Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Left Overs

This is a blitz of complete and total random pictures from the month of May.  I can't believe we are almost through with the month.  May always flies by.  We have four more days of school, a night of ballet dress rehearsal, two nights of ballet recitals, and then we are free...until it's time to start the round of summer activities.  Que sera sera. 

My poor Tabatha cat.  She puts up with manhandling that no almost 15 year old cat should have to 

Apparently this is what kids take pictures of - toy french fries in a bowl on the playroom sofa

Every so often (haha) I find my children doing something endearing and cute - this time it was Colin and Cecily playing "lunch"

This picture was actually from Cecily's birthday party.  Cecily got a play tent and sleeping bag and Elle grabbed the little travel pillow, laid it out on the concrete patio and decided to take a nap right there.  Love the chubber thighs!

Allegra and her friend Gracie, playing dress up in the backyard.  Allegra loves to play dress up and has a rich imagination.  She reminds me of myself at her age.  I'm glad she's still hanging onto "little girlhood" a bit longer.  I much prefer this to battles over makeup and whatnot 

Hero's guinea pig, Cinammon, is hilarious.  When he is put outside, instead of making a mad dash for freedom, he contentedly mows down grass in one spot, for about 30 minutes - I'm not even exaggerating

Monday, May 28, 2012

One Room at a Time

I have tons of plans to update and remodel our home. That's the problem. I have tons. Which translates into tens of thousands of dollars that we don't have, and so we do nothing. We've decided to revise our way of thinking and instead to tackle things one at a time. This year's project was redoing the music room. The area rug in there was ruined and I didn't really care to spend several hundred dollars on a new one, but the carpet underneath was ruined. And that brought my attention to the furniture, which I liked, but was sadly showing its age and wear by falling apart. So, we decided to take the plunge and recarpet and "refurniture" the music room. It's the first room as you walk into our front door, and it's where I teach, so it very much leaves a first impression on guests. I wanted a thick, comfy, stain-resistant, durable and neutral carpet and more neutral furniture than the modern Todd Oldham stuff we had. I also wanted to move away from the green and brown color scheme and more towards an "oceany" color scheme with blues, creams, sands, abalone pearl, and driftwood brown. We found a very neutral loveseat at the RC Willey parking lot sale, repurposed my wicker deck box/seat that was in the living room (I've always used it inside, mostly for it's storage, and because it's too pretty to be outside) to serve as extra seating and violin case storage, and viola! It's still not done - I have a few more blue accessories I want to add in, and I need to change the window treatments, but you get the idea. Yay for remodelling - I can't wait to move onto the next space.

Before, from the stairs

Before, from the foyer

During the carpet tearout (we did it ourselves, because it's fun to destroy stuff LOL)

After, from the stairs

After, looking towards the kitchen

After, doesn't it look like we only have three children?  All of the kids have had their portraits done, but we're still working on paying off the bill with the photographer (they are very expensive, which didn't seem like a big deal with the first one or two) - someday I'll have all six up there

After, unfortunately the frong window is so bright that it's hard to see, but you get the idea (yes, I desperately want new drapes - I'm thinking of doing a pale blue velvet and seagrass shades (although I don't know if they make shades big enough for that window as it's huge and then the arch window above might look kind of silly being bare)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Reality

I would love to have a dining room table that looks like this.  The thought of beautiful (matching!) blates and chargers, deftly folded napkins, candles, and fresh artsy flowers thrills my soul

but this is my reality, and you know, everything I need is right there, even if it isn't magazine worthy.  I love Tinkerbell on the bible.  My kids think it's fun to put little toys on it throughout the day.  I bet someday, when I do have the beautiful, dinner party ready table, I'll miss finding little kid toys and homemade paper plate lions.  Probably not the english muffin crumbs all over my chair though LOL

Is it a Rule?

That fun in my house must always involve messes? It seems so. I hate that the kids pull my sofa cushions off. It bothers the heck out of me. But for some reason it's just irresistible fun, apparently, to sit on a cushionless sofa. I don't get it. But I'm trying to remind myself that this is one of the small things, and not to sweat it. They'll outgrow it soon enough, right?

