Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sooo not fair!

You cannot even begin to know the number of times I have heard that phrase since becoming a mother. I'm not sure why they keep saying it because for years now my response to that phrase has been, "Show me where on your birth certificate it says welcome to a fair world??" These past two weeks have heard those phrases uttered at a higher frequency than usual...because BFF/Cousin Deirdre was gone on a two week vacation that included a sizable stop at Disney World! Now I just recently mentioned how Patrick and I have put a moratorium on trips to the mouse's house in Florida and be assured the girls are very well aware of our stand. Kids being kids....when Deirdre came home and saw the pictures of Julia doing the zip-line she wailed, "Soooo not fair!!! I cannot believe you did that without me?!?!"

Well since we were going back up to Aunt Agnes' lake house.....we let Deirdre come too!!

The BFF/Cousins simply share EVERYTHING!

I even managed to get my camera settings coordinated to catch her as she whizzed by my position!

But then a funny thing happened on the way into the landing tower......

...even Deirdre found humor in the she sat waiting out in the middle of the zip line ....

...for the crew to come and TOW her in since she had NOT made it all the way to the landing tower when her slowing speed caused her to gradually stop and then slide BACK DOWN the zip line!!! Another memory sure to make the dinner table highlights many, many times (-: I'd post the video of Mari and I laughing like fools as we realized Deirdre was not going to make it to the landing tower but my system takes forever to load videos!!! Amazingly, she wants to go again.

It was a good day for me and my camera that day as I also managed to coordinate the settings and zoom to catch one of our frequent visitors up at the lake house....

...made me happy with our Disney moratorium when I discovered that neither my husband NOR my children had ever seen a bluejay before this week!?!?!?

Friday, June 24, 2011

FFF- Our Choice

Good thing Nora let us choose our own Favorite Friday Foto because I would probably have been going rogue yet again! This week's photo has no technical merit. I have no actual photography skills to speak of but I have a camera that helps me out that way (-:

So how do BFF/Cousins who were cruelly separated by the two week vacation of one family spend their first night back together???? joined at the hip, sharing a single blanket on a single recliner together!!!

Tomorrow's post....Anything you can do I BETTER GET TO DO TOO!!! But until then go check out Nora's blog for more FFF posts.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Had some electricity for a while during the night but we're back in the dark again! Power company had to turn us off so they can get at some of the countless power lines dragged down by trees uprooted in the weather 'incident' of Tuesday night. So I did go out and take a picture of our damage that we have not gotten cleared as of yet....

This last picture keeps reminding me of the Shel Silverstein book....

....Where the Sidewalk Ends!

Limited battery left on the lap top, so sorry for the brief drop in posts)--:  .....but good news is Auntie Peggy is done playing Little House on the Prairie...she has power back...for now anyhow!

Micro-burts VS. Straight line wind

...really does the definition matter??? Just a note to say that my suburb had a weather incident Tuesday night that resulted in hundreds of trees being uprooted or losing limbs that took down bunches of power lines leaving us powerless. Fortunately for us, our home is located in a high priority zone because it includes a school and hospital and we had our power back after 24 hrs. Auntie Peggy is not faring so well...her generator is still roaring in her backyard and it may be another day before the giant old elm trees that fell across her street are cleared allowing her to get her car off her cul-de-sac!

Luckily the cooler weather that drove the storm our direction is holding so we can be outside with our chainsaws running full time without discomfort. But my Dad is arriving tomorrow from Florida to attend our family picnic and he is scheduled to stay with Auntie Peggy. We had a similar storm last year this time and he was at her house with no power too!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be taking a break from limb removal to clean and rearrange the girls' bedrooms because I think I may be having company this weekend......

Didn't take any pictures as we were too busy working but there has been some good discussions about this week's "This is ME Challenge" given the circumstances. Might have it ready to post later tonight!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is ME Challenge #7- Numbers

Trying to 'catch up' with some of the life history challenges in the next couple of days. Today I'm tackling 'My Life in Numbers'.

1] The number of husbands I have and ever will have! One is also the number of males living in our house now that cocker spaniel Kelty has gone to live with Auntie Peggy due to Julia's allergies.

2] Mari and Julia, the only children I have and will ever have!

3] My sisters Peggy, Anne Marie, and Jennifer.

4] The number of homes I have lived in my life so far.

5] My brothers David, Peter, Bill, John, and Steven.

6] My brothers-in-law Frank, Jim, Denis, Mike, Tom, and Martin.

7] The number of different schools I've attended in my life!

