloween costume that caused me to take Deep Breaths at the kitchen sink when The Young Lady decided to forego the new costume I made her so she could squeeze into the Pikachu costume from the year before. "It's her Halloween", I told myself while breathing deeply.

If anything, she has taught me to choose my battles wisely, expect the unexpected and respect her individuality. She has opened my eyes with her fresh perspective, and I am inspired by her capacity for forgiveness and compassion.

Without a doubt, the years ahead will bring a new set of challenges and worries, but I also know that there will be even more causes for celebrating and while I will always be her mother, one day many years from now, I hope she will want to be my friend.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dear Mom,

I haven't received my copy in the mail yet, but the September '09 issue of Creative Knitting Magazine is out there and has two (count 'em, TWO!) of my designs in it. Go here and you will see all the designs in this issue. Click on the small pictures to make them bigger, and if you click on the parka picture you will get to see the entire coat.
I still get a thrill and feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming when seeing my designs in print and my name right there as the designer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter Madness

Dear Mom,
We have had Harry Potter madness this week. The teenager and I went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. We got 3 hours of sleep before having to wake up again for swim team practice.

We picked up donuts for breakfast on Wednesday morning and bragged loudly to everyone at Dunkin' Donuts that "we've already seen the Harry Potter movie!" If you're gonna see a midnight movie and only get 3 hours of sleep, it's imperative that you let everyone know you were one of the first to see the movie!!!!!! The movie is fabulous and the people at the theatre were so much fun!! My favorite thing about the whole midnight movie?! For a few hours, I was once again "the best!" Mom in the teenager's eyes!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Book Review

Dear Mom,
Loved it. Loved. it. Loveditloveditloveditlovedit. Did not want it to end. EVER.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Rare Glimpse Into The Highly Unorganized Life of . . . Me

Dear Mom,
Unlike Kim, I will never be caught up. Not on daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly chores. I do have good intentions. My dryer does have dry towels. But that's only out of necessity because the kids need to dry off after swim team practice and meets. And the kids don't go to the "towel closet", they go straight to the dryer. Yeah, don't ask about the other dirty laundry that ISN'T in the dryer, or the washing machine for that matter.

My pantry did just get restocked this afternoon. I had to fit the grocery store in between swim team practice this morning, stroke clinics this afternoon and working a special event at the yarn store tonight. While the food was literally thrown into my pantry, the kids and husband will be fed. Of course, is there ever "anything good to eat" anyway?!

And books?! I have been reading several books. In bed. At night. So I've only been able to manage a few pages before nodding off. And then I forget what I've just read. So I usually have to start over. A lot. I've read several pages from several books, though.

I have also done several photography jobs. I have been the swim team photographer for several years.

I have also been talking to a high profile hotel and have earned the job to take photos of the hotel for an updated website and brochure! When that job is finished, I will let all of you "see" the website! I have also had a smattering of children turning a year older, smiling their biggest birthday smiles and looking equally smug and sweet in new birthday clothes!

No. I will never be caught up. I think I like it this way. I have been spending my "lazy summer days" with my kids, my family, my neighbors and friends. Time we don't normally have during school hours. In the summer, we have long cookouts. The kids have friends spend the night. We solve world problems over s'mores with neighbors. We stay out too late watching fireworks. We love. We laugh. Ahhhhhh. Life's so sweet.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Dear Mom,
For the first time since "summer vacation" started, I feel like I am caught up. Sort of. This week I managed to get through my scheduled home maintenance routine, and I am certainly not saying that everything that needs doing is done, but everything that needs doing on a weekly basis is. That feels good.

While I've been catching up (and mostly what has helped me to do so), I have had the pleasure of listening to some good books.

Jeffrey Archer may be a new favorite author of mine. He is an excellent story teller. Not too long ago, I wrote here after listening to his Paths of Glory , and this afternoon I finished listening to my second Jeffrey Archer book, A Prisoner of Birth.

It is a well written, smart story of love and friendship, revenge and loyalty with interesting characters. I will definitely be reading or listening to more Jeffrey Archer.

I also started listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

I may only be about halfway through this one, but I am enchanted by this story so far.

The story is told in the form of letters written among the characters just after WWII, in London and the Guernsey Island. I am captivated, curious and don't want to stop listening! I have the feeling this may be one of those stories that I won't want to end. It also may be one that needs to reside on my book shelves rather than in digital form on my ipod.



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The morning routine

Dear Mom,

My morning routine includes an email check and a scroll through some favorite blogs.
This morning, I found this picture on one of those regular places I visit.

It is not a naughty site, I promise.

Anyway, the blogger was wishing she owned a cat so she could get it stuck in a tree.

As I gazed at all that firemanly goodness, I drifted back to the day in 1982 when a group of Dental Hygiene Students Soon to Be Graduating and Desperately Seeking Board Patients went on an afternoon tour of downtown fire stations. Imagine a small group of cute 2o-somethings walking into the fire station and asking sweetly of the men if we could see their teeth. Not a problem as they were already grinning/leering. One of us did luck out and get a board patient, but the rest of us went on to find our patients elsewhere. And Nowhere did I see any firemen that looked like the men in that photo.

Of course, I was probably blinded by the engagement ring on my finger and wouldn't have noticed them if I was looking right in their mouths.

And just so you don't think I spend all my time looking at beefcake the web:

On Sunday, I finished a pair of socks.

Claudia's Handpainted Fingering, Passion Fruit

And started another.

