Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A gorgeous day

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day, sixties and sunny.  The grass is greening up, and the daffodils are waving in the hefty breeze.

I got out with the dogs for their walk while the sun was still shining.  The past two days, I've been so disorganized that, despite nice weather, I have taken them for their walk after dark, or at least at twilight.  Today, we did it in full sun.

Things are looking up.  I still have some jobs to do on the house, jobs I am dreading.  But things are looking up.

Schubert is so funny when I take him walking.  He puts his little head back and he goes, "Bow wow!  Bow-wow wow-wow wow!"  People get annoyed and think he is challenging them and their space and their dogs, and it is kind of embarrassing.

But he means well.  He is just an egocentric little puppy who believes that the whole world loves him.  "Everybody loves Schubert!"  That's his mantra.  So when he goes out and smells all the different people and dogs and cats and rabbits in the neighborhood, he puts back his head and joyfully, triumphantly announces, "Hey guys!  Hey!  I'm here, I'm out here, and you should come play with me!  And pet me!  And love me while I wag my wild, furry brown tail!  Because it's a great day and we ought to enjoy it together!"

Today he was just about frantic to get some love out of the general public, which was not responding in a cooperative way.  Finally we came around a curve in the road, and there was a flock of little pink and purple clad girls and their sparkly bicycles.  Despite Schubert's barking, they were not afraid of him... they got off their bikes and down on their knees and rubbed his head and his ears and scratched him under his chin.  He wagged so hard, I thought he'd fall right over.

It was just what he needed.  After that, he didn't bark for a whole half a block.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Today should be better than this.

The sun is shining, the daffodils are blooming, and I should be happy.

Today I went to Wegman's, at noon, and it was relaxed and uncrowded.  I bought beef, chicken, eggs, cheese, milk, peppers, bread and some other miscellaneous items.  I felt thankful to be able to afford to buy as much delicious, nutritious food as I wanted.

I almost cried on my way out to the car.  Everything has taken on that dreamlike quality of, "Soon, I will not pass this way anymore."

The houses we looked at in the midwest are selling out from under us.  Today, another one sold... one that had made me feel safe.  One I knew we could manage with if we had to.  I didn't love it.  I wasn't dying for it.  But having it in my back pocket made me feel safe, and it is no longer in my back pocket.

Yet, I cannot see the path to getting things finished and wrapped up so we can get this house on the market.  Which, obviously, is why I am spending time on my blog and not in my basement.

I am a weak person.  I have a terrible time making myself do things that I do not want to do.  I do not want to sell this house.  But I must.  So I go to Wegman's, cook, wash clothes, anything to avoid the inevitable, and in the meantime, guilt heaps up on me like a February blizzard in Syracuse.

Why do I feel so guilty?  I think I can hardly breathe from all the guilt. I feel guilt for being lazy, guilt for not trusting Jesus with my future, guilt for not taking better care of the things I am now forced to sort through.  I feel guilt for not being more thankful that my husband has a new job, guilt for losing the home my children grew up in, guilt for ripping their memories out from under them.  I feel guilt that I fall apart and show my weaknesses and cry when I ought to keep a stiff upper lip and be there for the rest of them to lean on.

Sometimes I feel like I will die from all the heaviness of this guilt, and then I think death might be easier than going through this, but then I feel guilty at the thought of abandoning the rest of them to this life.

Someday we will all get to heaven.

Can I just say something?  I am venting, and for that I am truly sorry.  David says it is selfish and unbecoming to vent, and I'm sure that he is right.  But can I just say the thing that is breaking my heart?

I grieved for years that we lived so far from family.  My fervent prayer was always that we could move back to where our families were, back to Minnesota.  I missed my mom and dad, my aunts, uncles and cousins.  I missed two of my grandparents' funerals.  I missed everything.

But slowly, I began to hope in my new family.  My kids got through the really hard stages.  We got to where everyone could tie his own shoes and open his own car door, and even make her own sandwiches and fried eggs, and fold laundry.  We got to where we could sit at the table and share really deep talks about the Bible, or politics, or personal relationships.  We became a cohesive group, a new kind of family, a family that stood in the place of the one I lost.  Shawn and our kids and I.  We became a new family able to love and support one another.

