Friday, December 31, 2010

What a year it was!

I was all positive and light in January....


Katie and I bumbled about in our usual routine of basketball, school and home.


And then I got a tragic haircut.


This was my disguise.

February started out normal enough...


I drove off without Katie as she chased after me for a city block.


It snowed and it snowed and it snowed some more.


I offered my first workshop and it sold out instantly.

And then we were floored by the news of our Susie being sick.


We knew it was very bad right from the start. Inoperable butterfly glioblastoma.
I lost hope and could not pray.
You all prayed for us.

Thank you.

March was a time to love Sue.



Katie was my sweet companion thru it all.
She is my little honey.
She looked at me with such love and would hold my hand as I cried every day.


April brought more traveling to see Sue.


The love was the richest kind.



Beloved Sister. Gone too soon.
You were not suppose to die.

May brought mourning and soul searching and consoling and too many tears to count.

irish twin


jjwhole group

a five k to raise funds for brain cancer research


my logo and biz cards were completed and I thought they were perfect.



In June I hosted my second workshop.

It was super fun.



We took a family trip to San Francisco.


Where Di and I met in real life.

It was so uncomfortable meeting her for the first time.



We saw pretty things.


But my heart was still broken.
It would be a few more months before I would stop crying.

Tune in tomorrow for July thru December.

Those first six months have worn me out.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Love one another, and as Sue would say,

Mean it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Katie and Carrie went skating on Sunday afternoon...


I took blurry pictures.




I think they had fun.


Buddy: I thought maybe we could make ginger bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands.


Encourage one another,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My plan was this,
take one picture of all the children for the Christmas card.

I could piece something together but since we would all be together this year, I wanted to get a group shot.
I don't know when will be the next time we can get a group shot!

That is not good.

Together good.
Not together.
Not good.

So yesterday we planned to meet at Pizza Bruta for lunch. It's one of Matthew's favorite places so since he runs the show...

We went.

I thought we would take pictures outside on Monroe St. or at Vilas Park or at the zoo.
But the outdoor thing quickly got nixed due to little baby Asher.


I had Katie come up to the front of the restaurant to check the light.

It was the middle of the afternoon so the restaurant was pretty empty....
so I set up shop.

I cleared the table, moved a few chairs and grabbed a chair to stand on.


While we were setting up and sitting down...the ladies decided to take the booth right behind us.

Pesky patrons.

I am still using this picture even with the creepers in the back.
Sometimes you have to go with the flow.

And when we got home, I asked Melinda if she would take a picture of me with all my children.

I do not have a picture of me and them! And that is a crime!

So I made everyone come outside and dragged a chair for Melinda to stand on.

I took some test shots....


And this was a bit sun-flarey for this kind of portrait.


Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.001 sec (1/800)
Aperture f/3.5
Focal Length 50 mm
ISO Speed 400

We tried the open shade facing a sunny house and yard.

Melinda has a good eye and noticed the sun hitting our faces.
We rearranged to solve that problem....


I like the first shot best, even with the sun on the side of my face.

But details aside.....

I am thrilled to have these pictures!!!

Super-duper-madly-deeply thrilled!!!!

Thank you Melinda!
Thank you everybody for cooperating.

I treasure every moment we can be together.
Thank you.

Love you!
Mean it.


Monday, December 27, 2010


We can't kiss him enough.

He is so kissable.


We love his funny faces.


And his ready smiles.


His eyes are so big and his nose is so little.


He is a perfect fit into our quiet life.

Even when he screams.

We are all prone to screaming out a few times a day.


We are all still here, under the same roof, enjoying our time together.

I like it.

Encourage one aonther,

Saturday, December 25, 2010


"Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart." -- George Matthew Adams

"I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never aone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the word seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses." -- Taylor Caldwell


Friday, December 24, 2010


Happy Birthday Katie!!

You are loved.


Winter fun!!!


Party all the time.




Wonderful child of God, we receive your arrival with joy, eagerness and wonder. We ask that you come to redeem us from all that is incomplete, unworthy, and broken. Come into our hearts this day and bring peace on earth. Amen

HT to The Just Life

God Bless us, everyone!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top ten things I am looking forward to over the next week.

Hugs and Kisses

Last year was the Christmas without the boys. It was quiet.
This year we will all be together.
And Asher will be here too.

And it will be noisy and crowded and messy and I can not wait!!!


Katie turns eleven tomorrow....
She's been waiting a whole year :o)

Savor every single moment because what happens matters...
Open your heart and love like crazy....

As Erica says to her daughter in Somethings Gotta Give,

"What are you waiting for?"

Love you!
Mean it!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So the shortest day came....


"So the shortest day came, and the year died, And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world came people singing, dancing, To drive the dark away....They carol, they fest, give thanks, And dearly love their friends, And hope for peace, And so do we, here, now, This year and every year. Welcome Yule!"
~susan cooper

HT to Jep.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Further Adventures with Piglet and Pooh.

Katie and I arrived in Chicago at 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon. It was a beautiful, sunny, cold and windy day.
Exactly what one would expect on a December day in Chicago.
Emma was working until 7:30 so Katie and I needed to find something to do in the city. Just we two.

We were both ready for lunch so I hatched a plan. We would walk down Chicago toward Mich. Ave.
I figured many stops would keep Katie warm and my knees happy.

We would make our way to Garrett's popcorn shop on Ontario and Michigan Ave.

It seemed like a long walk in the cold but I told Katie if it was too hard and cold we would take a taxi home from Garretts.

We set off with the wind in our faces as we headed to the Soup Box.
The Soup Box is a cozy restaurant on Chicago Ave. that has delicious soup and Katie's favorite, Sourdough bread.
My glasses steamed up tremendously when we walked in the door but it felt wonderful.
Tables were filled but we snagged one after about five minutes and Katie ate her chicken noodle soup and I enjoyed a bowl of Lobster Bisque.
We shared a small glass of orange Fanta and made mini sandwiches with the oyster crackers and butter.
My idea.

After a nice lunch we bundled back up and headed to the popcorn shop.

The sidewalks were busy, especially at the crosswalks. Katie held on to my elbow as we scooted thru the crowds.
Her long skinny legs were very cold and I urged her on. I pointed at the lights and the pretty things in the windows.
At one point we were looking at the pretty jewelry in the windows and I banged my head on the glass trying to get a closer look.
We just looked at one another and laughed and laughed.

When we got to Garretts there was a line out the door. Fortunately the bodies from the crowd sheltered Miss no-body-fat from the cold (That's Katie...haha). After 20 minutes and a complimentary apple cider we made it inside the store.

We enjoyed every minute inside the toasty, aromatic store. Waiting in line was a treat.


Since we were now nice and warm, I convinced Katie that we could make it home!


We stopped in Burberry and Neiman Marcus and the Apple store.


I looked at my blog on the ipad and Katie played a game. As you can see in the second picture, I let her play until she won.

Then off we went down Chicago Ave...passing by horses and carriages, buildings with red and green tops and honking cars.

We stopped in Anthropologie for a warm up and then in the entrance of Panang. Katie complained more on this one adventure than I have ever heard her complain before. Our roles were reversed. I was urging her on this time, my little piglet was having an Eeyore sort of day.

We waited in the lobby of Emma's building and watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune while we ate cheesy, caramely popcorn.
It was warm and it was good.

Our adventure came to a happy end.
No fingers or toes were lost.
Eeyore eventually warmed up and Pooh was proud to have made the long journey.

"Never forget me, because if I thought you would, I'd never leave."
- A. A. Milne

Encourage one another and stay warm on this shortest day of the year!