Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dancing Dots.

Today Dots had her dance recital.

At the rehearsal

With the "Bun Lady" before the show

In the dressing room with friends

Dots was in three numbers.


Her tap routine was darling. Her group danced to a medley of 50's tunes, like Wake up, Little Susie, Hound Dog and Rock Around the Clock. I loved their costumes.

Her ballet class performed to Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2. Half of the girls wore pink leotards with matching tulle skirts and the other half wore orange.


The contrast of colors was very effective on the stage, and their dance was beautiful.

Dots is in the middle row on the far right

Dots and her jazz class danced to Fergie's Labels or Love using shopping bags for props. This was right up Dots's alley and her favorite of the recital.

Dots is fifth from the right

After the show her dad presented Dots with some roses, and we took our traditional pictures of her by the SMU fountain.



I was so proud of Dots; she did a great job in each of her dances.

But what happened to my teeny ballerina?

Summer 009
Dots 2002

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sweet kitty.


Today was the kids' last day of school. Evidently it was an exhausting one for Vivian because on arriving home, she went straight to her room, put on her Rudolph pajamas, crawled into bed and fell asleep.

I checked on her a minute ago and found this sweet scene. You can barely see Vivian behind Sam-the-stuffed-dog and her Dora pillow, but I love how Percy is snuggled right up against her with his paw over her leg. Such devotion!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun with friends.

Some friends called and invited us to an impromtu cookout by their pool yesterday. A couple of other families were there too, and we had the BEST time!

Vivian did not want to get in the car or out, but we were able to lure her with a Dora video on my iPhone and her bag of colored pencils (telling her we needed to go in the backyard to get some paper). Once inside she did so well. Our friends have a precious Springer Spaniel named Koko. Vivian delighted in throwing a tennis ball into the pool for Koko to retrieve. Koko would enthusiastically jump in the pool, grab the ball and then return to drop it at Vivian's feet. Right as Koko approached, Vivian would say, "Shake," and Koko would shake all the water off her fur as if on cue. This never failed to send Vivian into a fit of giggles. It was really cute to watch.

Koko waits for Robert to hand Vivian the ball

Vivian throws the ball in the pool

Vivian laughs after telling Koko, "You got me wet!"

Dots and Will had a great time too. Some longtime friends of ours were there with their five-year-old son, Drew, who was quite taken with Will, following him around like a shadow the whole time. Will is great with kids, and he happily swam and played basketball with Drew. When it was time to go home, Drew told Will he was going to ask his mom if they could have a playdate!

The boys enjoy their burgers

The girls relax by the fireplace (sans a fire)

The adults enjoyed visiting and catching up. I prepared a pitcher of Sangria that was delicious and a big hit. I found the recipe on It was originally published in a 1973 (!) House and Garden Drink Guide. The recipe on the web site was written to serve a large crowd. I cut it down by three-quarters, and it was perfect for 8-10 adults. I wish I'd taken a picture as it looked really pretty served in a glass pitcher. Sorry that I also failed to get any pictures of the adults. I was too busy chatting and enjoying my Sangria.


1 bottle red wine (recipe calls for Zinfandel, which I used, but lots of reviewers successfully used other varieties of red wine)
¼ cup brandy
2 T Grand Marnier
2 cups fresh orange juice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup superfine sugar
3-4 ice cubes (I used more because I did not have time to chill the ingredients in advance)
2 cups club soda
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced

Thoroughly chill all ingredients. Stir together juices and sugar then add to spirits. Place fruit slices and ice cubes in a glass pitcher and pour Sangria over. Stir in club soda just before serving.

A perfect accompaniment to a delightful summer evening!

Monday, May 25, 2009

There are no sufficient words... express our thanks.

American Cemetary, Normandy, France, 2004

Friday, May 22, 2009

Learning about the past.

Dots with her grandmothers, Mimi and Biba, on her birthday in 2004

For a school assignment Dots had to interview her grandmothers about their childhoods. I loved reading their answers probably even more than she did. How I wish I had had such a conversation with my grandparents!


Dots: Okay, so I need to interview you and if you could reply back to this before tomorrow (Friday) that would be great because this is for homework and it is due tomorrow. {sigh from Eloise - nothing like planning ahead} Think back to when you were 11 (like me!).

