Wednesday, August 29, 2012

 I am realizing, belatedly, that I've neglected to load the photos of Q opening her birthday presents, on the morning before her party. These are not photos that can be neglected.
 I took this shot of her beloved vintage suitcase, filled with two levels of gifts, just before she woke.
 Here she is cracking the suitcase for the first time that morning.
 ...and her reaction.
  A compass for exploring. 
 Two levels of gifts packed into the water-stained satin lining of her suitcase.
 Her reaction. Priceless!
 Opening the Dorothy/Glinda salt-and-pepper shakers that Daddy found for her.
 One of our many "friendly" statues. I couldn't resist shooting a few photos around the house while it was all festive for her party.
 Buddah-with-tophat, a watercolor of Rome that I did on location several years ago, and some cold-war-era magazine covers about communist China that we have framed on the walls. 
Little-known fact: it took me seven coats and nearly a week to achieve the lacquer-red of our kitchen walls.
 Paper pom-poms for the party.
The two potted flowers that Q chose for her birthday and her LaoLao's birthday (just days apart).

  Q waiting to wake up Daddy, and a collage I did many years ago.
 Above our livingroom bookshelves.

Waiting for her party guests to arrive...

Monday, August 27, 2012

 Our unexpected trip to Vail this past weekend turned into an absolutely spectacular mini-vacation.
Even though we had only about a day and a half to spend in the highcountry, we managed to pack so much delight into every moment that it felt like four or five.

 These shots are from a brief rest stop at Lake Dillon on the way up, where we let the dogs take a much-needed swim in the chilly high-altitude waters.
 Mike and Q skipping stones.
 Me picking daisies. My favorite flower. I love daisy season in the highcountry! Every variety of daisy makes me happy.
 The water is low this time of the summer, with the runoff from the mountain snowpack now just a memory. It has not been quite as dry in the highcountry as it has been down on the plains, but this is still a drought year, even here.
 Wildflowers abound all the way through the summer up here.
 Less than two months ago, this rock was sticking up out of the shallow waters (remember those pictures?). Now it's quite a ways up the newly-rocky shore.

...and this was just the start of our weekend! So much more beauty still to come.

Friday, August 24, 2012

We are headed to spend the weekend with my mum in the cool of the highcountry....ahhhhhhhh! 
Can't wait! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

 My mum, Eva Van Rijn, is here visiting us from New York this week, and I thought this was a good time to post some of her latest and most beautiful work, from her time in Tanzania. 
These images are from the September issue of Western Art Collector, which features an article on her work.

Monday, August 20, 2012

 Q stepped up for her first day of kindergarten at her new school this morning.
 The Mountain Phoenix Community School is an excellent Waldorf-based charter school in Jefferson County. We live in Denver County, next to downtown Denver, so we had to enter the lottery in order to apply. We felt very fortunate that Q got in off the waiting list on our first try. She is also fortunate to have a couple of friends already in her class, including Bianca (seen here) who you may recognize from her birthday party last post.
 Already making friends in her first few minutes of school.
 Bianca and Q trying out some of the new outdoor-play vehicles as they wait to sign in to class.
 Very excited about her new badge and her placement in the purple moon group (the one she most wanted), even though her name was slightly misspelled on the badge. It isn't an easy name to spell!
As always, we gave her the choice of using her Chinese name or her US name, and although she chose "Flynn" for camp this summer, she went back to QiuQiu for the upcoming school year.
 Finding her cubby inside.
 Our friend Aztechan preparing Bianca for her new classroom.
 Q goes into her new school feeling strong, determined and positive.
 She is a school addict, and was eager for a new year and a new school, and VERY proud of her new badge!
Az photographs Bianca and Q "on TV" in the puppet theater before class. 
Can't wait to see how this new school environment affects our Q. She is the consummate adapter, and I have a feeling that the kinder, gentler atmosphere of the Waldorf system will do nothing but good for her very forceful, strident, driven personality. I suspect she will thrive here. Can't wait to watch the year unfold!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

 Scenes from a birthday party, Q's 5th!
Milo and the dragon fly.
 Sasha swings.
 Lovely Aztechan collects food for her bevy of beauties.
 The cake! A luscious sacher torte from the local German bakery.
 Girls, all in deep contemplation. I love it.

 Isabella and her beautiful smile.

 Q, Bella and Bianca.
 A pearl ring for a girl's 5th birthday.
 The golden-haired Fitzgerald clan!
 Q and Az.

 Mike and Pat, daddies on piñata duty.
Q picked out a soccer piñata this year.
 The girls.
 I love this photo.
 Q and Bella. They had a roly-poly on a string, aka a Roly-poly tightrope.
 Three generations of Larkins.
 Our little family, with a very sleepy Q at the end of the party...
...Frank, who had been locked outside for the whole day, wanted in on the last picture of the day! Look how Q's eyes were closing as she sat in my lap. She barely made it to bed for naptime! A big, warm, satisfying day. And we finally have our cool, crystalline Colorado weather back! least for the time being!