Saturday, January 31, 2009

Grace Period

Hooray!! Thanks to a heads up call from Diane, I was able to read a notice from the Consumer Protection Agency in which they announced a FULL YEAR's delay in the implementation of the lead testing requirements on garments made by crafters!!! Hope they can get it right over the next year.
Meanwhile, I finished a couple of Mardi Gras outfits today and actually got them listed on eBay. Patience Vanessa, yours will be in the mail soon!
Tomorrow is supposed to be WARM.....going to actually make it to 32 degrees. Woohoo!!!! Taking Julia to basketball and then back into the salt mine.
Just a cute shot from last weeks Lil' Dribblers gathering......

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Darn those walls!!

Well I did finally get a few decent pics of some of my holiday outfits and managed to get them all listed on eBay. If you are interested my eBay name is drsilk1. Here they are lined up waiting for little girls to love them.
...and this is the mess I walked out on this afternoon!!
I think the past year caught up on me today and I crashed and burned in a big way. Using every once of energy I had to persuade the girls that I was not dying...just NEEDED a hot tub and a nap...I did just that! They knew it was major when I suspended the no TV on school night rule and ordered them a pizza both on the same day :)! Had to explain the "hit my wall" phrase and I'm thinking I might be hearing it some morning soon.
Tomorrow starts a new day and after cleaning up the mess in my salt mine I begin a few Mardi Gras outfits followed by some St. Pat's Day. Here's to a revival of the creative juices!!!

C Free!!!!!!

The title says it all. I may now sleep soundly for the first time in a year! Today was THE appointment post chemo/radiation when the MD's decided if any of their tests showed signs of cancerous activity and I just could not bring myself to go. The pessimist in me won the battle!! Besides, he had to get to work right after the visit and taking two cars seemed like another good excuse not to go. By dinner time I was well on my way to an ulcer with worry when the Diva casually says, "Oh yeah, Dad called while I was on the other line and he said to tell you the tests came out great."....btw, that had been two hours previous, ugh!! I got through to him at his break and he confirmed that he was now considered CANCER FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Baked a cake....and intend to eat every bit that they didn't finish. Would have had a margarita but Jose Cuervo evaporated during the chemo phase and I've never gotten around to replacing him.....................

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Laughter Lives Tuesday!

Well this week's challenge from the Rigg's family is to tell our funny and/or cute ways in which we tell each other that we love them!I'm not sure any of ours fall into the funny camp...more like sweet. Mari has what we call "the sonar ping".... when she first got home at nearly three years of age there were a lot of separation anxiety issues. Countless times a day she would just randomly say, "Um, Mom?" and I would automatically respond, "What honey?".....followed by silence. She was just checking to make sure I was within earshot but one day the answer came, "Just I love you!" My reaction must have been positive because now her less frequent "pings" go like this, "Mom?", "Yes?", "Love you!", "Ditto!". Julia is usually my demonstrative one! Big hugs and tons of kisses daily...EXCEPT when we walked her to pre-school! The original PDA tsar here! I'm not sure exactly how it started but we developed a hand squeeze signal as a compromise. Even to this day as we walk anywhere holding hands she will squeeze my hand three times for "I love you" and I squeeze back four time for "I love you too. It shows up sometimes during church and even just this weekend at the big party she ran up and grabbed my hand giving the three squeezes. Will really miss this when it's no longer cool to hold Mom's hand.......

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What a week!