From her Mimi (Robert's mom), also named Dorothy:

Interview Questions:


What did you eat for a snack?
fruit, water melon, ice cream/sherbet

What were your favorite foods? Hamburgers, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, green beans

How often did you go out to eat? nearly every Sunday after church

What was the grocery store like? The store was not a chain grocer but privately owned & its name was "Sissell's Grocery." It wasn't nearly as large as the grocery stores are today, but did carry most everything we needed, as far as food was concerned.


How did you listen to music?
On the radio and record players

What was your favorite song? "Abba Dabba Honeymoon" "Rag Mop"

Who was your favorite artist/band? Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey

What type of music? Big Band Music

Did you play an instrument? Piano


What did you wear to school?

How did you get clothes? We had a live-in seamstress or at the store

How many pairs of shoes did you own? 8-10 (I loved shoes!)

What did you wear to church? "dress up" church dresses

What clothing trends were popular? neon lime green & pinkish orange colors were the fad colors


What was your favorite movie, movie star, or TV star?
Elizabeth Taylor; Debbie Reynolds, Ingrid Bergman, Margaret O'Brien, Roy Rogers, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, etc.

How much did it cost to see a movie? $.25 ($.10/Pop Corn)

How much did a TV cost? (We didn't know what our parents paid for things.)

What were things you did for entertainment? Played paper dolls; made clothes; played with my big Madame Alexander doll; played by myself a lot & not always had friends around to play with

What books were popular? Secret Garden; Black Beauty; Nancy Drew; Hardy Boys

What games did you play? jigsaw puzzles; jacks; Monopoly


What sports were popular?
Baseball; football; basketball

Did you play an organized sport? no

Were there girls teams at school? no

What was your favorite sport? Baseball

Family & Housing

What type of house did you live in?
A two story house in the country with a big yard

Who did you live with? My parents and three sisters and a brother

What kind of community? Small town

Any pets? How many? What kind? What names? Dogs (Usually 2 mutts)


How often did you go out of town?
3-4 times a year

Where would you go? San Antonio or Monterrey, Mexico

How did you travel? by car

Did you have a car? yes, we had 2 cars

How old were you when you got your first car? 20

Did you have a bike? yes


Describe school.
I attended Lamar Public School.

How many kids were in your class? 25-30

Did it have A/C? No; fans only

What happened when you got in trouble? If anyone got in trouble they had to write on the blackboard over & over again what they did wrong. ("I will not talk in class "etc.)

Where did you go to college? Trinity University in San Antonio, TX

What was lunch like at school? We either ate in the cafeteria or took our lunch

What were your favorite & least favorite subjects? I didn't dislike any of them

News, Current Events, & Politics

Important political people?
Pres. Harry Truman; Gen. Dwight Eisenhower

What were people concerned about? Agricultural crops in the Rio Grande Valley where we lived


From my mom (Biba):

Dear Dorothy -

Your questions make me feel very old - I realized, as I answered your questions, that my answers sound very antiquated!! However, here we go !!!!

My favorite after school snack was a bowl of Cheerios.

We never went out to eat - there were very few places to "eat out" in my small town.

I listened to music on the radio or on my record player. Rock and Roll music and Elvis Presley were popular. I played the piano and organ and also the clarinet.

I wore skirts and sweaters or dresses. Blue jeans became popular in the late 50's. I owned 2 pairs of shoes for each season. I wore a dress to church.

I played on a girls basketball team - tennis was somewhat popular.

Until I was 16, I lived in a 3 bedroom house with 1 bathroom - I shared the bathroom with my parents and 3 sisters! We had a car and a TV but no cable and reception was very iffy.

I got my first car when I was 16 and I always had a bike.

I was in a small school - the entire 12 grades were in 1 building - no air conditioning and I lived in south Georgia! I graduated from high school in a class of 38 people. I went to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia (near Atlanta). Eisenhower was president.

Love, Biba

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lovely lunch.


With May being such a hectic time, my Cooking Club decided to go out to eat for our monthly get together. We met at the Screendoor, a fairly new restaurant in Dallas' trendy One Arts Plaza downtown, billed as a "Modern Southern Kitchen."

Screendoor is on the right-hand side


One Arts Plaza as viewed from the restaurant patio


We all loved the decor in the restaurant


We had a fabulous meal! Our server suggested an array of favorites for us to share. The kitchen divided the appetizer and the gumbo for us; the rest of the dishes we ate family-style so that we could also enjoy the beautiful presentation.

