For Gigi

 

DSCN1496

P5180440

Gigi turned 98 a couple weeks ago, and decided that was old enough.  Yesterday, she left us. She had a long life full of joy and sadness, hardship and fortune.  She saw a lot of progress in her 98 years and a lot of strife.  She had 2 sons, 5 grand children and 7 great grand children though she counted my 2 stepsons as hers too.  Tot was her youngest and perhaps most ardent admirer.  When I explained to her that Gigi had gone to heaven and we wouldn’t be able to see her anymore, she said to me I love Gigi in heaven best Mommy.  But maybe when you go to heaven, I can love you best too.

I lived with Gigi for 5 months when I finished college and came to the conclusion then, that, compared to her, I am a colossal wimp.  She did the myriad of exhausting tasks that mothers do and on top of that she farmed including “preparing” dinner from scratch (like the chickens scratching in the dirt) and getting maimed by farm machinery, helped rebuild her house after it burned down,

DSCN6092

IMGP0049

cleaned other people’s houses, survived tragedy and soldiered on with an oh-so-matter-of-fact attitude and with a quiet, understated sense of humor.

Gigi seemed every bit her German heritage – quiet, capable, determined, almost stoic on the face of things,  persevering and (maybe not so typically german at least not in stereotypical fashion) funny.  For her 98th birthday, she decided to reverse roles and send cards out rather than receive them.  She wrote a letter with every one.  At 98 she wrote letters, a rare commodity in this day and age. And there was always something in every letter that would make me laugh.  When Mr.Tot first met her, she softly confided to him, “You know, I felt great when I was drinking last night, I felt great when I went to bed, but I felt lousy when I woke up – it must be the sleep!”  Humor, I think, was her key to a long happy life.

Though her fabulous sticky buns, and addicting german potato salad may have contributed to the happiness part, at least the rest of us think so…

I have no fears for my daughter – I think Gigi gave Tot all her toughness and confided all her secrets for making the most out of life.  Between Gigi and Tot’s other great grandmother that she never got to meet, Tot is set.  Because it’s overtly apparent that Tot can take on the world…  and she certainly didn’t get that from me.  Most days, I feel quite puddle-like…

Maybe one of these days, my gigi genes will kick in…

 

Here’s to you Gigi.  Hope you’re having a blast in heaven.  We’ll try to get by without you. But we will surely miss you.  Keep on eye on Tot for me, will you?  Because while I have no fear she can take on the world….  I’m not so sure she’s safe from herself….

Oh, and leave the light on for us, okay?

 

IMGP0194

It’s not me, It’s you

IMGP7559

I mean her… I swear!  Okay, so maybe part of her behavior comes from me…   like talking to myself.  Even full blown conversations, complete with hand gestures.   Even in my sleep. But the raspberries on the fingers – that’s all her and the faces….  what a little actress….  And the sleeping in the dog crate…  And the construction worker gig too.  She is a social butterfly where I was a wall flower – shy, shy, shy.  Shy is the LAST word I would use to describe Tot.  She even had us meet new neighbors l last week, just walked right up and started playing with their kids.  No names needed, just a willingness to have their toys taken over by the Totinator.  I’m considering writing a cartoon or book starring her as a Tot-sized Maxine with photos of her facial expressions.   At bedtime tonight, we prayed for the people affected by all the tornadoes.  And she had a lot of questions which I tried to answer truthfully without making her fearful.  But I had to laugh when she asked if the tornado sucked up bugs.  And I had to cry for those who have lost loved ones.  I cannot imagine life without all my loved ones, especially my littlest.

IMGP7564

 

 

 

IMGP7835
IMGP8101

Brave New World?

Raleigh has this great festival every Spring called Artsplosure.  It’s a more elaborate version of the California Arts & Wine festival but, hmmm, not sure if there was any wine…  I hate drinking in the heat anyway.  They had a ton of kids activities and music and drama, and then, there was THIS:

IMGP8269

 

IMGP8284

IMGP8300

IMGP8263

Amococo – too cool for words.  Actually it was pretty darn hot, though they claimed it was air conditioned.  Most of the walls were a silvery gray, and all the lighting was sunlight coming through the thin plastic walls, so the neutral gray took on the colored light shade in these pictures.   It was wild.  Kind of like being a tiny particle wandering around inside some larger structure, or maybe a new Star Trek destination.  But Captain Kirk wasn’t there with his bevy of buxom broads, so maybe not.

