Monday, August 31, 2009

St. Charles, Missouri

After leaving Marie in Utah, I headed to St. Louis for a couple days - and this was a good thing. First, saying goodbye to Marie at the airport was just plain hard. I cried like a baby (less the tantrum), but I was so sad to leave her there - I think it's bittersweet for both of us. It's exciting to be at college with all the new and wonderful opportunities for learning, making friends, and developing independence. At the same time, it was difficult for me to give her a hug and a sugar and be on my way.

While in St. Charles, my dad took me to IHop for pancakes; we had a terrific visit even though he has only been home a few weeks after visiting us in Heidelberg. It was great to see him.

I was able to spend a few hours with my work colleagues - what a treat it was to see them again and catch up on stuff. Fortunately, we've stayed connected through email groups and facebook, but it's just not the same as sitting down to the Chinese Buffet on McKelvey Rd. We also talked about their planned visit to Germany next summer - I can't wait to see them again.

Naturally, I had to stop in to visit my dear friend Kristin - one of the few people in the world who is bossy with me and gets away with it! She's smart about so many things - my job is to just pay attention whenever she's talking.

What would a trip to the states be without a stop at the fabric store? Check that off the list.

Please know, I stopped at the QuikTrip for a legit Diet Coke fountain drink at every opportunity (as least twice a day and even on Sunday).

Of course, seeing my bff Charlotte was the primary reason for the added to stop on the way home to Heidelberg; it meant the world to me. She is more than a friend. She's a confidante, advocate, sounding board, and cheerleader. She's always been an example to me of a woman who gives weight and perspective to many sides of a situation before making a decision. She is a wife and mother who has traveled further down the same path I am on - I can use her experience and she gives me access to her successes as well as her mistakes. She hates it when I say this, but Charlotte is one of my heroes.

Spending time with people that matter in your life is where it's at.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


After a week filled with so many decisions for Marie regarding school and the stress involved with getting everything in order, we were grateful to have a few hours of playtime. And holy cow did we have some fun!!
We visited Snowbird in Little Canyon Creek, Utah. Some of you might be familiar with its Alta Ski Resort, but the summer activities couldn't be beat. We were so lucky to have such a terrific group of friends enjoying fun things to do. Here's a shout out to Koby & Emily and Drew & Celeste for recognizing we all needed a break.

This shot of the Alpine Slide (looks like a mini-luge) was taken from the ski lift on the way up to the slide and Zip Line (during the winter season this area is the bunny slope).

I'm on the left and Marie is on the right as we initiated our run on the Zip Line. Good times!

We took the tram to the top - all the way up to 11,000 feet (during the winter season this area is for the adrenaline imbalanced with a total death wish).

At the end of our visit to Snowbird and ready to head home.

Enjoying some down time with friends is absolutely where it's at.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

College ... Already?

Last week I took Marie to college. It doesn't seem possible, but that is surely the case. We have had nearly every day of the past eight months together ... it's been such a special time for us. However, I knew this day would come.

We had a truly wonderful week in Utah visiting long-time family friends and extended family (you could say we're practically family) - Drew and Celeste Pearson. They have an adorable almost two-year-old son Ty and a little brother on the way.

Ty, Celeste, & Drew Pearson

It was a busy week taking care of paperwork at school, shopping for American booty to bring back to Heidelberg, enrolling at Institute, and finding the student ward. After all was said and done, Marie was just about set for school.

Watching my daughter embark on a new season of her life is where it's at.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Morning in Barcelona"

I finally completed Morning in Barcelona. Well, it's mostly done. I haven't decided on what type of border to sew all the way around it yet, but principle piecing is finished.

Of all the spectacular European cities we've visited since moving to Germany, Barcelona is absolutely one of our favorites. The city is full of energy, beautiful artwork, and a wonderful mix of cultures including Catalonia and Spain. The Mediterranean is gorgeous and has a special influence on this part of Spain. As a family, we managed to relax and see many points of interest.

I've never visited a place that inspired me to create something that could reflect my impression of our family's time there. However, almost immediately I knew I had to 'quilt' Barcelona. The colors and shapes of the rooftops and neighborhoods can easily and naturally be transposed to a textile medium.

What colors this fine flamingo sports.