Our first course: Fried Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Red Pepper Jam

Our salad: Grilled Ahi Tuna with Mixed Greens, Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Deviled Eggs and Haricots Verts. This was a real stand-out! The tuna was absolutely perfect and the deviled eggs quite scrumptious

Main courses: in the foreground Screendoor's Shrimp and Grits (with the grits shown at the back): jumbo shrimp with house-smoked turkey "ham," stewed tomatoes and Parmesan grits; and in the center, Big Mama's Fried Chicken, accompanied by a baked cheddar macaroni and braised collards

Chili Fried Catfish, over black-eyed peas with East Texas Slaw

Grilled Scottish Salmon, with red bean succotash and candied onion marmalade

To my surprise our favorite entrees were the two dishes I would have been least likely to order on my own: the fried chicken and the salmon. The fried chicken was unbelievably moist and flavorful; it must have been brined before being fried. I also loved the collards, though I typically dislike greens, and how can you go wrong with homemade mac and cheese? The salmon was also delicious and the succotash - yum!

Our sampling of desserts: Creamy Key Lime Pie topped with citrus whipped cream in a graham shell; Peach Cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream; and Screendoor Chocolate Moon Pie (rich chocolate brownies sandwich with marshmallow cream, dark chocolate and gianduja mousses, and tart raspberry coulis) served with a mini-glass of RC Cola. Notice the "man in the moon" shortbread cookie garnishing the moon pie

All of the desserts were good. I especially liked the peach cobbler, but that's a favorite of mine anyway.

Our server was exceptionally friendly and accommodating, and he even brought the chef out to meet our group. We enjoyed the opportunity to visit with the chef and amongst ourselves as well as the chance to sample a lot of delicious food.

Truly a lovely wrap-up to another great year of Cooking Club.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

'Tis the season.

Things are very busy around here. It seems that every committee or group to which I belong is having an end-of-year turnover meeting, happy hour celebration or some such get together. Today, for example, in addition to worship and Sunday School this morning, we have an end-of-season party for the travel hockey team, separate orientations for the missions trips Hockey Boy and Dots are participating in this summer (Jamaica for him, rural Mississippi for her) and one of our infamous block parties.

All of this to say, that though I have a lot going on, not too much of is inspiring blog fodder. Thank goodness for Vivian!

This morning I heard Vivian giggling away in her bed. I thought she was sleeping so I went in to check on her. Sure enough, she had her eyes closed, but she was smiling and laughing her cutest laugh.

I asked, "Vivian, what is so funny?"

She answered in her sleep, "I am playing basketball!"

"Are you dreaming?" I queried.

"Not anymore!" was her sweet reply.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vivian's babies: a dossier.

Vivian with Sarah

Vivian loves babies. She is drawn like a magnet to real babies in a restaurant, a doctor's office, etc., but she also loves her baby dolls.

Vivian has had many dolls over the years, some beautiful, some not so beautiful, but she has gravitated toward a couple of favorites. Vivian has named each of her babies herself.

The other Sarah

Sarah goes with Vivian to school every day. There are actually two Sarahs that Vivian uses interchangeably. I have no recollection of the origin of Sarah's name, but Vivian has had her for several years.

Vivian likes to hold Sarah's hand when she sleeps

Another much beloved doll is Jesus. I think that Vivian received this doll one Christmas and named it when stories of the Baby Jesus were fresh in her mind. "Jesus" was originally clad in a pink tutu. Perhaps it is for the best that the ballerina outfit has been lost, but now Jesus wears no clothes, which isn't ideal either. Jesus occasionally goes missing, and Vivian asks everyone she encounters, "Have you seen Jesus?" until he resurfaces. Once Vivian greeted a guest in our home by saying in her mean voice, "I will throw Jesus at you."


Vivian's very favorite doll was a gift from Santa several years ago. Santa found a "Water Babies" doll on eBay that was dressed as Dumbo. It seemed the perfect gift for a little girl who loves Dumbo and loves the soft Water Babies dolls. The one Santa found on eBay happened to be an ethnic Water Babies doll, but Santa knew that wouldn't make any difference to Vivian. Santa, however, neglected to take into account how completely inappropriate it would be for Vivian to carry said baby around in public and refer to her as Dumbo. It is especially bad when Dumbo is missing her signature outfit.

