Saturday, May 31, 2008

Surprise Party

This past Tuesday we pulled Sabrina out of school a day before her track break began and kidnapped her on a surprise trip to Disneyland for her 7th birthday.  It was so much fun.  We left the baby home with Grandparents and took Lauren and Annie on our surprise party vacation.  They were in on the surprise too and had such fun "keeping" the secret.  

OK so Sabrina might have had some idea there was going to be a surprise party but she didn't know we were going to California to go to Disneyland and see cousins.   Her Aunt Elizabeth went all out throwing her an awesome circus party with face painting, clown hat crafts, balloons, favors and great food.  I made the ice cream cakes Sabrina had requested.  She loved all of it.  Here are a couple party pictures and a few at Disneyland:

I can't believe it has been 7 years since this sweet angel of a girl came into my world and changed me forever as a person.  She has taught me a new kind of love and is a pure joy to my soul.  I have never known such a pure, guileless, loving being until I  came to know my Sabrina. She is a beauty both inside and out.

Monday, May 26, 2008


These are some of my favorite flowers from my garden.  I wrote previously about this Dahlia that I fell in love with.  Here is a photo to give some perspective on just how big those blooms are.  I love them!  I just hope I can keep them alive.

Here is a close up I took and make my desktop photo.  It is so sunny and cheerful!
Here is the first Lily that has bloomed.  I love the color on this one.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Life in the backyard

Yesterday our backyard came to life!  The landscaper came with his men and they worked most of the day putting plants in the ground and preparing the middle for the turf to go in.  It was really exciting to see all the beautiful plants going in.  I snapped some photos this morning of the progress.

Here we have a Meyer Lemon tree, some agapanthas or lilies of the nile, a gardenia bush, and in the front there will be some Gerber Daisies (the nursery ran out yesterday).
This side of the walkway has a lime tree two Dahlias, and 3 gerber daisies.  I love these Dahlias!  I'll have another post about them.
This is from the spascape.  Along the back wall are shrubs, lilies, irises, star jasmine in the corner, red lantana, and more agapanthas.  There will also be a couple rose bushes over in the corner.

I love that so many of my favorite flowers are now in my backyard!  Such fun!!!

So You Think You Can Dance

In honor of the return of my favorite show, I thought I would share a bit of a dance clip with you.

Sabrina and Ann Marie had their dance recitals this week.  Ann Marie's teacher changed a bit of choreography mid year and Annie didn't like the new move.  She decided to do her favorite move instead.  There was no convincing this little one to follow the others.  It was my favorite part of the recital.  I was trying so hard not to just bust out laughing.  Here is the tiny part of the recital.  I may post a bit of Sabrina's favorite move, which she executed with gusto, another day.

And by the way, if anyone wants to come watch SYTYCD with me-- come on over.  Party at my house thirty minutes after each show starts we will be watching it TiVo over here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Play Gym

I guess the fourth kid just gets treated differently from the first. There is no getting around it. With the first you buy toys for them to play with. By the fourth, well let's just say there hasn't been any need for toy buying. Camille has made her own play gym in our house. Here are some photos of her in action.
Camille thinks this drawer is her personal ball pit. It is filled with plastic IKEA kid cups and bowls, which are as colorful as the balls in a ball pit. She climbs in here by herself and throws the cups and bowls out and stands up to rearrange the plastic plates in the next drawer up.

Note the cups and bowls all over.

This is another of Camille's favorite places to play. She likes to climb into this side compartment of our media center. This is where the speakers should go if we had any. It is just her size and she likes to climb in there and look out at everyone.

We love our little Cami!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chapter 9 The Homecoming

Chapter 9
The Homecoming

Fannie picked up the telephone as soon as she got into the house. Her family was still piling out of the car and getting settled after their trip to the promenade. She ran up to her room with the flowers in one hand and the phone in the other. Some of the petals had fallen out of the flowers and all four of them looked droopy and withered.

Fannie placed the flowers on her desk carefully and jumped on her bed while dialing Berk’s phone number. Fannie got lucky and Berk was the one to answer the phone.

She told him about her night at the promenade. Together they hatched a plan to return to the cave of colors as soon as possible. They wasted no time setting up their scheme. The flowers would not last much longer and Fannie couldn’t risk them dying by waiting much longer. They would have to make their move at first light the next morning. If she and Berk were quick they could be home before her parents even woke up.

