Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Dress

Near the southern tip of France, perched high on a hill is a sleepy little medieval town called Eze.  The winding cobblestone streets are so narrow that cars cannot pass through, and the views of the Mediterranean Sea are nothing short of spectacular. 

It was a cloudy, cool day in June 2002 when Mike and I had an entire day to spend wandering the streets of this magical town.  It wasn’t a busy tourist destination.  In fact, it was an oddly quiet place.  All we could hear was the echo of our footsteps and the occasional distant squeak of a door opening somewhere or muffled conversation as we passed by a quaint antique shop or bakery.  We spent hours meandering up and down stairs, browsing through stores, admiring gardens behind tall iron gates, peeking into windows, and looking down at the sparkling sea below.  

Eventually we stumbled upon a cute boutique near the top of the hill.  We pushed aside the heavy wooden door and entered a world of dresses, skirts, jewelry, bags, etc. We looked around for awhile, and then a lovely French woman spoke up from the back of the store.  All she said was, “I have the perfect dress for you.”  She pointed at me, then waved at us to follow her up a narrow flight of stairs. We didn’t protest. 

At the top of the staircase we arrived in this woman’s studio.  Half-finished dresses on headless wire mannequins stood haphazardly around the room.  Her sewing machine  proudly sat in one corner, a tall full length mirror graced another corner, and piles of fabric scraps filled the remaining spaces.  The woman went straight for a dress hanging up by the mirror.  Perhaps it was recently finished.  Perhaps she was waiting for just the right person to try it on.

It was a beautiful shade of green, a rich, mossy, earthy green.  Underneath the green fabric was a layer of wine colored material that just barely made its presence known at the scoop of the neckline.  “Try it on, “the woman urged. 

“Here?” I asked gesturing to the room we all three stood in.  There was obviously no dressing room. 

She nodded a yes, as if to say where else?

I undressed slowly, then she helped me slip the dress over my head.  It fit perfectly.  Like it was tailor made for my body.  The empire waist made me look as if I were a few inches taller.  The woman smiled broadly and stood back to admire her work.  She looked at Mike who stepped in and said, “It’s beautiful.”

“I give you time,” she said as she walked back down the stairs.  Mike and I looked at my reflection in the mirror.  The green nicely complemented my eyes.

“It really looks amazing,” he said.

“Thanks, but where would I wear this?  I love it, but do I really need it?”

For the next several minutes we went back and forth about whether to buy it.  We were near the end of our ten days in Europe and near the end of our spending money too.  The deciding factor was to ask how much the dress cost.  Secretly hoping the woman would give us a good deal, we waited for her to return.  Eventually we heard footsteps coming back up the stairs.

“How much?” I asked meekly.

I don’t remember the exact amount she quoted us in euros, but I do remember that it was the equivalent of $350 American dollars.  To a young couple just three years into their marriage, this was $350 too much.  We sadly declined to purchase the dress.  The woman looked truly disappointed.  So after I changed back into my clothes, and took one last look at the dress on the hanger, we walked out the door.  It was late afternoon and time to head to the bus that would take us to our cruise ship.  The entire walk we agonized about how we could go back and buy the dress.  We could put it on our credit card.  We could try to barter for a better price.  But in the end, we left empty handed.

Our trip to Europe that summer is one of our favorite memories together.  Even though we had both been to Europe several times prior to us dating or getting married, this was our first trip together.  And we really enjoyed ourselves. 

But we often talk about that day in Eze and the perfect dress.  We still say we should have purchased it.  What Mike says about art—when it moves you, you just have to have it, we felt about that dress.  It was just supposed to come home with me.  Perhaps it’s still hanging in the upstairs studio of a little dress shop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, waiting for me to return one day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day

Yesterday we got hit with freezing rain.  Throughout the night, sleet mixed with snow poured down on us.  And so today we are having a snow day.  Pretty much every major school district is closed and so are many local businesses.  It's like our whole city is forced to slow down and take a breath today.  I'm embracing it.

So far today we have:

eaten breakfast:  waffles and scrambled eggs
changed the sheets on the beds
played dinosaurs
taken a looooong bubble bath (the girls did this one; i opted for a hot shower)
painted with watercolors
eaten lunch:  grilled cheese and apples
played outside in the snow/ice
read books
took a nap
made oatmeal cookies

I enjoy these days, but they can be long.  I would not survive in a northern cold weather state. I've decided I'm a cold weather wimp.   Not that I hate the cold weather, I love these unexpected days.  But I don't think I could do this day in and day out for months.  I need to see the sun!  I also went a little picture crazy today, so get ready....

The view out my front door.
Hello, my feet.  Each blade of grass was frozen which made a great crunchy sound! 
Leah working on her watercolor creation.

Hannah hard at work.

