Happy Birthday Cake

Party #2 was today and Jac is stilling wishing everyone a “happy birthday cake!” I’m going to be so sad when she goes to a more conventional greeting.

Late Sunday afternoon turned out to be a great time to visit the other mouse house - 

very few kids were at Chuck E Cheese, 

so Leanne and Jac could go on whichever rides/games they wanted as often as they wanted. 

A little pizza, a few gifts, 

some ridiculously rich (and delicious) chocolate cake and we were ready for home.

 Talkin’ to the mouse

Happy birthday cake, sweet Jaclyn. Hope Year 3 is amazing for you.


Happy Jackie Birthday

Jackie turned 3 today but we started celebrating yesterday when Pop rearranged half the house so Jac’s playhouse could be in the living room.

We used to have this set up in the pool table room but that doesn’t work well since a) it’s not air conditioned and gets pretty hot; and b) the big girls use the space as an art center.

Can you tell Jac was thrilled with her surprise?

Today was Jac’s first party of the weekend. Leanne made her a popsicle heart (awwww) and a brownie cake (both Pop and Leanne thought it was a regular cake mix when they bought it - wrong! But still delicious.)

A few presents later - 

Jac settled in with her own 2-pound bag of kinetic sand - no more sharing with Sissy and Leia - 

and was so content she didn’t even get upset when Donovan made off with one of her other presents. Hooray!

 Singing “JacJac’s birthday cake” instead of “Happy Birthday”

Happy birthday, sweet girl. See you Sunday for your next party. 


Patriotic Wallhanging

Finished this small quilt and I’m thrilled - and amazed - to have it hanging on the wall before the holiday. 

I designed this based on a pattern-less picture I saw on Pinterest (more info here). The half-square triangles are 3” unfinished and the final piece measures 19” x 39”. 

 Pin basting on the ping pong table. As you do. 

I’ve been taking monthly free-motion quilting classes since April and that gave me the confidence to try quilting this myself. 

It’s not perfect (!) but I’m very pleased with how it turned out. 

The girls helped me take pretty pictures - 

and a couple of “oopsie” pics; 

poor Jac fell going out the door but refused to give me the quilt until I took her picture like I’d promised. 

The new quilt hanger* also arrived today, so this little flag is flying proud in our entryway. Happy almost Fourth of July, y’all!

* I love the bamboo hangers My Pal Reyna uses, so shamelessly copied her and ordered some for myself. 


Sewing Day

Leanne wanted to sew “a heart” today. She drew a heart on paper, then I showed her how to transfer, cut and fuse her design to fabric.

She machine-stitched around the heart - she already knew to leave the needle down before adjusting the fabric - and did a great job zigzagging the curves. 

I cut a backing, then she pinned the pieces, sewed them together and turned her pillow right-side out.

I started to explain using a chopstick to push the corners out but she gave me The Look and said, “I remember this, Grandma.”

She stuffed it herself and hand-stitched the last seam closed.

Leanne is pretty proud of her creation - and so am I. 

I’m especially proud that she did the whole thing herself, from concept to final stitch, except for cutting the backing fabric (rotary cutters + 8 year old = nervous grandma) and knotting the thread for her hand-stitching. It will be interesting to see what she wants to make next.


Zoo Day

We really lucked out on weather this trip - San Diego temps were in the mid to high 60’s, overcast with just a little breeze. Perfect for outdoor adventures.

The day started off with what could have been a big problem. While we were getting directions to the tour bus, Leanne slid her finger through the metal eye-screw for a gate latch and got it stuck. Really stuck. By the time she told us, her finger was starting to swell where she’d tried to pull it out. And of course, people were backing up behind our little log jam. I had visions of paramedics and bolt cutters and long explanations to her mom from an ER bed. The volunteer helping us opened another gate for those behind us while I liberally applied chapstick to Leanne’s finger and the metal. A few twists, a maybe-not-so-gentle-ish tug and she was free. Like the nice volunteer said, “I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

Fortunately, things got better from there. 

We saw lots of animals

including a close-up look at Leanne’s favorite, the cheetah, 

and this very cool secretarybird, a raptor with the body of an eagle and the legs of a crane, that looked like something straight out of a Harry Potter movie.

The girls climbed

and played 

and Leanne got the henna tattoo she desperately wanted (after Leia got one yesterday).

We rode little buses and double decker buses

and the sky-tram twice

just because it was so. much. fun.

But the best part of the day, for me anyway,

was sitting on a quiet, shaded bench 

watching mama hippo and her 2-year-old son do absolutely nothing except rise occasionally to the surface for synchronized breathing. Wish I could have stayed there all day.



We’d promised the big girls a trip this summer, so as soon as Father’s Day lunch was finished on Sunday, we packed up the DVD players - plus some new movies from Target - and headed for San Diego. 

 A little stir crazy after 3.5 hours in freeway grid-lock

We were in line when SeaWorld opened today at 10 a.m. 

and made it until 8:30 p.m. before calling it quits.

We petted sharks,

and dolphins 

and manta rays (this one swam directly to Leia and hung around for multiple pats. The boy next to her said it was due to Leia’s nail polish, which made me laugh.)

We saw shows with pilot whales (they’re in the same family as dolphins - who knew??),

orcas -

including the famous Shamu pose -

and sea lions (Clyde and Seamore have a new show. I wasn’t crazy about it but the girls loved it.)

The girls sat in the splash zone for every show

and didn’t complain about being cold and wet.

We admired a flamboyance of flamingos, including one proud mama tending her egg;

a tunnel of sharks, 

and checked how the girls measured up to dolphins.

We did all that and still had time for face painting, 

henna tattoos,

glow fish

and rides,


and more rides.

The girls would happily have stayed the full 12 hours 

but Pop and I need our rest - for tomorrow is Zoo Day!