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  • Don't forget to stop and smell the Roses.
  • Life, Love, and Critters – of course!

    A ChickeyMonkey Birthday


    monkey cake chickeymonkey birthday leanne wildermuth

    Tomorrow, my little Chickeymonkey turns 7. Today, she and her friends will be bouncing and playing for hours. Yesterday, I spent the entire day working on this beautiful and tasty moist marble monkey birthday cake that I will be slicing into little pieces and serving to several children. I will be wiping monkey remains of off of the tables. Pieces of this fun little dude will be smashed and smeared into forks, plates, and ice cream puddles.

    The girls will squeal and giggle and ooh and aaah and not hesitate to devour him. Me, I’ll be sniffling, quietly, over my lost consumable masterpiece, and also, over my daughter – who is growing up so fast.

    It seems like just yesterday I was screaming at the nurses to go get the doctor because I was gonna push RIGHT NOW, WITH OR WITHOUT HIM. Just hours ago that I received my baby girl swaddled up in a warm receiving blanket and listened to her squeak like a mouse. Moments ago that the nurse took her from me to “have that checked” and seconds ago that I took her home after an emotional week in the NICU. Upon her arrival home and our first realization that there was dark hair covering every inch of her body, she became our sweet little Chickeymonkey. Seven years later, she’s stopped all the squeaking and is still covered in hair.

    jayden sly carousel photo leanne wildermuth

    Happy Birthday, Chickeymonkey! (A day early, even.)

    Pretty, Pretty, and Oooooh, neat.


    stonecrop sedum honeybee leanne wildermuth

    If you’re looking for a plant that will attract bumblebees, honey bees and butterflies – this one does it all. My favorite aunt gave me a bit of Sedum from her landscape in the Spring of 2007, and it has quadrupled since I brought it home and put it in the yard. I was surprised last fall to see so many honey bees working on this plant, and this fall it’s gotten even busier! I’ll be splitting this in a couple of weeks and spreading them out more with my Bee Balm.

    stonecrop sedum monarch butterfly leanne wildermuth

    I am not sure if my butterfly bush has brought the Monarchs to my yard and the Sedum has kept them coming back, but it sure is a beautiful sight to see three of them sitting atop the Sedum. I loved this shot, the dense blushing pink blooms bordering that gorgeous butterfly.

    stonecrop sedum monarch butterfly leanne wildermuth

    Usually, when Monarchs have landed, they keep their wings tightly closed, and they open and close like a trap door. I managed to capture this one with its wings open, so this is a rare shot for me and I’m loving the paper thin dimension!

    illinois farm horizon sunset leanne wildermuth

    It has been a really busy week, to say the least. I’m waiting for a cake to cool right now because this afternoon I’ll be decorating this Monkey cake for my Chickeymonkey’s 7th birthday party tomorrow. I’ve driven hundreds of miles, going to Catybug’s volleyball game (an away game, 150 miles round trip), spent a day with a dear old friend from High School that I haven’t seen in –ummm– several years (here we are), mowed the lawn, went to another Volleyball game lastnight (we won!) and finished up a blog design for EW. All since my last post on Tuesday!

    illinois september low moon 2008 orange leanne wildermuth

    The sunset was beautiful on Tuesday night, I snapped the farm silhouette on the way home, driving on the freeway. When we got to our exit, the sun had completely set and the moon popped up on the horizon, big, bold, and this really wild yellow-orange color. I left the cars & headlights in the photo so you could get a perspective on how low it was and how bright and oddly colored! Is this our harvest moon? I recall it being much more orange. Anyone else catch a glimpse of the moon this week?

    The timer just went off, so it’s time for me to whip up a batch of frosting!

    Making a Spectacle of Myself


    As promised, here’s me in my new specs! They’re going to take some getting used to, of course. When I walked out of the clinic they immediately transitioned to the sunglasses which was SUPER cool – but they’re slow to transition back so there’s a bit of a tint left over. Still, overall, I like ’em. What do you think?

    old glasses leanne wildermuth new glasses leanne wildermuth

    “Spec”tacular Coincidence!


    On September 3rd, I had my annual eye exam. It was a normal exam, nothing unusual about it other than they dilated my eyes and I had green eye gunk (and post nasal drip) for the rest of the day. I know, too much information. You’ll have to deal with it, my blog, my story.

    So. My prescription changed just slightly, and new specs were on my horizon. Oh, how I love the opportunity to change my appearances with a pair of frames! I opted to come back later that day, after my vision returned to normal and my pupils didn’t make me look like some alien being, taking up my whole eyeball and all.

    After I picked up the girls from school, we returned to the clinic. The girls loved having so much say-so over my new look, and made me try on at least 50 different frames. I had collected my faves along the way – and it wasn’t until we reached the very last section of girly frames that my heart went pitter-patter. I had never heard of this brand before, all I knew is these frames were cool. And I mean, I loved every pair of them. My kids did, too. I picked my favorites and I kinda knew – I mean, I had a sit down in front of a mirror and ran through all my choices again but I just knew the last pair, this new brand, they’d be the ones.

    And they were.

    I ordered them, lenses with all the fixin’s (or so I thought) and got a little excited about their arrival. They came, I saw, there was glare, they went. I’m waiting for them, again. They’ll be here later today or tomorrow, probably, as I forgot to get the anti-reflective coating on the lenses. My bad. And glare? Sucks.