And now, when it seems that my heart's desire, the desire to move back to the midwest, is sort of being realized, I have to give up this new family, this family that I strove so hard to nurture.  I always wanted to move back, but I especially wanted to move back so my kids could know my family.  Now I have to move back without them, without my kids, my own "new" family that was just becoming a group of mutually supportive adults.  I have to leave this family behind and go halfway back to Minnesota, to a place where, once again, I have no family, and I have to start all over.

And I am 47 this time.  I don't make friends easily.  I'm scared and sad and tired, and I have stinking stupid lupus.

Dear Jesus, please love me, because I am struggling so bad.  Drowning.  In self pity.  For which I feel guilty.  Oh God, help me.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chimy Bird

Today we threw out Chimy Bird.

It was the first toy.  Someone gave it to us as a shower gift before Shannon was born.

It looked like a massive, overgrown Weeble (from my own childhood: remember, "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down...").  That is to say, it was shaped like an egg and weighted at the bottom.  It was rather an ugly toy, to be honest, blue and off-white with a funny, rounded orange beak and painted (printed) black eyes.

When the kids were newborns, we would put Chimy Bird in their cribs by their legs, while they lay on their backs.  As they kicked and squirmed, Chimy would chime away, a soft jangle of muted musical tones.  Sometimes, if the baby in question became upset, the kicking would grow more vigorous, the chiming would get louder and faster, and violent wailing would accompany the soothing sounds of the bird.

All four of our children played with Chimy Bird before they discovered any other toy.  They probably do not even remember this.

But we do.

Shawn picked up Chimy, who was sitting in a dusty red basket in the basement under a never-used computer desk.  Minimal motion brought on the old familiar sounds, transporting us both right back, back to the days when everyone was small, and nobody was moving away, back to when nightmares and gas pains were the types of crises we had to deal with, when hugs and warm milk could solve almost anything.  "Remember this guy?" Shawn asked me, and we looked together at the ugly old beloved toy, beloved by us, the parents who remember.

The colors of his plastic were faded, and he was none too clean.  He bobbled and chimed.  We agreed that there was no reason to keep him.  Shawn, braver than I, thrust him into the garbage bag, where he fell to the bottom and nestled in a corner.  Through the thin white plastic of the bag, I could see him.  And I could hear him chiming softly all the way up the basement stairs as Shawn carried him out to the garbage can in the garage.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Last concerts

This Sunday afternoon was Jonathan's last Youth Symphony concert.

We've been doing Youth Symphony since Shannon was in 10th or 11th grade (approximately 2005).  And now it is over.

We won't ever go to another of these concerts, not even to hear someone else's kid, because we are moving away.  So it was really and truly the last.

Of course I forgot my camera.

And, I am so behind, I haven't even written about DJ's final hurrah, his senior recital.  It was a week ago.

DJ's recital ended up being the same evening as the NCAA basketball Final Four, in which Syracuse played, so hardly anyone could come to DJ's recital.  Who would've thought Syracuse would make the Final Four this year?

Knowing that there would be hardly anyone there, I laxed on the food prep and only made cupcakes.  I made three kinds.

This is an apple spice cupcake with salted caramel frosting, all from scratch.  I didn't think the apple spice recipe was much good, but the frosting was to die for.

This is a chocolate cupcake with raspberry cream cheese frosting, also all from scratch.  These were pretty much the bomb.  Really.

And this is a yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting, cupcake from a mix, frosting from scratch.  These were the best of all, in my humble opinion.  I wondered why I ever messed around with all that scratch baking if a mix was so much better.

These are my reject from-scratch yellow cupcakes with the extra salted caramel frosting. Notice how they all sort of overflowed their cups.  It is hard to portion out cupcakes correctly.  I wished I had some sort of titration device for doing it.

Here is a set of the cupcakes, all together.  Aren't they cute?

And here are pictures of David playing.  I was able to relax and enjoy the music more this year than last.  It was AMAZING.

(David is the one with the saxophone)

                                                       And the final whooshing bow...

I wonder if he will still play his saxophone, after he becomes a doctor.

Friday, April 12, 2013

house hunting try two

The second day we went out, we saw only seven houses, not ten.

In a category by itself...

1)  The beat brickface.  This house was in Urbana, and it was vacant and beat.  It was a big, brick-front colonial with  a nice floor plan, granite countertops and lots of hardwoods.  But it was totally beat, and there had been water in the basement.