Sorry to be so negligent with posting! Jusy got too caught up in the week's activities. The puppy love outfits are complete and off in the mail...that's for you Rhonda! The little Mardi Gras outfit I sold on eBay is complete and off in the mail. Two little girls have been measured for new Irish dance costumes and I'm in the 'fermenting' process of design for a new team costume for another dance school.
Spent lots of time meeting with educators at a couple of schools in anticipation of moving the girls to new learning environments...sigh. Hope that we have the insight to make the best choice!
Signed up another volunteer for the shoe drive!! She hopes to target the end of the school year in her grade school to get those outgrown gym shoes.
Celebrated the inauguration of our new president. Got a few chuckles with my friend Mariann who was on a roll with political humor....headline she created read, "America gets needed infusion of O+!" Also did up a pictogram which reads, "Sox fans go to the White House while Cubs fans go to the Big House".....hint Blago?!?
Ended on a happy note as we celebrated a momentous birthday! My fav SIL was SHOCKED to walk straight into the suprise party where several siblings and nieces from Ireland were in attendance as well!
One picture of the night that caught me as funny/sad....
only at an Irish party would you see the Guiness pint in the stroller cup holder!
The party was at our Irish Heritage Center and an itinerent artist had set up on the floor in the hallway. His drawing of his daughter caught my eye....
that and the fact that a gaggle of children had set up shop right at his feet! He was so good with them as he doled out paper and pastels for them all to try their hand at art.
I'll try to be more attentive to my blog this week!! you see I'm still struggling with the camera...get what you pay for I think!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Laughter Lives Tuesday!

The Riggs family have challenged us all to make Tuesday a day when smiles reign so here is my "Kids say the darndest things" submission: Our oldest daughter came home from Guatemala at nearly three years of age and was immediately initiated into "the gang" as we call all the 1997 cousins. Having just missed the automatic citizenship date by a couple of months we had to go through the whole citizenship application. It was another stressful paper chase but it was the FINAL step so when the real live, actual invitation to the initiation arrived there was more than a few shouts of joy! The ceremony was to be a big media affair at a local museum marking the LAST time adopted children would need to go through this step. Since we were all members of the museum a plan was made to have all of the "gang" come and witness "Mari becoming an American girl". All during the ceremony my nephew kept leaning over and peering at Mari. When we erupted into claps and cheers at the end he jump from his seat and planted himself right in front of her leaning in closer and closer. After a minute or two he turned to me and said, "When is she gonna be an American girl?" I assured him that she already was and he looked incredulous....."but she didn't turn white!" he exclaimed. Yes, the dear same lad who after a nine day tour of Ireland summed up the trip for his teacher with the statement, "I got to see a dead cow."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Busy Weekend

So I don't quite have the new camera under control!! Not the best quality but I promise to figure out all the dials and buttons soon!
Nothing like a few artic fronts to bring on early cabin fever! Really, it was just too cold to leave the house so here we all were for FOUR looooong days of togetherness. Probably could have gotten more done but the list is not too shabby.
Julia's seahorse habitat for the science fair was one of those super bonding experiences. She is a dedicated little worker and we had fun digging through my fabric scraps to find the "just right" sand, water, momma horse, brother horse, and sister horse...that's right I said horse because since "farm animals and pets" were disallowed we had to get creative!
Experimented with bread making....already do quick breads but decided to give yeast a try! Found a no knead recipe and did a whole wheat and a white version to mixed reviews. The texture and taste of the wheat was better but the crunch of the white's crust was preferred. Felt a lot like Henny Penny with this project as it seems the Disney channel is more alluring than a cookbook. BTW, it was all gone in less than 24 hours.
Since I didn't like the way the first little blouse looked with the Puppy Love outfits I redesigned a new option....and
did up a candy heart version as well.
If anyone out there knows of a little girl who wears a 4t and just needs to have a one of a kind Valentine's day outfit this one's available and will be listed on eBay as soon as I figue out this camera!! Stellaluna Style Studios now has labels....let's hope the lead law gets rewritten!!!
Checked a few heads for visiters! Seems the critters who first appeared in their school around Halloween are still hair hopping! Just the thought is grossing us girls out but our token male is bemused...seems it was not a rare event in rural Ireland in the 50"s. Leaves me wondering how any one of them survived that childhood when he tells you matter of factly that they'd just dust their hair and pillows with DDT powder!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So far we've been spared and let's just keep it that way!