It is supposedly inspired by Islamic architecture.  I’m thinking there was a lot of liberties taken, but what do I know?

Tot absolutely loved it and tried to run off at every opportunity.  Despite my pictures which make it appear empty, it was pretty full of people, and very disorienting inside.  I didn’t realize until just this minute looking at the handout that they actually gave us a map.  So every time Tot tried to run off, I had to either stop her or keep up so I wouldn’t lose her.

She got so exhausted from her 3 hours in the sun with so much activity that she actually fell asleep in the car for the first time in YEARS!  Yes, I realize she’s only 4, and I’m not exaggerating.  But fear not, she made us pay for that nap with a highly crankified wake up and a delayed sleep time that loitered and dallied until 10:30 pm.  Sadly I am not joking.

We only recently got her semi-straightened out from the time change.  At least this didn’t seem to set her back.

Mr.Tot somehow came across this book, not yet in print :  WARNING – foul language…  None that we haven’t used in our heads while waiting patiently or maybe not so patiently for Tot to fall asleep –

Go the F&*$ to Sleep She’s a force to be reckoned with.

Fortunately she’s so funny that all the crankiness from putting her to sleep is washed away by morning.  And check her out…

Ready to take on the world.  And she would win…  Trust me on that one.
IMGP8247

Oh, the visitors we have!

We see a lot of strange characters in our house…

IMGP6084IMGP6197

They usually make us laugh…   before we eat.them up.

IMGP6770

Sometimes Horton has a friend visit too.

Sometimes they’re silly…                                                                  or devilish…

Carrots, Red & yellow peppers, deviled eggs, strawberry, apples, gherkin pickle

IMGP8147

 

meatballs, strawberry pie, canteloup - for Mr.Tot

mandarin oranges, tomatoes, cashews, chicken, strawberries

IMGP8243

 

 

IMGP8098

Or pretty darn goofy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you expect from a Tot like this?

Adrift

Yes, it has been a long time since I blogged….

I was busy, busy, busy, and then…  I just wasn’t up to it.

Ever feel like you’ve been hit by a Tsunami?

Not so much death and destruction, but rather being totally carried by a wave with no control what so ever about direction, speed, or where you get to stop and rest…

I am recovering from riding my own personal tsunami.  Events have converged to keep me utterly exhausted.

One stressful event after another has hit.  Not all bad things, but ones that required lot of work, or energy and have left me drained.

Wah wah wah.   Pity party – table of one, right this way…

The highlights:

It has been a crazy month.  My grandmother, who turned 98 today, was in the hospital.  We call her G.G.  short for great grandmother, both great as in grand and as in matriarch of 4 generations.  I always write it Gigi – seems more personal.

When I graduated from college, I got a job in MI, and lived with Gigi for a while.  It was going to be until I found my own place, but then plans changed and I stayed 5 months until I moved across the country to start grad school.  For those 5 months, my grandmother spoiled me rotten, cooking for me, doing laundry and telling me fabulous stories about her life.  And what a life she’s had.  I think the reason for her longevity lies in her attitude – perseverance with a good dollop of humor.

I lost the rest of my grandparents a good many years ago, and though I loved them all, I think age has made me appreciate them more.

The drive up to see Gigi was interminably long and arduous, with Toto, I mean Tot, asking to stop every 30 minutes to go potty.   Given the guilt we incurred upon finding out that her potty accidents really aren’t her fault and trying to reward or punish her for any of it would just lead to lots and lots of therapy bills, given that — we made a point of stopping every time she asked.  Begrudgingly yes.  Teeth gritted after the 6th or 8th or 12th time?  Yes, but stop we did, again and again and again.  The trip was made not knowing whether Gigi would still be alive or able to respond in a meaningful way.  We also debated whether to have Tot visit with her if she was in bad shape. She had even said that she didn’t want Tot to see her because she didn’t want to scare her.  It was a very hard trip.   But it was all worthwhile.  My initial visit with her was just prior to a medical procedure, and it was shocking.  She didn’t even look like herself, let alone seem like the same woman I knew.   Then they removed an entire wine bottle of fluid from her lungs, and her transformation back to the Gigi I knew began.

