Sunday, August 30, 2009

So long to summer in the city!

Saturday marked our annual 'big farewell' to summer! Not that we really had much of a summer. Between the school district's effort to reset the school calendar by starting back earlier than usual this year and Mother Nature's wicked sense of humor there was not a whole lot of time or sun to enjoy this year. The first week of school looked a lot like this! ...and this..... ....not to mention this!!! WET, WET, WET would pretty much describe this past week! Patrick is just loving the Irish weather we've had this summer...I'm not! Not that I really wanted those 100+ degree weeks in July and August but a little sun would have been more than welcome to this SAD sufferer. My girls got precious little wear to their tanks and cami's and the tan lines are copiously absent! So on August 29, 2009 we woke to 50's and partly cloudy weather!!! Go figure. Saying good bye to summer was no joke!! We had a long, busy day planned and my Mari was up and dressed for the occasion. Not even 12 yet and I see the teenager bursting out!!! My chapanita so unique in her blend of cultural tradition with modern sensibility! Appropriately kitted out, with her bag full of fleece, we headed off to the first event.... BFF/Cousin Deirdre, the Disney fanatic, celebrates the end of summer every year by growing another year older. 8 going on 28 is the best way to describe this character! Okay, so maybe she's more 8 than 28?!?! We sang Happy Birthday and decimated the cake her mother had worked so hard to make. Everyone right down to the youngest cousin cleaned their plate! Because we all know what an 8 year old really cares about on their big day... the PRESENTS! Sometimes a big girl just cannot help being drawn back to her youth! As an aside, these are all the 'youngest' children in their respective families so maybe that explains the moment?!?! Sometimes a cousin just doesn't respect the day!! Andrew should have known better than to try to snatch a ride on her new scooter...Deirdre ran him down!!! So the skies did loosen up a bit and the sun graced us with a short visit and we piled in the family bus (my Odyssey) to head off to our next adventure. We headed in towards THE CITY with it's iconic spire as our compass point...Sears Tower will just NEVER be anything but no matter how hard they push the Willis name on us! We cruised by our beautiful lakefront and saw one heck of a quincenero gathered for pictures in front of Buckingham Fountain. It was hard to do but we drove on by the Latin music festival in Grant Park.... to get to Navy Pier!!!! A brisk west wind kept the jackets on but the sun did make for great views of our beautiful lake.... and we checked on how well they were taking care of our water toys....well a girl can dream, right???? ...and then we found what we were heading towards! INGUATE!!!!!! Chicago is home to a sizable Guatemalan immigrant population and they were being featured on the Dock Street Stage this weekend. Our weather was not 'just like home' for the gathering of Chapinos! Auntie Peggy and Andrew opted for a center stage position in the back of the crowd... the dancers gathered... and the show looked just fine from our side stage seats! There were fancy costumes... and traditional traje..... ..and oh, so adorable performers of all ages! The show was free to all and there was even a few crafts items available for sale. The whole gang of us gathered for a post show group shot and then headed off to enjoy the rest of Navy Pier's many attractions. So typically, the FREE attractions were more fun than the costly options! Auntie Peggy was ready, as ever, with her trusty camera to record the laughs.... ....of the 1997 gang showing off their 'big bellies'.... ...and the BFF/Cousins with little bodies and big heads.... ...and Andrew's melting fingers!!! No, those fingers did not put this look on Auntie Peggy's face! it was the enthusiastic way in which the gang was trying to get her to join them..... ...on the GIANT ferris wheel!! No chance P.P.Peggy would ever go 160 feet up in the air willingly. But the rest of us hopped on so we could see.... of the most beautiful cities in the whole United States!! Wouldn't this be a great place for the Olympics in 2016?!?! We have our fingers crossed....please feel free to let the Olympic committee know you support our bid!!!!!!! With night quickly approaching there was another attraction calling out to the gang. Really dark shot I know, but if you look hard to the right side you can see Auntie Peggy giving me the "you're such a chicken" wave. I know my limitations and another week of vertigo was sooooooo NOT on my agenda and I firmly declined the invitation to ride the Wave Swings!!! And after the ride, Auntie Peggy was wishing she had joined me on terra firma!!!!! Just one of those funniest video moments with no video camera to record it...for which she's oh, so grateful. Confident at first she soon was clutching the chains with her eyes firmly shut! The sheer comedy of the kids turning and twisting in their swings in an effort to encourage her to open her eyes and 'enjoy' herself left me with a stitch in my side :)!!!!! So we took a few more group shots..... and climbed to snatch a peak of the Cirque de Soliel show for which we did NOT pop the wallets open BUT regret the decision and will be back soon!! We grabbed some Billy Goat 'cheezborgers' with "no fries, cheeps" as made famous by SNL..... ..and OF COURSE we got dessert!!! Then we staked out a bench where we rested our weary feet as we waited for the finale...... Good bye summer vacation! CANNOT wait for you to come back next year!!!! Thank goodness for big cousins willing to carry tired feet to the parking garage! Wait, I take that back! Thank goodness for cousins....period!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rough, rough day!