Making oatmeal cookies.
The finished product!
Ready to go play!
They don't get to play in the snow very often, so they were thrilled!

Hannah making a snow angel.
I love Leah's face in this picture.
While Leah warmed her feet by the fire.....

Hannah chose sleep!!


Sunday, January 25, 2009


I saw this clip on the NBC nightly news Friday night and watched as tears streamed down my face.  This may have been that I am a mother of twin girls or because I'm 13 weeks pregnant, but regardless of these things, I still thought it was a poignant and tender letter.  I hope Sasha and Malia Obama enjoy their childhood in such an amazing place.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Presidential Conversation

Here's a conversation I had with my girls today about the presidential inauguration, our country, and our new president as of today.

Me: Girls, do you know what country we live in?
Leah: Oklahoma
Me: That's our State, but do you remember the name of our country?
Hannah: The United States of our Flag.
Me: prompting a little....The United States of.....
Hannah: Oh! The United States of America!
Me: Good!

Me: What does the President of the United States do?
Hannah: Takes a present to someone.
Leah: He goes up on a stage.

Me: Do you know the name of the new President?
Hannah: Goo Goo
Me: No.... again, prompting....Barack
Hannah: Like Barackasaurus! (Remember we're learning about dinosaurs and most recently the brontosaurus.)
Me: Laughs....No, Barack O.....
Hannah and Leah: Barack Obama
Leah: The old one was named Bush.
Me: That's right! Nice memory.

Me:Where does the President live?
Hannah: In the White House!
Me:Where is the White House?
Hannah and Leah: Far away

Me: What would you do if you became President of the United States?
Leah: I would be a baker, a librarian, and a medicine man. And give high fives!
Hannah: I would be a mommy and a baker president.

Me: Girls, are you glad you live in the United States of America?

Hannah and Leah: Yep. Are we done now?

Me: Yes.

I'm glad we live in a country where my girls could grow up to be a president. And a president that bakes, loves books, has her pharmacy degree, and is a mommy to boot. Love it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cooking and Baking

Cooking and baking are two ways my girls and I can spend some quality time together while capitalizing on learning opportunities as well.  We've been in a sort of cooking frenzy here the last few days and I've welcomed the chance to let Hannah and Leah help out.  

Yesterday we made a traditional banana pudding complete with Nilla wafers.  It was a simple recipe, which always works best with little ones.  I let the girls pour the milk and pudding mix into the pan, then I took on the task of stirring it while it was on the hot stove.  While I stirred, the girls lined the bottom of a dish with cookies and sliced up a few bananas (with plastic knives I might add).  The end result?

Two thumbs up from Hannah.
Leah liked the cookies more than anything else.
Our final product!

Carrying on with our baking theme, today we made Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies.  These were mighty tasty if I do say so.  I measured out the ingredients and the girls took turns pouring them into the bowl.  After the dough was mixed, I set up two stations where the girls rolled the dough into little balls, then dipped them in sugar.  The best part arrived after the cookies had been in the oven for 8 minutes.  We got to take them out and place a Hershey kiss in the middle of each one.  We made sure to make real kissing noises each time we put one in.  Two more minutes in the oven and we had a perfect afternoon snack:  warm cookies and cold glasses of milk.  Just right for a very chilly winter day.

The girls were such good helpers, and they really enjoyed themselves.  In fact, Leah has added becoming a baker to her list of what she wants to be when she grows up.  Her current list goes something like this:  a baker, a librarian, a medicine woman (a.k.a. pharmacist), a doctor, and a mom.  I'm okay with her achieving her goals.  Just as long as I receive a steady supply of cookies!  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Randomness

This was taken tonight while they were playing horses and dinosaurs.

We're sitting by the fire this chilly Sunday evening and I've got lots of random thoughts floating around in my head.  Sometimes I just need an place to let them out.

* I am 11 weeks pregnant.  And right now I'm craving two things.  The first is citrus.  Especially oranges, but also grapefruit, clementines, and tangelos.  The other thing is hot fudge sundaes from Braum's.  For you non-Oklahoma folks, Braum's is a fantastic local ice cream store. Luckily we live about 1 mile away from one.  

* I finally got caught up on all of our laundry this weekend.  It's such a major task and I feel so great when it's all folded and put away.  I don't even want to think about how much more laundry we're going to have with the new baby. Oh my.

* My girls have been playing "duck duck goose" at school, but cannot seem to figure out why playing with two people at home is just not the same.  Ok, sometimes I play too to help them out.

* We've got the Golden Globe red carpet show on right now.  It's mainly background noise, but I do enjoy looking at all the dresses and deciding which ones I like best.  I like Elizabeth Banks floor length gown in "blush".  Ooo, don't I sound fancy.

* I am going to work on getting up earlier this week and to make better use of my time in the morning.  Just a small goal.  