It was a sobering (no pun intended) time to get an up-close look at the process of ending one’s life.  What to expect, the fears, the pain, the struggle.  Despite an abiding faith and comfort in what lay after death, the process of dying is formidable. I hadn’t even considered that.  Her dreams seemed to be a review of her life and fears.  It was odd to see my grandmother who had always seemed so matter-of-fact, face everything as it comes type of person, seem to have a internal battle of sorts.  She perked up more every day we were there and asked to see Tot, who asked at one point if we could spend the night with Gigi.  She ended up going home the day before we left after about 12 days in the hospital.  Hospice care was arranged since the pain involved with some of the normal medical treatments was ridiculous, and she regained her appetite and her ability to sleep peacefully.  It has been two and a half weeks since our visit, and now I am convinced she will live to 105.

I have so much more to say on the subject of Gigi and how my daughter has inherited so much spunk from her and her other great grandmother that she never got to meet.  But this is getting long, and I’m getting tired.

Then there was my friend’s unthinkableg crisis:  This past Friday night, my good friend’s 25 year old daughter, Laura, the one who when she was 12 or so, and I was invited to Easter dinner at their house felt it necessary to test me by yelling in my ear all through dinner, was hit by a car at 40mph.  She was flung 7 feet high, flipped twice over the top of the car, and landed on her head 69 feet away.  She was unconscious and stopped breathing.  They had to intubate her.  The driver never slowed down.  It’s a miracle she survived that kind of collision — an estimated 4000 lbs of steel  moving at 59 feet per second smashed into her.  Not only did she survive, but within 24 hours, they determined that she had no discernible brain damage, broken bones or internal injuries.  It’s been less than 4 full days in the hospital, and she’s been released, not even on pain killers.  I suffer from repercussions of my gym workouts longer than that.  That is not to say she’s not still requiring a lot of recovery and therapy and evidently her therapist is pretty cute and there’s already joking about the impending nuptials, but considering the magnitude of the impact, somebody was watching out for her.  She’ll probably be back doing triathlons next month.

When I first heard about the accident, (though from the behavior of the driver, it seems pretty intentional) before we knew that Laura would be okay, my first reaction was shock and fear and pain, not only for Laura, and her mother, Sharon, and their family and friends, but also for myself.  I did this weird, maybe not so weird, maybe normal thing, where I felt the fear of something unspeakable happening to my own daughter.  That same Saturday, a close friend of Mr.Tot’s posted a photographic tribute to her daughter who died from a progressive disease that did not manifest itself for years.  She had years of thinking her daughter was healthy and then the symptoms appeared.  The confluence of these 2 events – 2 ways in which a child could be stolen from a parent despite all the care and nurturing, was more than I could handle.  I was a weepy mess the rest of that day, at least until we heard that Laura was stable, and even then, I felt like a limp dishrag.   I just wanted to curl up with my Tot and drink her in, but when Tot’s not in a snuggling mood, forcing that issue is practically suicidal.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, we can return to the lighthearted posts I usually write…

Like the other day, Tot asked Mr.Tot whether we would give her away.  Thinking she was feeling insecure, Mr.Tot reassured her that we would never give her away.  When he told me about it, we both felt quite guilty at the joking we had done  – that who ever took her would bring her back because she is such a handful.  So later, I asked her why she asked that, if she was afraid we would give her away.  Turns out, she was HOPING we would give her away – she wants to live with our next door neighbors.  D’oh!!!

Are the stars misaligned?

Sunday, I found out my oldest uncle died from a heart attack.  It was quick and painless for him, not so for the rest of the family.

Monday, I had a lonGGGG drive home from Florida (11 hours), 2 hours longer than it needed to be, complete with upset stomach, headache and sick child.  And when I got home, Mr.Tot was rather dazed from getting zapped with 220 volts from the dryer plug.  Evidently it did not want to return to work after its vacation while Mr.Tot laid slate in the laundry room.

Tuesday, Blondie gave Mr.Tot fits and starts as proper teen-angst-er is want to do.