Fannie set her Barbie alarm clock and got everything she would need laid out then she went to bed. She did not sleep well. She was too nervous about being able to find the cave again. When her alarm sounded at 4:30 she jumped up and dressed anxious to get started. She sneaked out of the house and ran in the dark using her flashlight to show her way to the place by the old oak tree where she and Berk had agreed to meet. He was waiting for her when she arrived.

Fannie led Berk through the woods as the dark sky got gradually lighter. She was not completely sure of the exact location of the cave but she knew the general area fairly well. Once she was near she was having a hard time decided which way to go next.

Suddenly she heard a strangely familiar noise in the dawning sky. It was a dull roar she had only heard once before. She ran to Berk and grabbed his hand hoping he could somehow save her from what she expected next. Then she saw them. Swooping down in the sky toward her were the bats. Berk grabbed Fannie and they both dove to the ground. The bats dove inches from them but did not stop. They continued on in a southern direction. Fannie jumped up and cried, “Follow them!”

She and Berk ran as fast as they could to follow the bats before they flew out of sight. It was hard to miss them because there were so many of them. They ran for about 5 minutes and then the bats seemed to disappear. Fannie and Berk reached the point of the bats’ disappearance and there was the opening to the Cave.
Fannie pointed her flashlight in the cave and nothing looked out of the ordinary. There was no other world in there—just a normal dark cave. She hoped she was not too late. She retrieved the flowers from her backpack and hand in hand she and Berk boldly stepped into the cave.

As soon as they crossed the threshold the cave began to change and the world of the undiscovered colors open up before their very eyes. Berk’s jaw dropped seeing all the incredible colors for the first time. Fannie was beaming and tears of joy were falling from her eyes. Its seemed like years she had spent in black and white even though it had only been a weekend.

Fannie ran to the field of flowers where she had picked the beautiful flowers and carefully laid each one down on the lush ground. When she laid the last flower down sparkles of all colors began to dance around the four flowers and they began to change from their withered droopy state to a perky healthy looking state. Then they started to change shapes. Leaves started to grow in strange directions. The flowers were growing as if they were moving with a life of their own.

At the same time the rest of the flowers in the field began to move together and to grow up as if they were creating something new together. Berk and Fannie watched in shock as the four flowers turned into four fairies that looked very much like flowers. These four fairies did not look at Fannie and Berk but instead bowed down to the earth before a large image that now stood about 10 feet from Fannie and Berk. It was an image of the Queen Fannie had met previously, only it was made entirely of flowers.

Fannie felt the need to bow as well and she pulled Berk down with her as she did. Then the Queen made of flowers began to speak.

“You have done well human child. You have helped these younglings attain a greater purpose to their lives and they are now forever changed,” she said. “They wish to thank you for the adventures you gave them. They watched you interact with your family and friends and know you are a soul of great compassion and beauty. If you will permit them, they wish to return with you to your world to watch over and protect to you till the end of your days. Is this acceptable to you?”

Fannie looked up and saw the pleading concerned faces of the four fairies staring up at them. How would she explain them to others and how could these tiny little fairies protect her? The Queen seemed to read her mind.

“Only those who have been to this land will be able to see these younglings. You and your noble kinsman here will always be able to see them but others in your world will not know of their presence. This world has a magic all its own and these four younglings will always have access to this magic. Those in your world will feel the effects of the magic but will never know the source of it. These younglings will always be watching you but not always from a place you can see them. But in any time of need you can call upon them with the secret signs they will show you and they will appear to aid you in anyway they can. Is this acceptable?” she asked again.

“Of course,” Fannie agreed. With this the four fairies flitted up to the Queen’s face and kissed the flowers of her cheeks then flew down to surround Berk and Fannie.

“Adieu humans, adieu!” the flower Queen called as she faded back into the meadow and the flowers retook their original places.

The ground started shake and the fairies flew twice around Berk and Fannie. Berk and Fannie turned around to see the opening to the cave opening up. They followed the first two fairies to the opening as the second two fairies followed behind them. In seconds they were standing outside the cave entrance. The sun was still not fully up in the lightening sky. Still stunned by their time in the cave, they raced home to climb back in their beds before their parents discovered them missing.

Berk and Fannie knew one thing even without having to say it as they left cave that morning…this was only the beginning of many fabulous adventures to come.

The End


For those of you who wanted to know exactly how big the rattlesnake was... Here is a better angle. He was about 3 feet long. And yes he is very dead or I would not be this close to it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Backyard Developments

We have offically made our mark in the territory surrounding our new home. I have been planning our backyard for months now and this week constuction commenced. The cement is dry and tomorrow the guys will come clean it up more. Then the landscaper will come do his thing. It has been so fun seeing something I created on paper come to life in 3D. Here are some photos of the progress:

The girls and Jon and I made our mark here.
Even little Camille's hand print is there. Can you see it?
This is the bike path for the kids to ride on.
We will have a veggie planter, fake grass and a playhouse
where the dirt is in the middle when we are done.