Friday, January 16, 2009

FFF- Equine Radar

There really aren't too many words needed to describe today's Favorite Foto Friday! Simply our baby girl and her passion....
Starting to see the pattern? Anywhere we go she finds the horse!
Even if it's just a stuffed one in a museum....
Halloween costumes are telling too.....
In those periodic hypothetical discussions of what you would do if you won the lottery this lady is the only one who has been consistent! If it was up to her I would be writing this from a Tennessee estate with horsebarns bigger than the house , where little girls did not have homework or housework, where big sisters go away to boarding school and there's a pool with a slide to splash in after a long day of barrel racing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Smack Down

There are days and then there are days!! Yesterday started our big freeze of January 2009 and it was cold, real cold! Today is even colder and the poor divas had to bundle up well for the short walk to school because it was -10, yes note the - sign, this morning!!! We've been juggling some weighty issues regarding their future schooling options, Patrick's post-radiation follow up appointment is approaching, there are 'issues' at both of our places of employment all of which have contributed to a less than joyous mood around here recently. By the time I wrapped up last evening and settled into Mommy's computer time I was so ready for some humorous updates from my sewing and adoption friends....but the very first blog reminded me of what else had happened yesterday! January 14th was a far worse day for another family who have far scarier issues...and God saw to it that I got the message. Firstly, I had almost 'forgot' them and my promise to offer up prayers. Secondly, I had lost perspective and needed a 'smack down' to push me out of the self-pity I had climbed into this past week! To my adoption friends, THANK YOU for remembering to post about Abby and to the rest of my friends and family an explanation.... Little four year old Abby was adopted from Guatemala and has been diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of leukemia coupled with a genetic disorder which significantly lessens her chances of surviving the most effective treatments. Yesterday was the beginning of the worst phase of the treatment!!!!!!!!!!!! There are very real odds that she may not be able to survive this stage and the family is asking for all the prayers that can be mustered for her at this scary time. So please join me in praying for Abby and the Riggs family. To read about Abby an her family you can go to and feel free to spread the word!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekly Family Guest Appearance

Since this is a "Family Blog" we are going to have one member of the family post something on our blog every week. This week it's me, Mari. My sister got Guitar Hero for Christmas and we played it today. My BFF and her Mom baked Irish Soda Bread and they stopped by today to give us some. My Dad has gobbled most of it up already! Then they invited us to eat dinner tonight. Ribs yum:-) Before I leave my Mom's making me finish my Science Fair project:-( Not my favorite subject


Just a quick post so you know we haven't been lost to an avalanche or been frozen solid....yet. 12 inches of snow yesterday with more coming tonight and tomorrow and then by Thursday we are supposed to be seeing a lot of negative signs in front of our temperatures!! Got to wonder why we ever came back from Florida? I'm trying to get a new digital camera up and running so you can see a few sewing projects I'm in the process of finishing....thinking I may have made a poor choice for my needs!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another FFF!

A good day to make a mug of tea and sit close to the fire! Snow is pouring down and the temperatures are dropping so I started going through photos for Favorite Foto Friday. I guess my theme is 'Nostalgia'. We recently found Mari's birth family in Guatemala. The emotional swings keep coming but it is very much a net positive! She is excited to find a wealth of relatives...8 sisters, 3 brothers, mother, father, both grandmothers, and a yet to be enumerated number of nieces and nephews! She is the baby in the family and given her personality it must have been God's plan for her to be placed for adoption...clearly a born eldest! We are still digesting their extreme poverty and how best to proceed but it has brought a great deal of comfort to know that they are still alive. Mari has also been able to resolve some of the 'why me' emotions because not only is it clear that they could not 'afford' her (not sure anyone will be able to 'afford' this diva:-) but four other siblings were also placed for adoption and this removes the 'me' from the 'why me'. Mari holding her newest room decor! These are the people who love her so much that they took extraordinary steps to make sure she was loved and cared for in the best possible way. How many kids get THREE sets of parents??? Mama and Papa Salgado with grandson Kevin, her fosterparents who took such good care of her for her first 2.5 years!
Josefa and Manuel, her first parents who took the courageous choice to go agaist cultural norm by placing a child for adoption in the hope that little Maria Teresa could have a better life.
I also found one of the earliet digital shots of the traditional "big fish" picture. This one is from the winter of 2005!!
You think I kid when I call her my diva?? At seven she was already making sure to be front and center while my laid back pair are just fine with being in the background.
So we are now in the planning phase for Julia's upcoming First Communion. Unlike Mari, who loves the dressing up and being the center of attention, Julia is still hoping to convince Sr. Thomas Leo to let her wear pants! It will not be in her comfort zone at all but I'm working with her on the dress style so that at least she can tolerate the experience. Thought you might like to see Mari on her big day.....
Mairead sang in the choir that day. Notice Mari's head a preview of what happens to brides who get hugged while wearing a veil! Julia will NEVER go for the up-do so I'm going to need to figure a painless way to keep the veil on her 'bob'.
Summer before she started 3 year old pre-school...when she was still my little girly girl who tolerated long hair and dresses...........

