Friday, August 31, 2012

A Design Mom In My Family

  One of my favorite series on the blog Design Mom is "Living With Kids". Gabrielle interviews mothers who create a beautiful home amidst a passel of kids. While visiting my great niece, she is great and the daughter of my niece, I saw some wonderful ideas in her home.

   Corianne decorates to show her love of family and her ability to create with her hands. Coming from a family who can sew and design original ideas, she has established a style of her own.
  Starting in her sanctuary, her bedroom, I could see the neutral palette giving comfort and peace to the room.

   Her favorite purchase is the five dollar sheet. If the color is right she can make curtains, wall hangings, and many more accessories.

    If she can carve out a few minutes to read, with four children, you can find her in her own nest.

  The only girl gets some feminine accents to invite her to do schoolwork. Corianne uses fabric to line the back of bookcases and adheres it with spray starch which makes the fabric removable.

Reading is important in this family and a cozy place to read is available to each child.

   A simple way to add a bookshelf is to use a length of rain gutter. The books are held secure and invite    the boys to snuggle up with a book, just like Mom.

 "I can make that by myself," is a phrase I heard often as I toured this home. The beds in the boys room were sturdy and held wonderful storage opportunities.

                 Need a desk? Make one yourself and add your own style with decorative touches.

   In a coming post I will share some of the innovative things downstairs in her pre-school. She teaches four sessions a week and these children are lucky to have such a colorful and creative space for learning. Aren't Moms amazing?

Back To True North

      We are back on the road again, starting a new book, and heading north in the direction of true home. I am a little blue to leave my family in Phoenix, missing already the soft cheeks of those little girls. We are praying that the plans to move north on their part will indeed come to fruition in 2013. Gaby, the baby who waited a few days too long for me to meet her last February, was delightful.

 Her eyes are so eager and bright when she looks into my face. She has a positive view of her little life so far. Her sister, Emma, has a rich and full inner life already at age two. She is inquisitive and ready to engage in every adventure. 

     She reflects her Mommy's cheerfulness and her sentences end with a slight higher pitch. I will hear her voice in my head for days to come.
  P.G. Wodehouse is on the speakers as we head to Los Angeles. This makes Mark smile and frequently chuckle. I will most likely start my next Louise Penny book. Finished "The Brutal Telling" last night and the next book will continue the case of the Hermit who I believe was not murdered by Olivier. Gamache is going to have to put things right as he continues searching for the true killer. 
  The best view out the window was energy valley around the Palm Springs area. 

                          I love the miles and miles of wind being harnessed into electricity. Tomorrow we stop to see the last family, Mark's sister, Tammie. Our seventeen day pilgrimage is almost at an end.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Children's Museum

If you live in a city chances are that you have a children's museum. 

                  A wonderland filled with child size adventures can bring out the child in everyone.

   No worries about the mess and no worries about how many messes you can make in 15 minutes.

    There is grown-up work to do with grown-up tools. And the grown-ups act so darn proud of their children doing that work.

              The sensory stimulation is over the top and brings concentrated attention to each task.

                              The best room is the grocery store. But watch out for crazy shoppers.

    The Phoenix museum is one of the best I have seen. The displays are amazing and the building is light and airy.

                                 It is also the best place to be when the temperate is 104 degrees.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cool Jerome

   Jerome, Arizona, sits on the edge of a hill, up in the cooler mountains. An old mining town, now a haven for artists and tourists.

                          The winding road up to the town invites vehicles of many styles and makes.

                            Ruins are holding together with faith and memories of different days.

                     It was glorious to be outside with lesser heat and Angela felt on top of her world.

                                              A stop at the ice-cream parlor is a must.

                                              Oma and Opa still have some cool in them.

                                            Andrew and Emma feel the wind in their hair.

            Oma's ice-cream went ker-plunk to the ground and Emma wondered how that was possible.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Morning Walks in Phoenix

  The lowest temperature of the day is 5:00-6:00am so that is when I get outdoors and walk. At a balmy 83 degrees, I set out to walk the Palm lined streets.