This structure will surround the portable spa we have ordered.

The plan is to face this with cultured stone.

Steps up to the spa will also serve as a place to sit during parties.

Here is the arial view from the balcony of the spa hardscape. Party time is coming!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


It is always a new adventure moving to a new neighborhood. We always like taking goodies around to meet the neighbors and getting to know new friends. This neighborhood has proven to have some very interesting neighbors. We met this one face to face this morning.

Lucky for us our neighbor Michael met him first while walking his dog and had a few rocks to share with him. This is the second rattlesnake our neighbor Micheal has killed in the last month. About 4 weeks ago he took his dog out at night to do its business and the dog got bit on the nose by a small rattlesnake. It almost killed the little dog. They had to get human anti venom from UMC to give the dog. This time they were more lucky and got the dog pulled back with the leash before the snake got its fangs in.

We have introduced all the kids to the neighbor and told them to turn around and run if they ever see or hear one of these critters. I guess that is just one of the perils of living in the desert.

Quote of the Week

Mama to Sabrina and Ann Marie who share a bedroom and stay up talking half the night on a regular basis-- "You girls go to sleep now or I will come in here and spank your bottoms!"

Ann Marie -- "Man, you sure are a rough Mama!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chaper 8: The Final Flower

Chapter 8
The Final Flower

Monday morning Berk and Fannie headed off to school. It was another unremarkable day at school. Fannie had carried her four flowers in the side pocket of her backpack. By now they were looking a bit haggard and droopy. She knew she didn’t have much time before she had to get them back to their mother vine. She needed to find the last person and quickly. This seemed a difficult task. Each person who had seen one of the colors was not someone she had found. It seemed more that they had found her.

No one at school seemed to notice her flowers. Now it was time for Family Night and Fannie didn’t know how she was going to find someone who could see the last flowers color. Her Dad told her they were going to the Promenade for Ice Cream for Family Night. She said a little prayer in her room before they left that she would find someone who could see her flower.

The promenade was a large outdoor shopping area. People loved to go there and walk up and down looking in the shops. There were all kinds of stores there, clothing, jewelry, food, games. Another fun aspect of the promenade were the street performers. There were singers, mimes, fire eaters, painters, magicians. They all performed with an open hat next to them hoping someone would throw a bit of money in their hat.

Fannie’s family got ice cream and then walked up and down the promenade watching the performers. There was a man doing amazing paintings with spray paint. He was concentrating on his work when Fannie’s family came up to watch. When he finished he turned and showed his work to the waiting crowd.

Fannie took her last unseen colored flower from her purse and put it in her hair behind her ear. This caught the man’s attention.

“Little lady,” he said. “How about I paint a picture of you next?”

Before she could answer, he had begun painting again, this time staring at Fannie the whole time. He painted her face and all the features. He painted her hair. He painted the background. When he finished he had the whole picture filled with paints except for one conspicuously blank flower-shaped hole where she had the flower in her hair. His work was very good, but this puzzled her.

Just before he presented the picture to the crowd he asked Fannie is he could place the flower from her hair directly onto the painting. Fannie froze. Could he see the color?

“why do you want it?” She asked.

“Because I cannot paint it,” he responded. “This work would be a masterpiece if that flower were on it. Where did you find it anyway and what color is that?”

He could see it. But he also wanted the flower. Fannie needed to return it. This was a dilemma. Suddenly Fannie had an idea. The Queen never said she had to return the whole flower. Just that she had to have them back before the last petal fell. She plucked off all but one petal and gave them to the artist. He applied them to the painting and held up his work. Fannie’s dad offered to buy the painting. It was an amazing likeness of Fannie.

The artist refused. He said this was a work he needed to keep in his studio to inspire him to use his imagination more in his work.

Fannie had found her four people and completed this part of the mission. Now she just needed a plan to return the flowers and the courage to face the queen again.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chapter 7: The Church Lady

Chapter 7
The Church Lady

The next morning was Sunday. Berk and Fannie had agreed on the ride home from the mall that Fannie should take the flowers to church. Surely they would find a person with a pure heart who needed help in church.

