I have a new favorite park! And a big thanks to the Osbornes for telling me about it. It is near White Rock Lake (7142 Williamson Rd) and on my way home (sort of). Here are some great photos from our inaugural visit.
I recently became a part of a wonderful book club and I loved this month's book selection. It was Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I had no idea about the amazing work that this guy has been doing and I learned so much about Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a great book and I highly recommend it! I couldn't put it down, I couldn't wait to read about the next school that was built, the next girl's life that was transformed. You can contribute to Greg Mortenson's effort at the Central Asia Institute so that more lives can be changed.
We double dated on Valentine's Day, just the 8 of us, my sister and her husband and our 2 kids each... We had such a quiet and intimate evening, just kidding! It was lots of fun though! We went to Fuji Steak and Sushi House which was rated #1 kids restaurant by the Dallas Observer. We sat at the hibachi table and the kids were enthralled (and a little scared) by the fire and knife-wielding awesomeness! I highly recommend this restaurant for its entertainment value (and the food was yummy!)
My sister Kristin and her 5 year old Sydney!
The crew (from the left): Lee, Everett, brother-in-law Andy, niece Sydney, nephew Austin, sister Kristin, Madeleine, and me.
This is another Madeleine self-portrait, these crack me up! How does she manage to center herself so well?
Since we moved into our home in June 2006, we 1) took out the party hot tub that was a potential deathtrap for the kids and fit 16 people comfortably. 2) Removed a tree that hid the lovefest that occurred with the hot tub. 3) Removed the deck that was falling apart 4) Gave thanks for freecycle.org because people took the hot tub and the redwood planks from the deck! 5) Had the hole from the hot tub filled in and had a flagstone patio put in. 6) Moved 3 yuccas (thanks, Mom!) 7) Removed stumps (thanks, Lee!) 8) Lee threw out his back from removing the stumps... 9) Went to a rock quarry and picked up 1/4 ton of cut stone to border the patio. The rock quarry was so cool! We drove onto the scale, then loaded up our stone, and then drove onto the scale again. 10) Put in said rocks and was exhausted. Lee is hoping his back is okay... Lee still has one more stump to take out, and we have to move the rosemary, but that involves removing two more stumps! 11) still need to change out the sprinkler to be one of those pop-up kind...
the before (the love tub...)
the before ... the deck...
taking the deck out... notice the 3 yuccas...
Before the stones were put in (this is June 2007). The huge pit from the love tub is filled up with water.
after the stones
those stones/bricks were heavy! Notice the rosemary (still needs to be moved) and can you see the sprinkler, need to put in one of those pop-up kind...
The wonderful Rev. Patsy Brundige led a great class this morning at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church. The class was titled, "Search Warrant," and was about writing. Here are our exercises...
Write for 4 minutes about your mom, grandmother, or aunt beginning, "I remember..."
Here is what I wrote:
I remember when I was growing up my mom would make her famous, yet easy taco salad. We were forbidden from watching TV while we ate our dinner. It seemed like we always had a family dinner where everyone sat at the table. Whenever I think about happy meals and eating around a table, I think of my mom. I loved our kitchen table. It was an old canning table that my grandmother used. It is dark brown and the knots on its legs and its wooden planks remind me of its age and of all of the families that have gathered round to pray together, to eat together, laugh and cry together.
Next, write about a color for 4 minutes but do not use the name of that color. Here is what I wrote:
I remember a dress that my mother sewed from the pattern. It was a vibrant color, a deep color, a color that screams to me of joy, of love, of life. It is a color of new beginnings, of vitality. It is a color that has a va va voom effect on a room. This color is the color of blood, of love, of wine, of Pentecost. Like flames of fire, like blood pulsing through our veins.
Next, write about a sound for 4 minutes. Here is what I wrote:
I love the sound of Everett's laugh. After his bath, when he is wrapped up in his towel, laying on the changing table, his eyes look up at me ready and waiting. Waiting for our game. It is a game we play every night. It is the game to make Everett laugh. Sometimes I tickle his feet, or nip at them lightly. Sometimes a sudden kiss to the tummy will be just the thing. Our new game is the most fun. I cover Everett's face and play peek a boo. But then I add a new twist. While his face is covered by the towel I kiss his cheeks or kiss his nose, he laughs and laughs from under the towel. Then I uncover his face and give him kisses all over... his nose, his cheeks, his eyes. I think this is the best noise I have ever heard. Then, big sister Madeleine comes in the room. Everett spots her and I know that he will laugh a richer, deeper laugh for her.
I finally downloaded pictures from my camera, so here are a lot! But before that I have to share a funny. This morning on the way to school Madeleine said, "mommy, I had a cavity." I had been trying so hard to use the language that the dentist used, getting her tooth brushed and painted, but she had heard that she had a cavity! It made me laugh, because as much as you try to protect kids they always figure it out anyway! And they listen to EVERYTHING that you say!
now, to the pictures! Everett and Madeleine playing. They have so much fun together! (usually)
Austin, Sydney, and Madeleine at Sydney's 5th Birthday party. It was a swimming party at swimming class!
A family photo at Lee's 34th birthday celebration. Madeleine was playing...
Madeleine at ballet class. Sydney is behind her...
Madeleine stretching at ballet...
Before the pajama party today at school! Who knew wearing your pajamas to school was so fun?
the Valentines that Madeleine made for her class and for Everett's class.
