29 November 2010

Of Thanksgiving and Change

Before I knew it, Thanksgiving was here and gone. It actually arrived a bit earlier than I expected this year. For some reason, I thought I had another week to fret about my dinner plan when my aunt called and asked what she should bring. For what? I asked. Oh...THAT dinner!

Our daughter arrived home a couple of days before Thanksgiving, after three months of being over eight hours away from home. She had a lot to do in the short time she was home: hang out with old friends, Skype with new ones, suffer through a backpack full of homework, and prepare for her piano test. We managed to squeeze in that Thanksgiving dinner and a bit of time with family, but the days passed very quickly and soon it was time to head back to IU.

As we drove into Bloomington, we could see that the downtown area and many of the buildings on campus had been decorated for Christmas. Trees twinkled with white lights and evergreen boughs hung elegantly from lamp posts near the music buildings. Colorful Christmas lights and festive trees could be seen in dorm room windows. The atmosphere on her floor was full of excitement as everyone returned from break. We dropped off her bags and gave her a quick hug, then we were gone.

Later as I sat at Starbucks, I couldn't help but think about the transitions that have taken place over the past year. Each time I've visited IU it has been a different season -- the warm days of summer, the intensely colorful autumn, and now the chilly winter. And at each visit, the campus looks somehow new and different. Each season has also marked a change in our daughter. She has gone from being terrified of the prospect of being so far from home to thinking of the people she now lives with as her family...and from fearing she'd be homesick for home to actually being homesick for IU.

As I finished my coffee, I remembered sitting on our daughter's bed with her the day before we took her to college, talking with her about change -- something that has always been difficult for both of us. "But I don't WANT to change," she sobbed. "College WILL change you," I told her, remembering my own college years. "It will change how you think and how you see the world. It will force you to grow in ways you can't even begin to imagine now. That kind of change is ALWAYS a good thing."

As a mom, I can now see that very transformation happening right before my eyes. It's one of the things I'm most thankful for this holiday season.

I think she would agree.

26 November 2010

Feline Friday: STUFFED

All of us, with the possible exception of Lily, had a great Thanksgiving. She seemed to be lacking in the holiday spirit. Some of us even have the bite marks to prove it.

24 November 2010


I have much to be thankful for this year.

I'm so thankful that after three months away at college, our daughter is finally home for a short visit. Singing, laughter, kids piled together on the couch, clothes strewn all over the floor, high-tops in the laundry room...I've missed all of these things. Our house is so very quiet without her.

I'm incredibly thankful that she is genuinely happy with her college choice. She has totally adapted to her new surroundings and is beginning to think of IU as her home. Given how stressed she was about the college decision-making process, we're incredibly blessed that she has acclimated so well.

As for Lily, she's just thankful that turkey is on the menu.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

22 November 2010

A Short But Sweet Weekend

We spent the weekend out East taking in the IU/Penn State game at FedEx Field and visiting family in the area. We packed a lot into a very short amount of time! I saw many things I had never seen before. Here are just a few:

1) FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins. A year ago, I MIGHT have heard of the Redskins, but I guarantee you I wouldn't have known the name of their home turf. Now I have been there!

2) An inflatable Nittany Lion. According to my brother-in-law, an outdoorsman extraordinaire, the Penn State mascot is named after lions who hailed from the Nittany mountain range. Gentle readers, do not be alarmed. This inflatable lion was used for tailgating purposes. It was not at all fierce!

3) The completely amazing IU "Marching Hundred" band playing in a professional football stadium. These kids have delivered one great performance after another this season and I was thrilled to see them perform in a big venue.

4) Daughter on the JumboTron. Spouse thinks that if you're on the JumboTron at the Redskins' stadium, you've surely arrived. I think that may be stretching it just a tad, but it was still cool to see her larger than life.

19 November 2010

Feline Friday: Stay Warm, Kitties!

In going through some old photos, I stumbled upon this one from a couple of years ago. I think it's worthy of a re-post!

Now that the weather is getting chilly, remember that fuzzy socks make very nice stocking caps. Keep those ears WARM, kitties!

15 November 2010

Birthday Mini-Album

I've been having lots of fun putting together a series of mini-albums for classes I'll be teaching at Memory Bound. I just finished this birthday-themed project for a class to be scheduled in January. AND I'll be doing a Valentine's Day mini-album in February, plus a Family Traditions mini-album in March!

These informal little albums have pages of mixed sizes and are flexible enough to add all kinds of photos and memorabilia. I used the WRMK 4x6 Funfetti pad as the foundation for this particular project. I think this one is my favorite so far!

If you're in the area, I'd love to have you join me for class! Or if you live far away, just sign up for a kit. All of my kits include detailed instructions and color photos so you can make the project at home -- even in your jammies! :)

14 November 2010


Note how Lily's back legs are going one direction and her front legs are going another. We see her in this twisted position quite often. It's one of her special tricks!

12 November 2010

Feline Friday: My Apologies in Advance

I need to offer an apology in advance to anyone attending my upcoming Christmas mini-album class (which is going to be great fun, BTW).

I had to leave the house unexpectedly in the middle of making my kits and when I returned home...

Lily had somehow made her way out of the basement and was fast asleep in the pile of ribbon.

