Monday, November 24, 2008


We woke up on Sunday morning to a furnace that wouldn't function. Troubleshooting on our own, calls to local repair companies and assistance from the neighbors led us to call a technician out today.

We spent the day yesterday out of the house and were treated to dinner at a friend's home to stay warm. Made the kids HOT cocoa for breakfast, warmed their school clothes in the dryer before they put them on this morning and then they dressed in front of the toasty fireplace.

We were getting along just fine.

The repair guy was just here.

I stood over the technician's shoulder as he worked and since it looked so darn simple I grilled him on whether or not I could have just gotten the part and done it myself. He came up with some very lame reasons on why a hired professional is best. What's he supposed to say?!

In an effort to make myself feel better I asked him, "So is this under warranty?"

"Of course," he happily replied. "For forty five days." What a joke.

$381 later the furnace is in full swing. I just looked up the price for the part online and it would have cost about $30 and I think it's a snap to replace.

Last night after Eric and I tucked the girls in under layers of blankets we then climbed under several quilts on our bed. Eric commented on how nice it felt and how much money we'd save if we went heat-less more often.

I hope he was serious. Now that I have $381 to make up for Wilkinson Manor will certainly be a bit chiller this winter season.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I always dreamed of having a sister.

Making that dream come true for my girls is the next best thing.

Meeting Charlotte

Audrey lost her first tooth on Wednesday.

She could not wait to find out which tooth fairy was hers. Olivia's is "Tabitha" and the girls wondered if each household was assigned a tooth fairy or each child had their own.

Audrey's biggest concern was where to place the tooth at bedtime. She did not have a special box and she did not want her tooth fairy near her bed. After much thought she placed the tooth in a simple box on her bureau.

Thursday morning she woke to find a new keepsake box surrounded by fairy dust with a note and money all from her very own tooth fairy--Charlotte!

The best part according to Audrey? A special note from Charlotte left on our entryway board.

"Audrey is a sweet treat! xoxo, Charlotte"

Audrey immediately sent her a message back.

"Thank you! Love, Audrey"

Audrey set to wiggling the other middle bottom tooth straight away in hopes it would come out soon so Charlotte would come back and see her thank you note.

Stay tuned! It's getting looser. And Charlotte is ready!

Good Hair Day

More than eight years and another child later I finally got the haircut I always wanted for Olivia...on Audrey!

Liv and Audrey look more like eachother with each new day--or at least each new doo!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Frosted Mullet

This is why Facebook is fun. I was tagged by a former classmate with this 1986 photo today.

That's me on the far right (as you look at the pic).

Frosted mullet!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

What a wonderful day. It was quite ordinary which made it ideal. The kids were fantastic after school as we ran about town. They got haircuts and we hit the grocery store--and, of course, the requisite drive through Starbucks (surely I am not wising up about the economy as we sip our raspberry cocoas!). The girls enjoyed making their own pizza and the three of us spent a peaceful and lovely evening together while dear Eric unfortunately had a grueling day at work. I was genuinely content. Drama and guilt free. Bliss.

After reading to Audrey I lay in her bed with my arms around her as I do each night and she told me she had three songs she wanted to sing to me. She crooned "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and then she belted out "Happy Birthday" (39 tomorrow!) My heart smiled.

She asked if she could stay home with me on my special day or if I could find a way to become her teacher for the day. "Just you and me. You teach and I will learn." (imagine that horror flick starring me as a home schooling mama?--yikes) She then went on to name her favorite teachers.

"If you taught you'd be my first then Miss Talona, Miss Corky, Mr. Bill... Actually you'd have to be second. God is my first teacher. I learn the most from Him."

Me too, girl.

My thoughts went back to reveling in how wonderful it feels to hug and hold her. I love her skin, hearing her breathe, her heart beating against mine as we lay in the dark. I crave being next to Olivia and Audrey when I am apart from them. There are times I literally ache to be near them. I love that feeling.