Okay, I'll be honest, I do sweat it a bit - they aren't allowed to take off the cushions off the living room sectional

But they de-cusion the office/playroom sofa with abandon

Thursday, May 24, 2012


After realizing that we had NO recent couple pictures, we made it a point to take one last night before we headed to our anniversary dinner.  It's so hard for me to be okay with pictures.  I want to criticize myself.  Just when I think I've come a long way in my struggle for self-acceptance, all the insecurities about my physical appearance rush back in when I can't find a picture that I like.  But, you know what, we live a good life, right in this moment, and I need to embrace it instead of thinking that my life will finally begin when I lose a set number of pounds.  Life doesn't work that way.  Hero has a poster on her wall that says "Be patient with me - God's not done yet".  That's so true.  I'm a work-in-progress and if God and my wonderful husband can love me just as I am, then I should be able to love myself too. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

James and I at Table Rock in November 1997, one month after our engagment - it was my first time in Boise and the first time meeting his family.  What crazy kids, at the age of 19 and 21, respectively, on only their second date (but after copious letters, cards, and hundreds of dollars worth of long-distance calls), make a lifelong committment?  Us, that's who. 

Our first (and, alas, last - James it not much of a dancer, and I'm not really either, but I don't mind looking foolish on the floor) dance, to Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Waltz.

The happy couple and our families on May 23rd, 1998 (grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, and siblings)

I decided to dig deeper and get the scrapbook my mom made for us - thank goodness she did because I certainly wasn't going to get around to it (the pictures she didn't put in are inside the same box they've been in since we moved to Idaho 13.5 years ago).  This picture was taken outside the Wausau Club, between the ceremony and the reception, and I love it because it shows off my massive bouquet, which was inspired by a clipping I saved out of a Victoria magazine when I was a young teen (it was mostly lilacs, which had a special meaning to my mother and then to me as well).

Dad walking me down the aisle at the church I grew up in, went to school until 8th grade at, and was confirmed into, Trinity Lutheran, to Rachmaninoff's Rhapsodie on a Theme of Paganini

My wedding party (yes, all participants were quite young - the oldest person there was my cousin Courtney who was 20)

James and I and Uncle Bill, who officiated for the ceremony

My mom and dad look like pups themselves (they were!)

I loved my cake - it was nothing fancy and probably not "good enough" by today's standards, but I thought the fresh flowers were just gorgeous.  And no smashing of the cake in each other's faces.  Not in a million. 

Wow, today I've been married to my soulmate for 14 years.  That seems like a long time, but it's gone by so fast.  I feel so inordinately blessed that God's plan for my life was to meet the man who completes me at an early age, and I pray that we will be granted four more 14 year spans together, at least (I think that means we would make it to our 70th anniversary, although my math skills are notoriously lacking, so don't quote me on that).  I love and adore you, James, and thank you for every moment of the past years - the good, the bad, the peaceful, the chaotic, the fun, the sober, the trying, and the uplifting.  You are my earthly rock and I am privileged to call myself your companion on this journey.  It's funny - as I write this, all the phrases that come to mind to describe you are very similar to the same ones I would use to describe God.  You must be doing a wonderful job following the scriptural dictate to love your wife as Christ loves the church.  Thank you for all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will be.   

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Birthday Blitz Begins

You've heard of sports seasons, but it's time for a new season in the Fife household -- birthday season.  Cecily's birthday marks a stretch of five birthdays in the stretch of two and a half months, and that's just immediate family (if you add in parents and siblings and extend it through mid-September you'll tack on six more birthdays!).  May's usually such a lovely time for a birthday, and this year was no exception.  The weather was gorgeous - perfect for an outdoor barbeque.  Cecily wanted a princess birthday, and indeed that is what she got, complete with castle balloon, and princessy cake.  She had a rough start of the day, as she's full swing in her terrible twos (which, in our family at least is a bit of a misnomer, as our kids seem to start about three quarters way through the second year, and last until age four or so) but she rallied to have a good time for her party, although she did not make it all the way through present-opening before she was done.  James mentioned later that night that Cecily reminds him of a thoroughbred horse, and it's true!  She's all fine-boned and delicate and beautiful, but man oh man, is she high-spirited.  She gets this look in her eyes, and it's all over.  Here's to learning this year how to harness that energy and enthusiasm and turn it to good things.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last Page - First Chapter

Every spring the Fifes make a pilgrimage to the zoo.  It's a forced outing, because it's done for preschool, but it is a milestone that marks the beginning of the end of the school year, for sure.  It's hard to believe that this was Colin's final year at Shepherd of the Valley, although Cecily will be back next year.  Colin had the same teachers for his 4 year old class that both Allegra and Ian had, so we feel like we know them well.  This year we had the added bonus of inviting family along - my sister-in-law Kimberly came along with her two little boys, Connor and Landon.  The cousins haven't spent much time together, since they live out-of-state, but we did manage to get some of them together for a few pictures (the zoo and especially the big giraffe slide is rather distracting LOL).  What a lovely day it was, too, which makes it a bittersweet final day to the first chapter of my life (later in the evening I would speak to my mom for the last time before she passed that night).

