Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I was reading a book recently in which a sister was described as a built-in, permanent friend. 

Last weekend, my sister Susannah came for a short visit from California. She brought her son Aidan and some leftover tiles (from her recent kitchen remodel) so that we could start working on tiling the laundry room in the new house. We went skiing and boarding at Brighton. We took load after load of things from my old house to my new house. She came with me to my book club and read the book to participate in the discussion. When she first arrived, we went outside in the dark of my new house and we sat on the bench near the basketball court and were overwhelmed with remembering how we had run and played as children in our wooded backyard. Then we pulled out the sleeping bags and slept over.

We really had an awesome weekend. It's amazing how much I depend on my sister to accept me for who I am and always be there to talk when I need someone and the embarrassing truths I can admit to her that will never change anything. Because there's no one in the world (besides my husband maybe) who I can be just that honest with.

When I observe my girls acting out and fighting with each other, I always remind them that they are so very lucky to have a sister. They don't usually listen. Someday they'll get it.

Bianca and Aidan before lunch at Brighton

Bianca and me snowboarding
Bianca and Aidan on a home-made bench they made

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mad Hatter's Tea Party 2012

I'm sad to say the Mad Hatter's Tea Party is the last of these elaborate preschool parties Portia will attend. I can't believe Portia's two years at Kinderprep Academy are dwindling down. Next stop, kindergarten.

Due to all the construction in Herriman and increasing commute time, the morning of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party was rushed and I found myself muttering, "We're late, we're late, for a really important date" all the way to school.

Portia was escorted to her seat by a gentleman again. This year, she requested a certain gentleman by name.

I'm afraid Portia can be really silly about boys, this one particularly. I wonder what she says at preschool. Eric's concerned already that Portia will be our boy-crazy girl. We don't have to worry much about Bianca in this department; she's ten already and still quite indifferent about boys.

Here are the kids eating their meal. Portia definitely isn't as proper as she should be, kneeling on her chair like that.

The kids played games.

And they played some violin numbers. The violin instruction was the main thing that drew me to this preschool in the first place, but we've since decided Portia will play cello. She'll start next year with private lessons. Still, it will be good for her to have the basic knowledge of how a stringed instrument works.

But here is Portia, reading. I am really so impressed how fast Portia has picked up reading. She's always picking out words on signs as we're driving and even words in books while I'm reading. She's definitely ready for kindergarten, if not first grade!

Here's Portia with Miss Melissa. 

I know Portia's gonna miss these kids.

Especially these two girls, Aowyn and Naomi who are Portia's best friends.

The photographer spent time with Portia alone and wow, I think this girl is gorgeous!

But alas, all good things must come to an end!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our First Night

Bianca's Island
So, we officially own a new (but not really new) house. The plan was to spend the weekend there, but we found out Eric had to leave for India at the last minute so we wouldn't be able to bring anything over to the new house this weekend--beds or chairs, etc. Still, I was on my own and decided the girls and I would go over Saturday night anyway for a sleepover.

Bianca and Portia have become official "explorers" when we go over to the new house--they found treasures inside the shed (the previous owners left a bunch of horse stuff in there), they named several islands along the creek, Bianca even found a dead raccoon in the creek (hopefully this isn't an omen). Bianca and Portia have come up with explorer clothes--khaki and white, sunglasses, and some other stuff they saw in a "Fancy Nancy Explorer Extraordinaire" book. I love seeing them having so much fun out there.

When we arrived on Saturday afternoon, Bianca came running up to me. "Our new house comes with horses!" And sure enough, there in a little corner on the edge of our property that does kind of look like it should go with our yard were two beautiful horses. It was so sweet that she thought that the house could just come with horses. I had to break it to her that they weren't ours. But it's much better this way--we get to look at them, pet them, feed them even (the nice lady who owns them told them the next morning), but we don't have to take care of them or pay for them.

Because we were staying overnight, I hated to leave our animals at home where they couldn't get outside to do their thing, so we brought them along. Tigger was fine. He mostly stayed in his kennel. Jillyboo doesn't like change though, and spent half of the night cowering behind the boiler downstairs, getting dust and grime all over her. After a while, she came up and slept with us where we all had our sleeping bags spread on the floor in my room. I had wanted to start a fire in the fireplace but Eric thought we should have the chimneys professionally "swept" first, just in case a family of raccoons was living in there. We played games and went to bed early. The floor was so hard and I slept fitfully with Jillyboo sleeping on top of my legs all night.

Early the next morning, Jillyboo wanted outside (she goes to the bathroom outside) so I wrapped a blanket around me and ventured outside. It was crisp and beautiful and the sound of rushing water met me as I stepped outside. It felt like I was stepping outside from my tent after camping. I breathed in the fresh air, followed the cat as she explored a little herself, and then went back inside for pop tarts for breakfast.

I'm overwhelmed when I think of what we just did--bought a house and still need to sell ours, discovering everything that needs to be done on this big house that seems like it's falling apart in little ways, and the cleaning--oh, the cleaning that needs to be done in the house. But I realize what I gave my kids is the gift of nature. And a backyard I wouldn't have thought was possible to have in Utah. With the trees, and the birds (we heard owls that night), and the creek, and the exploring still to be done. 

And I even found a treasure of my own--the old stained-glass front door (matching the stained-glass window in the front of the house) that was thrown behind the back house inside a clump of trees. It's  now weathered and shabby but still very cool. I hauled it into the garage and have plans to do something with it; I'm just not sure yet.

I feel a lot of joy (and projects) in my future.