Saturday, September 26, 2015

Happy Happy Birthday to our Anna!

This photo was taken about a month ago...when in the name of family fun and adventure, I asked her and Nate, to fly to Wyoming hang out with us for awhile and sleep in a tent with Rosie. 
And so she did... with the enthusiasm that is so wonderfully typical of her. 
This photo was taken in the early morning after we all camped... please note that Anna is still smiling, even after a long night of sharing a tent with her youngest sis. 
And then cheerfully take her little roomie on a morning cattle quest. 
(or do you call a tentmate and tent-ie?)
Again, still smiling :-) 
Today this girl turns 24 and I am reminded of just how fortunate we are to have her in our world. 
Our Anna makes everything in our family brighter and better and a whole lot more fun. 
She is a gift and a blessing and I am so very proud of the remarkable young woman that she has become. 
Happy Happy Birthday to you, dear Anna!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Birthday Celebration... 48 is Great!

The day I turned 48 happened to be the day labor day eve... which was great for me because I got to celebrate on both a Sunday and a Monday. And then because I have the world's most thoughtful and coolio pals ever... I continued with those birthday celebrations straight on till Friday, when they planned and hosted a gals only birthday EXTRAVAGANZA... with waffles. And pedicures. 
I know, pretty awesome, right?!?
So here is a photographic essay of my birthday events- joyfully and absolutely bookended by waffles.
I kicked off my earliest hours of being 48 with a morning walk with my dearest Rosie and Penny G. Schnoodlepants...
We hit the farmers market and Rosie had the super nutritious breakfast of a waffle and a watermelon popsicle.
Arrived home to gorgeous flowers that delightfully smelled up my whole house from my dear Karl, who got them from his favorite florist (Del Apgar Florist on Eastern Ave) , and I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a husband who has a favorite florist :-)
A song!
I received a song on my birthday! Written and performed by my favorite musician couple... Josh and Genevieve... who musically suggested that I
"follow closely your birthday intuition and dance out in the open"
A new recommendation to me for sure... but I will definitely take this happy birthday song advice.
So watch out world as I follow my 48 year old intuition and start taking my moves into the open!
Then on to lunch at a favorite spot with my Mary, who rode the Megabus in from Chicago to help me celebrate... and was also kind enough to give me a crash course in selfie stick usage.
After lunch, I got to cheer on my favorite nose guard/linebacker/left tackle at the same time that I was able to cheer on Karl as he skillfully handled grill duty at the game flipping burgers on a 95 degree afternoon.
Later that evening, Charo came to babysit... which inspired more selfie stick pics... we are all giddy with anticipation of a grown up dinner out.
And here we are positively elated as we make our exit. Karl is gleeful with hands in the air excitement!
Because the day following my national holiday birthday was truly the national holiday of labor day, my parents very happily kept the party going by hosting an additional lunchy party complete with my favorite spice cake.
Which prompted much discussion of the renowned Spice Girls...because why wouldn't it?
 Because it was my birthday, everyone was very patient and good natured about my newfound, obnoxious, but still pretty fun, selfie stick usage.
No one was safe from me forcing them to pose... including my super cool 20 year old nephew, doesn't he look thrilled to have his photo with Aunt Maggie?
And then, as if a birthday with a bonus day wasn't enough... my dear and amazing friends planned a completely fun evening which started out by drinking wine at the EXACT SAME TIME as getting cute toe pedicures.
My mom saw this photo of Lauren drying her toes in the nail salon and renounced that I "led my dear sweet cousin astray." So if you were to ask my mom she would identify this as a girls gone astray photo of Lauren, Kim and Lynn.
Party animals...woop, woop!
After all of our toesies were as adorable as they would ever be...we ran across the parking lot for a delicious dinner at Taste of Belgium and ate waffles for dinner and dessert.
We had a terrific time and concluded that  Belgium was the most amazing country ever for inventing something so fabulous. And then I think that we may have started planning a trip to our new favorite country to celebrate our beloved waffles before deciding that maybe it would be more feasible to plan to come back to Norwood for dinner instead.
We tried to take a big group self portrait but we weren't skilled enough to squeeze everyone in...
So we resorted to the old fashioned, but tried and true method of asking the kind server to take our photo... so here is the whole crew of us.
And so concludes my very fun week long birthday extravaganza made so by the many dear friends and family that fill my life and remind me of life's blessings.
I am beyond grateful to each of you for going above and beyond to help me celebrate my first days of being 48. And also to prove that your birthday age doesn't need to end in a zero to receive a multi day celebration.
I am truly lucky indeed! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Andre and his Beautiful Back to School Bus.