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Allegra and Hero with their coach and some of her other students

At Idaho Ice World

Mugging for the camera



I'd like to think that all of my kids are, but Hero and Allegra are officially champions.  They each won two gold medals in the Boise Ice Classic skating competition.  The also passed their first Moves in the Field tests (don't ask me to explain all this stuff properly - it's complicated - basically in order to compete at certain higher levels you have to pass tests).  The competition was pretty stiff, so they definitely had to work for it.  I'm so proud of their achievements and it's super fun to watch them on the ice (although I will admit that I get SO nervous while they are out there).  Cecily wants to start skating now too, ooy!  We'd better find the proverbial money tree pretty soon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Easter Part Deux

Well, this is coming much later than my Easter post, but I guess that's okay, because these are just secular Easter basket pictures, and that part of the day certainly isn't very important.  The kids each basket-hunted after church and were rewarded for the efforts with a basket with a bit of candy and a Christian book.  I think they all enjoyed them or at least they smiled for the camera afterwards.

Monday, May 14, 2012

But I Hate Country Music ;)

This is so not normally me, but the song touched me today.  I was going to go with the Geoff Moore version, but I actually like the video with this one.  It helps me to know that there are millions of others out there that feel a deep loss.  Over the past almost three weeks I've felt so much love from so many people - my family-family, my friends, my church family.  All the cards, well-meaning words, prayers, and flowers mean so much.  I've especially found the words from other women who have lost their mothers and know just what I'm feeling to be such a huge comfort.  I've never really understood the point of things like cancer survivor groups and that kind of stuff, but now I do.  Kinship through experience is a powerful thing.  I'm glad that most of the women I know and love don't know what this feels like, but for those of us women that, unfortunately, do, thank you especially for sharing your words of wisdom and solace with me as I join your ranks. 

Ian's Turn

Ian doesn't get much press in the blog, sandwiched between his active big sisters and cute baby sisters, but here's a post wholly dedicated to him.  Ian's been pestering us to do soccer for a year now, so we finally got him signed up for spring soccer.  He really, really enjoyed his (short and relaxed) season and plans to do it again next year.  We, as parental and sibling spectators, would have enjoyed it more had it not been so cold on game mornings.  Go Ian!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gettin' There

I'm working on getting back into blogging, but everytime I think about it I freeze up.  Mostly I think it's because my mom was my loyal blog reader.  I started it for her - to keep her in the loop about the minor goings-on in our crazy house, that she missed SO much and wanted so desperately to be a part of.  Occasionally I'll have a comment from another reader, but on nearly EVERY post is a comment by her, cheering me on, loving on the kids, or providing advice.  To know that there will never be another comment from her on my blog has made it so difficult to come back.  But I will try to do my best - for Dad and also in hopes that I will someday have it printed in book format and save it for my own kids. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Hardest Post I've Ever Made

Lauri A. Plautz

50, Wausau died Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at her home.

She was born February 10, 1962 in Milwaukee, daughter of the late Arthur and Lois (Stoddard) Stieve. On August 22, 1981 she married Thomas Plautz at Trinity Lutheran Church, Mequon. He survives.

Lauri was the fortunate soul who found true love early in life and the 30 years she and Tom enjoyed together served as an inspiration to all those around them, most especially the other three loves of her life - her children. Her primary focus was raising her children, but she still managed to express her creative genius and impeccable taste through careers in interior design, and, later in life, as an award-winning jewelry designer. Lauri was a devoted grandma to her six grandchildren, who adored her, and couldn't wait for the addition of more. An appreciation of beauty, a love for God and people, and an unbending sense of family were the hallmarks of her incomparable character.

Lauri and Tom were passionate travelers and avid campers. They loved nothing more than a weekend of camping with friends, trips to their original honeymoon destination, Mackinac Island, visits to their Idaho grandchildren, and the dream trip they finally made to Hawaii to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Survivors include her husband, Tom Plautz, Wausau, three children, Melissa (James) Fife, Boise, Idaho, Troy (Becky) Plautz, Onalaska and Ryan (Liz) Plautz, West Bend, six grandchildren, Hero, Allegra, Ian, Colin, Cecily and Elinor Fife and two brothers, Tim (Cheryl) Stieve and Mike (Anh) Stieve, both of Wausau.

Memorial services will be held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, 2012 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Wausau. The Rev. Chris Sansom will officiate. Friends may call on Saturday from 3:30 p.m. until the time of services all at the church.

Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Avenue, Wausau is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established in Lauri's name.