Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Portraits of Easter

Siennalee's first real Easter basket!

Ducks are quite the celebrities in our little world. Siennalee loves a "duck duck!"

A special card from Nana and Papa came in the mail. After appreciating the front, Sienna sneaked a peek at the back - just to see if it was a Hallmark card or not.

Her Easter card from Nana & Papa had some fun stickers on it. I helped her peel 'em off and place them in the right places.

Time to don the pretty Easter dress!

Don't you miss wearing such pretty dresses?

Easter basket time!

Um, was this 'sposed to be in there?

Oh Mommie, I love duck ducks.

Duckie love.

Pretty Isabella in her Easter hat.

Visiting Gracie in her highchair. "Got anything good up there?"

I see you behind there, Auntie. You gonna fish me outta here, or what?

"Assisting" Siennalee.

Pretty little thoughts.

Pretty little girl.

Rare moments of stillness.

My brother Paul and sister-in-law Anne. Paul adores the camera.

The girlies break for a little dress up and photo op with Grammie before the big Easter egg hunt.

Time for the hunt! To the chilly outdoors we go!

Boy is it windy and chilly!

Undeterred by the cold and chill - we must find those pretty eggs!

One very sneaky egg.

How many have you found, Cousin?

Mommies make the best cheerleaders.

OOoooo! I see one!

Jessica & Jason.
Still lovin' the adventure!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wiggle Mania

A couple weeks ago I was happily surprised with four free tickets to The Wiggles concert at the Rose Garden Memorial Coliseum in Portland. For anyone who doesn't have small children and are therefore unaware of who exactly The Wiggles are, I'll give you a brief rundown. The Wiggles are four grown men who have heeded the sometimes uncomfortable yet oh so valuable call of children's entertainment. They sing, dance, play random instruments and, best of all, have lovely Australian accents. Kids everywhere love 'em. Most parents enjoy them. My brother has banned them from his home.

Late Saturday morning, my mother, my niece Isabella, Siennalee and I all packed up and headed north to Portland for our special day of lunch out and The Wiggles concert!

My niece Isabella is a wonderfully sweet and sensitive girl with a thoughtful disposition. She has an unfortunate and quite keen dislike of loud situations. Sadly, The Wiggles were not informed of Bella's preference of quiet concerts.

So while Siennalee bounced and grooved to the first tunes of the Aussie performers, something was quietly brewing over on the other side of unsuspecting Grammie.

Something insidious. Something unfortunate. Something that makes your face red and your eyes continuously stream with giant splashy tears. Something that makes you wail loudly and despondently at the top of your three year old lungs.

It was full blown Wiggle-mania. And I don't mean the good kind. It was sad, agonizing, and downright emotionally bloody.

My daughter suddenly noticed her cousin's disgruntled state and became concerned enough to stop the dancing and move over to ascertain the situation and perhaps assist.

Siennalee could tell right away that her services were required. The Wiggles were of no more interest to her. Something more important was needed here.

Siennalee took a moment to study her cousin and then administered the best medicine known to her little 18 month old world. A kiss and a hug.

The rest of the story pales in comparison to that tender moment.

I'd love to be able to tell you that The Wiggles won out that day. But alas, they did not. Their fun songs and goofy dances could not stop my niece from insisting at the tippy top of her lungs that she be removed from this unnerving concert. And after I intercepted one or two very dirty looks from nearby mothers of children who were trying to enjoy The Wiggles with all their might, I agreed with Grammie that she should take Isabella and leave the arena.

I tried to re-engage Sienna with the concert, but she was having none of it. In fact, at a quieter moment when one Wiggle was attempting to deliver a tot-sized jocularity from his stage, my toddler bellowed (now think Streetcar Named Desire here), "BEEEEELL-LLLAAAAAAAAAHHH!" And that was that. I grabbed all coats, hats, backpacks, purses, and sippies and whisked us outta there.

The concert began at 1:30. We were homeward bound at 1:45. And that was our day with The Wiggles.

Below I include pictures of happier times, pre-Wiggles at lunch and concert seating, and post-Wiggles scampering around the Rose Garden on the way back to the car. Good times.

Happy lunch with Grammie and Auntie and Cousin.

Discovering the magical moments of dipping.

Siennalee's first big girl cup with a straw!

Yay! Our first concert!

Scampering around the Rose Garden was just as much fun as the concert!

A public water fountain! What's more fun than a public water fountain?

Oddly enough, a giant reptile was still not as unnerving as The Wiggles.

The Wiggles long forgotten.

Despite its tears and fears, the day was still counted as a success.

And all's well that ends well.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Burning Creative

As many of you know, I've recently taken up the craft of wood burning and have been enjoying it very much. My very first project was the "Kantola Family" wooden sign shown behind us in our family picture on this blog's banner. It was a surprise for Jason while he was in Kuwait. The wood is very special to our family as Jason had salvaged it from the old barn his grandfather Alvin Kantola built when he was homesteading in Donnelly, Idaho. It's a beautiful piece of barn wood.

I later made another sign, this time reading "Nunn Family" for my brother Paul after he had admired our family sign. Paul's sign then later led to my pastor's wife inquiring if I would be interested in making another sign or two for personalized wedding presents. And so began my very first non-family project.

I hope to begin adding a little more decoration to my repertoire - perhaps wheat sheaves or decorative borders. We'll see what comes out.

I've really enjoyed this new creative challenge and hope this is the start of many more projects to come!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here in the Kantola house, we hardly need any excuse at all to celebrate. So today for St. Patrick's Day, I decided to celebrate the 1/4 Irish that flows through my veins and the 1/8 Irish that dances through Siennalee. (I don't think Jason was blessed with any of the Irish, but you just never know about that side of the family...)

So here is a glimpse of our celebration meal tonight. The menu was: Beef and Irish Stout Stew, Irish Champ (that's potatoes, green onions, milk and butter - with plenty of salt and pepper!), and Irish Soda Bread. I made a rustic apple tart with puff pastry for dessert. The only thing remotely St. Paddy's Day-ish about the tart was that I'd left the peelings on the apples (I don't recommend leaving the peels, by the way), which were green. And of course, we washed all this down with extra cold, creamy Guinness Irish Stout! YUM!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mommie Tails

Yesterday I got a much needed hair cut and highlight. I only get them about twice a year, so it's a real treat when I sit down in that special chair in the salon! My hair was really long this time - almost as long as it was after I had Siennalee, but not nearly as thick and lustrous.

One evening Jason announced to me that he'd pulled "40 feet of hair" from the shower drain only just that morning. He pleaded with me to get my hair cut. I like to think I'm an obliging wife. So I did.

I'm now lighter in hair weight and lighter in hair color. I feel fabulous.

One hundred dollars and change never looked so good. Or at least, not til sometime late summer or early fall.

The stylist took off about 6 inches, but could've easily gone ten (of course, then my curls would've been one step closer to their ultimate goal of taking over my head... and then, the world). I'd love to donate my hair to Locks of Love, but I've gotten conflicting information on whether or not they'll actually accept my hair, since it's highlighted. Everything I've read says no, but one stylist told me to check with them first. Nevertheless, I'll be busily growing it out. Here's hoping I can grow for a good cause. Now if only I can find a organization that is in desperate need of donations of belly fat...