Moments later in Liv's room she asked if she could put on a show for me. "Not much time, hot stuff," I told her. "But show me what you've got."

"Five, Six, Seven, Eight! OMG have you seen my mom? She totally rocks. I am the luckiest kid on the block," and she danced about the room.

There I sat--- drinking it in.

And then I vowed to remind myself daily I have more than enough for my needs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our Future

President Audrey and Vice President Schyler 2049
Yes, Audrey as the Prez. Schy is very wise to let her lead...!

Mama Meltdown

The kids have been off from school for two days (again). Yesterday after a bit of a stir crazy morning and one that I "thought" I could juggle some work and some parenting I finally relented and packed the kids up (along with Audrey's doll pram) and we set off on an adventure.

It all started out beautifully.

A walk in Lake Forest Park.

A visit to Starbucks.

A stop at the book store.

As all these lovely bonding moments were taking place my phone was ringing, email inbox filling up and text messages pouring in.

I had told the painter earlier in the day that I would meet him at 2 p.m.

I told a potential new client I would call him at 3 p.m.

I had to return a client call about a new project that would happen late in the day.

Once my girls outing was done I planned to switch hats and make it all happen.

Wishful thinking.

The client phoned a couple times about an issue that I was already frustrated about (she wants a project done and the person I am contracting with to shoot the video for it has jacked his rates up by $1500--clearly I needed a quite period to discuss this with him and then with the client).

The potential new client was ready to deliver a check straight away in hopes that I would begin his media relations asap so after three emails in a matter of minutes my blood started to boil considering I pitched him about the project last FEBRUARY.

The painter's text messages told me he was waiting outside my house. 45 minutes early!

So I told the girls we had to leave the bookstore. IMMEDIATELY.

Liv wanted to read me "one more poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends" and Audrey must have had 20 books that needed to be put away.

As I listened to Olivia read and struggled to find the locations from where Audrey took the books I started to lose it (as the noise in my head grew louder).

We made it onto the sidewalk and then it happened. Audrey innocently ran in to the back of my ankles with her doll carriage.

And Mama snapped.

I scooped up the doll stroller and lectured the girls about being more careful, walking faster, listening to me when I needed them to, taking out one book at a time, and on and on. It was a bunch of nonsense that made Audrey cry and Liv look totally and utterly defeated.

Now I really had something to be overwhelmed about. I was a horrible mother.

I spent the rest of the day apologizing with a pit in my stomach and a bruise on my heart.

Why didn't I just tell the painter he was early and I would be there at 2? like I initially said

Why didn't I tell the new client (he did show up with the check THANK GOD) that he could wait another day? afterall it had been nine months

Why didn't I simply tell the photographer to draft a proposal explaining why we would want to pay him 3X his normal rate and then I would submit it?

Why was I taking this all on at the cost of my children?

Truth be told it was the snowball effect.

I wanted to meet the painter as he was rehanging all the curtains and peg racks and shelving in the girls rooms. I know how much Eric hates to do it and I was trying to make it just right. I started to resent that Eric couldn't just get it done and so I had to manage it and mess up my day.

As for the new client deal I thought about how beggars can't be choosers and in this economy a new account is a gift so I needed to make myself available.

As for the photographer---I resented that I had to act as his agent when this was money HE wanted.

At bedtime I continued to grovel to my girls. As she played with my hair Liv said, "I already forgot about it, Mom. You're forgiven. You rock. You would be so ugly if your hair was like this." Seems like things were back to normal.

In Audrey's room I apologized to her and she said, "Remember at church yesterday my Sunday school teacher said I had a heart like God? I will share some of it with you. It's all OK now, Mama."

And perhaps the biggest lesson? The next time I embark on an adventure with my girls I'll leave my PDA in the car.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Olivia has a crush on a boy in her class. He admittedly likes her as well. So much so that he told me about it on a field trip a while back. I was amazed at the candor.