Naughty Lily! You might make our friends sneeze while they're making our project! :(

But doesn't she look glamorous in tulle?

11 November 2010

Tabby Thursday

Awww, Tinsel. In spite of your little quirks, you are an amazingly beautiful kitty. I'm awfully glad that we gave you a forever home.

09 November 2010

Cooking on the Go

With our daughter in school 8+ hours away, we've had occasion lately to make a few road trips. It seems that we always fill up our gas tank at one particular truck stop. The first time I walked into the store, I was quite surprised to hear the woman behind the counter announce over the loud speaker: "Shower #23 is available. Shower #23." So I ventured to the back of the store to check it out and found a bank of showers at the ready. Who knew you could shower at a truck stop?

While I was scoping out the showers, I discovered something else at the back of the store, obviously designed for the over-the-road trucker:

An entire line of appliances you can plug into your lighter!

Need a pot of coffee for your run? No problemo...Java to go! Hungry for pizza? Just plug the oven into your lighter and your pizza will be ready in no time. How about a cozy crockpot of stew? By the time you hit Newark, dinner will be served.

And clean up is easy! Just plug in an over-the-road Dirt Devil and tidy up your rig.

I'm not a trucker (a fact which should be obvious to most), but I may very well invest in one of these handy appliances for our lengthy drives to Indiana. With a portable stove on board, there would be no need to stop for lunch! Why, we could shave 30 minutes or more from our travel time!

If only we didn't have to make an occasional pit stop.

Now that I think of it, I'll bet the truck stop carries something for THAT, too. Next time we stop there, I'll look. :)

08 November 2010

Junk Mail Alert!

I opened the Target ad this past week and was very surprised to see someone I know...

LILY! I had no idea she had arranged for a modeling gig. But, as you can clearly see, she's a natural!

05 November 2010

Feline Friday: Manicure, please?

Things are really exciting at our house these days. The girls have a new manicure station, otherwise known as a scratching device!

This reversible scratching device is from PetSmart. The top side (not shown) has a sisal scratching area. Tinsel prefers the top but (of course) Lily likes the other side which is covered with carpet. Lily's the one with the claws, so she generally gets her way. You can see that there is an attached toy which hangs down when the device is turned right side up.

Lily loves the new manicure station. Her nails look great! It has taken a few days to redirect her inappropriate scratching to this new device, but she's learning quickly.

Can't say the same of Spouse, who has tripped over it more times than he'd care to admit!

04 November 2010

Tabby Thursday

For today's post, Lily will demonstrate proper toilet drinking technique.

Position your back feet firmly on the seat and balance with your tail. Balance is very important! You do not want to fall in the toilet.

Place your front feet inside the toilet, just above the water line. Grip the porcelain with your toesies and take a nice long drink!

Don't get caught drinking from the toilet! If you do, avoid eye contact with the photographer and just try to look natural. :)

01 November 2010

Top 12 Weekend Highlights

We spent the weekend at Indiana University visiting our daughter and taking in lots of activities. What a fun time! Kind of makes me wish I could go back to college. (Don't worry, Bailey...I won't enroll at IU!)

I thought I'd put together a quick collage of some of the highlights of the weekend. Click on the collage to get a bigger view!

Beginning on the top row:

1) Opening night of the John Mellencamp world concert tour, held at the beautiful IU auditorium. A Bloomington resident, Mellencamp has been a big supporter of the university over the years and is a local legend. It was very neat seeing him perform on campus!

2) The Indiana-Northwestern game. IU has a gorgeous stadium and works very hard to make game day fun. Too bad the team has such a hard time winning games. Hopefully the players are at least having fun! :) But I'm not too sure about that at this point in the season...

3) One of the many pre-game band performances, featuring the band's new reversible stocking caps -- this time with white side out.

4) Drumline warm-up, featuring the striped side of the reversible stocking caps!

5) Todd Rundgren visiting the band in the stands! He has been at IU teaching a special class for the past couple of weeks (can you imagine having him as your visiting professor?) and stopped by the game to conduct "Bang on the Drum All Day" with the IU Marching Hundred. Another legend! (As a side note, I am pretty sure he dyes his hair.)

6) A fantastic post-game show, featuring "Sing-Sing-Sing" by the IU Drumline.

7) A drum-off between the Northwestern and IU drumlines, followed by socializing.

8) The Happy College Student!

9) A wonderful private marimba performance. Such a treat for us!

10) Beautiful blue sky at the IU stadium, with sunshine eventually making for quite a pleasant game day.

11) The Happy College Student and The Happy College Student's Mom! Look! Neither of us is crying!

12) The last little bit of what must have been a gorgeous fall in Bloomington.

And a few other highlights that aren't pictured:
  • Seeing Todd Rundgren have his picture taken with Hooter, the ever-present owl drumline mascot
  • Enjoying some fantastic Pizza at Nick's with Daughter and a friend
  • Checking out the many creative Halloween costumes sported by IU students
  • A late-night Starbucks run, something we do quite often at home
  • Receiving our very own IU Drumline t-shirts, featuring Hooter on the sleeve! We will wear them with pride.
  • Feeling so grateful that The Happy College Student is right where she should be, with fantastic professors, interesting classes, a great assortment of friends, a cozy room, a bag full of chocolate chip cookies, and a very bright future ahead.
It just doesn't get any better than this!