Wednesday morning, Barkylsnorpe destroyed Mr.Tot’s favorite and oldest bracelet.  Then we had confirmed that Tot has a medical condition which accounts for all of her potty issues.  So all our attempts to persuade her to use the potty seem, in retrospect, like abuse.   In the afternoon, my brain blinked, and I dropped Mr.Tot’s ipad, shattering the screen.  These events put us in such a funk that we fully expected the sky to fall.

Thursday came and the sky didn’t fall.  We were lulled into thinking things were fine.  We would deal.

Friday hit with a vengeance.  We were both still in a funk, me with a migraine and, evidently brain damage since I couldn’t seem to function, and Mr.Tot with a mood attack, continuous since Wednesday.  While picking PianoMan up, Mr.Tot was rear ended, by a teen-angster in a SUV with a brush bar.  New drivers should not be allowed to drive battering rams.   No obvious injuries other than a massive headache and a very bad mood.  The insurance company was not user-friendly.  Mr.Tot nearly turned homicidal.  I was now convinced someone had it out for us… or perhaps just Mr.Tot.

Saturday, insurance battles continued just to get a rental car.  We lost those battles.  Then a tornado hit.  NO JOKE.   Mr.Tot had gone out to buy a tool to change out the screen on the ipad, when our neighbor called and said a tornado had touched down just a few miles south of us.  Mr.Tot, where are you???!!!!  Hopefully not flying around…  Perhaps whoever was out to get him got him?

He managed to make it home but had stories of not one, but TWO more near-misses with crazy drivers.  He was nearly T-boned in our OTHER car, because some person exempt from traffic laws didn’t treat the blacked-out stop-light as a 4 way stop and went racing through.

As for the tornado, fortunately, it was a MALE tornado because it didn’t stop to ask for directions and therefore couldn’t find our house, though it came too close for comfort.  WHEW!

The rest of the afternoon has just been a slow descent into the quicksand when the ipad still didn’t work even after it got a new screen, and everything Mr.Tot touched seemed to go kaput.  Mr.Tot had a confidence crisis.  About darn time, I’d say…  Though we were still standing.  All those attempts to off us, and we had survived.

We have decided that perhaps it would be safer to just hibernate until the stars realign.  Why push our luck?

 

Mr.Tot got this from his dad after the initial zapping back on Monday…

 

ATT00001

Read the caption on the first photo, then look at the second photo.

Look at the picture above and you can see where this driver
broke through the guardrail, on the right side of the culvert,
where the people are standing on the road, pointing.


The pick-up was traveling about 75 mph from right to left
when it crashed through the guardrail. 

It flipped end-over-end bounced off and across the culvert outlet,
and landed right side up on the left side of the culvert,
facing the opposite direction from which the driver was traveling.

The 22-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger
were unhurt except for minor cuts and bruises.

Now look at the second picture below…

ATT00002

If God isn’t done with you, God isn’t done with you….

Or maybe we should just be happy that things are not worse.

Then I read this story: about 2 parents of an 18 month old girl BOTH being diagnosed with cancer within days of each other, with not so great odds of living many years.

Then there’s  our friend who just this week went through brain surgery.

OKAY!!!  Our problems are piddly. But still…. Can we be done?  please?  we cry UNCLE!!!!

p.s.  Mr.Tot managed to fix the ipad…  maybe our luck is changing, or God’s decided we suffered enough …   for now.

Phases of this Little Girl’s Room

A month ago, when Mr.Tot was out of town on business for a week, I invited a few friends from the neighborhood and their kids to have a sleepover.   It was our first GIRLs night in/kid sleepover – a chance for us girls to get together and hang out, without hiring babysitters.  It was rather chaotic, with each of us getting called away for reasons such as vomit, allergic reactions, head bumps, boogie monsters, etc.  Nevertheless, we declared it a success.   The one, who had teenage kids, was totally relaxed, as her kids had declined to join us, which was really a shame, because THEY could have entertained the smaller crowd, and we would all have been thrilled.

I planned this event, in part, to give myself motivation and a deadline to redo Tot’s room.  I have promised her for about the last year, that we would paint her room.  PINK. Big surprise.  Of course, at the last minute, she wanted to add lots of colors, but we stuck with PINK.  What I planned ahead was merely a paint job in some shade of pink.  What it turned into was a total makeover.