It's very harmless (thank God) as they are only 8. Neither of them gushes about one another but again they are both very clear and honest to their peers and their parents that they like eachother.

In the car en route to school today I asked her why she liked him.

He's smart
He uses big words and reads books like Harry Potter. When we do our timed math tests and have to get 20 answers correct in one minute, he gets about 40 correct.

He's creative


Did you see his name tag? It has a lot of fish and underwater sea life pictures that he drew on it.

He's talented


He is great at a lot of sports. I've seen him play soccer and basketball and remember this summer I went over to his house and saw him swim?

He's funny


He pretends he's a beaver pushing a lawn mower. He acts out what it's like to ride up and then go down on a roller coaster.

So why do you like him better than the other boys in school?

They think they're "all that". And they're not. But Joel is.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


My presidential candidate won the presidency tonite. I am elated. Our Obama logo pumpkin is lit and my girls (and girl dog) are all wearing medals to celebrate.
It's been a long eight years.

I think my Olivia best illustrates how today feels to many.

It's been a banner day for her. Her third grade teacher, Miss Moe, announced at the end of the school day that she "did awesome". Her 8: 20 a.m. choir teacher and 3:30 piano teacher, Mrs. Bell, said, "she's really getting there and is very gifted". Her gymnastics coach, Randy, granted her the most stamps out of eleven gymnasts tonite (24 in total) and named her the the only Otter Pop recipient. So when I announced to her at the end of gymnastics class that Barack Obama was named the President of the United States Olivia declared today the greatest day of her life.
It surely is a probably the fourth greatest of mine. The birth of Liv, Audrey, and my marriage to Eric top it but today is monumental indeed.

Audrey and I took a walk tonite as the election results rolled in and Olivia tumbled at gymnastics. Audrey looked up at the brilliant sky filled with stars and said, "I think it spells Barack". Seriously.

Later in the evening Olivia heard him give his acceptance speech and announced, "He should be a pastor." Amen, sister.

Let me first say three Obama-rama cocktails created by my client, The Pink Door, and served by beloved friend, Darren, have made tonite even more brilliant (thank you, dear, dear D!)

Audrey and I danced as the results poured in.

Even Frib won my affections (which is HUGE after he ruined Liv's bedding yesterday if you recall from an earlier post).

Yet as soon as the presidency was announced (and before the Obama-ramas were poured) I played this song for my girls "I Hope" by Dixie Chicks. Lyrics below, song here.

Later on this evening and admittedly way past bedtime I sent them off to bed with my Itunes blaring and the song "I Hope" playing once again. Audrey drifted off to sleep and Olivia lay calculating when she could vote. "In just ten years, Mama, I can vote. I can't wait."

I Hope Lyrics by Dixie Chicks

Sunday morning, I heard the preacher say

Thou shall not kill

I don't wanna, hear nothin' else, about killin'

And that it's God's willCuz our children are watching us

They put their trust in us

They're gonna be like us

So let's learn from our history

And do it differently


For love, joy and laughter

I hope

We'll have more than we'll ever need

I hope

We'll have more happy ever afters

I hope

We can all live more fearlessly

And we can lose all the pain and misery

I hope, I hope

Oh Rosie, her man he gets too rough

And all she can say, is he's a good man

He don't mean no harm

He was just brought up that way

But our children are watching us

They put their trust in us

They're gonna be like us

It's okay for us to disagree

We can work it out lovingly

For I hope

For love, joy and laughter

I hope

You'll have more than you'll ever need

I hope

You'll have more happy ever afters

I hope

And you can all live more fearlessly

And you can lose all your pain and misery

I hope, I hope

There must be a way to change what's going on

No, I don't have all the answers, butI hope

For more love, more joy and laughter

I hopeyou'll have more than you'll ever need

I hope

There'll be more happy ever afters

I hope

We can all live more fearlessly

And we can lose all the pain and misery, we can lose all the pain and misery

I hope, I hope

Election Night Jitters

Ran into Carrie at the market and she said her stomach is full of butterflies.

