Friday, February 25, 2011

random photos & thoughts

The other night while watching American Idol, Ellie says to me referencing Jennifer Lopez.... "I really like Jennifer wait...George Lopez... what's her name again?"

Emma and her cousin Karen were having a heated debate via Facebook about Justin Bieber. Emma was mad at Karen's comments so Karen said to her "Come on Emma, blood is thicker than Bieber."

Steve called me from Nashville last night all excited because Tornado warnings were sounding outside. He was out standing on the balcony when he called me.

At the get togther with my girlfriends last weekend, it was lightening outside {in the winter - in New England} but because we were deep in conversation and slightly intoxicated my friend Linda kept saying - "Is someone out there taking our photo?"

Here are some random photos to go along with today's random insights.

Mice in the feed
Aren't these two precious... found them in the bird food one morning.

Fat Phoebe
Phoebe is so chubby that she bird watches lying down.

Ellie Valentine's Cards
Ellie's Valentine's for her class

Phoebe and Dodge share a snuggle in the sunspot.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

girls weekend in boston

STILL recovering from my long weekend visiting my high school girlfriends. This time we met up in Natick, Massachusetts where my girlfriend Linda lives with her husband and two boys. I normally don't make it to these get togethers because I live so far away but surprisingly, a direct flight from Richmond to Boston was rather affordable, so off I went. It was a weekend of laughing, drinking, eating, shopping, dancing, more drinking, and lots and lots of belly laughing. I don't know what it is about these girls but they definitely encourage the out of control 'fun' side of me.

While waiting for the other girls to drive up from Connecticut, Linda took me to Concord, MA to do some real New England shopping. It was just what I needed and one shop took my breath away. It was called Nesting and it was all bird inspired with folk artsy flair. Boy I wish we had shops like this in Richmond. I really could have spent all day there. I did snap a few photos for your viewing pleasure. I am looking forward to our visit to Cape Cod this summer so I can do more shopping like this. The shop owner told me to drive down Route 6A for all the really good shopping...I so cannot wait until July!

So I am back to work today, girls are in school, the warm weather has disappeared (it was 73 yesterday and now it is in the 30s) and Steve is off to Nashville for work. I love being back on a routine. It would be nice if it was a bit warmer though...just sayin'.

my wonderful girlfriends - we have been friends for so long.

getting ready to go to the bell in hand pub in downtown boston.

lots of spirits were enjoyed over the weekend...

scallops well as lots of good food. mindi and linda are fabulous cooks!

downtown concord mass on a warm winter day (it was in the 50s)

sampling of the store - nesting.

this the nest and eggs I bought. heart this!

leaving the snow of mass and heading to the green grass of virginia

flying over the delmarva penisula - heading home

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the TRUE adventures of flat stanley

I was cleaning my office this weekend and came across a letter from my girlfriend Laurel. Last year in Ellie's class they participated in the 'Flat Stanley' project. Flat Stanley is a little boy that the kids draw and cut out and then he is mailed to someone who takes Stanley around to new places and photographs him having life experiences. It's an opportunity for first graders to learn about new places and correspond with someone through mail.

So Ellie created her flat Stanley and decided to send him to Connecticut to one of her favorite people, my girlfriend Laurel. Laurel is so creative and fun that I knew she would jump at the chance to do exciting things with Stanley and share that adventure with Ellie. And she definitely did. She mailed a great set of photos with Stanley having all wonderful New England adventures. Ellie was very thrilled to bring the report back to school.

Little did Ellie know that also in the envelope from Flat Stanley was a letter addressed to me. You see, Flat Stanley seems to have a darker side to him and Laurel wanted to warn me about it. Here is the letter and photos she sent to me. Totally cracked me up when I found them the other day.

Dear Colleen-
I wanted to let you know what really happened when Flat Stanley came up for a visit. To tell you the truth, I was saddened and shocked as I had only heard good things about him in the past.

My first warning should have been when we had a fire in the fire pit his first night here. What a pyro!! He kept taunting us, getting really close to the fire and threatening to put his hand in it. I could not even imagine trying to explain to poor Ellie that he had burned himself up...intentionally!!

The next day, when I brought Flat Stanley to work, I had to really keep and eye on him. At one point he disappeared and after looking ALL OVER for him, I found him in the back alley with the smokers, just puffing away. He had already gone through a whole pack of cigarettes - he just kept bumming them off of people. Man, did he reek of smoke for the rest of the day. I had to hose him down with Glade when we got home. Even after that he would sneak up on the cats and make them sneeze with the strong odor of Glade that followed him around.

One night Tony and I went out to dinner and when we returned home we discovered he helped himself to the beer in the fridge. He was toasted! He couldn't even stand up and I had to stay up with him half the night in the bathroom. NOT a very good houseguest!

The last straw was when he stole the neighbor's car one night and went joy riding. Unfortunately the cops caught up with him and threw him in the slammer. We let him stay the night in jail with hope it would teach him a lesson. When we went to bail him out the next day, he was in the jail yard yelling sarcastically at us from behind the bars, mad as hell that we left him there as long as we did.

