Friday, March 31, 2017


This post is brought to you by the number 1,000. For no other reason than to commemorate that for 100 months, I have posted 10 blog entries (often on the last day of the month.) So welcome to post number 1,000!

There's a New Girl in Town

Once upon a time, there was a sweet hamster named Hamilton. He was a Christmas gift for our girls. He was sweet and personable and crawled right into our hands. Curious and full of life. But he wasn't full of life very long, and we had to say some tearful goodbyes.

But we still had sweet Hickory, who continued to warm our hearts with his funny ways. Like how he rolls over for us to scratch his belly. Or nestles into his favorite blanket on our bed and falls asleep while getting a "hamster massage."

Last weekend, we were contacted by the girl who sold us Hamilton. Her living situation has changed, and she needed a home for Bella (Hamilton's mom.) So Bella has joined our family. Of course, Dayna is still hooked on "H" names for her hamsters, so Bella is now known as "Hershey." She's pretty sweet, so the name fits. But Dayna will be quick to tell you she's like dark and white chocolate.

I also think Dayna is hoping for baby hamsters at some point...we'll have to wait and see about that.

Middle School Music Festival

Last weekend, Dayna participated in her first judged music festival. Her band director has never sent a sixth grader, but let her participate this year because she takes private lessons.

She did a great job performing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. The judge thought it was "pop" music, but it was a good lesson in the subjectivity of judges. She scored a I-, and I'm so proud of her.

She also performed the Minuet from the Suites for Cello by Bach. This is quite an undertaking for a musician her age, and she really worked hard to get to this point. The judge agreed, and she scored a I.

Amana 2017

To honor Aunt Sharon's birthday, and to see our good friends the Overmanns, we invited ourselves to Eastern Iowa for a weekend to visit the Amana Colonies. Aunt Sharon first introduced me to this spot shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer. We spent many weekends creating memories, and the weekend spent here was one of my dearest.

Of course, this involved the great family-style breakfast feast where 5/6 diners chowed down on massive quantities of bacon while the 6th one was happily carb loading on homemade English muffin bread and fried potatoes.

Dayna enjoyed her time at the rock store collecting new treasures.

And the family was able to spend a few hours ice skating (our local rink closed early for the year, and we never got to go, so we promised the girls on this road trip.)

Missing Aunt Sis

This month would have been my Aunt Sharon's 75th birthday. She took to celebrating it in heaven about 13 years ago. And yet every day she still comes to my mind. Whether it's hanging my clothes on the line, or discovering yet another "I Love You" confetti she left in my house shortly after we moved in...she's still with me every day.

I can't wait to see you in heaven and celebrate many more birthdays with you, Aunt Sharon. The world was a brighter place when you were born, and some of its luster left with you.

Until then, I'll keep looking for your little messages of "I love you."

Annie's Family Day

It's hard to believe four years have already passed since the tiny little bundle wearing so many layers was first placed in our arms. Annie, you have absolutely blossomed, and we are honored to be your family.

Annie chose to celebrate with noodles (not a surprise), so we visited a nicer Chinese restaurant in West Omaha and decided we really need to eat there more often. She also received a small gift that was purchased when we were in China for her adoption trip. This year, she got a deck of cards with pandas on them. Her big sister also wrote her a very sweet card.

Annie has made our family complete, and we can't imagine our home without the sunshine and silliness she brings.

New Adventures in the Kitchen: Pasta

I've been curious about making pasta, and picked up a great little hand roller through a local buy/sell/trade site for only five dollars. I must say, it was pretty tasty, and the girls enjoyed helping. Looking forward to more pasta creations this summer when the garden is in!

Regional Science Fair

Back in February, Dayna was one of twelve students from her school selected to represent the Bluejays at the Southeast Nebraska regional science fair.

Dayna woke up that morning not feeling her best, and I made a judgment call to give her enough medicine to get her through the morning. She had worked so hard for this day.

When she got back to the school at lunchtime (I happened to be subbing for another sixth grade teacher), she was ready to crash, but came with a nice shiny medal. I called her dad and sent her home. I think her little system had worked so hard to get to this point that her immune system just crashed.

Dayna was one of two students from the original twelve selected to move on and represent her school at the State Science Fair to be held in April. They also happen to be the first from her school to ever go this far.

I'm so proud of the work she did, the hours of preparation, the dozens of cookies she baked, and the endurance she demonstrated to see this project through. I can't wait to see what happens at the State Science Fair.

Here are a couple of articles:

Middle School Dance

Dayna's second middle school dance came on the heels of her orchestra concert. As a student council member, one of her parents is expected to sponsor one of the dances. It was my lucky night! Of course, I was also expected to keep a certain amount of distance and refrain from doing or saying anything that might embarrass my child.

It was a night full of loud music and sweaty kids. But it looked like they had a great time.


OAYO - Prelude Strings

March started off with a very busy weekend. We were unable to make it to the local Fine Arts Festival this year because Dayna had a concert that same afternoon. (As a side note, 15 of Alaina's 18 students were able to audition and 13 were able to perform!)

This was another fun 8-week experience for Dayna to play with just strings (she did a full orchestra experience last fall.) Her good friend and China buddy, Eli was also a part of this orchestra, and they had a great time renewing their friendship.