Fresh Market - looks like a quilt already

The Mediterranean Sea's gorgous green and blue colors.

This is a postcard of Barcelona - you can see the inspiration for neighborhood shape and scale.

Inasmuch as I've never attempted something like this... I took an artistic license with scale, layout, and composition. This isn't a map of Barcelona, but more of an experiential representation of being in the moment.

By way of artistic inclusion ... there is a fruit market, train station, zoo, mosiac sculptures, aquarium, beach and Mediterranean, metro stops, trees, round-about with fountain, the Picasso Museum (featuring the work of his 'Blue Period'), neighborhoods, Olympic Park, and the Sagrada Familia.

I've place a pair of my shoes (size 6.5) near the upper right hand corner. Still deciding what type of border to add. Then of course, the quilting and binding. It embarks on its North American tour next week ... stops in Salt Lake City and St. Louis.

Enjoying the support of my husband and children while creating this work is where it's at.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Winding Down

As we approach the end of summer, in a cultural sense, I believe it's been a great season. It's my personal truth.

I'm trying to decide when did "ordinary" weeks become really terrific weeks when nothing outward has changed? I think I've changed. I don't want to get caught taking my people for granted or becoming complacent about the love that surrounds me.

Flower - in charge of being cute and keeping the score

Is there anything worse than rented bowling shoes? Where's Mr. Monk when you need him?

Joe started the weekend with a trifecta of sporting... Friday night bowling, Saturday morning ride, and Saturday afternoon 9 holes of golf. I can't keep up!

I just love these guys so stinkin' much ... btw, I do believe Brother Murphy could soon be a yoga master with that form!

In front of our apt building just before leaving on a 30mile ride

The apple doesn't fall far, does it?

So we've been staying busy with each other .... bowling, cycling, laundry, reading, washing dishes etc. But, we say funny stuff like: "Is Flower back from Girls Camp in Switzerland?" or "When the kids are off from school in October should we go to Krakow or Prague?"

*contemplative sigh*

I think it's been prompted by Marie's departure for college. It's difficult for me to stand on the precipice of this dynamic change in our relationship - though the fiscal component is still in solid contact (much to her father's chagrin). Their transition from home to college and missions and whatever else happens next was always so .... theoretical. But, it is surely come to pass and I'm left counting noses to see who's still here.

Anyway, it's different territory from when Jack left on his mission and I'm adjusting.

Being there as my people transition to a new season of life is where it's at.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good Stuff

Finding joy in the simple things of life had previously been challenging for me. The past decade or so has given me the opportunity to appreciate the sweet and simple gifts of time spent together - no matter what we're doing.

In choosing which pictures to post, I realized we've been quite busy the past few days. Last Friday, John and I took the girls to dinner then bowling. We had a fantastic time; tons of fun! Joe was at scout camp and of course, Jack is still in Russia.

He's got bowling style.

Flower and Marie

On Saturday, we visited a family who has a small garden/horse barn (John works with the husband). It was the first time I'd met them but had heard many wonderful things. We had such a grand time with this lovely family ... had we arrived a little earlier, the girls would've been able to shovel some of the horse poo. Oh well, next time!

I love these people: Marie, John, Flower

John, a horse, Marie

Flower and me - practically twins going to church.

Marie had a neat opportunity to attend the Young Single Adult Conference in Berlin. The English speaking ward and the German speaking ward often combines activities, etc. Here is a picture of the group before boarding the bus... they stopped in Darmstadt and Frankfurt before driving into Berlin.

These are the bikes that are too nice to leave in the bike parking room on the first floor of the building. Of course, it appears as though I'll have to cordon off part of the living room at this point. I don't mind - Joe and Flower now join their dad on some of his rides so everything is getting ridden at some point.

I'm still working on Morning in Barcelona, but I am getting close to the finish line. I've really taken to heart one of my favorites... "anything worth doing is worth overdoing." At the same time, I love that my husband regularly brings me fresh flowers from the market on Saturdays... perhaps the color and fragrance helps move the work along.

In the post box today was an order I had placed for a sweatshirt with the logo of one of my favorite websites: Within minutes of opening the package, Joe was rockin' the hoodie. I think he looks good in pink.

Being anywhere with my people is where it's at.