This morning as I was trying to get the kids out of the door to take Everett to school, I was speaking sternly to Madeleine. Everett then fell on Madeleine and they both erupted in giggles. Madeleine looked up at me and said, "Now, that was funny, mommy!" It was a wonderful way to begin our day!
We dropped Everett off at school today because I could not imagine Madeleine getting her cavity filled while Everett was playing quietly. He no longer plays quietly! We then went to the best pediatric dentist, Dr. Holly. Madeleine had a cavity on an upper back tooth, due to the enamel forming incorrectly (according to our last visit). The dentist's office was again amazing, utilizing age appropriate language, and explaining everything to Madeleine. Madeleine her her pig nose (laughing gas) on, and was the best patient the entire time! It was pretty awful to watch and I am hoping to never have a cavity again! I think that Madeleine got a shot, but it all happened so quickly and the dentist would have called it something fun anyway. The cavity was never called a cavity, just a tooth that needed to be brushed and painted. While the dentist was digging out the cavity, she discovered that it went all the way to the nerve! So, they had to perform a mini root canal (called a pulpotomy)! It was pretty awful to watch, but when Madeleine would look at me over her laughing gas there was no other place I would rather be. Madeleine recovered quickly, though she did say that her tooth felt weird.
Then, we walked a few blocks to the Plaza of the Americas for lunch in their food court as we looked at the ice. Unfortunately there were not any ice skaters, but we had fun riding up the see-through elevator!
Then, we did the coolest thing! We went to the building next door, called the Chase Tower, and went up the elevator 40 stories to their free sky lobby. It was so amazing, they had gorgeous views of downtown and it was not windy because we were indoors. It was the coolest thing that I have done in a long time! A big thank you to Patti Osborne for telling us about the observation deck!
We then went to the free Crow Museum of Asian Art. The quilts from Japan were beautiful and the museum is so well done and classy. They had 2,000 origami butterflies in a walkway and that was the highlight for Madeleine because she could touch them. We then picked up Everett and went to our favorite neighborhood library.
I am so proud of Madeleine and I can not wait to see how she continues to grow and mature! Madeleine is so excited because she has made Valentine's for all of her classmates and they are having a pajama party tomorrow to celebrate. I am not quite sure what pajamas have to do with Valentine's, but Madeleine is super excited!
My mom is visiting to celebrate my niece Sydney's 5th Birthday this weekend. My mom has been wonderful and accompanied me to some great restaurants that I have been wanting to try...
I had been wanting this great deal of a lunch at Aurora for some time and it was well worth it! Very delicious! Though the waiter apparently did not understand me when I responded to the sparking or still water question with "Dallas' finest," because I was charged $6 for what I thought was tap water but was instead bottled...
And this place, The Kozy, was incredible. All local Farmers Market veggies and organic eggs. We went for breakfast and I want to go back for lunch and dinner!
Other news: Everett is getting more teeth, the canines this time, that boy is getting a mouth full of teeth!
My food reviews: I had been wanting to eat at Cafe R&D to try out their Dallas award winning "Best Deviled Eggs." They were good, though I began to wonder maybe they were "Only Deviled Eggs in Dallas" because deviled eggs is not a common menu item. Thanks to my friend Carmen for sharing the deviled eggs with me!
My stepmom Phyllis babysat last week and Lee and I went to Sushi Sake in Richardson. It was delish and felt very authentic! We sat at the bar and I reached into the recesses of my mind to speak my limited Japanese with the sushi man. I lived in Japan for one year, from 1996-1997, and that was a long time ago!
My movie reviews: In the past weeks I have seen quite the few movies! Loved Defiance, Daniel Craig is beautiful and I did not know that amazing story!
Last night I saw Gran Torino and LOVED it! It is hard to get used to Clint Eastwood saying racial epithets to everyone, but at some point it becomes humorous because he says them to everyone, seriously, everyone, including his own son (he plays a character in the movie). I have also continued to think about this movie. I took a class in college called Religion, Literature, and Film. The first day we watched Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. Gran Torino should be seen in a class like that. I also am amazed and very impressed with Clint Eastwood for his writing ability (he wrote it!), and I loved his snarl in the movie.
Marley and Me was a tear jerker and a great movie, though it could have been a rental.
I also saw Taken, which was exciting, but definitely a rental. We also recently rented Get Smart with Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway, funny movie!
Last Thursday Madeleine visited the dentist for her first official cleaning. I was amazed at how at ease she was, she did whatever the dental hygienist told her to do! And the pediatric dentists were great because they used age appropriate language for everything. They did find a cavity on her upper molar and they told Madeleine that she would need to come back to have it brushed and painted. According to the dentist the cavity was caused by malformed enamel on the tooth! And the only reason that they want to fix the cavity is because the tooth will be in her mouth until she is possibly 11.
The dentist did ask about Madeleine's fruit snack and fruit roll-up diet. Madeleine loves fruit snacks and eats them everyday on the way home from school. Apparently, this is a no no because they are sticky and hard to get out after a brushing. Also, no straight juice (50/50 with water), and no juice boxes. The dentist also told Madeleine to brush daily and to have mommy or daddy floss each night while she is laying down in her bed. So far, she has followed the dentist's instructions to the letter, though she is slowly weaning off the fruit snacks...