Fannie’s family and Berk’s family both attended the same church about a mile from their homes. Fannie loaded in the car with her Mom Nikki and Dad Darren and little sister Stella. She wore her best Sunday dress that normally was a brilliant shade of blue with sparkles on the skirt. Today its gray dullness just reminded her how badly she needed to find 2 more people who she could help with her flowers.

Berk arrived at church with his Dad Stephen, his mom Rachel, and his little sister Lauren. They sat behind Fannie’s family who were already seated on the 5th pew back on the right hand side. Lauren and Stella began playing peek a boo over the back of the pew. They were best pals just like Fannie and Berk.

Fannie brought her purse to church, the one with the elastic pocket. It didn’t match her dress very well but this was no time to worry about fashion. This was a crisis.

All through sacrament meeting and Primary Fannie and Berk exchanged anxious looks watching for someone to see the flowers true colors. By the end of church they were amazed that no one there had noticed. They met after Primary and walked to the Relief Society Room to get their mothers who were chatting like every Sunday with the other ladies.

Berk was just as disappointed as Fannie but he tried not to let her see. He tried to tell her they would find someone at school tomorrow or maybe their parents would even take them on a walk tonight and they would find someone then. Still he wondered silently, “if you can’t find someone pure in heart and needed help at church then were would they be?”

Nikki and Rachel were talking to another lady when Berk and Fannie arrived. Soon Darren and Stephen arrived holding Stella and Lauren. The moms finished up the conversation agreeing to take care of whatever it was they were discussing and the two families headed home.

On the way home Nikki asked Fannie and Lauren if they wanted to go on an outing with Aunt Rachel, and their cousins. Fannie was not going to pass up any opportunity to be around people. She knew Berk would be up for it too.

They ate a quick dinner at home and then met up with Aunt Rachel and Berk and Lauren. They all piled in Aunt Rachel’s van and started to drive. As they drove, Nikki told the kids that they were going to go visit a lady who was very old. Her name was Mary Ann Deschamps. They could call her Gramma Mary. She was a member of their church but was unable to attend church because she had a something called “Alzheimer’s.” Nikki explained that this made her forget lots of things including the names of people she knew very well and also the names for simple things like shoe or button.

Nikki told the kids that Gramma Mary lived in a rest home. She was very sad and lonely and didn’t remember very much but that she LOVED little children. Her own grandchildren were all grown ups and lived far away so not many people came to visit her now. Nikki and Rachel had agreed at church to visit her with their children as a favor to the Relief Society President.

They arrived at Gramma Mary’s room to find it empty. They asked the nurses where she was and were directed to the recreation room. The recreation room had a TV blaring and several old people sitting in wheelchairs and on couches watching it. As soon as they walked in everyone’s attention turned to them. Nikki and Rachel found Gramma Mary and introduced themselves. Gramma Mary and the others around her barely paid attention to the adults. All eyes were on Lauren doing a crazy dance to the music program coming from the TV. Stella joined her and the old people started smiling and clapping.

As the little girls twirled and tiptoed their made up dance Fannie felt a tug on her purse. She turned to see Gramma Mary staring not at the girls but at her flowers. Unfortunately her face did not show surprise or awe. She could not see the colors, just the gray. Gramma Mary motioned with her finger for Fannie to come closer so she would whisper to her. Fannie obliged.

“Where did you get those flowers?” she asked Fannie.

“From a cave near my house,” Fannie replied.

“What do you call the color of this one?” Gramma Mary asked pointing to the Magmentum one.

Fannie was unsure how to answer. It didn’t seem like she was startled or in awe of the color like others who saw the true colors of the flowers but seemed to see the one she indicated as a different color than the others. Fannie decided to tell the truth. Gramma Mary probably wouldn’t remember what she said anyway.

“I call it Magmentum,” Fannie said truthfully.

Gramma Mary’s eyebrows raised a bit. “I have seen that color many times before,” she said. Fannie thought Gramma Mary must be crazier than she had anticipated but she decided to play along with her delusion.

“What do you call it and where have you seen it?” Fannie asked.

“I called it LaRose,” Gramma Mary told her. “I like that name a lot and I also like this color a lot. I see it almost every night in my dreams. It is one of the colors of the flowers that surround my mansion in Heaven. There are lots of colors there you don’t see here on Earth.”

Fannie was shocked. She really did see the color and it was different than any other color on earth to her.

“You really do see the color don’t you?” she marveled to Gramma Mary. “It is different than any other color on Earth. I can’t believe you have dreamt it before! And in Heaven at that! That is awesome!”