8] My shoe size...and as a teen it was veeeery convenient that it was also the same shoe size as Peggy and Anne Marie!

9] The age I was when I first moved.

10] Number of years I worked in a private dental practice before moving to public health dentistry.

11] Number of years I have been a Mom!

12] Number of nieces and nephews I have.

13] Age of my eldest child.

14] The number of homes my husband has had in his life!

15] Years we've been married.

16] Number of windows in my current home. [know this because we recently replaced the 1956 era windows!]

17] Number of times I've been to Florida since meeting my husband.

18] Age I was when my parents let me take my little sister to Colorado on my first solo road trip!!

19] Number of nieces and nephews Patrick has.

20] Number of sewing machines I have personally far!

22] Number of years I went to school.

36] Age when I got married.

39] Number states I've visited.

Sure there are many more numbers that could be included but this seems a respectable stab at the challenge! If you too want to try and record your life history in a fun way check out this blog!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Unbelievable Milestone....

Not a post for the weak of stomach...consider yourself warned!

Once upon a time there was a middle aged couple who traveled to a far away country and came home parents. The toddler girl in their arms was a wary and watchful child who most often chose to stand wide eyed and questioning at new events in her life. As she mastered the new language and developed a sense of security in her position in the new family she began to join in  group play....slowly, gradually, ever so carefully. Her cousins enveloped her in their love which allowed her competitive little soul to blossom and by school age she was a dancer and soccer player on par with her peers....except for one little detail...she NEVER fell and scraped ANYTHING....EVER! There was a RARE bump resulting in a bruise and there was the one incident when a tussle between cousins competing over a Pokemon card resulted in four stitches in her eyebrow but NEVER a skinned elbow or knee! She is a hesitant and cautious lady until she masters a situation. Her training wheels stayed on until she had well mastered balancing and pedaling a bike and on the rare occasion when the bike got the best of her she would leap from the bike so as to land on her feet. The new mommy never had to try and wash dirt from road rash nor ration band-aids or even chide a child to stop picking at her scabs!! Of course you know where this post is heading????

My kids used to groan at my Mom's favorite expression of  "Too much laughing leads to crying!" When Mari called the family nurse to report the 'crisis' and get a second opinion [because Mom is not to be trusted??] and the question of just how the injury was incurred was asked she responded with, "Well the too much laughing leading to crying worked!" Oh, and when she goes about skinning her first knee she does it all the way...

The too much laughing??? A water fight between cousins!!! Trying to make an escape she very uncharacteristically tripped over....THE HOSE!!!!

The crying??? Mari in pain, Julia and Deirdre in both sympathy for Mari and fear of Mom's reaction to the drenched clothes, and Mom for the pain of seeing the raw naked flesh which reminds me of how vulnerable a human being she is down under the careful, wary persona. No fear this lady will pick at her scabs but we've gone through a copious amount of Neosporin Plus ointment and band-aids in the few hours since the 'incident'!!! Thank goodness the dance recital is over.....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

This Is ME Challenge!

Those readers that have been following my blog for any length of time know how passionate I am for 'making memories' with and for my daughters. My latest love of genealogy has brought to crystal clarity how important it is to get these memories recorded! If only my Scottish great-grandparents had their stories written in a journal...then I wouldn't be struggling so to find where Hartsible Livingston was born!?!

Well over at she has begun a series to help focus those of us procrastinators. Each Tuesday she posts a 'challenge' designed to get you thinking about yourself and then getting those thoughts recorded in some form or another. Bet you are thinking to yourself, "But today is Father's Day?!?!" Well it all comes together because as I was in the kitchen this morning with my girls cooking and assembling a SPECIAL breakfast for the best Dad in the whole wide world, we started discussing the first challenge. [She's up to 10 or so so I'm playing catch up here!]. As Mari chopped the honeydew melon, Julia set the table, and I fried Irish sausages/bangers we decided to put a piece of paper at each place and have all four of us draw up our own lists! The challenge is to name the 10 modern things you would just HAVE to take back with you if you were sent back to live in "the olden days".

As we buttered toast and peppered scrambled eggs the discussion got very lively! Mari's portable DVD player was met with a challenge of "where would you get the electricity"? This led to a definition of just how "olden" the  days would be because her answer was classic, "But Grandma lived in the olden days and she had electricity!" and then we discussed just where these "olden" days would have to be spent. The merits of Ireland, Guatemala, and Chicago were passionately debated but we settled on a Colonial Williamsburg model. We also decided that the debate about how you would provide adjunctive support to things like "my laptop" would be dropped since the goal for our family is to try and identify those items that seem so important to you that you could not live without them.