* We went to a Thunder basketball game Friday night.  It was fun!  I'd never been to an NBA game before, and even though we lost (only by 2 points) I really enjoyed the whole experience.

* My girls are really interested in looking at our wedding album.  They go straight for the pictures of us standing behind our wedding cake and the groom's cake.  Hannah stares at the pictures and says wistfully, "I sure wish I could be at that wedding to eat those cakes."  What a funny girl!

That's it for now.  Just a little peek into my brain tonight!  I hope you are all having a great weekend as well! 


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Invisible Wall

I finished yet another book recently.  And like the others I've finished recently, it was wonderful. The Invisible Wall, by Harry Bernstein, is a memoir of the author's own childhood upbringing in England during World War I.  Yes, I said World War I.  Mr. Bernstein wrote this memoir when he was 93 years old!!  I did some internet research on him and discovered that he is currently 98 and has written an additional memoir entitled The Dream, and is actively working on his third memoir due to be published soon.  Wow!

What makes this memoir so good, aside from the beautiful way the author describes his family and surroundings, is the unusual dynamic of the street on which he grew up.  On one side of the street the homes were completely occupied by Jewish families, while the other side of the street consisted entirely of Christian homes.  Although the families were civil and even friendly at times, there existed an "invisible wall" that divided the street right down the middle.  Jewish boys played games with other Jewish boys.  Christian girls were friends with other Christian girls.  The two sides didn't really mix at all.  That is until an unlikely love story evolves between a Christian boy named Arthur, and a Jewish girl named Lily.  Lily just happens to be the older sister of the author, Harry Bernstein.  Their love affair has been kept a secret for years, but when Harry discovers it, he must decide to remain loyal to his sister or to the traditions he has grown up believing--which is Jewish girls do not under any circumstances marry Christian boys.  Will this "forbidden" love divide the street even more?  Or will it finally join the two sides together?  

Read the book to find out!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


My girls are obsessed with dinosaurs right now.  Like any kid, they go through phases where they are stuck on one particular thing.  Some phases have been short lived, but others have stood the test of time. Dinosaurs are a new phase, so who knows how long this will last, but we decided to take advantage of it and go to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman, OK. We had been telling the girls all week that we were going to go see some real dinosaur bones, and they were so excited.  Every night when I would tuck them in, Hannah would ask, "We going to see the dinosaur bones tomorrow?"  

Finally the day arrived and we had such a nice time.  I wasn't sure how they would behave in a "real" museum environment, but they were great.

The girls decided that this dinosaur was the long lost Mommy of their own toy dinosaurs.
Hannah in her little canoe.  She said she was looking for "green anacondas".  
Leah at the other end of the canoe.
 Digging up dinosaur eggs.

Well, I better get back to practicing my dinosaur roar.  And making dinosaur cookies and hugging my Hannahsaurus and Leahsaurus.  It's dino-fever around here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Mike and I had a rare treat recently when we got a babysitter and met my parents at the theater to see a movie.  We don't get to go very often, so we're a little choosy about what we see.  I am so glad we picked Slumdog Millionaire.  It was such an incredible movie.  It was moving, intense, beautiful and one that I thought about (and still think about!) long after I left the theater.  I would highly recommend that you go check it out.  And also, check out the trailer below!  If you've seen it, leave me a comment adding your thoughts/opinions about the film.

So, so good.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wisdom in 2009

We are officially halfway through the first day of 2009 and it has already been a splendid day. My husband and I got home from our friends' house this morning around 1:00.  And since our girls were spending the night with my parents we were able to get some great uninterrupted sleep. We picked the girls up around lunchtime and headed to a little Mexican restaurant to eat.  Afterwards we came home and started the task of "un-decorating" the house.  That's what Leah called it as we went around wrapping up the Christmas ornaments and decorations until next year.  The girls giggled as I told them that next year when we unpack all these things there will be a new member of our family with us!  

What a year this will be.  A vacation in the early spring is already planned, our 10th wedding anniversary in June, a baby coming in the hot, hot heat of summer, and a fall filled with new beginnings as the girls start going to preschool. I'm looking forward to every minute of it.  

This morning when we woke up we read through Psalm 1.  And verse 3 really stood out to us:

 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
       which yields its fruit in season 
       and whose leaf does not wither. 
       Whatever he does prospers.

The verses leading up to it talk about a man whose delight is in the Lord and in His word.  I love that when we do this we become like a tree-- healthy and yielding fruit.  I imagine a sturdy oak flourishing next to a clear stream with strong roots growing deep into the ground.  Our goal this year is to become more like that tree.  To ask God for wisdom in how we manage our finances, take care of our bodies, and be better at our time-management.    

I'm looking forward to deepening our roots this year!

What goals/resolutions do you have for this year?