A silent tear burst out of Gramma Mary’s eye and flowed down her cheek. “You are the first one to ever believe me,” she said. “Thank you for that. Thank you for helping me know my dreams are not crazy and that someday I may be able to stay there in that mansion and not have to come back here anymore. Thank you.”

Fannie knew she had found her third person and she knew she needed to make sure her mother would bring her back to visit Gramma Mary every Sunday. Even if she didn’t remember Fannie, Fannie would never forget her.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chapter 6 The Mall

Chapter 6
The Mall

Fannie Worked her plan like magic. At dinner she had offered to set the table. She used her best manners with all the please and thank yous she could use. She even complimented her mother’s dinner and then ate all her food. She even ate all her green beans and she didn’t even like green beans. She cleared her own plate and then encouraged her little sister to eat her green beans too. After dinner she helped her parents clean up. After she finished wiping down the table she asked her mother if they could go to the mall to get her Webkins tonight. By that point her mother was so happy with her there was no way she could say no.

Now she and Berk were entering the mall with her mother. Fannie had brought her purse with the elastic outside pocket on it. She had the four flowers tucked into the pocket so only the tops were out. The elastic held them in place.

Fannie and Berk kept their eyes open wide and looked all around as they entered the busy mall. They walked as slow as they could waiting for, watching for, a reaction. No one looked at them. No one noticed the flowers. No one stopped or stared. This was going to be a bit more tricky than they thought.

They headed to the store where they sold the Webkins. Fannie got the Panda she had been wanting. No one at the store even turned to look at her. As the sales clerk rang her up, Fannie put her purse up on the counter. He didn’t seem to notice the flowers.
Fannie and Berk exchanged worried looks. After they bought the Panda, Fannie’s mother said they could get an ice cream cone. They found a table at the busy food court right next to a large fountain. Berk and Fannie stayed at the table to save it while Fannie’s mom went to order the ice cream cones. She could watch them from the counter where she would order.

“No one can see the colors!” Fannie finally said in panic now that her mother was out of earshot. “I want to see our colors so badly! What if we can’t find any others to help and I never get to see colors again!”

“Don’t panic yet, Fannie,” Berk reassured her. “People here are so busy most haven’t even take a second look at us. I am sure we will find someone who can see them. Put your purse on the table and we will just wait here while we eat our ice cream. Someone will notice.”

Her mother returned with the ice cream and they ate. Nothing. No one stopped. No one stared. No one noticed. Fannie could hardly enjoy her gray ice cream in its darker gray cone. As they stood to leave, Fannie looked over at the fountain. It was a large circular fountain in the middle of the food court. It had three tiers of falling water. Shining down in the water were various coins—wishes really. If ever Fannie needed a wish, now was the time.
Fannie asked her mother to wait for a moment so she could make a wish in the fountain. She took out one of the nickels she got back as change from buying her Webkins. Berk walked with Fannie up to the fountain. He knew exactly what her wish would be.

“Maybe if we wish it together it will be more powerful,” suggested Berk.

“Yes,” said Fannie, “let’s do it. On the count of three.”

So they closed their eyes tight and counted and held hands and wished with all their might that they could find someone who could see the flowers’ colors. Then Fannie let the coin fly high in the air. They both opened their eyes to see the nickel hit another coin and both fell down into the highest tier of the fountain.

“Wow!” they exclaimed. They looked around to see who had thrown the other coin. On the opposite side of the fountain was a little girl with a fountain of a ponytail on top of her head. Her curls fell down around her face from the ponytail. She was thin and pale but had a light in her eyes that even Fannie could recognize in her shades of gray.

As they came into her line of sight, the girl stopped and tears started to flow from her eyes. She was smiling still so they walked closer. They saw she was staring at Fannie’s purse. She could obviously see the flowers.

“Hi. My name is Fannie and this is my cousin Berk,” said Fannie introducing herself to the little girl.

“Blanche. My name is Blanche. You just made my wish come true! I was here wishing someone would come over here and find me and be my friend. I threw my coin in the fountain and then I saw your flower there. As soon as I saw it, I knew you were someone I could trust to help me find my Mom. I can’t find her anywhere. But something about the way that flower glows in that strange beautiful color just made me know I was going to be all right and that you could help me find my mother.”

Fannie and Berk were elated. They called Fannie’s mother over and she alerted mall security. Blanche’s mother was at the mall security office looking for her. While they waited for her to arrive with the security officer Blanche admired the flower and Fannie let her hold it.

“What do you call this color? I haven’t seen it before or learned it in school,” Blanche said.