The rest are hard to divide into categories.  All the rest of the houses we saw were out in the country, but four were ranches, and two were not.  I will start with the two that were not.

Category Y  -- The non-ranches

2)  The huge house.  This house had a gorgeous property in the country, over an acre, trees and rolling hills.  It was a nice house, but it was too big.  It might have been great, if we still had our kids, but I could not imagine staying alone in that gargantuan house while Shawn was on a business trip.  Often when houses are big, they have a number of extra rooms.  This house just has huge rooms.  The dining room, for instance, is 16 feet in one direction.  Because it was so big, they had skimped on ceramic tile and used vinyl, although they certainly had not skimped on oak anywhere.

3)  The raised ranch.  I'd had really high hopes for this house.  It had an extra, huge detached garage with a big loft finished with an office (read: hamshack for Shawn) overhead. We drove up and the property was stunning, gorgeous, out-of-this-world.  It sort of took your breath away.  The house had nice decking and a pool facing the back yard.  However, upon entering the house, one was sure one's breath had been taken away as one gasped to survive the intense wave of cigarette smells.  It had all new carpet in really nice shape, which was a tremendous shame, as it will need to be ripped right out again unless a smoker buys the house.  Ugh!

Category Z -- The country ranches

4)  The brick ranch.  From the outside, this house appeared to have great potential:  solid brick, gorgeous big yard, pond at the back.  Upon approaching the front entrance, however, I began to wonder.  The front door was hacked up or something, certainly not an inviting sight.  The inside of the house was just disappointing.  I don't know if it was dirty or what?  It didn't really seem all that dirty, but it certainly didn't have a clean, sparkling, fresh appearance.  Some closet doors were broken off, which always makes me feel as though people have been fighting or at least throwing tantrums.  A sulky teen watched TV in the finished basement while we went through the house.  It just didn't feel like a happy, well cared for home.

5)  The yellow house by the highway.  This house had everything we want:  Gas stove, plenty of bathrooms and bedrooms, oak floors, vaulted ceilings, wood cabinets, formal dining room, huge finished basement for visitors, three car garage, built in cubbies off the garage, laundry sink by washer and dryer, kitchenette in basement,  the list goes on.  It backs to a stream.  The only problem is the highway in the front.  The highway is not flat out in front, sort of up a hill.  I can't figure out if this is OK or not...

6)  The gray house in the country neighborhood.  This house has not much curb appeal, and only a two car garage, but other than that it is pretty sweet.  Best open kitchen of any we've seen.  Nice wood floors and vaulting in open kitchen/great room.  Great finished basement that even has a walkout to a patio where they keep their grill!!!  Also, this house just feels good, like it has good owners, good, nice, happy people.  I really like this house.  One strange thing... there seems to be quite a bit  of turnover in this neighborhood right now.  Perhaps the seven year thing?  Dunno.  Cool that it is a "neighborhood" of houses that are all on an acre... AND in our price range.  That's rare.  I suppose it's because it is not close to ANYTHING.  There's always a cost.

7)  The pristine brick ranch on half an acre.  This was a super-substantial, fantastically gorgeous solid brick house on a fantastically gorgeous lot that backs to a corn field with a row of oak trees in between.  Wonderful sun room.  Solid oak everything: floors, trim, six panel doors, etc.  Geothermal heat, lower taxes, immaculately clean.  Drawbacks:  only three bedrooms, basement is not finished, no dining room, this is the farthest house from Shawn's work, one of the most expensive homes we've looked at, faint small of smoke in the garage.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

house hunting notes

Yesterday I saw 10 houses plus a lot in a new development.

I will try to break them down here:

Category A -- the cool old houses

1)  The Victorian.  I really liked this house, had a huge emotional reaction to it.  It felt bigger than I had expected it to feel.  Gorgeous details, gas range in kitchen (which was a really nice kitchen with tintype back-splash), unbelievable yard/gardens, on a country acre, backs up to a field.  I really, really liked it.  Much more open feel than the online pictures lead me to expect.  It was moved out to the country, so it has a 22 year old basement (vs. 138 year house), new plumbing and wiring.  However, it has very steep stairs, and it seems like it would be a tremendous amount of upkeep, the kind of house you buy if your hobby is doing your house, and not much else.

