Saturday, January 30, 2010

Yet Another Harp Surprise!

There's a story I like to tell about John as a young boy. He went with us to Instrument Preview Night at the elementary school when Anne was going to select her instrument for beginning band. All the instrument families were presented...strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. John was about five or six years of age, and a "spirited" boy at that. So, much to my surprise, when I asked him what instrument he'd like to play someday (thinking surely it would be percussion because of all the loud, banging potential), he replied that he would like to play the harp! What??? I admit I had to stifle my laugh as I pictured him daintily plucking those strings while sitting down serenely on a chair. Every time, since then, I think of John when attending a concert where a harpist is present --- and I love the way the harp adds a heavenly touch to any music piece (especially Britten's Ceremony of Carols). John went on to play the trumpet and french horn - but no harp.
This past week, another surprise harp moment came into my life! My lovely sister had treated me to a wonderful outing to the Drake Hotel Palm Room for "Tea for Two" and we listened to soothing live harp music while we poured our tea, ate our delicious scones, tea sandwiches and pastries.
We had finished our dining when the harpist started playing the "Happy Birthday" song. I thought how nice it was that someone else was celebrating her birthday, too. When, at that same time, the waiter came to our table with a little chocolate cake and a candle on top, I realized the birthday song was being played for me! How delightful it was to have the accompaniment of a harp - the first time ever all in these years of life on earth - plucking out a heavenly song of welcome to the next year of my life.
Do I not have the best sister in the world...
...and are harps not one of the loveliest instruments ever? Why else are there so many artistic renderings of angels playing their celestial instruments?
But, I still think it would be funny to see John playing a harp now at six feet in height, size 13 feet and fingers that are anything but delicate....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Circle of Life Reminder

There is a quilt on our family room wall that was made as a group effort by my quilting friends and myself many years ago. While quite attractive, it may appear a bit "dated" to our guests. I keep it hanging, though, as a reminder of the circle of life. Birds sing, vines grow, love is present and we have abundance. However, the quilt does not depict the other side...those birds' songs grow quiet with age, vines wither, love can be painful as we see those we love with disease and eventually passing on, and abundance is not for all with world hunger and catastrophies.
January has been a month full of contrasts thus far in the circle of life. There have been birthday celebrations...
the birth of our Ellie... and the joyous celebration of Petey and Anne as they are happily-ever-after married.

And now we arrive at the flip side of joy...the painful, unfair, scary, and unknown circle of life side. News that Peder is terribly sick and facing another cancer site - and he's the age of our son John. News that a father of four young children in Minnesota has lost his life battle, news that a beloved Mother-in- Law to Melissa has passed away in Pennsylvania, news that a friend has had a serious car accident, news that Anne's friend is having difficulty carrying her twins, news that the search for survivors in Haiti is now officially ended.

I try to be one who looks towards the bright side of life, but today I feel sad for the dear ones who are having the walk through darkness. I pray for you, and it is my hope that the circle of life will soon bring the good stuff's there but has a timeline all of its own.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Picture Perfect (Copycat Challenge #6)

There's been a little time between visits to our little newborn Ellie Jane and a stitch or two here and there has led to Project Number Six completion! The Julie and Julia/Blanket Statement crafting-and-blogging-about it challenge is right on schedule. I chose to do the Gnome Charm found on pages 44-45 in Vicki's Haninger's book. Inspired by sweet Ellie's little stocking caps she wore in the hospital, this was just the right time for this project.

The way I tweaked this project was putting a little scarf around the gnome and later gluing it to the corner of a picture frame. I found E-L-L-I-E letter stickers and adhered them to the bottom of the frame. Then I applied a varnish sealer to the frame to further finish off the look.

Now the picture frame is placed inside a little cubby shelf that is above the crib in our home nursery nook. The little baby in the small frame above Ellie's is her Mama's newborn picture. I love my girls! (And guys!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You Asked for More? You're Getting More.

For those of you not on Facebook, I'm posting more Ellie pictures because you asked me to. Please know this won't happen often, so consider this your Wednesday gift. Because I love you.
This was taken within a half hour of her birth...she was one wide-awake little girl.
Her eyes are just fine...she had the special newborn medicine in them. I love her cupid's bow lips and her little fingers holding the blanket.
Ellie is going to be the luckiest little girl to have Anne and Jed as her Mommy and Daddy.
Check out Ellie's full head of hair post-bath on her first full day of life.
Toes. Little piggy toes. She's seriously going to have to get used to my love of her toes and feet.

Proof positive of her dimples. Oh, my goodness.