I was all too happy to send him on his merry way. I just wanted you to know the real Flat Stanley so you could monitor him around Ellie. She is so sweet and I would hate for him to be a bad influence on her. Just be careful.

By the way, he also eats out of the litter box....

wow...that Stanley sure is bad news! He is going to need to kick this dirty habit!

Good thing he didn't find Laurel's stash of pills too.

Tough love is what this Flat Stanley needs!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

valentine treats for ellie's teachers

Ellie and I made Valentine gifts for her 4 core teachers today. She has been blessed with fabulous teachers and I so love love love her main teacher and her reading specialist. They feel the same about Ellie and she is having a really great year academically thanks to them. I feel she is making good progress from all the time she missed when she was in treatment and it warms my heart to receive her progress reports this year.

So, we took mason jars and filled them with Hershey Kisses and topped them off with a big Reese's chocolate heart. We then tied ribbon with a cute Valentine gift card - we thought they were adorable.

Ellie is working on her class Valentine's tonight and tomorrow. Oh what fun to be 8!

Valentine Day Treats
we had fun filling the jars and making the cards

next time I will place two hole punches and thread the ribbon through better.

Top of the jar
Top of the mason jars.

Friday, February 11, 2011

fun in the studio

Ellie is always in the studio with me. She is either on the computer playing Club Penguin or coloring, gluing, or glittering something artistic. She parades the cats in here, works on homework, watches TV, stollers in her dolls and whatever else she may want me to see. We put the music on and dance til we cannot stand anymore and then we crack up laughing. So many good memories of fun times in here.

However, I have a love/hate relationship with having my space invaded on a regular basis. There are often cookie crumbs on my work table, a grabage can overflowing with juice boxes, little fingerprints on my spare computer monitor and little teeny tiny cut out pieces of paper littering the floor. Somedays I want to post a DO NOT ENTER / OFF LIMITS sign on the door that only allows access to me. But as soon as I cast her out, I invite her back in. I love having her around me all the time. Sitting on glue or cleaning off the monitor for a second time in a day is a small price to pay. These days will be gone before I know it so I have to breathe deep and open up the door and let the good times in and they are good great times!

The other day while I was working on some designs, Ellie was playing with my little monsters and erasers. She loves them. Making up stories and having them make friends with each other chatting in different voices. So cute. On this night they were acrobats in a circus.

Monster Collage

Monday, February 7, 2011

spring is coming...

Yesterday was such a beautiful day. I took a walk to the lake and brought along the camera. There were lots of ducks and geese soaking up the sun and I even heard the familar splash of a sunning turtle sinking back into the water as I walked by. The geese were extremely vocal - honking and honking (and honking). Perhaps getting into the baby making mood and finding mates for spring. It was wonderful to get out into the fresh air and sit and enjoy nature for a bit. I am officially ready for spring...ticking down the days.

loved seeing this bended tree in the woods framing the path

berries berries berries

Bird seed
I left a valentine treat for the birds on a picnic table by the lake.

thanks for the seed
I also lined the long bridge with seed. upon my return, this little guy was nosching away

Ring Necked Duck
a lone ring-necked duck flew in while I was walking. so pretty

fly by
geese flying over ruddy, buffle head and ring necked ducks.

2 geese
honk honk honk

Great Day
great day for a walk. breathing it in...

Friday, February 4, 2011

goodies in the mail

A few months ago I purchased a discounted gift voucher for a company called Bungalow. They sell cute tote bags and bins in really lively patterns and colors. I thought they were super cute. Visions of using the voucher for a girlfriends Christmas present swirled in my head. Well, I forgot about the voucher and it was too late for Christmas gift giving when I stumbled across the email with my giftcode. Finally, this week, I ordered some goodies for me and the girls and today they came in the mail. They are even cuter than the website portrays them to be. So nice to have a flash of bright color on this dreary rainy day. Don't you just love them?

I purchased a pool tote that is waterproof and very roomy, a cool lunch sack for Emma and a magazine holder that will fit in perfectly in my office for holding papers. they are so colorful.

loving this hot pink pattern

close-up of the beach/pool tote

surprise! free flip flops were in my box too! woo hoo!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

hello sunshine!

Today was a fabulous sneak peek into Spring! 66 degrees and sunny. It was rather windy but it was so nice to have the back door open again and not lug around a big coat and mittens and hurry into the car because it's cold and turn on the fireplace to stay toasty and it was nice not to curse old man winter for a change. I feel horrible for the majority of the country that had the exact opposite weather today but oh well, I will get over it. Especially if I am wearing flip flops!

So today, as I mentioned, I was able to throw open the porch doors and let the sun shine in. The cats were thrilled to roll in a sun spot and to hear the birds sing happy tunes. I offer up their happy annoyed faces below.

Kanye doesn't really have a happy face here but trust me, he was overjoyed about being on the porch without the cold. He was up on his cat ledge and loving life.

Phoebe, content as always, was extra jazzed to be out smelling all the goodness

Charlotte who usually has a less than pleasant disposition, was a bit cheery once she found a sunspot to park herself in. (she does look thrilled doesn't she?)