Darren is obsessed with the polls and can't stop tracking them.

Olivia climbed in the car after piano lessons and said she is not sure she can make it through gymnastics as she is so excited for election results.

Then I arrived home to find Frib in the corner. He's panting, shaking, and all keyed up.

Election Night Jitters? Nope. The rain.

Have you ever heard of a SEATTLE dog terrified of rain?

Or perhaps he is sensing four more years? Say it isn't so!

Frenetic Fall

What a whirlwind autumn it has been here at stately Wilkinson Manor. The start of school, several family birthdays, a trip for me and the girls, one for Eric, client activities too numerous to recall, Halloween parties, dr. appointments, church volunteering, and kids school conferences--just to name some of the events.

There have been many highs and lows and I can bet I have not been the easiest person to dwell with here in this castle of ours.

School Days

Audrey had a glowing teacher conference report and also some thoughtful teacher feedback. "Off the charts" was what her seasoned teacher (he's taught for 24 years) reported about her. "If only she could be more confident," he quickly added.
If only he could have been in the car that afternoon...
"Mama, I am not sure if I am going to be a doctor for the needies when I grow up or a supermodel in Paris."

Olivia's school conference report was status quo. "Academically there is not a single negative issue to report. Yet socially she thinks she's my peer in many ways. She would rather chat with me or simply talk whenever she'd like regardless if I am teaching a lesson or not. It's not that she's disrespectful it's that she doesn't understand there are rules that apply to all of the children in class--including her." Was there a tape recorder playing nearby? Eric and I have gotten this same report nearly verbatim since Olivia started pre-school at age three.

Upon chatting with Liv that night I mentioned some examples the teacher gave, "She says if you don't like something you sort of roll your eyes. She said you weren't sassy just that you aren't real concerned when she's upset with you."

"She's an eye roller, too. It's what we do." Liv nonchalantly replied. Clearly I was not getting through.

When I mentioned the comment to the teacher the next day she said Olivia was being truthful.

According to Liv they chatted in the hall that afternoon and both agreed to work on the eye rolling...Truth be told Eric and I have had several heart to hearts with Olivia about adult respect the past few weeks and the teacher sends home daily reports now. No blurting and no eye rolling for weeks- woo hoo!

Sorting the goods!

All the loot!

Dear friends had their annual Halloween bash/son's birthday party.

As in year's past Eric horrified the crowd (and mainly our girls) with his costume. This year he went as a "real Alaska hockey mom"

Olivia was a rock star who spent the night on the dance floorAudrey was Alice in Wonderland. Audrey appeared on some morning TV shows with one of my clients a couple of times regarding safe Halloween costumes! Here she was en route to one very early morning segment.

I dressed Frib as a Flapper when we went out trick or treating this year.

He was less than pleased.
Yesterday was his revenge. He destroyed a brand new bedspread of Olivia's (for those keeping track at home he has ruined at least 8-10 quilts in the 9 years we've had him).

Would you believe the wonderful salesclerk at Target took it back? I wonder if she was so shocked that I actually went in and asked. I told her upfront what happened and she took pity on me. Target rocks! Frib does not.

Turn the Page

I am looking forward to penning the next chapter about calmer days in the month ahead.

One where Audrey girl can work some on gaining more of a voice for Teacher Bill...

Liv love can continue to silence hers a bit more for Miss Moe

and Fribble can take a page out of Princess Alice's story and simply go with the flow.

What a fairytale it will be.

Vote for Peace

In an effort to witness what I hope will be a monumental event in American history I brought Olivia & Audrey to the polls with me.

Naturally I captured the experience with my camera. Just as the poll worker went to snap the picture Olivia said, "Show the 'PEACE sign' Audrey. Mama just cast a vote for peace!"