“I call it Freshuia. I made that name up of course because there is no other color like it on Earth.”
Blanche could only see the one flower’s color just like Berk could. As Blanche held the Freshuia flower the glow of it shone off her skin giving her a Fresh sun kissed aura. Even Berk could tell her face took on a new light when she was holding the flower. They talked while they waited. Fannie showed Blanche her new Webkins. Blanche also had a Webkins. They exchanged usernames so they could play online together.

When her mother arrived Blanche thanked Fannie and Berk for finding her and for sharing their flower with her. It had helped her find new friends and her way home too. Best of all it helped her believe in the magic of wishes and the goodness of the human heart.

Fannie and Berk knew they now had only 2 more people to help and finding them was going to take some serious wishing and magic.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chapter 5 The Plan

Chapter 5
The Plan

As soon as Berk hung up with Fannie he raced out of his house and down the street to her house. She had told him that she needed to see him right away and her could tell by her voice that something was wrong. It took him exactly 93 seconds. He had timed himself many times and this was his fastest time yet. His Aunt Nikki let him in and he headed up to Fannie’s room.

As soon as Berk entered Fannie’s room he saw it. In her hand Fannie held four flowers. Three were gray and without color. One of them, however, seemed to shine forth in a color beyond description. Its color was outside the bounds of Berk’s imagination.

After an awestruck moment staring at the flower in Fannie’s hand, Fannie cautiously asked Berk what he saw. She was unsure if he was staring because he saw the same colorless flowers her mother had or because he could see the colors as she did.

“What is… where did you find that… that flower?” Berk stammered. “It is like shining or glowing in the strangest color I have ever seen. What color is that anyway? Why haven’t I ever seen that color before?”

Fannie nearly started to cry with joy. Finally someone could see the colors she did. Finally she could share the joy of these new treasures with someone. “You can see the color of these flowers then?” she asked.

“Sure,” Berk said. “Those three are a kind of colorless gray and this one,” he said pointing to one of the four flowers, “This one is some color from another planet or something.”

How strange that Berk could only see one of the colors. “I call the color peritwinkle,” said Fannie. I made up the name of course because there is no other color like it on Earth.”

Fannie told Berk the whole story of how she entered the cave and picked the flowers and was carried away to the queen. She told him of her sentence and how now she could only see the four new colors and her whole world was shades of gray.

When she finished, Berk sat tapping his finger on his chin. He was thinking. “I think we need to find a way to help these flowers make other people happy or at least to help them believe in the unimaginable again,” Berk finally surmised.

“Take me for instance. I came over here and I saw that flower and now I actually believe everything you just told me you have been through today,” Berk Said. “Honestly Fannie, if I hadn’t seen the color of the flower, I would probably think you were just making this all up to be dramatic and I probably would have gone home and not thought of it again.

“But this flower shining out at me has made me think maybe there are lots of things out in the world I don’t know about yet. I mean you go to school and you learn your colors. You think you know them all. Now you are showing me one I couldn’t even have imagined yesterday.

“I can tell you one thing for sure is that this little peritwinkle – is that what you called it?” Fannie nodded. “Well this little peritwinkle flower has definitely changed how I look at things. I think you just completed your first task. This flower has seen new places and it has made my life richer just for sharing its color with me.”

Fannie thought for a minute. “Maybe that was what the Queen meant about the flowers extending their beauty only to those with pure and believing hearts. Maybe the flowers can only make the lives better of those who could see their colors,” Fannie told Berk.

Berk nodded in agreement. “So all we really have to do is find people who can see the color of the flowers,” Berk concluded. “I have a plan already. Let’s start by testing to see how rare it is for people to see the colors. That should be pretty easy. If someone can see the color of those flowers we will definitely be able to tell. I couldn’t stop staring at that flower when I first got here. We should be able to recognize that kind of reaction.”

“Great idea,” said Fannie. “We could go to the mall. There are lots of people there. I bet my mom would take us there. I have been saving my money and finally have enough to buy a new Webkins. Mom has been promising to take me to buy one for 2 weeks now. I am sure I can get her to take us after dinner if I butter her up right.”

“Now that’s what I call a plan!” Berk said. “I’ll go talk to my mom about letting me go. Call me when you get the okay from your mom.”

Berk said goodbye and raced home in 76 seconds—a new record. Yes something in him had changed seeing that flower. He not only believed Fannie more, he believed more in himself.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

All By Myself

Mothers everywhere look forward to the day they no longer have to put on every shirt, buckle every seat belt, and fill every sippy cup. Our children come into this world fully dependant on parents to care for them in nearly every way. As they grow and mature this dependance wans. Before you know it they are helping you put their legs into their pants and arms into their shirts. This makes dressing them so much easier. We look forward to the day we no longer will have to change diapers and wipe noses and wash hands.