  Others have the same idea, and I pass runners, landscapers, dog walkers, and the Kaffe Klutch on the telephone wires above me.

   The palm trees have the appearance of huge pineapples sitting alongside lime trees and with a coconut or two thrown in they make a tropical cocktail.

    The beauty of the desert is equal to the beauty of my forests at home and the variety as plentiful.

                                        On a neutral palette the color pops out with gusto.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Phun in Phoenix

Our joy is complete, even if the weather is hot. We are reunited with Emma and meeting Gaby for the first time.

                             The floor time is plentiful as we explore blocks, puzzles, and books.

Baby Gaby loves to smile and observe and be with us. She sucks her fingers backwards just like Emma. We had thumb suckers and finger suckers but this reverse pose is very unique.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Desert Calls

   What has fascinated me along the drive is the stark landscape of bare rock and little vegetation under vast, clear skies. The geology of the Colorado Plateau is exposed throughout large portions of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah and I have marveled at what nature has created.

   The boulders sometimes balance precariously above the road as if a giant was creating a rock tower.

   As we enter Arizona I looked forward to the freeway overpasses which are art exhibits in themselves.

   Designs in the cement are painted with bright colors which contrast the neutral palette of the desert.

                   I can't wait to kiss those babies in Phoenix which are expecting us very soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Farewell To Houston

         In Houston I became aware of the German influence. German settlers left their German language, food, and culture in Houston. Annette and Mickey work in the Klein School District. Each school in the district is referred to by name with the word Klein first. I joked that their district must be very small, the opposite being the case. At dinner we had great barbecued beef with equally terrific sausage of the German kind. 

  Grandpa was very aware and able to converse about every subject we chose. He favored the stories of his war experience and the story of meeting me when Mark and I first visited Texas. His version of the story of our first visit has an interview between us when he asked me if I loved his son. I do remember that. I answered yes and then he asked if Mark loved me. He says that I didn't know for sure but I was working on that. Then he advised me to trick him. I don't quite remember that comment, but I am sure he did not give me any help in how to trick him. This story is well set in Grandpa's mind because he told it three times while we were there. Grandpa has beautiful surroundings and I think his situation is stable. We felt very welcomed there and he told us how grateful he was that we came to him because he felt the need to see us for some time. He wished that he could make a visit to us, but that will not possible for him any longer.
  Annette's family has a great dog, Gus. He is very intelligent, doing many tricks and being so congenial. We enjoyed him at breakfast this morning. His bottom is very flat and so this allows him to sit with his front paws up, in a begging position, for a very long time. 


 As we travel Interstate 10 we are seeing the best of Texas. This is the land that Mexico fought to keep, lush green, farm land. We are heading to San Antonio and then on to the desert. 
   It is very comforting to see the familiar sky in each place we visit. The sky is the unifying symbol of  familiarity. I am at home if the sky is visible.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Home in Houston

     Arriving in the Houston area I noticed the green foliage growing thicker and taller trees alongside the highway. The geography was changing in this part of Texas.

  We stopped along the road in a little town called Fairfield and visited a little Country Store called Cooper's. Peaches, pecans, and pies called my name and I answered willingly. The southern hospitality made me glad to leave some cash behind and bring some goodies to Grandpa's house.

                     Grandpa lives in a beautiful neighborhood with his grandson and wife. 

He knew who we were and was glad to see us after these many years. Annette's family take care of him and he seems to be content in this arrangement.

   Most of our visiting today is about family stories. Grandpa needs and loves to talk.

  This morning I went for a walk around the neighborhood before 8am. The moisture settled on my skin and I understand the challenge of hot weather and 80% humidity. The neighbor next door has some odd mushrooms on the lawn.

 Shaped like a cone, the light color made these stand out from the thick, rough grass. There are so many interesting grasses on the lawns in the states I have visited.

 More Crepe Myrtle trees in front of stately homes and I noticed some palm trees, which will become ever present as we head to the desert in Arizona.