Thursday, January 8, 2009

T.M.I. Kind of Day

As Pollyanna would always say, "Just play the Glad Game!" She was probably the one who came up with the 'when life gives you lemons just make lemonade' saying too. I am no Pollyanna...and I only drink Diet Coke anyhow and that is your warning for the mood of the rest of this post! So there's this new law that takes effect in February that is so broadly written that it's giving all of my seamstress friends ulcers. It involves lead testing on "any product used by children under 12 years of age". Now I used to be in the "they mean toys and who's going to really enforce this" camp but after today I'm torn. I just got this Stellaluna Style Studios gig up and going plus I have the Irish dance costumes I make occasionally. According to the law I have to have an exact replica of every garment I offer for sale tested for lead content....which is in the $800-$1500 range. Sick irony with this is that most of the testing labs are located in .....wait for it....wait for guessed it....CHINA!!!!!!!!!! So because those SOBs tried to contaminate the next generation of American children(conspiracy plot you know :-), I have to make two of every 'custom' outfit I make and have one sent over there to be DESTROYED so that I can prove the lead content of the one I'm hoping to sell for a few dollars?!?! My kids are too young for me to risk the jail time and I certainly can't afford the fines so what's a one woman sweatshop to do?....sigh As if my head was not spinning enough with that dilemma, Mari had another pre-orthodontic check up today. Even with the generous 'professional courtesy' we are looking at a final cost of 3K.... that the extra income from sewing would have come in handy for making the $100/month payments...but noooooo because the Chinese had to go and ruin it with their lead based paints. Trying my best Pollyanna, "At least he is not going to start treatment until April so I can be glad of three full months more to save up." She's bummed because, of course, she bragged to all the kids at school about getting braces on today...lesson learned?...probably not! My mood was not improved any by the Christmas UNdecorating today either! Why is it that the ONE ornament that they take off the tree qualifies as 'helping'? Every year I go through the ritual swearing that there will be no decorating the next year....and then about 295 days pass and I start falling for the holiday spirit all over again. I think from now on I'll try to soothe myself by saying that someday they too will have their own home and then I can just go and admire their decorating. Patrick earned a by because he took down all the outside lights on Monday...good thing because the weathermen are hyperventilating again...seems that after we get dumped on again with more snow tonight and tomorrow we will drop into the below a million Fahrenheit zone for about a week. Better clean out the back of the van so the girls can climb in when their doors freeze shut! Two bit of great news did squeeze into today. Firstly, Vanessa was discharged today and when I last talked to her she was in the car heading home via any/every drive thru in the quest of 'real food'...her words not mine. Secondly, Mari had challenged me to 'get with it Mom' and to start a Facebook page awhile back. Mostly it's just my 20something nieces and nephews contacting me on there but today I heard from a long lost friend! Okay, not that long lost but a good six years since we burned the midnight oil venting about the international adoption hurdles we were trying to jump in order to get our precious babies home. Thanks for reaching out Melissa! Can't wait to catch up on the years we missed. Lastly, tell me I am not the LAST woman on earth to find out the following bit of kitchen information!!!!!!!! Please someone tell me that they never knew this either! Please, anyone?? I just was taught by my sister (who also just learned this factoid) about the little perforated tabs on the ends of the boxes of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, waxed paper, etc. that once pushed in keep your rolls from lifting up and out as you try to pull the product out. How many boxes of aluminum foil have I used up in my nearly half century of life and NEVER saw that little feature??? If I only had a dollar for all the times that the damn roll popped out and ran away on the counter I wouldn't need to spaz over lead testing..........

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sewing Update!

