19 April 2014

English as a Second Language

My great friend RvH stepped out of her comfort zone a bit over a year ago to mentor in an English as a Second Language program. She's been incredibly faithful, and flexible, as her adult student-friend (now) balances a busy life which includes a disabled child. I was so, so pleased to get this email from her yesterday--


I am so proud of Edilsia. When I met her Fall, 2012 she was at Level 1 and now she tested at Level 7 which is the cap for the first phase. She really did well with answering all the questions, understood everything, so officially this phase with DuPage Literacy is over the end of June. She needs work with her writing skills and language structure, but that is not a priority in her everyday life. That would be the next phase with DuPage so I will not officially sign up with them again, but will just meet with her, going forward, when we can. The main objective for now was for her to be comfortable and confident with her English speaking skills so that she could get her needs met when dealing with teachers or doctors, etc., both understanding them and not needing an interpreter when speaking English. She is smart and motivated, and thus, she has done something good for herself. The "teacher" always learns from the student. Her son, Emmanuel, came home with all "A's" on his report card. I told her that when he comes home today from school, she needs to share her news of a good report too...a nice gift for us all.


18 April 2014

Serial Killer Easter Bunnies

E! News published this series, and I have to agree that these are some seriously deranged, threatening Rabbits...

Peda-Bunny with a serious sinus infection.


This one is particularly troubling.



17 April 2014

David's Birthday


We can't be together to celebrate DM's birthday this year, but he's in our thoughts and prayers all day.


He's our firstborn and the swift-kick that pushed CA and I into instant parenthood and maturity. We were never frivolous. We were just very young (24 and 22-1/2) when he was born. CA was a U.S. Navy officer and I soon wore the official (of the time) Navy wife uniform--maternity.

We were (and are) adoring, committed parents. We were also overwhelmed by the 24/7 realities of a newborn. DM has always been intense. He rolled over very, very young; walked soon; constant motion. He's been an athelete and die-hard Cubs and Bears fan since toddlerhood, it seems.

We are and have ALWAYS been proud of him. He works hard, loves deeply, intensely. He has that rare aura--like a young Meg Ryan or Jon Hamm. He emits more light than average, and that plus his gracious smile and sincere attitude have always made him stand out; people are drawn to him.

Today we celebrate his birthday. His 4 girls know how to put on a party, so we're convinced this day will be a special one.


We love you, David Matthew!



16 April 2014

Life Lessons Learned: Upholstered Furniture


When you furnish your first home(s), buy the best upholstered furniture you can afford. Even a bit better, if you're daring.

These chairs and ottomans used to be the same, except for radically different upholstery. One chair and ottoman resided in our previous familyroom, and the daring upholstry had been influenced by a half dozen trips to Santa Fe in the late '90s and early 2000s. The other set we purposely bought for this greatroom when we moved in, and it was a red-floral-fruit chintz. Our 2 three-seater couches transitioned from the old familyroom and we purchased a two-seater for our library here--all the same style-brand. I believe they were Flexsteel, a middle-of-the-road priced brand but unbelievably durable.


They all look quite different now, but originally staying with the same style allowed us to move them between rooms, and finally to reupholster and re-style the pieces when we redecorated 2+ years ago.

I love that the two ottomans fit nicely between the legs of this Pottery Barn console table. Actually, they were each 35" wide but we had the upholsterer cut them down to 33" to fit. My brilliant idea!

This Chippendale-style sofa is Ethan Allen (my vision of "the best" almost 30 years ago). It used to be cream with a country-blue cross-stitch every so often. Now it resides in our loft (guest space). The bright insets on the pillows were made from a fabric sample.

There are two of these wing-back chairs in our morning room. They used tho be cream and country-blue checked and with the above sofa sat proudly in our former livingroom. One was reupholtered to a horrendous purple linen for a brief and ill-conceived moment.

That Bombay Trading Company table came from an estate sale ($75) and will soon be painted.

So, upholstered furniture can live almost forever. If you find something pleasing and most of all comfortable, buy it, use it, store it, reupholster it. We stored some of this for almost 10 years before repurposing. And, two sofas traveled to Colorado when our son's family returned from living in Europe.


15 April 2014

Keeping Up With the Kardashians is My Secret Vice

But, I'm a bit concerned that Kim is not only crushing on Marie Antoinette, but focused on emulating her. Think about it. Even a much rumored wedding in Versailles--purportedly relocated at this point.