You first have to understand that I did not, nor have I ever, planned a room from scratch and then gone out to shop to make it happen.  I tend to buy bits and pieces that I like as I see them, regardless of whether I can actually use them or not.  It is not one of my better qualities, as it makes for a lot of stuff tucked away indefinitely and more often than not – forgotten.  Or sometimes, I use it anyways to the detriment of the overall appearance.  Anyways, I had collected all sorts of stuff for Tot’s room that had yet to be incorporated because her room was so busy and so full.

IMGP1900 copy

When she was born, we did not know ahead of time what gender she would be, so everything was just a riot of bright color, because that’s what I like anyways, because let’s face it – we, I mean I, decorated for ME.  Hey, she’s supposed to take after me, right?

We started her out in a crib in our room, and then when she graduated to her own room, it had the crib, and an air mattress to play or nap or sleep on. Notice the napping being so expertly displayed here…

(Note:  when I started looking for pictures for this post, I realized I had never taken pictures specifically of her room, and had to find what I could.  I did not take *BEFORE* pictures, because I really did not plan to completely redecorate her room…)

IMGP6576 copy

IMGP8868 copy

Then, we finally removed the crib, because she didn’t like sleeping in it much anymore, maybe because, despite all the pillows we piled beside it, she didn’t like falling on the floor every night.   Notice the napping again being expertly displayed.  That may be the last nap she ever took.  I think she was 2.

At some point, she woke up crying and screaming so often, that most nights, one of us would spend the better part of the night with her.  We decided that the air mattress was too cold, especially on the floor, and that she needed a real bed.  BUT, Mr.Tot decreed that if anyone got a new bed, it would be us, and the trickle down could flow to her.  Costco obliged us by having a fabulous deal on a memory foam mattress that has been heavenly and actually cheaper than a twin mattress set.  So Blondie got our old queen mattress set, and Tot got his old double mattress set. This made EVERYONE happy, and that went double for Mr.Tot and myself, as we got ultra comfort in our own bed, and vastly improved comfort and SPACE in Tot’s *new* bed as compared to the twin sized air mattress.  But the rest of her decor stayed the same hodgepodge of color and style.  Alas, the naps went by the wayside…

IMGP1350 copy

Over time, we added more and more stuff – toys, furry residents,  bookshelves, etc.   The hodgepodge got to be overwhelming…  Which brings us to last month…

The week before I started, I happened to find a great duvet & sham set at my favorite boutique for a whopping $7 – Kismet!   As I started to empty Tot’s room prior to Mr.Tot’s departure in preparation for the great painting project, I began to think about how cool it would be if she had a nice, neat girly room. She has a attic eaves playroom adjacent to her room where non-short people can only stand up (barely) along one edge.  It is a great playroom for kids, and will be a great closet when she turns teenager (next month).  I started to fantasize about all her toys fitting in that one small room.  I tend to get a little carried away at my favorite thrift, I mean boutique, store, and with the truckloads of toys being delivered from the neighbors inventory monthly, we will NEVER suffer from lack of toys.  At least not until her preferences get more expensive or turn electronic…

IMGP5925

So, as I cleaned out her room to paint, I came across all sorts of stuff I had been hoping to use to decorate, and slowly started figuring out how to make it all work together.  I donned Mr.Tot’s grungy painting clothes, and pulled out that leftover, unmarked 5-gallon bucket of quasi-white paint that had about a gallon and a half left and that quart of red paint that was less than half full, and took the plunge.  I did not buy a single thing for this project except a 69 cent ceiling hook.  I used up every last bit of blue tape we owned which was exactly enough.  Like it was meant to be… Since I didn’t think I had any paint to spare, I poured some red paint directly into the 5 gallon bucket and mixed.

I imagined wonderful swirling designs gracefully covering her walls in various shades of pink, but then reality sunk in.  What could I do in a short period of time?  And so…. with a little daring, and a mighty sponge, and mercifully short-lived help from the short one, her room turned 6 shades of pink.  I just kept adding more red paint directly to that bucket of ever-deepening pink.  There was no going back, but the great thing about being artistic is that there are no mistakes!  At least none that other people can point out.   Ahhh, I meant to do that!