Vivian with Baby Dumbo

Hence, Sarah is the doll of choice for outings away from home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's for dinner: Shrimp Tostadas.


My friend Elizabeth shared this recipe with me. It is very easy and delicious - healthy too! Perfect for a summer evening.

Shrimp Tostadas

4 whole-wheat tortillas
2 cans refried black beans
2 T chicken broth
shredded cabbage, lettuce or broccoli slaw
2 avocados, cubed
1 mango, cut into chunks
1½ pounds shrimp, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
serrano pepper, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
sour cream

Toast tortillas in 400° oven for 7-8 minutes. Combine avocado, mango, shrimp, lime juice and serrano pepper and refrigerate. Mix beans with chicken broth to thin. Spread layer of beans on tortilla. Top with slaw and shrimp mixture and then a dollop of sour cream.

~I used only 1 can of refried black beans and 1 avocado.
~I have a fabulous tool by OXO called a Mango Splitter. It halves and cores a mango, then I score the mango while still in its peel and scoop it out. Similarly I cut an avocado in half, remove the seed and then score it and remove from the peel with a spoon. It makes for quick, easy prep work.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Tie dye party.


Robert has already cemented his status as 'Father of the Year' after living through the incident with Vivian last month, but he earned a few more jewels in his crown this weekend.

The fifth grade at Dots's school has an end-of-school kickball tournament. Dots, having inherited her mother's lack of athletic ability, instead turned her attentions to team fashion and volunteered to tie dye t-shirts for all the girls in her class. Does anyone at her house know anything about tie dying? Does anyone at her house want to help with such an undertaking? Apparently when one has a fashion agenda to promote, such details are of not worthy of consideration.

By the time I learned of Dots's plan (Friday afternoon), three girls were slated to come to our house on Saturday, and eight more were either dropping off white t-shirts or sending them with a friend! As I feigned disgust at the lack of parental consultation, Dots replied nonchalantly, "Oh, I know Dad will help me."

Sure enough, after a 10-mile early morning hike, *Dad* went to Michael's to retrieve the necessary supplies and then set up a tie dye workshop in our backyard. He patiently instructed the girls and then supervised the production process.


I thought the t-shirts turned out really well!

(Note Vivian retreating inside after attempting to throw a ball at the finished shirts)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy girl.


Vivian's teacher sent me this picture and note yesterday:

Vivian, Mr. H and Ms. B were throwing the ball over Matthew's head. Vivian was laughing so hard. It was such a sweet sound it made us all chuckle with her.

I could use a laugh right now. I'm just home from attending the Mavericks playoff game which ended in heartbreaking fashion.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gathering of blog friends.


Last night my friend Hopsy from Monograms and Manicures organized a gathering of her blog readers in Dallas. It was a pleasure to see Hopsy, as well as my friend Jill from Tickled Pink and Green again, and to meet Meredith, Ashleigh from Call the Preppies In and Emily from Champagne and Cupcakes. We had a great visit and are already planning a summer get-together. I hope others will be able to join us then!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A cause for celebration.


Last night was Hockey Boy's Eagle Scout Court of Honor. What a very special event it was for him and our family.

There were six boys from his troop receiving their Eagle Scout award at this ceremony

As an Eagle Scout himself, Robert was allowed to tie the Eagle neckerchief on Will

The candidate's mother pins the Eagle badge over his heart (don't ask how I was only one who didn't figure out how to do this and face the audience at the same time!) and then he pins a miniature badge on her in recognition and appreciation of his family's support in this endeavor

The new Eagle Scout with his parents, sister and cousins (Vivian stayed home with a sitter - she would have never made it through the long ceremony!)

Will with his grandparents

Will's hockey coach was in attendance

as were his first Cub Scout leader and her husband

and many aunts, uncles and cousins!

All of the new Eagle Scouts at the reception following the ceremony

The previous evening we went to dinner to celebrate. Dots and I posed with my mom and brother (who flew in for the ceremony) beforehand

Will invited his three best friends from his Scout troop to join us. I sat at their end of the table and was well entertained by their banter!

On a related note: my mom wanted to see the wood duck nesting boxes that Will built for his Eagle project

We were thrilled to discover mother wood ducks and babies swimming nearby and are hopeful this means the boxes were used