Saturday, August 29, 2009

Maddie James is Eight Months Old!

Because there are two slideshows in this one post, you might want to scroll up or down so you are only viewing one slideshow at a time. Otherwise it's a bit chaotic looking.



Lazy Saturday

Well, the Gutsy Dad is in class today (for his MA, not his work-related school), so it's just us girls hanging out at home. Maddie was up for all but about 2 hours last night, so we are laying low, and I am pretending I am not tired.

Now the Madster is finally napping, so I am drugging Jillson with TV (Noggin) in order to bring you this post. It's gorgeous outside, which gives me a twinge of guilt for sitting here on the couch, but I have faith that the world will offer me other beautiful days to enjoy, and anyway I cannot leave the house while Maddie is napping.

We have so much to talk about! Every day I observe at least three pithy things to share with you, particularly about living here in the midwest, but I haven't found the time or wit to blog it out. I am getting so, so close to having this house up and running, and the final frontier is my studio. I cannot wait to have it set up. Already I have had cause to send/give at least five cards and I have had to purchase them. Not okay. Further, there is a fire in my belly for writing (fiction and non-fiction), but I want my studio for that, too. Soon, soon, I know.

Okay. Cutting to the chase. I have a ton of pictures to share with you, and they will have to come in multiple installments.

This is Jillsie on her first day of American preschool last week. She did not take Pasta with her, but she did take her very own pencil box with her very own scissors, glue stick, and glue. She had a great first week there (only two days), but was still asking heart-breaking questions about where Nadine and Nicole (her teachers) and all her friends from her German school were. The Gutsy Dad and I are trying to speak German with her as much as possible, so she can retain what little she learned over there. She calls it "speaking the Auerbach way." English is now known as "speaking the Kansas way." Other significant Jillson news is that she no longer wears a pull-up at any time. She had to go to nap and bed without them one day last week because we had run out, so she slept in her underwear and did just fine. Though she is still working on refining some of the technicalities, I believe I can proclaim that Jillson is potty-trained.

Here's a cute little shot from a giant furniture store we toured after church last weekend. We didn't buy anything, but the girls sure had fun "driving" their car. (Please pardon the quality of some of my photos. They were taken with my phone.)

Naptime for Zephie.

Anniversary present from the Gutsy Dad. Hydrangeas are my fave. (LOVE THAT GUY!) I need to tell you that he also gave me/us a Flip, which is super cool, so you can expect some gems from that coming your way as well. What did I get him for our anniversary? Um. An augur. You know, those long snake things you use to de-clog a toilet? Yeah. Am I romantic, or what?

One of my favorite rooms in our new house is the giant playroom downstairs. The kids can play and play and play (and contain their schwee to one main area of the home), and it is right next to my studio, so we can all be down there "playing" together. Playroom also doubles as a workout room. See demonstration below:

More in a minute. Am working on slideshows with the rest of the pics.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back in the Day

This is what our little family of four looked like around the time of our second wedding. Today we celebrate seven years since that great day.

I love you, babe. So glad we can be together this year.

The Gutsy Mom

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Diva Returns!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have auditioned for and been accepted to sing in a beautiful, professional choir. I haven't sung in a real choir since St. David's in Austin, TX (and that was six years ago), so I was a bit nervous approaching my audition this morning.

The choirmaster has held his job at the cathedral for 33 years, outlasting at least five Reverends, so this, along with his anglo-terse email style (he used the words "presume" and "shall"), had me wondering what to expect. I've been listening to the ad-hoc summer version of the choir for three weeks now, and they are goooood. I wanted in.

I tried not to stress myself out about the audition. On the phone, the choirmaster grilled me about my experience (luck would have it that he went to school with my choirmaster from college), and he asked me to prepare a solo or a hymn. Since I haven't unpacked my sheet music yet, I planned to sing Ye Olde Standby "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones." Every time I rehearsed it at the piano at home, Jillson came running from the far corners of the house to whine: "Mommy why are you singing that? Why are you singing like that? Please stop singing that way." Great.

Anyway, after the postlude this morning, I waited nervously for the choirmaster, and I met three people--to include the choirmaster's wife--who each said "You must be the auditionee!" Pressure was on.