IMGP6253

And Ta DA!              Her room revealed…

Leftover paint from other projects – free

Throw rugs – Piano man’s old room rugs

Paper lanterns – Christmas tree shop purchase

Wash stand – gift from a friend – she stripped & painted it herself

Things you can’t see:

1) Cube nightstand- $10 on clearance years ago – sold at Pottery barn for 3 figures  2) Butterfly stickers - Dollar store  3) Lamp – from Mom

Mirror behind it - a *boutique* (aka thrift store) find that I pseudo-glazed to semi-match the washstand (I say pseudo because I totally winged it -didn’t know what the fiberty flidget I was doing)

Pink floor chair & little mirrors, Duvet and shams – same boutique* (mirror frames repainted)

IMGP6256

Magic canopy with ribbons – boutique purchase from last year or three

Wall quilt – handmade gift from same wonderful friend who gave me washstand (now owns a quilt shop!)

Coat stand & shelf – from neighbor, stars repainted pink

Curtain to playroom, triple frame, note board, & small white chest, lounge chair - boutique – lavender matt painted PINK

I believe all of the mentioned items added up to a GRAND TOTAL of $53.69 .  (69 cents for the celing hook to hang the MAGIC canopy)

Pickle cat, just out of sight, IN the magic canopy NOT included, because although we got him from the pound, he would have blown our budget.

IMGP6293

If bed jumping is any indication of happiness or approval levels, then Tot’s new bedroom is a slam dunk success.    And Pickles likes it too, especially his new hangout – the magic canopy.

IMGP6287IMGP6284

IMGP5981

Tot Turns Four

The Tot is turning 4 this next week, and we had the party today.  I am toast.  Mr.Tot and I did our usual bustle and hustle to make it all happen, and I survived fairly well.  UNTIL.   Afterwards Tot wanted to play.  I’m not sure if it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back or whether she uses Kryptonite, but man, she sapped my strength.  Good thing Mr.Tot made dinner, ’cause otherwise we would have starved.  And THEN.  It was my turn to put her to bed.  It was 11pm before she finally stopped flopping around.  I know, I know – my own darn fault for not making her fall asleep on her own….   Now I feel like a puddle.  If she wakes up early, I swear I’ll ….   Maybe I should lock the door now.

IMGP6305

At least her party went well.  Since we had little boys attending, I didn’t want to do the princess theme.   Instead we did “Adopt a puppy” theme.  No, not REAL puppies, though I think we did scare a few parents with that one.  Tot wanted cats involved too…

We put all the puppies to be adopted in Bergylsnorpe’s crate.  Of course, while we were preparing, Tot decided she needed to be a pepper, I mean a puppy too.

We decorated with Tot’s stuffed toy cats and dogs and used the dog house and cat chapel we made ages ago, along with various other touches.

Tot and I also turned cardboard boxes into dog houses for all her friends to decorate for their new puppies.  We also provided dog bowls,  and neck kerchiefs.

 

 

IMGP6314

 

 

 

 

 

I am not a cake person and Tot doesn’t eat cake, though she LOVES the idea of cake.  So first I considered making mini cupcakes, but then decided cookies would be better.  It took a bit of convincing for Tot to agree but she did.   And it was quite an adventure.  I got inspired by the Hello Cupcake book and internet browsing, but couldn’t bring myself to color any frosting or do fancy tips.  I just went a little nuts buying candy and anything that might work to decorate.  It would have been a little more fun had it not been 11 o’clock last night.  And I had to redo a few because they were just too scary.  A couple looked more creature-lurking-in-the-sewer-like than cat or dog.  My favorite handiwork are the Saint Bernard and my Pickles cat.  I decided to keep my sanity and NOT have Tot help me with these.  But she did help me make the chocolate shortbread dogbones, fire hydrants and cats.  I had to throw her a bone, so to speak.

And, oh…  Tot still didn’t eat them.  She just picked a few candy pieces off and called it a day.  no wonder she’s so tiny.