    So here I am telling my husband about them this weekend, because he hadn’t seen them on me. He got the impression that they were those new “hip” retro frames that would make me look all crazy 60’s kinda, so I did a quick google to see if I could find them, and sure enough, I did.

    And when I did, I gasped. Could it be? These frames were meant for me. I’m serious. Let me show you:

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  • A Waste of Perfectly Good Tears.


    I cried yesterday more and harder than I’ve cried in quite a while. When the sobs subsided, all I had to show for it were a headache, puffy eyes, and a stuffy nose.

    When’s the last time you cried, and why do we do this to ourselves?

    P.S. I love you. Thank you for your concern, I’m okay now. :)

    Self Family Portrait, 2008


    wildermuth fmaily portrait 2008
    Like every normal family, getting everyone together in one family pose is like pulling teeth. Moaning and groaning and heavy sighs ensue while I beg and plead since we haven’t had a family portrait in a few years. Well, several burst mode 10 second delay shots later, and we have our family portrait for the year.

    I paid a totally different kind of sitting fee.

    Thank you, self timer and faux suede curtain panel. Thank you Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 and thank you Corel Paint Shop Pro. Thank you Photoscape and Adobe Photoshop, and last but not least, Dell for letting me merge, crop, save and re-save without delay – or malfunction.



    Though I very rarely, write about politics on my blog – I woke up to two unsubscription notifications in my mailbox, and a drop in feed subscribers. I find that incredibly sad, particularly since I make it a point to accept everyone’s differing opinions, and I could never see myself ditching someone purely based on their political views. As an artist, I am pretty liberal. I’m not just an artist, though, I am a Christian, a Mother, a business owner, and the wife of a Staff Sergeant in the Illinois Army National Guard. I have the luxury of being able to see things from various perspectives, and the disadvantage of being lumped into a category of stupid people that don’t get it.

    Over the course of 4 years I’ve only talked politics on one or two other occasions when it didn’t relate to my husband’s service in Iraq. If your choice to part ways with me is a political one, I am very sorry that you feel that it’s a topic divisive enough not to disregard as a differing view.

    < -- end politics -->

    Politics & Personal Responsibility


    If you missed Sarah Palin lastnight, you might want to watch this. Typical political jabs aside (she’s a darn fine jabber, though, she matched the jabs dished out in the DNC just fine), what I love most about her is that she serves the people. She has a history of serving the people. She believes the Country belongs to the people, and wants to give it back to the people. She wants to create jobs for Americans to pursue energy independence. She doesn’t plan on taxing America to death to get us out of the hole, she wants to eliminate wasteful spending to do that. She’s got an 80% approval rating in Alaska because the people of Alaska love her. She wants small business to thrive, she wants farmers to have a voice, she loves this Country in good times and in bad.
    See, I believe this Country should be a free Country. “The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave” should continue to echo throughout the world. The more government gets their hands around my life and my family, the less freedom I have. Do I want a politician to force me to help my neighbor? No. I want to do it because I am free to do so. Do I want government to force me to go to some universal health care clinic by eliminating the right to free enterprise in the Health Care industry? No. I want to choose the best doctor, for myself, because I have the right to it and that Doctor has the right to treat his patients either better or worse than the next guy – which determines his own success or failure.

    I love that McCain/Palin believe in personal responsibility. I wish more people did. I wish more people would see that by creating more policies, we lose more freedoms. By forcing people to “change”, we become a socialistic country bound by a mantra dictated by someone who only loves power for himself, not for The People. I wish people realized that by “starting from the ground up” (Obama’s claim to fame) that requires all of us common folk to behave in a certain way in order for “his plan” to work. And that in order for anything in this Country to work, it needs to start at the TOP. You cannot force people to change, you can only change the environment and hope that the ripple has the effect you’ve set out for.

    I wish that the Republican party would stand on a platform of Personal Responsibility. People need to learn to rely less on Government policy to tell them how to live, and live by an ethical and moral standard set by personal successes and failures. What should be common sense to every American has gotten lost and skewed over time thanks to Government intervention – and we need to get back to the basics.

    It’s a free Country (almost). You are free to live, to love, to laugh, to work hard to raise your family, and to succeed if you work hard enough. You are also free to fail if you don’t. You are free to help your neighbor if you see them failing. You are free to ask for help if you need it. It is not the Government’s job to create your lifestyle for you, it is every American’s right to pursue and obtain their dreams through hard work and, most importantly, freedom from policies that restrict your rights and freedoms.

    Personal Responsibility. That’s what it’s all about.

    In Triplicate


    goldfish in triplicate leanne wildermuth

    This weekend brought me a couple of unique photo ops, for sure. I wanted to try my hand at photographing goldfish, since I was “goldfish sitting”, and the goldfish I sat on (heh!) was actually gold. He’s a squirmy little sucker, and it took a while to figure out exposure settings. While I was scanning through the photos I managed to get that weren’t an orange blur, this one stuck out.

    I asked Chickeymonkey this morning how many fish are in the photo. She said “one” – and upon prodding, finally counted three. Did you see them all when you first looked?

    giraffes threesome leanne wildermuth

    We spent our Labor Day at the zoo. It was SO hot, and the critters were really lazing around. The Giraffe’s seemed to be in their element, though, these three struck a pose for me that I couldn’t resist. The tallest did the splits and grabbed up a nice big chunk of grass, and the other two saw an opportunity for a free meal they didn’t have to work for so they stuck their necks out to eat off of the grasses that were trailing down into their reach.

    It was a three day weekend, for sure.

    How was yours?

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