And there you have it. As much as I would love posting daily updates of beautiful Ellie and her family, I am going to be mindful of their privacy. Please check out their blog to see their latest Ellie news.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Perfect Timing

"Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child works hard for its living, But the child that's born on the Sabbath day Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay."
Little Ellie Jane is here! She decided it would be a good idea to surprise us all by choosing to be born 10 days before her due date. On a Sunday when we all had plans to be together as a family so our calendars were cleared. Isn't that thoughtful of her?
We got a call from Jed at about 9:00 AM that Anne was thinking labor was on its way. They headed out to the hospital, and we met them at the hospital after lunch. John and Kari were there, too. Walking into the hospital room and seeing Anne in a hospital gown with equipment attached to her really brought the point home that this was it. She (Anne) was looking radiant and ready. Back and forth between her room and the waiting area, the hours ticked by quickly
(for us, maybe not so much for her?) as the four of us played games with Jed appearing now and then with updates.
Not one to use the texting feature on my cell phone, I was surprised to get a text from Jed saying the time to push had come. In under two hours, we were happily invited to join the new family of three in Room 638! Baby Ellie had arrived was swaddled in her mother's arms.
Joy. Wonder. Awe. Tears.
Words to describe the whole experience are difficult to find. We are grateful. We are blessed. We are excited beyond belief.
Anne explained to us as we held perfect little Ellie for the first time that her name was partly inspired by our fathers---Anne's grandfathers and Ellie's great-grandfathers--- whose names both started with the E-L letters for Elom and Elder. Jane is a beloved name from Jed's side of the family.
Now I ask for you to permit me to gush a bit as only a Grandmother can do about her Grandaughter. She is beautiful. She has a cherubic face as her mother did at birth - and I'm sure Jed's Mom would agree his face was as well. And dimples? Yes! Yes! Yes! They appear when Ellie makes her scrunchy little faces or if she's getting to cry just a bit. She has long fingers and adorable toes. Her feet are so simply edible it's best to keep them wrapped up!
Thanks so much for all your kind words and thoughts as you hear the news of little Ellie Jane's arrival. They mean the world to us to know she has made an impact in the world already at not even one day old.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Comfort Food - Swedish Style

It's that time of the year when we nestle inside while the skies are gray and the air is cold. Layers of clothing worn inside the house and even more are piled on to go outside to face the elements. Ah, winter in the midwest. But wait! There's help to fortify one for these elements...Chef Wes to the rescue!
He's the Master Pancake Man in these parts as well as in the North Woods of Michigan. He's shown here with the pan used by generations of Lindahls.
The first pancake never turns out quite as well as the rest. That's okay. We eat them with lingonberries or maple syrup. Presented above on our original wedding china - Johnson Brothers Hearts and Flowers which now are residing at the cabin.
Want the recipe? (Timi, I think of you with this one as you add recipes to your ethnic "box.)
Swedish Pancakes
3 eggs
1 c. milk
2 t. sugar
salt to taste
1 t. baking powder
5 T. flour
1/4 c. melted butter
1. Allow eggs and milk to go to room temperature.
2. Beat eggs until frothy and slowly add milk.
3. Blend in each ingredient separately.
4. Add the flour 1 T. at a time.
5. Add butter last.
6. Pour into hot griddle. Flip before burning!
Warms you up inside and out!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eskimo Mama's Surprise! (Copycat Challenge #5)

With one very pregnant daughter presently, the next project in the Julie and Julia/Blanket Statement COPYCAT CHALLENGE was a natural choice! Found on pages 50 and 51 in the book Blanket Statement by Vicki Haninger it is called Eskimo Mama & Papoose.
Once Mama was made, she made the trip outside to be photographed in the snow. (Who's knows what the neighbors think when they see me out in the snow with a camera and a little green doll? Who cares?)
But wait! This Eskimo mama has her very own surprise --- twins! One has a sweet round face and the other has a longer face. Thanks, Jan (and Rebekah and Rachael) and Greta (Addison and Caroline) for just the inspiration you provided to add the "twist" to this copycat project as mothers of girl twins!
Stitching these trio of girls reminded me of one of my favorite mother/child picture books. The book was written by Barbara Joosse for her son, Rob, when he was a two year old and pushing his boundaries by being naughty. She wanted to write something that would assure him that she loved him "for ever and always because you are my Dear One."
This is a wonderful book to give to expectant parents, or to check out at your local library. Not only is it a story of parent/child love, but features polar animals and a bit of Inuit culture. Learning and loving: a powerful combination!
I'm having so much fun doing this Copycat Challenge! It's stretching my creativity and allowing me the opportunity to be mindful as I stitch and dream...we can't wait to meet our own little "papoose" girl.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Passing it Down