I have a new hero in my world and his name is Andre. 
You can't see him in this photo, because I didn't wasn't to alarm him by being too forward...but he is there, trust me. 
Gloriously driving his big beautiful bus.  
Summer was lovely but also epic long. Which you think would have given us plenty of time to get ready when our September 1st first day of school. And I really did think we were well prepared and good to go, but I was wrong and very surprised when on August 31st at a little after 7:00, one of my darlings ( names omitted to protect the not so innocent) told me that he didn't actually get his supplies during the 100 other times we were at Target over the summer, and he still needed his stuff. 
"Like now really, or definitely before tomorrow." 
And this same child, whose angry disappointment over the poor selection of night before school supplies at Target, threw himself into immediate and heartfelt sibling rivalry and pushed me right over summers edge to count the minutes to school starting. And I can tell you for certain that there are absolutely no orange folders with prongs and pockets in the store that has everything. 
And then, a mere 11 hours following the final fit of summer, as if in a hazy but beautiful dream,
 there was Andre... sweeping them off their feet and taking them to school where they can be with lots of other members of their own kid packs and those dear lovely highly skilled professionals called teachers. 
And while the first two back to school mornings were not captured photographically... the third time is a charm... sort of. goes our 3rd day of school wombats...
Lilly, 9th grade, Rosie, 2nd grade, Henry, 5th grade and Jamie 7th grade.
(Please note the middle school glee in Henry's expression)
Thank you dear teachers of SCDS for your loving dedication in teaching our kids and thank you dear Andre, for your care and efficiency in delivering in driving that big gorgeous yellow school bus.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Our Son is Eleven!

"Good Morning Mom... your son is eleven!"
Today is Henry's 11th birthday and those were the first words I heard this morning.
Henry at almost Wyoming.

H- Bomb Gieseke's informal quick fire birthday interview...
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Best book ever read?
"Treasure Hunters, by James Patterson"
Favorite sport?
"Football to watch... tie between baseball and football to play."
  Favorite school subject?
"Religion... and Social Studies"
Your perfect day?
"Playing a ton of Minecraft with my friends"What would you like to be as a grown-up?
"President of Nerf Guns Incorporated."
Best thing you did this summer?
"Definitely family camp. And the downtown zipline"
Favorite place in the world?
"My home." 

Henry, waving to the apartments during his downtown zip line, July 2015.  
Happy happy birthday to our thoughtful, sporty, peacemaking, sweet son on his 11th birthday!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sydney's Gold Ribbon Blankets

I'm always on the lookout for fantastic role models for my kids, especially young women who are working hard to do really wonderful things for others. Sydney is 15 years old and one of the kindest and most compassionate teenagers I have ever met.
She decided that she wanted to do something kind to help kids who have cancer...she thought that kids would like something cozy and cheerful while in the hospital and came up with an idea to bring a little cheer to their hospital rooms. Sydney makes fleece blankets, and includes them in a care package to brighten their days in the hospital.
She is a really terrific kid and I am thrilled that Rosie got to spend the day with her and maybe soak in some of her awesomeness.
Rosie completely adores Sydney and is especially proud that they share a similar story of early beginnings... Sydney was born in Romania and was adopted when she was about a year old. When Rosie learned that her hero Sydney was also adopted from overseas, she was thrilled...."we were exactly the same when we were babies!"
 I am amazed by Sydney for many reasons...she has taken on a personal responsibility to be a positive change in the world at the tender age of 15.  She believes that its important for her to be helpful and kind to kids who are busy fighting for their lives and has come up with a creative idea and plan of how to help.

Sydney visiting Avi at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, 
bringing him a homemade fleece blanket and care package

Right now she is bringing happiness and joy to kids who are fighting cancer, but she says that in the future she want to do more.
So she has mapped out a year by year plan on how she will realize her dream of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
Yes... she is a truly remarkable young woman.
Her project is called Gold Ribbon Blankets, named for the awareness ribbon for pediatric cancer...if you are interested in helping this fantastic kid help other kids by spreading her kindness, check out her site

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Best and Bravest Trapeze Team in the World.