Then it happens. The day comes when your child decides that he or she is big. Suddenly he or she doesn't want anymore help with these things. "I can do it all by myself!" It rings out in our house by the hour. My little Lauren now confidently dresses herself everyday (often in 4 or 5 different outfits per day). She buckles her own seatbelt. She asks for privacy please when she has to go to the restroom. She wants to pour her own drinks, take her own bath, wash her own hair, blow her own nose, and put on her own shoes. My little girl insists on this independance. She is growing up right before my very eyes. Just had to capture a bit of her before she really can do all that by herself.

Lauren loves to put on make up "all by herself" when no one is looking. This first photo was after the first time I caught her putting on my make up. When I told her that was naughty she said "but I wanted to be pretty just like you." How can you be mad at that? Girl knows how to work a lady. So I told her that she had put on too much make up. I tell my girls the key to make up is "not too much."

So this next photo with me in it is the next time she put on her own makeup. Here I told her again that this was naughty and she said "but mama, it is not too much see!" Notice there is significantly less makeup on her in the second photo.

Lauren is all girl. She loves to walk around in makeup, a fancy dress and shoes and sunglasses with a purse. Watch out world! Our little diva is growing up!

Chapter 4: Shades of Gray

Chapter 4
Shades of Gray

At first Fannie thought she had been brought back into her world in the middle of the night. But then she noticed how light things were. No it wasn’t the light that was missing. It was the color. Everywhere around her there world was full of black, white, and shades of gray. The trees were a dark gray towering into the sky of a pale gray with white clouds. The ground, which had been a dark brown was now nearly black. The flowers were all just shades of gray. The only colors she could see were the undiscovered colors of the four flowers in her hand.

Fannie fell to the ground and started to cry. This was all too much for her. She would have thought it was all a bad dream if she could only open her eyes and see the colors of the leaves and birds and flowers again. But no matter how hard she closed her eyes. Still, when she opened them the entire world was shades of gray.

Fannie cried till her throat hurt and it seemed there were no tears left to fall. Then she picked herself up. She dusted herself off and she started walking toward home. She approached her house with a bit of trepidation. She wondered if her mother would immediately wonder what happened to the colors in the world and would know that it was Fannie’s fault they all turned to gray. She wondered if her mother would be mad at her. How could she explain this fantastical story to her mother.

Still, Fannie knew her mother loved her no matter what she had done so she gathered her courage and opened the door to her home and walked in. She walked straight to the kitchen where she heard her mother cooking dinner. As Fannie walked in her mother turned to look at her. Fannie’s mother stopped as soon as she looked at Fannie and concern flooded into her face.

“Fannie, darling, what is so wrong? Why have you been crying? Did you hurt yourself on your walk today?”

Fannie was surprised. Couldn’t her mother understand how upset she would be by the world being turned to gray? “No, Mama, I wasn’t hurt.”

Fannie remembered the four flowers in her hand. They were the only color she could see anymore and they were brilliant in their Freshuia, Peritwinkle, Magmentum, and Turquette tones. They made her smile and she held them up for her mother to behold and enjoy as well. They were the last bit of color on earth and undiscovered colors to boot.

Her mother looked at the flowers and a sad look came over her face. “Aha!” She said. Now I see, you were crying out of pity for those sad little flowers. I wonder how it happened that they lost all their color that way. What ugly shades of gray they are. Well that is sad indeed.”

Now Fannie was truly befuddled. “Lost all their color? Ugly shades of gray?” she thought. Did her mother not see the fantastical new colors as she did? Could she really see only shades of gray in these flowers? Perhaps then to her mother the world was normal—in color—and not shades of gray. She decided to test her theory.

“Mama, what color is my dress?” Fannie asked her mother. It had been blue this morning. Now it was a medium shade of gray.

“It is cornflower blue silly,” her mother replied. “are you testing me?”

Fannie was shocked. The world was only gray to her. Maybe that meant that if she could find a way for the four flowers to make the rest of their lives more meaningful, and return them in time, she would get the colors of her world back as well.

Fannie headed to her room to think. She needed a plan and she needed it fast. There was one person Fannie knew could help her now. There was just one someone she knew would believe her and help her. On the way to her room she grabbed a telephone. She needed to call her cousin Berk and tell him to come over and quick. Good thing he lived just 4 doors down. Berk was the ultimate plan-hatcher. Together Fannie knew they could finish the mission in time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

That is Like ...

