One week ago today, Gladys F. Swenson (pictured above celebrating her 70th anniversary last summer) went Home. We travelled to Kansas City this week to celebrate her life and to join our family in saying farewell for now.
I am knee deep in wall paper removal. Olive's bathroom is slowly being freed of its white floral wrap.
No. I am not posting in-progress photos of the wall paper removal. It is nasty work. And I'm not great at it.
(Sometimes chunks of wall come off while I'm trying to scratch away wallpaper glue. We used the internet for how to's, and we went to Lowe's for supplies and more instructions. I have come to terms with the fact that wallpaper removal will not be a new addition to my resume.)
But. We knew that the white floral wallpaper was, well, too white and floral to be original.
I found a good amount of the old paper under the mirror.
Last month, we went to Arkansas for a Thiel family vacation. Kyle's parents hosted Kyle, Olive and me, as well as Liz, Matt, Will, Charlie and Betsy at a super resort in Fairfield Bay, AR. We spent most of our time on or near the resort property. The amenities were wonderful, and the company was perfect. We had a great time!
We enjoyed the pools.
We played blocks and cups with Grandma and Grandpa.
Our weekend was a roller coaster. I won't share all of the gory details, but we did have some fun amidst the crazy.
First, we went back to Discovery Green. This time we met some friends: Tiffiny and her two cuties, Addison and Dylan. We all loved it! The key is getting there early, because there aren't many people and the heat hasn't arrived.
(I know you live in Houston, and you're rolling your eyes. "The heat hasn't arrived, P-shaw." But, Saturday morning was overcast, there was a breeze, and we were there at the crack. It was pleasant, very pleasant.)
Again, we enjoyed the fountain, and then ended our time on the playground. Free fun in the city! Woo Hoo.
Second, we went to dinner at Lupe Tortilla with my Mom and Tim. Let's just say that I wasn't the one supervising when Olive took her second fountain swim of the day. I'm pretty sure the restaurant doesn't actually sanction swimming in the fountain ... so don't say I told you it was OK. Olive returned to the table and declared, "All Wet Mommy."
Ya think!? She was dripping from neck to toe. (Our child doesn't enjoy getting her head wet and avoids it at all costs. This makes bath time fun. Let. Me. Tell. You.) We remedied the situation, and finished up a really enjoyable dinner.
Finally, after church on Sunday, we joined the Houston chapter of the Trinity University Alumni Association for an afternoon baseball game. Game time was 1:05p, and Miss Olive normally naps right about then. Thankfully, she made it to the seventh inning without a crazy meltdown. Hoo-Ray!
(Note: We did not leave at the seventh inning because she melted down then. We just decided that we had pushed her enough and that we should head out while the getting was good.)
We spent a little time at the game with our friends Jennifer and Adam and their adorable son, Ryan. All in all it was a great time.
Ya know those handfuls of jalapenos in our garden? Well, there is no way we could eat those suckers before they - or our stomachs - went bad.
Preserve them! I thought. But how?
As it turns out, there are quite a few very interesting blogs out there about modern canning. (Ooooh.) Even the Ball website looks almost hip.
Now. Don't get me wrong. I didn't go crazy or anything. And I'm thinking that the few simple instructions I followed, along with the spicy jalapenos and vinegar brine probably have us clear on that botulism front. But it was fun. And I think the results are awfully pretty.
Please note. I know that botulism is not actually funny. Seriously.
More than music, she loves singing in the car. (Kyle pretends he doesn't hear her, and he's generally not part of the sing-a-long. I am often the lone voice, singing near the top of my lungs like a crazy woman.)
The repertoire of songs Olive knows and can request is growing.
She started out with (a very, very repetitive), "Twinkle, Mommy, Twinkle."
But now Twinkle is past its prime. "Twinkle, Olive?" "No, Mommy. Ccc's"
And then we sing the ABC's.
Or, "Baa, Mommy, Baa." Then Baa, Baa Black Sheep comes from my lips.
Sometimes a good CD, or Pandora streamed through the speakers will suffice.
(The wonder that is Pandora recently pulled up "18-Wheels on a Big Rig" by Trout Fishing in America. I was rolling for the roman numeral count!! This link to a full version just might work.)
This afternoon Miss Olive wanted nothing to do with canned music from the car speakers. However, she couldn't make up her mind which song we should sing.
While I was in St. Louis, many things changed in Houston. Among other things, there is now a wonderful new park in Downtown Houston.
It boasts wide open spaces, colorful sculpture, a couple of restaurants, kids play areas and a great fountain. We headed there bright and early last Saturday morning. We picked up some breakfast tacos and enjoyed them in the shade when we arrived.
Then we put Miss Olive into her swimsuit and said hello to a dragon.
Then we hit the fountain. (Not. Literally.) It was big and frightening at the beginning.
Then it was tons of fun. I mean, take off your shoes and run around amidst the hopping streams fun.
When the fountain became a tad passe, she ran circles around the playground and exhibited bravery on two big slides.
We all had a great time! Woo Hoo for great public parks!
I've seen a ton of cute wreaths over the past several months. Some were store bought, others handmade, but each added festivity to the doors it graced.
With wreaths on the brain, I employed some Google-Fu and found quite a few cute ones for sale. I also found a ton of tutorials for do-it-yourself wreaths, and I was totally intrigued.
Two of my creations are currently adorning our home. I think they work for all of the patriotic holidays: Memorial Day, Arbor Day (not sure why that one's patriotic, but go with it), July 4th ... possibly Labor Day?
The first is a rag wreath. I bought a bigger form than I should have, and, thus, I used a ton more fabric than I intended. I really liked an online tutorial for the basics (except I can't seem to find it now - basically, you tie lots of fabric strips on a wire wreath frame) ... and I embellished it with fabric rosettes from this tutorial and this tutorial. My only complaint is that the fabric droops a bit after several days (er, now weeks) on display in the Houston humidity. Still, a little fluffing makes everything good, and I think it looks cheery regardless!
(Note: the photo is of the wreath in an un-fluffed state.)
The next wreath is a twist on this tutorial. I started using ribbon strips around the sides and back of the wreath (as the tutorial instructs) but ended up just wrapping the rest fully in ribbon. For me, the strips weren't saving as much of my supplies as they were causing frustration as it cut and applied beau coups de ribbon strips. I used cotton for my circles (instead of felt) and I used a pretty deliberate, *cough* uber-picky *cough*, fold/ruffle/pin method for their application. This wreath strikes me as a tad more understated than the first, but I think it is my favorite of the two.
I did make another wreath, but I'm saving its debut for Olive's birthday party!
Our neighborhood put on a rockin' parade/festival to celebrate the 4th of July. (However, the parade/festival occurred on July 2, and I don't recall there being any rock and roll music.)
We decorated Olive's stroller and dressed for the 4th. Kyle and I popped in a movie the night before the festivities and blew up a ton of balloons. (I grabbed a couple of multi-color packs, and we picked out the red, white and blue ones.)
All of the parade participants followed a firetruck through the neighborhood, to our local elementary school playground. Olive loved it. (OK. Here she just wanted to get out of her stroller and run around.)
We won a prize: most unique.
Olive ran to the bounce house. However, she was satisfied with the bouncy step and never entered the house.
We enjoyed some snow-cones.
And Olive ran, and ran, and ran under the covered pavillion while we chatted with some adults and marveled at her energy.