My friend Laura is super brave and full of awesome believes in making yourself do stuff that frightens owning it so that it makes you feel confident and capable and stronger in every way about the scary parts of life that you can't control. 
She is also scared to death of heights and even more nervous about skinny ladders and climbing them. So climbing a high and narrow ladder to grab a trapeze bar and leap over the treetops was a really big deal for her. 
But she did it anyway, just to prove she could.
And then she climbed the ladder a second time and leaped again!
And to have the guts to face your fears and leap over the treetops twice in a row means that she has twice as much fresh strength and confidence banked and is completely ready to tackle anything. 
My dear husband Karl has fresh swagger too, since he climbed the same ladder and leaped.  But maybe a little less, since he tweaked his shoulder and thought better of jumping a second time. He thought it might be difficult to explain to his doctor the details of how exactly he re-injured his rotator cuff with flying trapeze moves. 
As his wife and nurse, I completely agreed with his mature decision to know when to say when. 
We also learned that youth and grace help a whole lot while learning to trapeze. Genevieve is the most graceful 25 year old I have ever known so it was no surprise to see her fly through the air with the greatest of ease. 
Gen is also, probably, the only cellist in the whole wide world to warm up for an enormous concert with trapeze work. 
This is a photo of the massively popular Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Lumenosity show that my young and graceful friend Gen will play in later that evening. 
If you look beyond the sea of fans, just at the base of Music Hall, you will see a white tent. 
And in the tent sits my favorite trapeze-ing cellist, having flown through the air and now ready to perform for tens of thousands. 
And back on the trapeze Jamie proved himself to be a skilled flyer, hanging by his knees and doing backflips. How is it that teenage boys are natural trapeze flippers? 
I had no idea that Jamie had backflip talent until I saw it in person. 
He absolutely did not get those mad trapeze skills from his mom. 
And Theo, could join up with Cirque du Soleil tomorrow if the 9th grade wasn't waiting for him. He was incredible, proving once again that teenage boys are really good at the extreme.  
And then it was time for the little girls to show their bravery, and so they did. 
Rosie and Lucy are eager for almost anything that their big brothers can do, so they each took turns leaping and flying and were completely cool about the whole experience.  
These two little sisters proved themselves to be brave and mighty girls... if you can do this when you are 7 and 9 years can be ready for anything throws at you.  
And Henry. 
Henry came directly from football practice to have a turn and developed his own style on the trapeze. It involved a lot of kicking, some shrieking and a whole lot of determination. 
The best and bravest trapeze team in the whole wide world ... both flyers and cheerleaders... 
Unfortunately Theo left before I had a chance to ask him to pose with his team.
And so I officially nominate Laura Trujillo Faherty, the only mother in the group with the guts to fly, to represent myself and all trapeze-y moms everywhere. 
Because, while I agree and understand that it's important to face your fears and do scary things, I could still not muster the courage and nerve it takes to leap and fly.
So thank you Laura for flying for me and proving that brave moms can take on anything they decide to do...even if they are scared and a little bit freaked out. 
And bonus points for wearing a totally stylish and cool Ohio Against the World shirt while makes me proud and happy that you can show your new Ohio love by t shirt.  

For anyone interested,  I would completely recommend my new favorite trapeze school...Cincinnati Circus. 
They are safe, professional and are very good at explaining how to achieve your best trapeze moves... check out their structure set up in Burnet Woods on the University of Cincinnati campus.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

30th Reunion Class of '85!

Our 30th high school reunion was this weekend and I was very happy that I was able to attend.
Everyone had a great time and seemed quite happy to reconnect and to be together if only for a short time.
Those who could not be there because of other commitments were genuinely missed, it would have been terrific to have everyone together... but no one was missed more than one beloved classmate.
Gary Hallam tragically passed away only a few weeks ago and his loss was felt deeply by everyone.
But while Gary was desperately missed, I believe that he was with all of us in spirit...that the kindest and best part of each of us, the goodwill that moved each of us to want to reconnect in person, was done so in honor and memory of him. Gary valued family and friendship more than anything so it was no surprise when these two values became the overriding theme to the reunion. As a class we were grateful to be together in friendship and also appreciative of the blessings that have been given to each of us over the many years that we have known each other.

We were also wise enough to realize that Gary would have insisted that we all work together to have one extremely fun party and so we did exactly that.

So thank you very much to my classmates who worked to organize such amazing event,
Ken Jones, Anne Richards McFall, Mike Wentz, Shaheen Kazemi, Jennifer Poff Evans...I am very thankful for all that you did to bring us together for a truly wonderful reunion.