2)  The Farmhouse.  I actually really liked this one, too.  It had the same old charm as the Victorian, but it seemed as though it would be easier to keep up.  The master suite, on the first floor, had a really comfy attached sitting room with a fireplace, and the bedroom opened onto a deck/back porch with a hanging swing.  Cool solid-state countertops that looked like some type of slate or cement.  The upstairs had two really decent sized bedrooms with abundant (abundant!) closets.  A huge bathroom with clawfoot tub was between them.  This house was in the middle of a field, next to a red barn, with no neighbors at all.  There was a "hamshack" type room over the garage.  The basement was small and unusable, looked like it sometimes got water in it.  Not really enough bedrooms to have the kids visit once they start to marry (for now the boys could share and the girls could share).  Good price; we could add a sunroom/guestroom.  Would want to change pergot in main living/dining are to real wood, and run a gas line for a gas range (doable since the basement is not finished).

Category B -- The new construction (builders' models)

3)  Savoy:  this house felt very small on the main floor, although supposedly the overall square footage of floors 1 and 2 should be the same as the house we live in now.  The bedrooms did not feel that much bigger, although they were decent with nice closets.  The master suite was undeniably nice, and the closet and bathroom in it were better than ours, although the bedroom itself seemed smaller.  Lots of nice details and pocket doors, pretty treatment of fireplace.  Nice finish of family room, bedroom and bathroom in basement.  3 car garage.  BUT... Shawn could never deal with a yard this small and close to the neighbors.  Also, no laundry sink.

4)  Mahomet:  Very similar to Savoy.  Better in that it had more brick, a sink in the laundry room, and a better yard, although it backed to a pond with an alarmingly close and steep drop off to the water.  Basement was not finished out, but that would mean that in this house we could more easily convert the stove from electric to gas.  Main bath on second floor was not as nice as the Savoy one.  This house felt backwards to me, as the stairway came down to the back of the house where the eat in kitchen and great room had windows opening to the view of the pond.

Category C -- The houses "similar" to ours

5)  The 2 year old white house.  This was a stunningly gorgeous build, but it was across the street from duplexes, and very close to the freeway, which ran behind the duplexes.  It's a pity.  It was a really pretty house.  The location was a deal breaker.

6) The established Champaign "colonial."  This was a fine house, neat, clean, intelligently laid out, very well maintained.  It could work.  It was a lot like the house we have now, except I like my house better.  This did have a nicely done basement.  Still, I think it was not my favorite.  White cabinets and woodwork, and not a lot to compensate for them.  Tight yard, although there was a park in front.

7)  The huge colonial in Mahomet.  This was a nice house, with a nice main floor, lots of hardwoods, pretty kitchen counters and cabinets.  They had gone crazy with bizarre paint colors, though.  A brilliant orange wall here, an electric yellow bathroom there...  It was a huge house, vastly bigger than what Shawn and I need for the two of us.  For the price, the carpets seemed shot.  Other "cons" -- There had been a pool, which had been removed, leaving a hanging deck with a curved edge that no longer adjoined the pool, and a big dead circle on the lawn.  The door from the kitchen to the garage had a big, clear window in it (?!?!?!?!?).  And the entire basement was painted intense public-swimming-pool-turquoise.

8)  The colonial with curb appeal, near the end of the cul de sac.  I liked this one.  I had expected to like it.  I didn't, however, like it quite as much as I had expected to.  It is almost in the country, with no houses built on the end of the cul de sac yet (when??) and a back yard that backs to a country road, so no neighbors behind.  Cute but vanilla house.  Nice bedroom layout in which I can easily picture my kids.  Great-room on main floor, family room in basement.  Electric stove which would be a major pain to convert to gas, as the basement is almost completely finished.  Weird kitchen cabinets that have top molding that stops about 3 inches from the ceiling (awkward).  Off-white laminate counter tops.  Laundry with sink and pocket door.  Hardwood dining room.  Flat master ceiling.  Two car garage with extension on back (workshop?).  Pros and cons.  Could be a good one, definitely the winner of its category.