Sorry, no picture documentation of today's train wreck...yeah, that would be a good thing! Started at my bedtime when as I went to log off the computer and I saw the news of Ted Kennedy's death. News junkie me just had to turn on CNN to get the 'breaking news". Big mistake of course! Finally dragged myself away to bed at 3:30am. I know that the higher power tried hard to reform me by blessing me with a morning husband and two DAWNING daughters but it's not really working. I went too long single and alone exercising my hard core NIGHT OWL biological hard wiring!!! So picture me at 6:15am when my newly minted school girls appeared bedside ready to start their day....45 minutes BEFORE the scheduled alarm!! Through barely open slits I find it's pouring cats and dogs so.....yes....I dress to drive the spun sugar princesses to school. 5 seconds before we NEED to leave, Mari decides she won't eat the hot lunch offered at school and starts making herself a sandwich. Deep breathe, deep breathe, deep least she didn't ask me to do it!!! It was only a matter of seconds for me to be prone on the couch after depositing them at their respective school buildings. FYI, hubby accompanied me thus far. The closet news junkie that is my husband decides he NEEDS to catch up on the Kennedy coverage and on goes the TV. Now we are only days past his brother's death and funeral...emotions are still pretty close to the surface...and I'm IRISH....the Irish have no problem ANYTHING let alone tributes and eulogies. I'm now a blubbering, sleep deprived mess!!!! In an effort to end the cycle I drag myself down to the salt mine and manage to get a few projects accomplished. I took a short break to check my emails and while rolling my next to relax the muscles it happened. I have migraine induced vertigo! The house swirled around me and the floor refused to stay under my feet. Kiss my breakfast and the rest of my day good bye! Here's to a tilt-o-whirl free Thursday....I hope!

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Year, New Schools, Same Old Same Old!

Well this morning came much to the consternation of two little girls! This morning would be known as "The FIRST Day of School"!!!! Yesterday did not go well for my world class worrier who does not do anxiety well. Middle school loomed in her psyche like some child eating vortex and instead of verbalizing her anxiety we got stubborn denial coupled with emotional Mount Vesuvius! Julia just had mundane 'new kid' anxiety which was well balanced with giddy anticipation. They both swear that their night's sleep was limited but each time I checked in on them I found a lot of snoozing going on! Breakfast of a sort was consumed...just a pear for Julia who only has a half day so I didn't push too hard. Mari's storms of yesterday left a much calmer lady this morning and she managed to down her favorite chocolate chip waffles! Then it was out onto the porch for the TRADITIONAL photo shoot. Julia's shoot was a double duty as I plan to list this Stitch/Elvis ensemble as a custom order on eBay! New backpack for a new grade at a new school! Mari had insisted on leaving her backpack in her locker on walk through day so her lunch and miscellaneous supplies went in Julia's Guatemala 'horse' bag courtesy of Miss Vanessa. Do I not have the two CUTEST daughters ever!!!! Absolutely their birthplace as their only thing in common but I love their uniqueness! Much to the chagrin of the oh so cool 8th grader, I corralled our middle school gang for a photo! Alyssa is in 8th, Andrew in 7th, and Mari is the neophyte in 6th all in the SAME school!! God help the administration. So with the hormonal crowd safely tucked in the doors of the middle school we headed off to the elementary school. On the playground she was quickly taken under the wing of petite Kendall!! Kendall's big sister knows Mari from her brief time in 5th grade and was sweet enough to encourage her little sister to handle the introductions...which she did to the nines!!! My happy go lucky girl waiting in line for her new teacher to come out and escort them to the third grade classroom. Makes my Julia, you know of the 'petite' Mayan gene pool, look like a giant!! If I had not held my tiny preemie Julia when she was 6 weeks old I'd wonder if they had the right age for her?!?! Something to be said for a healthy lifestyle I guess! A sure sign of how old I this person even old enough to be a teacher????? Except for the fact that one of the Moms had already told me that she had been teaching at this school for THREE whole years now I'd have presumed she was a newly minted teacher! Based on the introductions I'm thrilled...she just might be the one that gets my reluctant student to change her opinion about the whole educational process. A Mom can dream....right? Update: SHE CAME OUT SKIPPING!!!! Told me a 100 times on the way home how much she LOVES her new school!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh pinch me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to the mine!

So with our crazy summer winding down I decided to seek solace in my sewing room. Have a bunch of half finished projects to finish up and a bunch of fabric and ideas to get in the pipeline! This was last night's project.... a size 4/5 Halloween jumper which I'm offering here and on Facebook first. I'm asking $25 which(no pun intended) includes shipping. I also have a bunch of pictures to go through and select from for a fall harvest outfit that one of my loyal customers had her daughter model for my eBay venture. Hoping I get the discipline to get a bona fide eBay shop up and running along with my ETSY shop and the sewing blog which I reserved but never actually started. Well back to the first day of school preparations so I can 'earn' more sewing time tonight!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Location, Location, Location...

When we decided to move from the "big city" to raise the girls in suburbia the deciding factor had more to do with proximity to relatives than anything else. It just so happened that the chosen suburb has excellent public and private schools for our children to choose between and at the time of our move we were committed to the private school....... which as you can see from this shot taken from our driveway was VERY conveniently CLOSE!!! We loved the close knit student body and the fact that there was no discussions needed about what to wear every morning...not to mention the lack of carpool participation! Then, as you read on my blog, during the spring we had cause to remove Mari from the private school and send her to public school. It was all good and so we made a new commitment to the public school system for both girls. So imagine our pleasure at finding this in our lawn this morning...... Such a small gesture but it means all the world to a little girl worried about starting at a new school in a couple more hours!!! Not only did she get this sign planted to welcome her BUT she also received a postcard from her new teacher!!! A lovely note of introduction that welcomed her to the third grade with promises of lots of interesting new things to learn. Just little tokens but sooooooo much more than we EVER received from the private school and plenty big enough to make us sooooooooooo happy with our decision.