As it turns out, I was never asked to sing "Ye Watchers." The choirmaster had me sing arpeggios to see how high I could go, then had me sightsing the melody to an obscure hymn, after which he had me sightsing the alto line to the same hymn up an octave. I made a few mistakes, both in timing and in notes, but he was nice about it. He said "we both made the same mistake there, doing it how we wanted it to sound instead of how it was written, but it's good that we made the same mistake." How refreshing! A snooty choirmaster with a sense of humor who can also offer positive reinforcement?! He said "jolly good" a lot. I have to admit I liked the immediate feedback and the chance to show that I could instantly adapt to and apply his suggestions. Half volume? Got it. Open the vowel? Done. Support? Sing pianissimo? Let the top note rip? Done, done, and done.

I have to tell you that during the audition I felt some parts of me--my confidence, and the pure joy I feel from doing something I love to do--peek their heads out from around the corner as if to say "ah, is it safe for us to come out now?" Yes, my friends, yes it is.

My first rehearsal is on Thursday evening, which will start with a baby shower for another choir member, followed by 2 hours of singing. The choirmaster informed me that this was an "optional" rehearsal, which, in his parlance, means that the section leaders don't get paid for it. Interesting...

I've been assigned and shown folder/cubby #17. I'll take it.

Stay tuned for further escapades. As many of you know, it is impossible to sing in a choir (members aged 23 to 80), especially one with a strong soprano section, without escapades ensuing. I'll meet the gang at the baby shower (to include the expectant parents) and we'll go from there.

Aw, yeah, baby, The Gutsy Mom is in the house.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Welcome to Cookie-Cuttersville, or, what I like to call "Same House, Different Stuff!"

We live in the Midwest now. Can you say "4H Road?" I hope so. We live off of it! And, we live in Suburbia now--the exact kind of cookie-cutter neighborhood I've always despised. And guess what? It's not that bad. I secretly kinda like it. Weird, huh? So, no, I'm not living in a renovated Victorian or Georgian with hardwood floors and gorgeous crown molding, but I do have friendly neighbors, a safe neighborhood, and a playground nearby. Not to mention that there is a new establishment going in on the corner, the construction progress of which I watch daily with much interest.

So, here's the house.

It comes with a deck and a fenced-in backyard.

And here is the portion of our tour that I like to call "Same Stuff, Different House."

Kitchen (with our real table sprung from storage; no more card table)

Dining Room (hello, Schrank, now filled with serving-ware and not scrapping supplies)

Part of the Living Room (please note our stylish coffee table and the cute, obligatory TV-watcher hiding behind it)

The Truhebank comes in from the garage!

I'll have much more to show you later, but nowhere else in the house is vaguely presentable yet. I suppose if I went and dealt with it instead of blogging I'd have more to show you.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How Glazed Each Weary Eye...

Boxes, boxes everywhere, and not a drop to drink... Okay, I know that doesn't make any sense, but "boxes, boxes everywhere" is running through my mind like a mantra, and whenever I say "something, something everywhere" (which is surprisingly often) I have to say "and not a drop to drink" afterwards or I don't feel right. Even though it's wrong. Aside from not making sense (unless you are saying "water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink"), it is also a misquote of a misquote, which really doesn't make any sense. Yes yes yes, I do know it is "nor any drop to drink" but it never comes out that way when I think of it. Never mind. If you are following this, then you get major English Lit geek points from me. If you have no idea what I am talking about, just disregard, or go get some education here.

I am indeed surrounded by boxes. Boxes everywhere. Just when I was getting a handle on unpacking and processing our massive shipment of shwee from Germany, our storage items arrived from Washington. Folks, we have way too much stuff. I am trying to be patient. I am trying to deal with our overflow in the best possible way for everyone: selling or finding worthy homes for all our extra stuff, but sometimes I just wanna give it all the good ol' Heron Island float test and be done with it.

I am feeling seriously ADD, wanting everything in its place and looking fab right now. I also am needing to find a good preschool for Jillson right now. She is very tired of her parents, and is asking to go play with her friends at school. (We went to church on Sunday and she gave us the Heisman as soon as she saw the children's chapel.)

So far I have visited two preschools. One feels slightly better than the other, but neither feels awesome. This is so different from our experience overseas, where we walked into Jillson's Kindergarten and knew within 30 seconds that it was perfect for her. I am hoping to get the "I just know this is my wedding dress" feeling from the next place. The website is most promising. And pressure is on because spots are filling up at every preschool and patience is running out at home.

I know instead of listening to me whine you'd probably rather see pictures from our vacation, Jillson's birthday, our new home, or our first weekend on the lake here in Kansas, but you'll just have to wait. The boxes beckon...