Category D -- the ranches

9)  The inexpensive ranch.  I actually really like this house.  The open great-room was bigger and prettier than I had expected it to be.  The kitchen, although not at all the finishes I would have chosen (white cabinets, tiled counter tops), was well appointed, with a gas cook top and double ovens.  The house felt cheerful and welcoming, spacious but not huge.  I just liked it.  Basement had a nice family room with built ins, an office/spare bedroom, and a full bathroom.  The floor down there was laminate, which was fine in that application.  Three bedrooms upstairs, nicely sized master with trayed ceiling and ceiling fan.  Good closets in the bedrooms and the hall.  Drop down ironing board in the laundry.  2 car garage and no laundry sink, also not really enough bedrooms.  But I just liked it.  It had wallpaper, which was not as offensive in person as it was online.  There was a sweet screened porch with a vaulted knotty pine ceiling and skylights.  Bigger yard than the Champaign houses, although not huge.  There were trees and shrubs all around the perimeter of the yard.

10)  The expensive ranch.  This was a nice house, but I did not have the same emotional reaction to it that I had to the other ranch.  Sprawling floor plan with four bedrooms on one end of the house, and a family room and a sun room on the other end.  Fenced area perfect for Piper and Schubert within a half acre lot. Pristine three car garage.  Weird smell... I think the owners smoke.  This could be a problem if David is ever to live there for any length of time.  Great yard with pond.  Hardwoods in living and dining rooms.  You actually come into the house to a slate foyer and to the right is the kitchen, to the left the bedrooms, and straight ahead through french doors is the living room.  Pretty cool plan.  May be too big.  Fireplaces in both the living room and the family room.  GORGEOUS solid oak six panel doors everywhere, and solid oak trim throughout.  Very pretty kitchen.  Electric cooktop which could actually be converted to gas, as the basement of this house is not finished.  Disappointing master suite, nothing remarkable about it at all.  Great closets everywhere in the house, but the master walk-in is surprisingly small.  I mean, it's plenty big enough for us, but it isn't what you'd expect in a house of this price with all the other features it has. Laundry sink in third bay of garage, as well as a sink and abundant cabinets in the laundry room, which is in the hall with the bedrooms and has one of those drop down ironing boards, as well.  All in all a really good house with a really great yard/location, but perhaps a trifle underwhelming for the price or something.  Oh, it was solid brick all around.  Maybe my problem was the smokey smell.  For the right price, I could really love this house, but I'm not sure we have it at that price.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A vignette of Jon, at age four, at the vet's office

Moving forces you to go through things.  And when you go through things, you find things.  Today I found something I wrote about in the year 2000.  I had taken Jon, who was four at the time, to the vet's office with me for Piper's physical.  (Piper was a wee pup back then, but that is an aside.)

from my records (if you can call them that)

January 2000
Jon was in a very good mood at the vet's today.  He found a man who had a golden retriever and who would talk to him.  The guy was totally deadpan, around 30 years old with tired eyes and no smile.  Jon regaled the guy with his stunning conversational skills while we were waiting to take Piper back.

Here is a sample of the conversation:

Jon approaches a man's dog and begins to greet and pet it.  This is about the fourth animal Jon has approached, but this pet owner does not frown and try to get Jon to go away. 

Me:  Going to the vet is even more fun than going to the zoo, isn't it, Jon?

Jon:  Yes.  At the zoo there's cages.

The Man:  You don't want to go in those cages.

Jon:  No.  You can't go in the cage.  Last summer we went to the zoo and (gestures with both arms) I didn't even go in one cage!  The bears are in those cages, and you don't want to go in the cage with the bear.  That's against the rules.  (pauses, then resumes)  The bears are in those cages for... one whole week.

The Man:  Where do they go after the week's up?  To the mall?

Jon (disgusted):  No.  They go to another zoo.

After our appointment, while I was paying, the man appeared in the lobby after his appointment, too... apparently our paths were destined to cross again.  I may have been imagining it, but I thought I saw a glimmer of humor in his mostly impassive eyes as Jonathan picked up the conversation right where it had left off.

Jon:  When we got Piper, we didn't even have to ask anybody.

The Man (confused--understandably; I was confused, too):  Who didn't you have to ask?

Jon:  It was a house.  We drove there and it was very far away.  (trying to impress)  It was like the president's house.

Me (feebly trying to clarify):  It was a white house.