So my husband was talking to my 6 year old daughter Sabrina the other day. Sabrina told him there was a girl in her class that was having a pool party for her birthday. Sabrina thought this was kinda funny because the girl didn't know how to swim but she was having a pool party. Jonathan started a little game out of it by saying ... "that is like owning a horse, but not knowing how to ride a horse. Or owning a bike and not knowing how to ride it." They went back and forth throwing out examples of what it was like. Then Sabrina said "It is like being Mormon and not going to church."

Aah the wisdom of youth. That is exactly what it is like. May we all learn to swim, gallop and ride!

Loving the Blues!

My little blue eyed girl Camille turned one last month. She is very petite weighing in at only 16 1/2 lbs. Her eyes always amaze me. I had to put this photo my sister in law Elizabeth took of Camille up because it shows her eyes better than the one I put up with my blue inspiration post.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Inspiring Blues

I recently changed colors in my living room. In California I had red as my accent color to go with our couches. Here I have been inspired to go with a wonderful blue. It ties in my grandmothers dining table and the lamp (seen in the photo below) that my mother painted for us as a wedding present. Jon thought I was crazy buying this rug as it was the first big blue thing in the room. But I think he is coming around to the idea. Still he thinks the rug looks like lots of fishing lures sewn together.

Here is the inspiration behind the room--my little Camille with her bright blue eyes that match her dado's eyes. I love those brilliant blues! I just needed a room to remind me of them on a daily basis.

Chapter 3: The Four Flowers

Our bedtime story continues...

Chapter 3
The Four Flowers

Fannie shuttered as the strangely strong grip of hundreds of tiny bat feet attached themselves to her clothing, hair and shoelaces. Lifted off the ground she feared her clothing would rip or her hair would be pulled out. Yet luckily, she was so wispy in stature that this was never a well founded worry.

Still it was not a secure feeling flying through the air suspended by ones clothing shoes and hair being lifted by bats. Luckily, the trip was a short one. The bats were swift and in a minute or two they had arrived at their destination.

They descended down a cavern, hidden in the tall grasses of one side of the meadow. The opening to the cavern was no more than three feet wide but it quickly opened up to ten feet and then twenty or thirty feet wide. At the bottom of this deep cavern was a great opening filled with stalactite jewels of undiscovered colors. Fannie was taken with the wonder and beauty of these jewels at once. The jewels seemed to be glowing in a strange iridescent way. In the center of the opening, seated on a chair made entirely of the brightest glowing jewels, sat a lovely ashy velvet skinned, adult human formed moth-woman. She had the figure of a human woman except that her skin was soft and in places even furry and she had enormous, incandescent infinitely colored wings lighting up the room and sending sparkles of undiscovered colors in every direction. It seemed all the light in the room was coming from her wings. It was giving life to all the colors in the room and making the jewels sparkle.

Fannie was set down at the feet of the Moth-woman.

“I am Queen Illuminia Mathia,” she stated. “I see you have sentenced four of my lovely younglings to die by plucking them from their mother vine.” The Queen pointed to the flowers in Fannie’s hand.

Fannie was so taken by the Queen’s beauty that she could only stammer a half excuse of a reply. The Queen was not waiting for an answer anyway and quickly cut her off.

“Your sentence in return is to help these younglings make the most of their remaining life. You must take them to new places they have never before seen. You must help them make a difference in the life of another. And lastly you must return them to their mother vine before their last petals fall to the earth,” said the Queen. “You will begin at once. Vladin and his comrades will return you to your world and the cave will only open for you to return when your mission has been accomplished. I must warn you however, as an incentive for you to complete your mission, your world will not look the same as you remember it looking. It will never return to the world you remember unless you complete your mission and return the four younglings before the last petal falls. Now, off with you.”

Fannie was again hoisted in the air and swept back to the meadow where again she saw reopened the cave entrance. Vladin and his bats swept her right through the opening and out in the world she knew so well and those old familiar woods.

Only this time, Fannie was shocked by what she saw.
To be continued…

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bedtime Story Switch Up

I am too tired to write more of our story tonight. We watched a movie as a family and the neighbors tonight and it is late. Instead I am looking forward to crawling into my new bedding. Thanks to my in-laws for the housewarming gift card that helped me finally get this fabulous bedding to match my room.

Here is the close up...

I was thrilled to finally find something I love and that ties all the colors in my room together so well. Now I am going to go crawl in there and dream a little dream. Tomorrow I will tell more of our story.