When Wes and I were in the market for a crib for our little impending one in the early 1980's, we looked no further than a neighborhood alley in Chicago! Yep... that's right. We found the abandoned orange crib in an alley. It was smaller than a regular one, but the price was right for our overstretched bank account at the time. Wes lovingly restored the crib with several coats of
blue paint, we had a special mattress custom-made to fit (thanks to Jerry J.) and I stitched up the bedding. Here's what the crib looked like with occupant #1...our little Annie.
Four years later, with new bedding to reflect the manly new occupant #2, we welcomed John into our home.
And now we're anticipating crib occupant #3! She'll need this for napping and overnight visits with her Grandparents. The crib had been stored away for a good 20+ years and was in need of an overhaul. Wes, again, lovingly painted the bed. It was my job to update the bedding. As the baby's nook was to go in the corner of our current guest room (and the former room for Anne before she left for college, and John the minute she left for college) my inspiration was taken from this repurposed, recovered chair. The room divider was recently found abandoned in a dusty garage. Once cleaned up and finished it took on a fresh look with new fabric panels inserted...thank goodness I purchased extra yardage when I recovered the chair.

The green and cream desk will be used for the changing table

with a comfy pad on it. It used to be my girlhood desk!

The dust ruffle was made from a soft green vintage chenille bedspread I found in a thrift store. The trims were found at a garage sale in our City Nest neighborhood. The rest of the bedding was made from chair fabric scraps.

We are now in the home stretch of waiting for occupant #3 to arrive. We're ready!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wrap-up of Family Merriment (P*S*C* #23)

Want to know how we Lindahls get really crazy on Christmas Eve? We hold hands and dance through the whole house singing the song below as loud as is humanly possible.
Nu är det Jul igen, och Nu är det Jul igen,och Julen vara ska' till Påska.Nu är det Jul igen, och Nu är det Jul igen,och Julen vara ska' till Påska.Så är det Påsk igen, och Så är det Påsk igen,och Påsken vara ska' till Jula.Så är det Påsk igen, och Så är det Påsk igen,och Påsken vara ska' till Jula.2. Nu är det Jul igen, och Nu är det Jul igen,och Julen vara ska' till Påska.Nu är det Jul igen, och Nu är det Jul igen,och Julen vara ska' till Påska.Det var inte sant, och Det var inte sant,för Där emelan kommer Fastan.Det var inte sant, och Det var inte sant,för Där emelan kommer
This has been going on as long as we have been married, and before that, too! Jed has been putting up with this tradition for several years now but reports that he "will never get used to it"
and Kari joined us for the first time this year with the family at large.
On Christmas Day, we had merriment in the form of a surprise baby shower for Anne and Jed. They're all set now with a Baby Manual and a new car seat for the little passenger. I wish we could've gotten a Baby Manual for our kids all those years ago.
Our final act of merriment was playing Bingo as Christmas Day was coming to an end. This year the younger cousins were old enough to get the humor in some of the gifts --- and grasp the concept of "stealing" --- happily there were no tears as in the last time we tried to play it with them. Here we are proudly holding our newest treasures. Thus, Christmas 2009 comes to an end. It was a lovely season of family times with much merriment!

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Word of the New Year for 2010

Last year was the first year of the one-word resolution experiment. The word I chose was savor and it truly was a word that came to my mind on a daily basis. I savored the beauty of the changing seasons, the faces of those I love, yummy foods, the incredible patterns in nature...well, you get the idea and I will stop before I get (to quote Anne) totally cheesy. We have truly been gifted with a wonderful world right in front of our eyes no matter where we live. And I think that making a deliberate choice to "savor" really helped see this. Somehow, the past year has also been a year where I have been feeling my age. The baby of the family has married, the oldest will become a mother herself. There have been times where I should be remembering things and I fall Where have I put my keys? I thought I told you that! I don't remember you telling me that. Where did I put my ring? What day of the week is it - I thought it was _______. Where did I put that piece of paper? Oh no - I forgot about that! As a result, I am choosing my resolution word of the year 2010 to be mindful. I want to pay attention to locations, words, times, needs and etch them better in my brain so I will cut back on the needless frustration of looking for lost objects, forgetting an important date, and getting lost in that forest of trees. How about you? Are you game to try the one-word resolution experiment with me? Please comment if you feel so moved...I will be mindful to think about you. Here's to a Happy New Year to you and those you love!