Monday, June 27, 2011

Remodel underway! We bought our house almost 5 years ago and as with most people we had a list of things we wanted to do with it. The list has been ever-changing as life shifts and re-shifts our priorities.
Having 3 growing daughters in the house and having had our church meet in our home for the past four years, a second bathroom has always been high on my list. Jamie has gone back and forth (depending on how much the girls have been invading his bathroom time), and it seems the time has come for us to add the bathroom.

On Saturday, Jamie, Dan, and Jamie's new favorite toy, the jackhammer, broke up the concrete in our current laundry room. According to our wonderful plumber Richard, our pipes look like artwork so we are well on our way to bathroom #2.

Here are some before shots:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yesterday was the day of Penny's birth. Jamie had told me he would much rather celebrate the day she was born and her beautiful life than honor the day that she passed away.
So, my sweet niece and nephew came up with the idea for the kids to attach a picture or a letter to a balloon and release the balloons into the air at 7:23 EST, the time of Penny's birth. While I was at work, the girls worked on their notes and when I came home there on the table was each's girls note, individually decorated and sealed up with care. The first sign of trouble came when I asked the girls what they did and Isabelle informed me that she and Macie had put actual pennies in their letters. I told them we may have to lose the pennies if we wanted the balloons to actually fly, but we would see.

Macie and Isabelle came with me to the party store to pick out their balloons. Macie picked a smiley face balloon and Isabelle picked a lavender balloon. I picked out a lime green balloon with polka-dots for Tori and bought two extra just in case. We got the balloons safely home and inside the house. I went outside to get something out of the van and I heard a big pop. The girls assured me they did not touch it, it just popped. Down to 4. We attached our letters and got them ready to go.

We had a BBQ with some college kids happening at the house, so around 6:20 central time we snuck away to the front yard to release the balloons. I had attached two balloons to Isabelle's card, hoping the extra helium would carry the pennies. On the way out the door, one popped- down to three.

The initial plan was to go to the wide open soccer field down the street from us, but it was soccer mania down there, so we just decided to stay in our front yard. Tori said a sweet prayer thanking God for her Aunt Penny and then we told them to let them go.

Isabelle's went right to the ground- time to lose the penny and try again. It still didn't work, so we unattached the letter and then let the balloon go. One balloon up in the air.

I took off Macie's note because it seemed it was going to follow the same course as Isabelle's balloon. Macie let hers go. It got stuck in the tree. Thankfully, a gust of wind released it from the branch and off it went. Two balloons up in the air.

Tori let hers go and the balloon took off with the letter attached. Perfect. But, a gust of wind took it right into the other tree in our yard, and it was not going anywhere. We watched the other two balloons disappear into the sky and then I looked to see the tears welling in Tori's eyes as her balloon and letter just hung there in the tree. This was not quite the picturesque take off I had been envisioning. Jamie and I knew there was no way that Tori was not releasing a balloon into the air; time to get creative. So, with a swiffer mop, two jump ropes, a brief stint of me standing on top of the van, and some sheer determination we finally got the balloon loose. It started to take off only to get stuck again in the tree, way too high for me to reach this time. I intended to go get another balloon at the store, when a gust of wind took it away into the atmosphere. Finally, three balloons up in the air.

We told the girls the Aunt Penny would have found the whole scene quite comical. She operated well in chaos and always found a reason to smile. We think of her often and are so thankful for the life that we were able to share with her.

A little side note: When Tori's balloon finally released, Isabelle came over to tell me she had prayed that Tori's would release without popping. And it did. God is good. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The school year ended last week in a mad flurry of field trips, special days, awards assemblies, talent shows, and some sad goodbyes to our great teachers, Ms. Oyanagi and Ms. Zipoy. We will miss them!!!!
Jamie and I always try to do something to celebrate the end of year with the girls. This year we decided to surprise them with a dinner outing to one of the great tourist traps family restaurants in the cities, the Rainforest Cafe in the Mall of America. The girls have asked several times to go there and we have never conceded, so we knew they would be excited. We gave them a million guesses and they didn't figure it out until we were pulling into the Mall of America parking lot. All their years of waiting seemed to be worth it as they were smiling the whole time we were there and they told me even the hallway to the bathroom was amazing. Tori and Isabelle gladly posed for a picture with Cha Cha the red-eyed tree frog, which I gladly took since they are not always willing photography subjects these days. Macie did not pose with Cha Cha the tree frog as she is in the terrified-of-dressed-up-creatures stage and was not at all interested in being any where in the remote vicinity of Cha Cha. She did give him a high five as we were leaving but then immediately fell into a nervous puddle of tears on Jamie's shoulder. Awww....the trauma of being 4 1/2.
Apart from Macie's phobia it was a great first night to summer and hopefully just the beginning of our summer adventures. It will take me a few days to get used to them being home all day, eating all day, asking what they can do all day, etc. But as Jamie loves to remind me they will not be around forever to enjoy the summer with, so enjoy it we will. Adventure on!