Crystal Palace Yarns, Panda Silk #4014



Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rocket's Red Glare

Dear Mom,

The 4th of July here on the cul-de-sac is a tradition not to be messed with, and this year, in the spirit of the US Postal System, rain would not deter us from our celebration. We just had to make adjustments for the dampness, and rain ponchos only added to our 4th of July memories. In fact, as a testament to the importance of the day, our neighbors woke to find that their 8yo son had painted his face red, white and blue for the day's events. I don't think the red has washed off yet.

The food and picnic-ing was moved under the shelter of a canopy and into the garage and the grilling was done under a patio umbrella called into action, but as we had hoped, the rain trickled off in time to celebrate the evening with fireworks.

Every year the fireworks themselves get bigger. The Dads have taken it up a level. Or three. I can sum this up in one word. FUSE. I think My Hero has 100 feet of fuse in the garage. (If there is more than that I don't want to know.)Custom built supports are constructed for multiple explosives which are strung together and lit with some of that 100 feet of fuse. Gone are the days we can be entertained by smokey snakes and a sparkly fountain. Thankfully, sparklers will never lose their appeal and we can write our names in the dark, and dance along, twirling a sparkler overhead.
Every year patriotic music plays loudly during the fireworks display. A Cul-de-sac highlight and tradition involves a neighbor modifying a remote control vehicle with a creative display of fireworks which shoot off as the intrepid little jeep circles and dodges the fireworks display in the street.

This year, we seemed to be surrounded by huge display from neighbors and neighborhoods nearby. It occurred to me with all the shrieks and screams and loud percussive KABOOMs, the blasts and rockets and bombs bursting in air, that (God forbid!) should we be attacked by terrorists on the 4th of July, we would all stand there and ooh and aah and maybe even clap before we realized what was really going on.

Once the fireworks are exhausted, we have almost as much fun with clean up, as the kids and adults arm themselves with flashlights and brooms and clean up as much shrapnel as possible before we all head off to bed smelling of smoke and sulfur. Final cleanup the next day insures that no neighbors are left with any debris in the yards.
And a few Dad's I know are already planning on next year's fireworks display.
oh- and the boy with the painted face? up at 3 in the morning up-chucking some of the excitement and junk food he enjoyed....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What fireworks?!

Dear Mom,
This is our dog.
This is our dog on drugs.
I asked Keeper's vet if I could have some. She said no.
Happy 4th of July!!!
Love, Wendy

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Current Events

Dear Mom,
As we usually do when the knitting group gets together, current events are thoroughly covered. It is a winding journey, these topics. Pay attention or you might lose your place.

This past week there were celebrity deaths to discuss. Which led to who was where when they were aerobicizing to Thriller and practicing their Moon Walks. Some of us were married (me), mothers (not me) and there are 2 of us who were still in high school. In fact, the youngest of us exclaimed her shock at Michael Jackson's age, saying, "I thought he was our age!". Two of us quickly pointed out that YES he was our age.

We moved on to really feeling bad about Farrah and how her death wasn't really getting the attention we thought it should, but one of us heard a family member had said that Farrah was private and it was all okay, and then we moved on to The Poster and how it was just everywhere and it really doesn't take much to remember that poster. And that it made a couple of college kids millionaires. It was the poster talk that I am pretty sure led us here:

We all remembered this poster, but, 2 of us clearly remembered a green shirt.

Remember this poster? I had it on my closet door. You know, so I could look at it when I fell asleep and then when I woke up, and some more when I was choosing outfits and getting dressed. It turns out that 2 of us, who at the time were teens living several states apart and would someday meet as knitters and become friends, bypassed the Rocky poster for pure Stallone beefcake.

I remember that Wendy had Shaun Cassidy on her bedroom door. I don't remember which one exactly. All that sugary sweetness starts looking the same after awhile. So I quit looking. I'll leave it to Wendy to take a stroll down that memory lane if she wants to.

And just to close the loop, The Young Lady has a Jonas Brothers picture on her bulletin board.



Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Boy's got Skillz

Dear Mom,

I don't need to tell you this.
Having a teen in the house offers (almost daily) a new set of rewards and challenges. The random grisly behavior requires new creative ways of coping. As always, humor and revenge are a mother's best weapons.
It is that spirit I offer up these photos of how The Young Man parked the car in the garage.

Yes, it is within the allotted space.

And, as he was oh-so-quick to inform me, it really isn't his fault that HE parked at a nearly 45 degree angle in the garage (something that frankly I am not sure I could do even if I tried) because:

1. It is his Dad's fault for not telling him to turn soon enough.

2. It is because of where the car had to be parked. In the garage. It just stinks.

3. It is his Dad's fault for not fixing it.

Yes, I was still able to park my car in the garage. And I think this shot gives a better perspective of the extreme diagonal-ness of the car's position. My car, on the right, is lined up straight.

Like I said. The boy has skillz.




Dear Mom,
Last weekend, Wendy's Pipsqueak proudly showed us her cowboy boots. With the jingle bell socks I gave her which apparently drive Wendy around the bend. But whatever. It isn't like I gave her tight hip-hugging sparkly Britney Spears jeans or anything.
Pipsqueak was working it in those boots.
For a few weeks I've been wanting, and keeping my eye on a pair of suede boots in the clearance section of the DSW, hoping that I can snag them when they get marked down another 10%. Pipsqueak's boots turned that WANT into NEED. Need quickly began escalating to PANIC. What if they aren't there any more? What if I have lost them in my desire to save another 8 bucks or something? When will I learn?
At first opportunity I got myself into that DSW, and as GinaWhoCanParallelPark told me, the fact that they were still there AND marked down to 50% off(!!!) was a sign from God that I was supposed to have those boots.

And they are MINE.
I won't be wearing jingle bell socks, but Pipsqueak can teach me how to Work It in these boots.
And p.s. - taking a picture of your new boots on your own leg is kinda hard.