IMGP6317IMGP6315IMGP6316

 

IMGP6314 - Version 2 This is the cookie version of Pickles….  The resemblance is uncanny, isnt it?  Though it’s a wide awake version, not the slit-eyed version, and the real Pickles would have a vole rather than a fish, but funny thing — they don’t sell gummy voles… IMGP6286

 

IMGP6322We also came up with various games – Pin the tail on the cat or dog, Red Rover, Woof Woof Meow (otherwise known as Duck Duck Goose), and Dog Trainer Says (aka SImon Says) BUT like the best laid plans, we didn’t play a single one.  The kids were having a blast without them.  So be it!    Though the face painting was a HUGE hit.  As was the crate….

Blondie, now 14, did provide entertainment  of his own — pillow fights, wrestling and general chasing.  He was a Pied Piper of sorts with most of the kids running behind or ahead.  The general noise and chaos level was at a maximum.

Mr.Tot also downloaded the song – WHO let the dogs out.  That was amusing.

IMGP6326

IMGP6331

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally here’s the whole crowd with their personalized doghouses and inhabitants.   And there you have it.  The PURRRfect party.  (Couldn’t resist)

We’re Baaaackkkk

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t blogged in over a month.  There’s a reason for that, aside from my 2-mile long TO DO list of TAXES (done!!!), photo-card business work, BIG party preparations for someone who’s soon to be the big FOUR, and the usual-but-I-don’t-want-it-to-be-usual assortment of cleaning up cat pee, dog pee, and deep, DEEP DEEP sigh, Tot pee, aside from ALL of that, my blog got accidentally trashed.  And the process to revive it was long and painful for both Mr.Tot and myself.  But, the good news is – we’re back.  We, because it was truly a joint effort.  You may notice some changes, which we (read my personal wonderful system administrator – Mr.Tot) will continue to tweak.  Format changes, and small glitches like the header mysteriously cropping pictures on the right and on the bottom, which is more pronounced on close-ups.  Though you will see a much more recent variety of pictures.  I may add some old ones to mix back in, but for now, this is what you get.

IMGP5870Stay tuned for more Tot shenanigans, high jinks, tomfoolery, and monkeyshines.   (Can you tell, I used the thesaurus?)

I mean really, check her out.  I’m not quite sure if she’s trying to tune in to outer space communications, or has just decided that this is a fashion appropriate for high tea – nightgown and picnic screen-turned-hat.IMGP5880

Diversion Central

It’s all Mr.Tot’s fault.  I sit with my laptop on  my lap top and there’s a great sucking sound to be heard throughout the land… well, at least throughout the house.  Photoshop is my new addiction.  Not like I needed anything more to suck up my time and energy.  But I am a kid in a candy shop, and we all know I have no self control.   On top of that, he found a little app for his iPad, called Artify, that doesn’t do much, but what it does do is so much fun.  I could probably do the same thing in Photoshop, but it would take so much longer, and the app was only 99 cents, so it was in my budget  (barely).

What, WHAT you ask is that addictive?  THIS.  Here’s my original photo…

IMGP3709-WM

And now, with Photoshop, I’m a silk screen artist…  poof, in one easy step.  Oh sure, I spent half an hour playing with all the pretty buttons.   Like a toddler in the car –What does THIS one do? It felt like a visit to the eye doctor – do you like THIS one better, or THIS one?  A tiny incremental change later — THIS one, or THIS one?  So many decisions, so little time, and only 31, 000, YES 31 THOUSAND pictures to sift through… See why I’m busy?

RedLeafOverhang1-WM
Then there’s the Infrared effect.  Much easier to use a photoshop filter, than real infrared film or infrared glass filter on your camera when you’re trying to guess what the exposure should be…

I won’t bother with the original photos anymore – but here’s the Tot in Boston…

TotGraphic2-WM copy

And a cool house at the end of our neighborhood….

Farmhouse1-WM copy

And then there’s the Artify which makes the photo look like a painting but you can undo any section of it to show the detail of the photograph.   Like this….  Ta Da! Magic…  This is Dale Chihuly’s exhibit in Michigan last year….

Artify_201102232044-WM copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have so many more, especially with little Tot & Pickle pieces, but you’ll just have to check out my photo website when I finally have it ready, probably about 2028….   I mean, later this year.  Don’t I look professional?