The Receptionist (helping me, addressing Jon in an educational tone):   The president lives in a white house.

Jon (matter of factly):  Yup.  (then proceeding loudly and with much dramatic emphasis...)  You know, there's good presidents, and there's bad presidents.  Some presidents are really bad.

The Man (seriously interested now, and leading Jon on...):  Like, who's a bad president?

Me (in my thoughts):  Oh my word.  Oh my word.  Why do we ever say anything about our political views in front of the children?  Can I please just pay quickly and leave now?

Jon (after a rather lengthy and very pregnant pause, during which all activity in the office had ceased while every ear was tuned to see which president this four-year-old would classify as very bad):  George Washington!  George Washington was the very first president.

The Man:  Yes, I think he was.

Jon:  Yup.  God made George Washington first.

Me (in my thoughts):  I'm not sure what just happened, but thank you, God.  My face is throbbing, but I can breathe again.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Recovering memories

I have to admit it.  I am envious of the moms who get to blog about their little kids.

When my kids were little, Al Gore had not yet invented the internet, and at the time, the best I could do was jot down random notes about things I wanted to remember on whatever scraps of paper I could find.

Today I was going through our Trunk-of-Photographs, and for whatever reason, I came across an old envelope with notes scrawled on the back of it about things I wanted to journal about (at that time, it would have gone into a real journal, not an online one).  Or maybe I was fixing to put together a Christmas letter.

Lucky for me, there was a postmark on the other side of the envelope.

So I know it was in 2000, when Jonny was 5.  Or, based on context, I'm thinking 4, because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the raisin-in-the-nose story happened on the way to preschool, and Jon went to kindergarten right after he turned 5.  I have more confidence in my context memory skills than in my ability to do math with years and ages.

The raisin story is just one more example of what a terrible mother I am.  As we were driving to preschool, Jon-Jon shoved a raisin up his nose and began to cry.  I told him, "You need to stop crying and breathe only through your mouth!"  Then I pulled the car over and positioned myself so that I could grab his face.  Holding his chin in my hand, I told him in my sternest, scariest mother voice, "You are going to need to listen to me and do EXACTLY what I say.  Do you hear me?"

Wide-eyed, the poor little geezer nodded.

"This is very important," I went on (this is the part that is a Very Bad Mother), "Because if you do not listen to me and obey me, that raisin is going to get stuck really bad in there, and then we will have to take you to the hospital, and the doctors will have to do surgery and cut it out.  You don't want that to happen, do you?"

Jonny shook his head in terror.

"Which side of your nose is it stuck in?" I asked him.  He indicated the offending nostril.  "OK," I said.  "I am going to plug the other side of your nose, just like this..."  I pressed my finger alongside his other nostril.  "Now, I want you to open your mouth up wide, and take a big breath in through your mouth.  Then, close your mouth, and while I hold this nostril shut, you blow out through your nose just as hard as you can."

We did.  And he did.  And that raisin came flying out of his nose like a bullet, disappearing somewhere in the great unknown nexus of car upholstery.  We never did find it.  (confession: I don't think I looked for it.)

I climbed back into my seat, restarted the car, and delivered him to preschool.  We were almost on time.


I do really get a kick out of the Jon quotes I listed on that envelope.  In case you couldn't read them, I will retype them here:

Jon at 4:

"Do you know Superman wears his underwear over his sweats?  Isn't that weird?"

"I need my way, Mom.  I need my way right now."


Somebody has his senior recital coming up.

His professor says it's going to be really good.

Unfortunately, it is during the Final Four NCAA Basketball game, and Syracuse made the final four.  It is practically a national holiday type event for our community.

So this young man, who plays beautifully beyond understanding, who has diligently prepared for this occasion for four years, who would like to be watching the basketball game himself, will play for a very small audience that evening.

I am making cupcakes.  I won't need to make very many (there is always a silver lining to every circumstance).

Today I practiced.

I made chocolate cupcakes:

And then I frosted them with salted caramel butter-cream icing.  I used only half as much salt and butter as the recipe called for because, seriously?  The recipe called for 1.5 cups of butter and only 1 cup of powdered sugar.   That's just flavored butter, not a winner in my book.  So I made my adjustments, and it turned out just fine...

Here they are frosted:


I wonder how much practicing I'm a-gonna need to do before Saturday???