So here we go.....

Julia's Top 10 are;
2} TV,
3}Our Car,
4} My toy box,
5} Hot showers(after Patrick's story of washing up in a bucket),
6} toilets,
7} Our house,
8} My bed,
9} Modern clothes,
10} My asthma medicine

Mari's Top 10 are;
1} Portable DVD player with Never Say Never DVD,
2} Kerosene generator,
3} TV,
4} Lifetime supply of bottled water with fluoride,
5} Toothbrush and REAL toothpaste (after hearing Patrick's story of using twigs and baking soda!),
6} Our own car,
7} Our own safe, modern food,
8} My own bed with my own sheets (again, after Patrick's tale of bed sharing as a child in Ireland)
9} Modern clothes,
10} Antibiotics (after hearing me justify why it was going on my list)

Suzanne's Top 10 are;
1} Antibiotics,
2}My Merck's manual and medical book library,
3}Lifetime supply of non-expiring sunscreen,
4}Washing machine and dryer (they count as one, right?),
5} My stove (I have no intention of relearning to cook over fire!!!),
6}Lifetime supply of diet Coke,
7}Refrigerator to keep it appropriately cold!,
8}Tampons and pads! Even as I need them less and less I have two daughters to get through this stage and I would absolutely gag at the old rags method described by my Mom and Grandmother!!
9}My laptop with internet access (with the assumption that I could borrow the electricity from my daughters to keep it powered and that sufficient others chose to bring theirs so we could still read each other's blogs!),
10} My camera and photo albums not scanned onto my computer!

Patrick's Top 10 are;
1}Modern plumbing,
3} My car,
4} My glasses,
5}My modern trained doctor,
6} My family......and that's all I need because I lived in the "olden days" already and family is all you really need to have a great life!

AMEN, dear Patrick! AMEN! Thank you for teaching us what is really important in life and for being the best man a girl could ever have in her life!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What a Week!

At a very serious risk of mutiny by Julia, I have yet another post featuring Mari! She is on a roll this week. We packed up and headed home from the lake house because she has a very busy weekend!! This afternoon she was in her element the salon! After some indecision, Mari had her first eyebrow wax job. This was in anticipation of the weekend's activity.....

It's dance recital time!!

Tonight was the rehearsal which entailed a LOT of...

...waiting around to dance.

There was the required photo shoot as well.

Tomorrow begin the performances. It is times like this when I find myself wondering just how she went and grew up so fast?!?!?

Talk About Backsliding!!!

So I left my readers yesterday with a comment about not wanting to erase any of Mari's gains by trying to 'force' more camping skills should the predicted rain appear. I believe I used the words 'back sliding' to describe my fear for her progress? of post said with head hung in shame and embarrassment.......

We discovered a huge zip-line tour operating about 5 minutes away from Aunt Agnes' lake house and everyone [except Patrick that is] decided that it would be a fantastic substitute for our planned swimming and boating which the weather [cold and misting] had squelched. We all suited up...

...and we all hopped into the transport jeep for the trip up to the tower.

We all climbed to the top of the launching tower....

....but only two of us came down the zip-line!!!

You just had to know that our gutsy girl Julia made the trip!!

The mega-grin is your clue to the other brave soul!!!!!!!

Eh hem, cough, cough....standing on the top of that tower watching my precious babies link onto the line as the breeze swayed the tower I began to feel PANICKED!!!!!!!! So fast and so hard did the panic attack come on that I seriously thought I just may be having a bona fide heart attack! The accompanying nausea even kind of escalated my sense of being mid-myocardial infarct! Much to the guides credit, he tried to assure me that the panic would pass and I would forever regret my decision to bolt back down the stairs but all I heard was the pounding of my heart. I did have to look at my daughters with their fingers formed in the letter L held against their foreheads just a couple of times today. I earned it. I had really thought with my love of roller coasters and no particular fear of heights that I could do this! I underestimated the extent to which I have become dominated by my need to be in control. When it came time to relinquish control and trust in the rigging...I lost it.

So here and now I bow down in awe at the incredible women that my daughters are becoming. Young ladies who had fears of heights and the unknown yet placed their trust in the rigging....THREE times they made the decision to jump from the tower and glide high above Terra Firma....and they had the time of their lives!!!!!! We will be returning to this zip-line course because they now want to take the two hour tour over the lakes and forests of Wisconsin. Just maybe I'll conquer my fear of losing control and make the jump off the tower so I can be like those brave young women you see above?!?