Firstly, Vanessa has landed in the hospital! Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers so she can get back home to her three little ones quickly! Secondly, Sticky Kisses Studios has been shot down...there is already someone using a very similar name on eBay. Stellaluna Style Studios is now the storefront name I'll be using to sell my children's appearel. Shawna at Pixel Perfect is doing up the computer template and my clothing labels so progress is being made! Got home from my 'real' job today to find an e-mail from one of the dancers I made a costume for the Oireachtas. Sweet girl even included a couple of her classmates who wear my dresses as well. Em and Sara at a local feis. Em has a new green, of course that I didn't get a pic of before it left the sewing room (aka salt mine).
Mari calls this dress "the Wicked One" because it reminds her of her favorite stage play. Too bad about the lighting because this one REALLY sparkles on stage.
Morgan who did not get this until the literal last minute !!!...and then I squeezed in one 'emergency' dress which was posted earlier.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fav Florida Fotos!

First a couple of snaps from Christmas! Grandma had promised to get the soon to be retired Samantha doll for any of her granddaughters who read the whole series of books. Mairead and Mari just KNEW she had followed through when they found matching boxes under her tree!!
Usually Auntie Peggy is behind the camera but we caught her on Christmas day!
Now, in a fairly random chronological order, are a few pics from the trip!!
There was alot of sleeping on the two day drive...Alyssa got the giggles when she realized that Julia sleeps with her eyelids slightly open.
Mari, the only one who can read without getting carsick, also caught up on her sleep while being serenaded by her Ipod. While certain of our southern friends would like to blame the influx of us snowbirds on why the traffic was unexplicably slowed to a crawl for too many miles to count, we did take notes and let's just say that not one of the plates in any of the fenderbenders passed was from a state other than Georgia and Florida...nor have we ever had a two mile backup up here just because some poor sod with a hangover had to pull to the shoulder to puke!!! Also, we found a very unique traffic pattern in Florida called passing on the RIGHT...because for some reason the truckers felt they owned the middle lane so timid southern souls who did not want to follow a truck decided they should move to the LEFT lane without any increase in their speed...leaving the right lane open for us to pass them all by in a bid to get to the sun before 2010!!!!!
After two long days of rain and senseless traffic jams we pulled into Sarasota to find the Robichaux family had our dinner ready!! Lee Sr. cooked up a storm and had a whole crab boil for us Northern novices.
The two Lee's showing us how to open and find the edible parts of a crab while Patrick stayed 'safe' with the sausage and spuds.
How often can Mid-Western kids spend New Year's Day in swimsuits??
Lee Jr., Julia, Arianna, Andrew, Olivia, Alyssa, and Mari in Jungle Gardens.
Andrew giving Arianna a better view of the bird show at Jungle Gardens. I think his mother would be quite suprised to know just how kind and patient he was with the little Robichaux sisters...since he has mastered sibling warfare with his own sister!
The old fair skinned ones being 'good' by staying out of the baking sun...notice the dark skinned one doing the same!!! Such a crime when you are blessed with melanin to hide under a beach umbrella while the pasties would, of course, love to be out soaking in the rays. Alyssa liked to read in the sun so she could get the tan lines while following the story.
You have to give her credit for reading but why, oh why isn't she out boogie boarding with the rest of the cousins?
Notice a trend here folks? These two couldn't seem to put their books down...not even for sightseeing!
The traditional picture!!! Every time we go stay with Grandpa in Sarasota we take a picture "on the big fish" as the kids call the park sculpture at his corner. Someday I might even get around to scanning the pre-digital ones and show the changes....Julia was just a baby being held in his open mouth and now she has to kneel to fit!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Promise to have photos and details starting tomorrow of the sojourn south! Just want to let everyone know that we all made it home safe and sound and the only missing item this time in the Irishman's blue gansey. Rain all the way from Macon, Georgia to Merriville, Indiana helped make sure we wouldn't be too shocked to return to cold and misery after four days soaking up the sun on Lido Beach! The white ones are only a little pink since they behaved and used sunscreen while the tan ones are now can be so unfair sometimes....especially since the now brown children could care less about the sun/beach.