Decided at the last minute to wait out the interminable upload time for a video so you can see one of their rides!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sloooooooow immersion.

When the girls first joined us in the US, we did FIVE Disney World trips in 3 years. Then for a couple of years we just did a day at Disney when we would be down for winter or spring break. About 4 years ago we decided to have a Disney moratorium...there is so much more of America they NEED to see?!? Last year we did a mini-vaca to Amish country. This year we are planning a mini-vaca to Memphis so a certain Elvis fan can check Graceland off her bucket list. Sometime in the next two years we hope to be able to do the grand national park know, like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

One tiny problem with our long range plan...unless or until we win the lottery this trip will require some 'rustic' accommodations. Might I remind the reader about my eldest daughter's love of Mother Nature? The child who won't eat out at a picnic table in our back yard because there are bugs...who won't use a latrine...who whines for air conditioning when temperatures hit the 70's...our princess in pink who has made it very clear that camping is simply not "an option" in her book?!?!? Sigh.

So today we headed off to Aunt Agnes' lake house in Wisconsin for the first stage of  Mari's "Nature Desensitization Therapy". Patrick and I have designed a nice slooooooow process of bringing her highness gradually closer and closer to "the country" in the hopes that our rigid and very linear thinker can learn to embrace the new, the untamed, the "rustic"....okay, so she'll stop freaking about the darn bugs!!! Aunt Agnes' lake house is hardly rustic but it is a bit closer to Mother Nature than our suburban abode. We are not gluttons for punishment...we know better than to try and head straight for a campground. Though to hear the lady whine on the car ride up here you'd think we were taking her to Mars. For once I bit my tongue and the look on her face when we pulled into the drive was PRICELESS!!

She raced up onto the deck saying, "It is a house with a deck and a grill and everything!" Seems she had decided in her agitation that we were dragging her to a log cabin in the woods. But I did have a plan in place to keep her from hiding in the air conditioning while texting a mile a minute...

I wasn't born yesterday! Hooked her with one of Aunt Agnes' toys to get her out in the fresh air....

Oh, Julia was on this trip too but is not afraid of much of anything as you can note...and one upping her sister on the scooter to boot!

While I worked with the girls on step two of "Meeting Mother Nature",  Patrick paid our rent! One of the 'costs' of using the lake house was to mow the lawn which could not have made him happier since it involved reliving his youth...behind the wheel of a tractor (-:

Step two involved getting the 'oven' started for dinner.

Again, not a problem for Julia who tried to 'catch' smoke.....

...and relished the privilege of using fire tongs!
Being fair to Mari, she did do her fair share of tending the foil packet dinners I had INSISTED we make as 'practice for camping'...even though I'd eat them anytime (-:

We did a chicken version tonight that turned out delicious!!

Even a thumbs up from Mari who especially enjoyed it considering I let her eat it inside. Baby steps here folks, we're taking baby steps.

Dessert had us back outside at our 'stove'. Since they were too impatient to wait for that treat in the foil 'baking' under their marshmallows, I did let them move on to roasting the fluffy treats. In the foil was To Die For Banana S'mores...can you say CALORIES in the guise of being 'healthy'?!?!? 

Ummmm, and YES that would be Mari sitting outside eating!!! Baby steps...

...or it may have something to do with sugar???

Julia decided today that she really just needs a toasted marshmallow for her dessert!

But incinerated is a bit too 'toasted' for her her liking (-:

Mari joined us a couple of short times at the campfire tonight as well. She couldn't quite bring herself to sit on a tree stump just yet but we are miles ahead of where I was hoping we'd be after our first 'therapy'. Supposed to rain all day tomorrow...I might have to bag our second day plans in order to avoid back sliding. Can you say Old Faithful and Mari in the same sentence? Someday soon it looks like...someday soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

You know it is summer when.....

the family picnic season begins!! Today we started with the Mahoney Family picnic...

There were new girls....

and new boys....

and even a new couple or two!

The senior members basked in the sun...

...while the juniors played the day away!

There was talking...

....and more talking....

...yep, more talking.... full Kerry brogue ...

...ditto for the Mayo brogue... is an IRISH crowd you know!?!?

Even last years babies know how to chat!

We did do a bit of eating...

..and of course there were spuds at an Irish picnic!!

The American contingent did see to the dessert!!!!

After a bit of  exploring the pavilion floor..

and a bit of exploring the woodland paths along the picnic grove...

it was time to go GLOBAL! Pinatas are everyone's favorite, right?!?!

While the cousins dove for the sweets....

Julia was all about the horses...of course.